Politics & the Nation
  • Operation fib by LeT
    • In an attempt to deflect international attention from its heinous crimes and picking up the helping hand given by David Miliband (the UK's Foreign Secretary of the root cause theory fame), LeT said that if Kashmir issue is resolved, it will have no reason for indulging in terrorism.
    • Who are they trying to fool?  It's widely known that LeT’s professed ideology goes beyond merely challenging India’s sovereignty over the state of Jammu and Kashmir. LeT’s agenda, as outlined in a pamphlet titled “Why are we waging jihad,” includes the restoration of Islamic rule over all parts of India. The pamphlet also declares the US, Israel, and India as existential enemies of Islam, according to Husain Haqqani, currently ambassador of Pakistan to the US.
Finance & Economics
  • On fertilizer subsidy regime (Excerpts from a debate)
    • Fertiliser consumption has grown sharply from 0.07 million tonne (mt) in 1951-52 to an estimated 25.3 mt in the current year. India today is the second largest fertiliser consumer in the world. 
    • The government of India (GoI) reimburses the manufacturers of fertilisers the difference between the MRP and the cost of manufacturing as recognised by it.  This is what entails the government keeping more than a tab on the manufacturing costs; instead it becomes imperative for it to keep meddling with the manufacturing costs and the attendant problems. As for example the vagaries of international prices of feed and feedstock.  
    • Now that the international prices of feed and feedstock have nosedived, this is the perfect time for the government to visit the rationality of MRP in the fertiliser sector, which has not been revised for almost a decade. What is needed is a policy wherein a part of the input prices or increase of input prices beyond a certain benchmark is realised either wholly or partly from the consumers. 
    • Also, the availability of subsidised fertiliser should be restricted to farmers who grow staple food and cereals. Those farmers who produce cash crops, do extensive horticulture or produce farm goods for direct exports should be kept outside the purview of subsidy regime. 
  • Bankers now indulge in oil speculation
    • Look at this report which says that Morgan Stanley is storing crude at sea!
    • Is it a sign of desperation?  Or is it plain and simple opportunism?  Neither.  It just confirms what has been suspected all along.  That bankers indulge in speculation of commodities.
    • It has hired a super tanker capable of storing 2 mn barrels of oil, filled it with oil and kept it at sea.  Hoping to make profit when oil prices start moving up.
  • Various types of crude oil that are currently being traded
    • West Texas Intermediate, the North Sea grades Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk
  • John Key
    • He is the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
    • What is remarkable about him is that during the day he broke his arm at two places when he fell down on to the floor.  But somehow didn't quite feel that there were any fractures.  And he went on to shake hands with not one or two, but 120 rugby players later in the day.  Last reported, his arm was cast in plaster from armpit to the wrist.
    • He was elected New Zealand's PM in November 2008.  
  • What was the first civilization to have used chemical weapons?
    • Research suggests that it is the Persian empire.
    • A UK researcher said he found evidence that the Persian Empire used poisonous gases on the Roman city of Dura, Eastern Syria, in the 3rd Century AD.
    • The theory is based on the discovery of remains of about 20 Roman soldiers found at the base of the city wall.
Language lessons
  • fib: Noun. A trivial lie
  • pip-squeak: Noun. Someone who is small and insignificant
  • perfidious: Adjective. Tending to betray; especially having a treacherous character as attributed to the Carthaginians by the Romans.