Politics & the Nation
  • How will the price war in telecom pan out?
  • Pakistan and India need more and more Rukhsanas to tame terrorism
    • If only there are more Rukhsanas, both countries could be rid of terrorists. Take a look at this story of a brave girl! All the best wishes to her and her heroism.
  • Cell phone waste is the next big threat to environment
    • A whopping 8,000 tonnes of cell phone waste is estimated to burden the earth by 2012, according to a study by Delotte. There is a growing need to better manage the rising cell phone waste, as it is posing a threat to the environment.
    • The Deloitte report stated that mobile phone waste globally is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about nine per cent between 2008 and 2012, with more than 80 per cent of the cell phone waste being hazardous.
    • Elaborating on the ways to minimise the growing cell phone waste, the report stated that recycling and refurbishing of used cell phones is necessary.
    • Refurbishing extends the lifetime of used phones and recycling reduces the need for the raw materials used to make new products. The inclusion of recycling or refurbishing would change the traditional view of the cell phone life cycle.
Finance & Economy
  • Reliance to foray into education?
    • If reports/rumours are to be believed, RIL will be foraying into the education space .
    • According to an IDFC-SSKI report, Indians spend $50 billion annually on private education. The four segments of the education market — plus two, higher, vocational and supplemental — present a $80-billion opportunity by 2012. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16%, says a CLSA Pacific study.
    • Private equity and venture capital investors have made over 30 investments worth $300 million in the recent years, though, a fourth of these investments (in value terms) have gone to e-learning.
    • The existing rules restrict ownership of schools to trusts and no-profit bodies. While fees are not restricted, regulations come in the way of distribution of dividends or investment of surplus money in setting up schools.
    • The government is reportedly moving in the direction of deregulation of the sector.
    • An E&Y-Ficci report says India has a gross enrollment ratio (GER) of only 11% in higher education compared to about 60% in the US and Canada, and around 21% (average) in the BRIC countries. The higher education institutions (HEIs) in India can accommodate only 7-8% of the country’s college-age students.
  • Reforming the DGH (Directorate General of Hydrocarbons)
    • With the laying down of office by the present DGH Mr. VK Sibal amid some controversial circumstances, calls for sprucing up the DGH and redefining its role have made their appearance.
    • In 1993, when it was formed out of the resolution of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, it was supposed to be the institution that is created as an 'independent regulatory body.' But remained far from independent and in fact its role was reduced to that of 'assisting the government' in both contractual and technical matters.
    • In 2001, the Naresh Narad Committee examined the need for setting up of an upstream hydrocarbon regulatory authority. Though, it recognised the need to distance regulation from government, it was not unanimous on DGH’s role. Later, the possibility of authorising common jurisdiction with the downstream regulator (Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board) was also discussed.
    • At present, there is no statutory upstream regulator. But DGH acts as one, de facto.
    • Historically, Dasgupta Committee (1991) envisaged reservoir management as the essential function of a regulator. Kaul Committee (1992) added leasing development conservation.
  • Government gives priority to educaitonal loans
    • Getting an education loan may become easier. The government plans to cushion public sector banks against any default on education loans, the primary reason why PSBs are often reluctant to give out such loans that does not have enough guarantee.
    • The government plans to protect education loans under a new credit guarantee scheme and has already asked the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to formulate a draft proposal, said a senior official with the finance ministry.
    • Due to a sharp increase in education loan offtake to Rs 32,460 crore, which is largely unsecured loan (without any collateral), senior officials of public sector banks have expressed apprehension that such a large loan component might impact the strength of the banks, particularly in case of default, as these loans are not backed by collateral.
    • The total outstanding education loans of public sector banks as on March 2009 were Rs 27,646 crore, a 39.51% increase from Rs 19,817 crore.
  • On regional trade agreements
    • The mavens mention that as many as 400 RTAs have been notified worldwide, although about 200 are actually operational.
  • Serena wins against her sister Venus
    • Serena Williams bested big sister Venus again on Sunday, winning 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships final at Doha.
    • It was Serena’s fourth straight win over her sister. She also beat Venus in the round-robin stage of the Doha tournament, the Wimbledon final and the semifinals in Miami this year.
  • Delhi Half Marathon results
    • Olympian Deriba Merga of Ethiopia defended the men’s title, while Kenyan Mary Keitany won in the women’s category of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon yesterday.
    • Merga, who faced some stiff competition from compatriot Eshetu Wendimu and last year’s runner-up Wilson Kipsang of Kenya, clocked 59:54 minutes to cover the 21.097 km and bagged USD 25,000 winners’ purse.
    • Reigning world champion Keitany took 1 hour 6.54 minutes to touch the finish line.
    • Armyman Deepchand Saharan (1.04:00) finished first among Indian men and overall 17th in the race, while Uttar Pradesh’s Sukanya Mall (1.20:11) was the fastest woman among Indians and 22nd overall.
    • Each of the Indian toppers would be richer by USD 4,000.
Language lessons
  • gratuitously: Adverb
    • In an uncalled-for manner
  • gratuitous: Adjective
    • Without cause; costing nothing; unnecessary and unwarranted
  • calypso: Noun
    • A type of music and dance that originated in the West Indies (probably Trinidad), a ballad is characterized by improvised lyrics on topical or broadly humorous subjects, often creating satire of current events.
    • eg: Others could quote the calypso which goes: “Old Methuselah was 900 years old/Older than anyone the world has known/One day he thought he’d have some fun/The poor old man never lived to be 901”.
  • jibe: Noun
    • An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect
  • vibe: Noun
    • A distinctive emotional aura experienced instinctively
    • eg: "it gave me a nostalgic vibe"