Politics & the Nation
  • Delhi sends Afzal file recommending rejection of mercy plea
    • Afzal Guru should be hanged, the Delhi government said in its recommendation forwarded to the Union home ministry.
    • The state government’s opinion on the mercy petition of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru was given to the MHA after a good four years and 16 reminders to the Sheila Dikshit regime.
    • But President Pratibha Patil is said to be averse to clearing death penalties. She has informally conveyed to her aides her reluctance to clear death penalties for even the most-hardened criminals in view of her religious beliefs.
  • On RSS dissociating itself from terror acts
    • This is a very good editorial comment that is worth a read on the subject. An excerpt:
    • The host of organisations ranging from the Sanskrit-chanting RSS to the warmongering Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, all draw sustenance from the self-same ideology of hatred that refuses to accept the composite, multicultural nature of the Indian state. So long as the RSS does not openly and comprehensively abandon this mother lode of communal hatred, all talk of its dissociation from individual acts of violence would remain just talk. A clear link of culpability exists between the perpetrators of all such forms of violence and those that provide not just logistical support but the ideological framework for it.
Finance & Economy
  • Listed cos must’ve 25% public float
    • Listed companies must have at least 25% of their equity available in public hands for them to stay listed on the stock exchanges.
    • The government has come out with this rule with a view to curb stock price manipulation. But there is no penalty that is prescribed if companies do not follow the rule. This is stated to make it as good as ineffective.
    • The rule is expected to trigger $34 bn share sales from companies such as Wipro, MMTC and Reliance Power.
    • The rule is a return to the position a decade ago before it was eased to 10% to feed the demands of companies in the technology and telecom sectors and extended to infrastructure, when these fads were running their course. The low floats led to inflated valuations of companies at the time of IPOs and ended in tears for many investors. Low stock supply also led to manipulation of prices in the secondary market.
    • There are at least 179 companies listed on the stock exchanges where the float is less than 25%. At current prices, these firms may have to raise Rs 1.6 lakh crore if promoters sell their holdings, nearly double the funds raised via share sale in fiscal 2010. If they attempt to achieve the 25% limit through sale of new shares, they may raise Rs 2.1 lakh crore.
    • For more on the story read this.
  • Trends: Making money from music
    • In these days of internet downloads and file sharing, how are musicians surviving?
    • It is a well known fact that sale of recorded music is dropping steadily for musicians to survive. Therefore independent musicians are finding new ways to make money from their music. Let us take a look at some of the methods/sources:
    • Across the country, scores of musicians are turning entrepreneurs who host live performances, sell custom-built merchandise and score music for inhouse audio channels of companies.
    • Apart from live shows, they are earning additional revenue from composing sync music that goes into films, documentaries and television.
    • Scoring original music for companies to be used in retail stores or for in-house audio channels within offices is also emerging as a significant source of revenue for music bands.
    • One more method is running Internet radio stations to build on the brand created by their clubs / bands. At the clubs karaoke nights are being held frequently. It is the sponsorship for such nights that is raking in moolah for them.
    • Such alternate revenue streams are critical for independent musicians in India who also have to contend with the stranglehold that Bollywood and regional music have on the country’s music industry. Film music accounts for nearly threefourths of revenues.
    • The sale of recorded media will decline by nearly a tenth every year according to a 2010 report on the Indian Media & Entertainment industry compiled by Ficci and consulting major KPMG.
    • Last year, the sale of cassettes and CDs slid to just over half of the total revenues of Rs 780-crore Indian music industry.
  • Performance of Kyoto protocol -- an assessment
    • The rich must reduce so that the poor can grow. This was the basis of the climate pact signed in Rio. This was the basis of the Kyoto Protocol that committed the industrialised world to cut emissions by 6% over 1990 levels by 2008-12.
    • But the world has never been serious about this pact. Between 1990 and 2006, carbon dioxide emissions of the rich countries have increased by 14.5%. Furthermore, emissions from the growth-related energy sector have increased by 15%.
Language Lessons
  • auteur: Noun
    • A filmmaker who has a personal style and keeps creative control over his or her works
    • eg: The world knows about Satyajit Ray as a movie auteur.
  • quaint: Adjective
    • Strange in an interesting or pleasing way; Very strange or unusual; odd or even incongruous in character or appearance; Attractively old-fashioned (but not necessarily authentic)
  • anagram: Noun
    • A word or phrase spelled by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase
  • alliteration: Noun
    • Use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse