Politics & the Nation
  • China protests Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal; India retorts
    • CHINA on Tuesday, once again, employed its intimidate-and-contain-the-neighbour policy against India by protesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, claiming it was a disputed territory.
    • In return, the Chinese envoy in India was told that India is committed to ensure that outstanding differences should not be allowed to affect the positive development of bilateral relations. New Delhi hoped that China would “similarly abide by this understanding.”
    • These antics will keep happening from time to time. Take a look at this map which shows all the Indian areas that China has come to possess over time.
  • What a fine piece on judicial activism!
Finance & Economy
  • HNI club set to swell 3 times in 10 yrs
    • INDIA and China are together projected to treble the number of high net worth individuals (HNIs) from 4.48 lakh in 2008 in the next one decade, as per a report collated by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Capgemini, which pegged the number of Indian HNIs at 84,000 for the past year.
    • After seeing a 22.7% growth in the population of HNI in 2007 to 1.23 lakh — the highest percentage jump in the world — India saw a 31.6% drop in the number of HNIs past year.
    • The survey defined HNIs as those with investable assets of at least $1 million (Rs 5 crore), excluding their primary residence and consumables.
  • Why are I-Banks willing to work for free?
    • It is widely reported that 7 out of the 10 bidding I-Banks for the REC's (Rural Electrification Corporation) disinvestment issue offered to work for free on the issue.
    • Why are these bankers willing to work at zero cost in this booming capital market?
    • Reportedly “It is the league table game.” The bigger the size of the issue or the prestige attached with an issue, the better it is for the I-Bank to get mileage out of the work.
    • Besides helping the positioning in the pecking order in the league table, the public issue of public sector undertakings are in good demand among the foreign investors.
    • The REC offer is expected to mop up Rs 3,400 crore (at a current market price of Rs 200), which would include Rs 850 crore from the sale of government shares in the company. It plans to issue 12.84 crore fresh equity shares of Rs 10 each, constituting 15% of the existing paid-up capital of the company. In addition, the government has also decided to divest 5%.
    • There are instances in the past when these bankers have quoted zero fees but not in such a large number. In the NHPC issue, one of the bankers had quoted zero fees while other two have charged marginal fees.
  • It was only yesterday that we noted about the Transaction Cost Theory propounded by Oliver Williamson that won him the Nobel prize this year.
    • If you are hungry for more on this theory, today's article by Ram Singh explains it quite well.
    • The TCT explains why firms are so large as they are or how far can they grow. Sounding like a Professor? Don't worry the actual Professor did a better job of explaining it for us.
    • If you are an economics student, you can expect a question on this topic in competitive exams this year. We would surely expect one in Civils Mains paper.
  • Global current account deficits
    • The cumulative global current account deficit stood at $1.6 trillion in 2008, according to IMF.
    • While most developed economies slipped into deficits, emerging markets collectively were still in surplus. US accounted for 42% of the total account deficit, followed by Spain (10%) and Italy (5%).
    • On the other hand, China (23%), followed by Germany (13%) and Japan (9%) accounted for large current account surpluses.
    • Collectively, the surplus of oil and commodity-exporting countries was bigger than China’s.
Science & Technology
  • Today is World Standards Day
    • The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has selected this year’s theme as ‘Tackling Climate Change Through Standards’.
  • Anaemia causing gene identified
    • In a major breakthrough, scientists have discovered a gene which helps to regulate iron and haemoglobin levels, a finding they claim may soon pave the way for treatments for anaemia.
    • An international team, led by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, has identified the new variant of a gene, TMPRSS6, by analysing the genome of 4,800 healthy individuals from Australia and the Netherlands.
  • Personality:
    • Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Fennel
Language lessons
  • heffalump: Noun
    • (informal or childish) an elephant
  • putative:
    • Purported; commonly put forth or accepted as true on inconclusive grounds
    • eg: The court also has rightly followed through with prompt strictures on the state government’s putative violation of its own undertaking to stop construction.
  • veneer: Noun
    • Coating consisting of a thin layer of superior wood glued to a base of inferior wood; An ornamental coating to a building