Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Development of Vikhroli land to cost Rs 1K cr: Adi Godrej

Godrej Industries and Godrej Properties seem to have arrived at some kind of a sharing formula for the Vikhroli property development, said Udayan Mukherjee, Managing Director, CNBC-TV18. Godrej Industries is going to join Godrej Properties for developing the Vikhroli land. It will get 40% profit from the Vikhroli property development.

Commenting on the same, Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Industries, said there is an arm length agreement between Godrej Industries and Godrej Properties. "Godrej Properties will bring in investments for development."

Godrej said the Vikhroli project is among the largest in Mumbai. "We will start development within FY11 itself. Property development of 300-400 million square feet will take 3-4 years to complete. The cost of development is around Rs 1,000 crore, which spread over four years." He said the current property rates in Vikhroli are Rs 8,000-10,000 per square feet.

Soap business:

Godrej Consumer Products, he stated, saw poor growth in the soap business in Q1. "Soap business growth was low on account of the base effect. However, growth is expected to be robust in Q3 and Q4."

The company's Q1 FY11 consolidated net profit stood at Rs 116 crore as against Rs 69.7 crore. Net sales came in at Rs 643 crore as compared to Rs 439 crore.

Godrej said the pricing is competitive and hence GCPL does not need to cut prices.

Major plane crash near Islamabad; 152 feared dead

A plane on Wednesday crashed into the Margalla Hills, about 30 kms away from Islamabad airport, behind the Pakistani capital Islamabad. All 152 passengers and crew on board the plane are feared dead. Smoke was seen rising through heavy clouds, police and rescue service officials said.

Bad weather is supposed to be the cause of the accident.

The plane was coming from Turkey to Islamabad via Karachi. The accident site is a difficult terrain where no direct road is made.

Emergency has been declared in all Islamabad hospitals.

Congress issues whip to MPs to be present in Parliament

The Congress on Wednesday issued a whip to its MPs to be present in the Parliament in the backdrop of the Opposition move to press for an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha on the price rise issue.

Congress sources said the whip has been issued to ensure presence of members in the Parliament.

Party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that Congress was prepared for a detailed discussion under a rule that does not entail voting.

Asked if UPA allies DMK and TMC will back the government, he said, “Let the Opposition not doubt our unity.”

On the Congress strategy in Parliament, he said, “We have only one strategy that is that Parliament should work and we have some productive output...A lot of bills are pending“.

The move to issue the whip comes after the Bharatiya Janata Party had said on Tuesday that it would settle for nothing less than an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha to discuss the price rise issue and warned that Government’s refusal would lead to a “confrontation“.

“It is a serious issue related to the common man and anything less than an adjournment motion would not serve the purpose,” party’s deputy leader in the lower house Gopinath Munde had said.

He had said if the Government failed to heed to BJP’s demand, it would lead to a “confrontation“.

Mr. Munde had said the party will demand a debate on price rise issue in the Rajya Sabha under Rule 168, which also entails voting, and request the Chair to keep aside the Question Hour.

“Almost all opposition parties have demanded an adjournment motion and discussion on the issue under any other rule will be unacceptable,” he had sai

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wipro achieves a quarterly profit of 31 percent

Wipro, third-largest software provider has beaten expectations by posting a 31 percent rise in its quarterly profit.

"We had a strong quarter particularly in our after tax profit growth, our revenue grew by 16 percent and we had industry leading growths in profit after tax of 31 percent year on year," said Chairman Azim Premji.

Azim Premji further noted that in spite of the Europe crisis, the company has witnessed a strong demand for their services.

"In spite of all the reading which we have been doing on the Europe crisis, we are still finding demand is strong. It doesn't seem to have been in any way significantly affected over the past three months and traction is good both in Europe, in America, in Asia Pacific and of course in India and Middle East," he added.

Wipro shares rose to Rs 433 before ending lower at Rs 412 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday. (ANI)

Pakistan needs 40 runs to beat Australia

Pakistan is on the verge of its first Test victory over Australia in 15 years, requiring 40 runs to level the two-match series with two days remaining following impressive performances from Mohammad Aamer and Imran Farhat.

After Aamer claimed 4-86 as Australia was bowled out for 349 to leave Pakistan requiring 180 to win, Farhat scored 67 to steer his team to 140-3 at stumps on the third day at Headingley.

Farhat hit nine fours in 95 balls, while Azhar Ali is unbeaten on 47 with five boundaries in 104 deliveries.

Australia opening bowler Doug Bollinger was the pick of the attack, taking 2-37 from eight overs.

Earlier, a belligerent 77 from all-rounder Steven Smith allowing Australia to set Pakistan a tricky target that would have seemed unimaginable after its first innings of 88.

Smith’s innings lasted 100 balls and included two sixes and nine fours, as Australia’s last three wickets added 103 runs.

Michael Clarke hit 77 from 143 balls, including seven fours, while Ricky Ponting made 66 from 116 balls, with seven boundaries.

Australia began the day on 136-2 and, after surviving a series of appeals on Thursday, Ponting’s good fortune continued when he edged a delivery from Mohammad Asif just wide of second slip at the end of the second over of the day.

But the captain’s luck finally ran out in the next over, when Ponting slashed at a wide delivery from Aamer and was caught by tumbling wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.

Michael Hussey was Aamer’s next wicket, nicking the third ball of the 48th over to Umar Akmal at second slip for 8.

In Aamer’s next over, he bowled Marcus North for 0, to leave Australia five wickets down and still trailing by six runs.

That left Clarke as Australia’s sole specialist batsmen and he brought up his 50, from 99 balls, in the 52nd over with a single from Aamer.

A power failure in Leeds meant the players had to continue without a scoreboard or the services of the television umpire.

Clarke and Tim Paine survived to lunch only for Clarke, having batted for four hours, to perish in the second over of the afternoon session, caught behind off Asif.

Danish Kaneria claimed his first wicket of the Test with one of the worst balls of the match, a rank long hop that Paine chopped straight to Umar Gul at cover in the 75th over while on 33.

However, Smith and Mitchell Johnson added 37 potentially crucial runs to increase Australia’s lead to more than 100, before Johnson was lbw to Asif in the 85th for 12.

Ben Hilfenhaus hit three fours during the 88th over bowled by Aamer before he was caught on 17 by Umar Akmal at first slip off Kaneria.

Smith brought up his first Test 50 with a sweep off Kaneria three overs later, then hit successive sixes off the same bowler, including one that landed on the roof of the rugby stand.

Smith was bowled in the 96th over by Gul, but by then the lead had been extended beyond the 176 that Pakistan had notoriously failed to reach at Sydney in January - when Australia overcame a 206-run deficit to win by 36 runs.

Farhat was on 4 in the third over of the run chase when he was dropped by Shane Watson at first slip.

The breakthrough came with the first ball of the sixth over, when Hilfenhaus claimed the prize wicket of Pakistan captain Salman Butt, who was caught by Clarke at second slip.

However, Farhat and Ali calmed Pakistan’s nerves with a century stand for the second wicket.

Ali glanced an exasperated Shane Watson for successive fours at the end of the 20th over before Farhat reached his 50 with a magnificent cover drive off Johnson seven overs later.

Bollinger revived Australian hopes when he bowled Farhat in the 33rd over, then had Umar Amin caught behind in the 34th.

With the match poised, neither captain chose to ask for the extra half hour.

Brain scans could guide career choices

Brain scans may guide a person toward the optimal career, new research suggests.

The results show people's cognitive strengths and weaknesses are linked to differences in the volume of gray matter in certain parts of the brain.

As such the findings offer "the possibility that brain scans could be used in the future to develop a profile of a person's gray matter in different areas of the brain," Richard Haier of the University of California, School of Medicine (Emeritus), Irvine, told LiveScience. "And this profile could be used to help people decide what kinds of vocations they might be good at just like test scores are used."

Brain voxels

Haier and his colleagues analyzed data from 40 people, ages 18 to 35, who took eight aptitude tests used by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation (JOCRF) for career guidance. They also had structural brain scans, which showed the volume of gray matter for each of millions of 3-dimensional units, called voxels, in the brain images.

The tests included those for two kinds of memory (verbal and number), two types of numerical ability, speed of reasoning, and two types of spatial aptitude.

Results showed if one were to look at a general memory test score you'd be missing part of the picture. If a person was good at, say, verbal memory and not so much in numerical, their patterns of gray matter would differ from someone with high overall memory but low verbal type.

Future career counselors?

Brain scans could be used to complement the aptitude tests to give a more reliable idea of a person's ideal career.

"Nobody is suggesting brain scans would predict this so well you wouldn't need to talk to anybody, although this is a science-fiction possibility, but whether society would accept this is dubious," Haier said. (Source:

North Korea warns of nuclear 'sacred war'

North Korea says it will use its "nuclear deterrent" in response to joint US-South Korean military exercises this weekend.

Pyongyang was ready to launch a "retaliatory sacred war" at any time, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Washington and Seoul say the war games are to deter North Korean aggression.

Tensions between the two Koreas have been high since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

An international investigation said the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, a claim strongly denied by Pyongyang.

The BBC's John Sudworth, in Seoul, says this is not the first time that North Korea has issued such a warning.

Although it is likely to be dismissed as the usual diplomatic brinkmanship, the rising tension will cause concern among governments in the region, he adds.

'War of words'

The North's powerful National Defence Commission said the war games were "nothing but outright provocations aimed to stifle the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [North Korea] by force of arms," the KCNA reported.

"The army and people of the DPRK will start a retaliatory sacred war of their own style based on nuclear deterrent any time necessary in order to counter the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces deliberately pushing the situation to the brink of a war," it added.

In response, the White House said it was not interested in a "war of words" with North Korea.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said the US wanted "more constructive action and fewer provocative words" from Pyongyang.

The North had already promised a physical response to the military exercises during an Asian regional security forum in Vietnam on Friday.

North Korea's delegation spokesman at the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) regional forum said the exercises were an example of 19th century "gunboat diplomacy".

"It is a threat to the Korean peninsula and the region of Asia as a whole," he said.

China warning

The war games - which begin on Sunday - will involve the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 20 other ships and submarines, 100 aircraft and 8,000 personnel.

China has criticised the plans and warned against any action which might "exacerbate regional tensions".

But Japan is sending four military observers, in an apparent endorsement of the drills.

The US announced on Wednesday that it was to impose new sanctions on North Korea, aimed at halting nuclear proliferation and the import of luxury goods.

Shah’s resignation has come too late: Congress

The Congress on Saturday said that the resignation of Gujarat Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, has come too late in the day.

“Since he was involved, he should have resigned much earlier and now that the charge sheet has been filed, he has put in his papers. This has come too late in the day,” Rajiv Shukla, AICC coordinator for Gujarat, said.

On the Bharatiya Janata Party’s attack on the Congress and the Centre for allege misuse of the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case, he said the investigation has been ordered by none other than the Supreme Court.

Mr. Shah’s resignation comes a day after the CBI charged him with kidnapping and murder of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi in November 2005.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sensex leaps past 18K to close at 30-month high

The Indian markets did a spectacular turnaround to close with big gains for a second day today. The benchmark indices closed above key psychological levels mirroring global markets. This is the highest close of Sensex since 15 February 2008.

The BSE Sensex closed at 18,113 up 135 points and the NSE Nifty climbed 42 points to settle at 5,441.

At 3.40 pm, the Dow Futures were trading at 10,157 indicating that the Wall Street might open almost 100 points higher. The European markets were all trading high suggesting that investors are more confident about the global economy than the Fed.

On Wednesday, Fed's Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the 'economic outlook remained unusually uncertain'. Bernanke was addressing the bi-annual testimony of the Congress. The Wall Street had slumped on Fed’s cautious outlook as investors switched to risk averse investment strategies.

Today morning, the Indian markets opened in the red tracking weak trade in Asian markets. The Asian markets closed in the red barring the Chinese markets that extended their gains to a third day today. The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.62 per cent to 9,220. The Kospi in South Korea fell 0.76 per cent.

The markets were flat for most part of the day until the last hour of trade when global sentiments sent the key indices soaring.

Metals extended their gains and the metal index rose 1.28 per cent. Tata Steel gained 1.94 per cent and Sterlite Industries rose 1.56 per cent. Investors also piled up defensive stocks though. Consumer durables led the gains, the index ending 1.41 per cent higher. FMCG stocks rose too. ITC rose 1.64 per cent. The company also reported good earnings today. Its net profit rose Rs 1070 cr. vs Rs 879 cr. YoY.

IT was the only index to decline. Infosys was down 0.28 per cent.

25 stocks advanced on the Sensex while 5 declined. ITC, HDFC, SBI and Bharti were the index movers. Infosys was a drag. M&M was the biggest gainer on the Sensex while ACC the biggest loser.

Broader markets underperformed the benchmark indices. The BSE small cap index gained 0.27 per cent and the CNX midcap rose 0.30 per cent. 51 per cent stocks advanced on the BSE indicating that the market breadth remained positive.

Bajaj Auto gained 3.15 per cent. The company's net profit more than doubled. United Breweries rose 20.34 per cent. The company's sales increased 37 per cent YoY and PAT rose 114 per cent YoY.

ACC fell 1.06 per cent. Its net profit declined YoY. PNB declined 0.48 per cent on results.

Everonn rose 0.95 per cent. SKIL will make an offer for 20 per cent stake in the company.

Power Grid rose 1.60 per cent. The government has approved a FPO for the PSU.

North Korea denounces US sanctions

North Korea has denounced a new set of sanctions imposed by the United States in an attempt to stem Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

Ri Tong Il, a North Korean official, said on Thursday that the sanctions, announced a day earlier by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, represented a "clear expression of intensified hostility".

"If the US is truly interested in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, it must take the lead in creating an atmosphere [for dialogue] rather than hurting such an atmosphere by ... imposing sanctions," Ri said on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Hanoi.

Ri, a member of the North Korean delegation at the Asean forum, made the comments as Clinton arrived in the Vietnamese capital to attend the regional conference.

Clinton was expected to discuss the North Korean issue further during talks with ministers at the forum.

She was due to meet Yang Jiechi, her Chinese counterpart, on Thursday to urge Beijing to put more pressure on the North over its nuclear programme.

Nuclear weapons ambitions

Clinton had announced the new measures against Pyongyang during a visit to South Korea on Wednesday.

She said the sanctions were designed to stamp out illegal money-making ventures used to fund North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

The sanctions would be aimed at the sale or procurement of arms and related goods as well as the procurement of luxury items.

Clinton also used her visit to urge North Korea to accept responsibility for the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which left 46 sailors dead.

The US has announced a series of joint military exercises aimed at deterring the North from any future attack.

Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, and his South Korean counterpart Kim Tae-Young said the drills off the Korean peninsula's western coast were designed "to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behaviour must stop".

However, Ri on Thursday criticised the planned naval drills, saying the military exercises pose a major threat to global peace.

"The decision to hold military drills is a major danger for the security of the region," he said.

"Such movements pose a great threat not only to the peace and security of the Korean peninsula but also to global peace and security."

The US has sent the 97,000-tonne aircraft carrier USS George Washington to take part in the drill set to begin on Sunday in the Sea of Japan.

The exercises will involve about 20 ships and 200 fixed-wing aircraft, according to military officials.

The drills are the first overt military response to the sinking of the Cheonan, and underscore US support for Seoul.

The North has denied it is responsible for the incident and a United Nations Security Council statement condemning the sinking did not name North Korea as the culprit, apparently after Chinese pressure.

Will be happy if someone can do my job better: Chidambaram

Replying to continued criticism of his "anti-Maoist policy" by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, home minister P Chidambaram has said he will be the "happiest person if someone can do the job better".

"He (Digvijay Singh) is the general secretary of the party. He wrote an article in your paper. I am doing a job and I am doing my job to the best of my ability," Chidambaram said in an interview published in the Economic Times on Thursday.

On April 14, eight days after an attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh killed 76 security personnel, Digvijay Singh wrote that Chidambaram's policy "was a narrow sectarian view, treating it as a purely law and order problem".

He repeated the views in an interview to IANS on July 15 and to a news channel later, saying he had "no regrets in criticising Chidambaram".

Chidambaram said the results in the fight against Maoists were mixed. "The problems are that this is a conflict that both sides wage under different sets of rules.

"The Naxals can choose a place and time. They do not wear uniforms. While on the other side, paramilitary forces have to function in a battalion. So there are inbuilt problems in waging this conflict," he said.

The minister said there was no evidence of any linkage between Maoists in India and Nepal. There is no evidence that those who train and fund Islamist terror are training Maoists in India, he said.

"I have no evidence of the Trinamool Congress having links with the Naxals," he replied when asked about links between mainstream parties and Maoists.

"This is a canard being spread by the Communist Party of India-Marxist," Chidmabaram said.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

West Bengal train accident: Locals turn Samaritans at train disaster site

They have been working tirelessly but silently since the Uttarbanga Express crashed into the Vananchal Express at the Sainthia station in Birbhum district, ferrying the injured, donating blood and helping out in the morgue. Monkhush Hossain Khan, a resident of Joramath Churmura area here collected a group of young men and drove them in his truck to the Sainthia station 40 km away after hearing about the accident. Khan and his band of Samaritans after reaching Sainthia ferried the injured to the Suri Sadar Hospital and the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital in the neighbouring district.

"We went to work at 4:00 am yesterday and have been continuing since. We only took a two hour break to bathe and change our clothes which were soiled with blood and dirt," Khan told PTI here. He said that his group of young volunteers took over 20 injured passengers of the Vananchal Express to the Suri Hospital after rescuing them from the wrecked bogies. "Some of them were referred by doctors at the hospital here to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital and we wasted no time in driving them there. I hope they survive," he said.

Now that the injured were in hospital and rescue operations over, Khan and the young Samaritans are helping out at the morgue. Besides Khan there are other volunteers too from this district town who turned out to help out when disaster struck. "When word went around that there was a shortage of blood at the hospital because of the large number of injured, a few hundred of us immediately turned up to donate blood," a citizen said, declining to be named. The morgue employees too have been working ceaselessly sine the train collision and Ratan Dom, who head's the department, says he has handled over 40 bodies so far. Several local clubs also arranged food and water for distraught family members of the dead and injured. The train mishap has claimed 66 people so far and injured 83 others.

Salman Butt to lead new-look Pakistan against Australia

Second Test, Headingley: Pakistan v Australia
Dates: 21-25 July 1030 BST each day

Salman Butt takes charge of Pakistan for the first time as they bid to level the two-match series with Australia in Wednesday's final Test at Headingley. The 25-year-old opener was handed the reins after Shahid Afridi decided to quit Tests after the series finishes. It is unclear if Afridi will play, with Shoaib Malik a possible replacement, while spinner Saeed Ajmal may return.

Australia, who won the Lord's Test by 150 runs, have fitness doubts regarding Marcus North and Ben Hilfenhaus. North took six wickets with his occasional off-spin as Australia ripped through the Pakistan batting in the second innings at Lord's but missed training on Monday because of illness. Paceman Hilfenhaus, who took three wickets in the first Test, injured a shoulder while fielding. Peter George, the uncapped 23-year-old South Australia seamer is in contention to replace him, with Victorian seamer Clint McKay, who has played one Test, another option.

Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja, a 23-year-old left-handed middle order batsman and right-arm seamer from New South Wales, is in line to deputise for North and make his international debut. Vice-captain Michael Clarke is not concerned by the possibility of an inexperienced Australian line-up because of the stability provided by skipper Ricky Ponting. "Having such a class player, let alone a great leader, helps the younger, inexperienced guys come through and learn faster," he said. Pakistan's problems have been in the batting department, with former captains Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf banned for life after the 3-0 Test series defeat in Australia in the winter.

The Pakistan Cricket Board subsequently relaxed those bans and Yousuf told reporters in Karachi on Monday that he would be prepared to play under the captaincy of Butt. That is unlikely to happen in time for this match, and Younus, a more realistic option because he is in England playing for Surrey, is also not expected to return for this series. Butt admitted the timing of his elevation to the captaincy following Afridi's decision to step down came as something of a surprise.

"I knew nothing about it beforehand, but I have respect for his honest opinion," the left-hander said.

"Being vice-captain meant that if anything goes wrong you are the next man, so I was partially ready for something like this, but I didn't expect him to retire like this."

Butt's first task at the helm is to try to prevent a 14th successive defeat for his team against Ponting's Australians.

One move that might be made is to recall 32-year-old Ajmal, who has 18 wickets from his five Tests, the most recent of which was against Australia at Melbourne on Boxing Day last year.

Lockerbie questions 'for British government'

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said questions being asked about the Lockerbie bomber are matters for the UK government.

Prime Minister David Cameron is to meet US senators to discuss allegations BP lobbied for his release.

Mr MacAskill said he refused a bid to move Abelbaset Ali al-Megrahi to a Libyan jail under a prisoner transfer agreement between the UK and Libya.

Instead he released him on health grounds due to his terminal cancer.

Senators from New York and New Jersey want to meet Mr Cameron over the release of al-Megrahi.

BP has admitted lobbying the UK government in 2007 over a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) with Libya, but denied specifically discussing the man convicted

of the Lockerbie bombing.

A prisoner transfer request was made by Libya in May 2009, less than a week after a treaty allowing prisoners to be transferred was ratified.

However, Mr MacAskill stressed that when he released al-Megrahi in August last year it was not under that deal.

"We can understand the questions that are being asked in the United States regarding oil and what may or may not have been done by the British government,"

he said.

"These relate to the prisoner transfer agreement, to the application made by Mr al-Megrahi.

"I refused that because I too had concerns as to what may or may not have been done and whether it had been made an assurance to families that he would serve

his sentence here."

He said he could understand the questions being raised by the US Secretary of State and senators.

"But these are questions that have to be answered by the British government," he said.

"It was the British government that perhaps did a deal in the desert but that will be for them to state and for the senators to discover."

Angelina Jolie too busy to keep fit

American actress Angelina Jolie has admitted that she's struggling to find time to exercise.

The Oscar-winning actress said that motherhood put a break in her exercise regime for reaching peak condition for her new action movie Salt.

Jolie has six children - three adopted and three with her partner Brad Pitt.

"The thing is when you have six kids you say, 'I just don't have the time to train like I did for Tomb Raider'," The Daily Express quoted Jolie as saying.

"A lot of it for me was just getting back into shape at all. It had been so long since I'd worked and I'd had babies and it was just actually getting my

boots back on and punching again. So we really crammed it in pretty fast," she added.

17 swine flu cases in West Bengal

The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in West Bengal this year has risen to 17, a health official said Tuesday.

'Till late Monday three people were admitted in hospital after testing positive for swine flu. With this, the total number of confirmed cases of HIN1 has

gone up to 17,' said a press statement issued by the state health department.

In 2009, a total of 135 people were affected by swine flu in the state.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Profile: Mandla Zwelivelile Mandela

Mandla Zwelivelile Mandela, 36, is emerging as a powerful figure in South Africa, as he trades on the name of his grandfather, the legendary Nelson Mandela, to build a political and business career for himself.

He first shot into the public limelight in 2007 when he was appointed chief of the Traditional Council in Mvezo, birthplace of the anti-apartheid icon.

Community elders offered the chieftaincy to Mr Mandela, but he rejected it in favour of Mandla, whose father was Makgatho, Mr Mandela's late son by his first wife, Evelyn.

Recalling in an interview with South Africa's News 24 media channel how he became aware of his blood ties to Mr Mandela, then a political prisoner, Mandla said: "I started becoming conscientised of the name in the mid-1980s when riots started in Soweto and everyone was shouting 'Viva Mandela' and I always asked my father: 'Why is our name being shouted in the street?' It was only then that he started introducing me to the identity."

He suggested that Mr Mandela had chosen him as his heir.

'Serious and very respectful'

"In 2002, after I had been out of school for a good seven or eight years, he [Mr Mandela] insisted that I should go back to study.

He really wanted to ensure that if there was a next one in mind to take over and look after the Mandela legacy he needed that individual to have a strong foundation," said Mandla, who later graduated with a politics degree from South Africa's Rhodes University.

Peter Vale, a lecturer at the university, says Mandla was "not in the top drawer academically, but he was serious and very respectful."

Mandla began to play a high-profile political role during last year's bitterly-fought election campaign when he threw his weight behind the African National Congress (ANC) and its controversial leader Jacob Zuma in their campaign to stave off a challenge from a breakaway party, the Congress of the People (Cope).

Amidst intense speculation that the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which is officially in charge of the former president's affairs, wanted him to stay out of the divisive campaign, Mr Mandela surprised observers by sharing public platforms with Mr Zuma and Mandla, a possible sign of the grandson's influence over the nonagenarian.

"He [Mr Mandela] gave his life to the party and he decides for himself. And who is Jakes Gerwel [the chairman of the board of trustees of the Nelson Mandela Foundation] to tell me where to take my grandfather?" he told Johannesburg's Mail & Guardian newspaper.


The ANC rewarded Mandla by nominating him to parliament but, says Mr Vale, he "will struggle to go far politically. The big figure of the man will always be there.

"This is not like the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty of India. There was sort of a tradition there that the children will follow. I don't think that will happen [in South Africa]. The ANC is too contested," Mr Vale adds.

Mandla, however, seems determined to portray himself as Mr Mandela's flag-bearer.

"In my veins runs the blood of the Mandelas which has been around for centuries," he once boasted.

In another sign that he relishes his new status, he insisted, during a legal battle to evict a tenant from a Mandela home in Soweto, on being called Chief Zwelivelile, a Xhosa name which means "the nation has appeared", and given to him after a circumcision ceremony in 1993.

Extremely wealthy

Says Mr Vale: "This is a young man with an extraordinary amount of gravitas, and a lot of confidence.

"But it will be difficult for him to carry the burden [of being a Mandela]. It always is with these things."

Already, his private life, and especially his divorce from his first wife, Tando, has come under media scrutiny, with reports that she was demanding a share of their joint estate.

In court papers, she said he earned 700,000 rand ($92,000; £62,000) a year as an MP, 800,000 rand ($105,000; £71,000) a year from a freight company, and that he had more than 5m rand($658,000; £444,000) in bank accounts.

South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper also fuelled speculation that he was extremely wealthy, reporting that he had declared, in the parliamentary register, shareholdings and interests in eight companies.

"He seems to be caught up with the glitz and glamour of rapacious capitalism. It is one of the problems with young people in South Africa, and he suffers from it too," Mr Vale says.

"The goals of the liberation struggle have become completely distorted."

Cong raps Karnataka CM for giving clean chit to Reddy brothers

Slamming the Karnataka government for avoiding a CBI inquiry in the illegal mining of iron ore and giving a clean chit to the Reddy brothers, Congress today charged Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa with being a "partner in the loot".

"His (Yeddyurappa's) statement is not befitting that of a chief minister. He has spoken like an agent of the illegal mining mafia. Last week, he had himself admitted that illegal mining is going on in Karnataka and iron ore to the tune of 35 lakh tonnes was illegally exported from the state," AICC General Secretary BK Hariprasad told reporters in New Delhi.

He said after giving a statement on the extent of illegal mining, Yeddyurappa is now giving a clean chit to those involved in the scam.

"It is clear that he is getting a share in this loot," Hariprasad alleged.

Asked whether there was a pressure on the Karnataka chief minister, the Congress leader said, "there is no pressure on him and he is a partner (in the illegal export)".

Hariprasad, who hails from Karnataka, said the state Congress leaders will take up the issue at all levels.

On Monday, the Congress had described the clean chit given to the Reddy brothers as "shocking".

"Though it (clean chit) is shocking, it is not at all surprising... the protectors or supposed protectors are now predators... (there is) absolute abdication of the rule of law in the state. The loot is brazen. The loot is completely uncircumscribed," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi had said.

Friday, July 16, 2010

OK for Modi to skip hearings, says BCCI

In a departure from its memorandum of the Cricket Board's rules and regulations, the Board's Disciplinary Committee on Friday decided to allow suspended Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi to be represented by his legal counsel during the proceedings against him.

This was in the wake of Modi's submission to the panel through his attorney Mehmood M Abdi that he wanted to be represented by his lawyer at the hearing as he was out of the country.

The exception was given to Modi as the committee members agreed with the views expressed by Modi's second counsel Venkatesh Dhond that the charges against him were of a serious nature and complex legal issues were involved, particularly in relation to interpretation of the contract documents.

The three-member Committee, comprising Chirayu Amin, Arun Jaitley and Jyotiraditya Scindia, also heard Dhond's arguments at length on an earlier plea raised for recusal of its members through two letters sent to the BCCI on May 25 and July 6 and has decided to seek a response from the Board.

Modi had asked for recusal of Amin and Jaitley from the panel as he contended they would be biased against him during the proceedings but his petition for reconstitution of the panel was on Thursday rejected by the Bombay High Court.

Dhond also wanted to file an additional plea in this regard to substantiate the request for recusal of the panel's members and the panel has decided to give him time till July 18, as per the minutes of the Disciplinary Committee proceedings.

Katrina changes birthday plans for Zoya's film

Katrina Kaif, who will turn 26 on Friday, wanted to spend her birthday with her family in London but had to alter plans to accommodate a shooting schedule for Zoya Akhtar's Zindagi Milegi Na Dobaara in Spain.

She took a break from her shooting in Spain from Zoya Akhtar's Zindagi Milegi Na Dobaara to be with her family. But now the actress has to return to shoot in Pampolona, Spain, for Zoya's film on Thursday.

"Yes, I had planned well in advance to spend my birthday with my family in London. But some scenes for Zoya's film have been rescheduled and I've to go back on Thursday, a day ahead of my birthday, to Spain. Never mind. I'll be working on my birthday and that's the best way to bring in my birthday," said Katrina.

Looking at the brighter side, Katrina said: "My two youngest sister Isabella and Sonia are coming back to Spain with me, so I have a part of my family with me. And I couldn't hope to be with a better unit on my birthday. Zoya is one of the coolest directors I've worked with."

The actress is happy with the year gone by.

"I got to work with two women directors Zoya and Farah Khan this year. And they were both such fun to work with. I also had a big hit Raajneeti. I couldn't have asked for more. In the coming year, I hope to find love. Every girl needs someone to share her life with," she said.

Katrina returns to India next month to face one of her biggest challenges as an actress. On Aug 11, she has to perform an item song with Akshay Kumar for Farah Khan's Tees Maar Khan.

"It is like no other item song. It will have elements from both Indian and western dance forms. It will blend various styles and give me a chance to perform what could possibly be my most challenging on-screen dances. I can't wait to return and start rehearsing for the number," she said.

Why Dhoni's Rs 210 crore deal makes sense

Sometime last week Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped out on the terrace of his home in Ranchi.

Wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, he waved out to a crowd of cheering fans and the sound of hundred camera shutters.

Every generation has an icon and every icon has a photograph of him/her waving out from a balcony to a throng waiting below. The Indians of this generation may have clearly found theirs.

It was the day after Dhoni got married. The tilak on his forehead was still fresh and his demure newlywed wife Sakshi Rawat stood beside him -- her dupatta wrapped around her head like traditional north Indian wives.

Standing on the balcony that morning, the couple painted a picture of young India, its soaring aspirations.

The news of him this week signing a Rs 210 crore (Rs 2.1 billion) endorsement deal with Rhiti Sports Management-Mindscapes didn't come as a surprise.

The deal not only made him the richest cricketer in the world, but also a brand that every company wants to associate with.

Some of India's best known brand gurus explain what makes Brand Dhoni tick.

Sea levels rising in parts of Indian Ocean: study

Newly detected rising sea levels in parts of the Indian Ocean, including the coastlines of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java, appear to be at least partly a result of human-induced increases of atmospheric greenhouse gases, says a study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The study, which combined sea surface measurements going back to the 1960s and satellite observations, indicates anthropogenic climate warming likely is amplifying regional sea rise changes in parts of the Indian Ocean, threatening inhabitants of some coastal areas and islands, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Weiqing Han, lead study author.
May aggravate flooding

The sea level rise — which may aggravate monsoon flooding in Bangladesh and India — could have far-reaching impacts on both future regional and global climate, according to a University of Colorado-Boulder press release.

The key player in the process is the Indo-Pacific warm pool, an enormous, bathtub-shaped area of the tropical oceans stretching from the east coast of Africa west to the International Date Line in the Pacific.

The warm pool has heated by about or 0.5 degrees C, in the past 50 years, primarily caused by human-generated increases of greenhouse gases, said Han.

“Our results from this study imply that if future anthropogenic warming effects in the Indo-Pacific warm pool dominate natural variability, mid-ocean islands such as the Mascarenhas Archipelago, coasts of Indonesia, Sumatra and the north Indian Ocean may experience significantly more sea level rise than the global average,” said Han of CU-Boulder's atmospheric and oceanic sciences department.

A paper on the subject was published in a recent issue of Nature Geoscience.

While a number of areas in the Indian Ocean region are showing sea level rise, the study also indicated the Seychelles Islands and Zanzibar off Tanzania's coastline show the largest sea level drop. Global sea level patterns are not geographically uniform, and sea rise in some areas correlate with sea level fall in other areas.
The patterns

The patterns of sea level change are driven by the combined enhancement of two primary atmospheric wind patterns known as the Hadley circulation and the Walker circulation.

The Hadley circulation in the Indian Ocean is dominated by air currents rising above strongly heated tropical waters near the equator and flowing poleward, then sinking to the ocean in the subtropics and causing surface air to flow back toward the equator.

The Indian Ocean's Walker circulation causes air to rise and flow westward at upper levels, sink to the surface and then flow eastward back toward the Indo-Pacific warm pool. “The combined enhancement of the Hadley and Walker circulation form a distinct surface wind pattern that drives specific sea level patterns,” said Han.

The international research team used several different sophisticated ocean and climate models for the study, including the Parallel Ocean Program — the ocean component of NCAR's widely used Community Climate System Model. In addition, the team used a wind-driven, linear ocean model for the study.

All-season records

Han said based on all-season data records there is no significant sea level rise around the Maldives. But when the team looked at winter season data only, the Maldives show significant sea level rise, a cause for concern. The smallest Asian country, the Maldives is made up of more than 1,000 islands.

The complex circulation patterns in the Indian Ocean may also affect precipitation by forcing even more atmospheric air down to the surface in Indian Ocean subtropical regions than normal, Han speculated.

“This may favor a weakening of atmospheric convection in the subtropics, which may increase rainfall in the eastern tropical regions of the Indian Ocean and increase drought in the western equatorial Indian Ocean region, including east Africa,” he said.

Along the coasts of the northern Indian Ocean, seas have risen by an average of about 13 mm per decade.

Two Indian brothers killed in US plane crash

US federal investigators are trying to find the cause of a plane crash in Texas that killed two brothers from Bangalore, India and a friend.

The single-engine plane slammed into a field in Hood County town of Tolar about 9.30 pm on Tuesday night, ending what was to be a fun trip to Stephenville for a barbeque - a Texas treat for Pratik Kalaichelvan visiting his brother in Arlington.

The right wing of the 1964 Beechcraft Bonanza hit the ground, and the single-engine plane tumbled, according to an National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator cited by local WFAA-TV.

Officials said the four-seat aircraft was registered to the pilot, 26-year-old Casey Brinegar. He died along with his friend and fellow pilot Kartik, 22, and his brother Pratik, 19, who was days away from returning to India.

"The young pilot was looking for a place to land, I assume," said Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Dub Gillum. "He did a fabulous job not crashing into a house."

Trooper Gillum believes the pilot might have landed it if he had had just a bit more daylight, the TV website said.

Friends cited by WFAA-TV said Casey Brinegar was a superb pilot and instructor at the Skymates flight school in Arlington, although Tuesday's flight was strictly for pleasure in Brinegar's personal plane.

Friends said Kartik Kalaichelvan learned to fly from Brinegar, and was accumulating flight time before returning to India to be a commercial pilot like his father.

An NTSB investigator said a preliminary report on the crash will be issued next week.

Speculation rife that Gillard to set election date tomorrow

JULIA Gillard is refusing to comment on the timing of the election amid speculation today she is poised to call the poll tomorrow for August 28.

The ABC has reported that Labor sources have said that Ms Gillard is expected to visit Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra tomorrow morning.

But in Melbourne today the Prime Minister refused to answer any questions on the topic.

On her first public visit to her electorate of Lalor in Melbourne's western suburbs since becoming leader, Ms Gillard spent 10 minutes walking through the main street of Werribee talking to locals.

Asked repeatedly about speculation surrounding an election date, she replied that she was there to meet her constituents.

"I'm just having a wander through my own community,'' she said, after flying to Melbourne from Tasmania this morning.

The Prime Minister would have a window of opportunity to visit Ms Bryce tomorrow before she goes to Brisbane where she has a Sunday engagement.

Meanwhile, media companies are fielding calls from advertising sources linked with the Labor Party that appear to bolster the speculation.

A move to call an early election would in part be seen as an attempt to bury the furore over Ms Gillard's alleged reneging on a leadership deal with former prime minister Kevin Rudd, which emerged at the National Press Club yesterday.

If the election is called tomorrow for August 28, the campaign will run for a relatively long six weeks.

It will also mean that the Prime Minister will save her keenly awaited climate policy for the hustings.

The Australian Online understands that rumours of the imminent election were triggered by the Prime Minister's office confirming to media outlets that satellite vans should be staked outside the Governor-General's official residence, Yarralumla.

However, it is possible the direction given to media organisations over the positioning of the vans has no bearing on when the election will be called.

In Tasmania this morning the Prime Minister repeated her commitment to provide Mr Rudd with a senior position in her cabinet, despite an explosive report yesterday by journalist Laurie Oakes that she reneged on a deal with the former prime minister to allow him to stay in the top job.

``If the government is re-elected I will choose the ministry. I have said that Kevin Rudd will serve as a senior minister in a re-elected Gillard government. That is my commitment, I will honour that commitment,'' she said.

Mr Rudd, meanwhile, will return to Australia this weekend from the US, where he has been attending the Australian American leadership dialogue.

This afternoon he posted on Twitter: "Heading back to Oz tomorrow, looking forward to seeing [son] Marcus then getting back to campaigning in the electorate."

Ms Gillard was asked by Oakes at her National Press Club address on her economic agenda yesterday about whether she reneged on a pact made with Mr Rudd late on June 23, the night his leadership was challenged.

Under the deal - confirmed by the former leader's adviser Lachlan Harris - Mr Rudd would have handed the reins to Ms Gillard before an October election if polling revealed he was an impediment to the government's re-election.

Today in Melbourne she again refused to be drawn on the allegation.

Ms Gillard, a Welsh child migrant, was sworn in as Prime Minister on June 24 after an extraordinary 12 hours during which Mr Rudd confronted the sudden and spectacular evaporation of the support of his ministers, MPs and faction leaders after weeks of poor polls.

Mr Rudd did not contest the leadership ballot.

BP plugs oil leak in Gulf of Mexico, but concerns remain

After nearly three months of more misses than hits, British Petroleum said it has managed to plug the well that was gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

“It felt very good to see no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico,” BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells told a briefing on Thursday. He added that the company will be consulting with scientists and government officials every six hours to assess if the test was working.

With several failed attempts in the past to stop the leakage, President Barack Obama has been cautious about his assessment of the latest development.

“I think it is a positive sign”, he said, “We’re still in the testing phase. I will have more to say about it tomorrow.”

Despite the initial success in tamping down the oil flow, no-one is giving the all clear signal just yet and the testing for oil pressure will continue for two days.

“It’s not the time to celebrate”, Doug Suttles, Chief Operating Officer for BP, said on television. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindall, whose state is among the five gulf states to be hit by the leak, in a statement to the CNN, said that he was “cautiously optimistic” as the test proceeds.

“Work to revitalize our coast won’t be done until our waters and our shores are completely clean and our wildlife, our communities and our coastal industries are 100 per cent restored”, he said.

If the cap is working, then the pressure inside the well will rise. But a low pressure would mean that there is a leakage somewhere else, which will allow the oil to escape into the sea.

The test, if successful, will prevent further pollution into the Gulf of Mexico even as millions of litres of crude oil continue to float in a thick layer over its waters.

“What we’re trying to do now is to get physical evidence because we don’t know the condition of the oil bore and the way you do that, is metaphorically put your thumb over the garden hose”, Thad Allen, who is heading the U.S. response to the environmental disaster, told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has reported that BP’s U.S. shares surged after the news of the oil giant having stemmed the seepage. BP’s American depositary shares closed up 7.6 per cent at USD 38.92, the stock’s highest level since June 4, the paper said.

The company stocks, after hitting a 14-year-low of USD 26.75 in late June this year, on Thursday, recovered 36 per cent of its slide since the April 20 explosion.

“The stock is starting to price in the fact that they are eventually going to get this leak stopped”, said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates. “They seem to be a little ahead of schedule with that.”

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Paswan demands rollback of fuel price hike

The central government should roll back the fuel price hike, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan said in Patna on Saturday during a statewide shutdown in Bihar. The price hike should be withdrawn in "people's interest", he said. The central government ended curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas last month.

The LJP and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) enforced the statewide shutdown to protest the fuel price hike and rising prices.

Paswan said he and RJD chief Lalu Prasad will raise the fuel price hike issue in the monsoon session of parliament beginning July 26.

The LJP chief was elected to the Rajya Sabha last month.

Paswan also said his party and RJD would not join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA. "We cannot go along with NDA on this or other issues," he said.

Happy tidings set telecom stocks afire

Shares of wireless telecom service providers such as Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular led the market rally on Friday, heartened by rating and price target upgrades by investment bank Credit Suisse.

Investors cheered the upgrades, as it has come when most fund managers and analysts are still pessimistic about the industry’s growth prospects due to sharp cuts in tariffs and concern over rising debt.

Credit Suisse, in a report dated July 8, upgraded its rating on Bharti to outperform from neutral and price target to Rs 360 from 320, driving up its stock by 9.7% to Rs 308.10 on Friday. News that Singapore Telecommunications, Southeast Asia’s largest telecom firm, bought around 16 lakh shares in Bharti through the open market also boosted sentiment.

Idea Cellular’s rating was upgraded to outperform from underperform and price target was raised to Rs 75 from Rs 50 at Credit Suisse. The investment bank also upgraded its rating on Reliance Communications (RCOM) to neutral from underperform and price target to Rs 185 from Rs 150.

Idea Cellular surged 13.3% to Rs 67, and Tata Teleservices shot up 5.5% to Rs 23 on Friday. RCOM was flat in a rising Mumbai market, moving up 3% to Rs 193.

"We believe that concerns on competition, regulation, 3G auction fee and RIL’s entry have been overstated,” Credit Suisse analysts said in a report called “The night is darkest before the dawn”.

“With improved outlook for mobile businesses, we raise our FY11 (2010-11) EPS estimate for Idea and RCOM by 7% and 100%, respectively,” the report said.

The investment bank cut its earnings per share estimates for Bharti by 6% in 2010-11 to factor in the “value destruction” from the acquisition of African mobile operator Zain.

Bharti agreed to buy Zain Africa for $10.7 billion, a move that was seen by many in the market as an indication of limited growth in India’s wireless telecom market on judgement that tariffs may not rise soon with new companies launching services.

Countdown starts for PSLV rocket launch

The countdown for Monday's launch of India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket carrying five satellites, including a cartography one for land mapping and information, began Saturday at the rocket port Sriharikota.

The 44-metre tall PSLV is a four-stage rocket powered by solid and liquid propellants alternatively.

"Everything is going smoothly and we are getting ready for the Monday launch. The 50 hours, 30 minutes countdown started at 6.52 a.m. Saturday," S. Satish, director at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS from Bangalore over phone.

The rocket will blast off into space from Sriharikota, around 80 km from here, carrying the 694 kg Cartosat 2B and an Algerian satellite, Alsat (117 kg).

It will also carry three very small satellites - NLS 6.1 and NLS 6.2 from Canada and Switzerland, and StudSat - developed by students of engineering colleges in Bangalore and Hyderabad.

"The satellites were loaded atop the rocket a couple of days ago," an ISRO official said.

The first and third stages of the rocket are fired by solid propellant and the second and fourth stages are fired by liquid propellant.

According to ISRO officials, the solid fuel stages are cast ready while the liquid fuel - Unsymmetrical Di-Methyl Hydrazine (UDMH) as fuel and Nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) as oxidiser - will be filled hours before the blast off.

The rocket's main cargo Cartosat-2B is a remote sensing satellite carrying a sophisticated panchromatic camera on board to photograph specific spots closely. The pictures are useful for cartographic applications such as mapping, land information and geographical information system.

Cartosat- 2B will join the other two cartography satellites Cartosat- 2 and 2A launched earlier. With three satellites ISRO's satellites can cover the country effectively.

ISRO has been carrying out multiple launches for several years. In 2008 it set a world record launching 10 satellites at one go.

Originally scheduled for launch May 9, ISRO decided to postpone the launch as it found "a marginal drop in the pressure in the second stage of the vehicle during mandatory checks" due to a faulty valve.

At that time the rocket was almost ready except for the loading of the satellites.

As the faulty valve was in an inaccessible area with the rocket stages having been fully assembled, the second stage had to be dismantled to take corrective action.

Even after the replacement of the faulty valve at Sriharikota the problem continued to persist and ISRO sent the second stage (engine and other systems) back to its assembly centre.

"The second stage was refurbished and sent back to Sriharikota," Satish said.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Puyol sends Spain into the Final

First Europe and now, possibly, the world for Spain, who won through to the Final of South Africa 2010 with a 1-0 victory over Germany in Durban. Carles Puyol's 74th-minute header repeated the single-goal triumph over Germany that secured La Roja the European title two years ago and now only the Netherlands stand between them and a first FIFA World Cup™ title.

Whatever the outcome at Soccer City on Sunday, there will be history made with a new name on the Trophy after Spain produced their best performance of these finals to end Germany's hopes of an eighth Final appearance and secure their first. Joachim Low’s men, by contrast, missing the suspended Thomas Muller, were unable to repeat the scintillating displays with which they swept aside England and Argentina and, as in 2006, suffered the anguish of semi-final defeat.

While Germany were playing in their 12th FIFA World Cup semi-final, this was Spain's first, although it was business as usual for Vicente del Bosque's side, who dominated possession. Indeed Spain might have had an early goal when Pedro, making his first start of the finals in place of Fernando Torres, slipped a through-ball to David Villa after just six minutes. Clear of the Germany defence, Villa produced a sliding finish but Manuel Neuer was out of his goal fast to deny the Spaniard.

There was another nervy moment to follow for Low's men after 14 minutes. From a short corner, Andres Iniesta drove in a centre that Puyol met with a flying header that, to the relief of the Germans, cleared the crossbar. Spain had more than 60 per cent of the ball in the game's first quarter but Germany, happy to sit deep and continue the counter-attacking game that had brought them such reward in previous matches, began to offer a threat. Lukas Podolski played in Mezut Ozil on the left and he duly supplied Miroslav Klose on the edge of the box, but the Bayern Munich forward was crowded out.

Iker Casillas was called into action for the first time just after the half-hour to turn behind a low 30-yard drive from Piotr Trochowski, the man brought in to replace Muller. On the stroke of half-time, Germany finally picked a hole in the Spain defence when Ozil broke into the box on to a pass from Klose. As Sergio Ramos challenged, the German midfielder went to ground but referee Viktor Kassai waved play on.

The second half began like the first, with Spain threatening Neuer's goal as Xabi Alonso drove narrowly wide from 25 yards, then Villa curled another attempt wide of the same post. The pressure intensified with the hour approaching and Germany's goal was lucky to survive intact. Pedro's low shot drew a fingertip save from Neuer and as Per Mertesacker dawdled over his clearance, Iniesta nipped in and drove a low ball across goal that the lunging Villa was within a whisker of reaching at the far post. With Germany still unable to clear their lines, Pedro then fired wide.

Low sought to change things, sending on Marcell Jansen in place of Jerome Boateng and, later, Toni Kroos for Trochowski. It was Kroos who had Germany's first attempt of the second half in the 69th minute, meeting Podoski's far-post cross with a side-footed shot that Casillas beat away.
Instead, with 16 minutes remaining, the decisive goal came at the other end. From a corner by Xavi, Puyol leapt above team-mate Gerard Pique and powered a header past Neuer. Pedro could have ensured a bigger margin of victory in the closing stages but he allowed Arne Friedrich to dispossess him after bursting through in a two-on-one with substitute Torres. It did not matter in the end, Spain's third successive 1-0 win carrying them into their first Final.

Indo-Pak cricket not possible as of now: Pawar

Newly-appointed ICC President Sharad Pawar says immediate resumption of cricket ties between India and Pakistan is not possible.

"Immediate ties between both countries is not possible. It is not in the hands of the Cricket Boards..It is a diplomatic issue. This is a decision taken by the Indian government," Pawar said.

Asked about demands for the introduction of day-night Tests to save the longer format of the game, Pawar said the "issue has not reached his ear".

"We are only administrators. If needed, I will let the experts take a call (on the issue)," he said.

To a query whether the ICC was mulling to shift its headquarters back to England, Pawar said, "In England, there are 40 per cent taxes while there are no taxes in Dubai. The moment England thinks similarly about cricket we will consider it."

Pawar said he was confident about BCCI President Shashank Manohar's integrity to handle the controversial Lalit Modi issue.

Car sales to grow at 12-13 p.c. this year

Growth in car sales in the country will grow 12-13 per cent in the ongoing fiscal, almost half of what was achieved in the last financial year, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said on Thursday .

Coming out with its first ever such forecast, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), said rising commodity prices, supply constraints from components makers and a declining low-base effect will be the major factors that will impact the sales growth.

SIAM predicted that the total sales of cars in domestic market is expected to be at 17,14,925 units in 2010-11. In 2009-10, domestic passenger car sales stood at 15,26,259 units as against 12,20,475 units in 2008-09, an increase of over 25 per cent.

“This is the first attempt by SIAM to forecast after considering all the relevant demand drivers for each segment, although I personally think we have a good chance of outdoing the forecast”, SIAM President Pawan Goenka told reporters here.

He said that while the first quarter of the ongoing fiscal has witnessed good growth, the growth is likely to slowdown in the second quarter as high base effect from last year will start kicking in.

Automobile sales in 2009 had picked up after a slump during the first half of the last year. In comparison, in April-June quarter of this fiscal, total car sales increased by 33.43 per cent at 4,33,641 units compared to 3,24,985 units in the year-ago period.

“The key challenges for the industry as a whole are the rising commodity prices, although it has stabilised in the last 2-4 weeks. Supply constraints from the suppliers are also a concern,” Goenka added.

Rising interest rates and possible increase in prices of vehicles when Bharat Stage III norm is implemented across the country by October are other factors, he added.

As per SIAM, total passenger vehicle sales in India will be at 2,196,791 units in 2010-11 as against 1,949,248 units in 2009-10, up 13 per cent. Two-wheeler sales in FY’11 is expected to be up by 9-10 per cent at 10,287,837 units from 9,368,230 units in FY’10.

Motorcyle sales will increase by 9-10 per cent at 80,38,338 units from 7,341,139 units last fiscal, and scooter sales will rise 13-14 per cent at 16,57,349 units from 14,62,507 units in the last financial year.

SIAM said commercial vehicles’ sales in India will grow around 17-18 per cent at 6,21,681 units this year from 531,395 units last fiscal. According to the industry body, the three-wheeler segment is expected to record the least growth at around 7-8 per cent.

SIAM said total three-wheeler sales in 2010-11 are likely to be 4,73,693 units against 4,40,368 units last fiscal.

Solar Impulse completes record-breaking flight

A solar-powered plane has become the first to complete a 24-hour flight, using batteries charged during the day to keep it aloft overnight. The Solar Impulse aircraft touched down on runway at Payerne airfield, Switzerland at exactly 8:00am.

Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn't touch the ground and topple the craft.

The team behind the project says it has now shown the single-seat plane can theoretically stay in the air indefinitely, recharging its batteries using 12,000 solar cells.

Pilot Andre Borschberg had flown over the Jura mountains west of the Swiss Alps since daybreak yesteray, absorbing sunlight to charge the batteries.

"Nothing can prevent us from another day and night... and the myth of perpetual flight," an Mr Piccard told journalists, noting that the airline had three hours' flight time left when the sun rose.

"When you took off it was another era," added adventurer Bertrand Piccard, who co-founded the project with Mr Borschberg. "You land in a new era where people understand that with renewable energy you can do impossible things."

The single-seater plane is powered by four electric motors and propellers. It weighs about the same as a small car, despite having a 207 foot wingspan, similiar to a large commercial jet.

Huge reception for Jagan's yatra of rebellion in YSR heartland

The Congress may not approve of his 'odarpu yatra', but thousands of people poured into the streets of Srikakulam to welcome Jaganmohan Reddy, as he arrived there on his father's birth anniversary.

"My father did not leave me orphaned. He left me with this huge family, the people of Andhra Pradesh,'' said Jagan. The crowd roared back with approval.

On record, Jagan and the Congress have stopped short of acknowledging the tour as an open act of defiance. But the revolt has been public - and with considerable impact, at least in this part of northcoastal Andhra Pradesh, where Jagan's father, YSR, had ended his 1400-kilometre padyatra in 2003, that catapulted him to the chief minister's chair a year later.

Jagan has described the tour as a series of condolence calls on families whose members died allegedly from the shock of hearing about YSR's death in a helicopter crash in September last year. But the Congress party has asked him twice now to call off the journey. In late May, the tour provoked violence when

Jagan tried to enter the politically-volatile region of Telangana, which is upset that politicians like Jagan are not actively supporting its demand for a separate state. The riot and Jagan's arrest in Nalgonda district Mahbubnagar was followed by a quick journey to Delhi where Jagan met with Sonia Gandhi. He was asked to stop the tour.

Earlier this week, the party objected again when Jagan said his road show would continue on his father's birth anniversary. Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi warned Jagan "not to cross the Lakshman Rekha."

The Congress' stand, as defined reportedly by Sonia Gandhi, was that she was not against the `odarpu yatra' but suggested that the families of those who committed suicide following YSR's death should be assembled at one place and offered financial help whereas Jagan said he was going to tour to console families and not to distribute money. That his mother had pointed out to Sonia Gandhi that she had not summoned them to Delhi to console the family after YSR's death, she had come down herself to Hyderabad. So, undeterred, Jagan continued with his plans for a three-day journey to Srikakulam and other northcoastal districts.

Congress leaders can take solace from the fact that none of its MLAs or MPs from the Srikakulam district attended Jagan's meeting. But it was their family members who made the arrangements for this leg of the tour. Nobody wants to openly take sides, just yet, in the battle between Jagan and his party.

But the attempt is to convey that Jagan enjoys both mass support and political loyalty. Srikakulam Cooperative society president G.Krishnamurthy declares: "Being within the Congress, we will support Jagan. If Jagan is forced to form a separate party, we will go with Jagan."
With Jagan not making any politically controversial speeches, the Congress leadership may prefer to wait and watch instead of pushing for disciplinary action.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Maha doctors say no to Swine flu vaccine

Doubting its effectiveness and possible side-effects many doctors in Maharashtra have refused to take the Swine flu vaccine, prompting the State Government to mull over the large stock of vaccines. Doctors and paramedical staff in Government hospitals have refused to take the swine flu vaccine, an official said.

No decision could be reached at in a meeting here recently with Health Department on what to do with the vaccine stock, the official said.

It was decided to give Tamiflu tablets in the Government and Municipal Corporation run hospitals and district level hospitals, the official from Health Department said.

Municipal Coporation and district level school authorities have been asked to report about children having fever so that the Health Department can give them Tamiflu on time, the official said.

The State Government procured the vaccine from the Centre after the state was hit by H1N1 last year. The Centre placed an order with French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur for 1.5 million doses of H1N1 vaccines in December, mostly to be given to the high-risk group of medical practitioners.

However, doubting its effectiveness and possible side-effects, doctors in the state have refused to take the vaccine, the official said.

Cabinet Committee on Security for Army as ‘deterrent’

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which discussed the situation in Kashmir on Wednesday, decided to use Army as a “deterrent”, stating that security forces would ensure strict enforcement of curfew.

Sources said the CCS, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, took stock of the situation in the light of the Centre’s decision to deploy army in the wake of deteriorating law and order situation.

Last night, at the request of the State government, the Centre decided to deploy the army to assist the civil authorities in restoring law and order in the wake of spiralling protests in Srinagar following the killing of three persons on Tuesday.

The meeting decided that the army would be used in “peripheral” areas and not in congested areas.

It also decided that the police and the security forces should ensure that there should be no violation of curfew and that it should be strictly enforced. The Cabinet also felt that “maximum crackdown” should be carried out against miscreants.

The Army staged a flag march in some areas of curfew-bound Srinagar Wednesday morning.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekar, NSA Shiv Shankar Menon, Home Secretary G.K. Pillai, and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar attended the meeting.

There was no official word on any decision taken at the hour-long meeting.

Earlier, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju had said that the Army would remain on the streets in Srinagar till it was necessary but the government would like it to be short.

The greatest Netherlands sides never to have won the World Cup

Will it be third time lucky for the Dutch?

The Netherlands' ultimately tense 3-2 victory over Uruguay last night has taken them to their third World Cup final, and with a perfect record in both in qualifying and in South Africa, the Dutch have high hopes of making it third time lucky and being crowned world champions on Sunday.


* Netherlands' perfect winning streak can match historic feat of Brazil 1970
* Luck of the Oranje: Do the Netherlands have their name on the World Cup - or is their fortune bound to run out?
* Double heartache for Robben or twice the glory for Sneijder? How European Cup finalists fared at the World Cup final

However, Bert van Marwijk's side have yet to convince all pundits that they are that good; or that they compare with some of their predecessors, whose exploits have led many to regard the Netherlands as the greatest footballing nation never to have won the World Cup.

1974 - Total Football, ultimate disappointment

Key achievement: reached World Cup final, lost 1-2 to West Germany

Star players: Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Ruud Krol, Arie Haan, Johnny Rep, Rob Rensenbrink, Wim van Hanegem

The story of Dutch football as a major influence on the global game began after they qualified for the 1974 World Cup and Rinus Michels was appointed coach. Under Michels - named 'coach of the century' by FIFA in 1999 - Ajax had pioneered 'Total Football', a tactical system in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other, switching seamlessly between defence, midfield and attack as the situation demands. Michels applied it to Oranje with immediate and impressive results - despite unrest within the squad over pay and bonuses.

His great orchestrator on the pitch was Johan Cruyff, who had assumed Pele's mantle as the world's greatest player. Although nominally a centre-forward, the technically peerless Cruyff roamed all over the pitch, exploiting space wherever he could inflict most damage on the opposition. As his versatile team-mates adapted themselves with thrilling flexibility around Cruyff's movement, the revolutionary style of attacking play enchanted the world, and Holland replaced uncharacteristically defensive Brazil as the 'people's favourites'.

They won their first round group, then in the second round group defeated Argentina and defending world champions Brazil, reaching the final with five wins and one draw, scoring 14 goals and conceding only one in six matches.

The final was a mouth-watering affair against hosts West Germany. It began in breathtaking fashion. Cruyff kicked off and the ball was passed between Oranje players 13 times before coming back to Cruyff, who then sprinted off on a run that was only ended by an Uli Hoeness foul. Referee Jack Taylor awarded the penalty and Johan Neeskens scored from the spot to put Netherlands ahead before any German had even touched the ball.

Taylor awarded a borderline penalty to West Germany on 25 minutes which Paul Breitner converted, and just before half-time Gerd Muller swivelled to score what proved to be an opportunistic winner. Although many felt the better team had lost, the hosts did a splendid job in stifling Cruyff's effectiveness in the second half as they withstood intense Duitch pressure.

1978 - Bitter defeat in Buenos Aires

Key achievement: reached World Cup final, lost 1-3 to Argentina

Star players: Johan Neeskens, Ruud Krol, Arie Haan, Johnny Rep, Rob Rensenbrink, Willy and Rene van de Kerkhof

Four years later there was no Michels, no Cruyff (opposed to the miltary junta in Argentina and victim of kidnap threats) or Van Hanegem, while their top goalkeeper, Jan van Beveren, highly rated striker Ruud Geels and attacking full-back Hugo Hovenkamp were also missing for various reasons. The legendary Austrian coach Ernst Happel was in charge of a typically disunited and squabbling Dutch squad, yet Oranje again progressed to the final only to lose to the hosts.

Krol emerged as the dominant figure, yet they were inconsistent in their first round group, beating Iran before being held to a goalless draw by Peru and losing to Scotland. It was enough to progress, though; and in the second round they hit their stride, thrashing Austria 5-1 with a stunning display of 'Total Football', beating Italy, and drawing 2-2 with West Germany to qualify for the final.

With Argentina driven and inspired by an impassioned home crowd, the Dutch failed to take their chances. Rep and Rensenbrink were outstanding on the wings, but there was no obvious target-man to feed off their deliveries. Dirk Nanninga equalised Mario Kempes' opener to force extra-time, but the force was with the hosts and Holland lost their second successive final.

1990 - Germany beat the European champions

Key achievement: won the 1988 European Championship, lost to Germany in last 16 at Italia '90

Star players: Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard , Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Arnold Muhren.

With a trio of superb AC Milan stars at the heart of their team, again managed by Michels, the Dutch had thrillingly won Euro '88, with dazzling football and superb victories over the likes of England, West Germany and the Soviet Union. Hopes were therefore high that Oranje could win the greatest prize of all in Italy, even though Leo Beenhakker had replaced Michels.

Yet their form proved to be elusive and their performances disappointing, Beenhakker failing to get the best out of his players. Gullit was showing the effects of a series of operations on his right knee, while Van Basten was well below his exceptional best, and cited "too many troubles inside the team".

The Dutch drew all three group matches before losing 2-1 to traditional arch-rivals Germany in the second round, albeit in the best match of the tournament, when Rijkaard and Rudi Voeller were sent off for an infamous spat.

1998 - Last-four shoot-out heartbreak

Key achievement: reached semi-final of France '98, losing to Brazil on penalties

Star players: Dennis Bergkamp, Frank de Boer, Wim Jonk, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Jaap Stam, Marc Overmars, Edgar Davids

Guus Hiddink was now piloting the Orange Submarine, and made peace with Edgar Davids, the 'pit-bull' who'd been sent home from Euro '96 as a disruptive influence. Much was expected of them, but although they thrashed South Korea 5-0, they threw away a two-goal lead against Mexico to draw 2-2 and were held 0-0 by neighbours Belgium.

But they progressed, beating Yugoslavia 2-1 before overcoming Argentina by the same score in the quarter-final, when Dennis Bergkamp scored a virtuoso goal, the best of the tournament, to earn a semi-final place against Brazil.

But Overmars was out injured, Bergkamp was subdued, and Ronaldo put Brazil ahead. Kluivert headed home to force extra-time, after which it went to penalties. When Taffarel saved from Frank de Boer, Brazil were through 4-2 on spot-kicks, and Holland were out - albeit with honour and pride.

2010 - Glory at last?

The current squad may be less well endowed with mega stars, but certainly appear more united and harmonious as a group. In selfless artisans like Dirk Kuyt they possess the graft to go with the guile of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. They have defied expectations so far, and most importantly they have made winning a priceless habit. Just one more victory will do it. Can they finally deliver?