Politics & the Nation
  • India announces voluntary emission cuts
    • India on Thursday tabled its emission offer for the Copenhagen summit — a reduction of 20% to 25% in carbon intensity by 2020 from 2005 levels through policy interventions, including mandatory fuel-efficiency standards for all vehicles. This reduction in emission intensity will be voluntary. In other words, a legally-binding commitment is a strict “no”.
    • The non-negotiables for India included not accepting a legallybinding emission target and a peaking figure. “India will not initial an agreement that will mention a peaking year. There is no question of compromise on these two issues,” Mr Ramesh said. The Danish draft unveiled on Tuesday had put an emission peaking year for India at 2030.
    • The steps announced by the minister to meet the emission intensity reduction figure included
      • legislation for mandatory fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles by 2011,
      • a model building code recommending to states and municipalities to shift to green buildings,
      • amending the Energy Conservation Act to introduce the concept of an energy certificate for incentivising energy efficiency in industry,
      • regular reporting to Parliament on state of forests, and
      • ensuring 50% of new thermal capacity are based on clean coal.
    • India ranks fifth in world carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for 4.7% of the world’s emissions
    • Scientists warn of catastrophic climate change if avg global temperatures rise over 3.6 °F from preindustrial levels
  • Cabinet clears the setting up of the Green Tribunal
    • The Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval to the proposal to set up a National Green Tribunal. At the same time, the Cabinet referred the proposal for an Education Tribunal to a group of ministers.
    • The National Green Tribunal Bill had been cleared by the Cabinet in July, and introduced in Parliament.
    • The proposed tribunal will ensure a “fine balance” between judicial activism and executive duties. With PILs on environmental issues flooding the courts, the proposed legislation aims to take off the pressure by handling all the civil cases related to forestry and the environment.
Finance & Economy
  • Global funds to get bigger play in sticky assets
    • Remember the notings we made about vulture funds way back in April 2008 and in the Glossary?
    • Now the RBI seems to be cozying up to the idea of giving them a bigger say in cleaning up the sticky loans. The article is so good in detail that we thought it fit to recommend a full read of it by all of you. Take a look.
  • If this is not a mockery of administration; what else is?
    • Imagine a Cabinet minister admitting in the august house of Parliament that the government's writ does not run in illegally constructed sainik farms! You don't need to trouble yourself imagining it. It actually happened in our Parliament. Read this story in full and enjoy (?) the anarchy.
  • About the changing trends in in-game advertising
    • Computer games are now a worldbeating medium. In 2008, Britons spent about £4bn on computer games and consoles, more than music sales and cinema box office takings combined.
    • Static in-game advertising has been around since the mid-1990s - with brands such as Puma running product placement deals in football games, where Puma boots give players extra speed and power, and Red Bull cans appear as energisers in various platform games.
    • However, the recent arrival of online gaming - where consoles or PCs connected to the internet allow gamers to play each other or join so-called massively multiplayer online games, playing fantasy characters in Lord of the Rings-style quests such as World of Warcraft - has expanded commercial horizons.
    • Advertisers can now book dynamic in-game advertising: essentially billboard posters on race tracks, football stadia or virtual streets that can be changed in real time.
  • In the run up to the Copenhagen summit, it pays to keep looking at various facts, figures and arguments on what we should do/commit and what we should not.
    • India is about 17% of humanity, but accounts for less than 5% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, the average quantity of greenhouse gas emissions per head for the world is 3.4 times the per head emissions in India. American emission levels are some 18 times India’s.
    • Jairam Ramesh has told Parliament that India can safely undertake to reduce the emission intensity of growth by 20%-25% by 2020. Emission intensity refers to the amount of emissions required to generate one unit of output. In other words, what India proposes is that the amount of emissions required to produce one unit of GDP in 2020 would be a quarter less than the amount of emissions that was required to produce one unit of GDP in 2005.
    • It makes sense for India to accept a binding target for emission intensity, in return for:
      • a deal that commits the US and Europe to steep cuts in their absolute levels of emissions, and,
      • technology and funds that would help India lower its emission intensity further.
  • Amelie Mauresmo retires from tennis
    • Former top-ranked player Amelie Mauresmo has retired from tennis.
    • The 30-year-old French woman, who finished the season ranked No. 21, said she was quitting the sport for good.
    • Mauresmo won two Grand Slam titles in 2006, at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
  • 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) concludes
    • Leon Dai’s Taiwanese film "I Can’t Live Without You" picked up the Golden Peacock award for the Best Film.
    • The Special Jury award for Best Director, went to Korean film "A Brand New Life" directed by Lee Chang-dong.
    • The third award — Silver Peacock award went to Georgian-Kazakh drama "The Other Bank", directed by George Ovashvili.
    • The 11-day film festival, held between November 23 and December 3, screened nearly 300 films. The Cinema of the World section had 55 films from over 47 countries. Besides retrospectives there were nine different segments devoted to 77 Indian films.
Language Lessons
  • saunter: Verb
    • Walk leisurely and with no apparent aim
    • eg: ...And an even worse eventuality than the talk of engaging with the ‘moderate Taliban’ would be real possibility of these, and sundry Islamic extremist warlords, sauntering in again once the American’s leave.
  • bereft: Adjective
    • Unhappy in love; suffering from unrequited love; Sorrowful through loss or deprivation
    • eg: This is neither feasible nor desirable; nor a situation in which the workforce, which also constitutes the body of consumers, stands bereft of purchasing power beyond what will cover bare necessities.
    • "bereft of hope"