Politics & the Nation
  • IPL v2 is on...
    • After a few days of suspense, the Home Minister announced that the Home Ministry will ensure that adequate security forces are provided for the IPL matches.
    • Earlier the states were reluctant to spare their forces and were looking at the Centre in view of the clash with the general elections.
    • Cricket and politics (elections) can be a heady combination; the like of which many of us have perhaps not seen so far. Enjoy the coming weeks/months.
  • Vijay Mallya does the country proud
    • He made a bold $1.8 mn winning bid to acquire Mahatma Gandhi’s spectacles, sandals, a pocket watch, a plate and a bowl at an auction by New York’s Antiquorum Auctioneers on Friday. 
    • Though there were some unsuccessful attempts by the Government to claim that the bid was done at its behest, Mr. Mallya contradicted it by saying that the decision to acquire Mahatma's belongings was his personal decision.
    • I am not appreciative of the language used by the press report in reporting that he 'ponied up' cash for the bid.
    • This is not the first time that Mr. Mallya has spent money for securing icons of the country's cultural heritage.  He spent about Rs. 4 crore to buy back Tipu Sultan's sword in an auction a few years ago.
    • Mr. Mallya richly deserves our accolades.  BTW don't ask me who is this Vijay Mallya; will you?  He is the Chairman of the UB Group, the Kingfisher Airlines etcetera etcetera... (Remember Yule Brynner's dialogue in "King and I"?)
  • A very good piece on fighting terrorism
    • Today's op-ed piece on this subject is really good.  Deserves a read at least once.
    • Too difficult to make any concise note; but some excerpts are worth watching:
    • War against terrorism should not be misunderstood to be a war against any country, or any section of society. It should rather begin as a war against our own legacy of anomalous foreign policies and perverted intelligence strategies. 
    • Global terrorism is now a global threat and no country can fight it in isolation. 
    • Overhauling the intelligence philosophy and strategies thus form the most critical component of this war against global terrorism. It involves not just in coming together and giving a better fight. More importantly it involves redefining the very concept of this war.
Finance & Economics
  • Will the stimulus packages work?
    • This is a very good piece that comes out in defense of the stimulus packages announced by Obama.  The arguments hold out more or less in our country's case too.
    • Coming as it does from an economist of repute, there are some valid points being made there.  Worth a read
  • What is this business of 'assymetric regime' in telecom that is getting TRAI's favourable attention?
    • This is a regime where telcos pay different amounts to each other for carrying and terminating mobile calls. The logic behind such a model is based on the fact that existing telcos started their operations at different times, are at different stages of setting up their networks and, therefore, the cost of providing interconnection services vary considerably between operators. 
    • Currently, all these charges have been fixed by the regulator and are uniform across all telcos. But telcos can enter into mutual agreements where they offer lower rates to each other. 
  • How can new drugs be made easily accessible to our population?
    • If you are into drug administration, you will be grappling with this question.  Read this report and you will get a fair idea.
    • The government is going to encourage new drug discovery and give a thrust to R&D spending.  Look at the specific measures that it is contemplating.  Interesting.
    • Only 35% of the population has access to healthcare, mostly from private doctors and hospitals. About 80% of their total health spending is on medicines.
  • Ever wanted to know what exactly constitutes e-waste?  This excerpt from today's ET gives you a good inventory:
    • Consumers must understand that all e-waste contains a cocktail of toxic substances such as lead and cadmium in circuit boards; lead oxide and cadmium in computer batteries; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in capacitors and transformers; and halogenated chlorides and bromides as flame retardant on printed circuit boards, plastic casing, cable and polyvinyl chloride cable insulation, all of which pose health hazards not just for the people engaged in recycling them but also to the environment. Cathode ray tubes used in television sets have high content of carcinogens such as lead, barium, phosphor and other heavy metals. 
Language lessons
  • pony up: verb
    • Give reluctantly
    • eg: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya ponied up cash in an auction to buy up five personal belongings of the man who was a lifelong campaigner against alcohol consumption,...