Politics & the Nation
  • Indians get a place of pride within Microsoft
    • Read this story; it's really heart-warming. This is the stuff that dreams should be made of for the average Indian techie.
    • All the best wishes from all of us here for those in the reckoning to be at the top within Microsoft.
  • On Udham Singh
    • How many of you remember him? From the annals of our modern history.
    • For those of you with Indian History as an optional, perhaps he would not be a stranger. But for others, perhaps he is.
    • In short he is the guy who killed Michael O'Dwyer in 1940, for the latter was the Governor of Punjab when the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre took place in 1919. The killing was retribution for his role in imposing martial law and defending the perpetrators of the Jallianwalla Bagh killings at the end of the First World War, carried out almost exactly twenty one years later.
    • Take a look at this interesting story that appeared in today's ET about him.
Finance & Economy
  • India tops global confidence charts
    • Global consumer confidence is rebounding, and in the US has risen for the first time since 2007, amid signs the world economy is picking up although spending is still restrained, according to a survey conducted by The Neilson Company.
    • Confidence was highest in India, followed by Indonesia and Norway, and was weakest in Japan, Latvia, Portugal and South Korea, although in Korea it had improved markedly.
    • Take a look at this graphic.
  • Gas based power generation goes up by a decent 35%
    • Gas-based power plants in the country have seen over 35% increase in power generation during the first half of the financial year over the year-ago period, buoyed by the flow of gas from Krishna Godavari (KG) basin from April this year.
    • Power from gas-based plants has contributed to nearly 13% of total power produced in the country during this period, against 9.5% last year.
    • The additional power generation by gas-based units corresponds to the consumption of about 16 mmscmd of gas.
    • Due to better supply of gas, a number of new gas-based power plants, with total capacity of 1800 mw, have also been commissioned in the last six months.
    • The aggregate capacity utilisation of the gas-based units measured in the form of plant load factor (PLF) shot up to 66.7% for the first half, compared to 55.7% during the year-ago period. Private sector companies, which account for a third of total 16,500 mw of gas-based generation capacity, have seen a higher increase in capacity utilisation as compared to the state owned firms such as NTPC.
    • All this surely augurs well for the country.
  • Foreign currency inflows encouraging
    • In the first six months of the fiscal, India received $14 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), in line with government expectations. Total FDI inflow was $34.9 billion in 2008-09.
    • Foreign institutional investments, which were negative in the last fiscal, reached $15 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal.
    • In 2007, India put limits on external commercial borrowings and curbed the use of participatory notes to invest in the stock market as part of measures to stem the inflow of foreign capital. External borrowing rules were later relaxed but a sharp and sudden surge in capital inflow may tempt the government to review them again.
Science & Technology
  • Demand for nuclear power engineers way up
    • In the context of India aiming at adding about 20,000 MW nuclear power generation capacity by 2020, there is a huge demand for nuclear power engineers. But these engineers are not easy to come by. The Indian engineering institutes are not well prepared to supply the kind of required numbers. It is said that the industry norm is a requirement of 1 to 1.4 person per MW.
    • Currently, the number of specialist nuclear post-graduates and PhDs from IITs and other universities is only about 50 people every year. In addition, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), the sole nuclear power generator in the country, has a capacity to train 250 people annually, while the department of atomic energy schools around 500-700 people every year.
    • The attrition in this sector is the lowest at about 3-5%, while it is as high as 10-12% in other streams of engineering.
  • Machu Picchu (meaning: Old Mountain) in Peru
    • This is an Inca citadel wherein the remains of complex agricultural terraces, workers’ huts, noblemen’s homes, sacred temples and scientific instruments survive. This has miraculously survived the onslaught of the marauding Spanish conquistadors of the 16th century.
    • Incas' is a civilisation that had stretched in its heyday to Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and to the borders of Argentina and Brazil.
    • The site was first uncovered in 1911 by an American scholar-explorer, Hiram Bingham. But Bingham didn’t know he had found Machu Picchu: he thought it was Vilcabamba, final refuge of the Incas against the Spanish invaders.
    • Take a look at some of the photographs of this beautiful place here.
  • Agassi admits to drug use
    • Read this story in The Hindu about it. What a pity?
Language lessons
  • alcove: Noun
    • A small recess opening off a larger room
  • hacienda: Noun
    • A large estate in Spanish-speaking countries; The main house on a ranch or large estate
  • trilby: Noun
    • A hat made of felt with a creased crown