Politics & the Nation
  • Right to education gets Parliament's stamp of approval
    • Parliament on Tuesday gave its stamp of approval to a historic legislation providing for free and compulsory education for all children between six and 14. The bill will become law as soon as President Pratibha Patil gives her assent.
    • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2009, cleared by the Rajya Sabha on July 20, was passed by the Lok Sabha by a voice vote on Tuesday.
    • Some salient features: free education, compulsory education, insistence on having a national curriculum and quality education that gives three years’ time to schools to set up physical infrastructure or face de-recognition.
    • The legislation calls for 25% reservation in private schools for disadvantaged children from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and socially and educationally backward sections.
Finance & Economy
  • Music industry tries to innovate
    • Top recording companies TSeries, Saregama and Times Music will soon be selling music on memory cards and pen drives used in mobile handsets and computers, with the hope that at least a part of this young brigade glued to iPods and smart phones embrace legal music.
    • THE music industry is desperately looking to revive its fortunes after seeing its earnings from sale of compact discs and cassettes slip 14% to an estimated Rs 630 crore in 2008, mostly due to the lack of effective anti-piracy laws and poor enforcement of existing ones.
  • Why are foreign MNC pharma majors looking at acquiring Indian pharma companies?
    • Weren't we fed on opinions that the days of Indian pharma companies are numbered and that they would have to ultimately cave in before the foreign pharma majors? Why is that suddenly the India pharma business model finding takers? How is that perceptions have suddenly changed? Or is it a case of our not noticing the perceptions themselves correctly?
    • Take a look at this ET editorial. Worth a read.
    • Foreign MNCs appear to be realizing the strengths of the Indian pharma industry: low-cost manufacturing, large domestic market and quality personnel. A successful big Indian acquisition would allow MNCs to focus on drug discovery and marketing, leaving the acquired company to do the production.
    • The availability of skilled professionals allows research in India at a fraction of the cost in developed countries. Some of these research firms will themselves sell out to MNCs but some would find backers among Indian corporates and eventually become big on the global stage.
  • Financial crisis? No, capitalism as usual
    • This is the heading of today's ET op-ed piece that we felt is a compelling read. Original thinking at its best as usual from who else? But SSA Aiyar.
    • Consider a statement like this: "Recessions are but a part of the creative destruction that goes on in the name of capitalism. Explain." If you are asked such a question, the pointed out essay from Aiyar will form the best answer for it.
Language lessons
  • scamp:
    • Noun: One who is playfully mischievous
    • Verb: Perform hastily and carelessly
  • dementia: Noun
    • Mental deterioration of organic or functional origin
  • Alzheimers: Noun
    • A progressive form of presenile dementia that is similar to senile dementia except that it usually starts in the 40s or 50s; first symptoms are impaired memory which is followed by impaired thought and speech and finally complete helplessness
  • throes: Noun
    • Violent pangs of suffering
  • dirge: Noun
    • A song or hymn of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person