Musicians play instruments in front of the portrait of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, outside the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party office in Mumbai October 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

PM Modi steps up economic reforms, eyes privatisation

India promised on Monday to open up the coal industry to private players and moved closer to selling a stake in state-run oil company ONGC, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked up the pace on economic reform days after relaxing fuel price controls.  Full Article 

Apple sells better-than-expected 39.3 mln iPhones in Sept quarter 2:09am IST

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc posted better-than-expected revenue after its best new-iPhone launch on record, pushing sales of the smartphone to 39.27 million in the September quarter.

A broker monitors share prices at a brokerage firm in Mumbai August 9, 2011. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

Sensex rises over 1 pct on reforms, polls boost

The BSE Sensex and Nifty rose more than 1 percent on Monday to mark their biggest daily gain in more than one week after the government's energy reforms led to a rally in oil firms, while wins by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra and Haryana elections raised expectations for more reforms.  Full Article 

A yellow umbrella, regarded as a symbol of the Occupy civil disobedience movement, is tied to a lamp post on Nathan Road blocked by pro-democracy protesters at Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Hong Kong Protests

Students, govt stand their ground before talks

Hong Kong students and the government stood their ground ahead of talks aimed at defusing more than three weeks of pro-democracy protests that have blocked traffic around the Chinese-controlled city, but expectations of a breakthrough were low.  Full Article 

A general view of the Syrian town of Kobani is pictured from near the Mursitpinar border crossing, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, October 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani

Turkey said on Monday it would allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to reinforce fellow Kurds in the Syrian border town of Kobani, while the United States air-dropped arms for the first time to help the defenders resist an Islamic State assault.  Full Article | Watch: Battle for Kobani 

Pupils of Olumawu School are guided through the use of hand sanitizers, as school resumes in Abuja September 22, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Nigeria declared Ebola-free, contains virus

WHO declared Nigeria free of the deadly Ebola virus on Monday after six weeks with no new cases, an achievement with lessons for countries still struggling to contain the deadly virus.  Full Article 

A family member of an avalanche victim stands outside a morgue in Kathmandu, as the bodies of victims of avalanches and a blizzard are brought to the morgue, October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Nepal Blizzard

Small avalanches hamper search for survivors

Small avalanches hampered the search for porters and guides missing for six days after a Himalayan storm, officials said, as rescue crews began to scale back the hunt for survivors.  Full Article 

Miss Zero, whose real name is Sasha Frolova, of Russia celebrates winning the Alternative Miss World contest at Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London, October 18, 2014. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Russian act wins Alternative Miss World

Love, laughter and latex -- it could only be the thirteenth Alternative Miss World Competition. Held on Oct 18 in London, the theme for the typically understated pageant was 'Neon Numbers'.  Watch | Pics 

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Deregulation Impact

Oil pumping machine.

Cheap oil is no tonic for Asian economies

Cheaper oil won’t be much of a tonic for Asian economies. While painful for exporters, sliding prices should benefit consumers of crude. For most in the region, though, less expensive oil is mainly a sign that growth is stalling. The big exceptions are India and Indonesia. For them, the price slide over the past 4 months translates into significant budgetary savings.  Full Article 

D H Pai Panandiker

Targeting inflation at 4 percent

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seems to have finally taken the responsibility of targeting inflation as it is a sensitive political issue and could not be left to the discretion of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). With CPI as the anchor, the target will be 4 percent measured annually (+/-2 percent). Inflation targeting is a good game and not a difficult one. The real problem is in achieving the target.  Full Article 

Screen capture of film "Panic in the Streets".

Lessons on handling epidemics from 1950’s ‘Panic in the Streets’

The Ebola news has made me think about Elia Kazan’s crackling and moody Panic in the Streets, a 1950 thriller about a deadly bacterium that has entered New Orleans and threatens to spread. On a recent re-viewing, it definitely left me quavering — and gave me a nightmare chill I hadn’t experienced on previous occasions. The parallels to the Ebola outbreak are creepy.  Read 

Islamic State militants

Under assault, Islamic State may shift tactics

As long as Islamic State militants fight like a traditional army, with infantry, heavy weapons, vehicles and fortified positions, the United States and its allies can attack them as they would any traditional army — and beat them. But that depends on the militants cooperating. It’s evident the group is already changing its methods — a prospect that should deeply worry the rest of the world.  Commentary