Politics & the Nation
  • The concept of 'Command Responsibility'
    • In the post World-War I era, the principle of ‘Command Responsibility’ was evolved for imputation of responsibility and criminal liability to superior officers for the actions of their subordinates. This principle was most famously used to sentence to death General Yamashita of Japan for crimes committed against civilians in the Philippines, and has been included since in a number of international law instruments, including the rules for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 
    • 'Command Responsibility' here means the inaction on the part of the enabler, whose active complicity may be limited to uttering a few simple words of encouragement or omitting to stop the commission of a crime, when it is within his power to do so.  This can cover all spheres of life - be it military, civil authorities or politicians.
    • This concept is pertinent in the context of hate speeches being made by politicians.  Similarly, it could also be applied to contain corruption, communal riots and casteist violence.  The politicians and bureaucrats in power should better be forced to face suspensions, penalties, electoral disqualifications or even imprisonment for crimes that they ought to have stopped but did not.
    • Any takers?
Finance & Economy
  • Take a look at the hinterland's demand for IT products
    • India’s $8-billion domestic technology industry is witnessing downside in demand in metros even as the non-metro market is growing by over 15%.  The metros have actually seen a decline of 20% for IT products.
    • Hinterland India now accounts for over 60% of the domestic technology sales.
    • Technology spends for small non-metro firms typically range between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 12 lakh. For government departments, the budgets could be anywhere between Rs 2 crore and Rs 100 crore, industries in small towns between Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore and for educational sector around Rs 40-50 lakh. The initial investment is usually high, and then they spend around Rs 5-8 lakh every year to upgrade and support systems. 
  • What is MTHL?
    • It stands for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, that seeks to connect Mumbai with Navi Mumbai.  It is a Rs. 7,600 crore, 22 km long eight lane bridge across the Arabian sea.
    • It is in the news because the government is not able finalize the model -- BOT or cash contract --  in which the project is to be completed.
  • ONGC announces substantial accretion to its oil reserves
    • ONGC recently announced a record jump in its annual addition to domestic and overseas petroleum reserves for FY09. 
    • In FY09, reserves went up by 68.9 million tonne of oil equivalent (MTOE) from ONGC’s fields in India alone — an 18-year high — even as most companies globally are reporting a depletion of resources. 
    • ONGC’s ultimate reserves net of cumulative production stood at 1.12 billion tonne of oil equivalent in March 2008, which will now rise to 1.14 billion tonne.  Ultimate reserves refer to the volume of hydrocarbons the company expects to extract from its oilfields over their lifetime. 
    • This high figure of ultimate reserves means the company will be able to maintain its production level for nearly 23.8 years from its existing discoveries. 
    • ONGC has maintained an RRR above 1 for five consecutive years. Reserve replacement ratio (RRR) above 1 indicates the company’s production life is increasing with every passing year. As a result, the company, which had 21.8 years worth of reserves in FY05, now has 23.8 years of ultimate reserves with it. 
    • While the recent announcement means ONGC will be able to produce more from its existing oilfields, for FY09, the company reported production of 47.85 MTOE, a three-year low. 
  • US banks have time till November 9 to raise additional capital
    • US regulators told top banks on Thursday to raise $74.6 billion to build a capital cushion officials hope will restore faith in financial firms and set a course out of the deepest recession in decades. 
    • Within minutes of release of the bank “stress test” results, which showed smaller capital needs than once feared, several of the 10 firms needing capital immediately issued statements detailing how they planned to raise it. Banks have time till November 9 to bring new capital. Bank of America Inc, which accounted for almost half of the total capital shortfall with $33.9 billion to be raised, said it planned to sell assets, issue $17 billion in common stock, and take other steps to fill the hole. 
  • EU's complaint against Andhra Pradesh tax rates on liquor
    • THE European Union (EU) has lodged a fresh complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the ‘discriminatory’ taxes on imported liquor levied by some Indian states. It has alleged that domestic taxes and fees imposed on imported liquor by state governments are higher than those levied on local producers. 
    • EU alleged that the state levies an assessment fee, in the range of 15-100% for imported wines and 60-200% for imported spirits, violates WTO norms as it is not applied on domestic-made liquor. It has called for bilateral consultations with India on the issue. 
    • As per WTO norms, a country has to give national treatment (similar to the one for the local industry) to products of other member countries once they enter the domestic market. Hence, foreign liquor should be subjected to local taxes only if similar taxes are applied on local liquor. 
    • The EU had, earlier, complained against the local taxes imposed by Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra which were in excess of those applicable on local producers. 
  • Bharti Airtel inks 5 year content deal with ManU
    • You might remember the football foray announced by Airtel last year.  It was to build a Rs 100 crore world-class football academy. To be run under the aegis of All India Football Federation-Bharti Airtel, there, however, has not been much progress on the project since then. 
    • But Airtel now announced that it signed a multi-million dollar deal to provide football content over mobiles for its 94 mn subscribers across the country.
    • The deal has two parts, a fixed fee component to United and the variable revenue sharing with it on the business generated selling their content.
    • ManU reportedly has over 330 million fans worldwide, and around 12 million in India.
    • BTW do you know the nickname of Manchester United's team?  It is The Red Devils.
Language lessons
  • mothball: Verb
    • Put into long-term storage
    • eg: TATA-OWNED steel maker Corus announced on Friday that the company has started consultations that may force it to mothball its Teesside Cast Products plant in north-east England after a consortium of four international slab buyers suddenly cancelled a 10-year contract to buy almost 78% of Teesside’s output. 
    • Noun: A small sphere of camphor or naphthalene used to keep moths away from stored clothing
  • up hill and down dale (Idiom)
    • if you travel up hill and down dale, you travel all over an area 
    • eg: The man carried his basket of goods up hill and down dale.
  • hamstrung: verb
    • Make ineffective or powerless
    • eg: The teachers were hamstrung by the overly rigid schedules.
  • scrounge: verb
    • Collect or look around for (food); Obtain or seek to obtain by cadging or wheedling
    • cadging: Ask for and get free; be a parasite
    • wheedling: Influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering