Monday, August 31, 2009

Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama

Yukio Hatoyama (born 11 February 1947) is the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and represents the 9th district of Hokkaidō in the House of Representatives. He is set to become the next Prime Minister of Japan in September 2009, following a win by the opposition coalition in the 2009 elections.

Hatoyama, who was born in Tokyo, is the grandson of former Prime Minister Ichirō Hatoyama, and son of former Foreign Minister Iichirō Hatoyama. His mother Yasuko is a daughter of Shojiro Ishibashi, the founder of Bridgestone Corporation. He and his brother Kunio Hatoyama are fourth generation politicians of the Hatoyama family. He graduated from University of Tokyo and received a Ph.D. in managerial engineering from Stanford University. He worked as a a research assistant at University of Tokyo and later moved to Senshu University and was promoted to assistant professor.
Hatoyama ran for a seat in Hokkaido`s 38th district and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986 representing the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In 1993 he left the LDP to form the New Party Sakigake with Naoto Kan, Masayoshi Takemura and Shuhei Tanaka. He and Kan then left to join the newly formed Democratic Party of Japan.

He became DPJ Party Chairman and leader of the opposition from 1999 to 2002, when he resigned after taking responsibility for the confusion that arose from rumors of mergers with Ichirō Ozawa's then Liberal Party. He was Secretary-General of the DPJ before he succeeded Ozawa as party leader following Ozawa's resignation on 11 May 2009. Hatoyama was chosen by fellow party representatives on 16 May 2009, winning 124 of the 219 votes and defeating rival Katsuya Okada.
(wikipedia - -

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, born 7 October 1952 in Leningrad, USSR; now Saint Petersburg, Russia was the second President of Russia and is the current Prime Minister of Russia as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when president Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move, and then Putin won the 2000 presidential election. In 2004, he was re-elected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008.
Due to constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive Presidential term. After the victory of his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in the 2008 presidential elections, he was then nominated by the latter to be Russia's Prime Minister; Putin took the post on 8 May 2008.

Throughout his presidential terms and into his second term as Prime Minister, Putin has enjoyed high approval ratings amongst the Russian public. During his eight years in office, on the back of Yeltsin-era structural reforms, steadily rising oil price and cheap credit from western banks, Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase sixfold (72% in PPP), poverty cut more than half and average monthly salaries increase from $80 to $640, or by 150% in real rates. Analysts have described Putin's economic reforms as impressive. During his presidency, Putin passed into law a series of fundamental reforms, including a flat income tax of 13 percent, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes. Putin's prudent economic policies have received praise from Western economists. At the same time, his conduct in office has been questioned by domestic political opposition, foreign governments and human rights organizations for leading the Second Chechen War, for his record on internal human rights and freedoms, and for his alleged bullying of the former Soviet Republics. A new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy, such as Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Yakunin, Yuriy Kovalchuk, Sergey Chemezov, with close personal ties to Putin, emerged according to media reports. Corruption under Putin has increased and assumed "systemic and institutionalised form", according to a report by Boris Nemtsov as well as other sources.

Putin joined the KGB in 1975 upon graduation from university, and underwent a year's training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad. He then went on to work briefly in the Second Department (counter-intelligence) before he was transferred to the First Department, where amongst his duties was the monitoring of foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad, while using the cover of being a police officer with the CID. According to Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky, he served at the Fifth Directorate of the KGB, which combated political dissent in the Soviet Union.[35] He then received an offer to transfer to foreign intelligence First Chief Directorate of the KGB and was sent for additional year long training to the Dzerzhinsky KGB Higher School in Moscow and then in the early eighties—the Red Banner Yuri Andropov KGB Institute in Moscow (now the Academy of Foreign Intelligence).
From 1985 to 1990 the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany.[36] Following the collapse of the East German regime, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov. In his new position, Putin maintained surveillance on the student body and kept an eye out for recruits. It was during his stint at the university that Putin grew reacquainted with Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad. Sobchak served as an Assistant Professor during Putin's university years and was one of Putin's lecturers. Putin formally resigned from the state security services on 20 August 1991, during the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. (wikipedia - - -

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh (Hindi: मनमोहन सिंह, Punjabi: ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ, born 26 September 1932) is the 17th and current Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He is the first person of Sikh faith to hold the office. An economist by profession, Singh was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987 and the Finance Minister of India from 1991 to 1996.
Singh is a graduate of the Panjab University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. After serving as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, Singh was appointed as the Union Minister of Finance in 1991 by then-Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. During his tenure as the Finance Minister, Singh was widely credited for initiating economic reforms in India in 1991 which resulted in the end of the infamous Licence Raj system.
Following the 2004 general elections, Singh was unexpectedly declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Indian National Congress–led United Progressive Alliance. He was sworn in as the prime minister on May 22, 2004. During its five year term, Singh's administration largely focused on reducing government fiscal deficit, providing debt relief to poor farmers and advancing pro-industry economic and tax policies.
After the Indian National Congress won the 2009 general elections, Singh was reappointed as the Prime Minister of India on May 22, 2009, making him the first Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term.

Manmohan Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab, (now in Chakwal District, Pakistan) into a Sikh Kukhran Khatri family. He lost his mother, when he was very young, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close. He was a hard working student, who studied, by the candle light, as his village did not have electricity. Due to this, his eyes got weakened. After the Partition of India, he migrated to Amritsar. He went to Panjab University, Chandigarh to study Economics and attained his bachelor's and master's degree in 1952 and 1954 respectively, standing first throughout his academic career. He went on to read for the Economics Tripos at Cambridge University as a member of St John's College. (In the Oxbridge tradition, holders of the BA degree with honours are entitled in due course to an MA degree.) He won the Wright's Prize for distinguished performance in 1955 and 1957. He was also one of the few recipients of the Wrenbury scholarship. In 1962, Singh completed his PhD from the University of Oxford where he was a member of Nuffield College. The title of his doctoral thesis was "India’s export performance, 1951-1960, export prospects and policy implications", and his thesis supervisor was Dr I M D Little. From this thesis he published the book "India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth".
In 1997, the University of Alberta presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2005, and in October 2006, the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour. St John's College further honored him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship.

Economic policy
Dr. Singh, along with the former Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, have presided over a period where the Indian economy has grown with an 8–9% economic growth rate. Singh has focused on reducing the budget deficit. In June 2007, India became a trillion dollar economy. In 2007, India achieved its highest GDP growth rate of 9% and became the second fastest growing major economy in the world. As prime minister, Dr. Singh has continued the economic reforms, that he, and P.V. Narasimha Rao, started in 1991. Singh's government has continued the Golden Quadrilateral and the highway modernization program that was initiated by Mr. Vajpayee's government. Singh has also been working on reforming the banking and financial sectors and has been working towards reforming public sector companies. The Finance ministry has been working towards relieving farmers of their debt and has been working towards pro-industry policies. During his tenure, the fiscal deficit has been reduced from 4.5% to 3.1%. In 2005, Singh's government introduced the VAT tax that replaced the complicated sales tax. In 2007 and early 2008, inflation became a big problem globally. Dr. Singh's government worked in concert with the Reserve Bank of India. It reached double-digits during June–November 2008 before returning to single digits in November 2008. (