Friday, December 31, 2010

Facebook beats Google as most visited in 2010

San Francisco:  Facebook surpassed Google as the most visited website in the US in 2010, according to a survey by the web tracking firm Experian Hitwise.

The social networking site also claimed the top search term of the year, with variations on its name filling four of the 10 most popular searches, the survey found. In all, Facebook searches accounted for 3.48 percent of all web searches in the US in 2010, a 207-percent increase over 2009.

The study found that Facebook accounted for 8.93 cent of all US website visits in the year, ahead of's 7.19 percent and third-placed Yahoo Mail with 3.85 percent.

However if all Google's various properties are taken into account, the web search giant did overtake Facebook with 9.85 percent of all website visits. Microsoft's and also made it into the list of top ten websites, as did
Other terms in the top 10 searches included "youtube", "craigslist", "myspace", "ebay" and "yahoo".

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ahead of Srikrishna report, security tightened in Andhra

security tightened in AndhraSecurity was tightened in Andhra Pradesh Thursday as the Srikrishna Committee on the Telangana issue is all set to submit its report to the central government.
Fifty companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in addition to the state police forces across the state, especially in the Telangana region.
As the five-member Srikrishna Committee, which looked into the demands for and against separate statehood to Telangana, has sought an appointment with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to submit its report, the police in the state went on alert.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the law and order situation with state Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy, Director General of Police Aravinda Rao and other senior officials.
The chief minister asked the police chief to take all precautionary measures to maintain peace and law and order. A police official said they were not taking any chances in view of the violent incidents of last year.
As many as 25 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been deployed in and around Hyderabad.
Since the violent incidents late last year and early this year had affected the Information Technology sector and created fears among people from Andhra and Rayalaseema settled in Hyderabad, the authorities beefed up the security here.
While 18 companies are deployed in Hyderabad to tackle any protests after the report is made public, five companies will provide security in Cyberabad, the IT district housing many global and national giants. Two more companies will be on standby at the office of the DGP.
Hyderabad is one of the 10 districts of Telangana. The authorities had deployed two companies each in seven other districts of the region.
The remaining para-military forces were deployed in Andhra and Rayalseema regions. Two companies were deployed in Visakhapatnam rural, and one each in Anantapur, Tirupati, Visakhapatnam city, Vijayawada and Guntur.
As Osmania University in Hyderabad was the nerve centre of the agitation for Telangana state late last year and early this year, bulk of the forces in Hyderabad were stationed at Amberpet Central Police Lines to deal with any student unrest.
The central government has asked the media to exercise restraint in telecasting stories relating to the Srikrishna Committee report. The information and broadcasting ministry has urged the media not to carry speculative stories which may cause untoward incidents.
The National Broadcasters Association (NBA) has issued guidelines for the television channels and cable operators in Andhra Pradesh.
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Former CM Of AP,Rosaiah booked in land deal

K.-RosaiahFormer Andhra Pradesh chief minister K. Rosaiah and 14 others were Wednedsay booked in connection with the alleged allotment of a prime land to a private party.
The Anti-Corruption of Bureau (ACB) of the state registered the case of criminal misconduct after the designated court directed it to probe the alleged irregularities.
There are allegations that Rosaiah, as chief minister, committed irregularities in handing over a nine-acre prime land in Ameerpet area of Hyderabad to a private company.
The court directed ACB to register the case after an advocate filed a petition against the transfer of land worth Rs.200 crore. The court asked the anti-graft body to submit its report by Jan 28.
The petitioner alleged that Rosaiah denotified the property in violation of the norms. The land was in acquisition of the government and was allegedly handed over to a private developer for constructing a commercial complex.
Rosaiah had resigned as the chief minister last month on health grounds.
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Jaganmohan in Delhi to meet Pawar

Former Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy arrived here late Wednesday to meet Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar over better relief for Andhra Pradesh farmers who lost their crops in recent unseasonal rains.
Jaganmohan in DelhiJagan, as he is known in his state, is likely to meet Pawar Thursday morning, sources close to Jagan said.
He has also sought an appointment with the prime minister, the sources added.
Jagan, the son of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, had gone on a 48-hour hunger strike earlier this month to demand a better deal for farmers.
He resigned from the Congress and quit the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat last month, accusing the leadership of dividing his family by luring his uncle Y.S. Vivekananda with a ministerial berth in the Andhra cabinet. He is now all set to launch his own political party.
While sources denied any political import to the meeting with Pawar, but political observers feel that the fact Jagan is meeting Pawar on his first visit to New Delhi after quitting the Congress could mean more than what meets the eye. Pawar had also quit the Congress and co-founded the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
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PM, senior ministers discuss Telangana

discuss TelanganaPrime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed the issue of a separate Telangana state with his senior ministers Wednesday ahead of the impending report of a panel that has examined the contentious demand that has created sharp political divisions in Andhra Pradesh.
Official sources said the hour-long meeting, attended by Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. Antony, had been called to discuss the “issue of smaller states”.
Moily is the Congress in-charge of Andhra Pradesh.
The meeting came two days before Friday deadline for the Srikrishna panel to present its report. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a retired Supreme Court judge, has indicated the report could be presented earlier.
The Congress Wednesday said it will convey its stand on Telangana after the panel submits its report.
“The Congress is not against (creation of) smaller states. The government has appointed a committee that will give its report. Then the government and party will make their stand,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said here.
The central government Wednesday asked the electronic media to exercise restraint in its coverage of the committee’s report.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Wednesday met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and suggested that a nodal spokesperson be appointed to make announcements about the contents of the report.
She told reporters that Chidambaram had agreed to the suggestion and that the spokesperson would function under the home ministry. “There will be a nodal spokesperson so that all channels get official information on the whole thing,” he said.
Soni appealed to the media to abide by the guidelines of the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) and not telecast speculative stories, which may lead to untoward incidents.
The meeting, attended by the cabinet secretary, secretary, information and broadcasting and chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh discussed the various issues related to the coverage of the panel’s report.
The Srikrishna committee was set up in February to study, among other things, the situation in Andhra Pradesh following protests for a separate Telangana state and the counter-protests that paralysed the state.
The committee met over 100 groups including political parties, intellectuals, politicians and retired bureaucrats and visited all the 23 districts of the state.
The Andhra government Tuesday withdrew all the criminal cases filed during protests for and against a separate Telangana state.
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Gujjars agree to talks Thursday as stir reaches Delhi

Gujjars agree to talks to end stirThe Gujjar community said it would hold talks with the Rajasthan government Thursday while its 10-day agitation for five percent reservation in government jobs continued to hit rail services in parts of the state and even spilled over to the national capital and Greater Noida.
“Gujjar leaders today (Wednesday) evening communicated to us that they would like to hold talks with us on Thursday. We hope to hold talks in the first half of Thursday,” said G.S. Sandhu, Rajasthan’s principal secretary for urban development.
Sandhu, who is also looking after the home department, is member of the state government delegation that has been deputed to hold talks with the Gujjars and has been camping in Bayana in Rajasthan for five days.
Bayana is in Bharatpur district, about 150 km from state capital Jaipur.
In a bid to pacify the community, the Rajasthan government announced late Tuesday that it would hold back four percent of the jobs, in addition to the one percent already being given to them, till a final court decision.
This announcement was a major shift in the government stand. The state government, headed by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, had till now proposed to set aside only “notional posts” till the high court verdict.
But the Gujjars led by Colonel (retd) K.S. Bainsla, convener of the Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, refused to call off the agitation that started Dec 20. They called for a Bharatpur shutdown Dec 30.
The protests have also spilled over to New Delhi and adjoining Greater Noida, but no major violence was reported.
Demonstrations were held at Jantar Mantar in the national capital amid tight security. Gujjar demonstrators from adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan gathered and raised slogans in support of their community in Rajasthan. No traffic jams or incidents of violence were reported.
Protests were also held in neighbouring Greater Noida, where demonstrators stopped traffic, causing snarls.
“We are demonstrating in support of the rights of Gujjars, we are with those protesting in Rajasthan,” said Ajit Dowla, a Gujjar leader from Greater Noida.
Train services between Delhi and Mumbai and a few other sectors remained affected Wednesday as Gujjars continued to squat on railway tracks near Bayana.
Gujjars decided on a rail blockade Dec 20, after holding a ‘mahapanchayat’ (community conclave) in Bayana. Following the decision, hundreds of protesters squatted on the rail tracks in Piloo Ka Pura, forcing the railways to divert or cancel a few trains.
In July 2009, the Rajasthan government announced five percent reservation for Gujjars and 14 percent for the economically backward classes, taking the total reservation in the state for various sections of society to 68 percent.
Since the total reservation had exceeded the Supreme Court cap of 50 percent, the high court in October 2009 stayed the quota in jobs and educational institutions in the state for Gujjars and the economically backward classes.
In a ruling Dec 22, 2010, the high court struck down the job quota for Gujjars.
Gujjars, demanding reservation for better educational and job prospects earlier between 2006 and 2008, had staged violent protests in which many lives were lost.
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Unease in Andhra ahead of Srikrishna panel report

There is unease, anxiety and suspense as Andhra Pradesh awaits the Srikrishna Committee’s report on the demand for separate statehood to Telangana region.
Srikrishna panel reportHectic activity began in political circles here amid reports from New Delhi that the five-member panel will submit its recommendations to the central government Friday.
With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussing the Telangana issue with senior ministers in the national capital and the central government issuing do’s and don’ts to the media, various speculations were doing the rounds here.
There was anxiety among protagonists of separate state over some reports that the central government was contemplating to set up another panel to study the Srikrishna Committee views or even form a second states’ reorganisation commission to look into demands for Telangana and other smaller states in the country.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is spearheading the movement for a separate state, began a crucial meeting to chalk out its future course of action, pending the Srikrishna Committee report. TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and other leaders were in the meeting.
Telangana Praja Front of Maoist sympathiser and revolutionary balladeer Gaddar also held a meeting here to review the situation ahead of the report. He condemned the curbs imposed by the central government on the media for the coverage of the panel’s report.
“We demand the centre to immediately table a bill in parliament for the formation of Telangana state,” Gaddar said.
Congress MP Madhu Yaskhi voiced his apprehension that the Srikrishna Committee may not make a recommendation for formation of Telangana state.
“If the committee makes a recommendation against formation of a separate state, we will rise above party affiliations to launch an agitation,” he said.
Yaskhi, who represents Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency, also blamed Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and Director General of Police Aravinda Rao for deployment of central paramilitary forces in the state ahead of the report.
Union Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju said the government was ready to deal with the situation that may arise after the Srikrishna Committee’s report.
He told reporters in Kakinada port town that the central government would implement the panel’s recommendations, and appealed to leaders of all political parties to observe restraint and act responsibly in the interest of the state.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner A.K. Khan said 11 companies of central paramilitary forces were already deployed in the state capital to maintain law and order in view of the committee’s report. Seven more companies would be deployed in a day or two, he said.
In all, 25 companies, each comprising 120 personnel, would be deployed in and around Hyderabad. Five companies have been deployed in Cyberabad, the Information Technology district which houses many global giants.
The state has sought 50 companies to tackle the situation after the committee submits its report.
The remaining companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will be deployed in other parts of Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state.
The Srikrishna Committee headed by former Supreme Court Justice B.N. Srikrishna, which is looking into the demands for and against separate Telangana state, is to submit its report to the central government Friday.
The five-member panel was constituted in February after massive protests in Andhra and Rayalaseema and en masse resignations of legislators against the central government’s announcement of Dec 9, 2009.
After 11-day hunger strike by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and massive protests in Telangana, the central government had announced that the process for formation of separate Telangana state will be initiated.
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Sensex climbs 0.42 percent; Maruti, Tata Motors rise

Sensex climbs
A benchmark index of the Indian equities market climbed nearly half a percent by noon Thursday on buying support in auto, FMCG and technology stocks.
The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) opened in the positive terrain at 20,274.12 points from the previous close of 20,256.03 points.
Keeping its upward curve, the Sensex was ruling at 20,343.77 points, up 0.43 percent or 87.74 points in the early afternoon session.
At the National Stock Exchange 50-share S&P CNX Nifty was holding at 6,078.80, up 0.30 percent or 18.45 points.
Tata Power climbed 1.47 percent. Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra were up nearly one percent.
At the broader market the BSE midcap and smallcap were also nearly half a percent higher.
All sectoral indices were in the green. The BSE consumer durables and IT indices were nearly one percent up. The BSE FMCG index was trading 0.62 percent higher.
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Food inflation zips on high onion, fruits, eggs, meat prices

Soaring prices of onions, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, meat and poultry sharply pushed India’s annual food inflation based on wholesale prices to 14.44 percent for the week ended Dec 18 from 12.13 percent for the week before.
Food inflation risesThis was the fourth straight week of rise in food inflation rate, which was pushed back to double-digits during the previous week, as per weekly data on wholesale price index for primary articles and fuels released by the commerce and industry ministry Thursday.
The fresh data reflects the high onion prices due to crop failure in the main growing regions in Maharashtra which had caused a nationwide furore last week, resulting in a slew of steps like a ban on export of the tuber and zero customs duty on imports.
The following are the yearly rise and fall in prices of some main commodities that form the sub-index for food articles:
Onions: 39.66 percent
Vegetables: 29.26 percent
Fruits: 21.97 percent
Potatoes: (-)23.84 percent
Milk: 17.75 percent
Eggs, meat, fish: 20.34 percent
Cereals: (-)0.70 percent
Rice: 0.73 percent
Wheat: (-)5.51 percent
Pulses: (-)10.79 percent
Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee have expressed major concern over the high price line and have assured people that the annual inflation rate will fall to around 5 percent by the end of this fiscal.
Tuesday saw the empowered group of ministers on prices headed by Mukherjee extend the ban on export of pulses indefinitely, and decide to release additional five million tonnes of wheat and rice to be sold through state-run fair price shops.
Earlier this month, the central bank, in its mid-quarter review of its monetary policy, kept almost all rates intact, but lowered the amount banks have to retain in the form of bonds, gold and cash to ease liquidity in the system.
The move indicated that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was expecting the inflation rate to temper and wanted to make more credit available to industry to ensure that growth does not suffer for want of funds.
But with inflation back in double-digit levels, RBI Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn has hinted at some tightening of monetary policy. “Inflation is not easing as we would like it to be. Upside risks are still high,” he said.
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Don’t regulate diesel prices: Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Diesel prices should not be regulated so that they can be aligned with international levels, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said here Wednesday.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia“I think diesel prices need to be aligned with global prices as soon as possible. Delaying the price rise by a week or by two weeks is not a solution. Going by what is happening in the global world, it is really difficult to delay it,” Ahluwalia told reporters.
“By not raising diesel prices, oil companies would suffer big losses. Then they would not be able to invest in the development of oil supplies and in such a situation, government has to subsidise it. If the government subsidises, then fiscal deficit will go up,” he added.
Ahluwalia was here to participate in the 93rd annual conference of the Indian Economic Association at the Panjab University campus.
Ahluwalia said the Punjab government, instead of giving subsidy on power, should put more emphasis on improving agriculture infrastructure.
“Providing subsidy only on power may result in its wasteful usage,” he said.
“They should make sure that it is going in the right hands. Farmers should be given subsidies on inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and also on agriculture equipments,” Ahluwalia said.
“Unless we pay for energy and water, we will never be able to judge its value and importance,” he added.
Ahluwalia also expressed concern over the excessive use of groundwater.
“Satellite imagery conducted by NASA has revealed that the condition of groundwater table has gone worse in Punjab and Haryana due to excessive irrigation. The situation is also not good in other parts of the country,” he stated.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chola MS targets Rs.2,000 crore premium by 2013-14

Chola MS General Insurance is eyeing a premium of Rs.2,000 crore and a profit of Rs.100 crore by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal, a top official said here Wednesday.
Chola MS General Insurance“We are targeting a premium of Rs.2,000 by the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal along with a profit of Rs.100 crore,” the company’s managing director S.S. Gopala Rathnam told mediapersons here.
The company had a premium turnover of Rs.785 crore in the 2009-2010 fiscal with a profit of Rs.2 crore.
In 2010-2011, the company was aiming for a premium of Rs.950 crore with a profit of Rs.20 crore, he said.
The company, which has 14 offices in the eastern part of the country, plans to establish another six to eight offices in the region.
The company is serving 1.5 million customers in this financial year, compared to 1.2 million in 2009-10.
Chola MS is going to come up with three health products in the first quarter of next fiscal while additional three health and one home product will be introduced in the fourth quarter of the next fiscal, he said.
The company currently has a market share of 11 percent in the eastern region, which it plans to increase to 20-22 percent by 2013-2014.
The firm’s profit before tax this fiscal is Rs.20 crore, while profit after tax is Rs.14 crore, he said.
“The settlement ratio of the company ranges between 95 to 98 percent,” said Gopala Rathnam.
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Uninor, others pay penalty for delayed 2G rollout

Mobile service providers Uninor, Etisalat DB and Sistema-Shyam Teleservices Limited Wednesday said they have paid penalties to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for delayed and inadequate 2G rollouts, but under protest.
UninorEarlier this month, the government had issued showcause notices to these firms and had given them 15 days to respond.
“Etisalat DB has received communication from the Do­T for imposition of liquidated damages towards roll-out obligation for the first year in respect of four telecom circles aggregating to Rs.9.9 crore. Etisalat DB has made payments for Rs.9.9 crore under protest,” the company said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Uninor, a joint venture between India’s Unitech and Norway’s Telenor, said the company has deposited the penlty as claimed by DoT but under protest.
According to the company, various factors – including last minute pre-launch testing, led to the delay which could not be controlled by the company.
“Various factors, including delay in clearances required for each site, new last minute pre-launch testing requirements and new equipment security clearance processes, came in the way of roll-out and were beyond our control,” the company said.
The company, however, did not disclose the amount paid to DoT as penalty.
“We have requested the DoT to consider these in its assessment. As a serious long term operator with considerable presence in India, we intend to continue delivering the benefits of competition to customers in the country,” the statement added.
Sistema-Shyam Teleservices Limited said the company has paid Rs.11 crore for imposition of liquidated damages towards rollout obligations to the DoT.
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Wipro deposits Rs.240 mn in tax case on court order

IT bellwether Wipro Limited Wednesday deposited Rs.24 crore (Rs.240 million) with the state commercial tax department in compliance with a Karnataka High Court directive, a company official said.
Wipro Limited“We have deposited the amount (Rs.240 million) as directed by the court Tuesday but we look forward to an early solution to the issue of double taxation on goods and services,” Wipro Senior Vice President (taxation) P.V. Srinivasan said here.
The global software major is of the view that when it is paying 10.3 percent towards service tax on the export of goods and services, levying an additional four percent as value added tax (VAT) by the state commercial department on the same transaction amounts to double taxation.
“As the case is sub-judice, we will not go into its legal aspects but we hope to resolve the matter with the central and state tax authorities soon. As a law abiding company, we have complied with the court’s order, though it was interim in nature,” Srinivasan asserted.
In a similar case earlier, the Supreme Court ruled that levying service tax and VAT on goods and services was mutually exclusive.
“It is a matter of interpreting the taxation laws and their application. In our view, to pay on selling goods and services towards service tax and VAT is to be taxed twice,” Srinivasan pointed out.
As the company did not comply with the court’s order of Dec 10, the vacation bench comprising Justice Venugopala Gowda and Justice B.V. Pinto Tuesday declined to hear its appeal for a stay on payment of VAT on re-export of software, which is treated as sale of goods by the state commercial tax department.
In the earlier order, a single judge of the court directed the export division of Wipro to pay 50 percent of the VAT and file an appeal before the appellate authority for commercial taxes by Dec 24 for exemption.
When the company failed to pay the amount and appeal within the fortnight, the commercial tax department attached its bank accounts and moved the high court against it.
Wipro sought tax relief on software it developed for other vendors, which in turn exported to it.
“The company failed to submit the statutory H-form to the department for claiming tax exemption,” a tax official said.
Wipro challenged the department for levying VAT on the software and sought exemption as it was paying service tax under the Development of Software Act and approached the court for quashing the department’s notice Oct 26.
Rejecting the company’s appeal, the department contended before the high court that the sale of software amounted to sale of goods and cited a Supreme Court ruling in 2006 in a similar case between the central government and Tata Consultancy Services, the country’s largest IT bellwether.
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Gayatri Projects bags Rs.1130.67 crore Nagaland contract

Gayatri-Projects-LimitedEngineering firm Gayatri Projects Limited Wednesday said it has bagged a road contract worth Rs.1,130.67 crore in Nagaland in a joint venture with Maytas Infra.
“The contract from the government of Nagaland is for widening of roads in the state for a total value of Rs.1,130.67,” the Andhra Pradesh-based company said in a regulatory filing.
The joint venture has received a letter of acceptance from the government to this extent, it added.
At the Bombay Stock Exchange, the shares of the company closed 1.42 percent higher to trade at Rs.320.45
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Indian mobile handsets market grows by 3.6 percent in Q3

The sales of mobile phones in India grew 3.6 percent to touch 40 million units during the quarter ended Sep 30, said a study by advisory firm IDC’s India quarterly mobile handsets tracker, 3Q 2010.
Indian mobile handsets market
According to the study, Finnish handset maker Nokia had the largest share of 31.5 percent in terms of units shipped during the quarter. While the emerging vendors captured 41.2 percent combined share of the market.
Chinese brand G’Five followed Nokia in terms of units shipped share and Korean handset manufacturer Samsung occupied the third position.
The study also showed a strong quarter on quarter growth in smartphone sales of 34.2 percent, and a year on year rise of 294.9 percent. This clearly underscores that India mobile handset buyers have started showing higher preference for smartphones.
Thanks to increased competition, the prices of the smartphones also dropped through the year. Over 80 percent of total smartphone sales were below the average sales value of Rs.18,000 in the second quarter of the year while this proportion increased to 90 percent in the third quarter.
“The India mobile handsets market got even more crowded and fragmented in the lower- and mid-market segments with the further entry of new players offering innovative models at attractive price points to lure buyers,” said Anirban Banerjee, associate vice president, research, IDC India.
“The propensity to adopt feature phones and smartphones is greatest amongst the youth and business executive segments, whose purchase decisions are often driven by peer group influence and workplace usage patterns, as well as larger disposable incomes and willingness to experiment with new technology platforms,” he added.
The study also showed that the android operating system (OS) based phones gained acceptance and 9.4 percent of the smartphones shipped were based on android as against 2.9 percent in the same period last year. During the same period even the number of models increased to 19 as compared to two models previously.
“In the smartphone segment, an increasing number of vendors are displaying confidence in the android operating system, having grown from just one vendor in third quarter 2009 to as many as seven in third quarter 2010,” said Naveen Mishra, lead analyst, mobile handsets research, IDC India.
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2nd Test: India beat South Africa by 87 runs, level series 1-1

DURBAN: An inspired India made amends for the drubbing at Centurion with a sensational 87-run victory against South Africa in the low-scoring second Test to level the three-match series 1-1 on Wednesday.
2nd Test, Day 4: South Africa vs IndiaAfter setting a target of 303, the Indian bowlers put up a disciplined show to dismiss the hosts for 215 in 72.3 overs about an hour after the lunch break to record only their second Test triumph on South African soil.

It turned out to be an extraordinary Test with fortune fluctuating from one team to the other but the Indians eventually tilted the balance in their favour on a bouncy Kingsmead track which saw 40 wickets fall in three and half days.

The Indians, who had lost the first Test at Centurion by an innings and 25 runs, showed great character and resilience to demolish the Proteas in their own den and in conditions tailor-made to suit the home team.

The Indians players jumped in joy and hugged each other after last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe was run out to bring about the moment of glory while coach Gary Kirsten and the other support staff stood up at the dressing room to applaud the players.

S Sreesanth (3-45), Zaheer Khan (3-53) and Harbhajan Singh (2-70) were the pick of the bowlers for India while Ashwell Prince was the top scorer for the South Africans with an unbeaten 39.

It was India's second Test triumph in South Africa. The 123-run victory in the first Test at Johannesburg in 2006 was their first Test victory on South African soil.

The two teams will now travel to Cape Town for the third and final Test starting on Sunday.

Both teams had an equal chance of winning the match when play began this morning with South Africa needing 192 runs and India needing to scalp the seven remaining wickets.

With plenty of time at hand, South African batsmen adopted a cautious approach in the morning and were content in playing the waiting game against some disciplined Indian bowling.

Resuming their chase at the overnight score of 111 for three, both de Villiers and Jacques Kallis found the going tough against the Indian attack and scored in ones and twos before a ripper from Sreesanth broke the dangerous-looking 41-run fourth-wicket stand.

The Kerela speedster came up with a blinder of a delivery that bounced sharply on to Kallis from just short of length and the big man had no other option but to fend at it, only to glove it to Virender Sehwag at gully.

Kallis made 17 off 52 deliveries and hit two boundaries in the process.

It seemed Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni came out with a perfect plan as he started the day's proceeding with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who bowled in tandem alongside Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan.

Dhoni's tactic bore fruit as Harbhajan inflicted the second big blow of the morning to South Africa by dismissing another dangerman de Villiers (33) lbw even though TV replays showed the South African was unlucky.

Bowling from round the wicket, Harbhajan tossed one up on off and middle and got it to bite and straighten which struck de Villiers around the knee in front of the stumps and umpire Asad Rauf had no hestiation in raising the finger but replays later showed the ball was going above the stumps.

Soon after de Villiers wicket, another dubious lbw decision ruined South Africa's morning when Zaheer Khan dismissed Mark Boucher in the 43rd over.

Zaheer too registered his name in the wicket list when he struck Boucher on the pads with a delivery that seemed to be angling away from the off-stump but umpire Steve Davis thought otherwise and adjudged the Protea wicket-keeper lbw much to the dismay of the home fans.

Zaheer then took India closer towards victory dismissing Dale Steyn (10) caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at third slip after the right-hander went for a flashing drive only to get an outside edge.

But a resolute Prince remained a thorn in the flesh for the Indians as he joined hands with Harris to lead South Africa's fightback and frustrated the visitors with their eighth-wicket partnership.

Zaheer broke the 27-run partnership immediately after the lunch break by bowling Harris with a gem of a delivery which moved in to clip the bails.

Morne Morkel, who joined the action after Harris' dismissal, went for his strokes to ease the pressure and the strategy seemed to work as South Africa crossed the 200 mark to give some anxious moments to the Indians.

But Ishant came to his team's rescue by evicting Morkel (20) and bring India within sniffing distance of victory.

Last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe did not survive long as he was run out, thanks to some smart fielding by Cheteswar Pujara at short leg.

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2nd Test: India-South Africa statistical highlights

2nd Test, Day 4: South Africa vs IndiaDURBAN: Statistical highlights on the fourth day of the second Test between India and South Africa on Wednesday.  # India have recorded their second win against South Africa in South Africa. In the 2006-07 Johannesburg Test, India had won by 123 runs.  # India's aforesaid victory is their seventh (lost twelve and drawn seven) out of 26 played against South Africa - success % 26.92.  # India have won eight, lost three and drawn three out of 14 played this year - success % 57.14.  # India's tally of eight wins this year is exceeded only by England - 9 wins, three losses and two drawn - out of 14 played - winning % 64.28  # South Africa have lost three Tests in succession at Kingsmead, Durban - to Australia by 175 runs in March 2009, to England by an innings and 98 runs in December 2009 and to India by 87 runs in December 2010.  # S Sreesanth (3/45) has registered his best performance in seven Tests this year, obliterating the 3 for 121 against New Zealand at Hyderabad last month.  # Zaheer Khan (47 at 21.97) and Harbhajan Singh (43 at 40.69) have been the leading wicket-takers for India in 2010.  # India have recorded 14 wins against three losses and six drawn games out of 23 played under Dhoni's captaincy - success % 60.86.  # Amongst the captains with a minimum of 15 Tests as captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, with a success % of 60.86 is the fourth in the history of Test cricket, next only to Steve Waugh (71.92), Don Bradman (62.50) and Ricky Ponting (62.33).  # Dhoni has become the first Indian captain to record a winning % of 60.00.  # VVS Laxman has received the Man of the Match award for the fifth time in Tests - his first against South Africa.  # The two leading run-getters in the present series are - Jacques Kallis - 228 (ave. 114.00) and Hashim Amla - 189 (ave. 63.00).  # Dale Steyn (15 at 16.60) and Morne Morkel (12 at 19.08) and Harbhajan Singh (8 at 31.12) are the three leading wicket-takers in the series so far.  # Laxman's 96 is his second highest for winning cause against South Africa, next only to 143 not out at Kolkata in February this year.  # Laxman's highest ever for winning cause is his career-best 281 against Australia at Kolkata in March 2001.  # Dhoni is the leading run-getter for India in the present series, aggregating 179 in four innings.  Read more: 2nd Test: India-South Africa statistical highlights -
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FMSCI president Chandhok wants to improve motorsports infrastructure

Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India’s (FMSCI) newly- elected president Vicky Chandhok Wednesday said he would try to improve the infrastructure for motorsport in the country.
Federation-of-Motor-Sports-Clubs-of-India“There is a lot of work to be done to improve the infrastructure of the sport in the country. I have always been pushing for the sport to grow at the grassroot level before all else. We have had our team doing just that with Rallying, Motocross and Go-Karting respectively and we will look to carry this into all segments from the next year on,” said Chandhok, who was elected president at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held here Tuesday.
Chandhok, who was president earlier during 2003-05, took over from Khushroo Madan while Shrikant Karani was elected vice-president.
“With the first Indian Grand Prix also in the mix, 2011 promises to be India’s biggest year thus far in motorsport and I look forward to carrying my vision on karting, racing, rallying and grass root level motorsport and meeting global standards in India.”
FMSCI Chairman Vijay Mallya, who chaired the AGM, said: “The Auto Industry in India is on the move as is our country and we are seeing a complete transformation largely driven by young Indians. Indian Motorsport should not be left behind and we should do whatever it takes our sport forward in the fast lane.
“With the F1 GP coming to India for the first time as well as the FIA General Assembly and the FIA Annual Awards ceremony to be held in New Delhi next December, it is an ideal opportunity for us to tap and showcase motorsports to attract more Corporates and sponsors.”
The following clubs were elected to the council for the forthcoming year: Madras Motor Sports Club, Coimbatore Auto Sports Club, Karnataka Motor Sports Club, Sportscraft (Mumbai), Sportstrek (Pune), Bengal Motor Sports Club, Himalayan Motor Sports Association and Spitfire Motorsports Pvt Ltd (Coimbatore).
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Chikka moves ahead of Fernandes in All India junior golf

Playing on his home turf, Chikkarangappa took advantage of Rigel Fernandes faltering in the third round to take the overall lead in the All India Junior and sub junior golf here Wednesday.
ChikkarangappaChikka, who was three-under for the front nine with three birdies in a row from fifth to seventh holes, had an up-and-down back nine with six bogeys and one birdie for a day’s work of 74.
He is now four-over 220 for three rounds, but one shot ahead of Rigel Fernandes who shot a 78 and is now placed at 221 after three days. Fernandes however leads the Category B, as he is eight shots clear of Manu Gandas (72-71-78=221) and lying third is Shiv Naren Srinivasan (77-78-75=230)
In Category A, there should be a tough fight with Saqib shooting a one-under 71 and coming up to 223, three behind Chikka. Saqib has rounds of 74, 78 and 71. Trishul Chinnappa (75-72-76=223) is tied with Saqib.
In Category C, Prakhar Asawa (Jaipur) (73-74-68, 215) leads Piyush Sangwan of DLF who is at 216 with rounds of 72-74-70.
In Category D, Kshitij Naveed Kaul of DGC leads with rounds of 78 and -82 at 160, while Digraj Singh Gill has rounds of 84 and 83 for a total of 167 one ahead of Aadil Bedi (85-83)
Among girls Aditi Ashokh from Bangalore Golf Club returned the best card of one over par 73 (79-73) to join Mehar Atwal at 152 (76-76) with Gurbani at the third place 74-79=153 and Gauri Monga 80-74=154.
Ankita Kedlaya (81-77) from Eagleton is tied with Seher Atwal (78-80) for the first place in C Category with Ridhima Dilawari at the third place with two identical scores of 80.
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Iran is now a nuclear state: Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran is now a nuclear country and that it has achieved nuclear know-how for energy purposes, a media report said.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad“Though the US and its allies have been exerting political and propaganda pressure and have issued resolutions against Iran over its nuclear programme, all their efforts have failed and Iran has now become a nuclear country,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by Press TV.
Addressing a gathering in northern Karaj city, the Iranian president said cooperation rather than confrontation was the only way to resolve issues related to Iran’s nuclear energy programme.
“We are open to cooperation based on our rights,” he said, warning Western countries that Iran would give a “regretting” response to anyone who “intends to prevent Iran from achieving its rights”.
He termed the sanction resolutions passed by the UN against Iran as “illegal” and said the sanctions would only “strengthen the Iranian nation” and accelerate the pace of its progress.
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Russian missile maker to build two plants, expand exports

Russian missile makerRussia’s Almaz-Antei conglomerate will receive a government loan to build two new production facilities to expand the export of missile defence systems, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday.
The conglomerate’s core products are the S-300 and S-400 missile defence systems, most of which are procured by the Russian military, he said, adding that exports were limited.
“However, these goods, so to speak, are in great demand on the international market,” he noted.
The S-300PS Grumble model entered service with the Russian Armed Forces in 1985. It has an effective range of 90 km.
The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) is designed to engage airborne targets at distances of up to 400 km, double the range of the US MIM-104 Patriot.
Russia currently has three S-400 battalions.
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Spain confirms mutual expulsion of diplomats with Russia

Trinidad-JiménezSpain’s foreign ministry confirmed Tuesday that Russia expelled two Spanish diplomats in response to Madrid’s decision last month to expel two Russians “for conducting activities incompatible with their status”.
The two Spanish diplomats expelled from Moscow last week have the rank of secretary, Foreign Ministry sources told EFE.
The Spanish daily La Razon reported Dec 10 that the expulsion of the two Russian officials was due to their engaging in acts of espionage.
Both governments “consider the incident over and done with, and are working to staff their diplomatic delegations as soon as possible”, the Spanish foreign ministry said.
Spain’s top diplomat, Trinidad Jimenez, will fly to Moscow Jan 16 to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the purpose of settling the crisis once and for all, and to review the state of bilateral relations.
Spain and Russia will celebrate the 2011 “Dual Year” with the goal of strengthening political, economic, cultural and social ties, and the Spanish foreign ministry said that “the entire programme of activities for that event remains as planned”.
Russian officials have made no comments as yet about the incident of the expulsions.
Jimenez proceeded to banish the two Russian diplomats following a request from the director of Spain’s CNI intelligence service, Gen. Felix Sanz Roldan, who presented “solid proof” of espionage, the Madrid daily El Pais said.
This has been one of the most notorious diplomatic conflicts since Spain and Russia re-established relations in February 1977, 18 months after the end of the Franco dictatorship.
The two countries had another significant incident in July 2007, when the CNI announced the arrest of ex-agent Roberto Florez for offering Russia classified information.
The CNI’s then-chief, Alberto Saiz, gave an unprecedented press conference at which he explained the case, which he defined as “unique in the history of Spanish intelligence services”, though it did not endanger the security of Spain, NATO or the European Union.
Florez was sentenced to 12 years in jail in democratic Spain’s first prosecution for treason, but the Supreme Court last week reduced his sentence to nine years.
The high court concluded that it was not proved that Florez revealed the information to Russia, though he could have had the intention of offering it to that nation’s secret service.
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PM discusses Telangana with senior ministers

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday convened a meeting of senior ministers to discuss the issue of a separate state of Telangana that has led to sharp political divisions in Andhra Pradesh.
Manmohan Singh discusses
Official sources said the hour-long meeting, attended by Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. Antony, had been called to discuss the “issue of smaller states”.
Moily is the Congress in-charge of Andhra Pradesh.
The meeting comes two days before the Srikrishna panel report will present its report Friday. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a retired Supreme Court judge, heads the panel formed by the government on issues relating to statehood.
The Srikrishna committee was set up in February to study, among other things, the situation in Andhra Pradesh following protests for a separate Telangana state and the counter-protests that paralysed the state.
The committee met over 100 groups including political parties, intellectuals, politicians and retired bureaucrats and visited all the 23 districts of the state.
The Andhra government Tuesday withdrew all criminal cases filed during protests for and against a separate Telangana state.
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I respect governor, will clear misunderstanding: Yeddyurappa

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Tuesday sought to assuage an angry Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, saying that he respected him and would regularly brief him to prevent any misunderstanding.
Yeddyurappa“I have a lot of respect for the governor. He is experienced and elder to me. I will take guidance from him,” Yeddyurappa, who had threatened to write to President Pratibha Patil against Bhardwaj’s style of functioning, told reporters here.
Bhardwaj has been frequently criticizing the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka and was particularly upset that Yeddyurappa had not replied to two of his letters.
One sought a “true picture” of allegations against Yeddyurappa over prime land to his kin. The second was on action taken against the Reddy brothers, who are also ministers, over their alleged illegal iron ore mining activity.
Yeddyurappa replied after Bhardwaj publicly criticized him for not responding. But Bhardwaj found the reply to be not satisfactory and told reporters that he would send one more letter to Yeddyurappa.
Angry with this, Yeddyurappa announced he would take the matter to president Patil but later dropped the plan and left it to party central leaders to decide.
Yeddyurappa also said Tuesday that he would meet Bhardwaj Dec 31 for talks. He would also invite him to address the joint sitting of the two legislatures Jan 6.
“In the interest of the state, there should not be any misunderstanding between the government and the governor. I will meet him once in a fortnight and will direct senior officers to periodically brief the governor,” Yeddyurappa said.
While Yeddyurappa has been mild in his attacks on the governor, his party colleagues do not mince words. They frequently call him “Congress agent”. Bhardwaj is a long-time Congressman and was central law minister before moving to Karnataka as governor.
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Srikrishna report by Dec 31, Andhra to withdraw all cases

Srikrishna-committee-saysAmid fears of violence in Andhra Pradesh, Justice B.N. Srikrishna, who heads the panel for examining the contentious issue of statehood for Telangana, Tuesday said the committee will present the report by the Dec 31 deadline, even as the Andhra Pradesh government withdrew all criminal cases filed during protests for a separate state.
“The report will be given to the government before Dec 31. We will make sure that it is given before Dec 31,” Srikrishna, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, told reporters here.
“We have gone into all aspects. It’s comprehensive,” Srikrishna said while refusing to disclose the contents of the report.
In February, the Srikrishna committee was constituted to examine, among other things, the situation in Andhra Pradesh that arose in the aftermath of the demand for a separate State of Telangana and the protests in the state against the move.
Srikrishna, however, clarified that it was for the state government to ensure law and order and asserted that his job will end when the report is submitted. It is the duty of the government machinery to ensure that there is no violence, he said.
Fearing violence after the report is submitted, the Andhra Pradesh government has sought at least 125 companies of central forces. The central government has already dispatched about 50 companies, or about 4,500 personnel, from various central forces, including the Central Industrial Security Force and Border Security Force, to Hyderabad for deployment in the Telangana region.
Besides Justice Srikrishna, the panel comprises Ranbir Singh, vice-chancellor of Delhi’s National Law University; Abusaleh Shariff, senior research fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute, Delhi; Ravinder Kaur, professor, department of humanities and social sciences, Indian Institute of Technology- Delhi; and Vinod K. Duggal, former Union home secretary.
Earlier Tuesday, the Andhra Pradesh government decided to withdraw all criminal cases filed during protests for a separate Telangana state.
After a series of discussions Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had with ministers and other ruling party leaders from the region, the government agreed to withdraw the 967 pending cases. These will be in addition to the cases withdrawn earlier.
The cases were booked during the protests for and against a separate Telangana state in all three regions of the state between November 2009 and September 2010.
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Telangana MPs end fast as government withdraws cases

ongress MPs from the Telangana region Tuesday ended their hunger strike after the Andhra Pradesh government agreed to withdraw all criminal cases filed during widespread agitation for a separate Telangana state.
Telangana-Congress-MPs-continue-fastThe nine Congress parliamentarians broke their fast after state Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy handed over a written assurance from the government to senior leader and Rajya Sabha member K. Keshava Rao about withdrawal of the cases.
Keshava Rao told reporters that following the government’s decision, they were terminating their hunger-strike.
The home minister said the government has decided to withdraw all the remaining cases against the agitators, most of whom were students, keeping in view their future.
She said all 1,667 cases against 8,047 people would be withdrawn. The cases were booked during the protests for and against a separate Telangana state in all three regions of the state between November 2009 and September 2010.
After a series of discussions Chief Minister Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy held with ministers and other ruling party leaders from the region, the government agreed to withdraw the pending 967 cases.
The nine MPs spent the Monday night in the hunger strike camp at New MLA Quarters.
The government Monday decided to withdraw 135 cases against 834 students but the MPs made it clear they would not settle for anything less than withdrawal of all cases.
Reddy again deputed three ministers from Telangana to talk to the MPs Monday night and request them to call off the fast as it was proving an embarrassment for the government. The MPs, however, stuck to their demand.
The government earlier this month announced in the state assembly withdrawal of 562 cases against 2,436 people but decided not to take back other cases, terming them of serious nature.
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PAC will decide on PM’s offer to appear before it: Joshi

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who chairs parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Monday said the panel will take an “appropriate decision at an appropriate time” on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to appear before it on the 2G spectrum allocation scam issue.
Murli Manohar Joshi saysJoshi, speaking to mediapersons, said the panel was not tied to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in its probe into the allocation of second generation airwaves to telecom companies in 2008 that is alleged to have caused losses to the national exchequer.
“The PAC has got a letter from the prime minister in which he has repeated his offer of appearing before the PAC, if needed. An appropriate decision will be taken at an appropriate time depending on the collective wisdom of members,” Joshi told mediapersons here after the end of the committee meeting.
CAG Vinod Rai was present at Monday’s PAC meeting.
Referring to media reports about the meeting, Joshi said it was wrong to say that the CAG had been summoned by the committee. He said CAG was a part of the panel and assists it in its work.
He said at the last meeting the members wanted to understand some finer and technical points of the CAG report, which looked into the 2G spectrum allocation controversy, and these were explained at the meeting Monday.
Joshi said the work of PAC was not tied to CAG report and it can look into any issue relating to misuse of public money.
BJP leaders, who are steadfast in demand of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) investigation into the 2G spectrum controversy, have maintained that the PAC basically looks into the CAG report.
Joshi said the CAG report had calculated presumptive loss to exchequer from 2G spectrum allocation in three different ways and the committee may decide on one of these models or choose another model.
He said the government had provided PAC the information it had sought. “It is a huge bundle. We will study it in detail,” he said.
Joshi refused to comment on the varying stance of the opposition and government on the need for a JPC on the 2G spectrum controversy.
“Whether government constitutes JPC or not. No comment from PAC,” he said.
Answering queries, he said if there is a need, the panel will look into the 2G spectrum allocation from 2001.
Answering another query, he said no minister can be called by PAC under the rules unless the speaker gives permission.
Asked if former communications minister A. Raja will be called, Joshi said if the committee feels the need it will do so.
He refused to give a time frame for the PAC to give its report, saying a lot of information has to be looked into. “Whatever more information is needed will be taken.”
Joshi also denied apprehensions that the committee was working at a fast pace. He said that PAC had held eight meetings on the 2G spectrum issue and the meetings had been held in different months.
Joshi, who was made chairman of PAC in May 2010, said the next meeting of the committee on the spectrum issue will be held in January.
He said that if members want, a meeting will be held to talk about 3G spectrum allocation.
The government has rejected the opposition’s demand for JPC, saying a PAC was looking into it and a multi-level investigation was also being conducted simultaneously.
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Gujarat to focus on education in a big way: Modi

After making Gujarat “investor-friendly”, the government’s focus would now be on developing the state’s education sector from the primary to the professional level, Chief Minister Narendra Modi said Monday.
Modi-says“While the state has achieved investor-friendly status, education is it’s next primary field of concern. The state had nine universities in 2000 and today we have 25,” he added.
The chief minister was speaking at an Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) conclave organised by the Gujarat government and the institute’s alumni to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“I congratulate IIM-A on its completion of 50 years. It’s a joyous moment for both Gujarat and the institute to celebrate golden anniversaries in the same year.
“The contribution of the institute in putting Gujarat on the global map has been remarkable. The members of IIM-A, in the recent past, have actively participated in various developmental projects and we would like to see this relationship going forward,” Modi said.
Maheshwar Sahu, principal secretary (Industry and Mines) said the state was keen to form a coordination committee comprising government and IIM-A officials. The committee would aim to create expert groups to formulate developmental strategies in different sectors, in particular in coastal and port-related development, medical services, urban development, finance, tourism and education.
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Sensex rises 138 points; HDFC, Bharti Airtel climb

A benchmark index of the Indian equities market advanced more than half percent by noon Wednesday, led by good buying support in metal, banks and FMCG on the back of positive Asian cues.
Sensex rises
The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) opened in the positive terrain at 20,060.88 points from the previous close of 20,025.42 points.
The Sensex held on the early gains and was ruling at 20,163.47 points, up 0.69 percent or 138.05 points around noon.
HDFC Bank surged 2.37 percent to Rs.2,310.70. HDFC rose 1.72 percent to Rs.712.05 and Bharti Airtel jumped 1.64 percent to Rs.347.80.
At the National Stock Exchange 50-share S&P CNX Nifty was ruling 0.71 percent or 42.65 points up at 6,038.65 points.
At the broader market, the BSE smallcap index climbed over one percent and midcap was up 0.75 percent.
The BSE metal index was up 1.25 percent, the Bankex up 1.07 percent and consumer durables index was 1.66 percent higher.
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Pesky calls to nag customers for one more month

Pesky calls will continue to trouble the subscribers for one more month as the telecom regulator Tuesday gave the mobile phone firms another month to curb unsolicited commercial calls and messages.
Pesky-calls-to-indians“Telemarketers registration shall commence from Jan 15 and other provisions shall come into force from Feb 1,” said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in a statement.
“Having regard to security audit of the website and other processes involved, TRAI has found it necessary to re-determine the dates for implementation of the regulations,” it added.
Earlier this month, the telecom watchdog announced a set of new measures to curb unsolicited commercial calls and messages, which were to be implemented from Jan 1.
The regulations included a fine in the range of Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 250,000 for the defaulting companies and allocation of a number starting with “70″ to the telemarketers making it easy for the customers to recognise their numbers.
Unlike the previous regulation that asked customers to register their numbers in “do not call” list, users can now choose from different categories like “fully blocked” or “partially blocked,” under which a customer can receive communication for categories of his choice.
According to a telecom lobby, the delay has been caused as the telecom operators had requested for some more time to meet the contractual obligations with the telemarketing companies to comply with the security concerns.
“We had asked the TRAI for some more time. There is a whole lot of work that has to be done in order to comply with the security cocerns, including setting up of infrastructure to filter calls,” said Rajan Mathew, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India.
Asked if the operators will be able to meet this new deadline, Mathew said, “We will try our best and are hopeful that it will be implemented.”
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Surya Pharma’s arm acquires US’s ActivOn for $22 mn

Surya Pharmaceuticals Tuesday said its subsidiary has acquired US-based ActivOn, a leading over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic drug brand, for $22 million.
“Surya Pharma’s wholly owned subsidiary, Surya Pharmaceutical (Singapore) Pte Ltd, has acquired ActivOn with global marketing rights,” the company said in a regulatory filing.
The investment will be funded through a mix of internal accrual and debt financing from EXIM bank, it added.
Through the acquisition, the company also adds to its portfolio brands like Preferon, Firston and Renewin.
“This acquisition will not only entitle us to ready shelf space with leading retailers like Walmart, Walgreen, RiteAide etc. but will also be instrumental in establishing our presence in the US markets,” said Hariom Bhatia, chief executive officer of Surya Pharma.
“Our presence in the coming years would offer attractive opportunity to launch our OTC or fast moving consumer goods products using ActivOn’s distribution set up,” he added.
At the Bombay Stock Exchange, the shares of the company were up five percent to trade at Rs.30.45.
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KEC International bags orders worth Rs.1,018 crore

Power transmission major KEC International Ltd Monday said it has bagged orders worth Rs.1,018 crore for the construction of transmission lines and other civil projects.
KEC-International-LtdIn the transmission segment, the firm secured three orders for constructing 765 kV transmission lines from Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (RRVPN), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) and Eskom (South Africa), the company said in a regulatory filing.
The RRVPN order worth Rs.313 crore is for constructing a transmission line between Anta and Phagi in Rajasthan on a turn-key basis (projects sold in a ready-to-use condition).
PGCIL has placed an order worth Rs.130 crore for the supply and construction of 765 kV single circuit transmission lines between Orissa’s Angul to Jharsuguda.
The Eskom order is worth Rs.90 crore, the statement added.
KEC’s wholly-owned subsidiary SAE Towers has also bagged an order worth Rs.246 crore in the Americas.
“We are happy to see continuous order flow from our most of the business segments. This quarter has been very good for our order book. With these orders, our total order intake for the quarter reaches to approximately Rs.2,400 crore,” said Ramesh Chandak, managing director and chief operating officer of KEC International.
The company has also secured orders for civil work from the Indian Railways worth Rs.97 crore.
In the cable segment, KEC International has secured supply orders for telecom cables, low tension, high tension and extra high voltage power cables worth Rs.135 crore.
With these new orders and execution up to last month, the company’s order book stands at Rs.7,400 crore, its highest ever, the company said.
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South Indian Bank bags ‘best bank’ award

The city-based South Indian Bank (SIB) has bagged India’s Best Bank-2010 award in this year’s edition of the ‘Businessworld-PricewaterhouseCoopers Best Banks Survey’, a statement said Monday.
South Indian Bank“This coveted award speaks strongly of the corporate metamorphosis the bank has undergone by effecting rebranding, achieving asset quality, implementing banking technology and recruiting young and qualified personnel,” the bank’s managing director and chief executive officer V.A. Joseph said.
SIB was in the news recently when Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan presented it with the ‘Best Bank’ award (in private sector, traditional banks category) of State Forum of Bankers’ Clubs, Kerala.
SIB’s asset quality has seen consistent improvement over the years on account of higher recoveries and low delinquencies, the statement said.
The net non-performing assets (NPA) of the bank has improved to 0.38 percent as on Sep 30, 2010 from 0.43 percent for the corresponding period in 2009.
“‘Vision 2013′ of the bank envisages a total business of Rs.75,000 crore, a network of 750 CBS (core banking solution) branches and 750 ATM centres, an employee headcount of 7500. We are poised to achieve Rs.48,000 crore business at the end of this fiscal,” added Joseph.
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Now a chip that makes computers 20 times faster

An ultra-fast computer chip that is 20 times faster than the ones found in the current desktop computers has been created by scientists.
computers 20 times fasterModern PCs have a processor with two, four or sometimes 16 cores to carry out tasks. But the central processing unit (CPU) developed by the researchers effectively had 1,000 cores on a single chip, Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
The developments could usher in a new age of high-speed computing in the next few years for home users frustrated with slow-running systems.
And the new ’super’ computer is much greener than modern machines – using far less power – despite its high speed.
Scientists used a chip called a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), which like all microchips contains millions of transistors – the tiny on-off switches that are the foundation of any electronic circuit.
But FPGAs can be configured into specific circuits by the user, rather than their function being set at a factory.
This enabled the team to divide up the transistors within the chip into small groups and ask each to perform a different task.
By creating more than 1,000 mini-circuits within the FPGA chip, the researchers effectively turned the chip into a 1,000-core processor – each core working on its own instructions.
The chip was able to process around five gigabytes of data per second in testing – making it approximately 20 times faster than modern computers.
The team was led by Wim Vanderbauwhede, of the University of Glasgow, and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Vanderbauwhede said: “FPGAs are not used within standard computers because they are fairly difficult to programme but their processing power is huge while their energy consumption is very small because they are so much quicker – so they are also a greener option.”
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Suspected debris of exploded rocket washes ashore

rocket washes ashoreAn oval metal object, suspected to be debris of the rocket that was blown up mid-air by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists Saturday following a failed launch, washed ashore near Pazhaverkadu in Thiruvallur district near here, officials said.
The geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) carrying advanced communication satellite GSAT-5P was exploded mid-air by ISRO after it started disintegrating within a minute of its lift off Saturday.
A huge oval shaped metal object washed ashore Monday.
According to Thiruvallur police, the part was taken in possession by officials from the Revenue Divisional Office in Ponneri Taluk.
The officials at the rocket launch centre in Sriharikota, around 80 km from here, were informed about the items and a team of ISRO officials is expected to take a look at it Wednesday.
ISRO director S. Satish said: “We do not have any plans to mount any debris search operations.”
However, the space organisation four years back recovered the strap-on motors of another GSLV rocket that was exploded mid-air to test some parameters.
According to Satish, ISRO officials are poring over the telemetry data of Saturday’s ill-fated rocket.
Seventh in the GSLV series, the 51-metre tall rocket, carrying the 2.3-tonne GSAT-5P with 36 transponders, exploded barely a minute after it blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport.
The 2,310 kg GSAT-5P satellite was meant to serve the needs of the telecommunication sector and the weather department.
The Rs.300 crore project was also to retire the INSAT-2E satellite, sent up in 1999.
“A preliminary report is expected to be announced in a day or two, post which a Failure Analysis Committee would be set up,” Satish said.
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Undaunted by rocket’s failure, India plans 30 satellite launches

India Tuesday announced plans to launch 30 remote sensing satellites in the next 10 years, undaunted by the failed launch of a rocket that was to place an advanced communication satellite into orbit.
30 satellites for data collectionThe series of launches is intended to strengthen India’s lead role in data collection and dissemination, a top scientist said Tuesday.
“We expect (to launch) not less than 30 satellites,” V. Jayaraman, director of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), India’s one-stop centre for all the users of remote sensing data solutions, said here.
Jayaraman’s statement comes in the backdrop of the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-F06), carrying a heavy communication satellite from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, exploding just a minute after launch Saturday evening.
This was the second failure this year. Nine months earlier, GSAT-D3 launch had failed April 15.
Though anguished over the failure, India’s top space scientists had said Saturday it would not be a setback to future space programmes.
The failure of GSLV on Christmas day, ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan had said, would not hit India’s space exploration programme.
Indian scientists are examining the data to pin-point the exact cause for the GSLV to explode within a minute of launch.
Jayaraman said that the ‘Resourcesat-2′ satellite was expected to be launched by the end of January next. It would replace the ‘Resourcesat-1′ which was launched in October 2003 to obtain high resolution multi-spectral data.
India has several remote sensing satellites in operation. The country launched its first civilian remote sensing satellite – IRS-1A in 1988. It was followed by IRS-1B in 1991, IRS-1C in 1995 and IRS-1D in 1997.
Data from these satellites helped in resources survey and management, urban planning, forest studies, disaster monitoring and environmental studies.
Another IRS series, IRS-P3 and IRS-P4, assisted space science and study of ocean respectively. The IRS-P4 launched in 1999 “opened new vistas in ocean studies”, says the NSRC.
Jayaraman said the NRSC, based in Hyderabad and a full-fledged centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), would have an integrated multi-mission ground station by June next year to receive all the satellite data.
“This will help the centre to supply 1,000 products to the users directly,” Jayaraman told a meeting on Karnataka State Geospatial Database. It was organised by the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre.
NRSC now delivers products in four or five days of receiving the data. The new station, being set up at a cost of around Rs.40 crore, would help deliver the products within 12 hours, he said.
The chief activities of NRSC are satellite data and aerial data reception, data processing, data dissemination; applications for providing value added services and training. It also distributes data from foreign satellites.
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