Politics & the Nation
  • EC ropes in Abdul Kalam to increase voter turnout
    • Buoyed by the success of its ‘Pappu can’t vote’ campaign for 2008 Delhi assembly poll and the effectiveness of Indian skipper M S Dhoni’s appeal in getting Jharkand voters to defy the Naxalites’ poll boycott in 2009, the Election Commission has now roped in former President A P J Abdul Kalam, besides a host of local icons, to push up the turnout in Bihar assembly poll.
    • The 'Pappu can't vote' campaign pushed up the voter turnout in Delhi assembly poll to 63% from 49% recorded during the April 2007 municipal elections.
  • Interpol issues red corner notice for Pak Army officers in connection with 26/11
    • International Police Organisation (Interpol) has issued arrest warrants against five Pakistani nationals, including two Army officers, for their role in the terrorist attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
    • Interpol’s move has busted Islamabad’s claim of innocence that it was rogue elements in the country which directed terror attacks against India. The arrest warrant against two serving officers exposes the Pakistan Army establishment’s links with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, which carried out the attacks.
    • The move also coincides with former president General Pervez Musharraf’s admittance that Pakistan has trained terrorist to fight in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The Interpol red corner notices—which makes it obligatory for every member country to detain the persons concerned — were issued on India’s request, after the National Investigative Agency (NIA) furnished details of disclosures made by American Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley on the conspiracy that led to 26/11 and other terror plots.
    • The persons against whom the red corner notices were issued are: Ilyas Kashmiri, a top Huji commander linked to al Qaeda, Pakistani Army Majors Sameer Ali and Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Hashim, alias, Pasha, a retired Army Major and Sajid Majid, alias, Sajid Mir.
    • Red corner notices are already out against LeT founder and main 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, besides senior LeT operatives Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Mohammed Ramadhan Mohammed Siddiqui alias Abu Hamza.
  • Sundar committee recommendations
    • This expert committee was appointed by ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) last year to examine amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act.
    • Some of the far reaching recommendations made by it include:
      • Reducing the minimum age to obtain a driving licence (for two wheel driving only) from 18 to 16 years.
      • Issuing licence to foreigners visiting India.
    • For a gist of other major recommendations look at this graphic.
Finance & Economy
  • SKS firing of its CEO refuses to move off the headlines
    • The firing of its CEO abruptly -- ostensibly over failed negotiations to get him to leave the company -- refuses to go away from the headlines.
    • It is now widely reported that there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye.  Even the SEBI has reportedly taken note of the development and asked the SKS management to explain.  Had there been moves to send away the CEO at the time the DRHP (Draft Red Herring Prospectus) was filed with the SEBI for the IPO, those ought to have been disclosed in the DRHP.  But SKS appears to have not disclosed any such moves then.  
    • All this does not augur well for the company.
  • India EU settle their dispute about drug seizures
    • India has resolved the dispute with the European Union over confiscation of Indian generic drugs by countries such as the Netherlands and France, ending uncertainty for Indian pharma firms which use Europe as a transit point for exports to Africa and Latin America.
    • Consequently India would withdraw the complaint filed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against such seizures.
    • In the last couple of years, Customs authorities in a number of European countries seized about 17 drug consignments shipped from India en route to various African and Latin American countries. The medicines, which were generics or off-patent in India, were impounded as European companies holding patents for them in their countries had complained to the authorities that they were counterfeit.
    • India claimed that such seizures flouted multilateral trade rules as the medicines were off-patent both in India and the country where they were being exported. Almost half of India’s drugs exports worth Rs. 40,000 crore are generics.
  • Nobel for physics
    • It has gone to Prof Andre Geim and Prof Konstantin Novoselov for discovery of graphene.
    • Prof Geim is also having the rare distinction of having been conferred the Ignoble (along with Michael Berry) 10 years ago for levitating a frog.
Language Lessons
  • pithy: Adjective
    • Concise and full of meaning
    • eg: "welcomed her pithy comments"