Politics & the Nation
  • Pakistan to allow the terrorists to be grilled by India?
    • Reports say that Islamabad will not hand over the suspects to India, but could allow it to “grill” the people in custody on Pakistani soil after getting “sufficient evidence”. 
    • I think this is as far as it can go.  But the moot point is what purpose will it serve?  Is allowing them to be questioned, the same as bringing them to justice for the crimes they have perpetrated?
    • It's for the International commmunity to see through the game as much as it is for India to keep up the pressure on International community.
Finance & Economics
  • It is images like these that are very important for our understanding of some developments happening on the finance and economic scene.
    • Look at this graphic which gives us details of the top 10 mergers and acquisitions by India Inc that were the toast of 2008.
  • Many of you would have heard of, if not worked with PwC -- PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest auditing and consulting firms in the world.
    • Reports are doing rounds that it may be reconsidering its auditing work with Satyam, in view of the latter's fallen image.  Do you know how large is PwC?  Read this...
      • Consulting firm PwC provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services. It employs over 155,000 people in 153 countries and has 8,603 partners world-over. In FY 08 (ending June 30), the gross revenues of PwC’s network of firms stood at $28.2 billion. 
      • Quite a size, eh?
Science & Technology
  • An excellent graphic that explains all about WiMAX.
  • Did meteoric impacts kill early civilizations?
    • Scientists feel they have solid evidence to believe so.
    • Nano-diamonds and other exotic impact materials that have been unearthed in thin sediments, whose age coincides with the start of a millennium-long climate cooling event known as the Younger Dryas - some 13,000 years ago, supports the view that space impacts have wiped out woolly mammoths and early human settlers in North America.
    • Many large animals vanish from the archaeological record at this time.
    • It is also the period in Earth history that sees the demise of Clovis culture - the prehistoric civilisation that many regard as the first human occupation of North America.
    • Those of you with an eye for detail on the subject will love this BBC report.  
  • Mars rovers doing extremely well -- longevity wise
    • Spirit and Opportunity, the two land rovers that were sent to Mars and landed there in January, 2004 are surprising many by their longevity.  Spirit, landed on 3 January, 2004, followed by its twin, Opportunity, 21 days later. 
    • The rovers' data has revealed much about the history of water at Mars' equator billions of years ago.  Together, the rovers have driven more than 20km, and returned more than 36 gigabytes of data. This has included a quarter of a million images. 
    • Spirit is exploring a 150km-wide bowl-shaped depression known as Gusev Crater. It has found an abundance of rocks and soils bearing evidence of extensive exposure to water.
    • Opportunity is on the other side of the planet, in a flat region known as Meridiani Planum. Its data has shown conclusively that Mars sustained liquid water on its surface. The sedimentary rocks at its study location were laid down under gently flowing surface water. 
    • This graphic gives you a picture of all the Mars landers.  Worth studying. 
  • We have all been reading about the Euro completing 10 years.  Many are celebrating the survival of the currency, which some people -- as great as even Milton Friedman -- have written off as a disaster waiting to happen.  In this background, it will be worth noting about the advantages brought in by the Euro for the European countries.  As written by Joaquin Almunia, the EU's commissioner for economic and monetary affairs:
    • First, the euro has eliminated the possibility of exchange-rate turbulence and speculative currency attacks that more vulnerable economies could have expected in the current turmoil. As a stable and strong world currency, the euro is also limiting exchange-rate instability globally.
    • Second, the euro area benefits from an independent European Central Bank whose swift actions to ease liquidity constraints and coordinate monetary policy have recently helped to avert a financial meltdown. Such rapid, coordinated steps by 16 national central banks would have been unthinkable. 
    • Third, the EMU’s stability-oriented macroeconomic framework has better prepared euro-area countries for economic storms. Thanks to the fiscal rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, the euro area achieved its soundest budgetary position in 2007, bringing deficits to their lowest levels in 25 years. This allowed many European Union countries to approach the crisis with room for manoeuvre. 
  • It was just a couple of days ago that we noted about LTTE's losing of Kilinochchi to the Sri Lankan army.
    • In this context, it is also very educative to take a look at what is wrong with the Sinhala psyche.  Take a look at this excerpt from today's ET editorial which gives a perfect assessment:
    • It is nobody’s case that the LTTE is not a murderous organisation, fascistic not just in its structure but in that it has systematically and ruthlessly eliminated all possible rival Tamil leadership. Yet, it is also undeniable that Sri Lanka has been a communal majoritarian state, and a chauvinistic notion of the island as a ‘Sinhala nation’ has been sought to be imposed on the minorities. The state has consistently failed to recognise and accommodate the multi-ethnic nature of its polity. The disempowerment of the minorities, including Tamils, is stark. Colombo has always been unable to accept minority demands for sharing state power. And under Rajapaksa, Sinhala majoritarianism has further been enshrined, with the army fighting as a Sinhala force. Indeed, there has been a total unwillingness to seek a political solution.