Politics & the Nation
  • On migration
    • The UNDP estimates that one in seven persons is a migrant, meaning about one billion of the world’s estimated 6.7 billion people have migrated. Most of the movement happens within the borders of a country, only 214 million are international migrants.
    • Further, contrary to popular perception fewer than 70 million (just about 7% of all the migrants and 33% of the international migrants) move from developing to developed countries.
  • Smart phones not only keep you connected with business, they also disconnect you from life!
    • Smartphone related divorces are reportedly on the rise.
    • Research firm Ascendia estimates that the smartphone market in India stood at around 5 million units in 2008. Gartner expects such devices to have a 4-4.5% share in total mobile phone sales in India in 2009.
    • The total internet audience in the country in August 2009 was 35,432,000, up 17% on year-ago levels. Social networking audience in the same period grew 21% to 22,259,000. The number of Facebook users grew 220% to 81,54,000, while those for Orkut grew 34% to 152,76,000. Twitter users grew 2435% to 1,098,000.
Nobel Prizes
  • For Literature
    • Herta Mueller won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Romanian was hailed by the Swedish Academy as a person “who with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.”
    • The 56-year-old author, who emigrated to Germany from then-Communist Romania in 1987, made her debut in 1982 with a collection of short stories titled “Niederungen.” This was followed by "Oppressive Tango."
  • For Chemistry
    • Indian-American Venkataraman Ramakrishnan was among this year's Nobel laureates in Chemistry. He shares the prize with two others -- Thomas Steitz and Israeli Ada Yonath’s -- for their work on ribosomes which has been fundamental to the scientific understanding of life and has helped researchers develop antibiotics.
    • Dr. Ramakrishnan, 57, is the senior scientist and group leader at the Structural Studies Division of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.
    • Dr. Yonath, 70, is the fourth woman to win the Nobel Chemistry prize and the first since 1964, when Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin of Britain received the award.
    • You can read more about this story here.
Finance & Economy
  • Reliance announces 1:1 bonus
    • This is the fourth time since it went public in 1978 that it has announced a bonus issue. The earlier three times were in 1980, 1983 & 1997.
    • RIL reportedly controls 25% of the world’s refining capacity and it has reached a production of 40 mmscmd of natural gas from the famous KG D-6 fields on the east coast.
  • Credit growth shows upswing
    • BANKS have ended the second quarter with a total loan growth of Rs 1,08,885 crore, against a dip of over Rs 7,000 crore in the previous quarter, with almost half the growth coming in the last fortnight.
    • According to the latest figures released by the Reserve Bank of India, total loans, including food credit—loans to Food Corporation of India for foodgrain procurement—and non-food credit (all other loans) amounted to Rs 28,73,155 crore as on September 26. While food credit amounted to Rs 42,717 crore, nonfood credit amounted to Rs 28,30,737.34 crore. This represents net disbursements of Rs 1,08,855.34 crore during July-September’09, against a dip of Rs 7,456 crore in the previous quarter.
  • Three reasons why banking by telcos makes lot of sense in a country like India:
    • One, it is already taking deposits from people, storing the amount in a card and running it down over time for the depositor’s use and, besides, has the capacity to move these deposits around the country.
    • Two, a mobile phone operator has the technological capability and the commercial acumen needed to handle small ticket credits and debits by the million; and,
    • three, commercial banks lack precisely this ability badly needed to extend banking to the entire populace.
  • Are there any other countries where banking by telcos is allowed?
    • In Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, such use of mobile phones for elementary banking is widespread. So is the case in the Philippines as well.
  • About the potential of banking by telcos:
    • The latest UN Human Development Report puts the number of internal migrants in India at 42 million. According to another estimate, 307 million people work in a place different from where they were born. A sizeable proportion of these migrants would require to send money home. The Post Office is the most reliable form of sending money. But the money order costs a bomb: 5% of the amount sent, not taking into account the postman’s baksheesh at the delivery end.
  • Annual employment survey
    • The only official data on employment comes from the quinquennial Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). The latest employment numbers that we have, for instance, relate to 2004-05 when the last survey was conducted.
    • The Centre has reportedly decided to undertake an annual employment survey soon.
  • Shakib is Wisden cricketer of the year
    • Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has outshone Indian opener Gautam Gambhir and South African captain Graeme Smith to become Wisden Cricketer’s World Test Player of the Year.
    • The 22-year-old Shakib topped the performance table of all Test match players based on marks awarded by Wisden Cricketer correspondents, who reported on every Test played during the period.
    • Shakib averaged 7.94 out of 10 for each of the eight Tests he played between the beginning of September 2008 and the end of August 2009.
    • Shakib took 45 wickets at 23 with his left-arm spin, in addition to scoring 498 runs at an average of 35.57.
    • This performance placed him ahead of more-established Gambhir, Smith, Sachin Tendulkar, Jaques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Dale Steyn and Andrew Strauss.
Language lessons
  • apercu: Noun
    • A short synopsis