Politics & the Nation
  • Trade Unionism gone sour: Pricol VP gets murdered
    • Take a look at this disturbing news report. Pricol Vice President (HR) Roy George died following a brutal attack by a section of workers. The incident has sent shock waves among the employers and investors in the State of Tamilnadu.
  • Government plans to cut down litigation time to one year
    • IF law minister Veerappa Moily’s mission is fulfilled, there will be no more stories of anyone spending a lifetime in litigation. The government is trying to cut down the life of litigation from an average 15 years to just a year.
    • With 2.75 crore pending cases in the country, Mr Moily said the government aims to cut down the span of a litigation, first to three years and eventually bring it further down to a year over the next three years.
    • As part of the proposed judicial reforms, steps are being taken to set up 5,000 new courts to implement speedy justice in the next three-four years.
    • The Gram Nyayalayas will be put into operation from October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
  • Mobile Number Portability to kick in from December 31
    • Number portability is slated to kick in from December 31 across the metros and category A circles, such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
    • A user holding a mobile connection is eligible to make a porting request only after 3 months of the date of activation
    • The regulator has not yet decided on the charges for number portability
    • Two companies identified to carry out number portability -- Syniverse Technologies and MNP Interconnection Teleco Solutions.
Finance & Economy
  • Another stock market bubble?
    • This is an excellent analysis presented by C.P. Chandrasekhar. A must read for all of us. An excerpt for those of us who do not have the time/patience to read the entire article:
    • There are three conclusions that flow from this sequence of events that lead to the current boom:
    • The first is that using liquidity injection and credit expansion as the principal instrument to combat a downturn or recession amounts to creating a new bubble to replace the one that went bust.
    • The second is that so long as the rate of inflation in the prices of goods is in the comfort zone, central bankers stick to an easy money policy even if the evidence indicates that such policy is leading to unsustainable asset price inflation.
    • Third, that governments in emerging markets like India have not learnt the lesson that when a global expansion in liquidity leads to a capital inflow surge into the country it does more harm than good, warranting controls on the excessive inflow of such capital. Rather, goaded by financial interests and an interested media, the government treats the boom as a sign of economic good health rather than a sign of morbidity, and plans to liberalise capital controls even more.
  • Signals of economic recovery
    • More Indian companies and individuals are now borrowing from banks to build factories, buy cars and homes, taking advantage of low interest rates, a sign that economic growth may accelerate.
    • All the top notch IT companies have announced lifting of hiring and pay hike freezes.
    • India Inc mopped up a cool Rs. 3000 crore in a single day by selling treasury stock, normal stock and through IPOs.
    • All these certainly point to a broadbased recovery. Whether it is a real recovery or only a blip remains to be seen. The real test will be when the government starts to unwind the stimulus it has unveiled. The timing of the unwinding perhaps will reveal a lot about the character of these signals.
  • An excellent explanation about GDRs/ADRs
  • Is there an unfair advantage available to overseas investors when it comes to mergers and acquisitions in India?
    • Look at this ET editorial. It points out that there is in fact such an advantage and that SEBI’S decision to amend the Takeover Regulations in respect of depository receipts that enjoy voting rights will make the takeover regime consistent for local and overseas acquirers.
  • We may be covering the global financial crisis in our blog for the last two years. But it ain't as good as the exposition given by Arvind Panagariya in his ET op-ed piece today.
    • That's why Professors are well, Professors. It's very rare for us to reach that level of exposition. Take a look. We are not giving any excerpts; because we want you to read in full... word by word. It is a gem of a piece seen in a long time.
  • The agenda before the Pittsburg summit of the G20
    • The Pittsburgh summit is expected to focus on medium- and longterm issues such as a framework for sustainable and balanced growth, strengthening the international financial regulatory system, reforming the mandate, mission and governance of the IMF and development banks, strengthening support for the most vulnerable, an open global economy and energy and climate change.
Science & Technology
  • PSLV C14 successfully launched
    • Three days after it celebrated its 16th birthday, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle named PSLV-C14 roared its way to success from the spaceport at Sriharikota on Wednesday, putting in orbit India’s Oceansat-2 and six nano satellites from abroad. This was the 15th successful flight of the PSLV in a row. The first PSLV flight took place on September 20, 1993. It was a failure then. But since then every launch of the PSLV was a success. You can look at the chronology of PSLV launches here.
    • At the end of 18 minutes of flight, the PSLV’s fourth stage injected Oceansat-2 into orbit at a velocity of 25,000 km an hour at an altitude of about 728 km. Thereafter, spring-loaded action mechanisms catapulted four nano satellites called Cubesat 1, 2, 3 and 4 into orbit one after another. Two more nano satellites named Rubinsat 9.1 and 9.2 remained permanently attached to the PSLV’s fourth stage.
    • The 960-kg Oceansat-2, put in orbit by the PSLV-C14, had three important payloads. They were the ocean colour monitor, a scatterometer (both designed by the SAC) and Radio Occultation Sounder for Atmospheric Studies (ROSA) built by the Italian Space Agency. The ocean colour monitor would gather data about plant life in the oceans which would provide information on where schools of fish were located. The ROSA would study the temperature and humidity in the atmosphere.
    • The six nano satellites put in orbit by PSLV-C14 were educational satellites from abroad, meant to test new spacecraft technologies.
    • Some important personalities in space science in India
      • K. Radhakrishnan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
      • ISRO Chairman: Madhavan Nair
      • R.R. Navalgund, Director, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad
    • An important space establishment: Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.
    • The challenges before ISRO include launching a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3) with an indigenous cryogenic stage from Sriharikota in December 2009 and the PSLV-C15 ahead of December.
      • GSLV-D3 would put a communication satellite called GSAT-4 in orbit.
      • The PSLV-C15 would put Cartosat-2B in orbit.
    • ISRO had completed the preliminary design of Chandrayaan-2, which would boast of a lander-cum-rover. The rover would go about on the moon and pick up lunar samples, which would be analysed in situ. The launch of Chandrayaan-2 would take place in 2012-13.
Art & Culture
  • Bath used by temple pilgrims found in Jerusalem
    • Read this interesting news report.
    • What is interesting about this discovery is that baths of that type which were used almost 2 millennia ago are still used in Jerusalem.
  • Great Wall of China longer than originally believed
    • New ruins of Great Wall of China discovered by the archaeologists show that the wall is longer than expected and stretches eastward by 11 kilometres.
    • The newly discovered section, built during the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC to 220 AD) dynasties, was found in northeastern Jilin province.
    • It is generally believed that the Great Wall was built in different historic periods and adds up to about 50,000 km.
    • The government departments announced in December 2008 the exact length of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was 8,851.8 km.