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