Politics & the Nation
  • CBI takes Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrocchi off the wanted list
    • In the light of the above development, it's time we take a look at the timeline of the Bofors investigation since 2004.  Look at this graphic.
    • The other cases where CBI's image took a beating as an independent investigating agency:
      • The decision to withhold sanction to prosecute former Union minister Satish Sharma. 
      • The non-filing of an appeal in the DA case pending against former Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren, who’s key ally of Congress. 
      • The decision to change the public prosecutor in the corruption case pending against railway minister Lalu Prasad, establishment of special bench of the ITAT, refusal to file an appeal and putting roadblocks in the Bihar government’s attempts to file the appeal in the DA case. 
      • The flip-flop on cases relating to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati. The CBI first tried get her off the hook in the Taj Corridor case, but later activated the DA case when she withdrew her party’s support to the UPA. 
      • A similar change in its attitude was visible in the DA case pending against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family members. It took a hostile stance when the SP-Congress relations were bitter, but changed tack after Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav started backing the Manmohan Singh government. 
      • The closure report filed in the case relating to former Union minister Jagdish Tytler’s alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. 
Finance & Economy
  • Good news on economy front
    • Look at the opening sentences of today's lead story:
    • GROWTH ahoy! A raft of lead indicators, investments that refuse to flag, rejuvenated hiring, sprightly freight movement at major ports and robust data from key manufacturing segments indicate that the downturn has bottomed out and that the economy is poised to regain its vigour. 
    • Nomura’s Composite Leading Index (CLI), UBS’ Lead Economic Indicator (LEI) and ABN Amro’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) all point to a pick-up in growth soon. And CMIE’s capex database, which tracks investments by companies, shows no big slowdown in this space. 
    • A lead indicator is a composite of a variety of indices that track activity in vital economic sectors. 
    • The LEI is a composite indicator of variables like government bond yields, M1 money supply, currency risk premium, foreign exchange reserves and stock market gains. 
    • Nomura’s composite leading index (CLI) is used to identify the turning points in the growth rate cycle.
    • ABN Amro’s PMI is an indicator of the country’s manufacturing scene based on a survey of 500 companies.
    • The number of cars sold in March at 1,66,837 was 45% higher than the 1,15,334 sold in December 2008. Two-wheeler sales climbed 42% from 4,61,302 in December, to 6,54,017 in March. The index of industrial production has inched its way to positive territory, even as capital goods production registered a growth of 10% in February. 
    • Over 1,000 projects involving total investments of Rs 4,90,000 crore are on schedule and will be commissioned in 2009-10. Projects worth a record Rs 7,90,000 have been announced in the quarter ended March 2009 itself, suggesting that corporates have not pared investments to the extent expected. 
    • Isn't the picture getting brighter?
  • India's steel consumption trends point to economic recovery
    • CHANCES of the Indian economy recovering faster than its global peers from the current slowdown looked brighter with the World Steel Association (worldsteel) forecasting a 2% growth in the country’s steel consumption in 2009, making it the only major economy to post an increase in a year that will see global consumption of the metal fall by around 15%. 
    • India, which accounts for around 5% of the global steel consumption, will use 53.5 million tonnes of the metal in 2009. The global consumption of steel this year is expected to be around 1,019 million tonnes. 
    • The country’s per capital steel consumption is about 45 kg, compared with the global average of 200 kg. 
  • What is meant by the non-recourse nature of housing mortgage finance?
    • It means that if the borrower returns the house keys to the financier, that act is enough to discharge his liability of the loan taken for purchasing the mortgaged house.
  • Some basics about the concept of value-averaging in investments
    • In value averaging the investor is expected to adjust the amount to be invested in tandem with the direction of the market — up or down — to achieve a prescribed value of the fund. 
    • This can be illustrated with an example. First decide how much value should your mutual fund units be worth at the end of each month. If, for instance, you decide that you want Rs 1,000 added to your equity mutual fund each month, you will start with Rs 1,000. 
    • Let us assume that at the end of the first month you find that the value of this investment has fallen to Rs 900 due to a correction in the markets. 
    • In that case, in the next month you will invest Rs 1,100 to ensure that you have Rs 2,000 in your fund. By the end of the second month, say, you find that the value of these units have gone up to Rs 2,100, then in the third month you will invest Rs 900, taking the value of the units to Rs 3,000. 
  • Titbits about stress tests for banks
    • "Stress tests say Citi, BoA may need capital" reads one headline.  The same story provides answers to some interesting questions.  An excerpt:
    • What are stress tests? 
      • Tests by the Fed and Treasury to find if 19 top banks have enough capital cushion to survive a deterioration in the economy 
      • The tests are not a study of the solvency of banks; they find out which banks will not have capital to survive another storm. The results will be released on May 4 
    • What is rationale for the tests? 
      • Concerns over the strength of banks have been a roadblock to recovery. Stress tests are expected to clear the air 
    • What happens to banks which fail? 
      • They get six months to raise capital from private investors or by selling assets 
      • US has said it will not let any of these banks fail; if one of them fails to raise capital, the government will provide it
  • India to host a majority of the World Cup matches
    • India has managed to get the lion's share of 2011 world cup matches with 29 games coming their way and will host one semi-final and final while Mumbai gets relocated as the Central Secretariat of the ICC World Cup 2011.  The secretariat was earlier based in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
    • After the ICC ruled out Pakistan as a co-host, the schedule had to be re-drawn. 
    • Sri Lanka will host 12 matches in three venues, including a semifinal, while eight matches, and the opening ceremony, would take place in Bangladesh.
    • ICC CEO: Haroon Lorgat
    • Managing Director of the 2011 World Cup: Ratnakar Shetty, the Chief Administrative Officer of BCCI.
Language lessons
  • compunction: Noun
    • A feeling of deep regret (usually for some misdeed)
  • phalanx: Noun
    • Any closely ranked crowd of people; A body of troops in close array; Any of the bones of the fingers or toes
  • slithery: Adjective
    • Having a slippery surface or quality
    • eg: "slithery mud"; "slithery eels"
  • preposterous: Adjective
    • Incongruous; inviting ridicule
Obituary: Feroz Khan
  • Bollywood actor Feroz Khan is no more.  This obituary recounts his career well.

1 Comment:

BK Chowla said...

Is it not true that we all,generally,know how independent is CBI?Have we not decided to remain silent spectators?This is exactly what we deserve and is what we got.