Politics & the Nation
  • Political stand-off on women's reservation in legislatures
    • While the Congress led UPA is in favour of moving the women's quota bill forward, with 33% seats in legislatures at the Centre and States reserved for women, the stand of some of the other parties strongly opposed to the bill in its present form is as follows:
    • Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulyam Singh Yadav and Kalyan Sing want a quota within quota. That is they want reservations for backward classes -- the SCs, the STs and the OBCs within the 33% to be reserved for women.
    • The BJP is opposed to the quota within quota system. But said it will remain uncompromising on the 33% quota for women. It left it to the government to work out a solution that satisfies all the political parties in this regard.
Finance & Economy
  • The case for STT
    • It was only yesterday that we noted the case against STT. Let's now take a look at why it was introduced in the first place and whether the reasons that were cited at the time of introduction still hold good. The jury is that it does.
    • Read this ET editorial.
  • Airbus looks at India for investment
    • Airbus, the world’s biggest commercial aircraft maker is evaluating an Indian aircraft assembly line, its second such unit outside Europe after China, as the company seeks to reduce its production costs by at least 20-30% and serve the Indian market better.
    • Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are two states being considered by Airbus for the Final Assembly Line (FAL), which will include around 2,600 metre long runway and facilities for painting, tests and final delivery of the plane. Depending on specific requirements and other costs, Airbus may have to invest around $600 million in establishing the facility in India and employ anywhere between 600 and 1,000 people across various processes.
    • When the FAL is established by Airbus in India, it will have a capacity of ‘Rate 4’, which is a production capacity of four planes in a month.
  • Scientists discover new element.
    • Scientists announced the discovery of a new element that is 277 times heavier than hydrogen, making it the heaviest and the latest in the periodic table. Element 112, discovered at the GSI Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany, has been recognised as a new element by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
    • IUPAC, an international non-governmental body responsible for standard chemical nomenclature, has asked the scientists to propose a name for the element, provisionally named as Element 112. Scientists will submit the new name soon while the approval by IUPAC will take six months.
  • Padmasinh Patil
    • He is the NCP MP from Maharashtra. He was arrested on charges of ordering the murder of Pawanraje Nimbalakar who was shot dead in Navi Mumbai in 2006. It was reportedly due to business rivalry.
    • Mr. Patil is a close confidant and relative of Mr. Sharda Paval, the NCP chief.
    • A seven-term MLA from Osmanabad, he was hand-picked by Mr Pawar for plum ministries serving as a cabinet minister for home, irrigation and energy. He suffered his first setback when anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare exposed his role in a major scam in 2005. The state government was compelled to appoint a committee that was headed by former Supreme Court justice PB Sawant. He was also found involved in swindling money meant for victims of Kargil and the Gujarat earthquake.
  • Swap debt with equity. To revive banks.
    • The one thing that we have been seized of late is the question -- Are the restructuring efforts of the big banks going to work? Coupled with some positive developments like signs of recovery, the oil price hardening etc., many of us are left more confused than they were about whether or not the stimulus packages announced are working and whether or not the restructuring efforts have had a positive impact on the financial health -- globally.
    • Take a look at this piece by Joseph Stiglitz. He suggests a swap of debt with equity to set things right. A recommended read.
Language lessons
  • rancor: Noun
    • A feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
  • hullabaloo: Noun
    • Disturbance usually in protest
    • eg: It is curious, though in a shabby sort of way, to observe how various people are reacting to the hullabaloo over racist attacks on Indians in Australia.
  • xenophobia: Noun
    • A fear of foreigners or strangers
  • patois: Noun
    • A characteristic language of a particular group
    • A regional dialect of a language (especially French); usually considered substandard
  • legerdemain: Noun
    • An illusory feat; considered magical by naive observers
    • eg: Some of the banks did report earnings in the first quarter of this year, mostly based on accounting legerdemain and trading profits (read: speculation).