18.02.2009

Politics & the Nation
  • Pakistan signs an agreement with Taliban
    • Pakistan is reported to have signed an agreement with Taliban (Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan - TTP), whereby sharia law will be established in the Malakand division (consisting of seven districts, including Swat Valley.)  This move will only embolden Taliban to expand its sphere of influence. 
    • The Pakistani establishment’s agreement with the Taliban is the third such pact signed by Pakistani authorities with Maulana Sufi Mohammad, a radical cleric who began a violent campaign for the enforcement of Sharia in the region in the 1990s. The first agreement provided for the appointment of a Qazi, or an Islamic jurist, to assist a judge in deciding disputes in line with Islamic injunctions, though the jurist’s advice was non-binding. In the second pact signed in 1999, the advice of the jurist was made binding. 
  • How should the Satyam scam be investigated?
    • Today's ET editorial puts out a highly sensible proposal in this regard.  It is that the CBI, which is entrusted with the investigation of the case, should take inputs from SFIO and the SEBI in filing a comprehensive charge-sheet in the case.  Look at this excerpt for the reasoning offered:
      • Investigations by Sebi and SFIO are to continue even as the CBI begins its own inquiry into the case. The CBI will presumably file the main chargesheet in the case relating to criminal conspiracy to defraud. The markets regulator Sebi must now actively assist the CBI in constructing a comprehensive chargesheet. This is essential as Sebi is also collecting evidence relating to insider trading, which is a criminal offence. The investigation of a criminal conspiracy to defraud clearly extends to Sebi’s domain too. Likewise, SFIO which is carrying out the investigation under Companies Act, 1956, should actively cooperate with the CBI. It would, therefore, make eminent sense if a comprehensive chargesheet is filed by CBI taking inputs from Sebi and other agencies looking at the criminal conspiracy. That alone can ensure the guilty are properly punished for their crimes.
Finance & Economics
  • How does NPS operate?
    • I am sure many of you know that New Pension Scheme (NPS) is applicable to all those who join the government service on or after January 1, 2004.  How is the corpus operated?
    • This news report gives a clear picture.  
  • Wheat production estimates
    • The country’s wheat production in 2008-09 may cross last year’s record of 78.4 million tonnes if low temperature persists and there are brief spells of rains in the northern region during February-end. The amount of rainfall in February will be critical for the outcome of the season.
  • Online, credit card frauds cost banks Rs. 42 crore
    • Banks across the country reported a loss of over Rs 42 crore to internet/online banking and credit cards frauds during April-December last year with the maximum amount being fraudulently withdrawn using credit cards.
Medicine
  • FMP - Forensic molecular photofitting
    • Using a DNA sample to build up an identi-kit picture of a person's face by mapping genes that are linked to skin pigmentation and to groups of genes that control facial structure, is known as FMP.
    • This is how the smallest amount of DNA found at the crime scene is going to reveal the face of the criminal. This goes far beyond doing an identity-proving genetic fingerprint, it means the person’s actual face will emerge after analysing a collection of genes.  
    • Mark Shriver, a scientist from Pennsylvania State University claims that there is enough information in a DNA sample to build up an identi-kit picture of a person’s face. 
    • The approach has already been used to help identify and convict a serial killer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • Is stem cell therapy safe?
    • The fad of storing one's foetal stem cells is on a rise in India recently.  But is stem cell therapy safe?  
    • If you read this BBC report you would be in doubt.
International
  • Japan's Finance Minister loses job over drunken appearance
    • Japan's finance minister Shoichi Nakagawa was forced to resign after a row over his appearing at a G7 finance ministers’ press conference in Rome, apparently drunk. He has denied that he was drunk. 
  • Sudan signs peace accord with Darfur rebels
    • Sudan and Darfur's most active rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement have agreed to sign a declaration of good intentions.
    • The deal is brokered by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani.
    • You might be aware that Darfur is a Western region in Sudan.  Inhabited mostly by African natives, rebel groups from the region have been waging a war with the Sudanese government.  The government is run by Arabs.
    • Since 2003 there has been an ongoing war in the country.  The Sudanese President is facing charges of genocide before the ICC.
Language lessons
  • groggy: Adjective
    • Stunned or confused and slow to react (as from blows or drunkenness or exhaustion)
    • eg: groggy appearance or groggy performance

1 Comment:

Divine Interception said...

Truly correct in the sense that Taliban has now increased its hold on Off shores of Pakistan and sitings of them being intruding in Kashmir have often been on-air.

Sir I would like to know some more statistical terms relating to Satyam Scam.

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