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IIT kanpur restricting Internet access to students during the night

KANPUR: Authorities at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here are deliberating on restricting Internet access to students during the night saying that it has a negative effect on their academic performance.

"The campus is wi-fi enabled and it has been found that students use Internet throughout the night on their laptops due to which they are sleepy during classes and it adversely affects their academic performance," Registrar Sanjeev Kashalkar said.

He said poor performance leads to stress among students and some of them commit suicide after being unable to cope with academic pressure.

A decision to restrict Internet access between midnight and six am in the campus will be implemented only if a consensus is reached on the matter, Kashalkar said.

On Thursday, a BTech first year student had committed suicide at the institutes's hostel which was the ninth such case in the past six years and has become a cause of concern for the authorities.

Department of IT creating a framework to use Facebook, Twitter for eliciting public views

CHANDIGARH: With social networking sites Facebook or Twitter getting popular among masses, the Centre is creating a framework for "Citizen Engagement" to use social media for eliciting public views, an official said.

The Department of Information Technology, under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, is creating a framework for "Citizen Engagement" to use social media for eliciting public views.

"Social media like Facebook, Twitter has become a very powerful media..but government has been unable to make use of it as we do not have any framework," Department of IT, Additional Secretary, Shankar Aggarwal told reporters here today on the sidelines of IT conclave 'E-Revolution'.

"Therefore government officials are not sure whether to make use of social media ... if yes then what should be the 'dos and don'ts' for the same," he said.

He stressed that for implementation of any scheme, programme or any project, the government must have consultation with the civil society in a meaningful manner.

He informed that the approval of various ministries like Home, Information and Broadcasting would be required for implementing the new framework.

In another move to bring transparency in government functioning, the Centre is creating a policy whereby all government data created with public money except sensitive data be put in public domain.

"With data in public domain, people for example can come to know about how much money was spent in NREGA scheme or how many students got scholarships," he said.

Public or civil societies can use this data for value addition, transparency and accountability, he informed.

He said the mandate has been given to the department of Science and Technology for putting data of all government departments in public domain.

On Electronic Services Delivery Bill, he said that this bill was expected to be tabled in next session of parliament for its approval.

Once this bill turns into Act, all the government departments in Centre and states would have to provide public services in electronic mode only, he said.

"It is whims and wishes of the department to deliver public services in electronic mode. If we make it mandatory then all government departments and services will be duty bound to provide services in e-mode in next 5 years," he said.

Transport services remained paralyzed in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh

HYDERABAD: Transport services remained paralyzed in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday due to a rail blockade by activists, and strike by auto rickshaw and state-owned bus employees demanding separate statehood. Thousands of commuters were left stranded across the region and in many cities.

The rail blockade by Telangana activists continued for the second day on Sunday, while the strike by employees of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) buses entered the seventh day.

Railway stations in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the region wore a deserted look as railways cancelled all the trains. Protesters demanding separate statehood to Telangana returned to the tracks Sunday morning.

Protesters near almost all the railway stations continued staging the cook and dine protest on the tracks and were also playing games and participating in cultural programmes.

At some places like in Nalgonda, activists of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) spent the night, had bath and breakfast on the tracks.

Hyderabad and the rest of Telangana remained cut off from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions as both trains and buses did not ply.

Thousands of commuters remained stranded in cities like Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati due to cancellation of all trains and buses.

Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is spearheading the movement, is reportedly planning to extend the rail blockade till Sep 27. JAC leaders say they have not yet taken a final decision.

The South Central Railway (SCR) cancelled over 72 express and 264 passenger trains in the region Saturday and Sunday.

The railways have cancelled all 222 Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) services or local trains in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and 102 Diesel Hydraulic Multiple Unit (DHMU) trains in other parts of Telangana.

Over 500,000 auto rickshaws also remained off the roads.

Over 10,000 RTC buses remained off the roads for the seventh day.

With no mode of transport available, people are having a harrowing time. The employees of IT companies in Cyberabad, the IT cluster in the state capital, also had a tough time in reaching the offices.

'People's strike' by state-owned Singareni Collieries paralyzed coal production for the 13th day Sunday.

It threw the generation and supply of electricity out of gear and affected business and industry.

Nepal plane crash:19 people, mostly Indian tourists, were killed

KATHMANDU: All 19 people, mostly Indian tourists, were killed early on Sunday after a small place carrying them crashed close to capital city Kathmandu.

Rescuers had managed to bring out a lone survivor alive from the wreck site while 18 bodies had been recovered, police said.

However, the survivor, identified as Nepal's Nirajan Karmacharya, 36, died while receiving medical treatment.

The small aircraft, belonging to domestic airline Buddha Air, was flying mostly tourists on a mountain flight in northern Nepal when it crashed in Kotdanda in Lalitpur district, close to Kathmandu.

It was carrying 16 passengers -- 10 Indians, three Nepalis and three foreigners. Eight of the Indians were said to be from Tamil Nadu.

The three-member crew comprised of Captain J.V. Tamrakar, co-pilot Padma Adhikari and air-hostess Ashmita Adhikari.

Two other passengers had been identified as Nepal's Jagan Karmacharya and Sharada Karmacharya.

The aircraft flew around 7 a.m. from Kathmandu and went out of contact half an hour later.

Initial reports said the crash could have occurred due to bad weather and poor visibility.

An army aircraft rushed to the spot to help in the rescue operations. The aircraft lay devastated, scattered in pieces along with the dead bodies.

Sikkim is unlikely to face any large earthquake over the next couple of years

Kolkata: Sikkim is unlikely to face any large earthquake over the next couple of years as vast energy has been released through last Sunday's tremors and aftershocks, says S.K. Nath, senior professor of geology and geophysics, IIT-Kharagpur.Although the recent quake left scores dead and devastated vast areas in north Sikkim, the leading geologist says the damage would have been worse had its full fury been felt in the state's more populous south, where no building code is followed.

"Though many people have died in Sikkim, I must say that Sikkim was lucky this time as the epicentre of the earthquake was the Sikkim-Nepal border," he said.

"That is why the northern part faced the wrath and south Sikkim did not face much problem," said Nath, who has been working extensively on the microzonation and seismicity of the Sikkim region since 1995.

"It was quite a large earthquake and it also released a few aftershocks," said Nath. "So I can say that for at least the next couple of years there will be no such earthquake in Sikkim."

He rubbished reports of Mangan in the north district being the epicentre of the earthquake.

"I do not know from where reports are coming that Mangan is the epicentre. It is in the middle of Sikkim. Had Mangan been the epicentre, the whole of Bhutan and North Bengal up to Siliguri would have been in ruins," Nath told IANS in an interview.

Nath, who has been teaching in IIT-Kharagpur since 1988, said the main reason for earthquakes in India is the Indian plate going under the Eurasian plate.

"The Indian plate is still going under the Eurasian plate. It is going under at a rate 46 millimetres per year," said Nath.

Nath, the principal investigator on the project of Department of Earth Sciences Microzonation of Sikkim Region, submitted a report in 2006 regarding what kind of quake-proof buildings should come up in the hill state.

According to Nath, Sikkim is divided into two seismic zones: North Sikkim falls under seismic zone 4 and South Sikkim, which includes areas of Gangtok and Singtham, falls under seismic zone 5.

Seismic Microzonation is a process by which an area is divided into zones -- in accordance with the character of the area such as ground shaking, susceptibility, rock fall hazard and earthquake-related flooding.

"If you go to south Sikkim, which falls in Zone 5, it has a lot of two lean buildings side by side, with very little gap between them. No building code is followed there," said Nath, who received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 2002.

"It is true that Sikkim's mainstay is tourism and Gangtok its main attraction. But there should be a proper procedure for construction of buildings," said Nath.

2G spectrum:I defend all my ministers said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

New York: Amid a raging storm back home over a finance ministry note on the role of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the allocation of 2G spectrum, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said he defended all his ministers."I defend all my ministers. The opposition's job is to criticise," he told reporters as he came out of a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UN General assembly session.Manmohan Singh confirmed that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is coming here today night from Washington to meet him, but suggested he was "coming to brief me on various issues since there are problems in all parts of the world" and not specifically about the 2G issue.

Mukherjee, who is expected to meet Manmohan Singh on Sunday, told a group of Indian journalists in Washington on Friday that he will speak on the issue only when he reaches India Monday.

"I told you that my question is only addressed to that (2G). What is to be told there, I will tell it there (in India), not now," he said.

He is expected to fly to New York and stay in the same hotel as that of the prime minister after fulfilling all his engagements in Washington, where he is attending the World Bank and IMF meetings, officials said.

Mukherjee, who is attending these meetings over the weekend, was scheduled to fly back home on Sunday, but changed his plans in view of the controversy, according to diplomatic sources.

In New York, Mukherjee had on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of the March note that said the airwaves could have been auctioned in 2008 if Chidambaram, then the finance minister, had "stuck to his stand".

He, however, avoided direct comment on the note from his ministry, saying the matter was sub judice.

In the note, the finance ministry says Chidambaram, one of the government's most high-profile ministers, could have prevented spectrum from being given away at throwaway prices by insisting on its auction -- implying that presumptive losses worth thousands of crores could have thus been avoided.

The note, which was apparently shown to Mukherjee and accessed by an application under the Right to Information Act, was prepared by a deputy secretary in the finance ministry and sent to the Prime Minister's Office on March 25.

4.3 intensity earthquake rocked the Kashmir Valley

Srinagar: A 4.3 intensity earthquake rocked the Kashmir Valley tonight, officials said. No loss of life or damage was reported.

"A light intensity earthquake, of magnitude 4.3 on the Richter Scale, occurred here at 8.51 p.m. The epicentre of the quake, located in the Jammu and Kashmir region, was 34.1 degrees North latitude and 73.5 degrees East longitude," Srinagar Meteorological Office director Sonam Lotus told the media.

"No loss of life or damage to property was reported," Lotus added.

Surinder Kapoor, father of Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, died

Mumbai: Film producer Surinder Kapoor, father of Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, died today of cardiac arrest. He was 84.

"I'm at Surinderji's house right now. He had gone for a walk in the evening. He came back, drank a glass of water and while he was untying the laces of his shoes, he suffered a heart attack and died on the spot," Anees Bazmee, the director of Kapoor's production venture "No Entry", told the media.

Kapoor, who is survived by his wife, three sons Boney, Anil, Sanjay and daughter Reena, was the producer of films like "Hum Paanch", "Woh Saat Din", "Loafer", "Judaai" and "Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai" among others.

"Veteran producer Surinder Kapoor, father of Boney, Anil & Sanjay Kapoor and grandfather of Sonam & Arjun Kapoor, has passed away. Condolences to the entire family. RIP," film critic Taran Adarsh tweeted.

Kapoor was the president of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India from 1995 to 2001 and was also felicitated with the L.V. Prasad Phalke Award in 2009.

NMDC Limited is close to acquiring a coking coal mine in Russia

Kolkata: India's top iron ore miner NMDC Limited is close to acquiring a coking coal mine in Russia with an estimated reserve of about 70 million tonnes. The company will seek board approval for the acquisition within a few days.

"We have sent a team to see the coal mine," NMDC chairman Rana Som told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on energy security here today.

"Tomorrow the officials are returning," he said. "We have identified the mine as it is small and manageable. It has 70 million tonnes coal resource. In the next 10 to 12 days, we will take a board-level view on the acquisition."

The state-run company is trying to form a farm pact with Severstal, the largest producer of steel in Russia.

"We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Severstal," Som said. "We are trying to convert the MoU to MoA (memorandum of association). They (Severstal) have said that the coking coal mine they have will be transferred to the joint-venture against a reciprocal arrangement for iron ore by NMDC."

The two firms agreed to build a steel plant in Karnataka to manufacture auto grade steel. NMDC is to supply iron ore from its nearby mines, while Severstal plans to source coking coal from its captive mines in Russia.

"We are also looking for a mine in Alabama in the US," Som said. "Our team is now doing due diligence. We expect that within ten days we will get a report."

Panasonic has signed Anirban Lahiri as their sporting ambassador

Shiga (Japan): Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri received a welcome boost ahead of his campaign at this week's Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open when it was announced that Panasonic has signed the 24-year-old up as their sporting ambassador.

Lahiri, who won his maiden Asian Tour title at the same title sponsored event in India earlier this year, said he was delighted to be associated with one of the leading electronics brands in the world.

"It's a huge privilege and honour to be associated with such a great company. Panasonic is a global leader in electronics and I'm glad to be a part of it," said Lahiri.

The Indian is determined to repay the faith that Panasonic has in him and knows that there is no better time to do it than at this week's ¥150,000,000 (approximately $1.7 million) event that is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.

"When somebody mentions Panasonic Open, it brings back positive memories. A lot of players win and then there's a big gap. I want to keep that continuity and positivity going especially this week," said Lahiri.

Lahiri, who carded a two-over-par 73 in his opening round, signing for a 69 to ease into the weekend rounds alongside star attraction and fellow Panasonic ambassador Ryo Ishikawa of Japan. He added a third round 72 to be tied 28th.

"There was not much golf to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the weather so I didn't practice much. It took me awhile to get comfortable with my swing as well as the golf course. It is good that I played very solid today as I've been hitting it really good and putting well," said Lahiri.

"Ryo Ishikawa has been a pioneer for golf in Japan and youngsters all over the world. It feels good to be under the same umbrella as him and I'm happy that we are both playing in the weekend rounds."

Shoaib Akhtar trying to sell his autobiography 'Controversially Yours' by making sensational claims

Mumbai: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram today rejected allegations that he wanted to ruin the career of his compatriot Shoaib Akhtar and criticised the maverick bowler for trying to sell his autobiography 'Controversially Yours' by making sensational claims against Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

In his book, Shoaib claimed that Tendulkar and Dravid were not good finishers. The Rawalpindi Express also went a step ahead saying that Tendulkar was uncomfortable with his pace in the Faisalabad Test in 2006.

Akram, recalling Tendulkar's debut series in Pakistan, said: "I remember one of Sachin's knocks in the Sialkot Test. It was the fourth Test and the wicket had lot of grass, I was 22 and Waqar was 19 and we were very fast. Waqar hit him on his chin and he came back after taking treatment and scored a 50. If a 16-year-old can't be scared, I don't think any batsman can be scared. It hardly matters what Shoaib says.

Akram said Shoaib was a controversial character on and off the field.

"Whatever the Pakistan Cricket Board says, I am with them. He was a problem when he was in the team and he is a problem when he is out of the team," Akram said.

"He knows, I know and the world knows that he was himself responsible for destroying his career. There is a lot to talk but I don't want to humiliate him. There is an unwritten code among players that some facts should not be revealed before the media. You guys (media) will ensure that his book is a bestseller," he said.

Meanwhile, on Indian cricket, Akram said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men should be well prepared to play on fast and bouncy wickets in Australia later this year.

"The Australia tour will be challenging for India and they should expect bouncy wickets," he said.

Akram also said that cricket ties between India and Pakistan should be resumed again.

"I am in favour of sporting ties between India and Pakistan. If players of these countries do well against each other, they can do well against anyone," he said.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni of Chennai Super Kings blamed himself for missing a stumping of Lasith Malinga

Chennai: Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni of Chennai Super Kings blamed himself for missing a stumping of Lasith Malinga whose unbeaten 37 off 18 balls took Mumbai Indians to a three-wicket win in the Champions League T20 tournament, here on Saturday.

"There is no one to be blamed but myself for tonight's defeat. I missed a stumping of Malinga and we then gave him a lot of pace to score. We also gave away a lot of easy boundaries, something we shouldn't have," said Dhoni.

Malinga was on 18 with Mumbai needing another 32 runs in the final three overs when the Sri Lankan jumped out to left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati and missed. Dhoni, however, failed to gather and Malinga did not look back thereafter.

"We now have to be at our best in the remaining matches and not repeat the mistakes that we committed today," said Dhoni.

Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh said: "Hats off to Malinga and the team. They showed a lot of character. I think, Malinga played the innings of his life today.

"We were without three key players in Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Munaf Patel, but we fought hard and it is great to beat a champion side like Chennai Super Kings."

The Mumbai Indians overahualed Super Kings total of 158 for three by scoring 159 for seven in 19.5 overs to script a shock win.

Paris Hilton launched her exclusive handbag collection

Mumbai: "Namaste India!" said socialite Paris Hilton as she launched her exclusive handbag collection here today, on her first visit to the country, which she called a "spiritual and magical" land.

"I have come to India to launch my line of bags. I had been wanting to come to India for a very long time because it is an incredible market. But I just didn't get time before," Hilton said at a media gathering.

Dressed in a peach-pink dress which resembled the drape of a sari, Paris looked every bit of a style icon. She added an Indian touch with a three-layered uncut diamond neck piece, and completed the look with a black clutch.

The 30-year-old arrived early today morning, and said she was overwhelmed with the reception at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

"When I came out of the airport in the morning, there were so many people waiting...much more than what I was expecting. I can't wait to come back!" she said.

"I am very happy to be here. India is an amazing place. I have heard from a lot of friends who have come here before that coming to India changes your life because it is a spiritual and magical place," Hilton added.

Her line of bags, launched in association with Brand Concepts Pvt Ltd, looked as stylish as her - as revealed by the sneak preview at the event. The bags, priced between Rs.2,000 and Rs.11,000, will be available at two stores in Mumbai.

However, details have been kept under wraps for now. The range boasts of clutches, totes, slings and regular handbags in colours like black, brown, white, peach-pink and silver.

Paris Hilton claims to have received two Bollywood offers

Mumbai: International celebrity Paris Hilton claims to have received two Bollywood offers and says she is open to working in the Hindi film industry, provided she gets suitable scripts.

"I have been approached to do two Bollywood films. But I am not keen on them. However, if a good script comes up, I am willing to do it. Bollywood films are beautiful, I love the clothes in them," said the blonde beauty who arrived here early today morning.

Hilton will get a taste of Bollywood at a party organised by Indian socialite Queenie Dhody. Expected guests at the today night party include Bollywood celebrities Sonakshi Sinha, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Abhay Deol, Arjun Rampal, Dino Morea and Imran Khan.

The socialite has come here to launch her line of bags, but there's a lot more on her mind during her short trip.

"I am right now here for business. I wanted to do much more but there's no time during this trip," said Hilton, who unveiled the collection at a media gathering here.

However, she does not want to miss taking back "good memories" along with "Indian saris, bindis and jewellery".

A yoga enthusiast, Hilton sported a sari for the cover shoot of an Indian fashion magazine recently, and says she adored the six-yard wonder.

"I am very inspired by Indian designers. I recently shot for the cover of Marie Claire India in a sari designed by Rocky S. He is an incredible designer. I am sure I am going to wear a sari back in the US as well," she said.

Amitabh Bachchan with a hairline rib fracture and immense pain

New Delhi: A minor accident on the sets of "Department" has left Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan with a hairline rib fracture and immense pain.

"There is a fracture in the rib, albeit hairline; it cannot be given any treatment, for such ailments are left to heal on their own," Big B posted on his blog

"That takes care of the next 3-4 weeks because that is the recognised healing period. Bear the pain and that is it... Damn!"

It is the good old hot water bottle that is helping the 68-year-old endure acute pain and, occasionally, reminding him of Delhi and Allahabad.

"The hot water bottle has become my greatest companion for the last two days and, with the results of the CT scan, it looks like I shall stay with it much longer than I had imagined. It's such a useful element in the house," he posted.

"And from the time I realized the difference between hot and cold, the hot water bottle has never undergone any change in size or shape. It has been like this for donkey's years. The winter in Allahabad and Delhi are distinct reminders of it," he added.

Jagjit Singh's Bollywood colleagues wished a speedy recovery

New Delhi: Jagjit Singh's Bollywood colleagues like singers Sonu Niigaam and Shreya Ghoshal as well as friends like actors Amitabh Bachchan and Anupam Kher have wished a speedy recovery for the ghazal maestro, who is critical after undergoing surgery for brain haemorrhage at a Mumbai hospital.

The 70-year-old singer was operated at the Lilavati Hospital on Friday, when he was scheduled to sing with Pakistani ghazal king Ghulam Ali at a concert.

Get well soon wishes started pouring in on microblogging site Twitter ever since, with melody queen Lata Mangeshkar being one of the first to react to the news. Here's what some of the celebrities tweeted:

Lata Mangeshkar: mujhe abhi pata chala hai ki hum sab ke priya ghazal singer Jagjit Singhji ko brain hemorrhage hua hai aur woh hospital me hai, main ishwar se prarthana karti hu ki wo jald acche ho jaaye, aur aap sab bhi unke liye prarthana kijiye... (I have just come to know that our favourite ghazal singer Jagjit Singhji had a brain hemorrhage and he is in hospital. I will pray for his fast recovery and all of you should also pray for him.)

Amitabh Bachchan: Came to know from Lata-ji's tweet, famous ghazal singer Jagjit Singh has had a brain haemorrhage. Prayers for all to be well... Jagjit Singh that great ghazal singer is critical with brain haemorrhage... speedy recovery! Jagjit Singh - the man with the silken voice; smooth and endearing in all his ghazal renditions.

Akshay Kumar: God knows what's wrong with this world, now ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh suffers from brain haemorrhage. Sending him good wishes and praying for his well being.

Mahesh Bhatt: "Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho", a song from "Arth" sung by Jagjit Singh echoes in my heart as I read the news of him being hospitalized.

Anupam Kher: My prayers for Jagjit Singh, the best ghazal singer of our country. May his health be fine soon.

Sonu Niigaam: We'll all pray for Jagjitji. We want his royal voice to grace our planet for many more years. God bless him and save him.

Shreya Ghoshal: Jagjit Singh uncle in critical condition. I am praying constantly for his recovery. Very sad abt Jagjit uncle's health... Hope he becomes fine soonest.

Sophie Choudry: Shocked to hear Jagjitji has had a brain haemorrhage. Just met him two weeks ago. He was full of life as always! Adore him! May all be well. Prayers.

Vishal Dadlani: Prayers for Jagjit Singh saab.

Aftab Shivdasani: Let's all pray for Jagjit Singhji's health... He is critical at Lilavati hospital... May god oversee this and allow mercy to him.

"Adaminte Makan Abu" country's official entry to the Academy Awards

Mumbai: National Award-winning Malayalam film "Adaminte Makan Abu" has been selected by the Film Federation of India (FFI) to be the country's official entry to the Academy Awards this year.

Directed by Salim Ahamed, the family drama about an elderly Muslim couple and their struggles to go on a pilgrimage to Haj was the Best Film at the 58th National Film Awards for 2010 and beat 15 other movies in consideration.

"'Adaminte Makan Abu' has been chosen as the official Oscar entry this time around. This was the jury's final decision," T.P. Aggarwal, president, FFI, told the media.

When the film bagged the best film honour at the National Awards, it was recommended that the movie that wins this award should be India's official entry at the Oscars every year.

However, Supran Sen, general secretary of FFI, denied that the selection of the film was a result of that recommendation.

"Choosing this film as the Oscar entry is not a result of discussions that the National Award-winning film will be sent as India's official entry for the Academy Awards," he told the media.

The 84th Academy Awards will be held on Feb 27, 2012.


Sonia Gandhi condoled the death of veteran party leader Vasant Sathe

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi condoled the death of veteran party leader Vasant Sathe on Friday.Sathe, 86, died of a heart attack at his Gurgaon residence earlier in the evening.In a message, the Congress president expressed sorrow at the death of the veteran Congress leader.Maharashtra Deputy Chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar said Sathe's death is a loss to national politics as he represented Maharashtra at the centre for over three decades."He stuck to his principles," said Pawar.

Sathe, who was close to the Nehru-Gandhi family, is remembered for bringing colour TV to India as the information and broadcasting minister in Indira Gandhi's cabinet in 1982.

Sathe, who represented Wardha Lok Sabha constituency many times, supported the movement for a separate Vidarbha despite being in the Congress, said political watchers.

After his defeat in 1996 general election, he virtually retired from politics.

Sathe's wife Jayashree passed away a few years ago. He is survived by a son and two daughters.

2G scam:Congress defended P. Chidambaram ,BJP asked for his resignation

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday defended union Home Minister P. Chidambaram as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked for his resignation, citing a finance ministry note to the Prime Minister's Office that he could have stopped the 2G spectrum sale.

As speculation mounted on the equation between Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Chidambaram, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has directed top leaders to put up a joint defence, party insiders said.

Gandhi, who has recently returned after a surgery abroad, is learnt to have stepped in to resolve the crisis involving one of the government's most high-profile ministers.

The controversy surfaced after an RTI answer revealed that the finance ministry - headed by Mukherjee - had sent a note to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on March 25, 2011, that 2G spectrum licences would have been auctioned in 2008 if then finance minister Chidambaram had stood firm on it.

This has led to the opposition asking for Chidambaram's resignation and speculation that things are not as they should be between the two ministers.

Meanwhile, the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) investigating the 2G scam has asked the finance ministry to submit the note ahead of its meeting on Sep 27.

Defending Chidambaram, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said: "The matter should be left to the wisdom of the Joint Parliamentary Committee which has representation from all sides of political spectrum."

The BJP, however, said the "culpability" of Chidambaram was evident in the 2G spectrum scam, and demanded a fair investigation into his role as the finance minister in allocation of the scarce spectrum in 2008.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government's image will be further tarnished if it does not order an investigation into his role.

"Culpability of Chidambaram is evident," he said.

Prasad said he wanted to ask the "great patrons of Chidambaram" in the government if the minister had abused authority and allowed some persons to "gain pecuniary advantage without public interest".

Prasad also accused the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of double standards in relation to the 2G spectrum probe.

"The CBI is more than keen to question Jaswant Singh (former finance minister) but is absolutely stonewalling pleas to investigate Chidambaram despite voluminous evidence," he said.

Calling upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order a probe, Prasad said not doing so will further tarnish the image of government at a time when there is pressure from people on cases of corruption.

"Is your (PM's) confidence in your colleagues more important, or, a fair, transparent investigation?" Prasad asked, referring to a statement of Manmohan Singh that Chidambaram enjoyed his confidence.

Prasad said that on Nov 22, 2007, then finance secretary D. Subbarao wrote to his counterpart in the communications ministry raising concerns that spectrum was being allocated at 2001 prices, and suggested that either current valuation or indexation should be done.

Chidambaram wrote a letter on Jan 15, four days after spectrum allocation, in which he said auction was the correct way of giving spectrum but added that his ministry treats the allocations already made "as a closed chapter", he added.

"If an auction had been done (of 2G spectrum), it would have fetched at least Rs.35,000 crore," Prasad said.

In its March 25 note to the PMO, the finance ministry says Chidambaram could have prevented spectrum from being given away at throwaway prices by insisting on its auction, implying that presumptive losses worth thousands of crores could have thus been avoided.

2G scam:Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to meet Manmohan Singh

New York: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is in Washington, is coming here on Sunday to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of a controversy over the role of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

Mukherjee is in Washington to attend the World Bank-IMF meetings over the weekend. He was scheduled to fly back home on Sunday, but changed his plans in view of the controversy, according to diplomatic sources.

He is also scheduled to address the media in Washington later Friday instead of Sunday as planned earlier, but he is unlikely to speak about the finance ministry note on the second generation (2G) spectrum case to the Prime Minister's Office.

In New York, Mukherjee had on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of the March note saying the airwaves could have been auctioned in 2008 if Chidambaram, the then finance minister, had "stuck to his stand".

He, however, avoided direct comment on the note from his ministry saying the matter was sub-judice.

In the note, the finance ministry says Chidambaram, one of the government's most high-profile ministers, could have prevented spectrum from being given away at throwaway prices by insisting on its auction -- implying that presumptive losses worth thousands of crores could have thus been avoided.

The note, which was apparently shown to Mukherjee and accessed by an application under the Right to Information Act, was prepared by a deputy secretary in the finance ministry and sent to the Prime Minister's Office on March 25.

Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee, called up Chidambaram over the controversy on Wednesday night and were assured that he will not speak on the issue till their return.

I am not hosting a party for Paris Hilton :Shah Rukh Khan

Mumbai: Heiress and international celebrity Paris Hilton arrives in India today morning and while she is expected to meet Indian celebrities during her visit, Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has denied the rumours that he is hosting a party for her.

Some days back, some news reports had surfaced that suggested that SRK is set to host a party for Paris Hilton during her visit, but the actor said he is too busy at the moment.

"Some friends were planning to host a party for Paris Hilton. But I'm very busy with 'Ra. One'. So it's a little difficult. So my friends decided that if I can't come, then let it be. So we aren't having it now," Shah Rukh told reporters here at the sidelines of an event organised to announce the collaboration of his film "Ra.One" with Western Union Money Transfers.

Paris will unveil her fall-winter designs during her three-day trip here.

Shoaib Akhtar taken a dig at Sachin Tendulkar,Rahul Dravid

New Delhi: Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has taken a dig at veteran Indian batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, saying the two are not match winners.

In his autobiography 'Controversially Yours', Akhtar goes onto say that he intimidated master blaster Tendulkar with his delivery during the Faisalabad Test.

"I bowled (Sachin) a particularly fast ball which he, to my amazement didn't even touch. He walked away! That was the first time I saw him walk away from me that, too, on the slow track at Faisalabad," Akhtar wrote.

"I think players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid weren't exactly match winners to start with, nor did they know the art of finishing the game."

Akhtar has also alleged that he was cheated by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi.

"Shah Rukh and I talked about my not being happy with the money settled on me. Shahrukh and Modi got me to agree. I should have never listened to Modi and Shah Rukh," he said.

Akhtar, who retired after the 2011 World Cup, also admitted to ball tampering and feels it should be legalised.

"Everyone tampers with the ball. I did so too. Tampering should be legalised."

Akhtar also claimed that his career was hampered by legendary Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram.

"Wasim Akram threatened to walk out with half the team if I was included in the team. General Tauqir Zia (the then PCB chief) backed Shoaib against Wasim," he wrote.

Saina Nehwal stormed into the semi finals of the Japan Open Super Series Badminton

New Delhi: India's star badminton player Saina Nehwal today stormed into the semi finals of the Japan Open Super Series Badminton in Tokyo overpowering her opponent in straight games. Nehwal beat Singapore's Juan Gu in the quarterfinals to book her semifinal berth.

Saina, seeded fourth in the tournament, is slated to meet Germany's Juliane Schenk in the semi final.

Juan Gu who lost 17-21 and 13-21 to the Indian shuttler, staged a great fight back after being 9-18 down in the first game. Saina, however, prevailed in the battle of nerves as she took the first game even after Gu's terrific comeback in the match. Saina was able to clinch the game even after enjoying only a marginal lead of 19-17 at one point.

The second game however saw Saina overpowering her opponent with her smashes.

Juan Gu, the 23rd seed in the Japan Open Super Series was playing Saina after a long gap of three years, when the Indian emerged victorious.

Saina enjoys a good record against her next opponent, Schenk as well. The two had met seven times earlier with the records clearly reflecting Saina's dominance- Saina had won five times during these meetings. They met in the Hong Kong Open last with the 21 year old Indian emerging triumphant.

Confluence of Bollywood and Hollywood must grow:Russell Peters

New Delhi: Here's one man who is not in love with Hindi films and its jhatkas. But Canadian Russell Peters, who is of Anglo-Indian origin and has been an international standup comedian for 23 years, says the confluence of Bollywood and Hollywood must grow.

Ontario-native Peters, who has worked in Akshay Kumar's Indo-Canadian venture "Breakaway", was here in India to promote "Speedy Singhs", the Hindi version of the movie, when the media caught up with him.

"Collaborations between India and the West are going to be fruitful. The love affair of Bollywood and Hollywood ought to grow and I think 'Speedy Singhs' is a good move from both the sides.

"We are in a time now where we do not have boundaries or any walls separating the two industries. Thanks to the internet, everybody can see everything. The reach has become global for every artist. It's just a matter of time before people decide and consolidate the two. Also, there is no reason why Indians in India and Indians abroad, the NRIs, can't do something together," he said.

The 40-year-old, who was born in Canada to Anglo-Indian parents, feels it is advisable for NRIs to come and get a taste of modern India, which has gone through several changes over the years.

"It's a good opportunity for Indians who are born and raised abroad to come back and get a reality check of what India is like now. And India today is not the same India that it was 10-15 years ago. It's way miles ahead of what we think it is. I also feel people here are way more smarter than people in the West. They are way more in tune with the rest of the world," he added.

Peters has been entertaining global audiences through his stand-up acts. He is now looking forward to receiving a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. It will be inducted on Oct 1 in Toronto.

"I have earned my place and now I am getting my due recognition with being honoured by the star at Walk of Fame in Canada when I go back home. To be honoured with something like this and to be recognized, not as Indo-Canadian but as a Canadian, is a pretty big deal," he said, flashing a big smile.

Peters, who is known for his observational comedy about communities and culture around the world, says he finds Bollywood "useless", but admits he is in love with the country's entertainment capital, Mumbai.

"I don't follow, nor do I want to follow, Bollywood. I've no time for Bollywood. I don't care about Bollywood at all and I don't even want to do any film. I don't like the Bollywood jhatkas and matkas that they call it - the singing and dancing and also the dramatic crying," he said without hesitation.

Raise an eyebrow at that, and he retorts: "It's my opinion! Obviously there are billions who like and love them, but I have never seen a Bollywood film in my life. I have refused doing it earlier and will do so in future."

"But I love India. I have been here a couple of times. India is one place in the world that I see as very comfortable, and honestly Mumbai is the one city that I see I could fit in, I could live in. I love Mumbai," he said.

Peters kickstarted his career in acting with "Show Me The Funny" in 1997 and has since starred in films like "Lord Have Mercy" and "Comedy Now" among others.

"Breakaway" is the first film where he has worked in an Indian production with an Indian star-cast, featuring Anupam Kher, Vinay Virmani, Hollywood actress Camilla Belle and Gurpreet Ghuggi.

Sunil Bohra is planning to hold a special screening of "Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster"

New Delhi: Producer Sunil Bohra is planning to hold a special screening of his new film "Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster" for the family of late filmmaker Guru Dutt.

The film, releasing on Sep 30, is inspired by the principal characters of Guru Dutt's 1962 film "Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam" and is a contemporary version on how the characters would behave in this era.

And Bohra is planning to screen the movie for Guru Dutt's sister Lalita Lajmi, her filmmaker-daughter Kalpana Lajmi, his cousin Shyam Benegal and son Arun Dutt.

"I've already spoken to Shyam babu, who is in Delhi, and he has promised to be there. It's a film he had shortlisted as a must-watch even before we extended the invitation, " Bohra said in a statement.

The film stars Mahie Gill, Randeep Hooda and Jimmy Shergill in prominent roles, but director Tigmanshu Dhulia is insistent that the film is not a remake.

"My film is not a remake or an adaptation of 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam'. I have just taken the three principal characters from that film and made our own version. The similarity is limited to these three characters. After that, it is a completely new film," said Dhulia.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi donated his eyes before death

New Delhi: Former India cricket captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who lost his right eye at the age of 20 in a car accident, helped some 1.5 lakh visually challenged people to get back their sight. And continued to do so even after his death when he donated his eye.

Pataudi, who died on Thursday and was laid to rest in his native village Pataudi today, has donated his eye to the Delhi-based Venu Eye Institute, of which he was a brand ambassador since 2001. Someone will benefit from his generosity in a couple of days, an official said.

Pataudi, 70, had been helping Venu Eye Institute host eye clinics in Pataudi, some 60 km from here in Haryana, every month since 1991.

"Every month, some 400-500 people are treated at the clinic and Mr. Pataudi took special interest in these eye clinics. We roped him as a brand ambassador in 2001. He was a true brand ambassador and in the last 20 years he has helped some 1.5 lakh people to get back their eyesight," Tanuja Joshi, managing director of Venu Eye Institute, told the media today.

Joshi said Pataudi, for whom limited eyesight was never a handicap, was always enthusiastic about organising eye clinics and went out of his way to help the eye institute.

"Since 2001, he never missed our annual programme and always urged people to donate their eyes. The only time he missed was couple of months back but made sure that the family was represented by daughter Saba," said Joshi.

Joshi said Pataudi had expressed his wish to donate the eye to Venu Eye Institute to his wife, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore.

"A few days before passing away, he made the wish to his wife, who made sure that after his death the eye is donated to Venu Eye Institute. A person will benefit from the eye donation in the next couple of days but we cannot disclose his identity," she said.

Arbaaz Khan already begun work on the sequel to his "Dabangg"

Gurgaon: Actor-filmmaker Arbaaz Khan has already begun work on the sequel to his national award winning film "Dabangg" and says the first draft of the script is ready.

"Work on 'Dabangg 2' in on. We are waiting for Salman (Khan) bhai's dates. We are likely to begin the production in mid-September next year," Arbaaz said on the sidelines of the Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA) at Kingdom of Dreams late on Thursday night.

The film, starring Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha, became 2010's biggest blockbuster by earning Rs.145 crore. Arbaaz admits he is nervous about making a sequel.

"There is a little nervousness for sure as the expectations are high but we would definitely be presenting something good and interesting," he added.

Shah Rukh Khan desperately wants to do romantic film

Gurgaon: Bollywood's king of romance Shah Rukh Khan has been doing hardcore stunts for his upcoming films "RA.One" and "Don 2", and says now he desperately wants to do a "soft romantic" film.

"I have been doing a lot of stunts of late but I am not tired of doing them. Honestly, now I am tired of promoting my film 'RA.One'," Shah Rukh said on the sidelines of the Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA) at Kingdom of Dreams here on Thursday night.

"I went through a special drill to master the stunts that I did in both the films - 'Ra.One' and 'Don 2'," he added.

"I have been working really hard all this while and I must say the stuntmen have really helped me a lot to pull off all the action sequences," the actor said.

"Now, I am really looking forward to a soft romantic film," added the 45-year-old, who played the perfect lover in films like "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge", "Dil To Pagal Hai", "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" and "Kal Ho Naa Ho", among others.

"RA.One", a superhero film, has been directed by Anubhav Sinha and stars Shah Rukh, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. The film is slated for release Oct 26.

"Don 2: The Chase Continues", an action thriller starring Priyanka Chopra, will release Dec 23.

Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA):Salman Khan's "Dabangg" continues its winning spree

Gurgaon:Salman Khan's "Dabangg" continues its winning spree. The National Award-winning film which boasted of the chartbuster "Munni badnaam hui" walked away with six awards, including best film album, at the Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA).

The event was held at the Kingdom of Dreams here on Thursday night.

Mamta Sharma won the best music debut for "Munni badnaam". The best music director award went to Sajid-Wajid and Lalit Pandit for their compositions in the movie.

"Dabangg" also won the technical awards for best background score by Sandeep Shirodkar, best engineer-film album by Eric Pillai and best engineer-theatre mix for Leslie Fernandes.

Giving neck-to-neck fight was Milan Luthria's "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai", which received four awards, including best film song for "Pee loon", for which Mohit Chauhan was awarded in the playback singer-male category, and Irshad Kamil took home the best lyricist trophy.

The best music arranger and programmer award was given away to Sandeep Shirodkar for the same song. Sunidhi Chauhan walked away with the trophy of best playback singer female for "Sheila ki jawani" from "Tees Maar Khan".

Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who has composed for international films like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours", was honoured with the title of Global Indian Musician.

Legendary composer Pyarelal of musical duo Lakshmikant-Pyarelal was conferred with outstanding contribution to pop music award, and the outstanding contribution to Indian classical music title was given to music maestro Balamurli Krishnan.

The show, hosted by actors Ranveer Singh and Neha Dhupia, saw a melange of high-octane performances by Sunidhi, Sonu Nigam, Kailash Kher, Shubha Mudgal, Usha Uthup, Midival Punditz, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy along with "India's Got Talent" winner Shillong Chamber Choir.

The ceremony brought the who's who of Bollywood to the capital suburb. Celebs like Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Rajeev Khandelwal, Nagesh Kukunoor and actor-VJ Rannvijay Singh added star power to the show.

In the non-film music category "Indian Idol 5" winner Sreeram won best music debut for "Rehnuma" -- the award was shared by Band Called Nine for "Rewind". Best pop/rock single went to rock band Agnee for "Aahatein".

Best popular music album went to Akriti Kakar for "Akriti", best fusion album award was given to Ranjit Barot for "Bada Boom", Ustad Rashid Khan won best devotional album for "Nirgun" and best semi-classical album for the same.

The trophy for the best folk album went to "Desert Slide" by Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and folk musicians of Rajasthan.

"Sadhana" by Pandit Rajan-Sajan Mishra was awarded the best Hindustani classical album-vocal, while "Aura" by Niladri Kumar won the Hindustani classical album- instrumental. "Chandiran Oliyil" by Sanjay Subrahmanyan won the award for best Carnatic classical album vocal.

The highlight of the show was a performance by Priyanka, who paid tribute to women power of music industry. Shah Rukh, who is the brand ambassador of Kingdom of Dreams, left the audience in splits with his witty and humorous comments off and on.

The guest list also included Aadesh Shrivastav, Salim-Sulieman, Sophie Chowdhary, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Rekha Bhardwaj, Anu Malik and Prasoon Joshi, among others.

Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA):Priyanka Chopra set the stage on fire

Gurgaon: Priyanka Chopra set the stage on fire as she paid a tribute to popular Indian female singers like Kavita Krishnamurthy, Rekha Bhardwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan and Usha Uthup by grooving to their iconic numbers at the Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA).

The colourful and power-packed performance left the audience at the Kingdom of Dreams in awe on Thursday night.

"A hundred years from now I may not be here, but all your voices will be. The music that you have created will be," Priyanka said of the singers post her performance.

"Thank you so much for giving people like me the opportunity to be remembered for lifetime through you. You are the stars, not us. Thank you for being in our lives," she added.

With a stage backdrop of the royal Mughal era, Priyanka started her performance with a semi-classical dance on "Kaahe chhed mohe" from 2002 film "Devdas".

After the dance, which was originally performed by Madhuri Dixit, Priyanka brought its singer Kavita Krishnamurthy on stage.

Next up, Priyanka was joined on stage by National Award winner Rekha Bhardwaj, who came swaying in joy to her song "Genda phool", an adaptation of a folk song from Chhattisgarh.

Just before the audience could get enough of the melodies, the high-tech auditorium turned to look like a mini circus, with men dressed as clowns hanging from the ceiling, dancers making abrupt entry from all corners of the hall, and jugglers and performers taking centrestage with Priyanka and Usha Uthup.

The duo grooved on "Darling" from "7 Khoon Maaf".

The grand performance came to a close as Priyanka and Sunidhi Chauhan grooved to popular song "Desi girl" from 2008 film "Dostana".

Priyanka, a trained singer herself, is breaking musical ground internationally as she is set to launch her debut album in English in 2012.

Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA):Sonu Nigam recreated the 1960s

Gurgaon: It was a sight to behold when singer Sonu Nigam recreated the 1960s by singing popular songs of the time with legendary Pyarelal of musical duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal. The legend was conferred a special honour for outstanding contribution to pop music at the Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA).

Sonu on Thursday night revisited the retro era at the Kingdom of Dreams here as he sang some of the popular songs composed by the musical duo live with Pyarelal conducting the orchestra behind.

The audience swayed to the symphony of the live music as Sonu set the mood starting with songs like "Chahunga main tujhe", "Sawan ka mahina", "Yeh jeevan hai", "Bindiya chamkegi" and "Parda hai parda".

The energy levels of the audience went up as Sonu went on to sing high-octane songs like "Paisa yeh paisa" and "Om shanti om". He later asked Shah Rukh Khan to join him on stage and shake a leg with him.

Pyarelal, who received a standing ovation, dedicated the award to all the people he has worked with.

"I dedicate this award to singers and musicians with whom we have worked with till now. We have worked as a team and it is because of them that we became Lakshmikant-Pyarelal," said Pyarelal after receiving the award.

"I would also like to add that Lata-ji (Mageshkar) has played a very important part in wherever we have reached today," he added.

Pyarelal also heaped praise on Sonu, calling him the most "genuine singer".

Akshay Kumar become the ambassador of a Mumbai-based hospital

Mumbai: Megastar Akshay Kumar's heart beats for the juvenile and old alike -- he has become the ambassador of a Mumbai-based hospital to support children and senior citizens suffering from heart ailment.

The action hero is now the 'Goodheart Ambassador' for Asian Heart Institute (AHI) to espouse the cause of over one million babies born worldwide with congenital heart problems, mostly from economically deprived sections, and senior citizens struggling to eke out their second innings on meagre resources, said AHI Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Ramakant Panda.

"AHI has launched 'Asian Seva' to provide economical but expert cardiac treatment, surgery and medical care to the two most important segments of our society -- children and old citizens," Panda told media.

The benefits under 'Asian Seva' can be availed by children below 12 years and senior citizens above 65 years of age, he added.

Launching the 'Asian Seva' here on Thursday evening, Akshay said: "This team, 'Messiahs of Heart', believes in giving back to society and the least we can do is support them in their noble endeavour."

Akshay confessed that when Panda approached him with the proposal to be the ambassador, "he left me with no reason to refuse".

The 'Asian Seva' will also collaborate actively with the Retail Drugs and Chemists Association and pharmacists, numbering over 1,000 in Mumbai.

"This segment plays an important role as many people don't come to us first. They go to the chemist and buy medicines to get back on their feet. This is the kind of trust people pose in them," Panda pointed out.

Panda also launched a 24-hour helpline - 126126 - for heart patients in need of emergency care.

Actress Katrina Kaif will sizzle in the "Dhoom: 3"

New Delhi: The hunt for a leading lady for "Dhoom: 3" is over! Katrina Kaif will sizzle in the third instalment of the action-adventure series, which features Aamir Khan as the anti-hero.

Yash Raj Films (YRF) had been on the lookout for a fresh face for the role, which was essayed by Esha Deol and Aishwarya Rai, in "Dhoom" and "Dhoom:2", respectively.

"After almost a year of searching for a new face for 'Dhoom: 3', we were still unable to find the perfect debutante to play the lead role. We even reached out to international talent but were still unable to find someone who stood out," said director Vijay Krishna Acharya aka Victor.

The choice was made jointly by Victor and producer Aditya Chopra.

"Once we decided to go with a known face and not pursue the newcomer route, Katrina was the obvious choice for all of us," Victor said in a YRF press statement on Friday.

Katrina has been riding high on the success of films like "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" and another YRF venture "Mere Brother Ki Dulhan" earlier this year.

"She is someone who we all know will bring tremendous enthusiasm and commitment to the film. The first time pairing of Aamir with Katrina will also certainly add value," he added.

"Dhoom: 3" is written and directed by Victor, who had also written "Dhoom" and "Dhoom 2".

Apart from Aamir, both Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra will continue in their now iconic roles of Jai Dixit and Ali, respectively.

The shooting will begin towards the end of this year. "Dhoom: 3" is slated for a 2012 Christmas release.

Unesco will hold training programmes for 10,000 school principals in India

New Delhi: In a bid to create a positive impact on thousands of teachers and at least 10 million children, the Unesco will hold training programmes for 10,000 school principals in India, Kenya and Ghana.

The '10,000 Principals Leadership Programme' is organised by Unesco and the Varkey GEMS Foundation, an NGO.

"The school principals in many developing countries receive little leadership and development training," Unesco Director General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

"This initiative foresees the training of 10,000 schools principals in the three countries targeted over four years. The multiplier effect is designed to benefit thousands of teachers and up to 10 million children."

Unesco's field offices and networks of national authorities and teacher training institutions will contextualize the training programmes to be delivered in the three countries.

IIM-C planning to tap Indian corporates for funds

Chennai: The Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C) is planning to tap Indian corporates for funds to complete some of its infrastructural projects following increased intake of students over the last three years.

"The student intake has gone up. This year the total intake is around 450 students. Earlier, the intake was around 260 students," IIM-C director Shekhar Chaudhuri told IANS here.

"We are building around 530,000 sq ft of new facility. Half of the project is over. We have built 14 classrooms out of 19 planned. Two new hostels are under construction. The total project outlay is around Rs.195 crore," he added.

He said the institute has decided to approach corporates for Rs.50 crore to complete the infrastructural projects.

Dean and strategic management professor Sougata Ray said: "We have spent from our internal accruals and our corpus. We would like to have some balance in our corpus built over the years and hence the decision to tap the corporates."

Asked about the response of Indian corporates, Chaudhuri said: "We have not approached any corporate till now to gauge their response."

Institute officials said corporate philanthropy for higher education in India is not popular though some Indian groups have made donations to foreign universities.

"Making donations to foreign business schools by Indian groups may also be a brand building strategy," an official said.

Speaking of finances, Chaudhuri said the institute is self-sufficient in funds generation and has not received any funds from the government since 2003 for day-to-day activities.

"Our revenue is around Rs.100 crore. We are earning good revenue - around Rs.30 crore - from our long duration corporate training programme," Chaudhuri said.

According to Ray, all the IIMs are planning to join hands to bring out a high quality management magazine on the lines of Harvard Business Review.

"It may take around a year to come out. The magazine's name is yet to be finalised. It could be Indian Management Review," Ray said.

Citing various business school ranking surveys, Ray said IIM-C has moved upwards one slot and is now number two among management institutes in the country.

Chaudhuri said the institute has decided focus on research work as a major strategic initiative.

"We have increased funding for research and also the stipend for post doctoral students. In the faculty promotion, weightage for research work will be given," he said.

Meanwhile, like the Chennai Chapter of IIM-C Alumni Association that conducts marketing workshop for the students, the Bangalore chapter of IIM-C Alumni Association has decided to hold an entrepreneur workshop mainly focusing on social entrepreneurs.

The first workshop is slated next month and it will be an annual event. There are many IIM-C alumni who have turned social entrepreneurs, Ray said.

IGNOU invited applications for three online programmes

New Delhi: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) today invited applications for three online programmes -- on nutrition, the Himalayan ecosystem and management of the Ganges river, a statement said.

The last date for submitting applications is on Oct 15.

The 'Appreciation Programme on Sustainable Management of Ganga' aims to create awareness about the Ganga and its connection with Indian civilization and culture.

The 'Leadership Programme on Nutrition Security and Sustainable Development' intends to sensitise policy and programme leaders to rely more on evidence-based programming for achieving targets.

The 'Leadership Programme on Himalayan Ecosystems' is based on practical exercises, case studies and field visits.

"Once registered, learners will have access to personalised space, which includes self-instructional study material, related audio and video, slides and self-check exercises on one platform," said the statement.


Lokayukta in Maharashtra :Anna Hazare will launch a popular movement in its favour

Ralegan Siddhi: Reiterating his demand for a stronger Lokayukta in the state, anti-graft activist Anna Hazare on Thursday said he will launch a popular movement in Maharashtra in its favour.Hazare had written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on July 18 and demanded a stronger institution of Lokayukta in the state in the mould of Karnataka. "People elect their leaders hoping they will use public money prudently and approve laws to ensure a bright future for the state," the letter had said.

"When all hopes go haywire, people are left with no choice but to resort to agitations, which is their constitutional right," it added.

In his letter, Hazare had said that he hoped positive steps positive steps would be taken and the need to agitate obviated.

Confirming the move, a close associate of the Hazare camp said that Hazare had reiterated his demand and urged the chief minister to pass the Lokayukta Bill in the next winter assembly session.

Sources in the Hazare camp also said that the Gandhian will wait till last day of the session and, if the bill is not passed, launch a fresh agitation from Ralegan Siddhi or Alandi town, near Pune.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh begins a hectic round of diplomacy !

United Nations: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh begins a hectic round of diplomacy here today ahead of his address to the United Nations focusing on terrorism, the economic slowdown and the vexed Palestine issue.Manmohan Singh, who arrived here on Thursday afternoon, is set to hold five bilateral meetings during his five-day stay in New York.Starting with a meeting with the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, today morning he meets with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the new Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

He would also be meeting with the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, the newest nation to join the world body.

India's Permanent Representative at the UN Hardeep Singh asked the media not to read too much into Manmohan Singh not meeting President Barack Obama during his current trip.

"It was simply a scheduling issue," he said noting Obama had left New York before Manmohan Singh landed. But both leaders are going to be present for the upcoming G-20 summit in Cannes in November and Manmohan Singh will have many opportunities to meet Obama as also leaders of UK and France there and other international meetings.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna on Thursday attended a meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign ministers and a symposium to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the African National Congress.

"This is the century of Asia and Africa," he said at the event on South Africa's contribution to the fight against racism and xenophobia.

"The new dawn that the freedom fighters of India and the African National Congress dreamed about is upon us. We walked together in the walk to freedom; we now continue this journey into a better future for our two nations and for the entire world."

Speaking at another high level event on conflict prevention at the UN Security Council organised by its current president Lebanon he said there really is no sustainable alternative to political processes.

"The primary focus of the United Nations should the facilitation of a political settlement", he said stressing "the time tested principles of national consent, impartiality, fairness and equity in all conflict prevention activities that the UN may undertake.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi gave the game of cricket a rockstar image:Amitabh Bachchan

New Delhi: Indian cricket legend Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi's demise took Amitabh Bachchan down memory lane. The Bollywood megastar not just remembers good moments with the sports star, but says that he gave the game of cricket a "rockstar" image.

The former Indian captain died on Thursday, after battling a lung infection for about a month. He was 70.

"Sad news…Tiger Pataudi passes away!!! Fond memories of the past with Tiger Pataudi…his wedding, playing cricket with him, his tabla playing prowess, social evenings…(He) gave Indian Cricket a 'rockstar' image, with grace and dignity...soft spoken, quiet, straight-faced humour and a 'tiger' on the pitch!" Amitabh posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

The 69-year-old actor was not just friends with Pataudi, but was also a close associate with the latter's wife, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore. Together, they worked on films like "Chupke Chupke" and "Viruddh... Family Comes First".

Amitabh also shared screen space with Pataudi's actor son Saif Ali Khan in Prakash Jha's "Aarakshan". He extended his condolences to the family, which also consists the cricketer's two daughters - Soha and Saba.

"May the Almighty give strength to the family to bear this great loss…Rinku di (Sharmila), Saif, Soha, Saba…condolences and in prayer," added Big B.

Hover Automotive India Pvt Ltd planned to touch sales figure of 100,000 units

Chennai: Hover Automotive India Pvt Ltd, the distribution company for Japanese car maker Nissan, said it planned to touch sales figure of 100,000 units in two years.

"We are working on detailed plan for 2012-13 now. What I can say is that in two years time, we will touch a sales volume of 100,000 units. For the current fiscal, our target is to sell 40,000 Nissan cars," Hover Automotive's chief executive officer Dinesh Jain told the media.

By 2015, Nissan Motor India will offer eight models, of which three will be imported and five will be locally made at its plant near here, Jain said after launching Nissan's new sedan Sunny.

Asked about Nissan's plans to acquire a stake in Hover, he said: "It is a speculative report and I cannot comment on that."

He said diesel version of Sunny will be launched in the future.

Speaking about the company's first model Micra, Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director of Nissan Motor India, said: "We are satisfied with the sales performance of Micra. We are in the process of ramping up our dealer network. When that happens Micra sales will go up further."

He said by March 2012 there will be 60 Nissan dealers in India from the current 45.

Former cricketers paid rich tributes to former Indian captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

New Delhi: Present and former cricketers paid rich tributes to former Indian captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who passed away here today after battling a lung infection.

Abbas Ali Baig: It is a terrible moment indeed. His health was deteriorating and eventually he had to give away. He was suffering but he wasn't really sure about the extent of his suffering. He had the talent not only to play for the country but also to lead it to perfection.

Erapalli Prasanna: What we are today in the spin department is because of Pataudi. He had the vision what we could do really on spin bowling to win matches. It is the greatest loss for Indian cricket.

Mohinder Amarnath: I played my first Test under him. He was a great cricketer and a real person to look up to. He used to show a lot of aggression on the field. He showed great fielding skills at a time when we did not have good fielders. He was man of a few word but whatever he said was encouraging.

Sachin Tendulakr: It is a terrible loss for Indian cricket. I had the privilege of meeting him on a few occasions.

Anil Kumble: When we got together for the formation of the Players Association, he readily agreed to become the president. He was the most gentle person I met. He made us feel as Indian cricketers were held in high esteem. Gundappa Vishwanath had great stories to tell about Pataudi. It is a sad moment not only for Indian cricket but also for the entire country.

Rahul Dravid: He is an absolute legend of the game. We never saw him playing but heard so many stories about him from the likes of Prasanna, (Gundappa) Vishwanath and (Bhagwath) Chandrashekhar. He was an inspirational cricketer and that is a fantastic legacy to leave behind. He made the game popular with his personality and leadership skills. He gave a pan-Indian flavour to the game. During 2002, he helped us a lot during the sponsorship issue with the ICC. It was really encouraging to listen to him.

Imran Khan (former Pakistan captain): He was the contemporary of my elder cousin (Javed Burki) and a very popular cricketer in Pakistan. He was a crowd puller. The way he played with one eye was amazing. Imagine, what he could have done with proper vision.

Sanjay Manjrekar: As long as the game is alive he will be remembered. His personality was like Imran Khan. He could mingle with anyone.

Krishnamachari Srikkanth: It is quite shocking. He was one of the most determined and a stylish cricketers. He was one guy who hit the ball really hard. During the 2003 World Cup, I had lots of opportunities to spend time with him in the commentary box. During review meetings in the BCCI, he never imposed anything on anyone. He was a symbol of aggression and style. His fielding was amazing.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi dragged the BCCI to the court earlier this year

New Delhi: Despite being a part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi never minced words when it came to criticising its powerful administration.

Pataudi was a member of the Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) before stepping down last year. He dragged the BCCI to the court earlier this year over non-payment of dues worth Rs.1.16 crore.

When reports of financial irregularities in the IPL emerged, Pataudi said the allegations must be looked into.

"The baby is clean, the water is dirty. We would like everything to be inquired. We want to know where this money came from, how it came, who it belongs to, who got help and didn't get help. Everything has to come out; you can't leave a path of it. Now you have started the procedure, please complete it completely, so that at least people get some confidence back in you," Pataudi had said.

Last year, at a seminar on the occasion of the 75th birth anniversary of late Raj Singh Dungarpur, Pataudi said: "The ICC is the voice of cricket but BCCI is the invoice."

He also wanted the BCCI to come down hard on gambling.

"The BCCI has a lot of central cabinet ministers and also leaders of opposition parties in their ranks. So, they should lobby for more stringent rules against gambling as 70 per cent of money and 80 per cent of the viewership comes from India," he said.

Pataudi always believed that suspended IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi was a fighter and would not go down without a fight.

"He is a fighter. Lalit has always been a fighter. I expect him to go down fighting," he said.

In his last days, Pataudi was extremely upset to see the Indian team suffer a whitewash in the Test series against England and lose the Pataudi Trophy, which was named after him and his father. He crictised the players for playing with injuries.

"There wasn't any competition in this series...People are paid to play in IPL with an injury and miss out a national commitment... I don't think it is fair," he said.

He was ignored by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) during the post-series presentation ceremony where English captain Andrew Strauss was officially handed the sponsors' trophy, rather the Pataudi Trophy.

Ranbir Kapoor says late Shammi Kapoor has left a lot of love and happiness

Noida: Actor Ranbir Kapoor, who got a chance to act with late Shammi Kapoor in "Rockstar", says his grand uncle has left a lot of love and happiness behind.

"I really miss Shammi-ji. He was a boon to our film. It is only love that he has left us with. He left so much happiness behind. I do miss him," Ranbir told reporters here today.

The actor was here to unveil the poster of his upcoming film "Rockstar". He was accompanied by director Imtiaz Ali.

Shammi Kapoor, known as the dancing star of the 1950s and 1960s, revolutionised the image of Hindi film heroes with his carefree attitude and flamboyance. The legendary actor, who breathed his last on Aug 14, is said to have a short but prominent role in "Rockstar".

The film, slated for a Nov 11 release, is about a young super-successful musician, and his tryst with love. The film also stars debutant Nargis Fakhri as Ranbir's love interest.

Dancing diva Madhuri Dixit will be back in Mumbai with her family

New Delhi: Dancing diva Madhuri Dixit has confirmed that she will be back in Mumbai with her family for good in mid-October.

The actress, who shifted base to Denver in the US after marrying Shriram Nene, a cardiovascular surgeon 12 years ago, is relocating to India, and looking forward to it.

"Excited! Should be back in Mumbai by middle of October!" Madhuri posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Until now, Madhuri maintained that there is no time-line for her return. But she finally gave out the news, and if all goes as planned, she should be back to celebrate Diwali, which is Oct 26.

According to media reports, the 44-year-old has been approached to be a part of the upcoming, fifth season of reality show "Bigg Boss".

However, she tweeted: "No idea where 'Bigg Boss' rumour came from."

Madhuri's last stint in showbiz was as a judge on dance reality show "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa" earlier this year.

Post-marriage, she featured only in one film "Aaja Nachle" in 2007, as she got busy with her family, including two children -- Arin, eight, and six-year-old Raayan.

In her film career, Madhuri featured in films like "Khalnayak", "Dil", "Dil Toh Pagal Hai" and "Devdas".

Ranbir Kapoor,Deepika Padukone will romance in Karan Johar's "Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani"

New Delhi: Their personal chemistry may have gone a bit sour after their break-up, but Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone will romance on the silver screen in Karan Johar's new production "Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani".

It will be directed by Ayan Mukherjee of "Wake Up Sid" fame.

"So hey... Ranbir and Deepika will be in Ayan Mukherjee's next titled... YEH JAWANI HAI DEEWANI!!! The wake up sid boys on the floors from Jan!!" Johar announced on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Deepika and Ranbir, who dated each other for over a year before heading for splitsville in 2009, were last seen in "Bachna Ae Haseeno" in 2008, and their crackling chemistry was there for all to see.

For now, Johar is busy directing "Student Of The Year", which will see three newcomers -- Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan -- entering the film industry.

"Am back on the sets of STUDENT OF THE YEAR (SOTY)!!! The young energetic crew makes me feel like a geriatric!!!" added the 39-year-old filmmaker.

Ice Hockey Association of India received donation from Akshay Kumar

New Delhi: Ice Hockey Association of India received a generous donation of 250,000 pounds from the Khiladi of Bollyhood, Akshay Kumar, who is a sports enthusiast and is also well known for hosting the show,' Khatron Ke Khiladi'.

Akshay Kumar, who is associated with an array of sports, from martial arts to ice hockey says, the money is for the encouragement and greater participation in the sport (Ice Hockey).

"After supporting the Annual Karate Tournament this year, Akshay Kumar has donated over 250,000 pounds to the Ice Hockey Association in India to encourage greater participation and awareness in the sport," his spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

In his latest production 'Speedy Singhs', Ice hockey is set as the backdrop for the cross-cultural Indo-Canadian film starring Rob Lowe, Russell Peters, Camilla Belle and Vinay Virmani, releasing in the UK on September 30.

Akshay as a sports person became interested in the sport, during the filming and realized that very few people knew or participated in ice hockey in India.

He hopes that his small contribution in the sport will motivate and encourage people to take up ice hockey in India. Further, Akshay has made it his personal interest to motivate and promote the sport in India and support the talents already in the field and further popularize it in India.

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan was having pain while breathing

Mumbai: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan said today he was having pain while breathing after meeting with an accident on the sets of "Department". But he said he will be fine soon.

"A minor incident on set during semi-action sequence ... got hit on chest rib cage, some damage inside, pain on breathing, bearable!," Big B tweeted.

"Guess it's the season for injury... First Abhishek, now me... Happens... Will repair on its own said doc...

"He must be right," added Amitabh, whose actor son Abhishek got hurt while shooting for "Bol Bachchan" in Jaipur last week.

The Big B further tweeted: "People of twitter world, relax! Should never have mentioned... just an accidental... hit by either an elbow or the butt of a carbine!!"

Vijay Singh the CEO of Fox STAR Studios is producing "Ek Deewana Tha"

Mumbai: Prateik's solo hero movie, "Ek Deewana Tha", is named after a song in the Rishi Kapoor starrer "Karz" and is said to be the young actor's favourite.

"It's a line that comes from a favourite song of Prateik…'Ek haseena thi ek deewana tha'. The first three words of the song had already been used as the title of an Urmila Matondkar thriller. The makers of the Prateik starrer decided to use the second part of the 'Karz' song for him," said a source.

The love story, which was earlier titled "Prem Katha", is a Hindi remake of Tamil filmmaker Gautham Menon's hit "Vainnaithaandi Varuvaa"; model-actress Amy Jackson plays the female lead.

Prateik, who has dropped his surname Babbar, was apparently keen that the film's title should be pertinent to his character.

"The original Tamil film was titled 'Vainnaithaandi Varuvaa' which means, 'Will You Cross The Skies & Come?'. Director Menon was thinking of a similar abstract title for the film. In fact, it was to be called 'Prem Katha' in Hindi. But then it was decided that the film should have a zany title to go with Prateik's character," said the source.

Another factor that played a hand in the film's re-christening was the Salman Khan. After Salman's "Ek Tha Tiger", it was felt that a title with the hero being extolled in the past tense created a sense of nostalgia and excitement.

Vijay Singh the CEO of Fox STAR Studios, which is producing "Ek Deewana Tha", confirms the title.

Incidentally, a Ranbir Kapoor starrer is named after a song in a film starring his uncle Randhir Kapoor - Ayaan Mukherjee's film with hims is named "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani".

Intimate scenes of Randeep Hooda and Mahie Gill have been leaked online

New Delhi: The makers of "Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster" were in a for a shock after learning that some intimate scenes of Randeep Hooda and Mahie Gill have been leaked online -- a week before its release.

"The video was from the shoot. Someone might have shot the sequence in his or her mobile and decided to play mischief. The production team thankfully got to know about it and the video has been blocked now," said a source.

The film is directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia.

Slated for release Sep 30, the film is set in a small town. It is about a beautiful woman, her husband and an ambitious gangster. The film also stars Jimmy Shergeill.

Hearing on the bail application of Kannada actor Darshan put off for two weeks

Bangalore:The Karnataka High Court today put off for two weeks the hearing on the bail application of leading Kannada actor Darshan, facing allegations of assaulting his wife.

Public Prosecutor Chandramouli told the court that he needed two weeks to present his objections to the bail application filed by the actor.

The court accepted his request and postponed the hearing for two weeks.

Darshan was arrested Sep 9 after his wife, Vijayalakshmi, gave a five-page complaint to police detailing the beatings she had suffered.

She said Darshan also pointed a revolver at her and threatened to kill her and the couple's three-year-old son Vineesh.

But within hours, she changed her statement to say she was injured from a fall in the bathroom and not due to any beating by Darshan. The police have refused to accept this.

The high court's decision to put off the hearing has dashed the hopes of many of Darshan's fans who were expecting the actor's release from jail before Sep 29, when his new film "Sarathy" would hit the screens.

Darshan was discharged from hospital on Wednesday and was immediately sent to Parappana Agrahaara Jail.

Darshan was in Parappana Agrahara jail in east Bangalore for only one night after his arrest as he complained of wheezing. He was also found to be suffering from jaundice.

He was treated for nine days at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases here and discharged on Wednesday.

He was taken back to the jail as the session court on Tuesday rejected his bail plea.

Two lower court earlier declined to accept Vijayalakshmi's revised statement and rejected Darshan's bail plea.

Zayed Khan, the actor has become a father for the second time!

New Delhi: Zayed Khan couldn't have been a happier man. Just days before the release of his debut production "Love Breakups Zindagi", the actor has become a father for the second time!

Zayed's wife Malaika gave birth to their second baby boy in Mumbai on Thursday night, the actor's sister, jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali confirmed to the media.

"The baby was born at Breach Candy Hospital around 9.30 p.m. Both -- mother and baby -- are doing fine. God bless them," said Farah, who is one of Zayed's sisters apart from Susanne Roshan, via SMS.

The couple, who has a three-year-old son named Zidaan, has named the newborn as Aariz.

"Yes, that's the name they have thought of Aariz Khan," added Ali.

Zayed's close friend, designer Manav Gangwani too couldn't contain his excitement and packed his bags for Mumbai as soon as he heard the news.

"(I) Came to Mumbai to celebrate the birth of my best friend, my brother Zayed & Malaika's second baby! To all my Tweeties....AARIZ arrives! God Bless! Jai Balaji...The most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen! Looks like a little Strawberry! God Bless Aariz Khan," Gangwani posted on Twitter.

Zayed's "Love Breakups Zindagi", which has been produced under the banner of Born Free Entertainment, jointly owned by Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha, will release on Oct 7.

The 31-year-old is the son of veteran actor Sanjay Khan.

HMA Announces Winners of the Asian Hospital Management Awards 2011

HMA Announces Winners of the Asian Hospital Management Awards 2011
Apollo Hospitals, Chennai winner in Operational Customer Service Project

Singapore - Ten winners and 25 runners up won the coveted Asian Hospital Management Awards (AHMA) 2011 held September 8, 2011 at the Resorts World Convention Centre in Singapore. The celebration was the culmination of the Hospital Management Asia conference, attended by a record breaking 768 delegates from 25 countries and 222 organizations.

The Asian Hospital Management Awards recognizes and honors hospitals in Asia that carry out best practices in hospital management. Now in its tenth year, AHMA is the accepted hospital management awards program for the Asia Pacific region.

Awards are given to hospitals in the region that, in the opinion of the judges and advisers, have implemented or enhanced outstanding and innovative projects, programs, and best practices during the previous year. AHMA 2011 garnered 315 entries from 84 hospitals and 11 countries.

KM&T is this year’s sponsor for the Asian Hospital Management Awards. KM&T are a worldwide business improvement consultancy that provides ‘best practice’ business performance solutions. They have offices in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australasia. Their global presence provides the ability to offer local support to small enterprises through to international businesses operating in multi territory site operations. Their mission is to transfer knowledge to enable organisations to produce cost effective ways in which to improve service, quality and increase profitability. KM&T have worked with more than 75 healthcare organisations across the globe.

Chairs of the board of judges were:

Corporate Social Responsibility Category - Dr. Paul Chang, Joint Commission International

Cost Reduction Project Category - Ms. Nancy Tse, Hong Kong Hospital Authority

Human Resource Development Project Catgegory - Dr. Bob Beaudoin, University of Connecticut

Service Improvement for Internal Customers Project Category - Mr. Peter Lee, Ministry of Health Singapore

Marketing, PR or Promotional Project Category - Mr. Steven Thompson, Johns Hopkins Medicine International

Patient Safety Project Category- Dr. Yash Paul Bhatia, Astron Hospital & Healthcare Consultants

Clinical Service Improvement Project Category - Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Quality Council of India

Operational Customer Service Project Category - Prof. Rene Domingo, Asian Institute of Management

Bio Medical Equipment / Facilities Improvement Project Category - Dr. Eric de Roodenbeke, International Hospital Federation

The complete list of winners and runners-up by category are:

Category: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project

Winner: West China Hospital, Sichuan University – “The prevention and control program of epilepsy patients in Tibetan areas”, China

Runners-up: Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital – “Music therapy for physically disabled children”, Thailand and Manila Doctors Hospital - “Capacity Building in Community Health Delivery and Planning”, Philippines

Category : Cost Reduction Project

Winner: Princess Margaret Hospital – “The Green Project- Savings in Medicine and Manpower”, Hong Kong

Runners-up: Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals - “CREW ( Cost Reduction and Elimination of Waste)”, India and Pok Oi Hospital – “Achieving Green Hospital through LEAN”, Hong Kong

Category: Human Resource Development Project

Winner: Singapore General Hospital – “Building BRIDGES, Strengthening ties”, Singapore

Runners-up: Changi General Hospital - “Creating a Culture of Clinical Learning for Physiotherapists”, Singapore; Princess Margaret Hospital – “Social and Professional Reality Integration for New Graduates (SPRING) program”, Hong Kong; Siloam Hospital Group – “Aspiring Nurse Leadership Program”, Indonesia; and Tan Tock Seng Hospital – “Improving staff engagement in Cardiology Clinic”, Singapore

Category : Service Improvement for Internal Customers Project

Joint Winners: Assunta Hospital - “Go Green - the green path to inspiring a positive work environment”, Malaysia and Institute of Mental Health – “Reengineering a Case Management service to improve inpatient and outpatient follow-up care”, Singapore

Runners-up: Kwong Wah Hospital – “Seamless Care for Staff Wellness - Enhancement of Respiratory Protection Program”, Hong Kong; National University Hospital – “Hospital-Wide Inpatient 6S Events (Safety, Sort and Scrap, Straighten, Shine and Service, Standardize and Sustain)”, Singapore; and National University Hospital - “SOC Appointment Booking Value Stream Analysis - To streamline the Appointment Booking process”, Singapore

Category: Marketing, PR or Promotional Project

Winner: Khoo Teck Puat Hospital – “The ABLE Studio- “Attaining Freedom and Independence in Your Silver Years”, Singapore

Runners-up: Institute of Mental Health – “An Effective Primary Care Model of Stable Psychiatric Outpatients within the Community”, Singapore; KK Women and Children’s Hospital – “iPhone App – Women & Child Healthpedia”, Singapore; Khoo Teck Puat Hospital – “Branding / Introducing Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) to the Northern Community”, Singapore; Samitivej Hospital – “Safe Life Safe Price Project”, Thailand

Category 6: Patient Safety Project

Winner: National University Hospital – “Total lean transformation in the Renal Unit to achieve better patient safety and care coordination”, Singapore

Runners-up: Aga Khan University Hospital - “Enhancing patient safety through innovations in the computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system”, Pakistan; Fortis Escorts Heart Institute - “Reducing Surgical Site Infections In Cardiac Surgery Patients”, India; Queen Mary Hospital - “Post Fall Incident Review (PFIR): A Patient-Nurse Partnership for Falls Prevention”, Hong Kong; and The Medical City – “The Medical City Rapid Response System”, Philippines

Category 7: Clinical Service Improvement Project

Winner: West China Hospital, Sichuan University - “Research on Construction of New Medical Service Mode & Diagnosis and Treatment Technology Platform for Hemorrhagic Stroke”, China

Runners-up: Apollo Hospitals Hyderabad (India) - “Wake Up Call”, India and De Vera’s Medical Center - “Competent Nurses At Your Service!” DVMC Nursing Professional Integrated Development Program”, Philippines

Category 8: Operational Customer Service Project

Winner: Apollo Hospitals, Chennai - “Excellence in patient experience at Emergency”, India

Runners-up: Institute of Mental Health - “An Effective Primary Care Model of Stable Psychiatric Outpatients Within the Community”, Singapore and De Vera’s Medical Center - “Dress To Heal", Philippines

Category 9: Bio Medical Equipment / Facilities Improvement Project

Winner: Changi General Hospital - “Improving Intracranial Cerebral Pressure Monitor Setup Workflow for Neurosurgical Patients”, Singapore

Runners-up: Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital - “Improvement of Outpatient Service System by Digicard”, Thailand and Pok Oi Hospital - “Achieving Green Hospital through LEAN”, Hong Kong

Proud recipient of the Grand Award is Institute of Mental Health (IMH). The IMH is the only hospital that won a Winner award or Excellence award in three of the nine categories. In addition, IMH also received a judge’s nod in six out of nine categories, the most for any hospital.

The HMA 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on Dr. Oon Chiew Seng, a living legend of our times. Dr. Oon served as Chairman, MOH Committee to Study Conditions of Nursing Service; Member, Singapore Family Planning and Population Board; and President, O&G Society several times. She has been the recipient of numerous accolades for her work and continues her philantrophic work to this day. Among her latest donations saw the setting up of the Oon Chiew Seng Fellowship in Medicine (Women’s Health and Aging Science), which is dedicated to the research and teaching of Anti-Ageing Science in Women’s Health and Dementia.

HMA and the Awards are organized by Exedra Events in cooperation with Joint Commission International, Johns Hopkins Medicine International, International Hospital Federation and the Asian Hospital Federation, with the support of the Singapore Ministry of Health and the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau.

Official Industry Partners are Austco Marketing & Service (Asia) Ltd and UBM Medica. Conference partners are ASTRON Hospital & Healthcare Consultants Private Limited, Chinese Hospital Association, Hoan My Medical Corporation, The Ho Chi Minh City Medical Association and The Medical Practitioner Society of Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong Hospital Authority, Indian Healthcare Quality Forum, Indonesian Hospital Association, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines and Quality Council of India (QCI). Cooperating partners are Vamed, Avanti Espresso, Fuji Xerox Singapore, Ascend and Spa Republic.

ACN Newswire, Medical Products Asia, Business World, Global Health Press, Vietnam Business Forum, Medical Progress, Medical Tribune, MIMS, MJN e-News and the Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management are Media Partners. Official PR Partner is Weber Shandwick-Singapore with Creative Crest (India), Public Relations Society of Indonesia (Indonesia), Masso PR (Vietnam) and IPR (Malaysia).

For additional information on Hospital Management Asia 2011 and Asian Hospital Management Awards, please visit the HMA website at

Press Release Contact:
Kavita (Creative crest)
Phone: +91 9999738920

India's cricket legend Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi died after battling lung infection

New Delhi: India's cricket legend Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who personified style on and off the cricket field, died here today after battling lung infection for about a month. He was 70.

The former Indian captain, who was admitted to the Sir Gangaram Hospital here, is survived by his wife, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, and three children - daughters Soha and Saba and son Saif.

Sharmila Tagore, son Saif and partner Kareena Kapoor-- both popular Bollywood actors- and daughter Saba were by his side when he breathed his last, doctors at the hospital told the media.

"He died at 5.55 p.m.. He was in the intensive care unit (ICU) and his lungs were not functioning at all," a senior doctor said.

"We had told the family that no cure is possible," added the doctor.

Pataudi, born on Jan 5, 1941, played 46 Test matches for India between 1961 and 1975.

A car accident permanently damaged vision in his right eye when he was only 20. This, however, did not affect his widely acclaimed playing skills.

Popularly known as Tiger, he was the ninth and last Nawab of Pataudi, now in Haryana.

Today morning, doctors had warned that Pataudi's condition was deteriorating and he was critical.

"His condition has deteriorated since Wednesday and he is unable to maintain his oxygen level in spite of maximum treatment. He continues to remain in the ICU (intensive care unit)," Neeraj Jain, senior consultant and chairman of pulmonolgy (chest medicine) at Gangaram Hospital in central Delhi, had said.

Pataudi had been admitted to the hospital in August with acute lung infection.

"This disease... had been static since the last three months. It worsened very acutely over the last four weeks," Jain said.

"The possibility of lung transplant was discussed very early as soon as his condition worsened. But he was not a suitable candidate for it," he added.

A dashing cricketer, Pataudi hit the arclights when he married the young Sharmila Tagore in 1969.

The connection to Indian cinema endured through the decades when his son Saif also became a Bollywood actor and so did his daughter Soha.

In his later years, Pataudi was a familiar figure in Delhi circles.

Manmohan Singh , Pranab Mukherjee called up P. Chidambaram over the latest controversy in the 2G scam

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who are away in the US, called up P. Chidambaram over the latest controversy in the 2G spectrum scam and the home minister assured both that he will not speak on the issue till their return.

Chidambaram made the assurance when the two senior leaders of the government made a phone call to him on Wednesday night.

"Friends from the media have asked me why I remain silent. The prime minister called me last night from Frankfurt and spoke to me. The finance minister called me from Washington and spoke to me," Chidambaram said in a statement here today.

"I have assured the prime minister that I shall not make any public statement on the subject until he returns to India," he added.

Government sources, meanwhile, said that during the phone call on Wednesday, the prime minister informed Chidambaram that he had not seen the finance ministry note mentioning his role in the 2G spectrum allocation.

During the call that lasted for 20 minutes, the prime minister conveyed his complete faith on Chidambaram's integrity and asked him to remain patient till his return to India on Sep 27, sources said.

Chidambaram was the finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance-I government when the 2G spectrum allocation was done.

The finance ministry note to the PMO says Chidambaram could have prevented the spectrum from being given away at throwaway prices by insisting on its auction -- implying that presumptive losses worth thousands of crores could have thus been avoided.