Politics & the Nation
  • CIC sits in judgment over Supreme Court's interpretation
    • It is perhaps the first ever instance in India when an interpretation (ofcourse not strictly judicial; but administrative) given by the Supreme Court itself was under judicial scrutiny -- albeit in another forum, the Central Information Commission.
    • The CIC ruled that Supreme Court has to disclose whether or not judges have been filing their declaration of assets and liabilities.
    • Read this interesting report.
Finance & Economics
  • Do you have any idea about the number of cell phone towers in the country?
    • Reportedly there are over 3 lakh of them.  
  • NRIs keep sending money by tons to India.
    • Look at this graphic which gives quarterly remittance details over the last couple of years.
  • Global Innovation Index
    • INDIA has slipped to the 41st position from 23rd last year in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2008-09, says a study by industry body CII and B-School INSEAD. The US has topped the rankings once again, followed by Germany, Sweden and the UK. Look at the other members in the top 10.  
  • Russia -Ukraine gas dispute leaves much of Western Europe cold
    • Russian energy giant Gazprom decided to cut exports through Ukrainian pipelines by a fifth in a row over unpaid bills. Russia stopped supplying gas to Ukraine last week.
    • The row between Russia and Ukraine has been simmering for weeks. Gazprom says Ukraine owes it money; Ukraine says it has paid its debt. The two sides have also failed to agree on the price Ukraine should pay for gas in 2009.
    • A similar row between Gazprom and Ukraine at the beginning of 2006 led to gas shortages in several EU countries. 
    • Had India been in the position that Russia is currently (look at this map to understand what I am saying: majority of Russia's gas exports happen through Ukraine), could we have acted the way Mr. Putin has acted?  Calls for lot of guts.  That's the way Mr. Putin is.  I really admire the guy.  Last heard, he has a lion or tiger cub for a pet and keeps himself very fit through regular exercising.  Hallmarks of a strong man; really.
    • This is an experiment that is well worth watching out for.  Its goal is carbon sequestration.  In the context of the world emitting about 7 Gt of carbon every year into the atmosphere, this experiment holds lot of promise and is being keenly watched.
    • Read the details of the experiment here.
  • US announces largest protected marine area
    • It has identified a huge area that totals to 500,000 sq km of sea and sea floor encompassing Marianas Trench, volcanic arc and northern coral reefs.
    • Commercial fishing and mining will be banned in this identified area.
    • BTW, do you remember anything about Marianas Trench?  It is the deepest area of ocean on the planet.
  • Entertaining ideas of a 'side kick' or 'stepney'?
    • I am referring to illicit relations or affairs out of marriage here.  
    • Be very careful.  I am sure you would be; if you see how far a woman can go to 'secure' you for herself.
    • Though this makes a very sad reading; more for its gruesomeness than for anything else, it's worth a read for its oddity.  Do so here.
Language lesson
  • I used the word 'stepney' in the above noting.
    • You will not usually find that word in most of the dictionaries.  Puritans will even frown at its usage.  It is used mostly colloquially as slang to refer to a woman with whom one has an illicit relationship.  Does it really exist?
    • A search led me to this article in The Hindu about it.  Very interesting.  Read on...
  • chaperone
    • Noun: One who accompanies and supervises a young woman or gatherings of young people
  • Adolf Merckle
    • GERMAN billionaire Adolf Merckle committed suicide by throwing himself under a train.  His holding company owes banks about € 5 billion ($6.7 billion), owned stakes in HeidelbergCement and drug wholesaler Phoenix Pharmahandel. 
    • His estimated $9.2-billion fortune put him 94th on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people.

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