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Veteran Actor-Comedian Nagesh dead

END OF AN ERA: Nagesh was suffering from diabetes and a heart ailment.

Nagesh was suffering from diabetes and a heart ailment.

Veteran Tamil movie actor-comedian Cyril K Nagesh, popularly known as Nagesh, died in Chennai on Jan 31, 2009, a family source said. He was 77.

Nagesh was suffering from diabetes and a heart ailment, the family member said. He is survived by three sons, including actor Anand Babu.

Nagesh acted in about 1,000 films and is most remembered for his role in Thiruvilayaadal.

January 31, 2009 Posted by | Cinema, General, Kollywood | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ex-skipper Mohammad Azharuddin to contest on Congress ticket

COUNTERING AP ALLIANCE: With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar’s entry will boost Cong’s confidence.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar

Former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin may contest the coming Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket. The Congress leadership has been in touch with him for the past few months.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in Andhra Pradesh, Azharuddin’s entry will boost the confidence of the Congress.

Azharuddin will be used by Congress to counter the powerful MIM influence on Muslim voters in Hyderabad.

The batsman might stand from his hometown Hyderabad. He has a huge fan-following there despite his premature exit from the world of cricket following allegations of match fixing in the late 90s.

Azhar has kept a low profile since his exit from the Indian cricket scene and runs a successful event management firm.

Speculation was rife in February last year that he may either join or campaign for the Telangana Rastra Samiti in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls. The talk was sparked by the hour-long luncheon meeting he had with TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, Elections, General, India Related, Politics, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India test-fires BrahMos cruise missile

SHOW OF STRENGTH: Indian Army officers look on at Brahmos missiles during Army Day parade in New Delhi.

Indian Army officers look on at Brahmos missiles during Army Day parade in New Delhi.

India test-fired BrahMos cruise missile successfully on Jan 20, 2009  at the Pokhran test range of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

BrahMos, developed jointly with Russia, is a supersonic cruise missile and can be launched from submarine, ship, aircraft and land based Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL).

The missile was to be test-fired for the third time in desert conditions on January 18, 2009  but it was postponed to January 20, 2009  due to heavy fog and rain in the area.

BrahMos has been named after two rivers – the Brahmaputra of India and the Moscow of Russia.

The first test-firing of the BrahMos was conducted on June 12, 2001 at the Interim Test Range Chandipur-On-Sea in Balasore (Orissa).

January 20, 2009 Posted by | General, India Related, Science, Technology, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Millions to watch Obama become US’ first black President

WAITING FOR OBAMA: People with masks of Barack Obama wave during a ‘Bye Bye Bush’ demonstration in Spain.

People with masks of Barack Obama wave during a

Barack Obama will become the first black president of the United States of America on Tuesday.

He came, he campaigned and he conquered and now Obama’s swearing-in ceremony will watched across the world.

Inauguration Day in the US is steeped in tradition. The president-elect and family will start their day with the morning service at the St Johns Church.

Obama and vice-president elect Joe Biden and their families will then proceed to the White House, where they will be greeted by outgoing President George W Bush. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the US Capital.

First Joe Biden will take the oath of office and then Barack Obama raising his right hand and putting his other hand on the Bible will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and attend inaugural parade.

On the eve of his inauguration, Obama paid tribute to the man who ushered in the social change which has helped US get its first black president – Martin Luther King

“Never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help reveal that character once more. And, together, we can carry forward as one nation and one people the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today,” said Obama.

Over 2 million people are expected to watch the swearing-in ceremony as well as Obama give his inaugural address.

At Penysalvania they are anticipating 3,00,000 people for viewing stands and many others will watch teh inaugural parade.

It is difficult to say what strikes the most about the next US president. Is it Barack Obama’s background, his education or is it his youth?

It is perhaps a combination of all of them, expressed in that one word – charisma.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics, USA, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sanjay Dutt gets a Rs 3-crore bus for poll campaign

Sanjay Dutt’s luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis.

Sanjay Dutt

Sanjay Dutt, a new entrant to the field politics, is kicking off his new career in style.

The Bollywood star is all set for smashing debut at the political box office in Lucknow and it’s time now for the Samajwadi party candidate to do a bit of travelling.

Dutt is getting a Rs 3-crore luxury Volvo caravan, equipped with a shower and a toilet for his campaign trails.

The luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis complete with all the comforts of home.

“The forward section has an office lounge section. The central section has a bar and complete set-up which houses all the DVDs, the play station, the X-Box, computers,” says Dilip Chhabria of DC Design Pvt Ltd.

The designer says Sanjay designed it for his outdoor movie shoots. Sources close to the actor believe otherwise and say he would also be using it for his election campaigns in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of North India.

The luxury vehicle could even be a gift from the Samajwadi Party.

“Sanjay Dutt’s specification was very, very clear. He wanted a vehicle that could spell a wow,” says Chhabria.

The caravan has been nine months in the making and would be delivered to Sanjay Dutt soon.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Bollywood, Cinema, Elections, General, India Related, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I wasn’t comfortable with Chappell: Sehwag; Praises Sourav Ganguly

Indian opener Virender Sehwag

Greg Chappell betrayed the trust of players but Gary Kirsten, his successor as Indian cricket coach, is the “best I have ever seen”, India’s dashing opening batsman Virender Sehwag said on Monday (January 19, 2009). The former South African batting star, Kirsten “doesn’t force things on you”, Sehwag said.

Comparing the two coaches, Sehwag indicated that Chappell had tried to get him to change his batting style.

“He had his view on my front-foot play, my footwork. The thing with him (Chappell) was that whatever you shared with him, it was promptly disclosed to media and selectors. He talked and that hurt the trust. I wasn’t comfortable with him,” Sehwag said.

Calling current coach Gary Kirsten as the best coach he has ever seen, Sehwag said, “He is the best coach I have ever seen. He doesn’t force things on you. His basic premise is: you all are international cricketers and you know how to succeed and how important it is to succeed. So I won’t thrust myself on you. But whenever you need me, for practice, throwing balls, sharing ideas, worries, I am always there.”

“During Test matches, there are days when he doesn’t force you to follow you a similar routine in warm ups. If he senses a day when it can be an easy one for the lads, he allows you to do no warm ups. When an intense day is ahead, we all come together to bring that required intensity,” added Viru.

The Delhi-opener also praised former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who encouraged him to take on the mantle of an opener in the Test side.

“Yes, Dada made me an opener in Sri Lanka, where I hit gold in the third match with that blistering century off 69 balls (against New Zealand). A lot of youngsters, including me, came to the fore under Dada,” Viru said.

Praising Dada’s captaincy skills, Sehwag said, “Remember, when he took over world cricket was reeling under the impact of match-fixing. He always backed us. For instance when I was Man of the Match against Australia early in my career, he assured me that I would play in at least next 30 one-day matches. Even when he promoted me as an opener, he told me to bat without worry as he wouldn’t touch me for the next 30-35 games.”

“When your captains back you in this manner, your confidence is sky-high. He was also an extremely aggressive captain,” he added.

Viru, however, said that his current skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is doing what Dada used to do, but just that Mahi give more space to everyone.

He said, “In many ways he is doing what Ganguly used to do. He is also aggressive. But he also knows how to be defensive if a game is to be saved. The thing with Dhoni is that he gives all of us a lot of space. He doesn’t want to control everyone.”

“The optional practice rule has really gained ground under him. Now it’s not mandatory to turn up for practice everyday. There is so much of travelling, so many matches. He knows the importance of rest and allows everyone their own recovery period,” added the opener.

Finally, commenting on his Test career revival after the Adelaide Test in Australia in 2007-08, Sehwag went on to say that the century in the Test was very special.

“Yes it is. It was a knock when I was determined to spend time at the crease. In the first two hours on the final day, I made only 27 runs in the first session. In the afternoon, Tendulkar kept telling me that we had to keep going. Or Australians could use the final 30-35 overs to chase down the target. It was very, very special,” he said.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sania Mirza enters round 2 of Australian Open

Indian ace Saniza Mirza  moves to second round

Making a successful return to the grand slams, India’s Sania Mirza cruised into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday (January 19, 2009) after defeating aside Poland’s  Marta Domachowska.

Sania won the match 6-1, 6-4 in a convincing display of form. However, she will have to continue in the same tempo as she may have to face Nadia Petrova, a top-10 player.

Sania raced away with the first set in just 25 minutes, breaking the Polish player thrice. The Indian led 2-0 in the second set before Marta stepped on the gas, winning four games on the trot, breaking Sania in the third and fifth games.

From a comfortable 2-0, Sania found herself trailing 2-4 in no time. Under pressure, the 22-year-old Hyderabadi got her act together and went on to win the next four games to seal the issue.

Sania broke Marta in the eighth and 10th games in the process. Sania had lost to Marta in 2003 in their first meeting and now the face-to-face record stands 1-1.

Sania, playing her first singles match of the season after a long injury-lay off, was happy with her comeback  match. “It was a great way to begin after such a long break. I’ve not played a match in almost six months now. I’m just happy to have come through,” she said after the match.

Sania’s best show so far in the Australian Open has been reaching the third round in 2005 and 2008.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | General, India Related, Sports, Tennis, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ramalinga Raju is hit over Obama in Internet search

He may be popular for all the wrong reasons, but Satyam’s disgraced founder Ramalinga Raju has beaten US President-elect Barack Obama on internet popularity charts in India, and is closing the gap abroad too.

By now infamous IT czar Raju shot to limelight earlier this month after disclosing what has emerged as the country’s biggest ever corporate fraud in India and has been called

‘India’s Enron’ right from the word go. Google’s search volume index shows Raju and Obama were generating almost equal searches from India during the first six days of the year, with Obama leading by a small margin. However, Raju jumped up the charts on January 7, when he admitted to a massive fraud of about Rs 7,800 crore.

The search volumes for Raju are estimated to have been over 10 times more than that of Obama on January 7, after which it has been declining consistently but Raju is still holding an edge over the US President-elect.

In terms of search volumes generated from various regions, Raju’s own state Andhra Pradesh is on top, followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi. In terms of cities too, the maximum search volume has been from Hyderabad, where both Raju and Satyam are based, followed by Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Mahape and Delhi.

As regards searches for Obama, Tamil Nadu has been on the top, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi among the regions. For cities, the maximum search volumes for Obama has come from Chennai, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. Outside India too, Raju has generated significant search volumes from UAE, Singapore, Finland, US, Poland, Australia, UK, Canada and Germany, but has lagged Obama. Raju has been searched for in Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Dallas and San Fransisco, while search queries have come in Polish language too, other than English.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | General, India Related, IT, Software, Technology, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Top Ten Cities for Outsourcing in India

India has 35 major cities. Not all of them are good offshore outsourcing hubs.

In the recent past, several studies have been carried out to identify the best or most attractive cities in India. Gartner Inc, National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and KPMG, neoIT, Mercer, A T Kearney, Merrill Lynch and several others have carried out city studies for a wide range of objectives.

Important parameters that were considered when developing the rankings in these studies include:

  • Availability of Infrastructure (Power, Transport, Telecommunication, Housing)
  • Cost of Living
  • Real Estate Costs
  • Availability of Skilled Manpower
  • Attrition Rates
  • Quality of Living
  • Political Climate
  • Educational Institutions

Urban infrastructure in India is not the best in the world. Indian cities are facing overpopulation, indiscriminate growth and shortage of urban services like public transportation, water supply and sanitation. It is important to point out that the 2006 World-wide Quality of Living Survey by Mercer for 350 global cities has the top Indian cities Mumbai and Delhi ranked at 150th place. Not impressive at all. On the networking front, India ranks 40th out of 115 countries with the network readiness index of 0.23.

Despite the constrains imposed by the infrastructure or lack thereof, availability of skilled manpower and the low cost advantage continues to drive investment into urban India.

An analysis of city rankings by different surveys and study of recent outsourcing trends reveals that the top 10 outsourcing destinations in India are:

1. Chennai was the poor cousin of Bangalore and Hyderabad during the initial years of the IT boom in India. Today it is the lead outsourcing destination due to the low cost advantage, improving infrastructure, international connectivity, availability of land, skilled manpower and lower attrition rates compared to Bangalore and Hyderabad.

2. Hyderabad continues to woo investors by focusing on improving its urban infrastructure. The Governments, both past and present, have been very clear in their focus and support to the IT industry. The city has been among the most favored destinations due to the infrastructural improvements and the planned growth phased in by the governments in the twin cities.

3. Bangalore is the technology hub of India. It is increasingly becoming a global melting pot of cultures. The original garden and pub city of India has a comfortable climate compared to the other Indian cities that are happening in terms of outsourcing. However, the city’s infrastructure is inadequate to meet the demands of the exploding population. There is a growing feeling that other cities will overtake Bangalore if it continues to suffer due to political bickering, skyrocketing real estate prices and poor urban planning. According to a recent survey, it still ranks as the top city for living, earning and investing.

4. National Capital Region (NCR) includes Delhi and its surrounding suburbs. Delhi is expensive and not as popular for outsourcing. It is the suburbs, Gurgaon and Noida that have become important outsourcing destinations due to their proximity to the capital. They continue to be a major draw due to improving transport connectivity with Delhi, good international linkage and availability of skilled manpower.

5. Pune is Maharastra’s response to Bangalore. Its proximity to India’s financial capital, Mumbai and availability of trained manpower has led to the development of a thriving hi-tech outsourcing industry in this erstwhile retirement and education haven. Apart from other infrastructure components, the city is focusing on township projects to improve housing facilities.

6. Chandigarh and Mohali are twin cities. Chandigarh is one of the few planned and good cities of India. Mohali is its twin. Together, they have the space as well as the intellectual and financial capability to become India’s best outsourcing destinations. It does not yet have an international airport, but is well connected to New Delhi by road and rail.

7. Kolkata, the capital city of the state of West Bengal is high in intellect and has an advantage in terms of low costs. However, the city is famous for its traffic snarls and trade union shut downs. The current state government under chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is making the right noises to encourage investors. Early indications are that it may actually emerge as a good outsourcing destination.

8. Mysore is one of India’s smaller cities, which have joined the outsourcing bandwagon. Its proximity to Bangalore and presence of companies like Infosys and Wipro has helped the cause. It is emerging as a preferred choice over Bangalore as India’s silicon city is now congested, expensive and has higher than average attrition rates.

9. Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala is well known for some of the leading science & technology research organizations in India. The city has the infrastructure and skilled workforce to attract IT investments. It is early days yet and remains to be seen whether Thiruvananthapuram can woo investors away from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.

10. Coimbatore is the emerging engineering outsourcing hub located in the state of Tamil Nadu. The government of Tamil Nadu is keen on developing Coimbatore as a major IT destination in the state. Coimbatore’s strength is its rich engineering tradition and young graduating engineers to meet the manpower demands of the growing industry.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Business, General, India Related, IT, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment