The tale of stranded ships 

The wheat export ban is one of the hottest topics, nationally. One of the problems the Centre has to grapple with is pre-dated letters of credit (LCs) produced by some exporting firms. But one issue that has gone unreported till now is that a few ships have been stranded at Kandla. And what is even more interesting is that all belong to big corporates or exporting firms. 

One ship has been stranded since one of the companies produced a back-dated LC. Another ship is anchored since the exporting firm had shown it as having departed even before it docked at Kandla! A third ship, engaged by an influential corporate house, is also reportedly held back at Kandla. Little birds are trying to find out why.  

Competition hotting up in insurance?

Buzz in the insurance industry circles is that the insurance regulator, IRDAI, is gearing up to give approvals to as many as eight new players to enter the industry — both life and non-life. When a seasoned hack recently quizzed a top life insurance company CEO in the private sector as to how jittery he was about the impending competition, pat came the reply: “More the merrier”! 

More surprising, the CEO went on to say how India needs more Davids to take on the behemoth (yes, you guessed it right) which is being seen as the Goliath in the life insurance industry! 

When silence is the best answer 

At a programme organised by Isha Foundation, the Prime Minister said India has achieved 10 per cent ethanol blending target, five months ahead of schedule. Elaborating on the enormity of the achievement, he said that in 2014 ethanol blending was at 1.5 per cent. There are three clear benefits of achieving this goal, he explained. First, it has led to a reduction of 27 lakh tonnes of carbon emission. Second, it has saved foreign exchange worth ₹41,000 crore. And, third, farmers of the country have earned ₹40,600 crore in the last eight years due to the increase in ethanol blending. No sooner had the PM said this, the official press information bureau and many topnotch government officials started tweeting it or forwarding to their respective WhatsApp groups. 

In one of the groups, a hack asked: “Will this reduce petrol price?” No second guesses for the answer from the officials in the group — there was complete silence! 

Tummy comes to the fore

A hilarious argument between Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and one of the municipality leaders from Trinamool Congress went viral recently with the CM referring to his bulging tummy as “MadhyaPradesh”. At a recent meeting, Banerjee expressed concern about the health of the leader, who apparently weighed 125 kg. On prodding, he admitted to having pakoras (fried snacks) every morning. When she advised him to follow healthy eating habit and also exercise, he said that he did workout for nearly one-and-a-half hours every day.

Unable to believe him, Banerjee went on to quiz him on the nature of the workouts, and he confided that he would do a number of breathing exercises including ‘ Kapalbhati’ every day. He also went on to say that he did 1,000 Kapalbhatis every morning.  The CM then challenged him to show 1,000 Kapalbhatis on stage and said that she would reward him with ₹10,000 immediately.  So much for a bulging tummy! 

Bonhomie ahead of elections 

Political exigencies always shape narratives of parties and politicians, particularly when they tend to get into election mode. The recent comments by Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao are a case in point. After hitting headlines for unprovoked comment on conditions in Andhra Pradesh recently, the minster has now taken a friendlier stance, describing AP Chief Minster YS Jagan Mohan Reddy as his ‘ peddnna’ (elder brother). 

He did not ignore the opposition leader in AP and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu too, and said he had no differences with him. Political circles in both the Telugu-speaking States attribute this sudden bonhomie to political interests, as Telangana is to go for Assembly polls next year. 

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