· I have answered some more of your shout-box queries in today’s Discover It. Take a look at it here.

· Who created the character Mowgli?

o Rudyard Kipling

· Sivaji simbly (pun intended) rocks!!!

o “Pera kettaale summa adhirudhulla” (hearing the name itself shakes the place).

o That’s Rajnikant for you. It’s time to celebrate success.

o Released in over 850 to 900 screens, it is a record for an Indian film. Made at a cost of over Rs. 60 crores, it is billed as the costliest film ever made in India.

o His earlier blockbuster Chandramukhi grossed over Rs. 60 crores. It continues to run at Chennai’s Shanti theatre and will complete 800 days next week.

o Do you know the original name of Rajnikant? It is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. He worked as bus conductor in Bangalore before stepping in to acting.

· Capital gains or business income? Portfolio investors in quandary still!!

o Remember the controversy surrounding the classification of capital gains on sale of shares by FIIs? We noted something on this issue on 09.01.2007, 10.01.2007, 12.01.2007 and 30.01.2007. Read the relevant portion in these posts on the issue. One view holds that portfolio investors are traders in stocks, while another view holds that they are investors in stocks.

o The CBDT gave clarification on how such gains should be treated. It says that an investor can divide his portfolio into capital assets and trading assets. On capital assets, capital gains would accrue. On trading assets, the income would be treated as business income.

o But is it really going to solve the problem? Assessing authorities can keep questioning the division done by the assessees!!

· What is a category-killer in retail?

o It is a large retail chain store that dominates its product category so completely that it eliminates a large chunk of competition. Also known as big box store, it is a discount specialty store that offers an extensive selection of merchandise at prices so low that smaller stores cannot compete.

o It is a concept that thrived in the international markets. Best Buy, PetsMart, Office Depot and Home Depot are prime examples of category-killers.

o Specialty store: focuses on premium brands

o Category killers: store an entire range of products across the price range in the particular category

o Hypermarket or discount store: offers huge variety of categories

o Disadvantages of category killers:

§ Difficult to maintain huge inventory and high sales in every category.

o The concept can work well in high-involvement categories such as books, music, toys, home retailing and consumer durables segment.

· H1-B visa controversy

o When one of you wanted me to explain the controversy over H1-B visa issues, I dismissed it outright and opined that our companies are not indulging in any fraud. The latter portion of my statement holds good even now. But still there is a controversy. Let’s take a look at it.

o Our IT biggies use H1-B and L1 visa programs of the US to carry on with their work in the US. H1-B is a temporary work visa and L1 is for intra-company transfer of executives.

o US legislation requires employers to advertise positions in the country before petitioning to employ H1-B workers and attesting that H1-B holders haven’t replaced comparable American workers.

o Two American senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin have been of the view that these visas are being misused by Indian companies and knocking away the jobs of the American citizens.

· CNR Rao on our examination system

o The eminent Professor feels that our examination system has killed innovation.

o I would like to agree with him. But the issue is can anyone come up with a system of examination or assessment which will assess, encourage or identify the innovation potential of a candidate? Do we have parallels anywhere in the world? How come when other universities/schools like Harvard, Oxford, Wharton etc., are able to produce Nobel laureates by the droves by following more or less a similar/comparable/not-much-different examination system, we are failing to produce Nobel laureates even when we are aping them? I am left to wonder at times that perhaps it has got nothing to do with the examination system; it has got everything to do with the constitution of the populace. The kind of integration of diverse cultures that we can easily spot in America and Europe, is not seen anywhere else in the world. Perhaps it is this which gives them the edge in being very innovative. Not the examination system; nor the innate higher IQs.

· Cadbury guilty of selling unsafe chocos

o In January 2006, it has detected that its manufacturing process at Marlbrook (UK) was affected by a pipe leakage that could have left minute traces of salmonella in the finished products. So it has decided to recall more than 1 mn chocolate bars sold in the UK and Irish markets.

o Can such a thing happen in India?

· World’s longest overland tunnel

o The Swiss opened the tunnel to trains linking Europe’s north and south after 8 years of work. It is the 34.6 km long Loetschberg tunnel, linking Italy and Germany. It will shorten the journey time from more than 3 hours to a little less than 2 hours.

· New standard for KG measurement

o Hope you all know that the current standard (called the International Prototype) for measuring a kilogram of weight is a bar of platinum and iridium held in a French vault since 1889.

o It is found to be deteriorating slowly. So it is proposed to be replaced by a single crystal of silicon-28 grown by Russian and German scientists.

o The silicon ball is expected not to fall victim to moisture, corrosion and contamination like the present standard.

o The ultimate aim of the new project is to measure a kg in terms of numbers of atoms, rather than an object open to earthquake or environmental changes.

· Government gets RBI’s stake in SBI via an ordinance

o At present RBI’s stake in SBI cannot fall below 55%. As a bill to amend this provision was not passed by Parliament even after 1.5 years, the government is thinking of bringing out an ordinance to complete the transaction.

o The move is aimed at separating the ownership and regulatory functions of RBI.

o RBI holds 31.43 crore shares of SBI. Each share has a face value of Rs. 100. The transaction is expected to be having a cost of about Rs. 40,000 crores. While the Central government will pay this much to RBI, the latter in turn will pay out the money as surplus in the form of dividends to the government. Thus it is expected to be a neutral transaction.

· Why should we cut carbon emissions?

o Take a look at the graphic given in today’s Hindu at page 13. You will appreciate why. You have the link to the article here.

· Tribal university in MP

o Indira Gandhi National Tribal University will come up at Amarkantak in MP.

o It will be set up with central funding and will promote studies, research in tribal art and culture.