22.12.2009

Politics & the Nation
  • The changing world of reality shows
    • We know that you all know about reality shows. Take a look at how their world is changing from this excerpt from a news story about a web-based reality show called "If I can Dream."
    • In addition to being shown globally on the web, ‘If I can Dream’ will be broadcast in the US on radio in a deal with Clear Channel and will also air on News Corp’s MySpace. The group of five comprises a musician, an actor, two actresses and a model and will follow them as they leave their hometowns and head for Los Angeles and a shared house in the Hollywood Hills. While it echoes previous reality shows, such as MTV’s ‘The Real World’, because it is played out on the web it will allow the audience to directly interact with the wannabe stars. Viewers will be able to connect with the contestants through text, blogs, MySpace, Twitter and Facebook as the action unfolds in real-time. The collective online thoughts and ideas of the audience will be recorded through blogs and video messages on ificandream.com allowing the five to test ideas, rehearse and audition in front of their audience.
    • Thought that reality shows meant only TV? "If I Can Dream" has got you on the wrong foot.
    • BTW, if you are asked to define a reality show, how would your definition be? Compare...
    • A television reality show features talent culled from the ranks of 'ordinary' people, not professionally trained actors. Reality show producers typically shoot hundreds of hours of footage per episode and use creative editing to create a narrative thread. Subjects of a reality show may be given some rudimentary directions offscreen, but the point is to allow the performers to act and react as normally as possible.
Finance & Economy
  • 3G roll-out to take a year more
    • With the government's announcement yesterday that it would stick to its January 2010 schedule for the auction of wireless 3G spectrum but allot airwaves only in August, the roll-out of 3G services in the country is going to take at least another year. The roll-out has been hanging fire for over two years now.
    • Mobile phone firms seemed pleased with the decision because the airwaves will be given simultaneously to all four successful bidders and allow them more time to muster the resources that will be needed to roll out their networks.
    • 3G services were originally scheduled to be launched in India in 2007, but have been repeatedly delayed amid troubles over freeing up spectrum and setting bid prices. First launched in Japan in May 2001, the services are available in over 90 countries today.
    • Europe unveiled its first fourth-generation, or 4G, network earlier this month. TeliaSonera’s 4G networks in Sweden and Norway offer mobile broadband at up to 10 times the speed allowed by third-generation technology, and other global communication companies such as US’ Verizon and Japan’s NTT DoCoMo are also slated to launch services on this platform within the next couple of months.
  • Government not to allow FDI in tobacco
    • At present the government does not allow creation of fresh cigarette manufacture capacity. But the current policy lacked clarity on whether FDI is allowed in this sector.
    • Japan Tobacco International Limited (JTIL) is the third-largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the world and the owner of brands such as Camel, Winston, Gold Coast and Salem. It had sought the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s (FIPB) permission to raise its stake (from 50% to 74%) in its Indian unit — JTI India — in July and October last year and again in January this year.
    • India’s branded cigarette market is worth around Rs 17,000 crore annually and growing at 8-10% a year.
  • Want to understand the nitty-gritty of concepts like 'destination based consumption tax' and various types of GST?
    • Look no further; you have this excellent piece from Gautam Ray in today's ET. A must read. An excerpt:
    • Plainly speaking, destination principle provides for shifting the burden of taxation on goods and services to the point of their final consumption destination. A pure and perfect example of consumption taxation on the basis of this principle is the retail sales tax system as prevalent in the US. The entire chain of value addition activities preceding retail transactions is not subjected to tax in the US.
    • While on the subject, you should also read this comprehensive article that appeared on GST today.
  • On PC and notebook penetration in India
    • India currently has a PC penetration of about 5%. Last quarter, 21.8-lakh PCs got sold, of which notebook sales were about 7.3 lakh. Netbook sales were about 70,000 only.
    • Gartner estimates about 325,000 unit sales of netbooks (also called as mini notebooks) in India for the next year. Globally, however, about 60-million netbooks are expected to be sold, according to ABI Research.
Science
  • What are biosimilars?
    • Biosimilars or Follow-on biologics are terms used to describe officially approved new versions of innovator biopharmaceutical products, following patent expiry.
    • Biopharmaceuticals are medical drugs produced using biotechnology.
International
  • India and China's climate change goals subject to review
    • The US administration is not buying into India’s claim that it has not accepted international review of its domestic climate change commitments. A senior advisor to President Barack Obama, David Axelrod, has said the US says it can challenge India and China if the countries do not meet their domestic emission goals.
    • India and China, which were among the five countries that negotiated this accord, have stressed that “international consultations and analysis” would be under international guidelines that will ensure national sovereignty. The US was clear that the “review” was the key.
    • What does this imply?
      • It means that both countries should be ready to face some penal levies from the US.
      • The Waxman-Markey legislation, which has been stuck in the US Senate, calls for levies on countries that do not accept binding emission cuts. This provision is in reference to emerging economies like India and China, both countries are not mandated to take on binding emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.
    • In his address to the press at Copenhagen, late night on Friday, President Obama made it amply clear that he was looking at a WTO like system for review. “The way this agreement is structured, each nation will be putting concrete commitments into an appendix to the document, and so will lay out very specifically what each country’s intentions are. Those commitments will then be subject to an international consultation and analysis, similar to, for example, what takes place when the WTO is examining progress or lack of progress that countries are making on various commitments. It will not be legally binding, but what it will do is allow for each country to show to the world what they’re doing, and there will be a sense on the part of each country that we’re in this together, and we’ll know who is meeting and who’s not meeting the mutual obligations that have been set forth,” the US President said.
  • oneupmanship
    • The practice of keeping one jump ahead of a friend or competitor
  • potshot: Noun
    • A shot taken at an easy or casual target (as by a pothunter); Criticism aimed at an easy target and made without careful consideration
    • eg: We urge Mamata Banerjee to devote her considerable energies to that and to improving the state of IR rather than to taking pot shots (deserved or un-deserved) at her predecessor.
  • peccadillo: Noun
    • A petty misdeed
  • haring: Verb
    • Run quickly, like a hare
    • eg: A measure of how much things have changed is the fact that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a politician much lower down in the pecking (and peccadillo) order, has escaped impeachment over obfuscations related to his haring off to see his Argentine mistress using state facilities.

1 Comment:

Abuzziness said...

This is really good blog..

www..abuzziness.com