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20120225

The youth of this country can bring reforms in the system: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

New Delhi: The youth of this country can bring reforms in the system if they are aware, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said here on Saturday.

Interacting with students at Hindu College of Delhi University, he said: "If youth with the right attitude enter politics can bring in sweeping reforms in the country."

"I urge the youth to wake up and vote, and vote for candidate who is honest," he added.

The initiative, 'Own the future and the present', witnessed a huge turnout of students from 75 colleges of Delhi.

The programme was organised by the World Alliance for Youth Empowerment, the youth wing of the Art of Living and the Hindu College.

Calling 'Own the Future and the Present' a message to promote awareness in the youth, the guru addressed the youth and answered their queries on a wide range of topics such as corruption, environment, addictions, spirituality and politics.

He also advised the youth to have confidence, stress-free mind and faith and advised some techniques like yoga and meditation as those that can help to find solutions for all problems.
source:agency

The first Myanmar-India car rally to promote friendship will be launched in March

Yangon: The first Myanmar-India car rally to promote friendship, trade and tourism between the two countries will be launched in March.

The rally is organised by the North East Federation on International Trade (NEFIT) and will be held on the sidelines of a trade and tourism conference.

The March 13-21 Guwahati-Yangon-Guwahati rally will cover 5,000 km, Xinhua reported on Saturday quoting the 7-Day News. About 200 people and 55 cars will participate.
source:agency

India's aviation regulator will take a call on Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines new flight schedule

New Delhi: India's aviation regulator today said it will take a call on Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines new flight schedule on Monday.

"We will take a decision on the revised flight schedule plans by Monday," E.K. Bharat Bhusan, director general civil aviation told media.

"We have to see what kind of schedule they can operate and safely operate because they have less number of aircraft now," he said, responding to reports that the airline in its new schedule had informed the regulator that it will not operate to some major cities like Hyderabad.

The airline has been curtailing its flights since Feb 18, as cash crunch, exodus of pilots and operational troubles hit its operations leading it to cancel hundreds of daily services.

According to reports, the fresh schedule submitted by the airline on Feb 22 identified cities like Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Jaipur to where it will not operate.

The regulator had received the new schedule via an email on Wednesday, a day after the airline was directed to give a realistic flight plan.

The regulator is inquiring into the large-scale cancellations and the fact that the airline failed to inform it of its revised flight schedules. The DGCA is also said to be screening the airlines' operational aircraft to find their airworthiness and if financial constraints have in anyway compromised passenger safety.

The airline had earlier said that it will press within a week or two 16 more aircraft into service which will support its existing 28 operational aircraft.

The airlines' latest trouble started Feb 18 when its employees in Kolkata went on a flash strike. The carrier, on the other hand, blames the seizure of its bank accounts by the Income Tax department as the main reason for flight plan curtailment.

Kingfisher has a debt of Rs.7,057.08 crore. The company's net loss widened to Rs.444.26 crore for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2011, from Rs.253.69 crore in the October-December quarter in the last fiscal.
source:agency

Olympic dreams of the Indian women's hockey team came crashing today

New Delhi: The Olympic dreams of the Indian women's hockey team came crashing today as they lost 1-3 to tournament favourites South Africa in the final of the 2012 London Olympic qualifiers at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.

For World No.12 South Africa, the win was a fitting reply to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), which had forced them to go through the qualification process despite their having earned a direct berth.

South Africa were always at ease right from the start and played freely while pressure got the better of World No.13 India, whose last Olympic appearance was way back at 1980 Moscow edition, where the men's team had won the last of their record eight Olympic gold medals.

While there wasn't much difference between the rankings of the two teams, South Africa were clearly the superior side. They churned out a clinical performance and changed gears cleverly to take the Indians by surprise. South Africa had also beaten India 5-2 in the group stages.

Ace-drag flicker Piete Coetzee (30th) converted a penalty corner while skipper Marsha Marescia (53rd) deflected an indirect penalty corner after Shelly Russell had given South Africa the lead as early as in the fourth minute. India pulled one back in the 57th minute through Jaspreet Kaur from a penalty corner.

For the first time in the tournament, India found themselves stifled with man-marking but South Africa soon changed tactics after taking the lead.

A defensive blunder by Ritu Rani gifted South Africa the early lead. Ritu failed to control a back-pass in the D, allowing Shelly to sneak in and the 24-year-old slotted it past India goalkeeper Yogita Bali, who was also slow off the blocks.

A goal down, India stepped on the accelerator and attacked from the left-flank through a fit-again Anuradha Devi Thokchom, who was back after missing the last two matches due to a hamstring injury. Anuradha initiated some quick runs but couldn't find much support from Rani Rampaul, Ritu Rani or Poonam Rani.

The Indians were pathetic with their finishing inside the D and Anuradha twice came close but faltered on both occasions. In the 42nd minute, Anuradha had to connect a loose shot from the centre and she had only the goalie to beat but shot into the gloves of the South African custodian Mariette Rix.

India had only themselves to blame for the loss as they allowed pressure to get the better of them. They attacked in patches but there was a lack of coordinated effort from C.R. Kumar's girls, who came close to qualifying but fell short.
source:agency

Actor Dev Patel isn't comfortable playing a lead in a big-budget movie

Los Angeles: Actor Dev Patel isn't comfortable playing a lead in a big-budget movie and would prefer be a part of an ensemble cast in a smaller production.

The "Slumdog Millionaire" star describes his time on M. Night Shyamalan's movie "The Last Airbender" horrendous and admits he prefers working as part of an ensemble in smaller movies, reports contactmusic.com.

"Working on something that big and trying to get heard as an actor is tricky. You feel so diluted and worthless," he told Empire magazine.

"I would happily shape my career doing great low-budget indies like that. I'm not that hero-type dude, so I'm never going to be playing the handsome lead character," he added.
source:agency

Modelling profession requires lot of hard work :Tinu Verghis

New Delhi: Senior model Tinu Verghis scorched the runway for a decade, before bidding adieu to the Indian modelling world. For all the young girls who hope to make it big in the industry, she has a word of advice -- be strong and don't waste time!

She further cautions that the modelling profession requires lot of hard work and a confident mindset.

"There are a lot of beautiful young girls coming in. If they are strong enough to stand up and fight off the insecurity that is around, it will be good for the industry," Verghis said

"Have faith in yourself. Never be scared to push your limits. Never worry about what people think of you, you can never please all the people all the time," she added.

Verghis, who is now set to join LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore, says its important for all models to pursue something of interest side-by-side for long term.

"Do short courses and learn something new every year. Don't waste other people's time and object if they waste yours. Read books, and always think about what you would like to do once, you are done with modelling," she said.

A supermodel from southern India, Verghis is one of the few Indian models to have walked the international ramps in Milan and Paris for renowned fashion houses like Christian Lacroix, Gucci, DKNY, Christian Dior, Prada, Escada and Alexander McQueen.

Sharing the experience of her growth in the industry, she said: "The first show I did was for Rs.250 in Bangalore for Prasad Bidappa and since then, the whole experience was worth every moment."

The Indian ramps are currently dominated by foreign models. Tinu finds no fault with that but points out that some of the faces on the runway are not worth the fame.

"I don't separate models based on their nationality. Anyone who can look good on the ramp should be allowed.

"(But) Some of the foreign and Indian models on the ramp are a mistake. There is no need for the industry to compromise on talent, since there are many beautiful girls waiting to step in," added Verghis, without taking any names.
source:agency

Legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt's grand-daughter Gouri is set to foray into the world of acting

Bhopal: Legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt's grand-daughter Gouri is set to foray into the world of acting. One of her aims is to portray her grandfather the way family members have known him."I had not met my grandfather and as a kid I did not understand what people used to talk about him. But later I realised what kind of personality he was. Now, one of the aims of my life is to portray him in a different way....how our family members have known him," Gouri said.

People remember Guru Dutt as a remarkable filmmaker who died at a young age of 39, but left behind a legacy of cinematic excellence that boasts of films like "Pyaasa", "Kaagaz Ke Phool", "Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam" and "Chaudhvin Ka Chand".

"I have watched all his movies and now I believe that my grandfather was unmatched in several senses. People are in awe at times when they learn who I am, but what means most to me is that he was my grandfather," she added.

The 23-year-old daughter of Guru Dutt's son Arun has done fashion designing, but now wants to make a career in acting.

"In my family, earlier we were not encouraged to work in the film industry. But I have realised that I should work in the industry and make a full-fledged career as an actress," said Gouri, who even did a four-month course from Guru Dutt Films Academy, Pune.

She was here along with her parents - Arun and Kavita Dutt - to promote the institute.

She is making her debut with an Anurag Kashyap film while her elder sister Karuna has collaborated with Kashyap for the movie "Gangs of Wasseypur".

So far, the family has maintained a low profile.

"It was not me only, but our family was also not much involved in film industry directly. It was only the film academy that was being run first by our grandmother Geeta Dutt and later by my uncle and father," Gouri said.

"My elder sister Karuna also got associated with Anurag Kashyap's production company, but still we remain low profile in our attachment to film industry," said Gouri, whose favourite movies of her grandfather include "Pyaasa", "Kagaz Ke Phool" and "Mr.& Mrs.55".
source:agency

John Abraham and Chitrangada Singh starrer "I, Me Aur Main" is set to hit theatres July 27

New Delhi:John Abraham and Chitrangada Singh starrer "I, Me Aur Main" is set to hit theatres July 27.

The Reliance Entertainment, Rose Movies and Pollen Entertainment co-production is set against an urban backdrop and narrates the story of a man and his relationship with five women. It marks the directorial debut of Kapil Sharma, son of noted astronaut Rakesh Sharma.

Apart from Chitrangada, the other women in John's life in the film will be essayed by Prachi Desai, Raima Sen, Mini Mathur and Zareena Wahab.

"'I, Me Aur Main' is a fun and refreshing film. It's a feel good story about a self obsessed man's relationship with the five most important women in his life, he takes for granted. We are very pleased with the way the film has shaped up and are excited about its release," Sanjeev Lamba, CEO, Reliance Entertainment, said in a press statement.

Co-producer Goldie Behl said, "The film is an urban commercial genre with a novel concept. It's a John Abraham you've never seen before and the film is sure to strike a chord with today's youth."
source:agency

1st action of the Congress would be the express enactment of an impartial Lok Ayukta :Sonia Gandhi

Panaji: Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said the first action of the Congress government in Goa, if the party is re-elected to power, would be the express enactment of an impartial Lok Ayukta."The first action if we get re-elected is the setting up of a firm and impartial Lok Ayukta in Goa," said Gandhi, who was in poll-bound Goa to address a public meeting in Margao, 35 km from here. "No one is above the law and our investigating agencies need a free hand," Gandhi said.The chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of double-speak on the issue of corruption.

"We are committed to a strong Lokpal and we passed the law in the Lok Sabha. The BJP and the other parties ensured that it did not pass in the Rajya Sabha," Gandhi said.

She also underlined stability as the biggest draw of the Congress party, asking people to vote them back to power to ensure that Goa gets a stable government for five years.

"Only the experienced Congress can give you a stable government which is essential for the development and progress of the state," Gandhi said.

"I hope in all humility that we will receive your mandate one more time to give you a good and performing government," Gandhi said.

The ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance is taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) in the March 3 assembly polls here.
source:agency

The annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine of Lord Shiva will commence on June 25

Jammu: The annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine of Lord Shiva, in the south Kashmir Himalayas, will commence on June 25 this year.

It will last till Aug 2, according to a spokesman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the pilgrimage.

This decision was taken by the board at a meeting held in New Delhi on Friday, the details of which were circulated to the media today.

The logic behind having the pilgrimage for 39 days was the hostile weather conditions, which resulted in 107 deaths last year, when the pilgrimage commenced June 28 and lasted till Aug 13.

The cave shrine is situated at a height of 3,888 metres above sea level and has two routes leading to it, one from Pahalgam, about 100 km from Srinagar, and another from Baltal, 110 km from Srinagar.

The pilgrimage routes pass through high mountains and glaciers, involving a steep climb, and most of the track, despite clearance of snow, is slippery and full of slush, making it difficult for the pilgrims to negotiate the tortuous terrain.

A naturally made stalagmite of snow considered to be an ice "lingam" or icon of Lord Shiva is the main attraction of the cave shrine.

The myth goes that Lord Shiva had narrated the tale of immortality to his consort, the Goddess Parvati at the cave. Thus, it is known as "Amarnath", which when translated means "Lord of immortality".

More than 630,000 pilgrims visited the shrine last year, breaking all the previous records, essentially because of the facilities extended by the SASB.
source:agency

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi asked why L.K. Advani had taken no steps to bring back black money

Panaji: Questioning Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani's credentials as an anti-corruption crusader, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi today asked why he had taken no steps to bring back black money stashed in banks abroad when he was the deputy prime minister.

"So what was the deputy prime minister doing then? Home minister and deputy prime minister, both posts were with him then. So what was he doing about bringing black money back and about corruption all those long years?" Gandhi said in a direct attack on Advani who held the two posts in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.

Advani had done nothing to curb corruption in the "scam ridden government" of which the BJP leader was a part, Gandhi said at a rally here ahead of the March 3 elections to the state legislative assembly.

The Congress chief said her party-led government was trying to bring back black money and rid the country of corruption in a systematic manner.

"Of course, we must do everything in our power to bring back black money which is stashed abroad and to rid our system of corruption. But that is precisely what the Congress-led government is doing methodically, doing with sincerity and in earnest," she said.

Gandhi also said that instead of pointing fingers at the Congress, it would do them (the BJP) well to look at their own scam ridden government, and singled out corruption in the BJP's government in Karnataka as an example.
source:agency

Team Anna warned people that they were going to be defeated !

Uttar Pradesh: In its public awakening programme in Greater Noida today, Team Anna warned people that they were going to be defeated and that political parties would the only winners.

"We should have no illusions about any change happening after the (Uttar Pradesh assembly) elections. The final outcome will be that the public would be defeated. Now, the fight initiated to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill has been widened to change the entire system," said Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal.

Putting emphasis on overhauling the system, Arvind Kejriwal said all types of bad elements including robbers and rapists had overpowered parliament. "The fight would be to overhaul parliament's character, which has become a big problem for us - the people of India," he said.

Kejriwal, scathing in his criticism of political parties, said: "All political parties are corrupt. They are fighting to grab the seat to loot. They are not concerned for the growth and the development of the country. Today, the Congress is crying for not being able to loot the state exchequer. Otherwise, it had ruled the state for about 40 years in the past.

"The BJP is also in the same bracket. It did nothing to check corruption in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himanchal Pradesh and Karnataka. All the political parties are fighting for their share in the loot," he said.

At the meet, Team Anna members Sanjay Singh and Manish Sishodia also appealed to the audience to use Form 17A to reject the candidate if they found him/her to be unworthy.
source:agency

CBI has busted a multi-crore scam involving senior officials of the BRO project

Shimla: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has busted a multi-crore scam involving senior officials of the Border Road Organisation's (BRO) Project Deepak, an official said here today.

One of the accused is currently posted in Project Deepak's Shimla headquarters as chief engineer.

Two FIRs have been registered after conducting raids on the accused's offices and premises here and in Noida in Uttar Pradesh on Friday, CBI Superintendent of Police R. Upasak told media.

He said the BRO officials have been accused of causing losses to the tune of Rs.2.74 crore to the central government exchequer.

The cases have been registered against former chief engineer Brig J.K. Narang, serving chief engineer I.R. Mathur and Lt. Col. Chanchal Jhamb. Mathur succeeded Brig Narang, currently posted in Delhi, in BRO's Shimla headquarters.

Owners of three Delhi-based firms -- Om Enterprises, Krishna Trader and Agency and Aggarwal Enterprises -- were also booked under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

As per the FIR, the BRO officials were involved in criminal conspiracy with the supplier firms and, in violation of the various provisions of general financial rules (GFR), procured several variable messaging systems at exorbitant rates through limited tender/single tenders and thereby caused wrongful loss to the tune of Rs.1.49 crore to the government.

The second case has been registered against Brig Narang, who was earlier posted here as chief engineer, Lt Col Jhamb and Siemens Enterprises Communication Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, on the allegations that the accused public servants procured telephone exchanges in 2009 from the company at a highly exorbitant rate.

During the raids on residential premises of Brig Narang, Rs.1.33 lakh cash, more than Rs.30 lakh in bank accounts, Rs.15 lakh in mutual funds and ornaments worth Rs.500,000 in a locker have been recovered.

Documents containing details about four plots, two flats and a two-storied building of valuation of more than Rs.1.50 crore, two cars in the name of the accused and his relatives have been found by the CBI officials, an official statement said.

During the search of premises of Mathur, papers of acquisition of a flat in Noida were seized beside seizure of jewellery worth Rs.600,000.

The CBI had arrested BRO official Captain Vikalp Purohit in Himachal Pradesh in 2010 while allegedly trying to sell 800 litres of diesel meant for the Project Deepak in the open market.

The BRO, an inter-services organisation under the defence ministry, maintains the strategically important highways in the state.

Project Deepak in Himachal Pradesh maintains, among others, the 222-km stretch between Manali and Sarchu, part of the 475-km Manali-Leh National Highway-21.
source:agency

NRHM scam :CBI conducted searches at 27 places

Lucknow: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today conducted searches at 27 places across 12 cities in Uttar Pradesh in connection with the multi-crore-rupee National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.

While CBI sleuths swooped on 25 places in Lucknow alone, five raids were carried out in Varanasi, Meerut, Ballia and Bahraich on Friday.

With eight FIRs having already been lodged in what is described as a Rs.8,000 crore scam, the total number of criminal cases registered so far has reached 12.
source:agency

India's GSM subscriber base grew by 1.32 percent in January with addition of 8.44 million mobile phone users

New Delhi:India's GSM subscriber base grew by 1.32 percent in January with addition of 8.44 million mobile phone users, of whom Uninor alone signed up over 2.5 million customers, according to the data released by Cellular Operators Association of India.

The total number of GSM subscribers in the country crossed 648 million as against 639.6 million in December.

Uninor, whose all 22 licences stand cancelled following the Supreme Court's ruling earlier this month, now has a market share of 6.86 percent with 38.8 million subscribers.

"In our 13 commercial circles in 2011, the highest number of subscribers chose Uninor. We are satisfied to see that this strong preference continues into 2012 as well," Uninor said in a statement.

"It is our intention to continue competing as a mass market mobile service and ensure that the Indian mobile users continue to benefit from this competition," it added.

Idea Cellular followed with an addition of 1.75 million subscribers, taking its total user base to 108 million.

Bharti Airtel added 1.3 million users to have a total of 176.95 million subscribers, while Vodafone added 8,55,349 users thus taking its subscribers base to 148.6 million.

State-run telecom operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) added 8,60,846 customers, taking their total user base to 93.4 million.
source:agency

20120224

Indian team always works hard to be on top of its opponents :Michael Nobbs

New Delhi: Indian men's hockey coach Michael Nobbs said on Friday that the eight-time Olympic champions strive to be the best every time they take the field.

Nobbs said the Indian team always works hard to be on top of its opponents physically and psychologically.

"It is hard to be your best everytime you are in the field and we want to be at the top of every team we play both physically and psychologically. We want to be the best team in the world," Nobbs told reporters after India beat Poland 4-2 and set up a final clash with France in the 2012 London Olympics qualifiers.

The Australian had words of praise for Polish goalkeeper Marlusz Chyla.

"The Polish goalkeeper is probably the best in the world and he was brilliant today. We were inside their circle 26 times compared to that they penetrated us four times. Our finishing was better than yesterday, I mean we were in a better position to score than yesterday," he said.

Asked if India was too dependent on star dragflicker Sandeep Singh, Nobbs said: "I don't think we are too dependent on Sandeep for penalty corners. You have to score from penalty corners as well as field goals, if you don't do that you don't win tournaments. I am happy with Rughunath and Rupinder Singh as well."

Nobbs said trapping was a problem for the team.

"We missed trapping a couple of times but we prepare as well as possible and we will look to do that before the finals," he said.

Nobbs was happy to see Indians busy in the field.

"I am happy with the movement of ball around the field, this is exactly what we were looking for, we scored in the last moment but we were relentless throughout the match. I am not too happy with the defensive corners and we will practice that area of the game tomorrow," he added.

Nobbs said the final against France would be tough. India had beaten France 6-2 in the group match.

"I didn't see it (France match against Canada). It was too tense, isn't it? Well, we will analyse the video of the match tonight. It is not going to be easy in the finals against them. Probably, it would be much tighter than what we played in the last time. It is a grand finale and I am sure it would be pretty tight," he said.
source:agency

2012 London Olympic qualifier:Indian women's hockey team scraped past Italy 1-0 in their last pool match

New Delhi:The Indian women's hockey team scraped past Italy 1-0 in their last pool match here today to take on South Africa in Saturday's final of the 2012 London Olympic qualifier.

Ritu Rani struck the winner in the 55th minute off a rebound from Jaspreet Kaur's drag-flick at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

India have to blame themselves for waiting too long to break the deadlock. They wasted five penalty corners before getting their act together in the sixth.

It was a crucial match for both teams. India needed a win while a draw was enough for the Italians to take them through. With the win India finished second behind World No.12 South Africa (13) with 10 points.

India were lucky to win as the Italians adopted a defensive approach and tightly marked the forwards inside the circle.

India, World No.13, had to toil hard against Italy, 19th in FIH rankings. Despite pressing hard from the start, they were scrappy as the links failed to combine well with the forwards.

They came close to scoring in the ninth minute when they earned their first penalty corner.

But Italian goalkeeper Roberta Lilliu made two brilliant saves off consecutive rebounds from Jasjeet Kaur Handa and Kirandeep Kaur.

India made the most use of the right-flank with Yendala Soundarya building up the attack. But there was hardly any coordination between forwards Poonam Rani, Ritu Rani and Rani Rampaul.

India squandered another chance in the 20th minute after Deepika Thakur beat defender Celina Traverso and made a solo run down the centre. But Roberta thwarted the Indian shot.

Poonam picked up from the rebound but her powerless strike went waste.

Indian earned four penalty corners in the first half. India's recurring failure was poor penetration in the circle and bad shots at the goals.

Finally a defensive blunder by Italy allowed India to sneak in.

An unmarked Ritu on the left scooped off a rebound from Jasjeet to seal Italy's fate. The Italians complained the ball was too high but the umpires were not impressed.

Indian women are trying to qualify for the Olympics after 32 years. They last played in 1980 in Moscow, where the men's team won the last of eight Olympic golds.

Earlier, tournament favourites South Africa sailed into the final with a 4-1 win over Canada.

In Saturday's other classification matches, Canada and Poland play for the 5-6 places while Italy and Ukraine will fight for the 3-4 places.
source:agency

I have such a long way to go:Actress Shazahn Padamsee

New Delhi: Her next film "Housefull 2" has a dozen actors, but Shazahn Padamsee isn't fretting. After all, stars are also a part of multi-starrers, isn't it, says the actress."I have such a long way to go. I am so young and have to be a part of the industry for so many years. I'll do multi-starrers, I'll do films with many people...Now you see even the stars doing multi-starrers. The world is my oyster; I don't look for anything solo or multi-starrer," Shazahn said.

Daughter of ad guru Alyque Padamsee, Shazahn made her Bollywood debut with Ranbir Kapoor-starrer "Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year" and later went on to be a part of Madhur Bhandarkar's "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji", which had an ensemble cast.

She is now gearing up for the release of "Housefull 2" April 5.

Directed by Sajid Khan, the comedy film features Akshay Kumar, Asin Thottumkal, Riteish Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Randhir Kapoor, Chunkey Pandey, John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez, Zarine Khan, Shreyas Talpade, Mithun Chakraborty and Rishi Kapoor.

Shazahn was initially nervous about being a part of the film, but after working with the cast and crew, she says its been her best experience so far.

"Earlier, I was nervous because I had heard of the pranks of Sajid and since I am the youngest among the cast and the crew, I thought I would be picked up very easily for a prank. But it has been the most enjoyable experience."

"All the actresses are very close and we were always chatting on the sets discussing diet tips. The cast has become family now," she added.

The two-film-old actress says she is enjoying the way her Bollywood career has shaped up so far, but says being an actor was never on her mind. Rather, she wanted to be a writer.

"It has been a wonderful journey. I come from a theatre family. So films were something I never thought of doing because I wanted to be a writer. But now since I am part of films, I am enjoying every bit of it," said Shazahn, who recently walked the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) ramp for designer Sulakshana Monga.
source:agency

Actor Abhishek Bachchan is going through tough schedules

Mumbai: Abhishek Bachchan is going through tough schedules. Even as Amitabh Bachchan returned home from hospital, his maternal grandmother Indira Bhaduri is now said to be in another hospital, giving him two major reasons to stay put in Mumbai.These days, the actor is shooting out of Mumbai, in Wai for Rohit Shetty's "Bol Bachchan". He also likes to be by his elders' side, so his schedule is under tremendous pressure.

"Every day Abhishek commutes between Wai and Mumbai. He leaves early morning for Wai, packs up shooting by evening, drives back...its a good five hours drive.

"He rushes home to see his father and then his Nani in hospital before heading home to catch a few moments with his daughter and wife (in that order nowadays). If he's lucky he catches Baby Bachchan awake for a bit," said a source.

Without much sleep, Abhishek returns to Wai early morning. But he sails through the shoot of the comedy film.

"Laughter is the last thing on Abhishek's mind. But he's going through the comic scenes with Ajay Devgn with do-or-die determination," the source added.

Ajay is going out of his way to accommodate Abhishek's packed schedule.

"He waits without a murmur for Abhishek to get ready. He's even offered to postpone the shooting until things get normal at the Bachchans'. But Abhishek insists on carrying on," said the source.
source:agency

There is no crisis in the party in Karnataka: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Denying reports of a standoff between the Bharatiya Janata Party and former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, senior party leader Arun Jaitley said there was no political crisis in the state."There is no crisis in the party in Karnataka," Jaitley told reporters here."There is no problem that he has created... what you are attributing to him is not the factual situation," Jaitley said denying any standoff between the former chief minister and the party.Yeddyurappa is reported to have set a Feb 27 deadline for the party's central leaders to decide on his demand for reinstatement or to be officially declared the supreme leader of the party in the state. That day is his birthday and his supporters plan a big bash where he may announce his plan of action if party does not accept the demands.

The party's ongoing meeting in Karnataka was cancelled on the second day.

Yeddyurappa, the BJP's first chief minister in southern India, quit on July 31 last year over corruption charges. The BJP came to power for the first time in Karnataka in May 2008. Assembly polls are due early next year.

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari is meanwhile holding a series of meetings here to end the power struggle in the party's Karnataka unit in the wake of Yeddyurappa's bid to get back the chief minister's post.
source:agency

BJP president Nitin Gadkari rejected scam-hit B.S. Yeddyurappa's demand for immediate reinstatement

Bangalore: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari today rejected scam-hit former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's demand for immediate reinstatement but said he will be given an honourable position once he is cleared of the charges.

"There is no question of change (of Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda)," Gadkari told reporters after addressing ministers, legislators and MPs at a meeting at a resort on Bangalrore's outskirts.

He, however, tried to placate the sulking Yeddyurappa: "Yeddyurappa is the popular face of our party in Karnataka."

Gadkari said: "The Lokayukta (ombudsman) report is an injustice to Yeddyurappa. He has challenged it. I am confident he will get justice. He will be given an honourable position then."

Yeddyurappa quit on July 31 last year after the then Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde recommended his trial for corruption in the illegal mining scam.

Gowda, who took over as chief minister on Aug 4, was Yeddyurappa's choice. However, the two have fallen out allegedly because Gowda is trying to emerge out of Yeddyurappa's shadow.

Yeddyurappa's supporters say he will announce his plan of action on Feb 27, his 70th birthday.

The power struggle in the state unit forced BJP to cut short its two-day brainstorming session to teach morality and discipline to its ministers and legislators.

The two-day 'chintan-manthan' was called following the involvement of three ministers - Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and J. Krishna Palemar - in porn viewing in the assembly on Feb 7. The three quit the cabinet the next day.

But the meet was cut short by one day. The reason given for ending the session today itself was that Gadkari had to go back to Uttar Pradesh for the election campaign.

The party was aware that campaigning in that state had peaked when it announced the chintan-manthan.

But it failed to anticipate the possibility of its first chief minister Yeddyurappa, smarting after he was forced to quit, seizing the opportunity of Gadkari's visit to press for his reinstatement or for a top position in the state unit.

With Yeddyurappa and his supporters indicating they will walk out of the 'chintan-manthan' after Gadkari's address, the party said the meet will be a one-day affair.

It turned out to be half-day affair as the meet was called off after Gadkari left for Delhi soon after his address.

Yeddyurappa remained grim-faced at the meet as Gadkari rejected his demand at meeting the two had at a hotel in the city centre ahead of the chintan-manthan session.

In New Delhi, party senior leader Arun Jaitley denied there was any problem in the Karnataka unit. He said Yeddyurappa was not creating any problem for the party.
source:agency

Amrita Centre for Nanosciences has come out with the world's first integrated solar power storage tile

Kochi: The Amrita Centre for Nanosciences here has come out with what is billed as the world's first integrated solar power storage tile using super capacitor.

It has been named 'Amrita Smart' and was launched today at the ongoing International Conference, NANOSOLAR 2012, organised by the Amrita Centre for Nanosciences at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences here.

The product has been developed at the Amrita Centre by its team of 40 researchers headed by Shanti Nair and Vinod Gopal.

Amrita Smart is a combination device of a solar cell and a battery that can be used to power devices even at night. The patented concept uses special electronics to integrate the solar cell with the storage device.

The products are capable of charging a laptop or a mobile phone and their use can be extended for building integrated solar storage and usage (home use) at night without the need for expensive battery systems.

These solar modules, when exposed to sun for four hours, can later charge the laptops and mobile phones in two hours and can have seven days' storage capacity.

The product would weigh 200 gms and is expected to be marketed in one to two years.

Shanti Nair said that energy generation and storage must go hand in hand.

"The development of the solar storage tile is a milestone in nanosolar aided research and in the field of renewable energy sector," said Nair.
source:agency

Ritesh Sidhwani,has been invited to speak at the Harvard India Conference 2012

New Delhi: Ritesh Sidhwani, one of the most successful Bollywood producers who churned out hits "Dil Chahta Hai", "Rock On!!" and "Don: The King Is Back", has been invited to speak at the Harvard India Conference 2012, to be held at the university's campus in Boston next month.

Sidhwani confirmed the news, but says the details of the talk are yet to be decided upon.

"We haven't planned what to showcase at Harvard from our repertoire yet. That decision will be finalised very soon," he said in a press statement.

The conference, jointly organised by the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, will be held March 24-25.

The theme of Harvard India Conference 2012 is "India - The Next Frontier", and Sidhwani will talk on the business of entertainment panel with the theme "The New Age of Entertainment".

His company Excel Entertainment has been known for new style of filmmaking, popular among all age groups.
source:agency

Canadian BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) launched PlayBook OS 2.0, an upgraded version

New Delhi: Canadian BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM), battling tough competition from Apple's iPad, today launched PlayBook OS 2.0, an upgraded version of the operating system for its PlayBook tablet, in the Indian market.

"The upgraded version has people-centric calendar and a range of new communications and productivity enhancements as well as expanded app and content support," said Ranjan Moses, carrier product manager, RIM.

"And with this we see a huge uptake happening."

Asked about the slow take-off of BlackBerry PlayBook in market, Moses said: "Any new technology that comes takes a bit of time. Its just that now we need to look at how we are bringing the device into the market."

The smartphone maker has been struggling to gain significant market share since April last year when it launched the tablets. RIM shipped 150,000 PlayBook tablets during the quarter ended November.

In comparison, Apple sold over 15.43 million iPads during the quarter ended Dec 31.

The new operating system features integrated e-mail solution where users have the option to use a unified inbox consolidating all messages from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as well as personal and work emails in one place.

The OS also provides improved mobile productivity with updated document editing functions and increased control and manageability of corporate data with BlackBerry Balance and is available for free download for all BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.
source:agency

Team India media manager G.S. Walia denied any rift between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag

Sydney: Team India media manager G.S. Walia and all-rounder Irfan Pathan today denied any rift between skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Virender Sehwag and said there was complete harmony in the dressing room.

A day after the top management of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) back home stepped in to resolve the differences between Dhoni and Sehwag, Walia said there was "no rift" but "a misunderstanding."

"There was no rift between Dhoni and Sehwag, It was only a misunderstanding. The team was concerned about reports of a rift. But all differences have been settled now," Walia said.

Both Dhoni and Shewag are expected to jointly address the press on Saturday ahead of Sunday's ODi against Australia.

Walia said it was time to move ahead and concentrate on the game.

"Let's not analyse the same situation, why this was generated, how it came to this. Let us forget it and be positive for the future," he said.

Irfan also dismissed reports of differences in the team.

"Everyone is working hard. There is no difference of opinion in the team. I have been hearing things, but it's nothing like that. Things are pretty good. It's a matter of winning big games. Once we start winning the big games, these things are going to vanish," Irfan said.

Walia also said that no meeting was called at the behest of the BCCI to sort out the differences.

"All we had was the meeting among all 17 players on the day of the match, after the game, after the press conference. When I went back to that place, I conveyed it to everyone. Everybody said, 'sir we don't have any differences'. I have been with them for 75 days. But there shouldn't be a chance given to anybody, not only to you but anybody else to feel there is a communication gap. I have conveyed that to the players in simple terms," he said.

The rift appeared in the dressing room after Dhoni sparked a debate in the media saying that the team management introduced a rotation policy for the top three - Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - because they are slow fielders and were costing the team 20 runs in the One-day games.

Sehwag hit back at a press conference, saying the seniors were never told by the captain that they were slow fielders. Gambhir had also criticised Dhoni for not finishing matches quickly but the India captain said it was a matter of perception.
source:agency

Sri Lanka defeated Australia by three wickets

Hobart: Sri Lanka defeated Australia by three wickets in the ninth match of the tri-series at the Bellerive Oval here today.

Chasing 281, Sri Lanka made 283 for seven with four balls to spare. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene made 85 while Dinesh Chandimal scored 80.

Australia made 280 for six with Peter Forrest (104) striking his maiden ODI century.
source:agency

Salman Khan,came out in support of his fellow actor Saif Ali Khan

Mumbai: Salman Khan, who is back here after the shooting of "Ek Tha Tiger" in Cuba,today came out in support of his fellow actor Saif Ali Khan, saying that media should have waited for his version and dug out the facts before running what was carried on television.

"Even the press yesterday was all for the other guy. They didn't even bother to ask what happened to Saif. Did Saif got wacked first or not? We should have waited for Saif to come out and say what he had to say," Salman told reporters after he was asked to comment on the incident.

"We are actors and we have been in the industry for the longest time. Saif has been in the industry for 18 years. We knew the guy," added the actor.

Salman is the face of the History channel and was attending the unveiling of TV 18's Big initiative.

Saif was involved in a scuffle early Wednesday at Wasabi, the Japanese restaurant at Taj Mahal Palace with South Africa-based Indian businessman Iqbal Sharma. The latter alleged that Saif abused and assaulted him and his father-in-law and filed a complained at the Colaba police station, the actor said he was provoked to do so.

Following Sharma's complain the 41-year-old actor was arrested on Wednesday evening with two others -- Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi.

Police detained the trio at the Marine Drive police station and later brought them to the Colaba police station. The interrogation of the trio lasted an hour. Later, the actor and his two friends were freed on personal bonds of Rs.3,000 each.
,p>According to Sharma, Saif called him an "idiot" for complaining about the actor's loud conduct at the restaurant. He said he and his family had requested the restaurant manager to ask Saif and his friends, which included Kareena, Amrita Arora and Malaika Arora Khan, to keep their voices down.

Salman said: "If you have gone into a restaurant, you are not there to manao matam (mourn). You are there to have dinner and drinks. My family was there, everybody was there. I am sure he (Sharma) might be right, but my point is that find out the entire thing and then come on TV."

When CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai asked Salman if recently he created any historical moment by bashing up someone in a restaurant, Salman replied: "Other people are making history it seems."

The actor, who himself has been involved in hit and run case, and scuffles, says the blame always comes on actors.

Salman said: "Always the actors have been blamed, why so? It has always been us," he said.
source:agency

Lara Dutta, who delivered a baby girl last month, is already reading scripts

Mumbai: Lara Dutta, who delivered a baby girl last month, is already reading scripts.

"Back to hearing scripts and making decisions. Exciting things to look forward to! On another note, nothing smells better than a Johnson's Baby," Lara wrote on Twitter.

The actress-producer is married to tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi.
source:agency

Sonakshi Sinha believes in giving equal respect to one and all

Mumbai: Sonakshi Sinha believes in giving equal respect to one and all. No wonder she tries to memorise the names of spot boys and production assistants.

Usually spot boys are referred to as 'spot' and production assistants as 'production' on the movie sets, but Sonakshi made it a point to refer to everyone by their first name while shooting for Balaji Telefilms and Phantom Films "Lootera".

From spot boys to production assistants, she makes an effort to remember everyone's name, said a source.

"Sonakshi's upbringing is splendid. She likes making everyone on the sets feel wanted, no matter how big or small they are. She is everyone's favourite."

"The unit members go to any extent to keep Sonakshi happy for the respect that she extends to them. Sonakshi is actually very funny too. When free, she makes it a point to make everyone laugh. The set just lights up when she is around," added the source.

"Lootera", directed by Vikramaditya Motwani, also features Ranveer Singh.
source:agency

Milkha Singh is happy that actor Farhan Akhtar is playing the lead part in "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag"

Mumbai: Athlete Milkha Singh is happy that actor Farhan Akhtar is playing the lead part in "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", a biopic on his life.

"In my initial interactions with Farhan, I realised he is the best man for the role. He has the same determination and grit as me. Farhan is the best choice for the film," Milkha Singh said in a press statement.

Milkha Singh has been interacting and chatting with Farhan for over a few months and has become very fond of him.

Recently at an event in Chandigarh, Milkha Singh handed over his 1960 Rome Olympic spikes to Farhan in the presence of his family.

Singh's son Jeev said: "I couldn't have imagined anyone else apart from Farhan to play my father. In my first couple of interactions, I felt internally he is a sportsman. Acting may be his profession, but he is true sportsman in spirit."

The film is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
source:agency

Filmmaker Rohit Shetty ,first ever pay was as little as Rs.35

New Delhi: Filmmaker Rohit Shetty made an interesting revelation on "Big Switch 3". While talking about his struggle, he shared that his first ever pay was as little as Rs.35.

The aim of the show, aired on UTV Bindass, is to make the contestants appreciate the value of hard work and hard-earned money.

So, that got Shetty, the show's 'Godfather', nostalgic about his struggle days.

With a meagre pay of Rs.35 only as his first pay, the "Golmaal" director says he would cover long distances on foot because he didn't have money to afford the luxury of public transport.

In his words, it is important for the show's contestants to learn "kaudi-kaudi ka bhaav" (worth of each penny).
source:agency

Pearl Academy of Fashion to present youth cultural festival- ‘PEARL UTSAV 2012’

Pearl Utsav, an annual event hosted by Pearl Academy of Fashion to serve as a platform for demonstrating students’ talent in music, drama, dance and other performing arts, will be held on Monday, 27 February 2012 at Talkatora Stadium. The event aims to give students from different cultures and disciplines an opportunity to come together, interact, experience and learn from each other. Pearl Utsav celebrates the spirit of togetherness.



The Utsav will start with Intercollegiate competitions (Pandora Box, Quick Snack Making, Blind –Fold Painting, Cellphone Photography and Minute Mobile Movie Making) in the morning followed by a performing arts presentation by PAF students. Participation is open to students from Delhi University colleges like Miranda House , JMC, KMC, Bhagat Singh, Gargi, Kamla Nehru etc. Students can participate in cultural activities in morning competitions or be part of the cultural performances in the evening. The event is an open fest for colleges across Delhi and offers a unique platform for students to come together and showcase their creativity and meet like-minded people.



What: Pearl Utsav

When: 27 February 2012

Time: 9:30 AM onwards

Venue: Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi



For further details, please visit: http://www.pearlacademy.com/pearlutsav.php

‘Prove a Point’ competition organized by PAF

Inter- college competition organized by PAF with an aim to encourage students to prove their ideas

Jaipur: Pearl Academy of Fashion, Jaipur organized ‘Prove a Point’, an inter- college competition series for post- graduate students on 24th February 2012 at its Kukas Campus. Around 200 students participated in the event, which witnessed students delivering design presentations, debating on industry topics and participating in quiz competitions.



A total of 10 colleges from across Rajasthan participated in the event. The entries were judged by specially selected panels. The enthusiasm and conviction of the participants made a huge impact on the judges, who highly appreciated the efforts of all the students.

Mr Arindam Das, Director, Pearl Academy of Fashion, Jaipur said “Prove a Point tests the passion in students to prove their ideas to the industry. The event was a great success as all participating students were passionate and put in true efforts to get their point across, be it through designing a garment or debating on a current industry topic. The Academy encourages students’ to participate in extracurricular activities by organizing various such events and supports them in preparing for the competitive industry through these endeavours.”

The Academy encourages students’ to participate in extracurricular activities by organizing various such events and supports them in preparing for the competitive industry through these endeavors.



About Pearl Academy of Fashion:

Pearl Academy of Fashion was founded in 1993. It is a leading fashion and design education institute in India. Graduates of the Academy are highly sought after in the fashion and design industry, and a number of PAF alumni are in key positions at leading design houses and fashion companies worldwide. The Academy takes pride in its high caliber faculty, outstanding track record in student exchange, international networking and placements. Pearl Academy has three campuses located in Delhi, Jaipur and Chennai. The institution’s website can be found at: www.pearlAcademy.com

There was no political crisis in Karnataka: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Denying reports of a standoff between the Bharatiya Janata Party and former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, senior party leader Arun Jaitley said there was no political crisis in the state.

"There is no crisis in the party in Karnataka," Jaitley told reporters here.

"There is no problem that he has created... what you are attributing to him is not the factual situation," Jaitley said denying any standoff between the former chief minister and the party.

Yeddyurappa is reported to have set a Feb 27 deadline for the party's central leaders to decide on his demand for reinstatement or to be officially declared the supreme leader of the party in the state. That day is his birthday and his supporters plan a big bash where he may announce his plan of action if party does not accept the demands.

The party's ongoing meeting in Karnataka was cancelled on the second day.

Yeddyurappa, the BJP's first chief minister in southern India, quit on July 31 last year over corruption charges. The BJP came to power for the first time in Karnataka in May 2008. Assembly polls are due early next year.

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari is meanwhile holding a series of meetings here to end the power struggle in the party's Karnataka unit in the wake of Yeddyurappa's bid to get back the chief minister's post.
source:agency

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PDP disrupted proceedings in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly

Jammu: The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) moved an adjournment motion on corruption and then disrupted proceedings in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly today, a day after the budget session began.

As the house assembled, the PDP sought all scheduled business to be put on hold so that its adjournment motion could be taken up for discussion. Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone did not agree and wanted question hour to proceed.

The PDP members then moved near the speaker's chair and started raising slogans against the "corrupt government".

The PDP's adjournment motion centred on charges of corruption and misuse of powers by some ministers. Congress minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed has been divested of his main portfolio of school education and Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din from the same party is also facing an inquiry for alleged irregularities.

National Conference leader and Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather has been sent a notice by the state accountability commission - an anti-graft body - for trying to benefit his son.

The commission had also sent a notice to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over political appointments.

"There is corruption all around, even the chief minister is not above board, that's why our party has moved this adjournment motion," PDP leader said.
source:agency

Punjab cabinet rejected the proposal of the central government to set up the NCTC

Chandigarh: The Punjab cabinet today rejected the proposal of the central government to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), saying it encroaches upon the rights of state governments.

"The cabinet rejected the proposal ... to set up the NCTC as it is against the concept of federalism and encroaches upon the rights of state governments," a government spokesman said after the outgoing cabibet's last meeting here.

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal had earlier opposed the move to set up the NCTC.

NCTC has been opposed by many chief ministers including BJP-ruled states. The Trinamool Congress has also opposed the NCTC, saying it would infringe on the rights of states on security matters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had sought to reach out to seven of the over 10 chief ministers opposing the NCTC. He wrote letters to the chief ministers of Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Other chief ministers to oppose the move are from Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Jharkhand.

The resistance to the anti-terror intelligence hub, which is the brainchild of Home Minister P. Chidambaram, continued to grow after it was first voiced by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The overwhelming opposition to the proposed NCTC was on the grounds that it will be under the Intelligence Bureau, which is out of the purview of parliamentary oversight, and infringe upon the states' powers to deal with terrorism.
source:agency

AIADMK leaders celebrated the 64th birthday of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa

Chennai: AIADMK leaders and cadres across Tamil Nadu celebrated the 64th birthday of their leader and state Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today.

At the AIADMK headquarters here where senior party leaders, state ministers and others gathered in large numbers, a cake weighing 64 kg was cut and distributed.

The women's wing of the party in south Chennai distributed sweets to the people to celebrate their leader's birthday.
source:agency

Amitabh Bachchan is relieved to be back home after a 12-day stay at the SevenHills Hospital

Mumbai: Amitabh Bachchan is relieved to be back home after a 12-day stay at the SevenHills Hospital here. However, the megastar says he had a tough time reaching his home thanks to "insensitive" paparazzi.

"The paparazzi, though kept away from the premises of the hospital, were there at the entrance and throughout the journey home, blocking the movement of the car by standing in front and on top of the vehicle, which was disturbing. I have yet to see them understand the sensitivity of a situation such as this," the 69-year-old posted on his blog bigb.bigadda.com.

Amitabh was operated upon on Feb 11 for abdominal issues, and was under observation at the seven-star medical facility ever since. He was discharged on Thursday evening, and several still and video cameramen crowded around his car for footage. This disturbed the veteran star.

"A patient just released from hospital needs to get back to his home and secure from the travel, to it, as soon as possible, but I guess they (media) would rather get their exclusive photograph than have such consideration. A pleasant request falls on dumb ears and anything stronger than that shall be legitimate invitation to their wrath, of being manhandled," added the actor, who feels his reaction to the media's behaviour could spiral into another controversy.

"A complicated procedure would then follow resulting in nothing, but a severe negativeness against the celebrity, and more. One has learnt over the years that any thought of controlling them is futile. Better then to tolerate this excessive intrusiveness and move on," he wrote.

Amitabh also posted a picture of the scenario outside the hospital, and wrote: "Just an example of how media and paparazzi block my car, not allowing it to move, insensitive to the need of its just released ailing occupant to get home secure and as rapidly as possible."

For now, he is thankful for all prayers for his speedy recovery.

"The surgery discomfort and soreness persists, but will take a while to finally erase itself from the pain glands, but in all, apart from a sluggish movement, god's grace and prayers of the EF (extended family) have put me back on track again. My most gracious thanks to all," he wrote.
source:agency

Discovery Channel and TLC have been ranked amongst the top 5 most trusted television brands

New Delhi: Discovery Network Asia Pacific's two flagship channels in India - Discovery Channel and TLC have been ranked amongst the top 5 most trusted television brands in India by The Brand Trust Report 2012.

Discovery channel has been ranked 3rd, ahead of all the Hindi General Entertainment and Sports Channels in the country. TLC has been ranked 5th, ahead of all Lifestyle, English Entertainment, English News and English Movie Channels.

Rahul Johri, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, South Asia said, "This recognition by the Brand Trust Report 2012 is a reflection of our strategy to entertain viewers across India with the highest quality and differentiated non-fiction programming like Curiosity, Man Woman Wild and Swamp Brothers. We are extremely grateful to our viewers for this acknowledgment. We would like to take this endorsement as a source of encouragement for our future endeavours in creating new genres, trends and programme formats that resonate with the Indian audience."

Discovery Channel, India's leading non-fiction channel, entertains viewers in multiple languages with a range of programming across genres including natural history, survival, technology, engineering, wildlife and India. TLC, India's favourite lifestyle channel, since its launch in 2004 presents refreshing entertainment on travel, food, fashion, luxury, wellness and many other exciting lifestyle trends.

Commenting on the award N. Chandramouli, CEO, Trust Research Advisory, publishers of The Brand Trust Report, India Study, 2012 said, "It is prestigious that Discovery Channel and TLC have been ranked 3rd and 5th respectively among television brands by influencers-consumers in the 15 cities of the study in The Brand Trust Report, India Study, 2012. The study reflects how deeply Discovery Channel and TLC are trusted measured by a comprehensive Brand Trust study on TRA's proprietary 61-components."

The Brand Trust Report (BTR), compiled and released annually is the result of an exhaustive survey undertaken by the Trust Research Advisory (TRA). The methodology includes the BTR questionnaire which is designed to illuminate approximately 425 aspects of brand trust, of which 391 were directly brand related .The study also questioned respondents about two other important brand trust influencers - brand recall and the trust-experience of brands, the latter of which they were requested to furnish reasons for.

The Brand Trust Report, India Study, 2012 (ISBN: 978-81-920823-1-8), is the result of a primary research based on the proprietary 61-component Trust Matrix. TRA's Trust Matrix has resulted from several hundred hours of research with sociologists, communication experts and behavioural scientists. This year's research was conducted among 2718 'influencer' respondents across 15 cities. The study, the most intensive undertaken on Brand Trust across the globe. The study generated nearly 2 million data points and 17,000 brands and was conducted across 15 cities. Indian Statistical Institute helped create a statistically robust Brand Trust Index which has been used to hierarchically rank India's brands on the basis of trust.

About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in 210 countries and territories. In Asia-Pacific, seven Discovery brands reach nearly 520 million cumulative subscribers in 34 countries with programming customised in 14 languages.

About Trust Research Advisory:

Trust Research Advisory (TRA), a part of the Comniscient Group, is a company dedicated to understanding and simplifying concepts related to Trust.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna inaugurated the new passport office

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna today inaugurated the new passport office here, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for processing nearly a thousand applications per day.

The sprawling passport office at Herald House near ITO in central Delhi is the 50th Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) in the country.

Inaugurating the passport office in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, Krishna reaffirmed the government's firm commitment to providing timely delivery of passport services to Indian citizens.

Last year, 7.365 million passport services were rendered through the network of 37 Passport Offices (supported by Passport Seva Kendras) and 178 Indian Missions and Posts abroad.

Two other PSKs are already operational under the jurisdiction of Regional Passport Office, Delhi at Shalimar Place and Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon.

The fourth PSK will be opened shortly at the premises of RPO, Bhikaji Cama Place for bolstering facilities for passport-related services.
source:agency

Tata Communications struck a deal with Formula One motor racing

London: Tata Communications today struck a deal with Formula One motor racing to be its technology partners for the 20-races of the 2012 season.

Tata Communications has signed a multi-year technology service and marketing agreement with Formula One Management. The deal will see the Indian company delivering world-class connectivity to all race locations besides providing hosting and content delivery services to Formula1.com, the sport's official website.

"Formula 1 requires fast and secure connectivity, because even a split second of downtime can have huge repercussions for its business, brand and reputation," Vinod Kumar, managing director and CEO of Tata Communications was quoted as saying on F1's official website, which is accessed by millions of people during the season.

"This delivery is at the heart of our organisation and working with one of the world's most highly technical and innovative organisations is an exciting opportunity for Tata Communications."

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone added: "I welcome Tata Communications into the Formula 1 family and I hope this is the start of a long and successful relationship. This is a collaboration that will help us stay at the technological cutting edge in these categories."
source:agency

Indian cricket board had to finally step in asked Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag to patch-up

New Delhi: The Indian cricket board had to finally step in today and asked India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Virender Sehwag to patch-up and restore peace in the dressing room during the Australia tour.

Sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told media that board secretary Sanjay Jagdale spoke to both Dhoni and Sehwag today and asked them to quickly sort out the issues.

"Mr. Jagdale also spoke to coach Duncan Fletcher and told him that there should be peace in the dressing room," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Dhoni and Sehwag reportedly could address a joint press conference to clear the issues.

Dhoni sparked a debate in the media saying that the team management introduced a rotation policy for the top three - Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - because they are slow fielders and were costing the team 20 runs in the One-day games.

Sehwag hit back at a press conference, saying the seniors were never told by the captain that they were slow fielders.

Gambhir had also criticised Dhoni for not finishing matches quickly but the India captain said it was a matter of perception.
source:agency

Shruti Haasan has no problems in admitting that she went under the knife for a nose-job

New Delhi: Actresses usually shy away from discussing their cosmetic surgeries, but Shruti Haasan has no problems in admitting that she went under the knife for a nose-job before her Bollywood debut. However, she clarifies it was for medical reasons.

She says she went in for a corrective surgery in the US because she was facing breathing problems. She revealed on BIG CBS Love's show "India's Glam Diva" that she went through a septoplasty because of a common disorder involving a deviated septum.

Shruti, who made her Bollywood debut with "Luck" in 2009, and is also a singer, was apprehensive about undergoing the surgery for fear of it affecting her voice.

Post-surgery, life has become a lot easier, she said, adding: "I am able to sleep peacefully and sing without any difficulty. It is a minor procedure and I am greatly relieved."

The 26-year-old, daughter of veteran actors Kamal Haasan and Sarika, will share more details of her nose-job on the show, to be aired on Sunday.
source:agency

Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman-starrer "Bel Ami" will hit the theatres in India

New Delhi: Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman-starrer "Bel Ami" will hit the theatres in India on March 16.

The English language movie, based on an 1885 novel of the same name, is the story of Georges Duroy who travels through 1890s Paris and uses his wit and power of seduction to rise from poverty to wealth in a world where politics and media jostle for influence, where sex is power and celebrity an obsession.

"Bel Ami", directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, will be distributed in India by PVR Pictures.
source:agency

"Bittoo Boss" to release on Baisakhi Day

Mumbai: Kumar Mangat says the theme of the his next project "Bittoo Boss" is celebration and happiness and that is why he has decided to release it on Baisakhi Day, which is on April 13.

"This is our Baisakhi gift to our audience. The movie is set in the north and Baisakhi is a big festival of northern India. This is our way of being the part of the celebration," said Mangat in a statement.

Co-produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Wide Frame Pictures, "Bittoo Boss" is directed by debutant Supavitra Babul and stars newcomer Pulkit Samrat along with Amita Pathak.
source:agency

Pakistani actor Ali Zafar visited New Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah

Mumbai: Pakistani actor Ali Zafar visited New Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah to seek blessings ahead of the release of his next Bollywood film "London, Paris, New York".

The actor visited the shrine on Wednesday.

"London,Paris,New York", a romantic comedy, directed by Anu Menon, also features Aditi Rao Haydari. It is about a middle class south Indian girl from Chembur, who is on her way to New York to study politics. She meets a rich spoil brat, on his way to study filmmaking in London.

It's their love story as they meet in London, Paris and New York for a night each over eight years. The film releases on March 2.
source:agency

Celina Jaitley says she might give birth to her twins in March

Mumbai: Former beauty queen-turned-actress Celina Jaitley says she might give birth to her twins in March, though she is due in April.

"Thank you for the many wishes on our twins...Peter and I are due to become parents in April. But twins come a month in advance so March it is," Celina wrote on Twitter.

Celina married hotelier Peter Haag in 2011, and she is enjoying her journey to motherhood.

"Twin pregnancies have their risks and unique experiences which singleton birt's don't have. So it's been quite a journey," she added.

It's been a while since Celina was seen on the big screen. So when a fan asked her on Twitter - "Where are you dear? No more movies," she responded: "Maternity break...its difficult to dance n seduce the hero whilst pregnant with twins."

She will next be seen in "Will You Marry Me?".
source:agency

Priyanka Chopra wants to go back to school,to enjoy the innocence

Mumbai: Priyanka Chopra wants to go back to school -- not to study, but to enjoy the innocence that goes with childhood. She says she doesn't like being a grown up.

"Being a grown up sucks! Too much responsibility...when I was a kid I couldn't wait to be big and independent, but now...wish I was back in school," Piggy Chops posted on Twitter.

The 29-year-old rued how decision-making was such an easy process when she was a kid.

"For example...my biggest issues used to be not studying for a test or the cute boy next door or what to wear...aaaah...the days of simplicity.

"And the funniest is how we all just couldn't wait to grow up...even when our parents told us we'd hate to grow up...how parents are always right! Like...changing your mind was so much easier then...the repercussions were never so big! Choices now are so scary to make cause they kinda stick," added Priyanka.

Currently the National award-winning actress is busy working on "Barfi!" with co-star Ranbir Kapoor.
source:agency

Price still remains the leading priority for Indians when choosing mobile handsets, finds Vuclip survey

Nokia emerges as the undisputed leader among the “Current Handset Brand” and “Most Desired Handset Brand” categories in India

Vuclip, the world’s largest independent mobile video service has unveiled the findings of its mobile survey on the preferred handset brands in India and globally at ad:tech New Delhi 2012. As per the findings, price was the leading priority in mobile handset purchase decisions for 36% of the Indian respondents, while 26% respondents looked for features above anything else. In contrast, globally, features were the prime decision-influencer for 33% of all respondents, while price was the second most important criteria.

Among brands, Nokia emerged as the undisputed leader in the “Most Desired Handset Brand” & “Current Handset Brand” categories. However, while 50% of the respondents in India currently owned a Nokia, only 40% respondents cited Nokia as their desired handset brand. In contrast, Apple, which held a 23% market share among Vuclip’s respondents in India, seemed to garner heightened interest with 31% respondents preferring an Apple phone as their desired handset brand. Samsung came at #3 as the current handset for 18% of the respondents, and was the desired brand for an almost equal share of people (17%). The report revealed that, besides Apple, BlackBerry could be another major gainer in new handset purchases – while only 2% of the Indian respondents currently owned a BlackBerry, as many as 8% wanted to switch to the RIM handset in future.

The survey took into account close to 1.45 lakh respondents from India with a whopping 88% respondents being males. The majority of votes came from 18-25 year age bracket (44%), followed by teenagers less than 18 years of age (28%) and another 18% votes contributed by respondents in the age group 26-35, highlighting the fact that Nokia is a favorite brand among the youngsters in the country. Globally, close to 5.6 lakh people participated in the survey from more than 20 countries including US, Canada, UK, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia & Indonesia. The survey was delivered through Vuclip’s mobile site, m.vuclip.com. The survey could be readily filled out from a mobile device; allowed users to opt out and did not request the users to provide the identification information.

Vuclip revealed these survey findings at a workshop during the ad:tech New Delhi 2012 conference titled “Revealing Today’s Mobile Consumer”. The workshop analyzed how massive mobile video consumption is changing consumers' interaction with brands. Mobile videos form a part of the larger ecosystem and the new avenues that the digital world promises for the advertisers, broadcasters, publishers, content aggregators, and telecom and internet companies alike.

Commenting on the survey findings, Ashwin Puri, Global Head of Advertising, Vuclip, said “The findings of our survey reveal major indicators on mobile phones purchase decisions in India. With more than half the number of respondents planning to change their handset within the next one year, manufacturers have a huge opportunity to benefit from the shifting brand preferences if they can align their product launches to the preferences of the consumers. As many as 36% of all respondents are likely to change their handset within this quarter, while another 9% want to replace it within 6 months.”

Analyzing emerging usage patterns for mobile phones in India, Ashwin noted, “Over a quarter of all respondents today look for features in their handset. Screen-size now matters for another 17% of Indians. These findings highlight that more and more Indians today want to have a richer multimedia experience, and mobile videos are sure to gain more traction in the future.”

About Vuclip

For millions of people around the world, Vuclip is an essential part of their daily lives. Vuclip serves video on-the-fly, on any device, and in any country, providing unparalleled reach for its partners. Every day Vuclip delivers more than 21 million videos to consumers in over 200 countries. Vuclip is headquartered in Milpitas, California with offices in Los Angeles, Mumbai, Singapore, Shenzhen and Beijing. Check out Vuclip on your phone: m.vuclip.com.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev will soon return to Delhi for another agitation

New Delhi: Buoyed by the Supreme Court's censure of the government for arbitrarily and forcefully ending his Ramlila Ground protest last year, yoga guru Baba Ramdev vowed today to launch more such protests."Till the time black money from abroad is not brought back and declared as national asset our agitation will continue. I will soon return to Delhi for another agitation," Ramdev said.He was speaking to reporters after the Supreme Court slammed Delhi Police for acting in an arbitrary manner and using excessive force in evicting Ramdev and his followers from the Ramlila ground in June last year.

The Supreme Court said what happened at the sprawling ground on the night of June 4-5, leading to the death of a woman, was the fault of Delhi Police as it acted in an arbitrary manner and used excessive force. It also pulled up the yoga guru for not cooperating with police.

But Ramdev said: "The government had misused its powers, undermined the constitution and law and violated human rights by forcefully evicting people who were protesting peacefully and charging them with lathis (batons)."

Blaming the home ministry for the midnight crackdown, Ramdev said that senior officials of the Delhi Police were in regular touch with the ministry and received the orders for the eviction.

"The police received orders from above... At least three to five times I asked the police to arrest me and stop hitting people with batons but they did not listen," said Ramdev.

"I urged my followers to keep peace and not retaliate even if they were being hit by policemen."
source:agency

Nothing to do with the promotion of my forthcoming film "Agent Vinod" :Saif Ali Khan

Mumbai: A day after being embroiled in a police case following a scuffle with an NRI businessman from South Africa, actor Saif Ali Khan has publicly said sorry for the incident. He also clarifies that the incident has nothing to do with the promotion of his forthcoming film "Agent Vinod".

"Whatever I had to say, I had cleared it yesterday. It shouldn't have happened. It was an unfortunate incident. In a way I would like to say sorry for whatever happened," Saif told reporters at a press conference here today.

The 41-year-old actor, son of the late Nawab of Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore, was arrested on Wednesday evening with two others -- Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi for assaulting Iqbal Sharma, an Indian-origin businessman from South Africa, early Wednesday at the seafront Taj Mahal Hotel and Towers.

They were out on bail same day, and after getting bail Saif spoke to the media at a press conference on Wednesday night. He has also filed a case against Sharma, who claimed the actor and his friends abused and assaulted him.

Today, Saif addressed another press conference to unveil the trophy of World Series Hockey. He was bombarded with questions about the incident.

Asked if it was a publicity stunt, Saif denied it, adding: "I never publicise my film through negative publicity. Whoever does that, it depends on the mentality of the production house and their class."
source:agency

Actor Saif Ali Khan said he was "sorry"

Mumbai: A day after being involved in a scuffle in the Taj Mahal hotel, actor Saif Ali Khan said he was "sorry" and regretted he didn't resort to "Gandhigiri" - but insisted it was definitely not a publicity stunt for his upcoming film "Agent Vinod"!

The actor said he reacted only after friends of South Africa-based Indian businessman Iqbal Sharma misbehaved with his women friends.

"I think I could have reacted to the incident using 'Gandhigiri'. But that time the situation was worse. I am not saying that I am totally innocent but I was not guilty alone," Saif, who was arrested and bailed out late Wednesday, told reporters.

"Media is being partial reporting about the incident. I was hit first. They misbehaved with us and even used abusive language. I have also lodged a complaint and the matter is in court so I request media not to give any biased report until court's decision comes," he added.

Amid high drama, the 41-year-old was arrested on Wednesday evening with two others -- Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi for assaulting Iqbal Sharma at Wasabi, the Japanese restaurant at Taj Mahal Palace.

Police detained Saif, Amrohi and Shakeel at the Marine Drive police station, and later brought them to the Colaba police station. The interrogation of the trio about the incident early Wednesday lasted an hour.

Later, the actor and his two friends were freed on personal bonds of Rs.3,000 each.

According to sources, Shakeel had hit Sharma's father-in-law in the scuffle.

Shakeel and Bilal's lawyer Mahesh Vaswani told the media: "Iqbal and his group of people were passing comments on the girls (Kareena Kapoor, Amirta Arora and Malaika Arora Khan who were part of Saif's group), and that started the incident."

Saif's girlfriend Kareena was with him and she reportedly cancelled her shooting at Film City to avoid media.

On his part, Saif said he had only "defended" himself after being "assaulted".

A battery of top police officers were waiting for the actor at the Colaba police station, besides the media and scores of fans.

In the afternoon, police sent a team to Saif's house and after failing to locate him there, ordered him to appear before them as early as possible.

Saif was virtually declared 'wanted' when he went incommunicado after assaulting Sharma, who is also the director general and CEO of the Trade, Industry & Investments of South Africa.

The actor has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly assaulting Sharma and police said that a case of assault had been registered at the Colaba police station.

Police also questioned staff at the hotel.

An upset Sharma told a television that Saif called him an "idiot" for complaining about the actor's loud conduct at a restaurant in the Taj Mahal Hotel.

He said he and his family had requested the restaurant manager to ask Saif and his friends, which included Kareena, Amrita Arora and Malaika Arora Khan, to keep their voices down.

Sharma said he and his family decided to move to another part of the restaurant downstairs.

"As we were going down the stairs, Saif was coming up, probably from the toilet. As he passed me, he called me an idiot and asked 'Do you know who I am?'"

Sharma said the actor first pushed him and then assaulted his father-in-law who fell on the stairs and bruised his jaw.

"It was an uncivilized way to behave in a public space," Sharma said, adding that he intended to pursue the matter legally.

A police officer confirmed that Sharma and his guests had objected to the noise created by Saif and his friends.

Bollywood celebrities, who usually take to social networking platforms to share their opinions on talked about matters, chose to remain away from this issue, barring composer Vishal Dadlani and jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali, who supported Saif and claimed the charges are "unlike him".

Saif has been involved in public spats earlier too, including some photo-journalists in Patiala in September 2008.

The actor has won the Padma Shri award, which did not go down well with the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan as he is accused of killing a blackbuck -- an animal the Bishnois hold sacred. Saif was charged with poaching as the blackbuck is on the endangered list.
source:agency

Sharma's claim that Saif Ali Khan started the brawl is unbelievable:Farah Khan Ali

Mumbai: A day after Saif Ali Khan's brawl with an NRI businessman, Bollywood celebrities chose to keep their opinions on the incident to themselves. Only composer Vishal Dadlani and jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali came out in support of the star.

"Let me put it this way. IF Saif was provoked or hit first, I think he did what many of us would do. By 'us', I mean myself and you guys," Dadlani of Vishal-Shekhar duo, posted on Twitter.

"Not condoning or defending violence, but everyone's allowed to be human once in a while, no? I think every right-thinking person should ask this question," he added.

Saif found himself in the midst of controversy on Wednesday, when Iqbal Sharma, an Indian-origin businessman from South Africa, filed a police complaint against the actor for allegedly assaulting him at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba here.

Saif and two of his friends -- Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi, were arrested on Wednesday evening, and were later given bail. Saif too filed a case against Sharma, claiming that the latter abused his friends, and assaulted him.

Farah Khan Ali says 44-year-old Sharma's claim that Saif started the brawl is unbelievable.

"In the Saif-Sharma scuffle, the part I find fishy is where Sharma states Saif told him 'Do you know who I am.' Very unlike Saif," said Ali, daughter of veteran actor Sanjay Khan.

She says Saif is just being pinpointed due to his celebrity status.

"Celebrities are often targeted when they are out in public and usually in the company of their woman. Have been witness to one such incident years ago.

"There is something amiss in ths incident and I'm sure the facts will come out soon. It's very unlike Saif to hit an elderly man or provoke a fight," she added.

Saif was recently named the 10th Nawab of Pataudi.

Usually Bollywood is quick to react, but most of the film fraternity members chose to stay away from reacting to the controversy.
source:agency

Verdict on Ramdev rally :BJP blamed the Congress-led UPA for the incident

New Delhi: The government today said it will study the Supreme Court's critical observations on the way Delhi Police dispersed yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his supporters from the Ramlila ground here last year. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed the Congress-led UPA for the incident.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said Baba Ramdev should also take note of the court's observations that he was negligent, did not have control over the crowd and ran from the podium causing ruckus past-midnight June 4 last year.

The apex court slammed the police for acting in an arbitrary manner and using excessive force in dispersing Baba Ramdev and his followers. It also pulled up the yoga guru for not cooperating with police.

Soni said the government, including the home ministry, will study the apex court observations on police (that they used excessive force in dispersing Baba Ramdev's followers).

The BJP said the union government - which controls Delhi Police - and the Congress were responsible for the action.

"The ruling raises some questions: If Delhi Police is responsible, how come home ministry is not responsible," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

But the party said that "by today's judgment, the court is diluting the right to protest".

"We don't agree with Supreme Court's comment on Ramdev's contributory negligence. If he's responsible, then by that logic, Mahatma Gandhi would also have been responsible for police atrocities on the crowds which participated in his gatherings," Javadekar added.

The court said that what happened at the sprawling ground on the night of June 4-5, leading to the death of a woman, was a demonstration of the might of the state.

Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar pulled up Ramdev for not cooperating with police and asking his followers to disperse only after police imposed prohibitory orders banning the assembly of people.

The court awarded an ad hoc compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of Haryana resident Rajbala who suffered spinal injuries and died.

The court also awarded compensation of Rs.50,000 to all those who suffered grievous injuries and Rs.25,000 to others injured that night.

Baba Ramdev's trust should bear 25 percent cost of the compensation, the court said.
source:agency

Manmohan Singh should discuss the NCTC at the upcoming National Integration Council (NIC) :BJP

Panaji: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should discuss the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) at the upcoming National Integration Council (NIC) before taking it to parliament, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajnath Singh said today.

Rajnath Singh told reporters here that the NCTC was yet another example of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government playing havoc with India's federal structure.

"The NCTC issue should be discussed in the forthcoming meeting of NIC and then taken to parliament," he said.

"Nearly one third of the incumbent chief ministers have registered their protest against the NCTC proposal but the arrogance of power is reflected in the government's persistence with NCTC," he said.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who is here to campaign for BJP candidates in the assembly elections, said the proposal should be put on hold unless there was consensus on the subject.
source:agency

Team Anna questioned the independence of the Delhi Police

New Delhi: Team Anna today questioned the independence of the Delhi Police, asking whether its chief took an independent decision on the midnight swoop on Baba Ramdev's followers at Ramlila ground here last June.

"The question is whether the Delhi Police Commissioner took an independent decision. They have to answer whether they took action at the behest of the union home ministry and whether it was a verbal or written order from the ministry," said team Anna member Kiran Bedi today.

Social activist Anna Hazare said that the judiciary's statements must be obeyed.

The Supreme Court today slammed the Delhi Police for acting in an arbitrary manner and using excessive force in disbursing Baba Ramdev and his followers from the Ramlila ground here last year. It also pulled up the yoga guru for not cooperating with police.

The court said that what happened at the sprawling ground on the night of June 4-5, leading to the death of a woman, Raj Bala, was a demonstration of the might of the state. It also directed Baba Ramdev's trust to bear 25 percent cost of the compensation.

"I am happy with the Supreme Court verdict, but we don't want 25 percent compensation (for the death of Raj Bala) which Baba Ramdev has been directed to provide us," said the Raj Bala's husband.

However, he said that he is happy with the court's decision for action against erring police officials.
source:agency

Indian B-Schools share 10 spaces in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report

Indian business schools have strengthened their standing among international employers as four Indian institutions have made it to the list of top-10 B-schools in the Asia Pacific region, says a survey.

According to the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, Indian business schools have improved in international employer opinion considerably this year, moving up in both the Asia-Pacific rating, and almost all of the specialisation.

Among the top 36 business schools in the Asia Pacific region, Australia boasts of 11 premier schools, but India is among the biggest improvers as the country has six schools on the list, including four in the top-10.

The four Indian B-schools that have made it to the top 10 among Asia Pacific region are the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) (2nd) , Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) (5th), Indian School of Business (ISB) (7th) and the Indian Institute of Management Kolkata (IIM-K) (8th).

Other two business schools that got featured in the list include S P Jain Institute of Management and Research at 16th rank and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade which made the cut this year for the first time at 21st place.

The report noted that business schools in India continue to climb up the ratings.

"In an economy that is rapidly growing in global importance, the rise in employer opinion of MBA graduates is extremely promising in ensuring the development of future business leaders to sustain the fast-paced economic growth," the report said.

Overall, INSEAD - Singapore is the preferred choice among employers, retaining its position in the top spot of the Asia-Pacific rating for three years running.

The schools that have shown the biggest improvements in employer opinion this year are two Indian schools, both jumped four places up the ratings: Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.

Year-on-year, business schools in the Asia-Pacific region have strengthened their role in the global MBA education scene as well.

The number of Asian and Australian schools featured in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report has increased from 10 in 2004 to 36 this year.

"Economic growth in some Asian countries, particularly in China and India has heightened the demand for more accredited business schools in the region in order to train the next generation of successful business leaders," the report said.

The major players in the region's education sector are Australia, Singapore and India, the report said adding that the rapid rise in the number of schools highlights the fact that across Asia, and especially so in India and China, employers are embracing MBAs.

Other premier B-Schools in the Asia Pacific region include Melbourne Business School, The University of Melbourne at the 3rd place, followed by NUS Business School, National University of Singapore (4th), University of South Wales (6th), China Europe International Business School (9th), the HKUST Business School at (10th).

Unisys Announces Winners of Cloud 20/20 Online Technical Paper Contest

Now in its third year, Cloud 20/20 witnessed record participation from more than 2400 colleges across the country

Bangalore– Unisys India today announced the results of Cloud 20/20 Version 3.0, the latest edition of one of India’s largest technical paper contests. The Cloud 20/20 contest is designed to encourage innovative ideas and recognize emerging technical talent from amongst the country’s leading engineering colleges.



Following several rigorous rounds of evaluation, including a technical paper challenge, face-to-face interviews and final presentations, the judges selected Dharmesh Kakadia from International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, as the first prize winner for his entry on ‘Network Virtualization and Cloud Computing’. Unisys presented him with an Apple MacBook laptop.



The first runner-up, Sridhar S. from Anna University, Chennai, won an Apple iPad for his entry on ‘Client Centric Multi Tenancy For Cloud Services’, and the second runner-up, Poornima J.R. from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, won an Apple iPhone for her paper on ‘Cloud Applications in Supply Chain of Agro Products’.



In addition, Unisys India will offer the deserving candidates employment opportunities within the company, subject to their eligibility and availability within the organization.



Building on momentum that began with the first contest in 2010, Unisys received more than 3200 registrations from 2423 prominent colleges across the country for Unisys Cloud 20/20 Version 3.0. Educational institutions whose students submitted entries included Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), International Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and other leading engineering colleges.



Students contributed papers that delved into cloud-computing issues such as automation, server virtualization, storage and networks, application development, security, moving workloads from the data center to the cloud, the impact of consumerization of IT, and the solutions and benefits of cloud computing for airports.



This year, Unisys conducted more than 30 webinars on effective technical writing to assist entrants in submitting the best possible presentations.



Bob Supnik, Vice President and General Manager, Engineering and Supply Chain Operations (ESC), and Chief Technology Officer of Unisys Technology, Consulting and Integration Solutions (TCIS), said: “After two very successful contests, we are happy to be back with Cloud 20/20 Version 3.0. Needless to say, our biggest challenge every year isn’t finding the best papers but, rather, narrowing down the final contestants to just a few. With each successive year our task becomes harder, but this is one challenge we gladly welcome.”



“Unisys views cloud computing as an IT trend that can disrupt the status quo in IT organizations. However, we believe that, managed properly, cloud computing can help enterprises transform the way they do business. We value the ideas and insights we gain from the Cloud 20/20 contestants as we shape solutions to help our clients capitalize on the promise of cloud computing.”



For further information on Unisys Cloud 20/20, log on to:

http://www.app3.unisys.com/common/about__unisys/Cloud20-20V3/index.html

About Unisys

Unisys is a worldwide information technology company. We provide a portfolio of IT services, software, and technology that solves critical problems for clients. We specialize in helping clients secure their operations, increase the efficiency and utilization of their data centers, enhance support to their end users and constituents, and modernize their enterprise applications. To provide these services and solutions, we bring together offerings and capabilities in outsourcing services, systems integration and consulting services, infrastructure services, maintenance services, and high-end server technology. With approximately 23,000 employees, Unisys serves commercial organizations and government agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit the Unisys India website.

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Unisys is a registered trademark of Unisys Corporation. All other brands and products referenced herein are acknowledged to be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

India's successful health practices are set to go global

New Delhi: India's successful health practices are set to go global as a delegation from Ethiopia will be visiting the country to witness the reach of healthcare models to the urban poor.

India and the US will also be working together on sharing the healthcare models that will benefit Africa, a statement said today.

"This visit is an excellent example of what is possible when India and the United States cooperate to share solutions to global challenges such as the health of the urban poor," said William Hammink, mission director at the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The 19-member delegation of government officials from Ethiopia will be visiting health programmes supported by USAID, the Indian government and other partners during stops in Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and the national capital.

The delegation will also meet representatives from city municipal corporations, government officials, corporate partners, and public and private sector hospitals. The visit focuses on experience sharing around priority global health issues.

"Urban health issues, especially in poor communities, are an enormous challenge in our country. We are greatly looking forward to learning from the Indian experience," said Dereje Mamo, the director of the planning and policy directorate of the Ethiopian ministry of health.

The 10-day visit will also emphasise on public-private partnership to deliver healthcare in India, mobilisation and involvement of communities in the sector, and how the country trains its peer-educators and health professionals.

While India's urban health mission is yet to take off, the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) spanning across districts and villages has been known for providing accessible and affordable primary health facilities through a workforce of auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs), anganwadi workers and accredited social health activists (ASHA).
source:agency