Politics & the Nation

  • Passenger spews venom on Muslim flight attendant
    • Reading that news item made me very sad. It is this kind of behaviour which is alienating our own brothers and sisters. All people should realize one thing -- terrorism or crime knows no religion. It is trouble-mongers that make use of the labels like religion, caste or region to drive a wedge between people. People like the above referred passengers are taken in by such propaganda and make the trouble-mongers succeed in their designs.
    • All of us should condemn such behaviour. The trouble is not with Muslims per se. The trouble is with the trouble-mongers -- irrespective of their religion.
Finance & Economics
  • Petro prices reduced; finally
    • THE government on Friday slashed prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 2 a litre respectively — the first time it has cut prices in more than two years.
  • Government gives a big booster dose to the economy
    • Repo rate — the widely watched rate at which banks borrow from the RBI — has fallen from 7.5% to 6.5% while the reverse repo rate — the rate banks get for parking surplus money with RBI — has been lowered from 6% to 5% with immediate effect.
    • Two refinance windows opened -- one for SIDBI and another for NHB -- of Rs. 7K crore and 4K crore respectively.
    • Though the above two are the easily recognizable measures, others are no less important. Hence a read of this piece is highly recommended.
    • Those of you who are short of time can make do with this graphic.
  • How does the global financial crisis help the Indian LPO sector?
    • LPO: Legal Process Outsouring. The downturn is reportedly helping the LPO sector in India because a lot of work is flowing their way currently. But then, the work doesn't flow just like that; there are some inherent strengths of our LPO sector also. Look at them:
      • LPOs in India are about 60% more cost efficient than in the US. According to estimates, a senior associate in US gets approximately $200 per hour for a document review whereas it costs around $30 in India.
      • On the demand side, the rising litigation costs in the US and the UK are driving the business offshore. On the supply side, India conducts its legal proceedings in English, making it relevant in both the US and the UK markets. India borrows from the British legal system thereby strengthening outsourcing prospects in the UK.
      • India also has abundant talent in law. Reports suggest that around 300,000 students enrol in various law schools in India every year.
  • Today's ET Guidebook gives a good primer on a rights issue.
    • What is it, why do companies prefer it, what if sharelholders don't exercise their rights etc. A good one for starters. Read it here.
  • Even Harvard is not spared by the financial crisis
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Harvard's endowment suffered a loss of 22% in the first four months of the school's fiscal year. The fiscal year for the school is from July to June. The school expects to end the current year with a loss of 30% in the endowment.
    • Harvard's endowment was at $36.9 bn as of 30th June, 2008. About 35% of school's operating expenses are met by income from the endowment. Because of this the annual budget of $3.5 bn will take a severe hit.
    • But where does Harvard invest the endowment? Basically real estate and private equity.
    • Harvard is reportedly not alone in seeing its endowment decline. Most of the other colleges in the US are suffering the same fate. This is bound to result in Universities cutting down on scholarships as many states are cutting public funding of higher education. Colleges are instituting hiring freezes, planning enrollment cuts and discussing steep tuition increases.
    • You see this is how the global financial crisis has hit the Indian students aspiring to do MS in the USA.
  • US automakers get some relief from the US Congress
    • The three beleaguered automakers of the US (GM, Ford, & Chrysler), have finally got a breather from the US Congress.
    • Congress is set to approve about $15 to $17 bn emergency aid to them.
    • Ford's blueprint for traversing the current recession appears to be workable, while that of GM's and Chrysler's are not so plausible, say finance experts.
    • But looking at the burn rates being reported ($6.9 bn for GM, $7.7 bn for Ford and $3 bn for Chrysler) by these three companies over the last few quarters, I wonder what sort of a qualitative difference is this emergency aid going to make for them.
  • Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis: cholera infection
    • About 560 lives have been lost so far for cholera infection in this country.
    • International aid agencies are reporting that 3 lakh people, who are already weakened by lack of food, are in grave danger of being infected. They further report that about 5 mn people will be in need of food aid by January.
    • There is a total breakdown of the health system in the country and it is appealing for international help to get over the crisis.
    • Look at why systems are important; you don't need terrorists to kill people. Human negligence is enough to kill far larger numbers. Why invent bombs or train terrorists to undertake destruction? Train humans to be negligent; that's enough to kill far larger numbers.
    • So, the point is this: if terrorists need to be hanged, then what should be done to those who have been negligent or encouraged negligence?
  • Deigo Maradona
    • This controversial footballer deserves a place in our heart; in spite of his failings. Though at times I feel sad looking at his life, I sure respect him for his past records. Hope he improves on his conduct and stands truly as an icon for his next generations. He is on a visit to India. A toast to him.
Peering into the lives of others -- especially the cinema actors and actresses -- well, is a pastime we all indulge in at one time or the other. More so when they happen to be beautiful people with a matching brain on their shoulders. Take a look at this gossip on the earnings of some top Hollywood names like Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt & Johny Depp etc. A good pastime.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...


I am a silent follower of this blog. After the recent change, I see the shout box and friends list in the left side column, to be overlapping the article content in the blog. As a result, I am not able to read the first few letters in each line for the first half of the page.

Can you please check this? or go back to the old format? Thank you.