Politics & the Nation
  • Satyam saga
    • With charges and denials flying high and thick, this saga is sure to satisfy the schadenfreude of many a competitor for Satyam.
    • Charges that Ramalinga Raju has systematically diverted money from the company through accounts opened in fictitious names of non-existent employees and that he fudged bank accounts and invoices have been aired by the prosecutors.  The defence has predictably denied the allegations.
  • Obama re-takes oath of office
    • It was reported that the Chief Justice of US John Roberts flubbed while administering the oath of office and that to avoid legal complications, Obama had taken oath of office again.
    • Instead of saying, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States”, Roberts changed it to “I do solemnly swear that I will execute the office of the President of the United States faithfully”. 
    • Obama became only the third US President to retake the oath, after Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur. Herbert Hoover escaped even though, while swearing him in, Chief Justice Taft changed the phrase “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” to “preserve, maintain...”. 
  • Obama's messages to the world
    • At least his first few policy stances are notable for their premises.  Take a look at these:
      • “We intend to win this fight, we are going to win it on our terms” on pursuing the campaign against global terrorism. 
      • The idea that the US would pursue the struggle against violence and terrorism vigilantly, effectively and “in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.”  “It is precisely our ideals, which give us the strength and moral high ground to deal with the unthinking violence that we see emanating from terrorism organisations around the world.”
      • His utterances that his administration would not “continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals”
  • M$ announces layoffs
    • Microsoft announced 5000 layoffs due to paltry growth in revenues, reported ChannelWeb.
    • The layoffs and other cost-cutting steps are expected to reduce the company's annual operating expenses by $1.5 billion and capital expenditures for fiscal 2009 by $700 million.
    • Microsoft said sales for the second quarter were $16.63 billion, up 2 percent from the same period one year ago. Net income was $4.17 billion, down 11 percent.
    • The numbers by themselves are not so startling; but the company that announced them surely makes us jittery.
  • Bjorn Lomborg is one whose writings I read with lot of interest and attention; for they bring with them a totally different viewpoint while seeking to reach the same conclusions as we all do.  Look at his take on tackling CO2 emissions:
    • Make no mistake: global warming is real, and it is caused by manmade CO2 emissions. The problem is that even global, draconian, and hugely costly CO2 reductions will have virtually no impact on the temperature by mid-century. Instead of ineffective and costly cuts, we should focus much more of our good climate intentions on dramatic increases in R&D for zero-carbon energy, which would fix the climate towards mid-century at low cost. But, more importantly for most of the planet’s citizens, global warming simply exacerbates existing problems. 
    • I suggest that all of you should read his piece that appeared in today's ET.
  • PepsiCo is reportedly preparing to launch a branded nimbupani offering.
    • This will perhaps be the first such attempt at offering something keeping the Indian consumer behaviour in mind.  If true, it will taste success surely.
    • A 'Thumbs Up' to Pepsi!!!  (Remember 'oxymoron' from our language lessons?  This is one such thing.)
Language lessons
  • flub
    • An embarrassing mistake.
  • schadenfreude 
    • Delight at other person's misfortune
  • AR Rahman receives three Oscar nominations for his contribution to Slumdog Millionaire:
    • Best Song(Jai Ho & O Saya) & Best Score
    • The film received nominations for Best Film and Best Director awards also.
    • The film received in all about 10 nominations.  They are: Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (2)