Steve Ballmer of Microsoft notes that their Hotmail service has five times as many accounts in India and China than there are actual computers, because much of the realworld usage occurs on shared machines in internet cafes. Probable offshoot: they'll have difficulty moving to practical commerce there because of the security risks of private data on shared machines.
The Independent reports that China is now buying 70% of Sudan's oil exports, potentially affecting its judgments on multilateral attempts to end the Arabian-vs-African genocide there. It adds that 20% of China's oil imports now come from Sudan and Iran, and brings up Saddam Hussein's oil payoffs to France, Russia and China to block UN agreements. (My memory is that France currently has interests in Sudanese oilfields, but this article doesn't reprise that stat.) I'm not sure how much of China's oil is domestically produced, and how they balance between oil, coal, and nuclear energy sources -- not sure how important this is to their economic growth overall. The tension casts a different light on recent Chinese business contacts in South America, particularly considering Venezuela's current situation.
Google News explains why its Chinese engines do not index any news source which the PRC government does not permit its citizens to read. I think the rationale boils down to "if there's a barrier to reading, we won't list it". By this logic they should also not list US newspapers which present a subscription panel instead of an article. But it also appears that the Taiwan and Hong Kong filters for Google News do not list the various Chinese-language articles at the disapproved Epoch Times. I'm not sure whether this whole case hangs together... seems like the simplest thing would be for the government to remove the filters in the first place, huh...?
MetaFilter has a discussion of concepts available in some languages which are not available in English. I just scanned it -- it's MetaFilter -- but am bookmarking it here in case I need the link in the future.
BangaloreBest.com offers a SWF tutorial of over fifty common phrases in written English, romanized Kannada, and spoken Kannada. (Kannada is the colloquial language used in Karnataka, the state in India which contains the city Bangalore.) There is no written Kannada in this example, though... you can see the alphabet here, and the Unicode implications here.
Coca-Cola discusses their process of understanding the retail beverage market in India. (This weekend I was reading "Doing Business in China" by Ming-Jer Chen, and Coca-Cola came up for repeated phrase on how they worked to understand the messages they were actually sending.)
This BBC article describes how the religion's practice differs in China, where the supremacist Wahhabi movement has not penetrated and older traditions apply. One of the things that surprised me in China was that I came across mosques in almost every city I visited. But the practice seems quite different, as the gender-equality aspects of this article indicate.