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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.

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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

Sachin Tendulkar role model of cricket: Andrew Flintoff

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff

Sachin Tendulkar’s match-winning century knock in Chennai which he dedicated to the people of India deeply hurt by the terror attack in Mumbai has earned respect from England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff who called the master bastman a “role model” for the game.

“It is impossible not to admire him (Tendulkar) when you are out in the middle. He is a class player and a great role model for the game,” Flintoff said.

“His innings (in Chennai) was a scriptwriter’s dream. The lad from Mumbai, with everything that has happened there, scores a hundred to win and then dedicates it to everyone in the country. Thinking about it, it was probably inevitable it happened,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Independent’. Flintoff said playing against Tendulkar brought the best out of him.

“Playing against him brings the best out of you in a lot of ways. The worrying thing for us is that he was getting better towards the end of that innings. You could see in the way he was playing he was back to his best.”

The 31-year-old Lancashire player was of the view that there is very little margin for error bowling against greats like Tendulkar and Brian Lara.  “I enjoy bowling at him, as I did at the likes of Brian
Lara. I think they bring the best out of you. Your margins for error are small, you have to bowl well to restrict them, never mind get them out.”

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India may still strike Pakistan

A US intelligence report claims that India is fully prepared and await go ahead for unilateral precision strikes on Pakistan (File photo)

India may have ruled out the military option against Pakistan in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks but the international intelligence community continues to believe that strikes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and elsewhere could still happen.

Global intelligence service Stratfor, in its latest report, said, “Indian military operations against targets in Pakistan have in fact been prepared and await the signal to go forward.” It added, “These most likely would take the form of unilateral precision strikes inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir, along with special forces action on the ground in Pakistan proper.”

The private sector intelligence service said that unlike the massive movements of 2002 during Operation Parakram, India’s preparations this time were more under the radar and not visible to the world at large. Its only indication was the fact that the Border Security Force (BSF) has been put on high alert on the western sector as well as the eastern sector – this paramilitary force’s main mandate would be to prevent infiltration.

“Sources have indicated to Stratfor that New Delhi is going through the diplomatic motions in order to give Pakistan the opportunity to take care of the militant problem itself — but the Indians know that Islamabad has neither the will nor the capability to address their concerns,” Stratfor said.

Three weeks after the attacks, India has gone out of its way to reassure everyone that it is not thinking of military action on Pakistan. This was most recently conveyed by Indian high commissioner to Pakistan Satyabrata Pal to Awami National Party chief Afsandyar Wali Khan in Islamabad earlier this week. But India continues to tell all its international interlocutors that its patience will not last long, particularly if Islamabad cannot crack down on terrorism.

India’s actions thus far have been to build a kind of international consensus that the attacks were sourced in Pakistan. It has led to a huge spurt in international pressure on Pakistan to “do more” to combat terrorism. Almost every member of the international community also believes that the next attack in India would see the gloves come off. But everybody knows that Pakistan’s civilian government is unable to take any steps to curb terrorists and the military establishment is unwilling to do so.

“From a strategic perspective, the Indian government can no more afford to accept the Mumbai attacks and move forward than the US government could have afforded to ignore the 9/11 attacks. New Delhi has little choice but to respond – regardless of which political party is in power – and because the perpetrators are linked to elements within the Pakistani state, the response must be directed against Pakistan. And if Islamabad will not cooperate in controlling the militants, India will have to take unilateral action,” Stratfor said.

It explained that India knew strikes in Pakistan would not eliminate the terrorist threat, “but that would not be the aim of any such operation”. It added, “Instead, India has to communicate firmly that it will no longer tolerate attacks from Pakistan-based militants – whether they are rogue or approved by the state. Failure to do so risks emboldening the Islamists and their enablers, as well as a domestic political backlash. The Indian government could not live with either of those outcomes.”

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, India Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

England have the bulldog spirit to hit back: Michael Vaughan

Former England captain Michael Vaughan

Former captain Michael Vaughan has backed England to bounce back from the bitter loss in  Chennai, saying that Kevin Pietersen and his men have the “bulldog spirit” to square the Test series against India in Mohali.

“One thing with the England team is we do have a ‘bulldog spirit’, a fighting spirit. We proved that in this game,” Vaughan said ahead of the second and final Test in Mohali starting December 19, 2008.

England dominated the first three days of the Chennai Test before losing the plot on the fourth day when Indian opener Virender Sehwag went on a rampage to snatch the match away from the visitors.

“It was a great game of cricket. Both teams played to an incredible standard in terms of what they’d gone through in the previous two weeks,” Vaughan was quoted as saying by ‘The Daily Telegraph’.

“The England team can be very proud of the way they played. For three-and-three-quarter days they dominated the Test and that is something which is very difficult to do in India,” he added.

Vaughan admitted that the six-wicket loss was a bitter pill to swallow, considering the way England dominated most part of the match. “The defining moment was that middle session (on day four) when we probably let the momentum sway back towards India when we could have nailed home the game.”

However, Vaughan, who is currently on a sabbatical from international cricket, said the task would be tough test of England’s mental strength. “We’ve just lost a real big game, a game that all the
lads would have expected to win on that fourth evening,” he said.

“It’s going to be a real task of mental strength. The boys are pretty drained and emotionally tired from what they’ve been through in the last few weeks. But if they win the toss, and bat, and get put runs on the board they can put India under a lot of pressure,” he added.

The right-hander, training with the England’s elite performance squad, said he is working towards his international comeback. “My mind is very refreshed and of course after such a great game of cricket I’m desperate to get out there and make decisions, play and score runs,” he said.

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India has no plans to attack Pakistan: Defence Minister

DEFENSIVE TALK? India’s Defence minister A K Antony has demanded sincere action by Pakistan against the terrorists.

DEFENSIVE TALK? India

India on Dec 16, 2008 said it is not planning any military action against Pakistan but stressed that the neighbouring country will have to take action against terrorists there for the relations to improve.

“We are not planning any military action but at the same time unless Pakistan takes actions against those terrorists who are operating from their soil against India and also against all those who are behind the Mumbai terrorist attack, things will not be normal,” Defence Minister A K Antony said.

He was talking to reporters on occasion of Vijay Diwas marking the 37th anniversary of India’s military victory on Dec 16, 2008 over Pakistan in the Bangladesh liberation war.

On the issue of troop deployment along the Indo-Pak border, Antony said the situation there was “normal” and armed forces were “always ready”.

“Everything is normal because our forces are always ready,” the Minister said.

The Minister denied that India was planning to call off the more than five-year-old ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).

“Nothing like that,” he stated when asked if India had any plans to call off the ceasefire with Pakistan.

Refusing to divulge India’s course of action in the present scenario, Antony demanded sincere action by Pakistan against the terrorists.

“I cannot say what course of action we will take but unless Pakistan shows sincerity in whatever they are saying through their actions, one thing is very sure that there is no question of things as usual,” he said.

The chiefs of Navy, Army and Air Force — Admiral Sureesh Mehta, General Deepak Kapoor and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major — also attended the Vijay Diwas function.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, India Related, Politics, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tendulkar ton scripts India’s historical win

Sachin Tendulkar led the Indian run chase to take India to a famous
victory on the decisive day of the first Test against England. The
master batsman clobbered his 41st Test hundred as India won by six
wickets. The second hero on the tense day was Yuvraj Singh who proved
his Test credentials with an unbeaten 85 while Tendulkar remained
unconquered on 103.

Chasing a
daunting 387-run target, India lost only three wickets on the day as
they scripted the fourth highest successful run chase in history of
Test cricket. The final two sessions of play saw India dominate
proceedings with Tendulkar and Yuvraj batting with authority to swing
the match completely in India’s favour shortly after tea. India, who
started the second session on a poor note losing VVS Laxman, made 91
runs after lunch without any further damage and in the post tea
session, the willows of Yuvraj and Tendulkar flourished in grand style
to author India’s highest run chase in the sub-continent.

Tendulkar
was a picture of poise as he batted with effortless ease on a slow
turning track, plundering nine boundaries in his unbeaten innings. He
authored the chase, playing the sheet anchor to perfection and building
vital stands with of 42 Gautam Gambhir, of 41 with Laxman (41) and
finally an unbroken 162 one with Yuvraj. And in a fitting finish, a
nudge down the leg side took Tendulkar to his century and India home.

India
suffered a big blow after lunch when Graeme Swann had VVS Laxman caught
at short midwicket for 26. England at that stage had India under
pressure at 224-4 but Yuvraj ignored both the nerves and the words that
came his way from Andrew Flintoff to punch a determined knock that
included a huge six off Monty Panesar.

He batted
with caution, showing the temperament that was amiss in several of his
previous Test outings. But once he settled down, the southpaw displayed
the spectacular strokeplay he is capable of. His 84 came off only 131
balls that saw him hammer eight boundaries and one six.

India
started the day at 131-1, needing 256 to win on the final day at the MA
Chidambaram stadium with Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in the
middle. But England got the perfect start with Andrew Flintoff removing
Dravid, who could add only a couple to his overnight score of two.
Dravid, who has been in dismal form throughout 2008, edged an outgoing
delivery and Matt Prior made no mistake behind the stumps.

Gambhir
reached his half-century soon after Dravid’s dismissal but he once
again fell to a poor shot. He poked at a wide delivery from James
Anderson and Paul Collingwood leaped to his right to take a neat catch.
The southpaw made 66 with seven boundaries to his name.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rahul Dravid needs a big score: Sourav Ganguly

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly says Rahul Dravid needs to get a big knock under his belt to ward off critics who have been questioning his place in the team for some time now.

“The pressure is bound to start mounting on Rahul Dravid after another below par effort and he must get a big score before the murmurings about his place in the team get louder,” Ganguly wrote in his column.

Dravid, who has been struggling with the bat ever since the last English summer, could only manage three in the first innings of the ongoing first Test against England in Chennai on Dec 11, 2008.

There was also much expected from Yuvraj Singh, who earned a recall to the Test team after an excellent performance in the ODI series, but the Chandigarh lad too disappointed scoring just 14.

“Yuvraj failed to make an impression in his comeback Test, but that was down to the supreme line and length that the English bowlers maintained against him,” Ganguly wrote.

“They used the short ball well, and also kept the spinners on, which Yuvraj does not enjoy when he starts his innings,” he added.

The classy southpaw also had a word of advice for England skipper Kevin Pietersen.

“Pietersen needs to adjust ‘mentally’ while batting in the subcontinent, as he is far too good a player to be gifting his wicket to the opposition. It’s paramount that he holds the English middle order together, especially in trying batting conditions,” Ganguly reckoned.

India’s most successful captain also wondered by India “always seem to struggle in the first Test of a new series” and hoped that a strong performance from the side was just around the corner.

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush warns Pakistan to fight terror or a face-off

Bush has said US will not be held to ransom by terror outfits

GET IT CLEAR: Bush has said US will not be held to ransom by terror outfits

With India reaching out to the world community in the wake of Mumbai attacks, the US, Germany and Britain are sending their ministers and functionaries to India to discuss the developing situation.

Washington too is keeping the pressure up.

US President Bush made a statement saying even governments sponsoring terrorism will be held responsible.

“We’ve made it clear to Pakistan that we must do whatever to protect American people. Governments sponsoring terror are as guilty as the terrorists and will be held to account,” warned America’s President who will soon be making way for president-elect Barack Obama to take over.

The US reiterated that countries should deny safe haven to terrorists.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice too came down hard on the terror outfits and their nefarious designs.

Rice had said that those who want to disrupt good relations between India and Pakistan were at root, and that these non-state actors clearly used Pakistani territory. Rice continued to tell the CBS radio in the interview that there is reason for Pakistan to take up responsibility to act.

December 11, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, India Related, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment