Politics & the Nation
  • Grading system for Classes XI and XII?
    • As part of the education reform process, the Centre is reportedly examining the feasibility of introducing a system of continuous and comprehensive evaluation and grading at Classes XI and XII.
    • The possibility of extending the grading system was discussed at a round-table of university vice-chancellors and school principals. Some universities are reluctant to accept grades instead of marks in the Class XII board examinations.
    • A committee has been set up to study the possibility of introducing the grading system at the higher secondary level and its implication for undergraduate admission.
Finance & Economy
  • LIC's massive policy revival effort
    • The country's largest insurer has thrown a lifeline to policyholders who got caught in the global financial storm and defaulted on premium payments and saw their insurance plans sink. It has come out with a very liberal dispensation in allowing them to pay the revival premiums in instalments.
    • Normally when a policy is to be renewed -- renewal is allowed within five years of lapse -- the holder had to pay the entire pending premium at one go along with interest.
    • Over nine million policies lapsed in 2009, and almost half the conventional policies that lapsed in the industry during the period were sold by LIC, according to estimates. In absolute terms, nearly 7.3 million traditional policies sold by LIC worth Rs 52,926 crore lapsed.
  • Starbucks tries yet again for an India entry
    • It had tried to enter India by striking an alliance with Kishore Biyani’s Future Group three years ago, but these plans were rejected by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, or FIPB, due to lack of clarity on the foreign shareholding structure of the proposed Indian venture.
    • Organised coffee retailing is a niche but growing segment in India. Industry officials said the size of the segment, which is dominated by unlisted companies, is around Rs 500-600 crore.
    • India allows foreign investors to own 51% in single-brand retail.
    • Some titbits about Starbucks:
      • Apart from fresh-brewed coffee and hot and iced espresso beverages, Starbucks is known for its Vivanno smoothies and Tazo teas. It also sells merchandise, home espresso machines, coffee brewers and grinders, and accessories like coffee mugs at its stores.
      • Till September 2009, Starbucks had an overall store strength of 16,635, of which 8,832 were company-operated stores and 7,803 were licensed. The chain has operations in over 50 countries. But between mid-2008 to 2009, Starbucks closed 800 stores in the US and 100 in international locations, laid off workers, revamped its food menu and tinkered with drink prices. The company’s cost-cutting initiatives saved $580 million in 2009.
  • Ben Bernanke set to win a second term
    • The Chief of the Federal Reserve of US, is set to win a vote giving him a second term at the office.
    • Bernanke had been widely seen as getting the support he needs, but a recent surge of public anger at big banks and the way regulators rescued them from the financial crisis has meant the vote could be a lot closer than previously expected.
    • Praised by economists and investors for the Fed’s unprecedented response to the crisis, Bernanke has not escaped criticism for failing to see the crisis as it brewed.
  • YouTube scores a first
    • It has reportedly tied up with Indian Films for simultaneous premier of a small-budget movie "Striker" on February 5. It will be made available to viewers in the US on February 5 and other countries, excluding India and Pakistan, the following day. In India, the film, which revolves around a carom player from Mumbai, will only be released in theatres.
    • Unlike most online content, this doesn’t come free. US viewers will need to pay $4.99 to watch the two-hour film on streaming video online. However, viewers in other countries can watch it for free. The producers have monetised the Rs 5-crore film through advertisements too.
    • Directed by Chandan Arora and starring Telugu superstar Siddharth, Striker may be the first-ever movie to release on YouTube on the same day as its theatrical release date.
  • Australian Open
    • Andy Murray makes it to the finals. He beat Marin Cilic of Croatia 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to book his place in the finals. He will meet the winner from the Roger Federer vs. Joe Wilfred Tsonga semifinal.
    • Murray is the first British man in the post-1968 Open era to reach two Grand Slam finals.
    • In the women's section it is Serena vs. Justin Henin.
  • backstop: Noun
    • A precaution in case of an emergency
    • eg: The Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday upgraded its economic outlook, reaffirmed it will end liquidity backstops and a $1.25 trillion programme to buy mortgage-backed securities and expressed less confidence inflation will remain “subdued”.


Anonymous said...

HI,List to the article link is not working can anybody help me plz

icamaven said...

I see only one link under the Finance and Economy section. It is working fine. What's the problem?

Shoonya said...

Correction : Andy Murray did not win US open 2008 against Federer.

icamaven said...

Yep. Stand corrected. It is the other way round. Since incorporated in the notes above.