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Delhi saw a heavy fog,disrupting several international and domestic flights at the airport

New Delhi: Delhi saw a heavy fog cover today morning that led to a sharp drop in visibility, disrupting several international and domestic flights at the airport here, officials said. The thick fog saw the visibility dropping to near zero in the city, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The general visibility at the main and new runways at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport was less than 50 metres, leading to delays, diversions and cancellations of several flights, an airport official said. About 15 domestic flights from Delhi were cancelled and 12 international, mostly scheduled to depart late Saturday and early today, were rescheduled.

Seven international flights coming to the national capital were delayed by up to five hours, the authorities said.

"As the IMD has informed, the skies will be clear later during the day. Most of the morning flights are delayed by up to five hours or have been rescheduled," the airport official said.

The airlines also cancelled quite a few domestic flights, including those to Lucknow, Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Kullu, Amritsar, Mumbai, Patna, Chandigarh and Goa due to the fog.

On Saturday night, few international Air India flights to New York, Chicago and Toronto were delayed after visibility dropped.

The flights, which were scheduled to depart between 1.30 a.m. to 3.30 a.m., were rescheduled to 11.30 a.m.

Apart from flights, several trains were also delayed due to the dense fog.

Weather officials, however, said the skies would remain clear later during the day.

The minimum temperature today was 7 degrees Celsius, one notch below the average for this time of the season. The maximum temperature will be around 20 degrees Celsius, the weather official said.

The coldest day of the season in Delhi so far was Dec 22 with a minimum temperature of 5.2 degrees.
Tags : Delhi News, India Meteorological Department News, Fog in Delhi, Temperature in Delhi, Delhi Flights

Chilly winds and freezing temperatures continued in the Kashmir Valley

Srinagar: Chilly winds and freezing temperatures continued in the Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh region today. Leh was a chilling minus 12.6 degrees Celsius while Srinagar saw thick fog.

"The minimum temperature in Srinagar was minus 3.1 degrees Celsius today," an official of the weather office told IANS.

"It was minus 12.6 in Leh and minus 10.2 in Kargil town of Ladakh region," he said.

"The temperature dipped to minus 4.2 in the ski resort of Gulmarg while it was minus 5.8 in the Pahalgam hill station" he said.

The weather official the cold spell would continue in the coming days.

"It is expected to remain cold and dry across the Valley and the Ladakh region for the next couple of days."

Many sports lovers who throng Gulmarg during the winter months for skiing, snow boarding, ice skating and other winter sports have been disappointed so far as the slopes in this popular ski resort haven't yet got enough snow to support the winter sports.

"Gulmarg has always been the choice location for Christmas holidays, but this year we did not have a white Christmas although many people had come to celebrate Christmas here," said Shabir Ahmad, a ski instructor at Gulmarg.

There was a thick fog cover in Srinagar in the morning and motorists had to use headlights and horns to drive safely.

Most parts of the Dal Lake in Srinagar are frozen, making movement of boats difficult in the lake.
Tags : Jammu and Kashmir News, Kashmir Temperature, Ladakh Temperature, Leh Temperature, Srinagar Temperature, Srinagar Fog

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari denied business interests with Niira Radia

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari on Saturday denied allegations that he had business interests with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and blamed the Congress party for being behind the "baseless reports". Gadkari said the Congress was the inspiration behind these baseless reports to divert public attention from the 2G spectrum allocation scam. Gadkari's rebuttal came in the wake of allegations by Radia's former associate Rao Dheeraj Singh that she was helped by Gadkari and two other BJP leaders, L.K. Advani and Ananth Kumar.

The BJP chief described the allegation by Dheeraj Singh as baseless and dared him to come out with the facts if he had any.

Gadkari, addressing a media conference here, maintained he has not met Radia or ever spoken to her and there was no question of benefiting from her. He accused the Congress of being behind the allegation that he was helping Radia in a helicopter deal in Maharashtra.

Gadkari threatened to take legal action against Dheeraj Singh.

Attacking the Congress, the BJP president said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not escape the moral responsibility of so many scams taking place when he was at the helm of affairs and demanded that he step down.

He said the Congress could not wriggle out of the mess it is finding itself in today by sullying the images of its opponents.
Tags : India News, Nitin Gadkari on 2G Spectrum Allocation Scam, Nitin Gadkari Business Interests with Niira Radia, Congress

34 killed in truck accident in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun district

Lucknow: Thirty-three members of a funeral procession and a driver were killed when their mini-truck overturned and was hit by a bus in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun district on Saturday night. At least 12 people were also injured, police said.

"A DCM mini-truck, carrying members of a funeral procession, overturned on the sandy road in Unjhani town and was hit by the roadways bus coming from the opposite direction," Senior Superintendent of Police D.K. Choudhary told the media on phone from Badaun, some 250 km from Lucknow.

"33 members, all men, of the funeral procession and the driver of the bus have been killed. Of the 12 injured, majority were of the funeral procession," he added.

The injured are being treated in different hospitals of Bareilly and Badaun districts, he said.

"Six of the injured have been referred to Bareilly as their condition deteriorated," said Choudhary.

"The people riding the DCM were returning to their native places in Ujhani after performing the last rites of a man on the Kachla ghat in Badaun," said Choudhary.
Tags : Uttar Pradesh News, Truck Accident in Uttar Pradesh, Truck Accident in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh Police

Director of "No One Killed Jessica" Rajkumar Gupta says Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan share a camaraderie and gel well

Mumbai: Dismissing rumours that the two leading ladies of his forthcoming film "No One Killed Jessica" were at loggerheads, filmmaker Rajkumar Gupta says Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan share a camaraderie and gel well.

It was reported that Vidya is not very happy with Rani because the Bengali beauty is hogging the limelight and taking maximum space in promotions. But Gupta called all the rumours baseless.

"I have been accompanying Rani and Vidya on most promotional events and they have been having a fabulous time. These are just rumours and there is no truth in these claims," Gupta told the media.

"I've seen how well they gel and the camaraderie that they share and the positivity with which they shot the film. So these are just rumours and not to be taken seriously," he added.

Gupta, whose first film "Aamir" was a tale of a man's struggle against terrorism, said that when he finished writing "No One Killed Jessica", Rani and Vidya's names instantly came to his mind for the main leads.

"Both are brilliant actors apart from being stars. Vidya has that certain kind of sensibility that was needed for her character. She is very sensitive not only as an actor but as a human being," he said.

"Rani's character required to have a lot of spunk and a headstrong and feisty attitude. I knew Rani will be able to do justice with that," he added.

The film, slated to release on Jan 7, is based on the murder of model Jessica Lall in 1999 by Manu Sharma, son of a Haryana politician, and the struggle of her sister Sabrina Lall to get justice for her.

It took the director, who has assisted filmmaker Anurag Kashyap in the past, three months to research about the case and seven months to write the script.

"I took up this subject as I thought it was a very inspiring story where in the course of events an entire nation came together and media played a very important role. I thought this would be an interesting story to portray on celluloid," Gupta said.

However, his road to making this film was not without obstacles. The filmmaker said it was very challenging to give shape to the project.

"At every stage, there were challenges. The writing was the most difficult bit because the canvas was broad, there were so many characters and I didn't want to make a documentary or a biography," Gupta said.

"I wanted to get into the realms of cinema and make it an engaging and entertaining thriller. To get that entire thing in place, it took me some time to figure out and see how to go about it," he said.

"I had to get a balance of fact and fiction because it was a very sensitive issue. So the script also had to be approached with a lot of sensitivity," he added.

But wasn't he scared that the movie might rake up many controversies because of the nature of the subject?

"This factor did come to my mind. So I tried to approach the film with as much sensitivity as possible," the director said.

"But we must also keep in mind that the film is not about naming people or accusing anyone. That's not my job as a filmmaker. It's just my interpretation of the case," he added.

After two serious drama films, Gupta is all set to make a light love story called "Rapchik Romance", which is on the scripting stage at the moment.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Rani Mukerji Vidya Balan Camaraderie, No One Killed Jessica Promotions, Rajkumar Gupta

Zee TV's "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar" winner is Patiala's Kamal Khan

Mumbai: After nineteen weeks of rigorous training and fierce competition, Patiala's Kamal Khan was declared the winner of Zee TV's "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar" on Saturday.

Khan beat Bishakh Jyoti of Kolkata and Abhilasha Chellum of Mumbai to win the title of singing superstar in the grand finale at Andheri Sports complex here. He also walked away with the newly-launched Grande MK II car and a Hero Honda ZMR bike.

The finale saw a melange of western, opera, ghazal and classical songs. It saw ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali singing hits like "Dil Yeh Pagal Dil" and "Hungama Kyun Hai Barpa" with Ranjeet Rajwada, who was also a contestant on the show.

Adding to the excitement was the hip hop fusion act by choreographer Rajiv Surthi who is set to be on the judges panel with Geeta Kapoor and Marzi Pestonji in dance reality show "DID Doubles" that replaces the show.

Mentor Daler Mehndi entertained with his songs like "Tunak Tunak" "Zor ka Jhatka". He was joined by Vishal and Shekhar, who sang hit songs from their films "Tees Maar Khan", "Anjana Anjaani" and "I Hate Luv Storys".

Mika also wowed the audience with "Ibne Batuta", "Mauja hi Mauja" and "Dhano".

Sajid-Wajid captivated the crowd with their hit numbers from "Dabangg" and "Wanted".

The show also saw the presence of Alka Yagnik, Suresh Wadekar, Jagjit Singh, Udit Narayan, Lalit Pandit, Mithun Chakraborty and Penaz Masani.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Patiala's Kamal Khan, Zee TV's "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar"

Star Plus' cookery game show "MasterChef India" winner is Pankaj Bhadouria

New Delhi: Lucknow-based Pankaj Bhadouria won Star Plus' cookery game show "MasterChef India" after she dished up a scrumptious meal on the show hosted by Bollywood star Akshay Kumar. She takes home Rs.1 crore as prize money.

The dishes that won Bhadouria the prize are : Drunk Chicken Log, Cheesy Dill Salmon and Cranberry Cheese Blossom.

She was announced the winner after voting by host and judge, Akshay Kumar and his co-judges, noted chefs Ajay Chopra and Kunal Kapoor, in the finale aired on Saturday.

Bhadouria, 38, gave up her job as a teacher to be part of the show. Apart from the Rs.1 crore, she also gets a chance to host a cookery show and release a cookery book.

She pipped 24-year-old boy Jayanandan Bhaskar, also from Lucknow, to win the title.

Started in October 2010, the culinary show was a platform to acknowledge and encourage the skills of passionate cooks and groom them to become professionals.

The finale episode was graced by Bollywood filmmaker-choreographer Farah Khan and actress Katrina Kaif, who came to promote their film "Tees Maar Khan", which also stars Akshay.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Pankaj Bhadouria, Star Plus' MasterChef India, Akshay Kumar

Mahendra Singh Dhoni exhorted his players to play "consistent cricket" befitting the World's No.1 team

Durban: Caught in a must-win situation in the second Test against South Africa to keep the series alive after the drubbing at Centurion, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni exhorted his players to play "consistent cricket" befitting the World's No.1 team.

"We have played some good, consistent cricket throughout the year. Everyone has contributed... bowlers, batsmen and fielders.

"The part-timers have contributed in getting wickets, the lower-order has chipped in with crucial runs. As a team we have had a good calendar year. There are plenty of positives in the kind of cricket we have played," Dhoni said on the eve of the Boxing Day Test.

Dhoni said the bowlers will have to step up their performance.

"Zaheer Khan will be back in the side, which is a big bonus for us. At the same time, we know the other bowlers have the talent. It's just that they need to execute the plans well, and at times they have to be patient.

"If they take care of these things, the bowlers will do well. As we saw in the last game, we were not able to get even 10 wickets. It is definitely a big worry if you want to win the Test," Dhoni said.

Dhoni said he was not sure how the wicket will play.

"I am not sure how the Test wicket is going to play, but on a good day, when the wicket's flat, it's a fantastic place to play."

"The wicket looks quite green. But as far as I can recollect, I played a Ranji Trophy game in my debut first-class season against Vadodara at the IPCL ground, which was even greener," Dhoni said.

He said they will play three seamers and a spinner for maintaining a better over-rate.

"The last game where we played three pacers and a spinner, we were 21 minutes short. If we play with four fast bowlers, I will definitely get a match ban due to slow over-rate," said Dhoni.

"The spinner can have a control on the proceedings. When you have a wicket like this, the batsmen look to cash in on the spinners. If you bowl to a good line and length you can always contribute to the game, irrespective of the wicket."
Tags : India Sports News, India Cricket News, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Zaheer Khan

Institution in Lucknow persisted with the Bhagavad Gita,Hindu and Muslim students have to study it

Lucknow: Schools across the country may have modified textbooks over the decades, but an institution in Lucknow has persisted with the Bhagavad Gita as a moral science textbook for the last 75 years. Hindu as well as Muslim students have to study it.

Besides being the "prescribed book" for the moral science subject, the holy scripture is also a compulsory subject for all students of Gita Vidyalaya in the Babuganj area here.

"Holy scriptures like the Gita guide human beings, their behaviour towards individual, family and society. So by teaching lessons from the Gita we, in a way, are teaching students about the importance of their life and making them realise their responsibilities," school principal U.P. Mishra told the media.

"We take pride in keeping the unique tradition alive at the school that was started around 1935 by a group of three friends who were deeply religious," he added.

The 30-odd Muslims among the school's 200 students also study the Hindu text as part of their curriculum.

According to school officials, three friends - Hanuman Prasad, Jai Prakash and R.S. Kotwal - decided to establish the school for not only promoting education but also to inculcate moral values among kids.

The school gradually became one of the prominent learning centres in Lucknow.

Some prominent admirers of the school who visited it during its early years include patriot Sarojini Naidu and former union minister Govind Ballabh Pant.

It was in 1947 that Gita Vidyalaya got affiliation from the Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad. In 1973, it became eligible for receiving financial assistance from the state government.

"Even after the government-appointed staff started coming to the school, the teachers made every effort to continue the tradition of teaching the Gita to students. Without their cooperation it would have been really difficult to keep alive such an old practice in changing times," said Mishra.

"The former as well as the present teachers of the school need to be congratulated for their efforts. I think the glorious past of the school inspired the teachers and made them work in this regard," he added.

The school students have to clear written and oral examinations annually that test their knowledge of the text.

At present, there are over 200 students - both girls and boys - from Class 6 to Class 10 in the school.

"On a daily basis, five 'shlokas' (verses) are taught to students. We not only make students learn the shlokas, we also try that students understand their meaning and relate them with the day-to-day activities in their lives," said Savita Saxena, a teacher.

"Every year, students have to appear for a written examination that mainly comprises 10 questions framed from different chapters of the Gita," the teacher said.

"While questions for students of Class 6-8 are objective in nature, questions for students of Class 9-10 are based on application of moral teachings in the Gita and they are supposed to answer them in a subjective manner," Sharma added.
Tags : India Education News, Bhagavad Gita in Lucknow School, Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad, Gita Vidyalaya, Uttar Pradesh Government

2nd rocket failure disappoints the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists

Bangalore: India's top space scientists expressed anguish over today's failed rocket mission, the second this year, but said it would not be a setback to future space programmes.

The geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-F06), launching a heavy communication satellite from the Sriharikota spaceport, exploded just a minute after launch today evening.

The failure comes nine months after the previous rocket - GSAT-D3 - failed on April 15.

"The outcome is very disappointing and sad because we had very high confidence on the launch, as there was no uncertainty at lift-off and all the pre-launch tests conducted on the ground were successful," former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Kasturirangan told media.

Admitting that the latest failure was indeed a matter of deep concern, Kasturirangan, a Planning Commission member, said a snag in the first stage was most unexpected as there was no risk in conducting the launch in a clear sky.

"We need to investigate why the rocket broke up after swerving from the trajectory and why the control signal ceased to reach the first stage electronic circuits," the former Rajya Sabha member said.

Carrying the 2.2-tonne geosynchronous satellite (GSAT-5P), GSLV-F06 lost control and veered off the trajectory path 47 seconds after a smooth launch at 4.04 p.m.

When 'destroy' command was given, the rocket was breaking up and losing altitude from 8 km in space and 2.5 km from Sriharikota, resulting in explosion mid-air.

"Any time there is a departure from the intended flight path, there could be structural stress on the vehicle. We have to check the telemetry data to find out how and why the rocket deviated from the flight path after a perfect lift-off," Kasturirangan observed.

Early this year (April 15), the GSLV-D3 launch failed when the indigenous cryogenic engine did not ignite and burn in the third stage to provide the required velocity to inject the satellite (GSAT-4) into the geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Sharing the disappointment of other scientists, another former ISRO chairman U.R. Rao said the failure could have been due to any of the factors, including leak in solid/liquid propellants or a snag in the flight control system.

"This is the first time we are seeing a failure in the first stage of the rocket launch within 47 seconds after lift-off. Though it is unfair to comment without verifying the telemetry data, the failure could have been due to any of the factors, including solid propellant leak or failure of control system," Rao said.

The Range Safety Officer saw the vehicle breaking up and decided to destruct the rocket mid-air, 63 seconds after the lift off.

The first two stages of our rocket launches are common for PSLV (polar satellite launch vehicle) and GSLV.

"I do not call it a set back, as failures are common in rocket/space missions. We are really dealing with rocket science here, which requires 100 percent accuracy in everything we do, be it the design, structure, components, system, fuel and processes. A minor glitch in any of them can cause trouble," Rao pointed out.

"It is disappointing to know that we had two failures this year in the launch of GSLV. Though the previous launch April 15 was at the third stage, i.e. the cryogenic stage, with an indigenously developed engine, the latest failure occurred at the first stage, which needs to be investigated to ascertain what happened, why and how," Rao noted.

K.R. Sridhara Murthy, former managing director of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the space agency, said the scientists were all quite disappointed with the consecutive failure of the GSLV though the cause could be not a major glitch.

"I don't think such a failure will be a major set back to our space or launch programmes. We have to overcome the problem to achieve the success rate we have seen with the launch missions of PSLV (polar satellite launch vehicles)," Murthy said.

Noting that launch of heavy rockets like GSLV involved complex technologies, processes and procedures, Murthy said that the snag in the first stage would have occurred when the command signal did not reach the nozzle to fire the strap-on liquid propellants.

"The flight control system gives the signal to fire the strap-on liquid propellants for thrust and maintaining the attitude (orientation) of the rocket. The signal should have activated the control command of the nozzle to fire the engine for the second stage," Murthy hinted.
Tags : India News, India's GSLV rocket destroyed, ISRO

Turban issue:Punjab minister urged PM Manmohan Singh to take up the issue with US President Barack Obama

Chandigarh:Almost two weeks after senior Sikh diplomat Hardeep Puri was asked to remove his turban at a US airport for a security check, a Punjab minister today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue with US President Barack Obama.

Punjab's Industries and Commerce Minister Manoranjan Kalia said the US security authorities were unnecessarily targeting Sikhs and other Indians in the name of security checks at US airports.

Kalia appealed to the prime minister to take up the issue with Obama.

"Otherwise, India should respond in the same way (with US nationals)," Kalia, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party, said here.

"David Coleman Headley, who is involved in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, is an American national. But does this mean we too should bring all Americans under the scanner," he asked.

India's Permanent Representative to United Nations Hardeep Puri was earlier this month patted-down by Texas airport security officials and asked to remove his turban for security checking.
Tags : India News, Manoranjan Kalia on US Security authorities, Security Checks at US Airports, Mumbai 26/11 Attack

Rocket carrying an Indian communication satellite failed after 45 sec. :Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

Sriharikota: The rocket carrying an Indian communication satellite launched from here today began failing after some 45 seconds, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

"The controllability was lost after 45 seconds after the lift-off. The control commands to the four strap on motors of the first stage did not reach," ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters.

He said the first stage performed well till 50 seconds, and after that the rocket started failing.

According to him, the destruct command was issued 63 seconds after the lift off by the Range Safety Officer.

The 2,310 kg GSAT-5P satellite, costing about Rs.125 crore, was to serve the needs of the telecommunication sector and the weather department.

It was also to retire the INSAT-2E satellite, sent up in 1999.
Tags : India Technology News, Indian Communication Satellite, GSAT-5P, Indian Space Research Organisation

Government will consider all factors before hiking the price of diesel:Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee

Haldia (West Bengal): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the government will consider all factors before taking a decision on hiking the price of diesel. "It is very hypothetical," Mukherjee told mediapersons when asked to spell out the thinking within the government on raising diesel prices. "A decision will be taken by the group of ministers and the cabinet. It will be discussed. Even the agenda of the discussion are confidential," he said on the sidelines of the dedication ceremony of a new hydrocracker unit and capacity expansion of Indian Oil's refinery in this East Midnapore district industrial town.

"When a decision will be taken, it will be taken considering all factors and the situations prevailing at that point of time. Decisions are taken considering all factors," he added.

Urging the media not to press the panic button, he said the situation was difficult and the government would take whatever steps were needed.

The new 1.7 million tonne capacity hydrocracker unit would produce high-speed diesel conforming to BS (Bharat Stage) III and BS IV emission standards.

After the expansion, the capacity of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd's (IOC) Haldia Refinery will go up to 7.5 million tonnes per annum from six million tonnes.

The estimated cost of the hydrocraker unit and the expansion is around Rs.2,869 crore.
Tags : India News, Pranab Mukherjee on Hiking Price of Diesel, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd

CBI questioning of former communications minister A. Raja on the 2G spectrum scam ended

New Delhi: The second day of questioning of former communications minister A. Raja on the spectrum scam ended today, with the disgraced DMK leader saying he was "cooperating" with the agency.

"I am cooperating with the investigative agency," Raja told reporters after over six hours of interrogation at the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) here.

"No comments further," he added, before driving away. Raja was questioned for about eight hours on Friday on allegations that he sold second generation spectrum at below the market prices in 2008.
Tags : India News, Spectrum Scam, Central Bureau of Investigation, A. Raja

Bombay High Court stayed the BCCI disciplinary committee's proceedings against suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today stayed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) disciplinary committee's proceedings against suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi, saying that the panel did not have the BCCI general body's mandate.

Modi's counsel Mehmood Abdi had earlier challenged the legality of the three-member disciplinary committee of Chirayu Amin, Arun Jaitley and Jyotiraditya Scindia who were investigating Modi's alleged financial irregularities while conducting the IPL as its commissioner.

Modi tweeted and expressed relief at the high court's decision.

"Grateful to the honourable high court - who have granted stay against BCCI - disciplinary committee proceedings," he aid on Twitter.

The hearing of the disciplinary committee, probing charges of financial irregularities against Modi, was earlier put off until Dec 27-28 after a request from Abdi.
Tags : India News, IPL, Bombay High Court, BCCI Disciplinary Committee's Proceedings against Lalit Modi

Special Christmas for Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan,wife Jaya decorated a Christmas tree

New Delhi: This Christmas was made special for Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan as his wife Jaya decorated a Christmas tree with gifts for the family and their friends.

"For the first time ever in my remembrance, Jaya brought in a Christmas tree in the house and decorated it with the finest trappings of all that goes to make it look inviting and attractive," Amitabh posted on his blog.

The Bachchan household was full of guests when the clock struck midnight, and Jaya not just arranged for gifts for the family but also for the guests.

The 68-year-old actor said his wife's gesture left him overwhelmed.

"She hung little gifts for us all and as the midnight hour struck, asked us over to look for our goodies. It was so sweet and generous and considerate to have done all that - and all done quietly, all by herself! Oh ! Such a wonderful moment," he wrote.

Jaya, a perfect homemaker, also treated everyone with some "special cooking".

Amitabh went down the memory lane and recollected how he used to celebrate Christmas in his earlier days.

"I am so nostalgic of the many Christmas eves celebrated throughout these 68 years! The midnight carol singing in the cold of northern India, the coffee breaks to keep us warm and awake, those visits to the neighbours and then the little gifts that we received when we went across," the actor wrote.

"The special cake and pastry for the occasion. The mid-night mass that we attended with all our friends in the nearby church and just such a feeling of warmth and happiness throughout," he said.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood, Jaya Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan

Javed Akhtar still asking for more royalties for singers,Film Federation of India (FFI) not in support

New Delhi: Javed Akhtar is standing tall by his decision to lobby for more royalties for singers, composers and lyricists even after the buzz that the Film Federation of India (FFI) has advised its members not to employ the award-winning writer.

"They can ban an individual but not an idea whose time has come," Akhtar posted on his Twitter page.

He reacted to reports that FFI, considered to be the apex body of the Indian film industry, has asked all film bodies in India to ban him following demands for an amendment in the Copyright Act.

However, FFI secretary general Supran Sen told the media that no such decision has been taken.

"There were surely discussions about this issue yesterday (Friday), but no such final decision against Mr. Akhtar has been taken. Heads from all India - south, north, east and west - will be meeting on Dec 29 to decide the strategy and operandi of the matter and then the decision will be taken accordingly," said Sen.

Akhtar has been pushing for an amendment in the copyright laws so that music directors and lyricists get the benefit of a share in the profits earned on their work.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Film Federation of India, Javed Akhtar on Royalties for Singers, Javed Akhtar on Royalties for Composers

Government is yet to take a decision on follow-on public offer (FPO) of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)

Haldia: The government is yet to take a decision on floating a follow-on public offer (FPO) of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), a top bureaucrat said here today.

"There has been no decision yet on the FPO of IOC and, therefore, a question of postponement dosen't arise," Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary S. Sundareshan said on the sidelines of the dedication ceremony of a new hydrocracker unit and higher capacity of Indian Oil's refinery in this East Midnapore district industrial town.

However, he said five percent share of the ONGC will be disinvested.

"ONGC would disinvest five percent through an FPO likely to hit next year in March," said Sundareshan.

In a bid to assuage the state-run oil companies, which are suffering from huge under-recoveries, he said they should not worry about losses.

"Solutions will be found to the problem. The finance ministry has assured us. They have no reason to fear suffering losses," he said.

"Under-recoveries" is an oil industry jargon for fuel retailers having to sell their products below the cost of production levels.

Since 2006-07, the oil companies have suffered under-recoveries between Rs.50,000 crore to Rs.1.5 lakh crore.
Tags : follow-on public offer, FPO of Indian Oil Corporation, Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary, state-run oil companies

Rocket failed to put an advanced communication satellite, GSAT-5P

Sriharikota: India's space programme suffered a serious setback today as its rocket failed to put an advanced communication satellite, GSAT-5P, in the intended orbit.

Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Rs.300 crore mission failed as its rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) disintegrated after its lift-off.
Tags : India Technology News, India's Space Programme, GSAT-5P, Indian Space Research Organisation

Srikrishna committee prepares to submit its report,for a separate Telangana state

Hyderabad: Central paramilitary forces began arriving in Andhra Pradesh to tackle possible protests as the Srikrishna committee prepares to submit its report to the central government by Dec 31 on the demand for a separate Telangana state.

Of the 50 companies sought by the state government, nearly half arrived on Friday. The remaining were expected by Monday, police officials said.

Most of the forces are drawn from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). They would mostly be deployed in Hyderabad, which witnessed violence, protests and shutdowns during late last year and early this year.

A police officer said 25 companies would be deployed at vulnerable places in the state capital and its outskirts. "We don't want to take any chances and want to have adequate number of forces," he said.

The companies, each comprising 120 personnel, will be mostly deployed at the state secretariat, Hitec City that houses many IT firms, areas with high concentration of people who migrated from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and Osmania University, the nerve centre of last year's agitation.

Police officials here briefed the central forces about possible trouble spots and vital installations.

Of the remaining nine districts of Telangana, two companies each were deployed in seven districts.

Two companies will be deployed in Visakhapatnam rural, one each in Anantapur, Tirupati, Visakhapatnam city, Vijyawada and Guntur.

In addition, reserve forces of the Andhra Pradesh Special Police would be deployed in different parts of the state.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and other groups fighting for a separate state have threatened to launch massive protests if the central government failed to carve out a Telangana after the panel's report.

After a 11-day hunger strike by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and massive protests in Telangana region, the central government last year announced that the process for formation of a separate Telangana state will be initiated.

However, counter protests in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and mass resignations of legislators forced the central government to do a rethink. It appointed a five-member panel to study the demands of both sides.
Tags : Andhra Pradesh News, Srikrishna Committee Report on Demand for Separate Telangana State, Andhra Pradesh Government, Central Reserve Police Force in Andhra Pradesh


Former communications minister A. Raja reached the CBI headquarters ,for further questioning in the 2G spectrum scam

New Delhi; DMK leader and former communications minister A. Raja reached the CBI headquarters here for the second consecutive day today for further questioning in the 2G spectrum scam. He reached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters at around 10 a.m., CBI sources said. Raja was quizzed by the CBI for over eight hours on Friday in connection with the 2G spectrum scandal, two weeks after it raided his premises in New Delhi and Tamil Nadu. Raja had to step down as minister following allegations that second generation spectrum was sold to mobile companies at below market prices causing huge losses to the government.

Raja has denied charges of wrongdoing. He was served the CBI summons a week ago while he was in Chennai. He had sought some time from the agency citing pressing personal work.
Tags : India News, A Raja in CBI Headquarters, CBI Questioning in 2G Spectrum Scam

PM Manmohan Singh expected to arrive at Thrissur ,to pay homage to CM K. Karunakaran

Thrissur (Kerala): Security was tightened as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was expected to arrive at Thrissur today afternoon to pay homage to four-time Kerala chief minister K. Karunakaran who died at the age of 92 two days ago.

Manmohan Singh is to arrive here at around 2 p.m. as opposed to the earlier 11 a.m., Congress leaders said here.

"He was supposed to come around 11 a.m but the programme has been delayed to around 2 p.m.. He will arrive on a special aircraft at Kochi. From there, he will travel by helicopter to a place near here and would then drive down," a Congress source said.

The Special Protection Group (SPG) has already taken over the Town Hall near here where Karunakaran's body is placed.

The carriage carrying the Congress veteran's body arrived here from Thiruvananthapuram at 8 a.m., delayed by over 10 hours as huge crowds gathered even well past midnight on the roads to have a glimpse of the leader.

The cremation is expected to take place at his home near here after 4 p.m.

Karunakaran's condition deteriorated last week and he was put on the ventilator. His condition improved in a few days but he suffered a stroke on Wednesday. He died at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday. He is survived by his politician son K. Muraleedharan and daughter Padmaja Venugopal.
Tags : Kerala News, Manmohan Singh at Thrissur, Manmohan Singh Homage to K. Karunakaran

Man of Indian origin was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his wife

London: A South African man of Indian origin was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Durban court after he admitted paying two men 2,880 pounds for stage-managing a carjacking and killing his wife.

Rajive Sewnarain, 42, told investigators that he hired the men to ambush his own car on Dec 10 in Durban to shoot him in the shoulder to make the attack appear more realistic.

He was pushed out of the car moments before the hitman shot his wife Shanaaz, the mother of their two children, twice in the chest and once in the neck, the media reported from Johannsburg.

The case bears considerable similarities to the murder of Indian-origin Swedish honeymooner Anni Dewani in an apparent carjacking in Cape Town last month, police said.

Dewani's husband Shrien told police he was forced out of the car by two ambushers who went on to shoot his wife dead. Police are investigating allegations that Shrien paid two men and his taxi driver 1,400 pounds to kill his wife.

According to detectives who investigated the Durban case, Sewnarain, a truck repair company owner, admitted he had plotted his wife's murder after they confronted him about inconsistencies in his story.

He told them that he and his wife had a volatile 20-year marriage that was fraught with arguments.

He said that when he was told by a man named Boxer that he could help him "take his wife out of his life", he agreed and paid him R30 000 (2,880 pounds).

On Dec 10, Sawnarain drove to the spot where the hitman duly jumped into the car. Police found Shanaaz's body in the back of the car the same night; she had been shot twice in the chest and once in the neck. Under pressure from police, Sewnarain admitted his role within hours.

Magistrate Sharon Marks, while sentencing Sawnarain, said: "You deprived your children of their mother."

"You had many remedies to get rid of your spouse such as divorce or separation. This type of murder invokes the indignation of the public and requires a sentence which will ensure they do not take the law into their hands," she said.
Tags : Diaspora News, Durban Court, Rajive Sewnarain

Police booked a former VP of the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI),for forging his son's birth certificate

Panaji: In a late development on Friday, the police here booked a former vice president of the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) and his family members for forging his son's birth certificate so he could play for the state in under-15 category.

The main accused Dayanand Narvekar is currently the president of the Goa Cricket Association (GCA), a former deputy chief minister and a sitting Congress legislator from Aldona.

"Narvekar, his wife, Sushma, son Ganeshraj and Ravindra Chodankar (Narvekar's relative) have been named as accused in the complaint filed at the Mapusa police station," a senior police official said.

"The complaint was filed one and a half month back and has now been registered under sections 420 (cheating), 471 (forgery) and section 120 (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code," the official said.

The official said that according to the complaint filed by one Shekhar Salkar, Ganeshraj had played for Goa from 2005 to 2007, for the south zone in the under-15 category, but was "allowed" to play in the third year, after forging the certificate and changing his name from Ganeshraj to Anish -- which was his nickname - and changing his age.

"The complainant has provided both birth certificates, which he claimed had been sourced under the right to information act," the official said.

"The original certificate says that the boy's birthdate is Feb 28, 1993, while the forged certificate shows his birthday as Sep 1, 1993," he added.

Yet another forged document, which the police are tracking down, is a forged birth certificate issued by a hospital owned by Narvekar's kin Ravindra Chodankar.
Tags : Goa police, vice president of the Board of Cricket Control of India, vice president of BCCI vice president, Goa Cricket Association

Dal Lake freezes in Srinagar,minimum temperature recorded was minus 5.2 degrees Celsius

Srinagar: It was biting cold across Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region today with sub-zero temperatures freezing most water bodies, including Srinagar's Dal Lake.

"The minimum temperature recorded in Srinagar was minus 5.2 degrees Celsius," an official of the weather office told the media.

Most parts of the Dal Lake had frozen in the morning except for those areas inside the lake where some hot spring activity takes place, keeping small pools of water warm and unfrozen.

"A group of migratory birds had gathered near the unfrozen bank of the lake in the morning when I went out for a walk. The lake now presents a mysterious spectacle with most it remaining shrouded in fog in the mornings and evenings," said Firdous Ahmad, a 34-year-old resident of Nishat locality here.

But it was Leh that was the coldest in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Leh town was the coldest place in the state where the temperature dropped to minus 16.4 followed by Kargil with minus 11.6 and Pahalgam with minus 7.6 degrees," the weather official said.

The winter ski resort of Gulmarg was also cold at minus 7 degrees Celsius, he added.

The official said the cold, dry conditions would continue in the Valley in the coming days and the temperatures were expected to dip further.

"We are expecting the same weather conditions for at least two days more. Due to clear night skies, the temperatures could fall further," he added.
Tags : Jammu and Kashmir News, Temperatures across Kashmir, Temperatures across Ladakh, Srinagar's Dal Lake

Sudhir Mishra is not bothered about amateur streaks in Neil performance in "Tera Kya Hoga Johnny"

New Delhi: Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra is not bothered about amateur streaks in Neil Nitin Mukesh's performance in his "Tera Kya Hoga Johnny" as the movie, apparently Neil's second, is being released after much delay.

"He is wonderful in the movie. There can't be anything amateur in his acting. In any case I have a reputation for making actor's work. So people won't feel the difference," Mishra told the media.

The movie hits the screens on Dec 31 after a delay of almost two years.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Neil Nitin Mukesh in Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, Sudhir Mishra

Rani Mukerji says she wants to be seen more often on the big screen

Mumbai: Rani Mukerji says she wants to be seen more often on the big screen but describes actors as beggars waiting for good scripts to come their way, which is the reason for her long absence.

"Actors are beggars! They wait for good scripts to come their way. It's always the makers who decide to make a film and then it's on the actors to choose what they want to do on the basis of what is being offered to them," Rani, who will feature in a never-before-seen avatar in "No One Killed Jessica", told the media in an interview.

"Honestly, the kind of roles that are being offered to me, I have to think hard before taking them. I have a responsibility towards my fans and I can't do random things. I have to do a role that catches people's attention. If my fans love me so much, the least I can do is to come out with a good film for them; that's why I do fewer films now," said the 32-year-old.

The dusky damsel wants to be seen more, but somehow she is not so lucky.

"I keep hoping and praying that I get scripts which are different so that I can take up those films. As an actor I want to be seen.

"The constant reaction that I keep getting is that 'Rani, we want to see more of you', and I too want to do more films. In fact, I want to come out with two-three films every year, but I've not been really lucky that I could do that. I'm not getting the roles that I really want to do," she said.

Rani, who used to do a couple of films a year earlier, has squeezed it down to just one project per year now. In the last three years, Rani was seen in just two films "Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic" and "Dil Bole Hadippa", but both failed to spin any magic at the box office.

She is, however, very optimistic about 2011 when her "No One Killed Jessica" will hit the screens. Slated for a Jan 7 release, the film, based on the murder of model Jessica Lall in 1999 by Manu Sharma, son of a Haryana politician, will see her as a gutsy, fearless and bold crime reporter Meera Gaitey.

"When I was approached for this role, I was told that when the case was going on, there were a lot of reporters who pursued it actively. In a film, we obviously can't have all of them. So my character is an amalgamation of all of them," said Rani.

"It would have been unfair to model the character on one person. So, I played it how I thought the character would be. Also I have taken bits from reporters I have met in so many years. I incorporated inputs from my observation," she added.

It was a long battle for Sabrina Lall to fight for justice for her sister and finally Manu Sharma was awarded life imprisonment by the Supreme Court. The film, which has been produced by UTV Spotboy and directed by Rajkumar Gupta, also features Vidya Balan as Sabrina Lall.

Throwing some light on her experience of working with Vidya, Rani said her co-star is very involved as an actor.

"Vidya is a method actor, which is what I have seen during the shooting of the film. She gets very involved in her character. She is a kind of actor who prepares a lot before coming on the sets. When she has to do a serious scene, I have seen her being very quiet and serious," she said.

"When she worked with me, she got a pleasant surprise because I'm fun on the sets and she didn't expect that. The minute she used to look at me, she used to start laughing because she finds me very naughty," she added.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood News, Rani Mukerji in No One Killed Jessica, Vidya Balan in No One Killed Jessica

Bollywood movie "Tees Maar Khan" (TMK):Laughter Bomb

New Delhi: You have to hand it to Farah Khan. The zany spirit never leaves her side. "Tees Maar Khan" (TMK) is a goofy oddball of a film, replete with the most outrageous takeoffs on the dreaded Hindi Film 'formula' seen in recent times.

The film, we understand, is inspired by a 1966 Peter Sellers comedy "After The Fox". But the foxiness of this feisty farce comes entirely from Farah Khan's own sensibilities as a storyteller. The laughter never deserts the belly of the plot. In TMK she pulls out all stops to tell a tale that never grows pale under the gaze of the camera.

The plot is the kind of kinky concoction that one associates with the literature of P.G Wodehouse and the drama of Sheridan. As hard to put down on paper as it is to pin down on camera, Farah Khan manages to just about hold the myriad madcap characters into a firm comic grip. The clasp of the comic is strong and engaging.

The grin never slips off. The spirit of a spoofy satirical homage to the larger-than-life hero-giri of the Formula Fillum never slips up. Yes, some parts of the takeoff refuse to take off. At times the storytelling becomes a casualty of its own parodic intentions. You never know when the narration slips into a parody of its own parody. That, you realise, is a part of this film's chirpy chalu charm.

The energy-driven narrative propels the parody from one gag to another. The gasbag narration is never short of tricks to seduce us into a state of helpless laughter.

When the dialogues fail to lift the satire (and this fuel-shortage happens frequently), Akshay Kumar steps in to do his number. No stranger to comedy, Akshay turns in one of his zaniest performances since Priyadarshan's "Hera Pheri". To say his comic timing is impeccable would be stating the obvious. Akshay just blends into the no-man's-land ambience of the film with unquestioning sincerity.

Akshaye Khanna as the Oscar-crazy superstar comes up with a comically compelling performance. We've never seen him having so much fun before. Maybe it's the company he 'quips'. Katrina Kaif's airheaded eyelash-batting makeup-splashing item-girl act gets its rippling rhythms from her lately-honed comic aptitudes. Her "Sheila ki jawani" item number which was the film's selling-point before release is performed with a gusto and elegance that could have easily overpowered the film.

Happily TMK manages to hold its own right up to the crazy chaotic finale.

The plot is crammed full with empty-headed and moronic characters. Farah Khan's vibrant vision encompasses the entire gamut of giggles, chuckles and guffaws in one swift confident sweep. You are hooked from the word go.

The supporting actors too furnish the hectic hilarity with enormous zaniness. Particularly notable are Aarya Babbar (fully in form as a boorish slightly dimwitted cop), Apara Mehta (endearingly nutty as Akshay's filmy mother) and Ali Asgar (as one of Akshay's sidekicks).

"Tees Maar Khan" is a kind of subverted homage to the cinema of Manmohan Desai. There are no lost-and-found kids in this 'ever-grin' film. But there's plenty of that spirit of daring destiny to do what it can.

Go for "Tees Maar Khan". Ignore all the negative comments you've been hearing about it. It's great unpretentious fun. To actually put so many IQ-challenged characters into an intelligent piece of comedy couldn't be easy.

So who said being the new-age Manmohan Desai was easy?
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood News, Farah Khan's Tees Maar Khan, After The Fox

Land allotted to Honeywell Technology Solutions in the Elcot Madurai-Ilandhaikulam Special Economic Zone (SEZ)

Chennai: The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd (Elcot) today said it has allotted 4.5 acre land to Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab in the Elcot Madurai-Ilandhaikulam Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for information technology (IT) and IT Enabled Services (ITES) sector.

Elcot has developed the SEZ over 28.91 acres and has invested around Rs.32 crore.

According to Elcot, the Bangalore-based Honeywell Technology Solutions is expected to start construction as soon as the necessary approvals are obtained for the construction of the building.

Honeywell Technology Solutions provides technology, product and business solutions to the clients of its US-based $37 billion Honeywell International.

Honeywell Technology Solutions has around 6,000 employees, including 2,500 aerospace engineers, with centres in Madurai, Hyderabad, Brno in the Czech Republic and Shanghai and Beijing, China.

According to Elcot, the IT/ITES SEZ is expected to attract an investment of around Rs.400 crore and provide direct employment to around 10,000 people.
Tags : India Business News, Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd, Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab, Elcot Madurai-Ilandhaikulam Special Economic Zone

India captain Bhaichung Bhutia said his Sikkim Football Club will boost the sport in NE

New Delhi: India captain Bhaichung Bhutia today said his newly-formed club United Sikkim Football Club will boost the sport in the northeast.

Bhutia, who is training with the national team in Dubai for next month's Asian Cup, has applied for permission from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to allow the newly-formed Gangtok-based club in the second division of I-League.

"United Sikkim will surely boost football in northeast. Things are still premature as we have just applied for permission from the AIFF. But we will look to run the club in a professional manner, with the help of some corporates," Bhutia told the media from Dubai.

Bhutia is confident that with proper guidance United Sikkim can become one of the top clubs in the country in the coming years.

"There is lot of talent in northeast and we have to give them proper direction. I hope United Sikkim can serve the purpose. We will have an excellent youth academy in association with former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz. In next 4-5 years we will be among the best in the country," he said.

The club is also being backed by the Sikkim Government and Bhutia has applied for 30-acres of land from the state government.

"We have full support from the state government and we will built a world class stadium and an academy," he said.

Bhutia has already signed 20 players and the AIFF has asked the club to submit some more relevant documents as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has set December 31 as the deadline for all the clubs to fulfil the criteria for participating in both the divisions of the I-League.

On his calf muscle injury in his right leg, Bhutia hoped that he would get fit in time before India's first match in the Asian Cup slated for January 10 against Australia.

"I am giving my best to get fit. Things are still in bad shape and I am also planning to fly in my personal doctor from Chennai. This is a big tournament for India and I want to give my best," he said.
Tags : India Sports News, India Football, United Sikkim Football Club, Football in Northeast India, Bhaichung Bhutia

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh ,ready to discuss a more liberal definition of "no-go" areas

New Delhi: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said he is ready to discuss a more liberal definition of "no-go" areas where mining activities were prohibited on environmental concerns.

"I am ready to sit down and discuss a more liberal definition of what is 'no-go.' I am open-minded at every step," Ramesh told reporters here.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had on Wednesday questioned the concept of "go, no-go" areas devised by the environment ministry.

According to Ahluwalia, the country's infrastructure-led growth plans may be hit if coal-bearing areas remained out of bounds for mining.

Ramesh said the concept of "go, no-go" was not defined by his ministry but chairman Coal India.

"It was the chairman Coal India that suggested to me that why can't we have 'go and no-go' areas. I said damn good idea," he said.

Ramesh said the environment ministry and the coal ministry worked out a plan where 65 percent of forests were declared "go" where mining can be done and rest 35 percent was "no go" where mining cannot be done as they have thick forest, wildlife and water resources which are important ecologically.

"Now people are saying why 35 percent, why not 30 percent, 20 percent or 10 percent. It is not Azadpur mandi type of handling we are doing in go and no go areas," he said.

"Now suddenly I am being accused of being an obstructionist. I find this debate completely unbalanced. It is unfortunate that a personal attack was launched on me. There is no personal agenda here," he added.

Speaking on the delay in a final decision on the South Korean steel major POSCO for its $12 billion project in Orissa, Ramesh said a final decision will be taken in next two-three weeks.

"I hope to bring closure to POSCO issue in next two to three weeks. It is a complicated issue and I have to be sensitive to it."

The environment ministry has put on hold a POSCO project, citing violations of environment and forest laws by the company.
Tags : India News, No-Go Areas, Prohibited Mining Activities

Santa Claus on the beach at Orissa's Puri town on the eve of Christmas

Bhubaneswar: Internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik today created a sculpture of Santa Claus on the beach at Orissa's Puri town on the eve of Christmas to create a new world record.

Pattnaik said he had created a similar sculpture in 2006 during Christmas which was 100 feet long and had won a place in the Limca Book of Records.

"This time I have created a 160 feet long sand replica of Santa Claus with the help of my students which is much bigger and longer," he said.

Santa Claus is usually identified with snow, but the latest image Pattnaik created has used green colour with the message 'Go Green'.

"I used 1,500 tonnes of sand and devoted 16 hours to build this new image," he told the media.

"With the green message I wanted to create awareness among the people about the adverse impact of global warming," he said.

Pattnaik said he has already informed officials of the Limca Book of Records about the latest sculpture. He hoped that it will find place in the upcoming edition of the record book.
Tags : Internationally acclaimed sand artist, Sudarsan Pattnaik, sculpture of Santa Claus on the beach, Orissa's Puri town, Christmas eve in orissa, world record

Advanced communication satellite GSAT-5P ,set to be launched

Chennai: Advanced communication satellite GSAT-5P - which will ensure continuity of telecom, television and weather services after an earlier satellite is retired - is set to be launched today evening at the Sriharikota rocket launch centre in Tamil Nadu.

If all goes well, the rocket geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) will lift off at 4.04 p.m. today, said an official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The progress to launch the Rs.125 crore (Rs.1.25 billion) GSAT-5P satellite weighing 2,130 kg has been smooth.

The satellite will serve the needs of the telecommunication sector and the weather department. It will eventually retire the INSAT-2E satellite that was sent up in 1999. The Sriharikota rocket launch centre is about 80 km from here.

"We have completed filling of liquid fuel in the four strap on motors and the second stage of the rocket. Fuel filling activities for the cryogenic engine have started," the official told IANS.

The filling of liquid fuel was completed around 2 a.m. today. "We have filled a total of 206 tonnes of fuel," the official said.

The GSLV rocket has three stages. The first stage is fired by solid fuel. The four strap on motors give additional thrust during the lift-off and the initial phase of the rocket's flight.

The second stage is fired by liquid fuel. The third stage, which is more complex than the others, involves the cryogenic engine powered by liquid hydrogen as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidiser.

The GSLV rocket is 51 metres tall, weighs 418 tonnes.

The GSAT-5P satellite with a life span of over 13 years has 36 transponders - automatic receivers and transmitters for communication and broadcast of signals. Successful launch of GSAT-5P will take the agency's transponder capacity to about 235 from the 200 currently in the orbit.

ISRO has the following communication satellites in service - INSAT 2E, INSAT 3A, INSAT 3B, INSAT 3C, INSAT 3E, INSAT 4A, INSAT 4CR and INSAT 4B working at 50 percent capability.

ISRO launched two major satellites in 2010 - communication satellite GSAT-4 and remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2. GSAT-4 launch failed after the rocket crashed into the Bay of Bengal while Cartosat-2 was placed successfully in the orbit.
Tags : India Technology News, GSAT-5P, Sriharikota Rocket Launch Centre in Tamil Nadu

CBI raided CWG chief Suresh KalmadI office, ready for full investigation

New Delhi: After the CBI raided his homes and office, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi today maintained that he had done no wrong in the organisation of the mega sporting event and was ready for full investigation. Emerging from his house at Kamraj Lane here after raids that began at dawn today, Kalmadi said he has no idea what the Central Bureau of Investigation officials had taken away from his home. The central probe agency searched his houses in New Delhi and Pune and his brother's in Mumbai in pursuit of charges of financial wrongdoing in the Oct 3-14 Games.

"I have always said that we had a very successful Commonwealth Games. I am ready, the Organising Committee is ready for any investigation," he said.

Kalmadi said he was ready for "full investigation" and that he has written to the CBI stating that he had given all cooperation to the agency.

"Everywhere there is full cooperation and we are ready for full investigation," Kalmadi told reporters here. His business premises were also searched.

"I had written a letter to CBI chief three days ago, assuring him that I will extend my full cooperation to them," he said.

Kalmadi asserted that he had only control of just four to five percent of the Commonwealth Games budget, and pointed out that he had not done any construction.

He added that the Organising Committee had given all the documents. "OC has given all documents. The issue is we have 5-6 agencies (who are investigating the OC)," he said.

Asked about the claims that some Games documents were missing, he suggested that these may have been taken away by some other official agency. "If any documents are missing, we will give them that also."

What have they taken from his residence, he was asked. He replied: "I don't know... They have given me a list."

Asked why the CBI raided his house if he was innocent, the Indian Olympic Association president shot back: "You should ask them."

The well-coordinated CBI operation began around 7 a.m. in all the three cities, with the raiding teams in Pune and Mumbai led by officers flown in from New Delhi.

Official sources in Pune said Kalmadi's house off Karve Road was searched by a seven-member team. His close aide Manoj Bhore's house in the city was also searched.

The CBI is probing alleged irregularities in the Organising Committee's contract of Rs.107 crore spent on overlays.

The charges against Kalmadi include overspending -- by crores of rupees. Kalmadi has said in his defence that many of the equipments were bought by the Organising Committee late due to lack of storage space and because the Games venues were not ready for installation.

Kalmadi's brother's Mumbai residence, where CBI officers conducted their search for about three hours, is located on the elite Pochkanwala Road in Worli.

Informed sources said the CBI also questioned Kalmadi's aide Vinod Surve in Mumbai. CBI officials did not confirm this.

The Commonwealth Games, which drew nearly 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories, were marred by controversies even before they began -- on charges of shoddy work, delays and corruption.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said earlier that the guilty would be punished.
Tags : India News, CWG Corruption, CBI raids Suresh Kalmadi's house, CWG Organising Committee

DMK began a series of public meetings ,explaining the issues involved in the 2G spectrum allocation

Chennai: The ruling DMK today began a series of public meetings across Tamil Nadu, explaining the issues involved in the 2G spectrum allocation that cost its party leader Andimuthu Raja the union cabinet berth last month.

"The first meeting is being held in Karur district. The public meetings will be in districts and later it will be held in Chennai," T.K.S. Elangovan, party Lok Sabha member, told media.

The DMK's public outreach programme began on the day Raja was grilled by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in New Delhi on the procedures followed in the 2G spectrum allocation.

According to Elangovan, the media campaign has to be met effectively as it is being blown out of proportion.

Queried about Raja being questioned by the CBI, Elangovan said: "Everything is going smoothly. There is no issue. It is only the media that is speculating various scenarios like whether he would be arrested or not."

He also charged the media with misreporting the issue.

He said the Comptroller and Auditor General in its report has only stated a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 trillion to the government in the 2G spectrum allocation.

The DMK's senior leader and state Law Minister S. Duraimurugan will address the first 'spectrum outreach' at Karur district, around 330 km from here.

DMK party seniors, leaders and members of parliament will address the meetings.

At Raja's hometown Perambalur, the public rally will be addressed by Vasanthi Stanley, a Rajya Sabha member.

Meanwhile, the major opposition party AIADMK too has started holding public meetings to explain what the spectrum scam is all about and how the nation lost Rs.1.76 trillion.

Speaking to media, AIADMK MP V. Maitreyan said: "For the past two weeks we have been holding street corner meetings across the state, explaining the spectrum scam to the people. I myself have addressed several such meetings."

A PMK leader, pleading anonymity, told media: "The media has done its part in bringing out the 2G spectrum scam to light and the involvement of the DMK ministers in the central government."

It is now for the state parties to take the issue forward by reaching out to the people to explain in detail what the spectrum scam is all about, he said.
Tags : India News, 2G spectrum scam, DMK, CBI Probe on 2G spectrum allocation

Rights activist Binayak Sen ,sentenced to life imprisonment

Raipur: Rights activist Binayak Sen was today sentenced to life imprisonment after being held guilty of sedition and conspiracy by a Chhattisgarh court for his alleged links with Maoists.

District and Sessions Court judge B.P. Varma convicted Sen and two others, Narayan Sanyal and Piyush Guha, who were accused of being Maoists. They too got life terms.
Tags : Chhattisgarh News, Binayak Sen's conviction, Chhattisgarh court, People's Union For Civil Liberties

Binayak Sen, accused of links with Maoists arrested

Raipur: Rights activist Binayak Sen, accused of links with Maoists, was today convicted for sedition and conspiracy by a Chhattisgarh court and arrested soon after, leaving his family and fellow activists shaken and disappointed. District and Sessions Court judge B.P. Varma found Sen guilty on a variety of counts such as under 124 A and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code and also under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. Sen, a medical doctor, had been out on bail since last year. "I lost my voice, please leave me," his distraught brother Dipankar Sen, in tears, told mediapersons at the court complex.

Kavita Srivastava, the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) national general secretary, reacted angrily.

"This is a fabricated case by the Chattisgarh government and police. It is hard to believe the judgment. We will go for appeal," she said.

Said Rajendra K. Sail, former PUCL president: "It is injustice, totally disappointing. There was no evidence against Sen. We will appeal."

Sen was arrested in 2007 from Bilaspur for alleged links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal but was released in May 2009 at the behest of the Supreme Court.

The case against continued even as Maoist guerrillas stepped up attacks on security forces in Chhattisgarh, killing scores of them.
Tags : Chhattisgarh News, India Judiciary News, Chhattisgarh Court, Binayak Sen Convicted, Chattisgarh Activists, Chhattisgarh Maoists

Hindi entertainment channel Colors to bring an Indian version of "Guinness World Records" soon

New Delhi: Hindi entertainment channel Colors is set to bring an Indian version of "Guinness World Records" soon, and Indians will get a chance to showcase talent that can become new world records.

"Guinness World Records, Ab India Todega", to be produced by Miditech Pvt Ltd, will be launched early 2011. The channel is on the lookout for a "Bollywood face" to host the show.

Guinness, the globally recognised authority on record breaking, will validate the achievements of the Indian participants as they attempt to break the existing records, and also recognise new world ones.

"Guinness ... will provide Indian participants an opportunity to go down in history by having their achievements validated by an internationally recognised institution, a reward more precious than what any other reality show can offer on Indian television today," Colors Head of Programming Ashvini Yardi said in a statement.

The Guinness has enthralled viewers in around 90 countries with its TV shows. Now the bosses are excited about the foray into India.

"This new deal demonstrates the incredible global reach and relevance of Guinness, and we look forward to welcoming a lot more Indian talent to the record books. We believe India has a wealth of undiscovered record breakers who have the talent and determination to make the impossible possible," said Rob Molloy, Guinness' director of television.

Miditech co-founder Niret Alva said the show will be a window for the world to see the spirit in India.

"There are few brands like the Guinness which lend themselves wonderfully to television and offer endless possibilities for season after season in an individual market. We are proud and happy to be producing a show which has incredible scale and variety and some never seen before action."
Tags : Entertainment News, Television, TV Programmes

It's a retrograde step targeting the Indian IT industry to meet the healthcare costs :Infosys Technologies chief executive S. Gopalakrishnan

Bangalore; The resilient Indian IT industry has expressed outrage over the latest US law to increase the visa fee on its skilled workers to share the healthcare burden of 9/11 victims.

"It's a retrograde step targeting the Indian IT industry again to meet the healthcare costs in the US. It is a disappointing move," Infosys Technologies Ltd chief executive S. Gopalakrishnan told the media here.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, passed by the US Congress late on Wednesday, is aimed at raising $4.3 billion over the next five years by taxing goods and services sourced from countries like India, China and Thailand.

"The latest protectionist move is inconsistent with the ethos that were exchanged during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India," Wipro executive vice-president Suresh Senapathy said.

Coming as it does after the visa fee was hiked on Indian techies in August to fund border security, the new healthcare law seeks to meet the treatment of those suffering from illness contracted while clearing the debris of the terror-struck World Trade Centre at the Ground Zero in New York.

"As long as unemployment is high, there will be pressure on politicians and government to do something to show that they are concerned over the situation. Unfortunately, their focus is on immigrants," Gopalakrishnan said.

Dismayed over the move to even levy two percent cess on imports, Senapathy said the IT industry hoped that the Obama administration would take steps not to let the healthcare bill pass through the legislation.

"The consolation is the new Act will be applicable for five years (till 2015) as against the 10-year timeframe stipulated in the bill," Senapathy said.

Echoing the concerns of the IT bellwethers and other firms in this tech hub, Nasscom president Som Mittal said the industry representative body did not expect the bill to be enacted into law so soon as the Indian position was already conveyed to the US government.

"Though the bill was in the knowledge of our government and the industry, we thought it may not go through in such a hurry, as the US Congress session was to break for Christmas and year-end holiday season," Mittal said.

Regretting that the US lawmakers were targeting the technology sector and overseas companies each time they have to fund new schemes due to huge deficit budget, Mittal said the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act would impact the Indian IT companies and hurt their bottomline, as they have to absorb the additional cost.
Tags : India Business News, Indian IT Industry, Indian IT Workers, US Visa Fee, US Healthcare, 9/11 Victims

The illegal trade of gemstones marred the prospects of gems and jewellery industries

Agartala: The illegal trade of gemstones and lack of infrastructure marred the prospects of gems and jewellery industries in the northeast India, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) officials said here today.

The GJEPC, a society sponsored by the union ministry of commerce, has urged the state and central governments to take steps to set up infrastructure supportive to the gems and jewellery industries in the northeast, which is surrounded by China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

"Immediate steps need to be taken to stop the smuggling of fake gemstones from across the international borders," GJEPC eastern region director Shantanu Rajguru told reporters.

He added that due to lack of infrastructure, the gems and jewellery industries in the northeast are not flourishing at expected levels though it has huge potential because of the markets, both domestic and foreign.

According to the GJEPC official, setting up hallmarking centres, training centres for workers and commissioning of modern machineries are the basic needs of the industry.

The GJEPC officials were talking to the reporters on the sidelines of concluding ceremony of week-long gemstones identification and grading training programme for artisans.

Rupak Saha, GJEPC member and prominent jewellery trader, said that a joint initiative of trade bodies and governments is the immediate need to check the illegal trade.

Senior GJEPC member and gemstones trainer Meenu Brijesh Vyas said that skill development is crucial for the growth of the industry.
Tags : India Business News, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, gems and jewellery industries, illegal trade of gemstones

President Pratibha Patil greeted the nation on the eve of Christmas

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil today greeted the nation on the eve of Christmas and urged people to work for "harmony and unity in society".

"On the joyous occasion of Christmas, I extend my warm greetings and good wishes to all citizens," Patil said in her message to the nation.

"The day symbolises a yearning of humanity for lasting peace and joy in our hearts. Let us follow the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ in our daily lives and work for harmony and unity in society and the progress of our country," the president said.
Tags : India News, Pratibha Patil, Christmas Eve

Nirupama Rao announced to launch portal an ambitious integrated portal

New Delhi: Lauding the power of the internet in revolutionizing communication, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao today announced the external affairs ministry's plans to launch an ambitious integrated portal that will create uniformity of outlook across all the websites of the ministry and its over 160 missions aborad.

"We have started work on an more ambitious integrated MEA ministry of external affairs portal. It is meant to introduce uniformity in the look, feel, content and navigational ease for all the websites of the ministry and its missions/posts abroad," Rao said here.

An inter-ministerial committee, headed by the additional secretary (administration) in the ministry, has been set up to oversee the development of the portal, Rao said.

The integrated portal is expected to be launched by May-June next year.

Rao also launched the redesigned website of the external affairs ministry and a brand new portal of its public diplomacy division that is trying to harness new social media like Facebook and Twitter to project India's positions on key policy issues.
Tags : India News, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, external affairs ministry, foreign office's integrated portal


N. Chandrababu Naidu was forcibly given intravenous fluids (IV) ,TDP says fast still on

Hyderabad; Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was forcibly given intravenous fluids (IV) at a hospital here but his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) claimed he was continuing his fast for the eighth day today, demanding relief for farmers who lost their crops in recent rain. Doctors at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) forcibly administered IV fluids as his condition had deteriorated on Thursday night. NIMS director P.V. Ramesh said they had no other option as there was an imminent risk of Naidu slipping into irreversible health complications.

As police had already obtained orders from a magistrate directing NIMS authorities to take care of Naidu's health, police forcibly removed a few TDP leaders present in his room and also ordered his wife Bhuvaneswari and other relatives to leave.

The leader of opposition was then shifted to the intensive care unit and forcibly given IV fluids. Naidu had been refusing to take the same or undergo treatment since Monday, when he was arrested and brought to hospital.

The decision to forcibly give IV fluids was taken after a team of five doctors, including Naidu's personal physician and eminent cardiologist B. Somaraju, examined him and felt that he may slip into coma which may then lead to organ failure.

TDP was furious over the action taken by police and NIMS authorities. The party claimed that its chief was still on fast and would continue till the government announces the relief package for farmers.

"How long will this government run with by using the police force?" asked senior TDP leader N. Janardhan Reddy.

TDP and the two Communist parties have called for a march to the secretariat today to urge the government to come to the rescue of farmers.

The opposition parties said they were gearing for a national agitation over the farmers' issues.

A meeting of TDP legislators was underway at NTR Trust Bhavan, the TDP headquarters here, today morning to chalk out their future course of action.

At an all-party meeting on Thursday, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had rejected all Naidu's demands but agreed to take an all-party delegation to New Delhi to seek further financial assistance for farmers.

Naidu is demanding that the government declare the crop loss a national calamity, pay a compensation of Rs.10,000 per acre for food crops and Rs.15,000 per acre for commercial crops.

Opposition parties claim that about 150 farmers had committed suicide due to the massive crop losses they suffered in heavy rains early this month.
Tags : Andhra Pradesh News, India Politics News, N. Chandrababu Naidu Fast, Andhra Pradesh Farmers, Telugu Desam Party

CBI raided Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi's homes

New Delhi: The CBI today raided Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi's homes and office here and in Pune in connection with irregularities in the conduct of the October games, official sources said.

Central Bureau of Investigation officials searched a Kalmadi residence each in New Delhi and Pune, the Organising Committee office here and the house of an aide also in Pune, the sources told the media.

"The raids began around 7 a.m.," an official said.
Tags : India News, CWG Irregularities, CWG Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi

Veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran died,cremation will be held on Saturday morning

Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran, who was four times chief minister of Kerala, died in a hospital here on Thursday, doctors said. He was 92. His cremation will be held at his home town in Thrissur on Saturday morning, president of Congress' state unit Ramesh Chennithala told reporters outside the hospital where Karunakaran was admitted since Dec 10. "The body would be taken to his home here and tomorrow morning the body would be first taken to our party office. From there it would be kept at the Durbar Hall at the State Secretariat and in the afternoon. It would be taken through the national highway to Thrissur. The cremation would take place at the same place where his wife has been laid to rest," a tearful Chennithala said.

The 92-year-old veteran leader's condition deteriorated last week and he was put on the ventilator.

He recovered a few days later and was removed from the ventilator, but his condition worsened Wednesday morning and he suffered a stroke. He breathed his last at 5.30 p.m. today.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, hearing the demise of his long time political adversary, arrived at the hospital to pay his last respects.
Tags : India News, Congress, veteran leader K. Karunakaran's death, cremation of Karunakaran

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna expressed grief at the death of Congress leader K. Karunakaran

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Thursday expressed grief at the death of "good friend and colleague" veteran Congress leader K. Karunakaran and praised his role in bringing about socio-economic development in Kerala. "I am deeply pained to learn of the demise of Mr. K Karunakaran, my good friend and colleague for so many decades. A political stalwart and tall leader of the Congress party, he served the nation with distinction and acumen," said Krishna, also a former chief minister of Karnataka.

"During his several innings as chief minister of Kerala, he was instrumental in bringing about rapid socio-economic development of the state," he said. "I convey my heartfelt condolences to members of his family and friends as well as the people of Kerala," he added.

The 92-year-old Karunakaran, who was four times chief minister of Kerala, died in a hospital at Thiruvananthapuram.
Tags : India News, Congress, veteran leader K. Karunakaran's death, Homage to Karunakaran

PAC of parilament ,led by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi sought opinions & suggestions on the 2G spectrum scam

New Delhi: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament, led by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, on Thursday sought opinions and suggestions on the 2G spectrum scam, even as the opposition continues to demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the issue.

A meeting of the PAC has been called on Monday to hear statements from people on the issue.

"Taking into consideration the importance of the subject and the nationwide interest evinced in it, the Committee has decided to invite Memoranda containing views/suggestions from various individuals, experts, associations, institutions, organisations interested in the subject matter," the Lok Sabha Secretariat has said in a notification.

Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) but the opposition had rejected it, stating they were sticking to the demand for a JPC.

The opposition, in no mood to budge rejected the offer along with the Leader of the House and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's suggestion Wednesday for a special session of parliament to discuss the demand for JPC.

The PAC notification said the memoranda submitted to the Committee would be treated as confidential and would form a part of the records of the committee.

It has also offered individuals to appear before the committee but subject to the PAC's decision.

The PAC is looking into the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the 2G spectrum allocation in 2008 that said it had led to huge losses to the exchequer.
Tags : Public Accounts Committee, PAC of parliament, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, 2G spectrum scam, Joint Parliamentary Committee, JPC probe into 2G scam

Censor board awarded the A-certificate to "No One Killed Jessica" movie

New Delhi: The censor board has awarded the A-certificate to "No One Killed Jessica" - based on a real murder - without any cuts and its makers today hailed the decision saying they were happy to be able to take the story to the audience.

"The emotion of the journey, the power of the people and the relentless effort of the media needed to be brought to the audience in the right light and hats off to the censor board for keeping that above all else while judging the film," said Vikas Behl, a senior official at UTV, which has produced the film.

Set for a Jan 7 release, "No One Killed Jessica" is based on ramp model Jessica Lall's murder case.

Director Rajkumar Gupta roped in Vidya Balan to play Jessica's sister Sabrina who fought tooth and nail to get justice for her sister.

Rani Mukerji plays a journalist in the film and the director said her character is brutal and graphic in her speech and will be seen mouthing expletives non-stop. It was feared that the censor may object to these scenes.

Another area of discomfort for the film was the legal ramifications of showing real-life people, particularly the hostile witnesses in the murder case.

In fact, former top cop Amodh Kanth had urged the censor board to ensure that only facts relating to the Jessica Lall murder case are presented in "No One Killed Jessica".

He was the joint commissioner of police (southern range) when Jessica was shot dead in a night club by Manu Sharma, the son of a Haryana politician in 1999. Sharma has been awarded a life sentence by the Supreme Court.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood News, No One Killed Jessica Makers, Censor Board A Certificate

Shah Rukh Khan will have to buy a ticket to attend the Sunburn Goa electronic music festival !

Panaji: Bollywood badshah Shah Rukh Khan's presence at the Sunburn Goa electronic music festival has not been confirmed yet but the festival organisers maintain that the superstar will have to buy a ticket to attend the event.

Harindra Singh, managing director of Percept - the organiser of arguably India's biggest electronic music festival to be held in Goa next week - said Shah Rukh will have to shell out money, if he wants to attend the three-day festival.

"If Shah Rukh buys a ticket, he is welcome. There is no guest list for the event," Singh said, adding that only the sponsors were allowed to bring a limited number of guests.

Sunburn Goa, which will be held from Dec 27-29, is expected to host some of the top names in the world of electronic music like Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and Dave Seaman who will showcase their music at the picturesque Candolim beach.

The festival over the last few years has attracted several celebrities and, according to Singh, bookings for this year's event started happening as early as January.

"We had the first bookings from January. This is one of the most sought after events in India's events calendar and we have people from all over the world coming in to attend it," Singh said, adding that such festivals will give Goa tourism a big fillip.

"I have been told that the season in Goa over the last few years has not been good and events like this help the local business because of the thousands of tourists who come in," Singh said.
Tags : India Entertainment News, Bollywood News, Shah Rukh Khan's Presence at Sunburn Goa, Sunburn Goa Electronic Music Festival, Goa News

Bollywood songs -List of top ten ,2010

Mumbai: The year 2010 offered a wide range of Bollywood songs. While raunchy numbers like "Munni badnaam hui" kept the adrenaline pumping, soft and romantic numbers such as "Dil toh bachcha hai jee" and "Pee loon" caressed listeners' hearts and the Sufi number "Sajda" spelt bliss for music lovers.

The year cannot be dedicated to any one musician - from Pritam Chakraborty to Vishal-Shekhar; all enjoyed a fair share of the spotlight. But amid singers it was Rahat Fateh Ali Khan who made it big with a couple of hits.

Media lists the most popular songs of 2010:

"Dil toh bachcha hai jee": It was a melodious beginning to the year with the romantic number from "Ishqiya". Vishal Bharadwaj directed the music and roped in Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to sing the song that instantly struck a chord with listeners. The sound of the accordion was prominent in the composition and was reminiscent of Raj Kapoor songs.

"Sajda": Composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy mesmerised listeners with this song from the film "My Name Is Khan". Once again sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan along with Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma, the Sufi number tugged at one's heartstrings. The sounds of tablas and dholaks were moulded together so beautifully that it helped the song become a chartbuster and stay on top for a long time.

"Aap ka kya hoga (Dhanno)": An interesting remix was packed into the "Housefull" album by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in the guise of "Aapka kya hoga (Dhanno)". Sung by Mika Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan and Sajid Khan, it revisited Amitabh Bachchan's popular song "Apni to jaise taise" from the 1981 superhit "Lawaaris". The hit number appealed even after a makeover because the composers retained a few original lyrics. It was a winner all the way and made everyone dance to its tunes.

"Bin tere": The song from "I Hate Luv Storys" managed to bring out the hidden romantic side in all of us. Composed by director duo Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravijiani, it surely is a soulful and melodious number. The simple lyrics were beautifully rendered by Shafqat Amanat Ali with ample support from Sunidhi.

"Pee loon": The soft love ballad from the crime thriller "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai" still occupies air time on most of the radio channels. Pritam Chakroborty's composition and Mohit Chauhan's voice have spelt magic for the song. It also contains traces of Sufi elements that add edge to the song.

"Gal mithi mithi": This track is an amazing folk outing by Tochi Raina and is not like any run-of-the-mill Punjabi number. Composed by Amit Trivedi of "Dev D" fame for "Aisha", the fast number instantly made its mark because of the unpredictable orchestration and the fun element woven together intelligently.

"Munni badnaam hui": One of the most popular item numbers of the year, the fast-paced, catchy song with a rustic flavour created a nationwide sensation. Composed by Lalit Pandit and sung by Mamta Sharma and Aishwarya, "Munni..." from the superhit film "Dabangg" is still ruling the roost.

"Tere mast mast do nain": "Dabangg" gave another hit in "Tere mast...", but this time the composers were brothers Sajid-Wajid. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan crooned the moderately paced romantic track with such expertise that it made people sit up and take notice.

"Zor ka jhatka": Even though the film failed to take off at the box office, this song from "Action Replayy" flew higher and higher on popularity charts. Sung by Daler Mehndi, Richa Sharma and Master Salim, Pritam's composition was appreciated for its quirky lyrics and unusual orchestration.

"Sheila Ki jawaani": As they say the best is always reserved for the last, this song appeared almost at the end of the year and was an instant hit thanks to its urban appeal and a raunchy feel. It's giving competition to "Munni badnaam hui" for the best item number crown.

Brilliantly sung by Sunidhi Chauhan and composed by Vishal-Shekhar, the "Tees Maar Khan" number has foot tapping beats and an impressive composition has made it a favourite among people of all ages. With an urban appeal and a raunchy feel, the song is currently ruling every music chart.
Tags : Entertainment news, Bollywood, Hindi Film Industry, Movies

Pakistani traders are exporting onions,despite the crop production lagging

Islamabad: Pakistani traders are exporting onions to various countries, including India, despite the crop production lagging 30 to 40 percent behind domestic demand, a media report said.

One hundred tonnes of the commodity are being exported to India on a daily basis since Wednesday, keeping onion retail price buoyed up at Rs.60 per kg, Geo News reported on Wednesday.

Traders at Karachi's vegetable market said the annual yield of onions is five to six million tonnes in the country. However, the recent flash floods and downpours played havoc on the crops.

India abolished seven percent customs duty imposed on onion imports.

The onion prices in India have in recent days soared to Rs.70-80 per kg in retail markets following shortage of the commodity.
Tags : Pakistani traders, Pakistan exporting onions to India, onion production, domestic demand of onion, onion retail price in India

German luxury car manufacturer BMW's,launched its compact-sports utility vehicle (SUV) X1

New Delhi: German luxury car manufacturer BMW's Indian subsidiary today launched its compact-sports utility vehicle (SUV) X1 with the price range of Rs.22 lakh to Rs.29.9 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

"X1 is a modern vehicle that for the first time brings premium BMW characteristics into compact vehicle segment," BMW India's president Dr. Andreas Schaaf said.

According to him, the SUV will be preferred by customers looking for leisure activities and lifestyle vehicles.

X1's three variants which were launched includes X1 sDrive18i (petrol), X1 sDrive20d (diesel) and luxury model X1 sDrive20d Exclusive (diesel).

The SUV is powered by four-cylinder diesel/petrol engine with turbocharger with variable intake geometry and common-rail fuel injection system and is equipped with six-speed automatic transmission.

According to the company, the car has top of the line fuel efficient engine which gives 15.24 km per litre mileage for diesel variety and 11.24 km per litre mileage for the petrol model.

Schaaf further said that the company had registered 1,000 orders for the car.

"We have 1,000 orders for the X1 and we are sold out for the first quarter of the next year," Schaaf said, adding that the SUV will bring in volume numbers for the company.

He added that the company has registered a growth of 60 percent and the capacity of the car manufacturer's Chennai plant was raised from 5,400 to 8,000 units per annum this month to meet the rising demand.
Tags : India Business News, BMW's SUV, German luxury car manufacturer BMW, fuel efficient engine

Boeing received a critical sensor equipment from Bharat Electronics Ltd,will be fitted in P-8I

New Delhi: Boeing has received from Bharat Electronics Ltd a critical sensor equipment for identifying friendly and enemy planes that will be fitted in P-8I maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft being produced by the US aerospace major for the Indian Navy.

The Indian defence PSU delivered the Indian-designed Identification Friend or Foe Interrogator - a battle management system - last week. It will be installed by Boeing during P-8I's final assembly at its facility in Washington, the aerospace major said in a statement.

"This delivery is another positive step in our industrial participation effort with India," said Vivek Lall, vice president, Boeing Defense, Space and Security India.

Boeing will deliver the first of eight P-8I aircraft to India by early 2013 -- 48 months after the original contract signing in January 2009.

India is the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft of Boeing. The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing designed and is building for the US Navy.

"In addition to supplying an essential technology for the Indian navy, Boeing's partnership with BEL also supports the government of India's industrial objectives," Lall said.

Indian indigenous technology and equipment for P-8I also include BEL's Data Link II communications system, Avantel's mobile satellite system and the Electronic Corporation of India Limited's (ECIL) speech secrecy system.
Tags : India Business News, Bharat Electronics, Boeing Defense, Indian navy, Electronic Corporation of India Limited

Excise and customs collections in Mumbai have been satisfactory :Pranab Mukherjee

Mumbai: Excise and customs collections in Mumbai till November during this fiscal have been satisfactory, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today after a meeting with chief commissioners.

"Mumbai's indirect tax collections up to November stood at Rs.56,000 crore. Customs duty collection from April-November was Rs.28,000 crore, while central excise collections amounted to Rs.16,000 crore," he told reporters after the meeting

Mukherjee observed that high tax collections in Mumbai reflected buoyancy in the economy. "Mumbai contributes 35 percent of India's indirect tax collections to the exchequer," he said.

He said he was hopeful of meeting the tax targets this fiscal.

On the high onion prices across the country, Mukherjee hoped that more bulbs would be imported shortly to meet the shortfall.

"Non-food items are also contributing to the current high inflation," he said.
Tags : India Business News, Customs Collections in Mumbai, Indirect Tax Collections in Mumbai, Pranab Mukherjee

Sports ministry is open to hiring a coach from overseas for the men's hockey team

New Delhi: The sports ministry is open to hiring a coach from overseas for the men's hockey team despite its bitter experience in the past.

Hockey India (HI) has once again approached the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to short-list the candidates from overseas, but the ministry is opposed to a foreign coach if he is not of stature.

"The past experience with foreign coaches may not have been all that happy, but that cannot be the only reason for rejecting outright the appointment of another. I agree Ric Charlesworth left abruptly, but Jose Brasa completed his contracted tenure. We are still open to hire a foreign coach, but we can't have one for the sake of it," Injeti Srinivas, joint secretary in the sports ministry, told media here today.

Srinivas said the ministry and HI have a pragmatic approach to appointing the national coach.

"We have to get the best man for the job, irrespective of the nationality. If we can't get a suitable foreign coach, we can think of hiring experts in goalkeeping and penalty-corners but the they have to be really good," he said.

The ministry is coordinating with the HI's development committee headed by former captain Pargat Singh in making the right choice. They are also looking for a sports psychologist for the team.

A member of the Development Committee told media that they, too, are not keen on a foreign coach unless the candidate is from the top drawer, though they feel the appointment of a psychologist is a must.

"After the semi-final loss at the Guangzhou Asian Games, the team management felt that a sports psychologist is a must for the team. Before the team left for China, we had to take the advice of Army officers on handling pressure. But with the Olympics barely 18 months away, the hunt for a psychologist is a priority," he said, not wishing to be named.
Tags : India Sports News, Sports ministry, men's hockey team, Hockey India, International Hockey Federation