21.08.2009

Politics & the Nation
  • How can you tackle the huge pendency of cases before our judiciary?
    • In a well meaning editorial today's ET comes up with some sane counsel to both the government and judiciary on the issue. Take a look. Don't we have a lesson or two from history which can throw some light on how justice was dispensed quickly in the good olden days?
    • BTW do you know that we have a whopping 31.19 mn cases pending before our judiciary?
Environment
  • Ever heard of concepts called "solar radiation management" and "marine cloud whitening"? These are part of a science that all of us now have perhaps to remember: climate engineering. Bjorn Lomborg, Director of Cophenhagen Consensus Center is a prominent writer on climate change issues. Those of you with geography and science backgrounds can perhaps be benefited by his excellent writings available on Project Syndicate. Let's look at 'solar radiation management' and 'marine cloud whitening' now: (excerpted from his today's op-ed article in ET.
  • Solar radiation management
    • Solar radiation management would bounce a little sunlight back into space. Reflecting just 1-2% of the total sunlight that strikes the earth could offset as much warming as that caused by doubling preindustrial levels of greenhouse gases.
    • When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, about a million tonnes of sulphur dioxide was pumped into the stratosphere, reacting with water to form a hazy layer that spread around the globe, and — by scattering and absorbing incoming sunlight — cooled the earth’s surface for almost two years. We could mimic this effect through stratospheric aerosol insertion — essentially launching material like sulphur dioxide or soot into the stratosphere.
  • Marine cloud whitening
    • It refers to spraying seawater droplets into marine clouds to make them reflect more sunlight. This augments the natural process, where sea salt from the oceans provides water vapour with the cloud condensation nuclei. It is remarkable to consider that we could cancel out this century’s global warming with 1,900 unmanned ships spraying seawater mist into the air to thicken clouds. The total cost would be about $9 billion, and the benefits of preventing the temperature increase would add up to about $20 trillion. That is the equivalent of doing about $2,000 worth of good with every dollar spent.
Finance & Economy
  • Drug makers face penalty for overcharging
    • Drug manufacturing companies such as Cipla, Ranbaxy, Johnson & Johnson and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) may have to pay over Rs 2,038 crore to the government for overcharging consumers on price-controlled medicines.
    • The NPPA controls prices of 74 bulk drugs used as raw material to make medicines. Prices of all medicines containing one or more of these bulk drugs are also directly controlled by the pricing authority. Unlike decontrolled drugs, the prices for which can be hiked by up to 10% annually, manufacturers do not have the liberty to increase prices of drugs under price control on their own. Several essential medicines such as antibiotics, pain-killers and ones for treating ailments such as cancer and asthma are part of the list of medicines where the pricing authority believes manufacturers have indulged in over-charging.
  • Ever wondered how much does your insurance broker get as commission from the policies that he is selling you?
  • Here is a good piece on hunger and child mortality in India
    • You need to read such articles to stay tuned to the facts and figures relating to poverty in India. Tremendous growths in corporate profits, GDP, advances in science and technology make little sense or give less comfort when a large portion of the population is suffering from hunger and malnutrition. This may be a trite observation. But do take a look at the article. It is an eye opener for many of us. Some excerpts:
    • More than three quarters of the population live in households whose per capita calorie intake is less than 2,100 in urban areas and 2,400 in rural areas — calorie intakes regarded as ‘minimum requirements’ in India.
International
  • Swiss government makes a killing on UBS stake sale
    • You might remember that UBS, one of the largest banks globally, which was in the news for negative reasons of late, has brought good profits for its government. At the height of global financial crisis last year, the Swiss government acquired about 9% in this bank by infusing money into it. Now the Swiss government has reportedly exited the bank by selling its stake for a cool 16.5 francs per share; making in the process a solid profit of about 6 bn francs.
    • You might also have noticed press reports about this bank being hauled by the US government and charged it with helping its citizens evade taxes. The US government and the bank have reached an amicable settlement of the issue with the bank agreeing to reveal the names of the account holders that the US wants.
Language lessons
  • conundrum: Noun
    • A difficult problem
  • fracas: Noun
    • Noisy quarrel

1 Comment:

naga said...

Can anybody help ...?
Can u send me one model paper of APPSC group-2 examination and what is the preparation procedure Plssss...
Pls send to my mail id my Mail id is uddanti.nagamani@yahoo.com