Can India Get to Mars without Electricity?
Varadarajan, Tunku, Newsweek
Byline: Tunku Varadarajan
South Korea, normally a land where punishment for the law-breaking superrich amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist, has seen a spectacle that leaves the national jaw agape. A court sentenced the head of Hanwha, the country's 10th-largest chaebol, or conglomerate, to four years in prison for embezzling $264 million. What is novel in this case is not merely the sentence meted out to the tycoon in question, Kim Seung-youn, but the fact that the court sent him directly--and unceremoniously--to jail. Based on precedent, Kim would have expected the sentence to be suspended. After all, that is what happened to him in 1993 (when convicted of smuggling cash), 2004 (when found guilty of making illegal contributions to a politician), and 2007. In that last instance, he received a presidential pardon for an assault conviction: After his son was roughed up in a bar, Kim, whose net worth is $745 million, exacted retribution by clobbering the bar's employees with a metal pipe, while his bodyguards formed a ring around the scene.
Valerie Trierweiler's reputation as a rather high-handed first lady of France remained unscathed last week after she threatened to set her lawyers on any magazine that published pictures of her in a bikini, taken by paparazzi while she was on a beach holiday with Francois Hollande. Paris Match, the magazine at which she works, was most complaisant, bowing swiftly to her diktat. Voici and VSD, rival news-and-celebrity publications, were not so obedient: They put Hollande and Trierweiler, who make a rather stout couple, on their covers. VSD emblazoned its picture with the gleeful words "Normal Right Down to Their Swimsuits"--a play on Hollande's repeated insistence that his is a "normal" presidency. And so, the Elysee soap opera goes on --
Singh on Mars
Just two weeks after a national humiliation in which 600 million of his fellow citizens went without electricity for up to 10 hours--the largest power blackout in human history--the Indian prime minister mustered the audacity to announce that the country will embark on a space mission to Mars. …