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latest news 01-2-2008

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  • sanjaykumar kakkad
    [ 1 ] bitter truth A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and Honest people are screwed first. ************ ********* *********
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 1, 2008
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      [ 1 ]
      bitter truth
      "A person should not be too honest.
      Straight trees are cut first
      and Honest people are screwed first."
      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "Even if a snake is not poisonous,
      it should pretend to be venomous."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody. ! It will destroy you."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "There is some self-interest behind every friendship.
      There is no Friendship without self-interests.
      This is a bitter truth."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply
      and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "Once you start a working on something,
      don't be afraid of failure and
      don't abandon it.
      People who work sincerely are the happiest."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "The fragrance of flowers spreads
      only in the direction of the wind.
      But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "A man is great by deeds, not by birth."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years.
      For the next five years, scold them.
      By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend.
      Your grown up children are your best friends."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "Books are as useful to a stupid person
      as a mirror is useful to a blind person."

      ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
      "Education is the best friend.
      An educated person is respected everywhere.
      Education beats the beauty and the youth."
      [ 2 ]
      17,060 farm suicides in one year
      Upward trends in major States unchanged, Maharashtra is the worst hit
      Mumbai: Farm suicides in Maharashtra rose dramatically in 2006, more than in any other part of the country. The state saw 4,453 farmers’ suicides that year, over a quarter of the all-India total of 17,060, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its report Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India , 2006. That is the worst figure recorded ‘in any year for any state’ in the country since the NCRB first began logging farm suicides.
      The previous worst — 4,147 in 2004 — was also in Maharashtra . The State has now seen ‘36,428 farmers’ suicides since 1995, ‘in official count.’ ‘2006 is the latest year for which data are available.’
      Maharashtra ’s 4,453 farm suicides mark an increase of 527 over its 2005 figure. This was four and a half times bigger than that in Andhra Pradesh, the next worst state, which saw a rise of 117 farm suicides over 2005. It was also more than twice the increase of 198 in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh taken together. Worse, it means that farmers accounted for half ‘the increase’ in all suicides in Maharashtra in 2006.
      Significantly, Maharashtra’s upward spike occurred in the year when both Prime Minister’s and Chief Minister’s relief packages — worth Rs. 4,825 crores in all — were being implemented in the State’s Vidharbha region, where such suicides have been most intense.
      There were 17,060 farmers’ suicides across India in 2006. The NCRB’s figures show an unrelenting upward trend in what can be termed the ‘SEZ’ or (Farmers) ‘Special Elimination Zone’ states. These States, which account for nearly two-thirds of all farm suicides in the country, include Maharashtra , Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh) . As a group, the ‘SEZ’ States saw an increase of 6.2 per cent in such deaths.
      Within them, Maharashtra (4453), Andhra Pradesh (2607) and Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgar h (2858) show a sharp upward spike.
      Karnataka (1720) reports a decline. So though the all-India numbers for 2006 reflect a very small decline of 61 over the 2005 figure of 17,131, the broad trends of the last decade continue. And the trend of rapidly rising farm suicides, particularly post-2001 in the ‘SEZ’ States, remains unchanged.
      So the miniscule decline in the figure for the country as a whole marks no break from the dismal decade-long trend.
      NCRB data record 1,66,304 farmers’ suicides in a decade since 1997.
      Of these, 78,737 occurred in five years between 1997 and 2001. The next five years — from 2002 to 2006 — proved worse, seeing 87,567 farmers take their lives.
      This means that on average, there has been one farmers’ suicide every 30 minutes since 2002.
      [ 3 ]
      HIV tests to be must before marriage
      Thursday, January 31, Digg it


      MUMBAI: Testing for HIV could soon be compulsory before marriage in Maharashtra . A 25-member committee set up by the state government on Wednesday recommended that this be done. But the government will move a bill in the assembly only after a public debate over the next three months.  
      Maharashtra is set to be the first state with such a law as the move was crippled in Goa and Andhra Pradesh for various reasons.
      “After getting public opinions and debates in all the regions the final decision of bringing bill will be taken,’ said Dr Vimal Mundada, Public Health minister who headed the committee.
      Though a few of the members raised objections, most were in favour of making the test mandatory. “Shortcomings in implementation should not stop us from making a law,” said MLA Satej Patil, who had raised the issue in the last monsoon session in the assembly.
      Objecting to compulsion, MA Aziz, MLC, said some people would make money out of it. “It won’t be difficult to get a bogus certificate.”
      [ 4 ]
      Why the US rate cut may kill the dollar

      January 31, 2008  The recent cut in the benchmark interest rates by the US Federal Reserve by 75 basis points from 4.25 per cent to 3.50 per cent on January 22 and a further 50 basis points to 3 per cent on January 30 as a response to a possible recession in the United States has completely surprised analysts across the world.
      Unprecedented as it is, this steep cut in the interest rates effected by the Fed has the potential to dynamite the US dollar, the US economy and, by extension, the global economy.
      What could surprise many is the fact that the US Fed's prescription to reduce interest rates, ostensibly to tackle the prospect of a recession might well turn out to be its Waterloo . Put bluntly, the US faces as much of a risk of a recession after this rate cut as it did before.
      Two economists end up usually giving rise to three opinions. Nevertheless, most of them are near unanimous in their view that the situation in the US economy is quite serious. In fact, many experts are veering to the view that the US economy -- the engine of the world economic growth -- is well and truly into recession.
      What is increasingly viewed as conclusive proof of a recession within the US is that the US Fed cut interest rates on three occasions in the second half of 2007 aggregating to 100 basis points, prior to this cut of 125 basis points in January 2008. All these are alarming signs indeed.
      Breather for (sub-prime) borrowers?
      Ostensibly this cut is aimed at alleviating the worst housing recession in the US since 1991 and ease the pressure on the economy. The situation is so appalling that some US lawmakers had even called for cheaper borrowing costs for the benefit of the average Americans (and you thought that such silly demands could be made only by our desi politicians) .
      And this cut is aimed at providing succor to all those stakeholders -- borrowers and lenders -- who were party to this credit extravaganza for the past several years. It may be noted that it is this credit expansion in the US that acted as a de-facto compressor for the above mentioned engine of global economic growth.
      And it is not a problem that pertains only to sub-prime borrowers, as is commonly believed. As many credit card, car and consumer loans too are beginning to turn bad, the US financial sector is facing a crisis of an unprecedented magnitude.
      Consequently, with many banks and financial institutions facing prospects of going belly up, the Fed had no other option but to cut interest rates. For, if it hadn't effected a rate-cut, it would have triggered a severe crisis within the US financial sector over the next few months and might have led to the collapse of many financial institutions.
      But will it solve the problem?
      Apparently, by cutting interest rates the US Fed expects to stimulate consumption, crucially lower mortgage payments, and in the process trigger a recovery in the US economy. Be that as it may, top economists -- including Noble Laureate Joseph Stiglitz -- point out to the futility of this exercise saying that this cut in interest rates will have little impact on the overall scenario.
      According to them, it is a case of too little and too late -- akin to applying pain balm when chemotherapy was the need of the hour.
      Even as the interest rate cuts are carried out experts believe that US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke may be open to the charge of creating 'moral hazard.' After all, in sum and substance, the act of the Fed is rewarding all those who were party to reckless borrowings and lending.
      As US lowers its interest rates dramatically, economists are worried that it could find that global capital is moving away to other countries which offer higher rates of interest simply on account of arbitrage opportunities. This could mean appreciation of currencies across continents and depreciation of the US dollar. As the dollar depreciates against other currencies, goods from other countries would become costlier in the US , leading to inflationary pressures within the US economy.
      According Allan Meltzer, a Fed historian, the Fed "put all of its chips on the prospect of a possible recession, and very little on the possibility of inflation." And should the US be visited by a bout of inflation, as predicted, the Fed would have no other option but to once again increase interest rates. And that could be an unmitigated disaster.
      What could worry the US economists is that years of sustained imports of 'cheap' goods -- ostensibly aimed at controlling domestic inflation -- meant ignoring the competitiveness of the domestic manufacturing sector in the US . It may be noted that this model also suited developing nations as it provided cheap manufactured products to them, made cheaper through a strong dollar. But all good times have to come to end, right?
      American economist Robert Blecker has examined the impact of the extant currency valuation arrangement between the US and other currencies on the US manufacturing investment spending. He estimates that under this paradigm the US manufacturing investment was lowered by 61 per cent between 1995 and 2004. This has structurally and systematically weakened the US industrial base making imports inevitable to meet the gargantuan domestic consumption.
      Further, it also makes the future task of developing a competitive domestic manufacturing base within the US in the next few years an exercise in futility. Given a weak-manufacturing base in the US and the extent of dependency on imports to meet domestic demand, it is quite probable that any further depreciation of the dollar could stoke inflation in the US . And that could be a trigger for higher interest rates.
      But will it lead to a collapse of the dollar?
      But inflation within the US is not the only issue that bothers economists. What complicates the entire matrix is that the US is dependent on global capital flows of approximately $900 billion in 2007 to sustain its economy. With global inflation untamed and central bankers of other countries having virtually exhausted every other policy option to deal with inflation, interest rates are at a high across continents.
      Naturally, none of the central bankers of other economies are in any mood to cut interest rates in tandem with the Fed.
      Consequently, it is feared by many economists that this steep interest rate cut effected by the Fed would trigger currency readjustments. This would be particularly sharp should different economies fail to lower their domestic interest rates.
      It is thus no wonder that the dollar is going the Titanic way against the other currencies even as I write this. Similarly, given this paradigm of interest rate differential prevailing between the US and India, the Rupee which had posted handsome gains against the dollar in recent months too is expected to appreciate further in coming months.
      Naturally, the Reserve Bank of India is caught in this predicament. As global capital finds its way to India because of higher interest rates here, RBI would increasingly be 'forced' to cut interest rates. If it does not, the deluge of foreign exchange flows would lead to a corresponding increase in Rupee circulation within the economy and thereby lead to higher inflation and still higher interest rates.
      But with an overhang of liquidity and domestic inflationary pressures caused due to a multiplicity of local factors, lowering interest rates is not a preferred policy option. No wonder the RBI was reluctant to cut interest rates while undertaking the latest review of the Credit Policy on January 29. Surely, a Catch-22 situation for RBI.
      Given this scenario, as (stock) markets realize these intrinsic dangers arising out of interest rate cuts initiated by the US Fed, they are sure to witness some correction.
      No wonder markets the world over are already feeling exhausted within days of the Fed announcing the moves. Where is the question of comparing or analyzing the quantum of risks, returns and rewards when the principle itself is in doubt? This is one question that seems to have come back to haunt market players as they understand the mess in all its dimensions.
      For all these reasons the interest rate cuts may not work and Fed's game plan could well be condemned. And that is the crux of the issue -- the US economy would have collapsed had the Fed not cut the interest rates and as it cuts the interest rates it could endanger the dollar and cause its collapse.
      Needless to emphasize, the beneficiary of the rate cuts are the stock markets and not the US economy as a whole as is commonly believed.
      So what was the compulsion for the Federal Reserve to take this gamble? Why protecting the US stock markets became more important that anything else for the Fed Reserve? Is the US stock market more precious than the US dollar? Is bailing out the reckless lenders and borrowers more important than controlling inflation in US?
      Questions that are too crucial and the answers to these questions may well determine the fate of the global economy in the next few moths.
      [ 5 ]
      Remove Modi's name from Pandya murder case: HC

      January 31, 2008 |
      The Gujarat High Court has ordered the removal of Chief Minister Narendra Modi's name as a respondent, in an appeal filed in the Haren Pandya murder case by his father, seeking re-investigation in the case.
      The high court said that as the per the Code of Criminal Procedure, people who are party during a trial in the lower court can only be cited as respondents in a criminal appeal later.
      Justice J R Vora and Justice M R Shah, in their order on Wednesday, said that as the Chief Minister was not a respondent or a party in the murder case of the former minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Haren Pandya, he had no locus in this case at this stage.
      Demanding re-investigation in the murder case, petitioner Vitthal Pandya had filed a 200-page appeal in the High Court, expressing his dissatisfaction over the Central Bureau of Investigation probe.
      He has contended in the appeal that his son's murder was a political one, allegedly executed at the behest of Modi and that was the reason as to why he had included the name of the Chief Minister as a respondent.
      The High Court observed that if such an application is allowed, the case would have to be reinvestigated.
      If some material against the person is found by the investigating agency, a chargesheet is required to be filed, the court said. Thereafter, he has to be prosecuted as an accused and till that stage, he has no locus.
      "We fail to appreciate why and for what purpose respondent number three (Modi) is joined in the present proceedings which is only at the stage of considering the applications of the applicant for re-investigation, " the bench observed.
      "According to us, at this stage, respondent number three has no locus and is not required to be heard and he could not have been joined as party respondent considering the various provisions and scheme of Code of Criminal Procedure," the judges said.
      Special Public Prosecutor Harin Rawal, appearing for CBI has submitted that to continue respondent number three (Modi) in the present proceedings, will be contrary to the scheme of Code of Criminal Procedure.
      Pandya was killed on March 26, 2003, near Law Garden . The case was handed over to the CBI and the agency had held 18 persons responsible for the crime and had arrested 12 of them.
      The case came up for trial before the special Prevention Of Terrorism Act Court Judge Sonia Gokani, who in her judgement on July 2007, had convicted all the 12 accused.
      She had sentenced nine accused to life imprisonment, two to a seven-year prison term and awarded a five-year jail term to one.
      [ 6 ]
      Soon, you won't need men to make babies!

      | January 31, 2008 | In yet another attempt to play God, scientists will soon be able to eliminate men from the process of creating life, enabling lesbian couples to have children that are biologically their own.
      Researchers at Newcastle-upon- Tyne University in the United Kingdom have developed a breakthrough technique to turn female bone marrow into sperm.
      The scientists will take stem cells from a woman donor's bone marrow and transform them into sperm through the use of special chemicals and vitamins. The procedure may also be done with cells from male bone marrow, which can be turned into eggs, paving the way for gay couples to have children without any biological participation by a female.
      Professor Karim Nayernia has applied for permission to carry out the work and is ready to start the experiments within two months, New Scientist magazine reported.
      The biologist, who pioneered the technique with mice, believes early-stage 'female sperm' could be produced within two years but mature cells capable of fertilising eggs might take three more years.
      Early-stage sperm have already been produced from male bone marrow.
      Also, the ethical debate over drawing stem cells from an embryo can be avoided, since the cells will be taken from an adult donor.
      The technique may revolutionise infertility treatments globally.
      If the experiments succeed, the stage would be set for a gay man to donate skin cells that could be used to make eggs. These could then be fertilised by his partner's sperm and placed into the womb of a surrogate mother.
      But, besides fears of raising an ethical debate, the children born from artificial eggs and sperm might suffer severe health problems, like the mice in the experiments.
      Also, because the female sperm would lack the Y chromosome, such couples would be able to have girls only.
      The research also paves the way for a woman to grow her own sperm and use it to fertilise her natural eggs, creating a child to which she is both mother and father.
      Similarly, a man could be both father and mother to a child created with his own sperm and a lab-grown egg.
      However, researchers believe such children would be at a higher risk of developing genetic abnormalities.
      [ 7 ]
      Now, a creche in Parliament for female MPs

      January 31, 2008  Female MPs, who have small infants and require time to attend to them, may get a creche in Parliament.  The Women and Child Development Ministry has already got the necessary permission from the Speaker, but the security reasons are a cause of delay.
      "I have several times sacrificed my turn to speak up in the Parliament session because my child needed me at that time. Therefore, I am aware that there are many females who do the same when the session is on. If there would be a place in the parliament then they can pay attention to both," Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhary told media persons at the annual meet of social editors in New Delhi on Wednesday.
      "We have got the permission from the Speaker but the three layers of security checks are a cause of delay. So we are waiting for a clearance from the security and then we will have a creche in Parliament," said Chowdhary.

      "Frequent media interaction is required to focus on the right issues that will contribute to sensitise people about their part to create a better environment for women," she said.
      Speaking on the issue of adoption, the minister said, "There is an urgent need to popularise the adoption. The Ministry has relaxed the laws for it. Amendments in juvenile justice act give an opportunity to adopt a child to a person of any caste and to single mothers."
      "The only thing that is widely known about adoption is that rules are difficult and it is a cumbersome process. We have worked it out to popularise adoption. Every child needs a home and if the ministry can do that by propagating the message then scenario would be better and different," Chowdhry said.
      The ministry is also revamping and introducing Integrated Child Development Schemes on mission mode.
      "ICDS should be on mission mode because that would give us the power to get back to the states and put things in order. Mission mode meaning a time frame, which will help us constantly to be aware of the happenings at every level," she said.
      In addition to ICDS, government has also launched Integrated Child Protection Scheme, which will see the matter of setting up of Child Rights Commission at the state level for proper enforcement of children's right and effective implementation of laws and programmes relating to children.
      [ 8 ]
      Buddhadeb a greater fundamentalist: Mahasweta Devi

      January 31, 2008   Eminent writer Mahasweta Devi has accused West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of being a 'greater fundamentalist' who 'had conspired to throw Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen out of the state' and demanded his resignation.
      "Bhattacharjee has said his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi is a fundamentalist, but what is he doing here? He hounded Taslima out of the city to get Muslim votes in the coming Panchayat polls in the state," the Magsaysay award winning writer told a press conference in Kolkata on Wednesday.
      "The chief minister is a greater fundamentalist. He hatched a conspiracy to hound her (Taslima) out of the state. He should resign," she charged, demanding that Taslima be allowed to return to Kolkata.
      She said she had spoken to Taslima, who is staying at undisclosed destination in Delhi , on Tuesday night.
      "She is ill. Proper treatment was not given to her. As a writer, I demand that she be allowed to return to Kolkata," she said flanked by noted Hindi poet Kedar Nath Singh and Bengali poet Joy Goswami.
      Virtually accusing Bhattacharjee of organising the violent protests by Muslims on November 21 demanding Taslima's ouster from the metropolis, Mahasweta Devi said the chief minister perhaps thought that all Muslims were fundamentalists, which was not true.
      She wanted to know where Taslima was lodged and said writers in Delhi wanted to be by her side. She also asked Booker prize winner writer Arundhati Roy to talk to social activist Medha Patkar on the issue.
      "We will take the issue to the international forum," she said, adding the Amnesty International had been informed.
      Mahasweta Devi alleged that the UPA government at the Centre was also hand-in-glove with the state government because it took CPI-M's support. She charged the way Taslima was being held was 'inhuman.'
      [ 9 ]
      7 easy ways to avoid a cold

      January 31, 2008 |
      Cold and flu season seems to be upon us. Everywhere you look there are people sneezing, wheezing or looking downright miserable thanks to a stuffy nose, sore throat or heavy head -- and there seems no way of escaping it. However, if you are determined to keep the common cold at bay, try these seven easy-to-do steps.
      ·         The hands-off approach: The cold virus resides in the nose and is most contagious during the first three days of a cold. So, if you have a cold, try not to use your hands to shield a sneeze or cough. The nasal secretions will transfer the virus to your hands and then on to everything else you touch.

      If you haven't yet fallen prey to the cold virus, the first thing to do keep your hands clean. For most of us, at work, at home or outdoors, it's impossible to keep your hands as clean as they could possibly be. The best thing to do is avoid touching your nose, mouth and face.

      The cold virus can be transferred even from brief contact with a person suffering from a cold or a contaminated surface, so try wash your hands as often as you can or buy a hand sanitiser available at almost all medical stores.
      ·         Liquids: Make sure you liquid intake is high, whether in the form of water or juices. The fluids will help flush out the toxins in your system and keep illness at bay.
      ·         Air it out: For most city-dwellers, air conditioned offices and homes are inescapable. While this modern convenience is no doubt a blessing, it can also be a Pandora's box of illnesses. Thanks to the recirculated air, germs tend to reside in air-ducts with no place to go. If colds and coughs seem to be afflicting colleagues or relatives constantly, get your the ducts cleaned professionally and open the windows to let in some fresh air in.
      ·         Work it out: The internet abounds with studies and articles that demonstrate the benefits of regular exercise to the human immune system. Even 20 minutes of aerobics or moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week can make a world of difference to your body's energy levels and immunity.
      ·         Get a vitamin boost: Vitamins, particularly vitamin C, boost the immune system. If you're not the pill-popping type, load up on vitamins with plenty of green leafy vegetables, the red and yellow variety help too.
      ·         Cut down on smoking and drinking: According to health portal webmd.com, statistics show that heavy smokers are more prone to colds and suffer more severe bouts.

      Heavy alcohol consumption dries out the body, taking away valuable fluids. This again makes you susceptible to the cold virus. So, if you can't kick the habit completely, make sure to cut down your consumption to improve your chances of staving off cold.
      ·         Relax: Stress impacts your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. While it is easier said than done, there are methods by which you can teach yourself calming techniques, the most popular of which is yoga. Practice these techniques regularly to keep your mind and body in peak condition.
      [ 10 ]
      Make it compulsory for politicians to serve in the army!'

      January 31, 2008 |
      what they thought about compulsory recruitment to the Indian army.
      How much salary we will get?
      - Rohit Bansod
      Yes, it will be good if drafting is made compulsory in india and later on only those having gonr through this to be eligible to become ministers in state/central cabinets--we can effectively discard a lot of senile so called leaders.
      Kindly introduce reservation. It ll definitely fill all the vacancies.
      Now if you think reservations brings down quality, then Government must say that openly, and also explain why the other ministries can live with low quality.
      I do not think it it is good idea to introduce conscription in India . Give armymen better salaries only then more youngsters will come forward to join the Army.
      I would surely join!
      I think nobdy can force anybdy for anything they might make it mandatory but the passion comes from within to fight for your country they cant generate that feeling.A v bad example was set when an india army officer was killed
      in a war and his parents had to face a million pblms after that a movie was also made abt it called DHOOP. I think they should first try to eradicate corruption in army and they should increase the pay packages (money matters) and other facilities also like US ARMY.
      Compulsory military service is no solution for increasing the army officers in army... if you want good and quality young professionals find out why talented minds don't join army.. its due to lucricative salary and perks private company offers and also very strict life in army... increase pay and make army life a bit enjoyable then the same enthusiasm for joining army will be back among youth... for nuts you will get only monkeys....
      I think the law should be devise in such a way that a person should devote at least 2 year in Army as a prerequisite to contest in Election.

      Our leaders are nowhere stands capable in maintaining discipline,Fitness, Loyalty, Responsibility, courage etc.

      At least this rule will automatically ruled out so many unwanted politician who doesn't posess any of these qualities.
      Yes they shd, irresspective of the sex...just the way they do it in Israel .
      Population in the age group 18 to 35 is about 20 crores in India . Will the indian army able to handle this many. There will be chaos. Monetory compensation should be increased and size of indian army should be reduced instead of compulsory army training. This will not work in India .
      Ha ha good idea! Why not make it compulsory for all those craving for reservation. Any one who wants the benefit of 'reservation' should be in army for a specified period.
      Select a candidate for a govt job and make it compulsory that he serves 2 yrs in army before getting into it.
      [ 11 ]
      'Growth bypasses 77% of the people'

      January 31, 2008    High economic growth witnessed since 1991 has bypassed 77 per cent of the population, said Chairman of National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector Arjun Sengupta.

      "High rate of economic growth has bypassed 77 per cent of population, which is living on a meagre income of Rs 20 per day... barely sufficient to survive," he said, while addressing the eighth Editors' Conference on social sector issuesin New Delhion Thursday.

      The economic reforms have mainly benefited the 235 million middle class people, he said, adding, "that is why people have started talking about inclusive growth."

      Welcoming high growth he said, "it should be used an instrument to achieve inclusive growth...It has become a mantra, but in actual practice they do not do anything."

      Sengupta added that the lot of the extremely poor people has only improved marginally since the launch of the economic reforms and bulk of them are still vulnerable as one disaster could push them back into poverty syndrome.

      Suggesting that the country needs different kind of policy to improve the condition of poor people, he said, "a policy, which cannot be implemented is not a policy."

      Commenting on the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, he said, it has been successfully implemented in certain quarters and there was a need to replicate that experience in places where the scheme had failed to yield results.
      [ 12 ]
      Conditional hire & fire policy mooted

      January 31, 2008 |
      Making a case for liberalising labour laws, the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector suggested on Thursday adoption of conditional hire and fire policy, while safeguarding the interest of workers.

      "There is no harm in liberalising labour laws with a quid pro quo... unemployment insurance," NCEUS Chairman Arjun Sengupta said, while addressing the eighth Editor's Conference on social sector issues in New Delhi .

      NCEUS, which has undertaken a review of the Indian labour law, is likely to present its report to the government by February after consulting trade unions and industry chambers, he said.

      The suggestions would include amendments to the Industrial Dispute Act, which prohibit retrenchment of workers by enterprises employing over 100 persons without permission from the government.

      In addition, NCEUS would also be suggesting creation of a labour code to simplify labour laws in the country.

      Explaining the proposals being prepared by the Commission, NCEUS member K P Kannan said part of the unemployment insurance could be provided by the employers to ensure that retrenched worker has some kind of social security till he manages to find another job.

      Sengupta also dismissed the general apprehension that rigid labour laws are preventing employment generation but added, "flexible labour laws are needed as they would be good for the workers."
      [ 13 ]
      MTNL cuts call, broadband rates

      January 31, 2008
      Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited announced on Thursday a slew of offers which includes cut in rates of its services like mobile, landline, broadband, IPTV and VoIP.

      "Most of the private mobile operators have reduced their call rates to Re 1 per minute. We have gone a step further by fixing the rate to 90 paise per minute from our Dolphin and Trump mobile phones. This will help us increase our customer base," MTNL Executive Director J Gopal told reporters in Mumbai.

      MTNL had earlier reduced the call charges from Trump to MTNL landline from Rs 1.50 per minute to 90p per minute from January 1 this year. However from January 26, a flat rate of 90p per minute is applicable to calls to any local number of Mumbai across all operators.

      It has also reduced call rate to MTNL Delhi. Call rates from Dolphin post-paid has been reduced from Rs 1.65 to as low as 30 paise per minute and calls to MTNL Delhi from Trump prepaid are 90 paise per minute against earlier Rs 2 per minute.

      "We have a total 37 lakh subscriber base of which there are 14 lakh mobile subscribers. With these initiatives, we aim to add another 1.5 to 2 lakh subscribers by March-end," Gopal said.

      To improve its service, the telecom major is adding seven and a half lakh switching capacity for mobile network to existing 13.25 lakh and 300 base transmission stations for radio network to its existing 512.
      Company's other initiative include reduction in download charges of GPRS from 2p per kb to 1p kb for both pre-paid and post-paid customers. With effect from January 7, MTNL has started offering Combo Plans on landline services. In this plan the customers can get combination of landline, Broad Band, IPTV and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol which helps in making ISD calls at cheaper rates) at lower rates.

      Four such Combo Plans have been launched. Combo Broadband offers free 200 landline calls and 400 MB download in Rs 500 per month. Combo IPTV offers Landline with Broadband and IPTV services with 150 plus TV channels at Rs 500 per month.

      Combo VoIP -- offers Landline, Broadband and VoIP with 100 free landline calls and 400 min of VoIP talk time in just Rs 400 per month, he said.

      Combo Triple offers Landline, Broadband, VoIP and IPTV at Rs 750 only where the customers can get 400 MB free download, free over 150 TV channels and 400 min of free VoIP talktime.

      Another important initiative which became effective from January 29 is a free Trump SIM card as a loyalty scheme for all its existing Dolphin, Trump, landline and Garuda customers. This offer has been introduced to reward the loyal MTNL customers and extend the existing relationship with customers. The free SIM card worth Rs 150 comes with a talk time of Rs 53 with a talktime validity of 10 days, he added.
      [ 14 ]
      Who has the most gold in the world?

      January 31, 2008 |
      Gold trading at near-record highs above $900 an ounce begs the question: Who's got the most?
      If you guessed the US government, you're right, sort of. Most people automatically think of the bullion vault at Fort Knox , Tenn. The military installation does indeed hold a good stash of the US reserves, about 147 million ounces (out of 261 million total as of December.) Other reserves are socked away in the Philadelphia and Denver mints, the bullion depository at West Point , N.Y. , and other places.
      • Where the rich bank their money
      But the Federal Reserve Bank of New York holds the prize as the world's biggest known stockpile of gold, some 550,000 glistening bars of the stuff buried deep into the bedrock of lower Manhattan . That's $203.3 billion worth of gold in a single place. Just 2 to 5 per centof it is owned by the US government, though. The rest is owned by foreign countries.
      It's not the only horde in the world. As the prices of commodities continue to skyrocket, the vast stores held by banks, governments and commodities trading houses are increasingly valuable. Two cities, New York and London , are home to more metal than any other.
      In Manhattan , the Fed safeguards the gold of the world at no charge to the depositors, who only have to pay $1.75 per gold bar to have the stuff moved around the vault. If, for example, France wants to pay Russia for something in gold, it calls the Fed and has it move bars from its part of the vault to Russia 's part for the nominal transaction fee. When currencies were linked to the price of gold, transactions were aplenty, but that's no longer the case these days. Last year there was just one transaction conducted in the vault, a Fed spokesman said, declining, for obvious reasons, to add more detail.
      • Slideshow: World's richest sovereign wealth funds
      • Who manages your money?
      The New York Merchantile Exchange's commodities division trades a variety of metals, including gold, silver, copper and platinum, and keeps a vast storage of physical metal in vaults around New York City to back the futures contracts traded through its venue. At the moment, it has 7.4 million ounces, or $6.8 billion, worth of gold and 134.9 million ounces, or $2.2 billion, of silver in storage.
      But London is home to the world's largest stash of silver--and not because the government uses the pound sterling as its currency. JPMorgan keeps 155 million ounces of silver for Barclays to back its IShares silver electronically traded fund, which debuted in 2006.
      It's also the diamond capital of the world. De Beers holds 40 per centmarket share in diamonds and pretty much dominates the business, and it keeps "a few weeks" of supply at it's center in London , according to a spokesman.
      • Where the most wealth is stored
      England may not hold the title for much longer, though. De Beers and the Botswanan government are to unveil an $80 million state-of-the art sorting facility in March. It will be the new world diamond capital.
      Other emerging market nations are capitals of sparkle. Unlike other precious metals, platinum is spoken for almost before it leaves the ground (and the mines are mostly in South Africa ). Platinum, which trades at about $1,600 an ounce, is in high demand by manufacturers of flat-screen televisions, iPods and other consumer electronics and makers of catalytic converters. In Europe , it is used in diesel fuel. According to industry sources, there are no stockpiles of the white metal on the same scale as gold and silver. Comex, in New York , for example, stores only 5,575 ounces, or $8.9 million, of the metal.
      Colombia dominates the emerald market, and Victor Carranza dominates Colombia 's emerald business. His territory includes the Muzo region, near Bogata. He is credited with stopping drug cartels from trying to take over the emerald mines during the 1980s, but more recently ran into trouble himself when he was arrested in 1998 and charged with organizing death squads. He was released from prison in 2002.
      About 90 per centof the world's rubies come from Myanmar , the subject of considerable controversy these days. Last year, there were widespread calls for boycotts of the government auctions of raw gems. US First Lady Laura Bush said buying the gems supports the "repressive" government of Myanmar , which last October held a bloody crackdown on protests by monks and students. Once plucked from the ground, most rubies are sent to Chataburi , Thailand , to be cut.
      Sapphires come out of the ground in Sri Lanka and Madagascar but like rubies are sent to Thailand , and increasingly, Hong Kong , for cutting.
      But one metal, and one place, top all the rest. The Department of Energy's Pantex Plant in Amarillo , Texas , has 6,000 pits of plutonium. You can't buy it, but if you could, you'd pay upward of $10,000 an ounce by some estimates. Total value? As they say in the credit card ads: priceless.
      [ 15 ]
      SME exchange likely by year-end: Damodaran

      January 31, 2008
      The stock-exchange exclusively for small and medium enterprisesis likely to be set up by this year-end, Sebi Chairman M Damodaran said on Thursday.

      "We will put in place an SME exchange. This should hopefully happen in the year 2008," Damodaran said, while inaugurating the 5th Annual Conference on Capital Markets organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Mumbai.

      The Sebi Board has already given an in-principle approval for the proposal in its last meeting, he said.


      (Message over 64 KB, truncated)
    • sanjaykumar kakkad
      [ 1 ] ... Microsoft Offers $44.6B for Yahoo Friday February 1, Microsoft Makes Unexpected $44.6B Bid for Yahoo; Internet Icon Is Studying It SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
      Message 2 of 15 , Feb 1, 2008
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        [ 1 ]

        Microsoft Offers $44.6B for Yahoo
        Friday February 1, Microsoft Makes Unexpected $44.6B Bid for Yahoo; Internet Icon Is Studying It SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. has pounced on slumping Internet icon Yahoo Inc. with an unsolicited takeover offer of $44.6 billion in its boldest bid yet to challenge Google Inc.'s dominance of the lucrative online search and advertising markets. The Justice Department says it is interested in reviewing antitrust issues associated with it.
        The surprise offer of $31 per share, made late Thursday and announced Friday, seizes on Yahoo's weakness while Microsoft tries to muscle up in a high-stakes battle with Google likely to define the technology landscape for years to come.
        In a statement Friday, Yahoo said it will "carefully and promptly" study Microsoft's bid.
        With its profits steadily sliding, Yahoo's stock slipped to a four-year low earlier this week and a new management team has been trying to steer a turnaround but sees more turbulence through 2008.
        The announcement lifted Yahoo's share price by almost 50 percent in morning trading, while Google fell almost 8 percent, dragged down by a fourth-quarter earnings report that missed Wall Street expectations.
        In conference call Friday morning, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer indicated he won't take no for an answer after Yahoo rebuffed takeover overtures a year ago.
        "This is a decision we have -- and I have -- thought long and hard about," Ballmer said. "We are confident it's the right path for Microsoft and Yahoo."
        To underscore its resolve, Microsoft is offering a 62 percent premium to Yahoo's closing stock price Thursday. If the deal is consummated, it would be by far the largest acquisition in Microsoft's history, eclipsing last year's $6 billion purchase of online ad service aQuantive.
        Since reaching a 52-week high of $34.08 in October, Yahoo shares have fallen 46 percent. Yahoo climbed $9.41 a share, or 49 percent, to $28.59 in morning trading. Microsoft shares fell $1.43, or 4.4 percent, to $31.17.
        Microsoft publicly disclosed its cash-and-stock offer in hopes of rallying support from Yahoo's shareholders, making it more difficult for Yahoo's board to turn down the bid.
        In a letter released Friday, Ballmer pointedly noted Yahoo's financial performance has deteriorated since Microsoft was spurned a year ago. At that time, Ballmer said he was told Yahoo believed it was better off on its own.
        "A year has gone by, and the competitive situation has not improved," Ballmer wrote in his letter.
        Microsoft's previous offer was rebuffed by Terry Semel, who stepped aside last year as chief executive under shareholder pressure.
        Microsoft sent its latest takeover offer to Yahoo late Thursday, shortly after Semel resigned as the company's chairman. The letter is addressed to Semel's successors, new Chairman Roy Bostock and the current CEO, co-founder Jerry Yang, who is one of Yahoo's largest shareholders.
        In a prepared statement, Yahoo said its board "will evaluate this proposal carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."
        Microsoft views Yahoo as its best chance to thwart Google, which has leveraged its leadership in Internet search and advertising to emerge as an increasingly serious threat to the world's largest software maker's persuasive influence on how people interact with computers.
        Google already controls nearly 60 percent of the U.S. search market, and has been widening its lead, despite concerted efforts by both second-place Yahoo and third-place Microsoft. By combining, Microsoft and Yahoo would have a 33 percent share of the U.S. search market, according to the latest data from comScore Media Metrix.
        By joining forces, Microsoft and Yahoo also would widen their narrowing advantage over Google in providing free e-mail accounts -- a service that helps foster more loyalty with users and create more advertising opportunities.
        Advertisers around the world are expected to double their spending on the Internet during the next three years as more people get their news and entertainment on the Web instead of television, radio, newspapers and magazine. The trend is expected to create an $80 billion online ad market in 2010, up from an estimated $40 billion last year.
        Despite an aggressive push in recent years, Microsoft's online advertising expansion hasn't paid off. Last week, the Redmond, Wash.-based company reported a 79 percent jump in its overall profit, but its online division's loss widened to $245 million.
        And Yahoo has been struggling to attract more advertising even though its Web site attracts one of the biggest audiences. The Sunnyvale-based company's profit has declined for five consecutive quarters, prompting plans to cut 1,000 jobs later this month, a 7 percent reduction of its 14,300-employee work force.
        Besides helping to boost its online ad revenue, Microsoft believes it could mine more profit from Yahoo by jettisoning workers and eliminating overlapping operations.
        Microsoft said it sees at least $1 billion in cost savings if it buys Yahoo. Microsoft executives deflected questions about how many jobs might be lost, but the company emphasized retention packages will be offered to Yahoo engineers and other key employees, including some executives.
        The fate of Yahoo's brand also is unclear if Microsoft takes over. Both Ballmer and Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, hailed Yahoo's strong brand value but didn't commit to keeping the name alive.
        Yahoo: Internet portal under pressure from Google
        SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo, the target of a 44.6-billion-dollar offer from Microsoft, is one of the most popular Internet search engines but its fortunes have suffered due to Google's unrelenting rise.

        The company was set up in 1994 by David Filo and Jerry Yang, both students at Stanford University in California, starting off as a simple phone book on the Web. It gets its name from "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," which is how it was dubbed at the beginning.

        It was listed on the stock market in 1996 and is based in Sunnyvale, California, with offices in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia and Canada.

        Currently chairman, Jerry Yang returned to the group last June as its results fell in the face of ever increasing competition from Google.

        By the end of 2007, Yahoo was ranked second in the Internet search market, with a share of 12.8 percent but dwarfed by Google with 62.4 percent, according to industry monitor Comscore.

        Govt proposes minimum 25% public stake in listed firms
        1 Feb, 2008,
        MUMBAI: The government on Friday proposed that 25 per cent of a listed company's equity should rest with the public, in a change to stock market listing rules it said should apply both to government and private firms.

        A proposal from the finance ministry said powers of the stock exchanges to relax listing conditions needed to be withdrawn and powers of the market regulator to do so may also be taken away.

        "A large number of shares distributed among a large number of shareholders is essential for the sustenance of a continuous market for listed securities to provide liquidity to the investors and to discover fair prices," the statement said.

        "The larger the public float, the less is the scope for price manipulation," it said.

        A discussion paper had been placed on the finance ministry's Web site.


        Reliance Power on Friday announced it had allotted shares to 4.2 million investors but over 450,000 retail investors who bid for less than 225 shares got none.
        Following its record breaking initial public offer (IPO), Reliance Power, part of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, completed the allotment of shares across the country and overseas.
        Over 4.17 million successful bidders in the retail category will get around 15 shares each, based on the criteria followed by the company.
        The company also commenced refunding excess application money on Friday. The refunds to qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) and non-institutional investors (NIIs) were credited electronically.
        Post allotment, Reliance Power now has approximately 4.2 million shareholders. The equity shares offered through this IPO will be listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) shortly.
        According to a Reliance Power announcement, the allotment and refund exercise post closure of the IPO has been carried out in a record time of 10 working days, considering it was by far the largest in the history of Indian capital market.
        The Reliance Power IPO attracted over five million bids from all categories of domestic and international investors with aggregate commitment of over Rs 750 billion as against the issue size of Rs 115.6 billion.
        The 60 per cent of the issue reserved for QIBs was oversubscribed 82.5 times. Five per cent of this category has been allotted on a proportionate basis to mutual funds.
        An aggregate of 446 domestic and international QIBs will receive only 1.2 percent of their applied quantity of shares.
        Ten percent of the issue reserved for NIIs was oversubscribed 159.6 times. About 12,000 NIIs will receive only 0.6 percent of their applied quantity of shares.
        Thirty per cent of the issue reserved for retail investors was oversubscribed 13.6 times. They have been issued shares at a discount of Rs 20 at Rs 430 per Share.
        The excess application money of approximately Rs 1 trillion received from the investors is being refunded.
        Reliance Power Ltd will develop, construct and operate power generation projects. The company is developing 12 power projects with a combined planned installed capacity of 28,000 MW, one of the largest portfolios of power generation assets under development.

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      • sanjaykumar kakkad
        ok ... Bollywood, fun, friendship, sports and more. You name it, we have it.
        Message 3 of 15 , Apr 6, 2008
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          Bollywood, fun, friendship, sports and more. You name it, we have it.
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