Politics & the Nation
  • Hakimulla Mehsud dead?
    • Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has reportedly succumbed to injuries sustained in a U.S. drone attack earlier in January. Reports have been doing the rounds, particularly in Pakistan’s tribal belt, over the past few days that Mehsud was seriously injured in a U.S. drone attack in Shaktoi area of North Waziristan on January 14 that killed at least 15 militants.
    • However, Interior Minister Rehman Malik maintained that the government had “no verifiable information” to confirm Mehsud’s death.
    • If reports of Mehsud’s death are true, it will be a major blow to the militant outfit that is yet to come to terms with the death of its former leader Baitullah Mehsud in a similar drone attack in August last year.
  • Shiv Sena and RSS at logger heads
    • With the RSS taking up the cause of North Indians residing in Mumbai vigorously, the stage is set for trouble in Mumbai in the near future.
    • But RSS and the Sena appear to be on the same page when it comes to dubbing the Khans as pro-Pak for their speaking up for Pakistani players in IPL.
Finance & Economy
  • SEBI acts tough on multi-class share entities
    • SEBI has reportedly put on hold registration of close to 50 investors who are organised as ‘multi-class share entities’ in tax havens like Mauritius.
    • What is a multi-class share entity?
      • Similar to a mutual fund, a multi-class structure allows distinct pools of investments — just like the various schemes of an MF — under an umbrella asset management company. The investors putting money in the various pools, which are referred to as cells by market participants, can have different fund managers pursuing different investment strategies.
    • Why did SEBI resort to this?
      • The fear is that while the umbrella firm gets registered as an FII or a sub-account — a special purpose vehicle formed in Mauritius to access Indian stock exchanges — the regulator may have no control over the different pools or cells under the firm. And once a multi-class share entity is registered, it can go on adding new cells which, outside the regulatory radar, can be the conduits for round-tripping.
    • It is worthwhile to note that SEBI had banned PCC (Protected Cell Company) structures in ’99-00; but foreign investors can set up multi-class structures which, as legal entities, are a little different from PCCs. How different?
      • The similarity between the two is that each cell has separate accounts and losses suffered by one pool cannot be recovered from another. The key difference is: in a PCC, each cell is legally ringfenced and bankruptcy faced by one cell will not impact the other cells; but in a multiclass share entity anyone suing a cell has to sue the entire company and not the shareclass.
  • With the budget making process having entered the final laps, want to know something about the key people behind the budget making process?
    • Can't get a better write up than this one that appeared in today's ET. Take a look.
  • How is inflation bad for economy?
    • Apart from making people get less goods for more money, it has other negative effects.
    • It impacts savings and investment decisions (people see no value in saving when the value of their saving is declining and businessmen find it hard to take investment decisions in an uncertain environment). Beyond a certain threshold, inflation has a deleterious impact on growth, long-term.
  • What factors are likely to spoil the growth party for 2010-11?
    • The answer is an excerpt from today's ET op-ed by Mythili Bhusnurmath.
    • One, the reversal of monetary accommodation can’t be effective unless there is also a rollback of government borrowing. The sharp rise in government borrowing during the current fiscal could be managed partly through liquidity infusion and partly because of fortuitous circumstances (credit off take slowed at the same time). Neither of the factors is likely to come to the government’s rescue next year. The yield on 10- year government securities is close to 8%, suggesting declining appetite for government paper, despite surplus liquidity.
    • Two, there is still considerable uncertainty about the pace and shape of global recovery, of what might happen when governments around the world withdraw their fiscal stimulus.
    • Three, the future trajectory of food and oil prices remains uncertain. In the case of food, much depends on the behaviour of the south-west monsoon. If rainfall is inadequate, food inflation will worsen and overall inflationary pressures will intensify. Oil prices, again, could make or mar our recovery. But there’s no way of foretelling whether global prices will rise or fall when the global economic outlook is so uncertain.
  • 20 Indian banks make it to the list of big banks by brand value
    • SBI’s brand value more than tripled to $4,551 million, up from $1,448 million in 2009 helping it grab the 36th spot in the list.
    • ICICI Bank, the country’s largest private bank, joined it in the Top 100 list with a 130% jump in its brand value at $2,164 million.
    • Take a look at this list. Interesting.
  • Australian Open
    • Roger Federer beat Andy Murray in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (13/11). The world number one clinched victory in a gripping tie-breaker, 13 points to 11, when Murray frittered five set points and the Swiss claimed it on his third match point.
    • Britain's frustrating chase for a first male Grand Slam winner since Fred Perry last won 74 years ago, thus came to an end. It is now 279 Grand Slam tournaments since Perry beat American Donald Budge in the 1936 US Open final.
    • Federer has now won 16 Grand Slams in the span of 27 majors and has lost only six finals in that time.
  • 11th South Asian Games
    • Those of you who have an interest in the South Asian Games can read this to get a peek into our performance.
    • They are going on in Dhaka currently.
  • Rahman wins two Grammy awards
    • He shared the 'best compilation soundtrack for a motion picture' Grammy with lyricist Gulzar for the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. "Jai ho" was judged the best motion picture song.
    • "Jai Ho" has been sung by Sukhvinder Singh, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Tanvi Shah, Vijay Prakash and Rahman himself.
    • This is Rahman's first Grammy win and the musician joins the league of stalwarts like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Vikku Vinayak and Vishvamohan Bhatt, the previous Grammy winners from India.
  • quagmire: Noun
    • A soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot
    • eg: The London conference on Afghanistan seems to have drawn the contours of the new policy to try and resolve the quagmire.
  • gloss: Noun
    • An explanation or definition of an obscure word in a text; An outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading
    • eg: ...It is also, diplomatic gloss apart, a setback for India’s own objectives and its stated position that such differentiation is not only facile but contrary to the very aims of the whole ‘war on terror’.
  • aplomb: Noun
    • Great coolness and composure under strain
  • punch bowl: Noun
    • A large bowl for serving beverages; usually with a ladle


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SummerDiary said...

If Andy Murray lost, how come Britain's chase for a grand slam came to an end?