Monday, February 27, 2012

India win toss, to field against Sri Lanka

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to field against Sri Lanka in a do-or-die of the cricket tri-series at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Tuesday.
India has made one change in their playing eleven with Irfan Pathan missing out due to his injury and Zaheer Khan making a comeback.
The Sri Lankans have gone with an unchanged side.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravinder Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara, Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Lahiru Thirimanne and Ferveez Maharoof.
Umpires: Simon Taufel (Australia) and Asad Rauf (Pakistan).
Third umpire: Simon Fry (Australia).
Match referee: Chris Broad (England).
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Facebook denies accessing users’ text messages

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook is being accused of snooping on its users' text messages, but the social network says the accusations are inaccurate and misleading.


The company is among a wide-ranging group of Web entities, including Flickr and YouTube, that are using smartphone apps to access text message data and other personal information, according to a Sunday Times report (behind a paywall).

The newspaper said Facebook "admitted" to reading users' text messages during a test of its own messaging service. The report also says information such as user location, contacts list, and browser history are often accessed and sometimes transmitted to third-party companies, including advertisers.

Facebook representatives did not immediately respond to a CNET request for comment, but the company told the Business Insider that the Sunday Times report was "completely wrong." 

"There is no reading of user text messages. On the Android App store, the Facebook app permissions include SMS read/write. Lots of communications apps use these permissions. Think of all those apps that act as replacements to the build-in sms software," it said.

The company said the permission exists because it has performed some testing of products that require short message service to communicate with the Facebook app. But Facebook says it hasn't made any such features available to the public.

"So the Sunday Times is completely wrong when it says Facebook is reading people's SMS. Wrong on the terminology, and wrong on the suggestion that it has been implemented," the company said.

Smartphone privacy concerns have increased in the past couple of weeks after it was revealed that when Path--a popular iOS and Android application--was found to be collecting user contact information without permission.

Twitter also acknowledged that it retained data on its servers for 18 months after users selected the "Find Friends" feature on its smartphone app.
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Nokia announces Reading, Transport and Life services

Barcelona, SPAIN--To complement its new Lumia and Asha devices, Nokia has also unveiled services across its Windows Phone (WP) and S40 platforms. This move marks the Finland-based company's focus on "building a whole ecosystem", according to Nokia's EVP of sales, Colin Giles.

Here at MWC, it is becoming increasingly apparent that handset makers are shifting from an emphasis on specs, and choosing to focus on the user experience instead. Not to be left out, Nokia has chosen to unveil some useful location-based services and education apps this year.

Windows Phone

Nokia Reading (free): The new Reading app is a hub for news, e-books and audio books. It provides you with the ability to access content offline and pin dynamic content on the home screen. For example, breaking news is instantly reflected in the dynamic live tile. It will be available from April on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Nokia Transport (free): Nokia has also expanded its location services to include public transport information. This new app is able to give step-by-step directions, as well as real-time bus and train information so that you can better plan your route. It will be rolled out for over 500 cities across 46 countries by next month, although only 80 of these cities will receive real-time bus and train information.

Nokia Drive (free): Nokia's useful navigation app has also been updated to include a speed limit feature and full offline capabilities. You'll have to wait until next month to download the updated version.

ED: Do note that some services may not be available in your country, so check with your operators for more details.


Nokia Life (subscription-based): Previously known as Life Tools, Nokia Life is exclusive to the S40 platform. With the aim of imparting useful life skills to people in developing countries via SMS, the suite of services is focused on areas such as education, agriculture and health.

For example, in the field of education, users can learn financial management, entrepreneurial skills and even the English language. Information is delivered via SMS, but users can also choose to call an expert.

The service is currently only available in China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria, but Blanca Juti, VP of mobile phones marketing, says that there is a potential for other markets as well, such as South America.
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BSNL tablet gets over one lakh pre order requests


The tablets will be available in retail stores and BSNL outlets from March 1.

Public sector telecom operator, BSNL, which recently launched extremely low cost tablets along with two mid range tablets, has got a tremendous response from Indian consumers. The three tablets, bundled with its connection, are in the price range of Rs 3,499 - Rs 12,500. They are manufactured by Noida based Pantel Technologies.
Virendra Singh, managing director of Pantel Technologies, said to The Mobile Indian, "We have received more than one lakh pre booking orders over phone and online for the three tablets which we have launched in association with BSNL."

He further added, "Apart from the consumers' interest, we have also got an order for two lakh tablets from Sahara India."
The entry level BSNL tablet, Penta IS701R, is a WiFi only device with Android 2.3 operating system, 1 GHz processor and 256 MB RAM. The tablet also has an HDMI port through which it can be connected to a TV. Its 7 inch resistive touchscreen has 800 x 600 pixel resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio.

The tablet has a 3000 mAh battery and 2 GB internal memory which can be expanded through a micro SD card. The tablet also has a VGA front facing camera for video calling.
The mid-range 7 inch tablet with capacitive touchscreen is named Penta Tpad_ws704c. It has the same specifications as Penta IS701R, but offers added 3G connectivity through a SIM slot, inbuilt A-GPS, an accelerometer, and Bluetooth. It has a 2 megapixel rear camera and a bigger 512 MB RAM for faster performance.

The most expensive among the three is the Penta Tpad WS802C, which has an 8 inch capacitive screen and a SIM slot for 3G/2G connectivity. It too comes with a faster 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM. The internal memory is also bigger at 4 GB. Rest of the features like GPS, camera and Bluetooth are same as those in the 704C.
The delivery of tablets which have been pre booked will commence after March 5, and the tablets will be available in retail stores and BSNL outlets from March 1.
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Launches at MWC 2012

It is still few hours before Mobile World Congress [MWC] 2012 kicks off, and 5 new mobile phones have already been launched in Barcelona. The highlight of the launches so far are quad-core phones and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich [ICS]. Yes, Android phones are stepping up on the hardware front.
Here's a low down of the devices that have been announced, as yet.

Huawei Ascend D quadHuawei's latest flagship device, the Ascend D quad, is supposedly "the world's fastest smartphone." The D quad is definitely a sight to behold, particularly the 4.5-inch 720p display — the screen's very bright, and the viewing angles are excellent. It's not the thinnest phone we've seen, but its 8.8mm body definitely cuts a slim figure, and actually feels smaller in the hand than most 4.5-inch phones.
LG Optimus VuThe Optimus Vu by LG is a stylus-equipped LTE smartphone featuring a 5-inch IPS LCD with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 1024 x 768 resolution. It runs Android 2.3 on a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor, has 32GB of internal storage, and an 8-megapixel camera on the rear plus a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.
HTC One XHTC One X is powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, and features a 4.7-inch 720p display protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass. HTC has put a new version of its Sense skin 4.0 on top of Google's operating system, and also added Beats Audio integration.
 HTC One SThe HTC One S is an ultra-thin (7.95mm) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone. The One S features a aluminum unibody construction, is powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, and features a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) display. HTC has put a new version of its Sense skin 4.0 on top of Google's operating system, and also added Beats Audio integration.
Sony Xperia PThe Xperia P offers an aluminum unibiody design, a 4-inch Reality Display, HDMI-out, NFC and Xpera smart tag support, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording in 1080p HD and Sony’s new “White Magic” display tech. White Magic offers solid viewing even in bright light, twice the level of a typical smartphone. The Xperia P will begin hitting stores in the second quarter and will be available in three colors.
Sony Xperia UThe Xperia U is equipped with a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 3.5-inch Reality Display and a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording HD video. It also offers NFC support and an awesome customizable color bar that illuminates and changes colors depending on who is calling or texting. It will also ship during the second quarter of this year.

Samsung Note 10.1

Some call the device a “phablet,” a hybrid of phone and tablet. But despite the Note’s effort to create a device to satisfy users of both kinds of devices, the Note falls more squarely in the phone category. The rumors. After the success of the previous Note, it wasn't surprising too see Samsung launching the larger version, with Android 4.0 ICS, 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos processor, 3-megapixel camera and a larger S-Pen stylus with more utility and advanced software than before. 

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National Science Day celebrations at Science City

Heritage walk to mark National Science Day AHMEDABAD: As the nation will observe National Science Day on February 28, the citizens will see a slew of activities at Science City which has planned a five-day Science Carnival on theme of youth and science. The science day is observed every year to commemorate Dr C V Raman's find of Raman Effect for which he later got Nobel Prize for physics in 1930.

"The Science Carniv
al is going to be an event with a series of scientific activities and programs involving school and college students, eminent scientists and faculties of the state and country. We want to provide a real platform for the budding scientists to make their career and profession in science," said a senior Science City official. Officials said that they are expecting nearly 1 lakh students and science enthusiasts to visit Science City during this period.

The students will participate in competitions, film shows, experiments and demonstrations, sky observation and popular science lectures. Ravi Saxena, additional chief secretary, department of science and technology, will inaugurate the carnival at 4 pm on Tuesday. 

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Amarnath Board has surrendered to NC govt: BJP

Jammu: Alleging blatant politicisation of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, BJP on Monday accused the SASB of surrendering its autonomous character to serve the political interests of NC-led government in Jammu and Kashmir."There is blatant politicisation of SASB....The Board has surrendered its autonomous character to serve the political interests of the NC-led government," BJP chief spokesperson Jitendra Singh told reporters here.

He objected to curtailing the duration of Amarnath Yatra to just 39 days this year, saying there was no rationale behind the decision.

Singh also demanded reconstitution of the Shrine Board.

He questioned the stand of the Congress party, which is a coalition partner in the government, and asked why its leaders were observing "convenient silence" on such a crucial issue.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hussey doesn't want to hear calls for Tendulkar to quit - it may fire him up

Denied an opportunity for a big score on a flat Adelaide wicket ... Sachin Tendulkar.DESPITE calls in India during the week for their national hero Sachin Tendulkar to retire after a lean summer in Australia, Michael Hussey admitted he still felt trepidation whenever the player known as the ''Little Master'' took strike.
Tendulkar will today try to score the elusive 100th international century of his career when India take on Australia at the SCG. While the likes of former Indian skipper Kapil Dev said Tendulkar should consider retirement, Hussey told The Sun-Herald he was still a prized scalp.
''He's still a key wicket,'' Hussey said. ''Experience says he's done it in the past. He's a great player and his record speaks for itself. Tendulkar is someone you're always desperate to get out cheaply because if you do you know the team is well on the way to limiting India to a smaller total and [therefore] winning the match.''
Hussey added there was always a danger for the rival team when a player of Tendulkar's status was publicly questioned. ''I don't know how the man ticks because I haven't had a great deal to do with him, but I don't think anyone needs that much more motivation to play for their country. However, if it has [struck a nerve] it makes him probably more dangerous, so [criticism of Tendulkar] is something I don't want to hear.''
The call from India for Tendulkar to stand down followed the decision by the Australian selectors to drop Ricky Ponting from the national one-day team the day after he had captained the side in Michael Clarke's absence. Ponting, who had been the backbone of many an Australian team, took the decision graciously and said he would continue to play Test cricket.
The swiftness of his demise shocked many, Hussey included. ''It was a tough call, a very tough call to leave someone of Ricky Ponting's class and character out of the team and he'll be missed around the team, there's no question,'' Hussey said.
''His experience is unquestionable and not a lot of people see the amount of work he does behind the scenes with the young players, throwing balls to them in the nets and contributing at team meetings. He'll be missed on so many levels.
''Ricky is always trying to provoke conversations in team meetings and in a social environment. He loves the game, he always wants to talk about it and he always wants to learn as well. He's always wanted to hear from younger players … and he's always willing to offer his experience and insights.''
Hussey, now the team's old hand, said while helping to nurture the young players was a responsibility he had happily assumed a long time ago, his advice was simple.
''I don't want to force myself onto any player, my philosophies are anyone who comes into the team should play their game and stick to what's made them successful in their state team … they shouldn't look to change too much.'' .
There has been an infusion of new blood into the one-day team, the new faces including Hobart centurion Peter Forrest, all-rounder Daniel Christian and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
''We have some very exciting and talented players [in] all three formats of the game,'' Hussey said. ''There's some exciting young bowlers while the selectors are getting a good look at some good batsmen coming through. These young players are … showing not just Australia but the rest of the world that they're good enough to play at the highest level.''
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Dhoni might have his day says Bedi, pitches for new Test captain

Blaming Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the apparent 'rift' in the Indian cricket team in Australia, former captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Sunday said that time has now come for the side to have a new Test skipper.Dhoni and Sachin
Bedi felt that Dhoni had failed to maintain harmony in the Indian team in Australia by stating that the three senior openers could not be in the team together as they were slow fielders.
Asked if Dhoni should be removed from Test captaincy, Bedi said, "This is the job of selectors and I don't wish to pressurise them. But personally speaking Dhoni might have his day. I think there is definitely room for a new Test captain.
"To a certain extent, the dissensions in the team in Australia has undermined his captaincy. He (Dhoni) created it (dissension) by himself. He was the first one to speak to the media," Bedi told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate programme.
"Most definitely things have gone out of control of Dhoni and so he should be replaced," he added.
Asked if Dhoni leadership was found wanting in Australia, Bedi said, "Dhoni was struggling as a leader. A leader's job is to keep the team together and not to allow drift among players in different directions. He did not show the leadership which was desired.
"He (Dhoni) should not have made those negative comments (of senior players being slow fielders). Not at all. The same thing (Virender) Sehwag did after Dhoni. Two wrongs do not make one right and the boys, especially the youngsters, were all over the place," said Bedi.
"But there are too many conflicting interests here. Dhoni plays for Chennai Super Kings in IPL, a team owned by BCCI President and chief selector as a brand ambassador," he said.
Bedi said that apart from the lack of leadership qualities, Dhoni was not performing consistently in the Test arena as a wicketkeeper and a batsman.
"It's not a question of temperament. Somebody had said captaincy is 90% luck and 10% ability. Here is a case in which the entire thing depends on luck. I think his performance in front and behind wicket leaves a lot to be desired," Bedi said.
"Anyways, I was never a great fan of Dhoni as Test or ODI captain because he is far too negative in his approach to be a captain of India," said the former spinner.
Bedi also said that Sachin Tendulkar should be given at least two months' time to decide on his future and if he does not take a decision before India's next series, the BCCI should take a call on his fate.
Bedi said that considering the contribution Tendulkar has made for the game in the country, he would prefer the senior batsman to decide when to retire.
"I know lot many people have said a lot many things about Tendulkar. We (media, former cricketers) are in fact pygmies as compared to a giant called Tendulkar. The only person who can sit in judgement of Tendulkar is Tendulkar himself whether he wants to carry on or quit.
"Having said that. I feel that the Board must have gumption to take on Tendulkar and Tendulkar himself should be able to decide on his future," said Bedi.
Asked whether the BCCI should tell Tendulkar it's time for his departure if he does not take a decision on his own, Bedi said, "Why not? I prefer Tendulkar taking his own decision but if he does not decide then the Board should decide. It's the Board's prerogative then.
"But my only apprehension is that whether the Board has that character to tell Tendulkar," he said.
Asked how much time Tendulkar should be given to decide on his future, Bedi said, "Let him come back from Australia and give him time. No series coming up some time and give him a month or two.
"Don't make him decide his future under pressure. We as a nation can't forget the contribution he has made. But before the next series he should make up his mind," Bedi said.
Bedi also felt that the current selectors, except for Mohinder Amarnath, do not have the guts and character to tell some senior players to quit following the Test debacle in Australia.
"You think the selectors have the guts to do it. No, they don't have. They are all zonal based selectors. Apart from Mohinder Amarnath I can't think the four others have got the capacity, acumen and guts to take that kind of decision. The selectors don't have the character to do something for the good of Indian cricket," he said.
Asked if the selectors were acting as dummies for some people behind the scene, Bedi said, "Some people are calling the shots for sure. I don't want to pull the ground like that but they (selectors) are listless for sure. The BCCI president is far too powerful."
Bedi felt that the Indian cricket team in Australia is in a "doghouse" and the responsibility for the mess lies on the incompetence of BCCI officials.
"The team is not in crisis now. They are in doghouse if I may say so. How to get out of it is what they should think about," he said.
"It's more than a calamity. It's a very depressing phase for Indian cricket. We were on top of world in Test and ODI. What have we done to stay there? India became far too complacent. I don't blame the players. It's the system which allows them to be complacent," he added.
Asked who should bear the responsibility for the present state of Indian cricket, Bedi said, "Primarily with the BCCI because they are the ones who call the shots. I don't see any player to be complacent on their own or coach should not have any say in real running of the game that is taking charge of exact performance on field.
"I am not exonerating players or coach or anybody. BCCI to my mind is far too laidback. How can an amateur set up run a professional game? How can you have honorary secretary, honorary treasurer and honorary president to look after professional players like Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid," Bedi said.
"The BCCI is unequipped and unaccountable and that is the worst part. For example we have an absolute incompetent media manager in Australia. The criteria for him to be sent as media manager to my mind was that he has collected lots of proxies for his masters at Punjab Cricket Association. Incompetent is not the word but he is the most inefficient to have come across," he added.
Asked if the incompetency and inefficiency is from top to bottom in BCCI hierarchy, Bedi said, "Absolutely I am not kidding. Any culture good or bad stems from top to downwards. Any outstanding human being or institution goes from bottom to top.
"They (BCCI) feel they have loads of money and they can do whatever they like. But unfortunately cricket performance on the field is not related to the bank balance you have."
On how much IPL has contributed to the current situation in Indian cricket, Bedi said, "How can a player representing the country make less money than one playing in IPL? There is something wrong. It's unreal. The money some boys are making is not being made by United States president. That has spoilt the attitude of the players. They don't want to play in Ranji and Duleep Trophy."
"Rajasthan won Ranji Trophy twice, including last year. Not one of them is capable of playing for India. Why? There is something wrong in domestic cricket in India.
"BCCI is spending money but there was no way to monitor it. Money has been misused," he said.
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2G scam: A Raja in the spectrum of BSNL-WiMax scam

The CBI on Saturday registered a fresh case in connection with alleged irregularities in awarding BSNL’s WiMax franchise to a private firm, considered close to former telecom Minister A Raja, and carried out searches across four cities.CBI registers case in BSNL-WiiMax scam
The federal investigation agency has so far not named Raja as an accused in the new FIR. “A regular case has been registered in this matter against some officials of BSNL and a private firm for causing loss of Rs 535 crore to the national exchequer. Several incriminating documents have been seized during the countrywide raids. Further investigation is on,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra told DNA.
Nine teams of CBI officials searched the residences of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) officials and officials of Starnet, the alleged beneficiary which got the franchise, in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Gurgaon, CBI sources said.
The investigation agency is questioning four senior officials of BSNL who were responsible for signing the deal with Starnet.
The eligibility conditions for the contract stipulated that the company should have a turnover of Rs 100 crore and above and Starnet allegedly achieved this by manipulation in balance sheets, the sources said.
Officials claimed that Raja had intervened following which BSNL decided to give WiMax to Starnet on a revenue-sharing model, under which the private operator would be the custodian of 20MHz of spectrum, and BSNL would get less than 30% of the revenue. Five companies, each of which had annual turnover of Rs 100 crore, had reportedly applied for the same franchise, but Starnet bagged the deal.
The anti-corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission has also found alleged irregularities in the allotment of franchise to Starnet.
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BJP demands meeting of all CMs to solve NCTC row

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.HYDERABAD: Asking the government to keep the proposal of setting up the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on hold, BJP on Saturday demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately convene a meeting of chief ministers to discuss the contentious issue threadbare.
Speaking to newsmen here, BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu alleged that the UPA government has taken a unilateral decision to set up the NCTC and it was against the spirit of the Constitution.
Naidu, who is also the chairman
of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, said 11 chief ministers have demanded the repeal of NCTC, which he said, was notified without taking the state governments into confidence.
“The proposed NCTC must be put on hold for wider consultation notwithstanding the March 1 deadline for launch of the anti-terror intelligence hub.
The Prime Minister should call a meeting of chief ministers to discuss and allay their fears about it,” he said
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‘Govt statement on proposed strike ritualistic’

Mr Mallikarjuna Kharge
New Delhi: Rejecting the government's appeal to desist from the proposed countrywide strike on February 28, major trade unions have said they would not consider such a "ritualistic statement" as there has been no genuine move to consider workers' demand.
The general strike, which has been called to protest the "anti-labour" policies of the government, would cover all sectors barring Railways.

AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said the government's appeal has come "too late" as it had the opportunity to discuss workers' issues at the recently- concluded Indian Labour Congress but it "never displayed any seriousness". 

The unions had on December 2 last year decided to go on strike on February 28.

"It is good that it has appealed though late in the day. If the government was serious, when the issue was raised in the Indian Labour Conference, they could have discussed it with the trade unions.Even the prime minister himself was made aware but government did not move... It is just a formality. We are not ready to consider such a ritualistic statement on the part of the government," he said.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader Dipankar Mukherjee said the Labour Ministry's appeal to desist from observing the strike does not hold merit as it is the "weakest ministry" which has failed to end sufferings of the workers.

The Labour Ministry had on Friday appealed to the trade unions to desist from going on strike, saying it was ready to discus with them any kind of labour-related issue.

The trade unions are demanding no contractorisation of work -- permanent or perennial nature, amendment of Minimum Wages Act, assured pension for all and compulsory registration of trade union among others.

Dasgupta said it was for the first time in history that all the 11 major trade unions, including UPA ally Indian Union Muslim League's trade-wing STU, have joined hands to support the strike. Even Shiv Sena-affiliated Bharatiya Kamgar Sena is participating in the strike, he said.

Others such as Congress-backed Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and BJP's Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh would also join the strike, Dasgupta said, lauding INTUC president G Sanjeeva Reddy for being the "most consistent fighter in our joint struggle".

However, he was critical of the West Bengal government's decision to oppose the strike.

"There could be problem in West Bengal the way the state government is handling this. The aggressive mentality taken is not to be seen anywhere. Strike is a legitimate right of the workers and is guaranteed under the constitution and is part of the ILO conventions," he said.

Mukherjee, on the other hand, said the fight was against the lack of will of the government to heed to the demands of workers.

"It's been over a year now, but the Labour Ministry has failed to do anything on the Contract Labour Amendment Act which would give contract workers all benefits enjoyed by regular workers," he said. 

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India to seek exclusion of its EEZ from war zone

Union Shipping Secretary K. Mohandas (right) and Director General of Shipping S. B. Agnihotri at a press conference in Kochi on Saturday. Photo:H.VibhuKOCHI: India will make a fresh ap
peal before London-based Joint War Committee (JWC) for the exclusion of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from war zone notification. This was announced by Director-General of Shipping S B Agnihotri on Saturday.
“There had been no piracy attacks in Indian waters over the last nine months. The Navy has sanitised our waters. This provides ample grounds to exclude Indian waters from the war zone,” he said. Even before the Enrica Lexie episode, India had taken up the issue before the JWC. India will file the appeal before the next JWC meeting scheduled in May.
The inclusion of Indian waters in the war zone has both commercial and strategic implications.
As of now, merchant vessels have a tendency to hug the Indian territorial waters. Once the Indian EEZ is excluded from the war zone, vessels will have to move to its outer boundary. As of now, the war zone extends into the Indian EEZ up to 78 degrees East.
India wants it to be rolled back to 68 degrees East or at least enough to exclude the Indian EEZ. Union Shipping Secretary K Mohandas said there was a need to take a fresh look at our law framework in the context of piracy attack.
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Pakistan not to extend ISI chief's term

Pakistan won't extend ISI chief's termThe Pakistani government has decided not to extend the tenure of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, a media report said.
Pasha, who has been the director general of the ISI for the last three-and-a-half years, will be
transferred to the Strategic
Plans Division (SPD) as its head, the daily Dawn reported citing sources late on Saturday. He was handed a one-year extension as chief of the country's spy agency last March.
The government has not commented on the matter.
A source close to Pasha also said the ISI chief did not want an extension.
Sources claim that the government believes Pasha's appointment to PSD will "help the future of Pakistan-US nuclear and strategic engagement".
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Nelson Mandela spends night in hospital

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has spent a night in hospital following what officials described as a "diagnostic procedure".
Doctors stressed that 93-year-old Mr Mandela's life was not in danger and the treatment was for a long-standing abdominal complaint.
The Nobel peace laureate's health has declined in recent years and he rarely appears in public.
Mr Mandela is due to be discharged from hospital by Monday, officials said.
On Saturday night he was said to be in a stable and comfortable condition.
Earlier, President Jacob Zuma said in a statement that Mr Mandela "has had a long-standing abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention".
He later said that Mr Mandela had undergone a planned, undisclosed procedure.
He said Mr Mandela - affectionately known in South Africa by his clan name, Madiba - was "fully conscious".
"The doctors are satisfied with his condition, which they say is consistent with his age. We are happy that he is not in any danger."
It was not revealed which hospital the former leader was being treated in, however journalists set up camp outside a military hospital in the capital, Pretoria.
Mr Mandela spent 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid rule and became South Africa's first black president in 1994, serving one five-year term.
His home is in Qunu, a small rural village in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province where he was raised.
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Yemen Swears In New President to the Sound of Applause, and Violence

SANA, Yemen — Yemen’s first new president in more than three decades was sworn in on Saturday, taking over a country with a broken economy, crumbling infrastructure, violent separatist movements, an active Qaeda franchise and Islamist militants in control of large swaths of territory.
After a year of antigovernment protests and rising insecurity in a country the United States sees as a critical ally in the fight against Al Qaeda, Yemenis were hopeful that the new government led by Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi, the former vice president, represented a fresh start.
But as if to underscore the problems Mr. Hadi faces, hours after he took the oath of office and promised to continue the war on Al Qaeda, militants attacked government targets in the southeastern port of Mukalla, killing at least 21 soldiers.
The swearing-in ceremony, in a room in Parliament packed with legislators, diplomats and journalists, was strikingly cheerful. Members of the former ruling party and the opposition, who fought bitterly over the past year, greeted one another with smiles, handshakes and kisses on the cheek.
When Mr. Hadi entered, the room burst into applause. He took the oath standing between two men who led enemy camps last year, Yahya al-Rayie, the Parliament speaker and a loyalist of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Himyar al-Ahmar, whose tribesmen fought government forces on the streets of northern Sana.
“I know that there are complex and interlocking crises: economic, social and security,” Mr. Hadi afterward.
He called the fight against Al Qaeda “a national and religious duty.” And in an indirect reference to his predecessor, the autocratic Mr. Saleh, he urged officials from both sides to work together to “build a strong state through establishing institutions that are not based on a single personality.”
Mr. Hadi, 65, had been chosen as a consensus candidate by the former ruling party and the opposition, and was confirmed in a one-candidate election on Tuesday. The election was part of a United States-backed deal to end the political crisis and remove Mr. Saleh from office.
Despite the lack of choice, the turnout was heavy, said by the government to be 65 percent, suggesting that after more than a year of protests and unrest in which hundreds were killed, Yemenis were eager to embrace change.
“We consider this a historic day for Yemen,” said Ali al-Mamari, a legislator who quit Mr. Saleh’s party last spring after government supporters used violence against peaceful protesters. “All year there was a revolution, but now a new revolution started that is without weapons, without conflict, to transform our country into a civil state. I am incredibly happy.”
The challenges remaining, however, are immense.
“This transfer of presidential power is historic for Yemen,” said April Alley, a regional analyst for the International Crisis Group. “But it’s the days ahead that are going to really matter.
“There are the economic and security challenges that are immediate,” she said. “And also there are political challenges when it comes to pulling the country back together, dealing with the separatist movement in the south and a different set of grievances with the Houthis,” rebels who control Saada Province in the north.
The United States, which sees Yemen largely through the lens of counterterrorism, is expected to be involved in restructuring the military into what it hopes will be a more effective force against Al Qaeda. President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, raised those concerns in private meetings with Mr. Hadi in Sana last week.
Even the accomplishment being celebrated on Saturday, the end of Mr. Saleh’s 33-year rule, was tempered by the reality that he still wields considerable influence. His relatives control most of the military and government security agencies, and it is not known how independent Mr. Hadi, a longtime Saleh loyalist, will be.
Mr. Saleh kept a low profile on Saturday and, despite having promised to hand over power formally to Mr. Hadi, did not attend the ceremony. He had been in the United States for medical treatment for injuries sustained in an attack on his presidential palace last June, and returned to Yemen early Saturday. He “returned to his private residence in Sana, not the presidential palace,” said Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, without elaborating.
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Barak will have to pass an attack on Iran through a reluctant U.S.


Any talk of military action against Tehran is taking place in the shadow of this November's U.S. elections. But if Israel does strike, ordinary civilians will be leading the aerial attack.

Barak and Netanyahu - Nir Kafri - February 2012 Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce the Israelis who will fly off and bomb Iran, on an errand assigned to them by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.
Should this mission get a green light, the bomb squad could consist of a lawyer, the director of a business and a pilot from a commercial airline - these are some of the day jobs of our combat pilots and navigators. They are people we meet every day on the street, in stores, at a university; they are persons of high civilian status, and lower status; their helmets hide curls or hair or bald heads; they are reservist officers aged 25 to 52, more or less.
Flying combat squads have permanent members (a commander, two deputies and additional pilots ), but they are supplemented by navigators and others who hold positions in the air force on training bases (or are on study leave ), and also by some reservists. All keep in shape and train so they are in a position to do their duty, be it in Iran or elsewhere. Should they be called on for the Iran operation, they will mobilize without hesitation, whether or not they believe the order came down from political echelons after careful consideration of all operations and not just as a political gimmick.
Though members of such a bomb squad would be privy to secret details of the region to which they would have to fly, they would not have access to "macro" details superior to that of any other citizen in the country. Like everyone else in this country, these bomb squad members would want answers about the rationale for the raid. And like everyone else, they hear senior cabinet ministers issue public warnings to Iran. But unlike other citizens, they know that these warnings could turn into military orders that endanger their lives.
Meantime, whenever the idea of an Iran raid comes up, officials in Washington keep telling Netanyahu and Barak "No." In the past, this "no" was mentioned in faint, diplomatic tones; recently it has become blunt and loud. National security adviser Tom Donilon and national intelligence director James Clapper, who both recently visited Israel, have started to speak quite explicitly about Iran.
Clapper sounded like former Mossad head Meir Dagan and head of the IDF intelligence branch Aviv Kochavi, when he estimated recently that Iran's leadership, starting with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has yet to reach a decision about the country's nuclear program. Should a decision be reached, Clapper noted, its implantation would not be completed for at least a year.
Interviewed a month ago by U.S. talk show host Charlie Rose, Donilon chose not to comment specifically about Ehud Barak's orientation ("We are close to Barak and to the Israeli government," he said ), and made clear that Obama wants to give diplomatic routes and sanctions a chance to work.
International pressure on Iran is reaching a new stage. Pressure will now focus on oil and money; in the background, there remains the possibility of utilizing "all assets" - meaning a military option. Advisers like Donilon are indicating that Washington's preference is to let Tehran consider possible policy scenarios that might be deployed by the United States, and to allow the Iranians to choose a prudent course.
At the end of January, Donilon added that the United States is determined not to allow Iran to undermine stability in the Persian Gulf and in the Arab world. America will not allow Iran to act aggressively and ruthlessly exploit the Arab Spring, "which is proposing ideological alternatives to Iran's Islamic Revolution," suggested Donilon.
There are alternatives to Iranian oil: Saudi Arabia and Iraq have increased their oil production. Should the Iranian government respond to an invitation issued by the European Union's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, and set a date for negotiation, he Americans will "meet with them" as well for a dialogue which will raise the nuclear issue, according to Obama's advisers and spokesmen.
Khamenei will decide
Before he decides that there is no option other than waging a strike against Iran, Obama will test every possible discussion option, and appeal directly to Khamenei - in an overture that will capture attention around the world. Obama is many months away from reaching this stage - he will not want to embroil the Americans in a war before the November elections.
Were he to agree to an Israeli attack, Obama would lose control of events in the Persian Gulf. Khamenei would be the one to decide whether to regard an IDF operation against his country's reactors as a joint Israeli-American venture, coordinated (in the ayatollah's view ) by a series of visits undertaken by Israeli ministers and army officers in America, and vice versa; Khamenei would decide whether or not to launch attacks on American targets. Should Iran choose to expand the war and view Israel as a "little Satan," rather than the embodiment of evil, the result would be that Jerusalem would drag America into a regional war. Each American casualty, and all U.S. dollars invested in the war, would be wrapped around Israel's neck.
Many this week cited an Israeli attack scenario published by The New York Times on February 19. This report, however, did not contain any original information. Its facts could be gleaned in an extremely penetrating and expansive report produced by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which circulated three years ago. The main significance of the Times publication was the timing of the public signals dispatched by Israel's anonymous spokesmen to Obama: the prize can be won, but it won't be easy. Not that it will be hard for Israel - the difficulties will be borne by others.
As it turned out, the important item published by The New York Times preceded the description of a military raid. This item stated that the Republicans, who are struggling to find a candidate with a fighting chance against Obama, have, at long last, found a stick with which to poke the President: rising gas prices.
On the streets of Tel Aviv or Haifa, consumers will wonder what the fuss is about: fuel prices in California or New York are about half of those in Israel. Yet in recent months, gas prices have risen about 30 cents a gallon; all told, the prices have roughly doubled since Obama was sworn into the White House in January 2009.
Republicans who support an American or Israeli operation against Iran, which would probably result in inflated gas prices, are the same politicians who currently berate the President for rises in fuel costs. Obama needs to protect himself against such attacks and try to stave off future hikes in gas prices, lest he lose voters to his rival in the upcoming Presidential race.
A new lobbying effort organized to close ranks with Israel's position, "United Against a Nuclear Iran," is being careful not to specifically advocate the attack option. The organization cites intelligence assessments holding that Iran will not have a nuclear military arsenal before 2015. The organization states that "it has no official relations with a foreign state."
Question of time
Edward Luttwak, a veteran observer of the Pentagon and the White House, wrote this week in the Wall Street Journal that under the previous U.S. administration, the Americans really only had one military option regarding Iran - an "air war" rather than "air strike." The U.S. army refused to narrow an operation to strikes on specific nuclear targets; it insisted upon expanding the air campaign to include strikes against a number of other targets. That is a good way to kill a military plan: Agree to a military option, but only on condition that it turns into a full-scale war, something that a President cannot endorse.
In his fourth year in office, Obama is surrounded by military advisers who show a distinct lack of enthusiasm for any proposal to attack anything other than weak targets. As Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it, this is not the time to battle against the strong - his reference was applied to Syria's President Bashar Assad and his army.
Members of the U.S. army's ground forces, who would become embroiled in a land war should air strikes not meet the objectives of an operation against the "strong" in Iran or elsewhere, are currently preoccupied by salary and family health insurance matters - after returning to the United States from prolonged stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are not thrilled about the idea of another long absence from home. Polling conducted among U.S. servicemen indicates that the two Presidential contenders they most favor are Obama, who fulfilled his promise to pull the troops out of Iraq, and the isolationist Republican, Ron Paul.
In one week, the prospect of an IDF operation in Iran was denounced by Japan's prime minister, Britain's foreign minister and Germany's defense minister. World powers are putting up a united front on the Iran issue. They are not pro Iran, but they are against Israel. Iran's leadership can sense that Israel's bellicosity is premature. The IDF's leadership points to the fragility of the region's political situation, and how it could be further undermined by the fallout of an Israel-Iran confrontation. The collapse of the regime in Jordan, or masses of demonstrators marching toward the borders on the Gaza Strip or in Lebanon - these are a few examples of potential fallout.
IDF chief Benny Gantz, and top officials in the defense ministry, need to take such possibilities into account. It's hard to imagine that a broad look at regional scenarios and possible repercussions of attack moves would yield a recommendation for an attack on Iran. When Obama thinks about the war-promoters in Israel's current political constellation, he has in mind Netanyahu, who will persist about the problem posed by Iran's nuclear program but is flexible about the timing of any military response to it, and Ehud Barak.
Should members of Israel's bomb squad presently be wondering whether they will be called upon to attack Iran's nuclear reactors, the answer to their ruminations is to be found in President Obama's unwillingness to serve as a subcontractor to Barak and Netanyahu. The point in contention right now between Jerusalem and Washington has to do with timing.
Netanyahu will arrive at the White House on March 5, and in all likelihood Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top officials from the two countries will fly back and forth in the upcoming weeks to discuss issues of timing and deferral. At any rate, the U.S. elections will allow the moderates to postpone any action until after November.
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Osama Bin Laden's Pakistan compound demolished

Demolition work is carried out of the building where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces last May, in Abbottabad, in this still image taken from a Reuters TV video February 25, 2012. REUTERS/Reuters TVPakistan is demolishing the compound where US forces killed Osama Bin Laden, in the city of Abbottabad, residents and police say.
The al-Qaeda leader was shot dead at the compound in the north-western city near the capital Islamabad in May 2011.
Bulldozers arrived after dark to demolish the outer walls, and have been working through the night.
There is heavy security around the compound, which served as Bin Laden's hideout for more than five years. Dan Griffiths reports.
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KYI: Here are stock tips to play the market right

Just when Indian investors thought the bulls have finally arrived at the market and bears gone into hibernation for the time-being, one little cub crawled out and pushed the Sensex down to close below 18000 over the past week. It was the first negative close for the market on a weekly basis since the start of 2012.
Analysts say that the market having rallied nearly 20% in the previous seven weeks helped by inflows, it could be profit-booking or renewed worries about rising global oil prices and the country's widening fiscal deficit that saw the
indices correct downward.
The Sensex closed 2% lower on w-o-w basis while Nifty lost 2.4% over the past week.
In such an environment, does your portfolio have the right equity mix? Is your money parked right to buffer the loss? Sudip Bandyopadhyay, MD and CEO of Destimoney Securities answered queries
Sudip Bandyopadhyay, MD & CEO, Destimoney Sec
Below are the questions and the answers.
Manoj Hirway: Where do you see the market headed in the next six months?
A: Indian markets have been attracting lot of FII inflows during the last 6-7 weeks. Significant improvement in global liquidity situation has facilitated this.  While domestic macro factors need drastic improvement, expectations are being built around favourable State Election results for UPA leading to bold policy reforms over the next couple of months.
Subject to the above happening, Indian markets may see new highs during the next six months. Good monsoon will help this cause.
Ra-Vishh Agarrwal: What is your view on NIIT Tech , Uflex and SCI ?
A: NIIT Tech and Uflex are good buy for medium to long term point of view.  However, avoid SCI at present, considering the significant over capacities in the shipping industry and the sharp decline in value of Baltic Dry Index.
Simmer Ahluwalia: Can I buy YES Bank , Ashok Leyland and Tata Steel at current levels for 3 - 6 months?
A: Do buy Yes Bank and Ashok Leyland at current market levels from medium to long term perspective.  However, due to slow down in growth in China, metal and allied industries are expected to underperform during 2012.  Under the circumstances, it is advisable to be cautious on Tata Steel.
Shramnesh Jain: I have Delta Corp and India Infoline in my portfolio. What can I expect them to do in one year?
A: Both Delta Corp and India Infoline are high beta stocks.  They are extremely volatile.
However, Indian markets subject to macro economic factors being addressed, are expected to outperform the global markets in 2012.  Considering the above, aggressive investors can invest in Delta Corp and India Infoline with one year time horizon.
Shamik Bhattacharjee: Is it a good time to build portfolio or should we wait for another correction?
A: For a long term investor, (i.e. an investor with one year + time horizon), it is good time to start building their portfolio. Since the market has run up quite a bit during the last few weeks, around 20-30% of the investible amount should be deployed now. Wait for some correction before deploying the balance.
K Shitij Singh Sikarwar: I have 1,000 shares of IDBI Bank at Rs 116? What should I do with the stock?
A: Banking stocks are expected to benefit and outperform the broad market during the next twelve months.  Interest rates are expected to come down and economic scenario is likely to improve. This will lead to outperformance by the banking stocks. Under the circumstances, an investor can continue to hold IDBI bank for some more time.
Nita Gandhi: Is it the right time to short bank Nifty?
A: This is not the right time to short Bank Nifty. Banking Industry is expected to benefit from likely interest rate coming down and economic recovery in 2012.
Rinkesh Jain: What is your view on Sterlite Industries ?
A: Both Sterlite Industries and Sesa Goa will see significant volatility till the time the ratio for their merger is announced.
Fundamentally Sterlite is a good buy. However, the present volatility on the back of multiple rumors regarding the swap ratio, is not an ideal time for long term investor to buy the stock.
Akshay Arora: As a short term investor, I have 500 shares of IOC at Rs 278. Should I sell or hold it?
A: The oil marketing companies are expected to suffer considering the continuous increase in global oil prices. It is extremely unlikely that the government will be in a position to increase the oil prices proportionately even after the State Election results are out. Thus it is advisable to exit oil marketing stocks.
Imad Ahmedi: I bought 50 shares of Amrutanjan at Rs 810. What should I do with it?
A: FMCG is an interesting defensive space. In some cases, the values of the FMCG companies are looking stretched. In case an investor is willing to hold on to Amrutanjan shares for one year at least, he should wait.
Abha Jain: Should I sell GMR Infra now?
A: GMR Infra is a buy at present for an aggressive investor. Considering the expectation around policy measures favourable for infrastructure sector in the forthcoming Union Budget, GMR is likely to benefit from such measures.
Manish Rooprail: I have RIL at Rs 1050. Right now it's at Rs 835. I can hold for 1 or 2yrs. I also have Rel Comm at Rs 150. Will I get my price in the near future?
A: Reliance Industries for 1-2 year hold is a good investment. The company has many problems which it needs to resolve. However, RIL is an extremely cash rich and fundamentally strong company. It is expected to provide good return over a long period of time.
Rel Comm has suffered from multiple problems including their huge debt burden. Considering that the acquisition price is Rs 150, it will be advisable to wait for some time and exit the counter when the market rallies, next time.
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Kingfisher Airlines's nosedive poses serious dilemma for government

NEW DELHI: As Kingfisher Airlines careens toward collapse, the Indian government finds itself between a rock and a hard place.
A Kingfisher Airlines counter at their booking office at Mumbai's domestic airport, Feb. 20, 2012.
The government, already weakened by a string of corruption scandals over the past year, will face further political heat if it tries to rescue a money-losing private carrier - especially one owned by a flamboyant liquor baron.

If it lets Vijay Mallya's airline fail, however, the government will hurt state-run banks, which own about a fifth of Kingfisher's shares and three-quarters of its $1.3 billion debt.

Kingfisher is struggling with fewer flights and pilots, staff demoralised by unpaid salaries, and outstanding dues to aircraft lessors, oil companies, airports and tax authorities.

It needs at least $400 million quickly to keep flying, figures Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), a consultancy . Mallya's plans to raise funds through a share sale have been stalled and he has been lobbying the government to get state-run banks to lend more.

The fast clip at which the government has moved to change regulations in the past two months - airlines can now directly import fuel, lowering their costs, and private carriers can fly overseas more - has lifted expectations that Mallya may eventually win the help he needs from the government.

"India: Kingfisher's national carrier," one Tweeter quipped last week.

A government bailout for a private carrier would not go down well with the public in India, where airlines are still not the common man's preferred mode of travel. Conscious of that, the government insists it is not looking to bail Kingfisher out.

Mallya avoids the bailout word too and, instead, says he is only asking for more working capital, which Aviation Minister Ajit Singh says is up to the banks to decide on.

However, late last year Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke of finding ways to help Kingfisher, which has led many to believe that in the end the government will come to its rescue.

"Is the government being duplicitous about its stand on the increasingly distressed Kingfisher Airlines?" the daily Business Standard wrote in an editorial, advocating no more funds from state banks for a carrier that wasn't 'too big to fail'.

Saving a private airline would be risky for Singh's government, which has faced pressure from allies, political opponents and civil activists for more than a year over graft.

"After all the charges of crony capitalism ... if the government rolls out the red carpet for Kingfisher, it will once again come under attack," said Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a political analyst.

Mallya, whose liquor business clout helped win him a seat in the upper house of parliament two years ago, could use his political ties to save the carrier he started in 2005.

Allowing foreign carriers to buy a stake in Indian carriers is probably the key policy step Kingfisher desperately wants the government to take. Unlike in 2007, when ailing airlines were bought over by Kingfisher and Jet Airways, there are no domestic carriers circling to buy up rivals today.
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SBI to relax loan rules for small businesses


TRICHY: State Bank of India chairman, Pratip Chaudhuri on Saturday said that rules for sanctioning loans up to an amount of Rs one crore for small businesses and services would be relaxed to facilitate business prospects in the central region of Trichy.SBI chief remains non-committal on Kingfisher
Senior SBI officials, who were here to give freebies to deserving institutions as part of the bank's corporate social responsibility said that once the Small Industrial Development Bank of India (SIDBI) gave the nod for a well-deserved, growth-oriented business proposition, the loan amount up to Rs one crore would be dished out by the bank without any collateral. This, Chaudhuri said, was being done to promote a number of small businesses, and warned that the loan facility would not be available for trading.
To a question on housing loans, which were being inordinately delayed despite the applicants submitting all the necessary documentation, Pratip said it could be due to the delay in the verification of documents. Pratip said that in the coming years, the bank would be concentrating on the textile industry as spinning and weaving produced a lot of job opportunities in addition to spurring growth rate. tnn The bank, which reserves 1% of its declared profit for the purpose of community service banking, presented an ambulance to the Hindu Mission Hospital and a Rs 2.5 lakh chapatti-making machine to Tiruchi Seva Sangam.
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Too-coy India prompts Citi's HDFC retreat


You should be careful what you wish for. India has resisted, strongly, what it sees as excessive foreign participation in its banking system. And with the need to conserve capital at home, it's no real surprise that Citi(C.N) has decided to cash in its 9.9 percent stake in Housing Development Finance Corp(HDFC.NS) for $2 billion. But had IPicture showing HDFC's head office. Taken from official website.ndia allowed Citi more skin in the game it might have stuck around.
India's banking regulator has long worried about hot money and fair-weather friends. But the protectionism deployed actually increases the dangers. With a 10 percent cap on foreign direct investment in Indian banks, Citi lacked a real say in how HDFC was managed.
Other Indian banks have significant foreign shareholdings, but they are all in small chunks which, like Citi's, are relatively easy to exit. HSBC (HSBA.L) owns 9.2 percent of Axis Bank (AXBK.NS), India's third largest private sector bank. Deutsche (DBKGn.DE) owns about 10 percent of ICICI (ICBK.NS). And HSBC and Rabo both have 4.8 percent stakes in Yes Bank (YESB.NS).
Foreign banks are also allowed to set up their own branches and subsidiaries in India but their growth is restricted by a strict cap on the number of new branches they can open. India clearly wants the best of both world's -- enough foreign capital to get the benefits of investment and competition, but not too much so that the system becomes dominated by foreign banks. The regulator published proposals last year which would allow foreign banks more branches if they converting existing branches into local subsidiaries. This would come with a rider that the total capital of foreign banks could not exceed 25 percent of the capital in the system.
These plans came over a year ago. Since then nothing. It's a further sign of the paralysis that has struck Indian governance. Citi's exit is a wake-up call, a helpful reminder of work still to be done rebalancing the Indian banking system.
-- Citigroup has raised $1.9 billion selling its entire stake in HDFC at 657.50 rupees a share, Reuters reported on February 24. The transaction is the largest share sale in India this year. (Read main story: Citigroup sells entire stake in HDFC, click here)
-- Although Indian banks can have up to 74 percent of aggregate foreign investment, no single investor is permitted to control more than 10 percent of the bank without the permission of the Reserve Bank of India.
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Celebs have edge over social workers: Salman Khan

Celebs have edge over social workers: Salman Khan
Salman Khan, who runs charity organisation Being Human for underprivileged people, feels that due to media coverage movie stars tend to have an edge over others who sincerely work toward the betterment of society. And he is not too happy about it.

"We (celebrities) have an edge because
we are there on every TV and every screen, good films, bad films, stuff like what we do in restaurants...So, we are there all over and we have an advantage over people who are really great people, and have not been given the coverage because of TRP ratings," the 46-year-old said here.

"It sucks because if you are doing that kind of (social) work, and nobody knows about you, it's weird," he added.

Salman keeps doing his bit as a socially concerned citizen. He sells his paintings, and the proceeds are used for the welfare of the underprivileged.

Last seen in " Bodyguard," Salman will soon be seen sharing screen space with ex-flame Katrina Kaif in " Ek Tha Tiger."
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Sachin Tendulkar gets honorary life membership of SCG

Sachin Tendulkar gets honorary life membership of SCGSYDNEY: Iconic Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday became the first overseas player to be presented with the honorary life membership of the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Presenting the award, New South Wales premier Barry O'Farrell said, "Sachin is one of the greatest cricketers ever and it's o
nly appropriate we honour him with life membership of one of the world's greatest cricket grounds.

Praising Tendulkar for his sportsmanship and deference for the history of the game, O'Farrell remarked, "The batting legend has said the SCG is his favourite ground outside of India and it's no wonder when you look at his record at this ground."

"Sachin has provided crowds with wonderful memories at the SCG. He averages an amazing 157 in Tests; headed by his magnificent double century in 2004 Test. Always a crowd favourite, Sachin has often received support akin to Australian legends of the game.

"Many in the crowd today will be willing him towards his much-vaunted 100th hundred. Regardless of how many runs today, I'm certain the Sydney crowd will pay appropriate tribute to this legend of the game in which is almost certain to be his last match at the SCG," he added.

SCG Trust chairman Rodney Cavalier said the honorary membership was in recognition of Tendulkar's immense contribution to cricket at the SCG.

"The Trust does not award honorary membership lightly. Sachin is the first overseas player in any sport and only the second cricketer to be handed the honour," said Cavalier.

"Cricket fans have been treated to many splendid innings by Sachin at the SCG, including his innings of 241 in 2004 where he shared a magnificent stand of 353 with VVS Laxman.

"Sachin has conducted himself with grace and dignity throughout his career. I'm sure all members and cricket fans would welcome him back to the SCG at any time."

At this ground, Tendulkar has scored 785 runs from five Tests at an average of 157.00 while in one-day internationals, he has made 301 from seven matches at 60.20.
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Olympic qualifier: India close to realising London dream

Olympic qualifier: India close to realising London dreamNew Delhi: When a spirited Indian team take the field in the final on Sunday, they would be looking nothing less than a win and seal a spot in the 2012 London Olympics.
It’s a perfect setting for a win for India and to avoid another disaster, considering the fact that France are a less ranked team than the hosts. The fact that they beat the Europeans in the pool would be an added advantage for the 10th ranked team. The most successful team in the history of Olympics, with eight gold medals, India failed to qualify for the first time in 80 years Beijing Olympics four years ago.

India started the FIH Olympic qualifiers as favourites and stayed unbeaten before reaching the final at the Dhyan Chand stadium in Delhi. They took off in style against a lowly Singapore to drub them 15-1. Against a sorry Italy the scoreline read 8-1 in favour of the Indians. India didn’t sweat much to down the other finalist France 6-2. As expected, India faced the first test in the tournament against Canada but came out good in the end. Poland at once threatened India by making an early breakthrough but the hosts toiled
hard to beat them and avoided facing them in the final.
 When it looked like they have sorted out the defensive flaws, there appeared fresh trouble in finishing. The match against Canada was a testimony to this latest mess. But when all thought it was rectified it haunted them against Poland as well. The bright spot is ace drag flicker Sandeep Singh’s rollicking form. He is the highest goal-scorer with 11 goals from five outings.

After a hat-trick against France and two goals against Canada, Sandeep scored two more against Poland on Friday to take his tally in the event to 11. Apart from Sandeep, S V Sunil too has been impressive upfront even though he failed to score against Poland.

Yet coach Michael jobs is not ready to take any chance and he expects an even tighter match in the final not forgetting that they overcame the same France in the pool. "It is not going to be easy in the finals against them. Probably, it would be much tighter than what we played in the last time. It is a grand finale and I am sure it would be pretty tight," he said.
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London dreams shattered for Indian women

Indian Women HockeyOh no, not the way to start!
The stadium rose in collective moan when South African No 10 Shelley Russell punished India for a Ritu Rani blunder in the 4th minute of the women’s Olympic qualifier final here on Saturday.
The blunder mattered the most as the hosts lost 1-3, thus failing to realise their dream of booking a ticket to London. India were

no match to the fitter South African side and conceding goals through errors did not help their cause. In the final, the team looked confused and even failed to trap the ball neatly. There was no doubt that the match against Italy, only 24 hours back, had taken its toll on their body and mind.
Before they could regroup after the initial blunder, South African drag flicker Pietie Coetzee sealed their fate with an absolute grounder to make it 2-0.
In the second half, the Indian eves put on a better display as they created couple of chances in the first 10 minutes. But Anuradha Devi Thokchom was the culprit both times as she failed to give the finishing touch. The Proteas, meanwhile, converted the first chance they got by in the form of a penalty corner through their skipper Marsha Marescia in the 53rd minute. It was 3-0. India did manage to pull one back Jaspreet Kaur converted a penalty corner in the 57th minute.
Stopwatch: Final: South Africa 3 (Shelley Russell 4, Pietie Coetzee 30, Marsha Marescia 53) bt India 1 (Jaspreet Kaur 57); 3rd place playoff: Italy 2 (Alessia Doriana Padalino 34, 67) bt Ukraine 1 (Bohdana Sadova 42); 5th-6th playoff: Canada 3 (Thea Culley 18, Brienna Stairs 40, Stephanie Jameson 45) bt Poland 0
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Time for experiments over, says Dhoni

Faced with a do-or-die situation, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is all set to field his three regular openers rather than experiment with a pinch hitter at the top of the order in Sunday's crucialtri-series One-dayer against Australia in Sydney.
"We have three genuine, proper openers. I see no good reason why I should sent in a pinch-hitter. All three score at a brisk pace, they are good at hitting boundaries as well asin taking singles."
"There is no requirement of a pinch hitter when all three are playing," said Dhoni, indicating the rotation policy is as good as over for the rest of the tournament.
With only two more league matches to go, a defeat for India would leave them just a solitary match against Sri Lanka and a must-win with a bonus point situation.
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WHO knocks India off polio list

India polioIndia’s name was taken off the list of the world’s four polio endemic countries by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because it has been free of polio for one whole year.
 The three remaining endemic countries — where the polio virus continues to infect people — are Pakistan,Afghanistan and Nigeria.
India’s last polio case was detected in a two-year-old girl in the Panchla block of Howrah, West Bengal, on January 13.

“Till 2009, India accounted for half of the total number of polio cases being reported worldwide. It’s a remarkable achievement for us to be taken off the list,” said health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the Polio Summit 2012.

For the Pulse Polio programme, the Centre worked in close partnership with state governments and international groups such as the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International.

Vaccination of children in Bihar and UP, where polio infection refused to stop, crossed 99% last year. As much as 27 % of the global expenditure on polio eradication has come from India’s domestic resources.

“It is a matter of satisfaction that we have completed one year without any single new case of polio being reported from anywhere in the country. This gives us hope that we can finally eradicate polio not only from India but from the face of the entire mother earth. The success of our efforts shows that teamwork pays,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
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Baby Sanyam suffers Falak's fate

Doctors at the state-run Ummed Hospital in Jodhpur were shocked to see Sanyam's injuries. Who wouldn't be?What could possibly prompt a human being to burn a three year old baby with cigarettes, to mercilessly beat the child to the extent of breaking his bones, to starve him of basic nutrition for two long months. This is the face of a man whose conscience is unmoved at having tormented three year old Sanyam. Kailash Yati, Sanyam’s stepfather, said, “I told her to do whatever she wants with the child, to either keep it or give it to one of her relatives. I had no wish to keep the child. If I wanted to keep the child, I wouldn’t have brought him.”

Arrested after TIMES NOW exposed the savage manner in which he tried this innocent life. Nidhi Jain, Sanyam’s mother, said, “He used to lock me up in the other room and beat him. Whenever I would plead for his life, he would wouldn't listen and say that he would kill the child someday.” While his mother Nidhi can feel safe with the knowledge the tormentor is behind bars for now, baby Sanyam’s story not hers’ alone.

In Adilabad - parents of three month old Ayeshu who want to sell their new born baby girl for Rs 1 lakh because they say they’re too poor to take care of her. In Gunia, Madhya Pradesh - this one day old baby was born in filth attacked by animal’s right in front of a hospital. And in our country's capital - this little brave heart Falak’s still battling between life and death.

“The state is under a constitutional obligation to see that there is no violation of the fundamental right of any person, particularly when he belongs to the weaker section of the community and is unable to wage a legal battle against a strong and powerful opponent who is exploiting him,” says Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The din of protests only grows louder with every instance but the larger question remains, can no one ensure the safety of these children.

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A row over shorter Amarnath yatra

Pilgrims being transported by Muslim porters from Pishu, during the annual Amarnath pilgrimage. File photo.A storm is brewing in Jammu and Kashmir over Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) decision to curtail the duration of this year’s annual pilgrimage to the holy cave to 39 days.
SASB led by Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra held a meeting after which it was announced that the yatra would commence fr
om June 25 and culminate on Raksha Bandhan on August 2, this year. In the SASB meeting, Sri Sri Ravi Shanker, besides other members, was present.
However, Shri Amarnath Sanghrash Simiti (SASS) rejected the schedule. “We will not accept less than two months yatra. Who is SASB to decide over the matters relating to faith?” said Brig (retd) Suchet Singh, SASS convener.
The Board said, in 2010 and 2011, despite efforts to carry out snow clearance operations along the Chandanwari-Sheshnag-MG Top-Panjtarni-Holy Cave axis, this route could become fit for movement only around end June. SASB kept the option of preponing the yatra open given the weather in the Himalayas. “It was further resolved that if preponement before June 25 is found possible, even by a few days, the CEO shall organise registration of yatris through a speedy mode like on-line or even spot-registration”, the spokesman said.
SASS said that they would take up the issue with Shri Amarnath Niyas and other groups and discuss the yatra’s schedule announced by the SASB.
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