Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bidazzled - A new online auction experience

Bidazzled has come up with an innovative idea towards online auctions. Online auctions with bids running upto many days and waiting for the bid to finally get over and catch hold of the stuff that you have won after many tiring days is a thing of the past. If your one whose has tried lots of online auctions and fed up with the way it works, then Bidazzled is the place you need to be to have an enriching(literally!!!) online auction experience.

Bidazzled was launched in early November, is redefining the online auction by offering savings of up to 90% on name brand merchandise. This is something people would have never heard of. Generally called as Penny Auctions, bids are purchased in advance and then used to bid on merchandise. The price increases a few cents with each bid placed and a few seconds are added to the countdown clock to give others a chance to bid. The main highlights of Bidazzled is that you win, Bidazzled typically make an offer to buy the item back for either cash or cash and bids or even just the bids. This makes the auction more fun and profitable to the customer. Also, Auction winners usually save over 80% off retail and you can purchase the auction item less the investment you had in the auction.
On the flip side, if you dont win,Bidazzled gives you up to 50 Bonus Bids as a thank you for participating. Isn't that cool ? And there is 15 additional bids to my readers as well. All you guys need to do is enter this code "BBP1202A " in your registration age and you get 15 additional bids.
And there is a viral refferal program in Bidazzled , which works this way:
A refers B. A receives 5 Bonus Bids
B refers C. A receives 4 Bonus Bids
C refers D. A receives 3 Bonus Bids
D refers E. A receives 2 Bonus Bids
E refers F. A receives 1 Bonus Bid.
So, why are you still waiting??? Log on to Bidazzled and place your bids to your favourite things now!!!
Please note that a fund has been created by Bidazzled and the whole money collected through this will fund a lung cancer charity (The RuchFoundation: ).

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This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Bidazzled. All opinions are 100% mine.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Barrack Obama wins Nobel Prize for peace

US President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize less than a year after taking office.

Many observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking.The Nobel Committee said he won it for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples".

There were a record 205 nominations for this year's peace prize. Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Chinese dissident Hu Jia had been among the favourites. Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.

Among earlier US leaders, Theodore Roosevelt won the prize in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson won it in 1919.
The Nobel prize was invented by the Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel, and was first awarded in 1901. The prize-giving ceremony for the peace award is due to take place on 10 December in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Davis cup: India beats South Africa to enter world group stage

India No. 1 Somdev Devvarman beat Rik de Voest 3-6, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-4 in a marathon first reverse singles to win the Davis Cup World Group play-off 3-1 against South Africa. Tenacity of Somdev and Voest engineered a prodigious tennis game which the Indian won ,after an energy-sapping four hour and 38 minutes battle at the Ellis Park indoor stadium.India last played in 16-team World Group in 1998 when it lost 1-4 to Italy. Thrice India reached in the final of the World Group but finished runners-up on all occasions.
India have taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the tie. Junior Australian Open champion Yuki Bhambri will make his Davis Cup debut in the dead singles rubber.

Friday, September 11, 2009

India becomes No:1 ODI team in the world

A disciplined India spanked New Zealand by six wickets in a drab low-scoring match to book a berth in Monday's final against Sri Lanka in the Compaq cup 2009. With this India for the first time in history becomes No:1 in ODI cricket. New Zealand crashed out of the Compaq Cup triangular series following a comprehensive six-wicket defeat to India at Colombo.

New Zealand were beaten for the second day in succession as India after Sri Lanka beat them last wednesday.

After scoring just 119 in their series opening defeat to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, the Kiwis managed just 155 at the same venue before India eased to the target to book a final date with the home nation.Sachin Tendulkar hit six fours in 46 in reply, before skipper Mahendra Dhoni and Suresh Raina shared an unbroken 72 to win it with 57 balls left.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Prakash Raj wins National award

Director Priyadarshan's off-beat Tamil film Kanchivaram has won the best feature film award at the 55th National Film Awards 2007, while tamil actor Prakash Raj has been adjudged best actor for his performance in the same film.Malayalam film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan is best director for Naalu Pennungal while Kannada actress Uma Shri is best actress for Gulabi Talkies.

There had been lot of talks about the battle between Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan for the best actor in the National Awards. But as it turned around both the Bollywood stars were left empty handed as Prakash Raj walked away with the award. Prakash Raj won the award for his superb performance in the movie Kanchivaram.

Bollywood star Aamir Khan's directorial debut Taare Zameen Par gets the best family welfare award and Prasoon Joshi the award for the best lyrics for the song "Maa" from the same film about a dyslexic child. The song also gets Shankar Mahadevan the National Award for best playback singer.

The best special effects award was won by Super star Rajnikanth's Sivaji directed by Shankar. Shahrukh Khan's "Chak De India" won the Best film award in Wholesome entertainment category.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The myth of Obamaphobia in India

The moment the name "Barrack Obama" is uttered and people around the world visualize the African-American who infused huge confidence into the sagging spirits of many Americans. His campaign trail had a lot of fresh air both during the primaries and also in the Presidential campaign. He made it a point to touch the issues pertaining to people and lent in his plans and ideas for the future of America. The pure way in which he connected with his own fellow Americans coupled with growing anger against the Presidency of George Bush transformed into crushing win for the democrats. He was the right man, at the right time and someone many Americans looked up to for a change. His slogan of "Yes, we can!!!" worked wonders and was the right tonic for the people who were hit by the worst recession in six decades.

President Bush's era was painted with lots of hatred and a growing sense of "American Bullyism" was felt by countries across the world. The events like 9/11 and the wars that followed in Afghanisthan and the unnecessary war in Iraq alienated America from the rest of the world. America under Bush regime was spending billions of dollars in the so called "War on terror". This only made America and its people more insecure and is still is. Many terrorist attacks in American-friendly nations followed like the one in London and Madrid.

Back home in America, economy was weaking every quarter and more people lost jobs every month. The bad management practices which crept into the American MNC's laid seeds for a painful economic chaos. Bush's ratings was spiralling down very quickly and was regarded as the worst President in many decades. It all culminated towards the "Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy" last September and American economy had a free fall from then on. This was when a man with broad smile and detailed plans for his country entered the scene- Barack Husssain Obama. The rest is history with him becoming the first ever African-American to chair American Presidency.

All said and done, George Bush could be regarded as a villain in the rest of the world, but somehow he was very close to India. For the first time in decades, America laid out red carpet state salute welcome to an Indian Prime Minister when Dr. Manmohan Singh visited America in July 2005. Bush and Manmohan Singh had a great working relationship and signed an historic Indo-US Nuke deal. India was always quiet close to Bush and he went out of his way to convince American congress on the Nuke deal proposal. Bush's love for India was also seen as a tactical move to counter the growing Chinese economy. Bush was one of the few American Presidents who gave a strong support to India which led Dr.Manmohan Singh to say that Bush was ver much loved by Indian people during his last meeting with the American President. Dr.Singh received lot of flak for that particular remark back home.

Many in India are quiet apprehensive even from the Presidential campaign about Barrack Obama and his policies. His policies of greater check on non-prolifreation and curbing of offshoring jobs to other countries particularly IT jobs to India created lot of panic in India. He was one among the few who raised amnedments to Indo-US nuclear deal in the congress which he later didnot press upon. He was opposed to tranferring sensitive nuclear technology to India. With his election to Presidency in January, India was quiet nervous about the approach he would take towards India. His famous quote of "Say no to Bangalore and yes to Buffalo" was like hearing death knell to many entrepreneurs in India. A myth was being created that Obama would stop India's ascendancy in global stage.

The IT sector was quiet dissatisfied by the protectionist policies charted out by Obama administration which could hit this sector in particular very badly. This was just an illusion. Obama proposed the abolition of tax breaks to those AMERICAN MNC's who shipped jobs to other countries like India. Earlier, American business houses which made profits from their overseas subsidiaries(easily put as "branches") were liable to pay only 2% of their profits as taxes to American government. At a time of huge economic crisis and raising fiscal deficit in America, this kind of low taxes was seen to be quiet biased. So, they have proposed to increase the taxes to those MNC'c to upto 35%. This in no way is applicable or will affect Indian IT companies or any other sector companies for that matter. The proposal itself had a lot of opposition from companies like Micrsoft, IBM and HP who will be affected by this proposal and to top it all these proposal if accepted in American congress will come into effect only from 2011.

The main worry is the cut in H1B1 visas which are necessary for foreign nationals to work in America. With more offshoring mix than onsite in many Indian IT companies now, this could also be weathered.

Other issue which makes Indian diplomats fret is the American U-turn in a sense towards opposition to sharing sensitive nuclear technology to India. This proposal was made by America to other G8 countries but with a lukewarm response. Russia and France have already shot down the proposal and has given full support to India in tranferrring all latest Nuke technology to Indian nuke reactors. Many American nuclear companies have raised voices against this because they could loose lots of nuclear business to their French and Russian counterparts due to this proposal. These are the main fears(mainly myths) that Indians are suffering from the so called Obamaphobia.

One thing that Indians should be clear is "Obama is elected President of America". It would be very short- sighted to discuss whether he would be any good or bad to India. His role as President of America is to work for American people and their improvement. It would be better if we have an eye on what our elected politcians and what they will do for our country's improvement rather than worry about policies and work of Presidents and PM's of other countries towards our country.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Amitabh Bachchan to host Big Boss

Actor Amitabh Bachchan will host Bigg Boss 3, the third season of the popular TV reality show which will telecasted in Colours which is a part of Viacom 18. Amitabh Bachchan first arrived on the small screen with Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) in 2000. The impact of the show is now part of television legend. It revived Bachchan's sagging career and established the struggling Star Plus as the No. 1 entertainment channel.

The Indian version of the popular British reality show Big Brother, Big Boss is set to get bigger and Amitabh Bachchan is going to take over as host from Shilpa Shetty, who hosted it last season.Bachchan will invite viewers to send in their choices for housemates and Colors will attempt to get some of the people chosen by viewers. Amitabh Bachchan will also interview the housemates as they get evicted. He will play the role of a philosopher, giving housemates his wisdom and advice.This will be his second stint on the small screen.

Bigg Boss rated reasonably well when it was telecast on Colors last year soon after the channel's launch in July. But it was more successful at being constantly in the eye of a storm. The show is expected to go on air around December.

Bigg Boss will have celebrity contestants locked into a house under the surveillance of multiple cameras for a period of three months without any contact with the outside world. Periodic eliminations will take place based on voting by housemates and the audiences.

Sachin Tendulkar's new bat

Sachin Tendulkar and his MRF bat have been synonymous for the past 13 years. It was a big hit among young kids and parents literally bought MRF bats, so that there kids will also become a Sachin Tendulkar. But now, after 13 years of association with MRF, Sachin Tendulkar will sport a new bat. Adidas will sponsor that bat and Sachin's bat will bear its name on it.
Sachin Tendulkar is playing active cricket after a long well deserved rest. He played his last cricket match in South Africa in IPL 2 for Mumbai Indians. He said during the function that ODI's should be more innovative if it wants to survive the T20 assault. He also said that he hasn't thought about retirement yet.

Apparel major Adidas today announced its foray into cricket equipment business in the country and said it plans to become a leader in the over Rs 100-crore organised cricket gears market in the next five years. The company's long-standing brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar was the main design advisor for the new range. During the first two years, Adidas is aiming to capture at least a double-digit share of the organised cricket equipment.
The marketing campaign for the new range will be spearheaded by Sachin Tendulkar.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Rajashekar Reddy dies in helicopter crash

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and four others were killed when their helicopter crashed on a hill. The helicopter crashed about 49 nautical miles east of Kurnool, more than an hour it took off from Hyderabad's Begumpet airport yesterday.The charred bodies of 60-year-old Reddy and others and the wreckage of the twin-engined Bell 430 helicopter were located at 8.20 AM. The other bodies are identified as the ones of Pilot, co-pilot, CM's security officer Wesley and his secretary Subramanyam IAS.
Reddy, 60, a powerful politician who had never lost an election during his 30-year political career, led the Congress party to victories in both state and Parliament elections in May, and was just months into his second term as chief minister.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his condolence messsage described YSR's death as a personal loss and said he was a "role model" and an outstanding leader with a tireless commitment to serve the people. He said he was stellar leader and loved my masses.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that she was "deeply saddened" by the news, and described as a "leader of reason and dynamism". She remembered him who had full determination and commitment to bring the Congress back to power both at the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh in elections earlier this year. Both the PM and Congress president will attend his funeral tomorrow.
Meanwhile, AP Finance Minister Rosaiah will be the caretaker Chief Minister of the state. He appealed to the people to stay calm in this hour of crisis. The government said all schools and other instituitions will remain closed tomorrow as a mark of respect to the late CM.

ICC Awards 2009: MS Dhoni gets three nominations

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan head the list of nominees for the annual International Cricket Council awards, with both being nominated in three categories. Dhoni had earlier won the ODI Player of the Year in 2008 and was also named in the ODI Team of the Year. Dhoni was nominated in three categories - ICC Cricketer of the Year, Test Player of the Year and ODI Player of the Year awards.Amit Mishra was nominated as the emerging player of 2009.Dilshan, yet to win an ICC award, was also nominated for cricketer and test player of the year, plus Twenty20 performance of the year.

Indian pacer Zaheer Khan also found his name in the list of nominees, after he was named as a strong contender for the T20 Performer of the Year award for his 4/19 against Ireland.Gautam Gambhir and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh made the grade for the Cricketer of the Year award.

VVS Laxman joined the trio of Dhoni, Gambhir and Harbhajan to be in the line for the Test Player of the Year award while Yuvraj and Sehwag were also in the fray for the honour of ODI Player of the Year. In the women's section, Mithali Raj and Priyanka Roy were nominated.

The long list of nominees in the eight award categories was announced well ahead of the official ceremony in South Africa on Oct. 1.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Now talk for hours for just Re.1: Tata's innovative plan

Innovation once again from Tatas.Close on the heels of Tata Docomo’s ‘pay-per-second’ offer, dual-technology telecom service provider Tata Teleservices (TTSL) today unveiled a ‘pay per call’ plan under its CDMA brand Tata Indicom.The new plan marks a dramatic shift in airtime pricing, in effect offering unlimited talk time. Telecom operator Tata Teleservices' new tariff plan allows CDMA subscribers unlimited hours on local calls for just Re 1.

Tata Teleservices pre-paid CDMA subscribers will be charged Re 1 for all local calls and Rs 3 for long distance calls, regardless of the duration.The plan also offers subsidised rate for SMSes or short message service at 50 paisa for both local and national SMS.The pay per call plan is initially being introduced on the pre-paid platform, and all subscribers who opt for it will be charged a daily fee of Re 1 to avail of the tariff option. The company expects volumes to make up for the loss of average revenue per user in this plan. TTSL's CDMA service is pan-India and has a subscriber base of under 40 million.Rival dual-technology telco Reliance Communications, which, in early years gained market share competing on price, is almost certain to come up with an equivalent plan

Monday, August 31, 2009

IL&FS to be the new promoters of Maytas Infra

IL&FS(Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services) Ltd. will take over the management control of Maytas Infra Ltd. The board of Maytas Infra Ltd, linked to scam-hit outsourcer Satyam Computer, has received a proposal to replace the existing founders of the company from IL&FS limited. IL&FS is the single largest shareholder of Maytas and will control 37% of equity in the company as some other large shareholders will pledge their shares with it.IL&FS currently holds a 14.5% stake in Maytas. The existing promoter shareholders will step down.
Maytas was founded by the family of Ramalinga Raju, the former chairman of Satyam Computer Services Ltd., who confessed in January to an accounting fraud at Satyam.
IL&FS Financial Services will spend about Rs.1.5 billion to buy 22.51 percent of equity in Maytas Infra Ltd.

Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal goes to polls on October 13

Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh will go to polls on October 13 on a single phase election time table. This was announced by Chief Election Commisioner Mr.Naveen Chawla. The counting will take place on October 22. There is an unusual 9-day gap between the polling day and counting day.

This, Election Commision says is due to Diwali that comes right between on October 18. This is also the first elections after the General elections which took place last April-May where Congress party romped home with victory.Despite the ongoing controversy over Electronic Voting Machines, the same will be used for casting vote in all three states. Video cameras will be placed in sensitive polling booths. With this announcement the Model Code of Conduct has been activated.

There are 60 seats in Arunachal Pradesh, 90 seats in Haryana and 288 seats in Maharashtra assemblies respectively. There are 7.56 crore voters in Maharashtra and 1.20 crore voters in Haryana. EVMs will be used in all the three states.

Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana are expected to go Congress way mainly due to a strong party base and also a very weak opposition in BJP. Maharashtra will be the one to watch. The Congress-NCP combine are likely to go together against the 3o years of coalition combine of Shiv Sena and BJP. BJP is certainly on a sticky wicket due to internal party uproar and fights within the party high command. Also, the Raj Thackeray's MNS could play a spoiler and eat into the votes of BJP and Shiv Sena.

Congress, fresh from its victory at the centre is itching to take hold of the Maharashtra government for the third consecutive time. The main qusetion being whether they would contest alone in Maharashtra or contuinue with their combination with NCP which is headed by BCCI-president and Union Agricultural minister Sharad Pawar. Pawar had a very poor General elections winning only 9 seats in 48-seat Lok Sabha contest.

Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella moves to Ferrari

Belgian GP runner-up Giancarlo Fisichella has completed a temporary switch to Ferrari for the rest of the F1 season. Fisichella would replace Luca Badoer, who has struggled as a replacement for the injured Felipe Massa. With Massa definitely out of the reckoning till next year, Ferrari made a call to Force India boss Vijay Mallya and requested him to release Fisichella. Fisichella's move to Ferrari is now confirmed. Force India likely to call up Vitantonio Liuzzi to take Fisichella's place.

Badoer, Ferrari's official reserve driver, was drafted in to replace the injured Felipe Massa after legendary seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher was forced to shelve his comeback plans. Fisichella's contract with Force India runs out at the end of the 2009 season.
Massa is recovering at home in Brazil after suffering a fractured skull in a crash during qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.Ferrari are believed to have run out of patience with Badoer, who has qualified last at both of his races so far.
While Raikkonen won the race at Spa, Badoer trailed in last, nearly 48 seconds slower than the driver in front.
The Italian GP is on the 13 September, followed by Grands Prix in Singapore and Japan, before the teams head to Brazil. Though, the constructor's championship for Ferrari is out of question this year, Ferrari intends to have a strong second driver to support Kimi Raikonnen. Felipe Massa could return to active F1 only next season. Fisichella'stransfer will be a great boost for Ferrari and can give Kimi Raikonnen much needed support. Felipe Massa, meanwhile can concentrate on his full recovery and comeback stronger next season.

Economy grows by 6.1% in Q1

Indian economy grew an impressive 6.1% in Q1 of FY2010. The YOY growth was at about 7.8% while last quarter(Q4 FY2009) was at about 5.8%. So, QoQ the economy has grwon by around 300 basis points. As government stimulus measures helped spur demand, although a poor monsoon threatens to crimp growth later in the year even as it drives inflation. The economists feel the full impact of drought in certain areas of the country will be seen only in the coming quarters, especially in the Q2 and Q3 of this year.

The segment grouping financing, insurance, real estate and business services led growth in gross domestic product, gaining 8.1% on year. Services sector was pleasant surprise which grew by 7.8%, while as expected Agriculture was worst performing with 2.4% vs 3% last year. The drought situation will only decrease the growth in agriculture in the coming months. Manufacturing and mining grew by 3.4% and 7.9% in June quarter compared with 5.5% and 4.6% respectively in the year-ago quarter.

The whole year GDP guidance is at about 6.1-6.4% taking into consideration the agricultural slowdown and also some counter balance from manufacturing,services and mining sectors. This is below the promised growth of 7% by the Finance Minister in his budgetary speech. Weak rains will hurt purchasing power of consumers in rural areas and drag down industrial output. Drought situation may impact around 400-700 basis points of the total GDP growth.

Hatoyama becomes Prime Minister of Japan

Its was a historic moment in Japan's history. Yukio Hatayoma ended five decades of Liberal Democratic Party rule in Japan. The Democratic Party of Japan(DPJ) headed by its leader Yukio Hatayoma cruised through in the national elections to hand otgoing PM Taro Aso and leader of LDP its worst ever defeat in fifty years. Democratic Party of Japan seized 308 seats in Lower House election, bouncing the Liberal Democratic Party from power. The DPJ's tally far exceeded the 241 seats needed for a single majority and surpassed the 296 seats the LDP won in its landslide victory in the previous Lower House election in 2005.

The Liberal Democrats have governed Japan for virtually all of the past 54 years.Japan's electorate wanted a significant change in old school policies of the LDP, which includes a more equivocal diplomatic relations with the USA rather than a more submissive approach all these decades. At the same time, the Democrats want to improve relations with other Asian countries, like China, Taiwan, S.Korea and India.

Hatoyamo has pledged to foster a family-friendly state by abolishing high education fees, increasing child support to £170 a month and introducing a minimum income for farmers. Tax breaks for small and medium-sized businesses, minimum pensions and the abolition of road tolls are among other promises. The child support plan is one which is aimed at increasing the fertility rates in Japan which is shockingly in the nagative. This would lead to an population degrowth by 2030. So, the increase in child support plan is one way of encouraging couples to have more child.

Japan managed to climb out of a yearlong recession in the second quarter, but its economy remains weak. Unemployment and anxiety over falling wages threatens to undermine any recovery. The jobless rate has risen to a record 5.7 percent.But with Japan's public debt heading toward 200 percent of gross domestic product the largets for any wealthy nation, it will be very difficult for export-driven-country like Japan to pull out of this recession and lead a path to high-end recovery.As China threatens to overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy as early as next year, the pressure is on for Mr Hatoyama to reinvent the nation’s trade and industry Japan's people are hoping the new government with new ideas will lead the country towards the glory days of 80's and 90's.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Raikonnen wins Belgium GP; Force India's Fisichella takes second position

It was a close race and who would have thought the race to the top would be between F1's top budget team Ferrari and the "low -budget" Force India. It was a dream weekend for India's liquor barron Vijay Mallya-owned Force India. Italian Giancarlo Fisichella of Force India got into a shock pole position. The race started with Fisichella having a clean start while Kimi Raikonnen in his Ferrari over stearing in the first corner and somehow with his adept driving joining the track at third position.The biggest irony of the race was when Fisichella was racing first, his team-mate Adrian Sutil was at last. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton got into a worst collision in Belgian Grandprix in years and soon found out that he was out of the race along with Brawn's Jenson Button.

Kimi Raikonen with his superior Ferrari car took the top slot. Soon it was Kimi vs Fisichella with Fisichella pushing the Finn right to his limit. With both having a 2-pitstop strategy, both fought to gain every second of the race. Meanwhile, a pitstop mistake from Renault team had Alonso retiring from the race. The final showdown with Ferrari and Force India both going to pits at the samew position was mindboggling and it was Ferrari's Kimi Raikonnen who secured his top slot and Fischella settling for a second position. Red Bull's Sebastien Vettel came third. Barrichello in his Brawn GP had a heart-stopping last three laps due to an engine leak finished seventh and hold on to his second place in Champioship points.
Jenson Button still holds his No:1 in terms of Championship points followed by his teammate in Brawn GP, Rubens Barrichello. In constructors championship, Brawn hold on to its top position, while Red Bull and Ferrari are at second and third position respectively.
Race Result:
1. Kimi Raikkonnen(Finland) - Ferrari.
2. Giancarlo Fisichella(Italy)- Force India.
3. Sebastien Vettel(Germany)- Red Bull.

Chandrayaan mission called off formally

THE CHANDRAYAN I mission is over and India's honeymoon in lunar space came to an abrupt end. The actual lifetime of Chandrayaan 1 is 2 years but everything came to end in just 312 days.The country’s space agency has lost radio contact with the lunar craft Chandrayaan-1 at around 1:30 AM on August 29th.Data from Chandrayaan-1’s last orbit was transmitted until 12.25am on Saturday to the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore.With communication totally lost, there is no transmission or receipt of signals between Chandrayaan-I and ground control stations.

Nearly 95% of Chandrayaan’s scientific goals had already been accomplished in less than a year. At Rs 386 crore, the mission that put India in the global space league of six nations, was launched on October 22. Chandrayaan-I aimed to take high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the lunar surface, especially the permanently-shadowed polar regions.The craft carried payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. One of its objectives was to search for evidence of water or ice and attempt to identify the chemical composition of certain lunar rocks.

Chandrayaan-1’s temperature raised to over 50 degrees Celsius, prompted ISRO to switch off most of the 11 instruments it was carrying. The ‘star’ sensor, unable to bear the heat, collapsed.Though there was no official word on the cause of the loss of contact, space experts, said it could be due to a power problem in the spacecraft, or the spacecraft being hit by a some space object. Earlier this year, the Indian government increased the federal budget for space research to about $1 billion from $700 million.

Force India's Fisichella takes pole position in Belgium

Nobody could believe their eyes.Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella took pole position in the Belgian Grand Prix in an extraordinary qualifying session.The 36-year-old's performance created a sensation not only because it was the team's first pole, but also because the team is yet to score a single point in its one and a half years of existence.The Mercedes-powered Force India, with a new aerodynamic upgrade introduced at the last race in Valencia, has genuine pace particularly at a fast and flowing circuit like Spa - and Fisichella made the most of it.

The good news for Button is that the Red Bulls also struggled with their set-up, Sebastian Vettel qualifying in eighth and Mark Webber ninth, and they are likely to find a McLaren in their rear view mirrors before too long. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was another favourite to falter badly, after qualifying 12th fastest.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli will start second for Sunday's race ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Barrichello's Brawn. Kimi Raikonnen will start from sixth in the grid while his team mate Badoer, who replaced injured Felipe Massa continued to have a horrible time at the circuit as he spun off the track to finish last in qualifying. His days in Ferrari are literally numbered. Hopefully, Force India will grab their first points in 29 races.

Friday, August 28, 2009

3G spectrum auction in 3 months; reserve price at Rs.3500 crore

The deadlock over the reserve price for third-generation radio frequency auction, vital for services such as video-calling and high-speed internet access on mobile phones, was finally resolved.The empowered Group of Ministers (e-GoM) finalised the reserve price for auction of at Rs. 3,500 crore. The auction will be completed within three months, and the winners will take another 3-5 months to roll out the services.

The EGoM also decided that a total of five players will be allowed to offer 3G services in every circle, of which one slot will be reserved for state-owned telcos BSNL & MTNL. BSNL and MTNL already own and operate 3G services. They will have to match the highest auction price in each circle.The 3G spectrum auction will provide mobile users a host of facilities like video streaming, richer internet connections—basically use of data on phones not possible in the current 2G spectrum and also put behind irritants like call drops and connectivity problems. The group of ministers (GoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, also fixed a reserve price of Rs 1,750 crore for the auction of wireless broadband (WiMax) spectrum.The e-GoM decided to auction only three slots of spectrum for WiMAX services.

The government will earn at least Rs 35,000 crore from the auction. The more aggressive the bids are, the richer will the government be. This will provide some succour to the government which is struggling with its finances with a fiscal deficit already estimated at a high of 6.8 per cent of the GDP. The Prime Minister’s Office and the finance ministry expect 3G services to attract foreign players and generate high revenues.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Salman Khan to buy an IPL team

Bollywood action hero Salman Khan is the latest cine star to join the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has expressed interest in buying a team. The bollywood star met Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi and expressed his desire to be the owner of an IPL team.Salman is eyeing an IPL team in the 2010 season. Modi said that Salman had approached to discuss all the pros and cons of buying an IPL team. Modi also confirmed that the actor would be buying one of the new teams and was not interested in any of the existing ones.

A lot of Bollywood actors are a part of the cash-rich T20 League with Shah Rukh Khan owning the Kolkata Knight Riders, Preity Zinta with partner Ness Wadia owning the Kings XI Punjab, and Shilpa Shetty, with Raj Kundra, owning the Rajasthan Royals.

The fourth season of the IPL in 2011 will see two new teams and they would be up for grabs through a bidding process later this year. This takes the total number of teams in 2011 season to ten teams. Auctions for two teams will take place in January 2010. The cities that would go under the hammer would be decided by December this year at the latest. Each team could fetch the BCCI anywhere between $200-300 million. Likely cities that could be auctioned are Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Vishakhaptanam and be the hometown for new teams.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wasim Akram to coach Kolkatta Knight Riders

Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, inarguably the most gifted left-arm quick of all time, is in the frame to take John Buchanan’s place in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ set-up. The good rapport between Akram and KKR captain Sourav Ganguly may well seal the deal for him. This process, which includes a presentation, is to be completed by the end of this week. Sourav Ganguly who is tipped to regain the captaincy next season, may be present at the meeting. Akram is part of the final few coaches who have been called on August 30.

India's former coach John Wright was the frontrunner to succeed Buchanan, who’d been the franchise’s head of cricket operations until his sacking two months ago. However, impressive presentations by Richard Pybus and Duncan Fletcher have opened up the race somewhat. Others who may be interviewed for the post include former Aussie all-rounder Michael Bevan and former Indian wicket-keeper Praveen Amre. Former Indian batsmen WV Raman, Ashok Malhotra and Lalchand Rajput made their presentations in front of principal owner Shah Rukh Khan and Ganguly last week.

Akram's candidature, however, is not expected to carry much weight because, the former Pakistani legend would essentially be a bowling coach and Akram himself is less keen on a full-time coach's job and would like to work as a consultant. Also, Wasim Akram has prior media commitments with ESPN-Star Sports.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Motorola to test 4G in India

What? 4G, In India? We have had a torrid time implementing the 3G spectrum and license and now that first of the 3G Services have started trickling in, Motorola wants to do a trial run of 4G in India! Technology changes with day and our slow government took lot of time selling 3G mobile phones and wanted to raise about Rs 35,000 crores from trading radio frequency for the existing version. But now, Motorola brings in the next level 4G phones. This could mean spoiling the broth for the government’s plans.

4G can offer upto 70 Mbps download speed on a mobile phone. We don't have those kinds of speeds even on our broadband networks today. That is in a normal broaband network, whereas it takes 4-5 hours for downloading an film with an average space of 700 MB- 1.5 GB, with the advent of 4G, the same movie can be downloaded in 10-30 minutes. Ofcourse, it will come our way with a huge premium, but it could also save lots of online time. This technology is known as Long-Term Evolution(LTE). Lots of research on this technology has been done by American electronics majors Motorola, Verizon and also by Japan's NTT DoCoMo which has a JV with Tata Communications for rolling out 2G GSM services across India.

The DoT(Department of Telecom) is understood to have prepared a concept paper on 4G. Apart from Motorola, other telecom vendors are also in the process of trials in India. Many services providers would wait and watch the growth of 4G. This may affect the enthusiasm for getting spectrum from the government for 3G networks. Government had earlier planned to rake in Rs.35,000 crores by auctioning 3G spectrum. More the delay in the 3G auction, more the pain for Government's exchequer.

It also shows how slow the government process can be in India . When countries around the world are all providing high quality 4G network, getting started with 3G network in India is in itself proving to be a big hurdle. In the end, people are the real sufferers because they are forced to use hapless 2G GSM network which is quiet inferior in speed and voice quality when compared to 3G, leave alone 4G.

England regain the Ashes; Ponting eyes 2013 tour to England

England regained the Ashes after beating Australia by 197 runs Sunday to win the deciding fifth test and take the five-match series 2-1. Michael Hussey was the last man out after tea at The Oval, for 121, for Australia to be dismissed for 348 chasing a mammoth 546 for victory.England, 2-1 victors, had grabbed back the oldest prize in sport, in a repeat of the scoreline four years ago, which made household names of Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan.

With a day to spare. That was the lovely part. For once, England’s cricketers did not test the resources of an already overworked bench strength of English cricketers.

This is not a vintage Ashes year, it must be said. Australians didnot have the aura and invincibility that they possessed for alomost a decade. The "ruthless assault" which created panic and frightened oppositions across the board is no longer their traits. Perhaps, they have become vulnerable without the presence of all those greats.Had Andrew Strauss, deservedly the player of the tournament, newcomer Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann not batted so superbly to set such a vast total, England would not have been safe.
This may be an average Australian team in relative terms, but in Ponting it possesses one of sport’s greatest competitors, and had England not risen to the occasion at The Oval, the momentum Australia achieved with the victory at Headingley in the fourth Test would have been unstoppable. Australian captain Ricky Ponting, was the perhaps the main culprit. His batting skills have seen a sharp decline and his captaincy is not something to write home about. At cricial moments, like his run out in the second innings in The Oval, he failed to take the bull by its horns. Having said that, as the old saying goes, the captain will only be as good as his team.Ricky Ponting became the first Australia captain to lose two Ashes series in England in 119 years and then indicated he will try to return for the next tour in 2013 to avenge the defeats of 2005 and 2009, which may not be all that easy as discovered by Shane Warne this year.

Due to this loss against England,Australia now drop down to No 4 on the Test rankings.This is the first time that any country other than Australia has filled top spot in both formats of the game. It is the first time that Australia have lost the No 1 Test ranking since the current system was introduced in 2003. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka with their win against New Zealand claimed No:2 spot followed by India at No:3.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jinnah jinx haunts Jaswant Singh

For long, Bharatiya Janatha Party(BJP) has found itself toeing the line of its big brother and parent party in politcs, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak(RSS). Party men, be it their tallest leader LK Advani or even someone who is a basic member of BJP have not dared to cross the Lakshman Rekha drawn by RSS,when it comes to their age-old ideaology, the Hindutva. L.K.Advani's comments on Mohammad Ali Jinnah being a secular leader created a huge uproar in the BJP and the RSS in 2005. He was literally given marching orders by the RSS from the post of party leadership. He found out the wrong way that it was RSS and not BJP who call the shots in ideological matters relating to BJP.
Now its the turn of Jaswant Singh, the senior most party leader and a close confidant of two pillars of BJP namely Vajpayee and Advani. His comments in his book regarding "Jinnah, Independence and Partition" have caused yet another furore. He has indicated that both Nehru and Patel were equally responsible for the partition and its the ignorance of Indian public to make a villian out of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the first PM of newly formed Islamic reublic of Pakistan. He has also praised Jinnah of being a nationalist and only one who has the distinction of being the President of All India Congress Party and also Muslim league.A controversial new book suggests that Jinnah, a secular man who drank and smoked and rarely visited the mosque, has too long been demonised by Indian society.
It is a fact that Nehru and Jinnah had strained relations. Nehru along with Vallabhai Patel, it is believed, refused the idea of Jinnah being made the Prime Minister of united India, so that there wont be any partition. This idea was allegedly proposed by Gandhi himself which was flatly refused by Congress members except a few muslim leaders like Abul Kalam Azad. These are facts which are hotly debated even today and refused in some quarters as mere myths by Indian historians.
The decision to expel Singh came after the release of his book “Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence” which the Bharatiya Janata Party said did not represent the views of the party. The decision was taken in the "Chintan Baitak" or "brain-stroming session" called by the BJP leaders in Simla from August 19-21. Ironically, Advani has given the go-ahead for the expulsion process of Jaswanth Singh to take place, whille Jaswant Singh was one of the few who supported LK Advani during his "Jinnah Controversy" in 2005. Many believe this is sheer double standards and refusal in the part of BJP to come out of its intolerant ideology.
The main agenda of this session being to discusss the recent poll debacle of BJP and the future steps to be taken in order to strengthen the party ahead of the assembly polls in four states including Maharashtra. The expulsion has become some kind of a distraction for the BJP taking the spotlight away from the "Chintan Baitak". It has become a "Chinta Baitak" with BJP leaders scrambling for top post in the BJP and many having their won goals in BJP's succesion plan.
Meanwhile, in a trademark Narendra Modi style the book of Jaswant Singh has been banned in Gujrat territory. The ban on Jaswant's book comes soon after his expulsion from BJP.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rahul Dravid recalled to Indian one-day squad

Rahul Dravid is to make a return to one-day international cricket after being picked for India's tri-series trip to Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.The Indian selectors have picked a common 15-member squad for both the ODI tri-series in Sri Lanka and the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa.The 36-year-old, who last played an ODI in October 2007 against Australia in seven match series in Nagpur, is included in India's tri-series trip to Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

Indian selectors hope the 36-year-old will bolster the batting in the Champions Trophy on pacy South African pitches. A young Indian batting unit struggled against short-pitched bowling at the Twenty20 World Cup in England.As expected, Tendulkar who made himself unavailable for the four-match ODI series in the West Indies in June-July, is back to the squad along with Suresh Raina. Selectors have also retained wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, while leg-spinner Amit Mishra is picked at the expense of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. Medium pacer Praveen Kumar pipped a promising Sudeep Tyagi and gets a ticket to fly to Sri Lanka and South Africa

Explosive opening batsman Virender Sehwag is not in the squad as he is yet to recover from the shoulder injury sustained in the IPL.Fast bowler Zaheer Khan was already ruled out because of a shoulder injury.The tri-series in Sri Lanka, which has New Zealand as the third team, is set to begin on September 8 while the eight-nation Champions Trophy will be held from September 24 to October 5.

The squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and WK), Yuvraj Singh(VC),Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautham Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Yusuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayyar, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What is W,V and U-shaped recession ?

U,V,W or something else.... What shape will it be eventually ? Everyone wants to know about it. No, am not talking about something pertaining to English literature. Its about the painstaking graph that this economic recession will take through up until its end and for the world economy to come back to its normal growth progression. Well read and well-informed researchers and economists have all tried to through their hat in to decide the course-graph that this recession could eventually take.
The first case is the shape of 'V' that this recession could take. This essentially means that economy will have a steep decline in its growth, but its rebound will also be quiet sharp. This kind of recession and its recovery will resemble closely to the alphabet 'V'. This has always been the case in superficial recessions like the ones in 1983 and in 2001. These are typically those recessions that comes in a cyclical fashion after every economic bubble. They are shallow recessions which doesn't affect the job market in a significant manner. But this 'V' shaped rebound have been ruled out when it comes to this particular recession. The main reason being that this recession is an outcome of a virulent housing market bubble going bust. Soaring housing market and typically low interest rates have long fuelled a huge booming housing market in the US. People started using their homes like some kind of ATM machines, mortgaging them and withdrawing money and getting huge profits due to a booming housing market.
The sub-prime crisis and huge dip in housing market were instrumental in bringing the housing prices to record low levels. Unable to cope with rising interest rates and lowering home rates citizens felt it was impossible to either sell their homes or pay their mortgage loans. This led a huge amount of loan defaulters and many foreclosures followed. The banks unable to flush out these bad debts went bankrupt overnight. This was manily due to bad and directionless management of mortgage and bad debt accumulation by these banks.
This triggered a huge stock market crash which started immediately followed by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Lehmann Brothers. Many banks like AIG and Morgan Stanley faced unprecedented drain of assets and cash equivalents. Many Americans lost jobs as many industries like the automobile industry in particular, were closing down their many manufacturing plants.
This was the start of long and painful recession which many believe will chart out a 'U' shaped recovery in the coming year.Most economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, predict a slow and gradual upturn. To be sure, the telltale recovery signals have been flashing green lately. Factory output and new orders grew last month at the fastest pace in two years. These are what many state as "Green Shoots" in the recovery path of the economy.And with inventories of stores and manufacturers depleted, factories must soon ratchet up production just to restock. So, this is the way economists bet,the economy will grow to get out of recession, the 'U' shaped recovery, slow and painful recovery.
Now to the theory of a 'W' shaped recovery,the occurance of it,many believe is remote .The recovery will be muted, largely because consumers are in no mood to open their wallets. They have lost $13 trillion of wealth in the recession's housing and stock market crashes and appear determined to sock away any extra cash they have.The savings rate jumped to 5.2% in the second quarter from a low of 1% before the crisis. Consumer spending in the US accounts for 70% of the economy. So, any dip in consumer spending will greatly affect a dynamic, consumer centralized economy like the United States.
A small group of experts believes the economy will endure an unusual W-shaped, or "double-dip," recovery in which the economy falls back into recession before growing again.The massive liquidity, plus rising commodity prices, will increase inflation. Meanwhile, many believe the Fed reserve will be loath to raise interest rates to stave off inflation in 2010, because doing so could tamp down what will be a weak recovery in next year.So, these are the three major theories that is doing rounds in terms of recovery in global economy.

Whatever be the recovery path the economy takes, one thing that everyone comes to a consensus is that unless and until the US citizen starts spending again, the economical growth will not possible in a major way. There maybe green shoots or slight decrease in unemployment rate, but consumer confidence and higher spending are the ones which could lead a robust economical growth in the coming years.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Michael Schumacher calls off his comeback to F1

Michael Schumacher has called off his highly anticipated return to Formula One.He has not recovered from a neck injury he sustained in a motorcycling accident earlier this year.The seven times world champion had been due to replace Ferrari's Felipe Massa at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23.He announced on his personal Web site that these plans have now been scrapped.

Since confirming he was to make an F1 return, Schumacher has been pushing himself hard to get back to race fitness. The consequences of the injuries caused in February, fractures in the area of head and neck, unfortunately have turned out to be still too severe to pave way for his F1 comeback in his favourite car Ferrari.The German driver said the decision had been an extremely difficult one to make and he apologised to everyone at Ferrari and to fans of the sport.

Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer will now replace Massa in Valencia.Massa is recovering in Brazil from the serious injuries he received in a freak crash in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix and is set to miss at least four races.

Schumacher has worked as a special adviser to Ferrari since his retirement from Formula One in 2005, after winning five championships during his time with the team.The German, who won 91 grands prix from 250 races, is the most successful driver to take part in the sport.

Friday, August 07, 2009

"Right to education" bill: Move in the right direction

The wait is finally over. India and its ever powerful politicians and bureaucrats finally woke up to the urgent need of passing a bill which makes primary education for all citizens an irrevocable right. "Right to education", as it is called, makes primary education free, compulsory and with the quality of highest order to all children between the age group of 6-14 years.This is one of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh's ambitious and visionary projects. Kapil Sibal, the HRD minister of the newly elected UPA government, called it the most important bill that has been passed in independent India. Sure, that might be true, but the following question that would haunt every Indian is "Why so late? What have they been doing for 62 years ?".

We will deal with the three mantras that this bill has formed around: free,compulsory and quality education.First of all about the "free education" clause.Its a shame that people in India will take up their own child's education seriously only if its made free. Many would argue that acute poverty in rural India makes it necessary for making atleast the primary education "free". After all, the government also has a responsibility towards its children. But you may not have an effective implementation of this "education for all" project without the proper engagement of the parents who are an equal stakeholders in the child's physical and mental growth. They must have the ambition and not just "wishful thinking",an equal responsibilty towards the education of their child. This ambition and desire of the parents will go a long way in vigilant and efficient implementation of this project. Only then, governments can be made accountable for their actions in making every Indian educated. So, the word "free" doesnot mean parents can just wash their hands off from their wards education believing the government will do everything. A careful folllow-up and scrutiny of their child's performance will eventually help only the child's education.

The second clause is "compulsory education". This perhaps can be effectively implemented by far reaching campaigns making the people realise the importance of education of their child. I am sure many in rural village India wouldn't have known such a bill is in place and that their children can have quality and free education.The finer points of the bill and the government's arduous actions should be highlighted to the genaral public. This may increase awareness among public and eventually the enrolment in primary schools will also increase many fold.

Next is "qualty education". One of the main reasons why average enrolment in government schools is low is because of quality. The main problem being inadequate infrastructure and student-teacher ratio being very less. The government has made plans to build new schools in every panchayat but it needs to be speeded up and they must be expedited to a much earlier time frame. But these things cannot be done over night. So, the rule which makes it compulsory that atleast 25% of overall intake must be allocated for children below poverty line in private schools makes lot of sense. Its a responsibility that private schools must not shy away from.

Another important issue is the student-teacher ratio. Ideally every 40 students must have one teacher.So, new teachers with proper training must be recruited and the old teachers must also be trained which is a necessity in this changing world. Its beleived that of the nealy 1,00,000 government teachers, 25% are absent or not available for work at any given point of time. This must be done away with. Stricter laws which calls for well trained and duty-bound teachers should be in place. Non-performing teachers should be shown the door.

Teaching is an important tool which will shape a country's future for the best. At present, teaching is not a career option for young Indians. This can be changed with hefty pay packages which could woo the best young minds for this important profession. Young and bright minds in teaching and research can ignite thousand more minds of young children within the age group of 5-15. Other ambitious professions might keep you and your loved ones happy and cheerful. But teaching will have a multiplier effect lighting up thousands of lives. So, the government must make it attractive for young indians to take up jobs in education.

So, the passing of the "Right to education" is just a first step. To experience the fruits of this project, effective and vigilant implementation is very much a neccesity. This will go a long way in making India an "enlightened country" ready to surge ahead to its righful place in world's history.

Sachin targets Worldcup 2011 victory; 15000 test runs

He has played 129 Tests, 425 ODIs and scored close to 30,000 international runs over the last two decades, but Sachin Tendulkar insists that there is unfinished business before he winds up his international career. Sachin Tendulkar wants to take his Test scoring record past 15,000 runs and help India to win the 2011 World Cup before he considers retiring from cricket.While many of his contemporaries have retired, Sachin Tendulkar has no intention of applying the brakes on his record-breaking career.

The 36-year-old Tendulkar, also disclosed that he has been inspired by legendary Sunil Gavaskar to set the goal.Tendulkar said former opener Sunil Gavaskar, an all-time great for India, had urged him to carry on playing and stretch his lead in the scoring charts over the retired Brian Lara and current Australia captain Ricky Ponting.Tendulkar is the leading scorer in Test cricket, with 12,773 at an average of 54.58. Australian captain Ricky Ponting, 34, is closest to him with 11,193 Test runs so far.

Even as quite a few players have sounded the impending death-knell of Test cricket in the wake of the huge popularity of Twenty20, one of the game's icons, Sachin Tendulkar, has said he does not fear for the health of the game's most traditional form.The master batsman likened Test cricket as the main course in a meal and Twenty20 as its dessert and that one cannot survive on just the latter part of a meal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Michael Schumacher is back; Schumacher to replace Massa

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is making a sensational return to Formula One.The German driver who quit F1 after securing a record seven time championships, will replace the injured Felipe Massa who will out for the rest of the season due to a fatal multiple skull fracture.Michael Schumacher may have retired almost three years ago, but he continues to be in the thick of things in Formula One.Michael is still fit enough to drive a Formula One car.With no proper replacement for Massa and the chances of Fernando Alonso debuting for Ferrari in a month's time being unlikely, Ferrari has requested Michael to race again.

German driving legend Schumacher still works for Ferrari as an advisor, but after Massa's shocking injury in Hungary he will now get back behind the wheel once again.The 28-year-old Massa was hit in the helmet by a loose part from another car and crashed into a protective tire barrier at 120 mph during qualifying Saturday at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Schumacher has some time to prepare as the F1 season takes a summer break, but he should once again line up on the grid at the European Grand Prix. So,we all can see Schumi behind the wheels in Spanish GP which is on August 23.
Michael Schumacher has also confirmed the news and has said "I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe. Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I very much look forward to facing this challenge."He will take up a fitness test to assess his body condition. He has 3 weeks to prepare himself for the F1 challenge.

PM Manmohan Singh: Trust, but verify

The Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh clarified the government's stand on the latest Indo-Pak joint statement in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt earlier in the month during the NAM(Non-aligned Movement) summit.There was a huge uproar back in India as a strong reaction to loosely packed joint-statement. Many diplomats in India believed that it was a huge mistake to include the problem of Baluchistan in the joint-statement.The PM clarified that there was no dossier exchanged in reference to Baluchistan.But, experts believe there was no need to point to Baluchistan which after all is an internal matter of Pakistan and India has absolutely nothing to do with it.The PM has said that the composite dialogue with Pakistan will not begin until and unless Pakistan brings the terrorists who headed the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to book. Quoting Ronald Regan's words, PM said that we must trust Pakistan but verify and scrutinise its actions. We can choose our friends,our enemies, but we cannot choose our neighbours. So, we have to find a way to deal with Pakistan.PM also wanted Pakistan show in letter and spirit that they are serious about terror.He also took a dig at the BJP, that UPA does not need any lessons from BJP about dealing with Pakistan.

On the Nuclear Enrichment status(ENR) raised by the G8 countries in L'Aquila,Italy that these processes can be transferred only to those countries which are a signatory of NPT(Non-Proliferation Treaty), the PM said there was no need to worry and that India will not sign NPT in its present form. The PM said that India has got a clean and specific deal from the NSG and that this position was even endorsed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy.He also said India has signed bilateral nuclear deal for construction of nuclear reactors with France,US and Russia.As regards to the end-user agreement with the USA, he said its just a composite bilateral agreement for procuring defence equipments and that it will expedite the closure of defence deals with United States of America.

BMW to exit Formula one

BMW is to withdraw from Formula One at the end of the season. The German carmaker is the second major manufacturer to pull out of the sport in the space of eight months after Honda's withdrawal in December.BMW have had a poor campaign with drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica giving the team just eight points this season from ten Grand Prix to leave them eighth in the nine-team constructors' championship.The team, who gave former world champion Jacques Villeneuve his last drive in the sport and in Robert Kubica fielded its first ever Polish driver, have emerged over the past two years as the closest challengers to McLaren and Ferrari.The team finished third last season behind Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes.Their only Grand Prix win as BMW Sauber came when Kubica won in Canada in 2008, while he also achieved the team's only pole position in Bahrain in 2008.Bernie Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder of Formula One, says BMW's failure to challenge for the world title is behind the announcement. The team have fallen short of expectations and the future of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfield, the two BMW drivers are in jeopardy due to BMW's withdrawal from F1.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Felipe Massa injured in an accident;Hamilton wins Hungarian Grand Prix

Brazilian driver Felipe Massa was injured when a spring from fellow Brazilian Barrichello's car struck his helmet during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the Ferrari driver then hitting a tyre wall.Massa remains in a stable condition in Budapest after undergoing emergency surgery on Saturday to repair a fractured skull in the wake of this freak accident.Injured Formula One driver Felipe Massa can now communicate "actively" and is able to move his hands and legs.Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was back on top of the podium after claiming his first victory since October's Chinese Grand Prix.
The world champion took the chequered flag in a Hungarian Grand Prix overshadowed by Felipe Massa's accident.Kimi Raikkonen was second and Mark Webber third to close the points gap on Jenson Button, who was seventh, but Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire.Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali dedicated Kimi Raikkonen's second place in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix to Felipe Massa.Domenicali, who immediately after the race left the track to see Massa, said: "We dedicate the result to Felipe. At this time all our thoughts are with him and his family, and I think this sentiment also applies to those who are close to him and to fans all over the world."Massa's accident came days after Formula Two driver Henry Surtees, was killed in a freak accident during a race at Brands Hatch.

Renault have been suspended from next month's European Grand Prix in Valencia following the wheel loss suffered by Fernando Alonso in Hungary.

Hungarian Grand Prix
Final positions after 70 laps
1 L Hamilton- McLaren
2 K Raikkonen -Ferrari
3 M Webber -Red Bull

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Free insurance schemes for 1 crore families in Tamil Nadu

Nearly one crore families in Tamil Nadu, with an annual income of Rs 72,000 or less will benefit from the Tamil Nadu Government's new insurance scheme.Each family can avail treatment for critical ailments — around 51 identified procedures — up to Rs.100,000 at private and pay wards of government hospitals.The state government would pay the premimum of Rs 500 per annum for all the families from its pocket.The insurance is offered by the city-based health insurer Star Health and Allied Insurance Company Ltd. It has tied up with more than 150 public and private hospitals across the state.A biometric smart card will be issued to the beneficiary. The card would carry the photo of head of the family. Details of dependents would be available in the database.Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi requested Union Health Minister,Ghulam Nabi Azad to waive the Rs.48 crore service tax paid by the state government on the Rs.517 crore payout towards the insurance premium under the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme.At a time, when even US is fighting for a comprehensive health care system, the implementation of this Insurance scheme is quite laudable. While other states are struggling and working hard to give their citizens basic amenities like food and shelter, insurance schemes from TN is the right example in growth and development. But the trick lies in execution and if executed properly, the poor and needy will be the biggest beneficiary out of this visionary scheme.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi also announced that, after his death his house at Gopalapuram will be converted into a charitable hospital for the poor and downtrodden.

Now, withdraw cash from debit cards at retail shops, petrol stations

Every store that accepts debit cards could soon become an ATM. The next time you run out of cash, you needn’t go scouting for an ATM. All you need to do is take your debit card to the nearest shop, swipe it and withdraw cash.As a further step towards enhancing the customer convenience ,the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to permit cash withdrawals at point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

You can withdraw up to Rs 1,000 in a day. Also, you don’t need to purchase anything from the shop to avail this facility.In case the facility is being availed along with the purchase of a product, the receipt generated shall separately indicate the amount of cash withdrawn. For this, the swipe machines, or point-of-sale (PoS) terminals, will have to be upgraded and it may take around a month for the service to go on stream. The move will particularly benefit customer in smaller towns and rural areas, which have few ATM machines.
At present the cash withdrawal facility using plastic cards is available only at automated teller machines (ATMs). This will help crowd out people at the ATM's and also make use of many retail shops, petrol stations, hotels and restraunts and big budget shops who have this wipe sysytem installed in their shops.However, customers (i.e) general public may have to pay a fee of 2-3%.The processing fee will be split between the bank and the shop owner.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Can India effectively leverage its Demographic dividend ?

The buzz word these days in chambers across the knowledge-hungry societies is the so called "Demographic Dividend" which will favour India in the near and medium term. The term "Demographic Dividend" essentially means that the percentage of working class people is high among the total population such that it favours an accelerated economic growth. This perhaps is seen to be a new dimension to India's oldest resource namely the "Human Resource". Population density and its growth was perceived to be India's biggest bane until a few years ago. Thanks to huge boom in services sector and economy as a whole in the last decade or so, people began to talk about the huge potential in India's large population. Add to this, today India is one of the youngest nations in the world.

This is an unique and favourable transitive stage in a country's demographic make-up which comes once in many decades, maybe once in a century. This essentially means less dependants(read "retired senior citizens and children below 15 years) and more people in the working age between 20-45. This is due to falling fertility rates(the average number of children born to a woman) in India from about 4.8-5.3 in the 70's to about 2.3 today.

So, people spend less on child care as there are less number of children and simultaneously the average wages and savings becomes higher. This leads to higher spending for a safer lifestyle and the growth of children in healthy environment.Parents are under less strain to provide for many children.The government can then concentrate purely on economic growth rather than wasting money in subsidies and low quality education. Eventually, the population growth rate also stabilises and signs of those happening in India could be seen as early as 2030.

The other side of this story could actually act as counter to economic growth. If, the government doesnot fuel growth now and create jobs for many young people who come out from their education every year, then we cannot effectively take advantage of this demographic dividend. The second point is as economy grows, healthy lifestyle will also grow and so the average life-expectancy(average number of years a man could live) will also increase. This leads to an increase in retired dependants who may not have a role to play in economic growth of a country.Another dreaded scenario is that the educated umemployed youth turning to evil ways like terrorism and domestic violence.

So, if we donot take stock of the situation and strive for producing enough oppurtunities for producing skilled youth labour and jobs for them, the old evil of high population will come back to haunt us once again. At a time when many countries like America, UK and Europe are going through a downturn and has a huge dependant population in their ranks, this is probably the best oppurtunity for India to spread its wings and fly high. The next decade will be very crucial and determine how well India has leveraged its demographic dividend. This will go a long way in shaping India's quest for becoming a worthy super power and sustain itself in the world's economic map.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

TCS beats Q1 FY10 estimates; variable pay to be paid in full

Country's largest software exporter TCS reported nearly 19 per cent growth in consolidated net profit for the first quarter of the current fiscal at Rs 1,533.94 crore.Its revenue for the same period stood at Rs 7,207 crore -- up 12 per cent YoY.In terms of verticals, the quarter under review saw some stability in the core BFSI segment with the US leading the trend, while the UK and Europe are expected to stabilise in subsequent quarters, notes the management. In manufacturing, the speed of demand recovery will depend on overall economic recovery. The media and retail verticals continue to grow from new deals as well as ramp-ups of large deals closed in FY09.

On the hiring front, utilisation in Q1 FY09 was 79.2 per cent (excluding trainees) and 71.3 per cent (including trainees). There was a gross addition of 2,828. The attrition rate in Q1 was 11.5 per cent. At the end of Q1, the total employee strength of the company was 1,41,642. Foreign nationals formed 8.3 per cent of the total employee base and 30 per cent were women.The variable component of employees in Indian payroll will paid in full along with july salary.
TCS also added 26 new clients(lowest in 6 years), and net addition were down by 2000 odd employees though gross addition was 2312 associates. EPS growth was up 15% to RS.7.83 from Rs.6.81 last quarter. The board approved a dividend of Rs.2 per share.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Andrew Flintoff retires from test cricket

Andrew Flintoff will retire from Test cricket at the end of the ongoing Ashes series against Australia.The 31-year-old will bow out at the end of this summer's Ashes series against Australia after failing to overcome a series of injuries which have plagued his career.He will though continue to make himself available for selection for One-Day Internationals and International Twenty20 fixtures.

Well, I am not sure it is that much of a blow for England cricket team. They have spent most of the time since 2005 without Flintoff. They haven't won many games with him since that period and his performances since 2005 have been quite modest. So, while it is always a blow to lose a player of quality, I am not so sure it is a massive blow for England. His announcement will come as little surprise to anybody close to the England side, who have watched Flintoff struggle time and again to recover from injuries.

Flintoff will always be remembered for his displays during the Ashes in 2005., where his performances with bat and ball were the key to England's stunning success.The burly Lancastrian dismissed suggestions that his impending Test retirement would overshadow the remainder of the series.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Balloning Fiscal deficit: Will it affect you ?

Pranab Mukherjee, finance minister of India presented what many believed to be a lousy budget with no definitive approach towards important issues like disinvestment, financial sector reforms and even deregulation of petrol and diesel prices. The argument in favour of FM was that budget is not neccesarily the place to chalk out plans for reforms or disinvestment strategy. These market-centered announcements may even come later through the course of the Congress's regime. Point well taken.

But, the most dreaded and the one which could come back to haunt the FM and the people is the fiscal deficit. The projected fiscal deficit for this financial year is 6.8% and when you add the state fiscal deficit which is 3.8% and some revised expenditure through the year, it ballons out to nearly12.5-13% and more worrisome is the revenue deficit at 3%. Revenue deficit is the deficit caused by higher cost of running government, its debt and things like pay commision hikes. According to FRBM act(Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management), the union government has financial obligation to keep the fiscal deficit below the accepted levels of 3-4%. But these are tough and unprecedented times. A deeper economic recession and the resultant negative growth of the private sector has left the central government with little headroom for spuring economic growth or atleast maintain it at present levels. That is precisely why the government has announced three stimulus packages. Stimulus packages are essentially more spending by the government in job-oriented infrastruture projects, farm loan waivers, tax cuts, interest rate deduction and giving more subsidies. The idea is to put more money in the common man's pocket and encouraging him to spend more. This in turn will spur growth due to domestic demand. At a time, when export market is hit by a deep recession in developed countries(US and Europe in particular), fiscal stimulus are the only way the government can arrest the economic growth from nose diving.

But, everything comes at a cost. These stimulus packages need greater government spending and so the government borrows money from the central banks(like the RBI) and many foreign financial instituitions.Also, at a time of recession, due to less industrial growth, the tax collections from both the corporate and individuals citizens are comparitively lesser. So, this is the cause of balloning fiscal deficit and what does it have to do with ordinary citizen like you and me?

As fiscal deficit increases and the government borrowing from RBI hits new high, interest rates increases which will crowd out the private sector from large scale investment. Cascading effect is more job losses, less spending and low growth. Also, high fiscal deficit will force international credit rating agencies like S&P, IMF to downgrade India credit rating. This only adds to more pain as these are the main criterion with which foreign financial institution plan investment and lend credit to Indian MNC's.

So, its very vital to contain the Fiscal deficit and get the country back to normal growth. Many other countries like America and UK have high fiscal deficit in tune to about 15% and 9% respectively. But they have far deeper crisis than what we do. We have to be careful so that we don't fall into a painstaking downturn like the developed countries. This is perhaps why, the markets nosedived nearly 10% last week, the fact that there was no proper roadmap to contain and bring back the fiscal deficit to acceptable levels(maybe 3-4%).The FM did say that the fiscal deficit will come down to 4% by FY 2012. But there was no mention of any plan how he will bring them down.

This is such a risky and tough period which may well decide whether we get back to sub-8% growth rates or languish to a paltry sub-4% levels which will disastrous for the whole nation, you and me included. Hope Finance Minister's listening.....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Infosys Q1 2010 results: Beats expectation;revenues down by 5%

Infosys declared its first quarter results showing that there has been a five per cent fall over fourth quarter results of 2008-09.Infosys counts on Goldman Sachs, Philips Electronics, BT Group Plc and Australia's top phone company Telstra Corp among its clients. The Group has posted consolidated net profit after tax & minority interest of Rs 1527 crores for the quarter ended June 30, 2009 as compared to Rs 1302 crores for the quarter ended June 30, 2008.

Profit after tax is the net profit earned by a company after deducting expenses like interest, depreciation and tax.

Infosys rupee EPS guidance has been downgraded to Rs.94.59 to Rs.96 from the previous guidance of Rs.96 to Rs.101. Revenues for the whole year is estimated at Rs.21,452 crores to Rs.22,343 crores.The revenue from the top client BT is down from 5.3% to 4.6%.New client addition for the quarter is 27. All the revenue and EPS guidance are at the presumpotion that dollar stays between Rs.47.91-Rs.50.72 in the exchange rate.The utilisation is at 67% including trainees and at 70.4% ecluding trainees. Company has actually offloaded 945 employees and thus the net additions is in the negative.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Microsoft warning: Security hole in Video ActiveX control

Microsoft has warned of a flawed software in Internet Explorer that hackers can exploit to take over some computers. The vulnerability affects Internet Explorer users whose computers run the Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 operating systems.If a victim visits an infected website, hackers can remotely take control of their machine.

Microsoft said it was working with partners to patch the weakness in ActiveX Video Control involved in capturing, recording or playing video and is also a main component of Windows Media Center.Microsoft advised users to deactivate ActiveX Video Control until a fix is available.

However, the good news might be that the buggy ActiveX Control doesn't affect any major functionality in IE.At worst, the ActiveX Control bug, which affects several versions of Windows, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, allows attackers to infiltrate a user's system to download malicious code, typically information-stealing Trojans.Attackers taking advantage of the vulnerability could install programs; view, change or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

Microsoft said in its advisory that it was working on a fix for the bug, which will either be released in its monthly Patch. Internet Explorer versions 6 and 7 are at risk, but people running IE 8 are not vulnerable.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Budget 2009: Cheers from aam admi;bloodbath at markets

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday raised the income tax exemption limits in his Union Budget 2009-2010 speech. He proposed to increase the income tax exemption limit for senior citizens by Rs 15,000, for women and others by Rs10,000 each, while keeping the corporate tax rate unchanged. The exemption limit will now be Rs 240,000 for senior citizens, Rs190,000 for women and Rs 160,000 for others.The good news is that 10% surcharge on income above Rs 10,00,000 has been removed.

The most welcome change is the complete removal of the Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT). As the FBT provisions were felt to be too onerous and generated a huge administrative burden on corporates, there was a pressure to abolish the same.However, Minimum Allocation Tax (MAT) on book profits has been increased from 10 percent to 15 percent.Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee asked state governments to remove hurdles to speed-up infrastructure implementation and tried to bring liquidity back to the cash-strapped builders.
He also set a goal to increase the investment in infrastructure to more than 9 percent of GDP by 2014.Market tanked almost 950 points in sensex and 280 points in Nifty.

The government is committed to provide Rs 100 a day as wages under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Allocations have been hiked by 144% to Rs.39,100 crore in the proposed Union Budget.The Finance Minister also said allocation for Bharat Nirman programme is being hiked by 45 per cent. The project covers six schemes, including rural roads, drinking water and sanitation in villages.

The finance minister said the government would soon publicise a draft food security (guarantee) bill and seek comments from everybody before finalising the bill. In its election manifesto earlier this year, the Congress had promised 25 kg of rice or wheat a month at Rs.3 per kg to families below the poverty line.