Politics & the Nation
  • On insulating CBI from politics
    • This is a very good "Face Off" column that deserves a read. In a lighter vein, is it really necessary to insulate it? Shouldn't the incumbent governments have some crony dirty tricks department of their own? Worldwide that is the norm.
Finance & Economy
  • Noel Tata set to take over as Tata International MD
    • The role of the 53-year-old Noel Tata just got bigger in India’s biggest conglomerate on the 106th birth anniversary of JRD Tata, setting tongues wagging, yet again, on it being a step in the group’s succession plan for the top job.
    • The reclusive Tata, who grew the retail business more than 10-fold in less than a decade, will be managing director at Tata International, a leather and engineering trading company with presence in 10 African nations, a region where it wants to double revenues to $1 billion in two years.
    • Born in 1956 to Naval and Simone Tata, this half-brother of Ratan Tata has run retail company Trent for 12 years. He began his career at trading firm Tata International and rose to become a senior general manager. His father-in-law Pallonji Mistry is the largest shareholder of Tata Sons.
    • The younger Tata was thrust into the job of heading Trent when retailing was at its infancy in India. With help from colleagues at group company Lakme, he opened his retail innings by taking over Bangalore-based Littlewoods, which eventually became Trent’s departmental store Westside. During his tenure, Trent’s turnover rose to 1,137 crore from 8 crore.
  • Food inflation dips to 9.6% on cheaper cereals & veggies
    • Food price inflation dropped to single digit 9.67% for the first time this year, even as the government continues to face a concerted Opposition attack on rising food and fuel prices.
    • Headline inflation touched 10.55% in June and the government is worried that it will be even higher in July when the full impact of the fuel price hike is absorbed in the economy. The fuel price index rose 14.29% in the period, as against a 14.27% in the previous week.
    • Most economists are also of the view that while food prices are cooling, core inflation is now a bigger problem.
  • Whither Air India
    • This is an ET editorial that argues against infusing more money into Air India as things stand today. Worth a look. An excerpt worth our noting:
    • With the growth in passenger traffic at 28% in the first quarter, the Air India management has reportedly firmed up a scheme to acquire as many 127 new aircraft, hoping to break even by 2014-15. But with accumulated losses adding up to over Rs 14,000 crore, a debt burden of Rs 18,000 crore and dipping market share to boot, Air India’s gameplan for revival seems both fanciful and reckless.
  • Will FDI in organized retail help all the stakeholders?
    • This is a very good article that discusses the issue. Well worth a read. An excerpt from it that is worth our noting:
    • To put things in perspective, about 40% of the country’s total GDP of $1 trillion comes from retail sales to Indian consumers. The local, one-off corner stores account for more than 94% of this total retail sales of around $400 billion. So-called organised retail that can be defined as a chain of anything more than 3-4 stores backed by an Indian entrepreneur or promoter, accounts for only 6% of total retail sales. This category includes names such as Reliance Retail, Spencer’s, Pantaloon, Aditya Birla Retail, Bharti, etc.
  • Facebook faces embarrassment
    • The personal details of 100 million users of social networking website Facebook are now available for download after they were leaked online.
    • Ron Bowles, an online security consultant, used a code to scan Facebook profiles, collected data not hidden by users’ privacy settings, and compiled a list, which is now available as a downloadable file, containing the URL of every “searchable” Facebook user’s profile, their name and unique ID, the BBC reported on Thursday.
  • European confidence at 2-yr high on exports push
    • European confidence in the economic outlook rose to the highest in more than two years in July and German unemployment declined for a 13th month as exports sustained a recovery in the region. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 16 euro nations increased to 101.3 from 99 in June. That’s the highest since March 2008.
  • Stemcells coaxed to rebuild bone,cartilage
    • Scientists have shown for the first time that it may be possible to replace a human hip or knee with a joint grown naturally inside the body using the patient’s stem cells.
    • In experiments on rabbits, the researchers coaxed the animals’ stem cells to rebuild the bone and cartilage of a missing leg joint.
    • Some statistics: In the United States, more than 200,000 patients received total hip replacements in 2006, and nearly half a million got new knee joints.
    • If these trends continue, an estimated 600,000 hip replacements and 1.4 million knee replacements will be carried out in 2015. The United States accounts for 50% total procedures worldwide, with Europe accounting for 30%.
  • Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten The World Economy
    • Authored by Raghuram Rajan, the Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, this is one book that needs to be on our todo list, if not the bucket list.
    • Take a look at this interview from Raghuram Rajan. Worth a read.