Politics & the Nation
  • Former CJI in the dock over Raja episode
    • Former Chief Justice of India -- KG Balakrishna -- is reported to have claimed that he was unaware of the name of the minister who tried to influence a Madras High Court judge.
    • But Supreme Court judge HL Gokhale has contradicted him and said that in his letter to then Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan Justice Reghupathi clearly mentioned the minister was A Raja.
    • Gokhale was Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and Balakrishnan the Supreme Court Chief Justice when Raja, then telecom minister, purportedly tried to influence Justice Reghupathi of the high court. Chief Justice of India is the authority who can initiate action in such cases.
    • The incident took place when a man named Krishnamurthy and his son sought anticipatory bail in a case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation for forging marksheets. Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Bar Council RK Chandramohan is supposed to have approached Justice Reghupathi to grant them anticipatory bail.
  • Vilasrao Deshmukh gets an earful from the Supreme Court
    • Look at this news report that details how he had unlawfully prevented an FIR being filed in a case while working as CM of Maharashtra.  
Finance & Economy
  • On Jalan committee recommendations
    • This committee was constituted to make recommendations on ownership structure and running of stock exchanges.  It had submitted its report to SEBI on November 22, 2010.
    • Take a look at this scathing criticism of the report.  
  • EPFO muddle; 2k companies set to lose tax benefits
    • Curious are the ways of the EPFO.  Its tardy work is going to cost many companies and their employees a lot by way of enhanced tax liabilities.  Read this news story which details how this is happening.
  • Decision on TAPI gas price in Feb
    • India and Turkmenistan will negotiate a price for natural gas supply from central Asia through the proposed $7.6-billion transnational pipeline in February during oil minister Bayramgeldi Nedirov's New Delhi visit.
    • Officials estimate that the landed cost of gas piped from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and Pakistan would be about $10 per unit in Punjab, which compares with $7-8 paid by consumers in the region for gas brought from Reliance's KG field and up to $12 per unit some buyers pay for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). The price of domestic gas is expected to rise by the time the pipeline is built after five years.
    • The two countries aim to finalise the price of gas and sign a gas sale-purchase agreement (GSPA) in the next six to seven months.
    • Turkmenistan has agreed to supply 90 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) gas to the three consumers. India is expected to get about 38 mmscmd gas, the same as Pakistan. The rest of the gas will go to Afghanistan.
    • The four partner nations committed to jointly construct the pipeline by signing two key pacts on Saturday at Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital. The proposed pipeline will start from the Dauletabad gas field in southeast Turkmenistan and after 145 km stretch in the country enter Afghanistan. After traversing 735 km in Afghanistan and 800 km in Pakistan, the pipeline will enter India.
  • First principle on junk bonds
    • A bond that gives high rate of interest compared to a regular bond, but is actually a low-rated bond — as there is a risk of default — is called in popular terms a junk bond. Investment in such bonds is considered very speculative. Even rating companies do not assign top quality rating for such bonds. There are two types of junk bonds: Sometimes, bonds initially have a top quality rating. But later, through their underlying firm's financial difficulties, they lose the impressive credit rating. The second and more common type of junk bond is a bond issued by a company that itself is of lower than investment-grade credit quality.
  • Top US envoy Holbrooke dies
    • An American troubleshooter, who played a major role in ending the bloody war in Balkans, Richard Holbrooke's long diplomatic career came to an untimely end before he could seek an end to ‘mother of all crisis’ - the Afghan imbroglio, which has defied the British and the Russians.
    • A hard-nosed diplomat Holbrooke’s death from a heart ailment comes at a critical time for the US’ war against terrorism, with Washington’s military and diplomatic campaign to make Kabul and Islamabad to work together against the resurgent al-Qaeda and Taliban poised delicately.
    • Dubbed the “bulldozer” for his hard charging style, Holbrooke, 69, browbeat and cajoled the nationalist leader of former Yugoslavia until he succeeded in forging a peace deal in Balkans in November 1995 in Dayton in US.
Science & Technology
  • Interesting facts about the Earth
    • Ever wondered about the speed of the Earth’s movements?  How fast is it rotating around its axis and and how fast is it revolving around the Sun?
    • It was an eye opener.  It rotates at the speed of 1000 miles per hour.  That translates to about 1609 km/hr.  It revolves around the Sun at about 1,07,306 km/hr.  
    • That means, we are also moving at that speed without doing anything; don’t we?
    • The source for the above answers is here.
Language Lessons
  • swill: Verb
    • Feed pigs; Drink large quantities of (liquid, especially alcoholic drink)