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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Coca-Cola's 'Minute Maid' spreading wings in India -kini

Soft drink giant Coca-Cola's Minute Maid Pulpy Orange drink is doing good business in three southern states since its launch in March and is poised to slowly enter other markets across the country.

Minute Maid, a leading juice and juice drink brand from the US firm now available in 60 countries, was launched in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu March 21.

'We are in the process of launching Minute Maid in a phased manner. It is also now available across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh,' Venkatesh Kini, the Coca-Cola India Vice President (Marketing), told IANS.

'Our intention is to go national. However, we will not be able to comment on the timing of Minute Maid's expansion to other parts of India yet,' he said.

'Minute Maid has crossed the one million sales mark in the three (southern) states. Also the price point of Rs.25 is the lowest entry point for any orange based juice drink,' said Kini.

'With our mango drink Maaza already India's largest selling juice drink brand, we expect Minute Maid to further extend Coca-Cola's leadership in the juice drink segment.'

According to beverage industry experts, the volume of the Indian juice market is pegged at 500 million cases.

Of this, 10 percent (50 million cases) forms the packaged juice segment. Eighty-five percent of this constitutes mango-based juices, nectars and drinks.

Coca-Cola has invested more than $1 billion in its Indian operations, emerging as one of the country's top international investors. The company's business operations engage approximately 150,000 people in India, it said.

Lata , Pai & T-Series come together

Lata Mangeshkar, Pai and T-Series released their first-ever album together, Saadgi, on June 21, World Music Day, at a suburban club. The songs have been composed by Mayuresh Pai and written by multiple lyricists. Eminent ghazal legend Jagjit Singh formally released the album and among those present were composer Mayuresh Pai, Chetan Dhawan from Swaranjali, Lalit Adani, chairman and Prabir Chatterjee, managing director of Adora, Madhusudhan, Head-Music, Radio City, Bhushan Kumar,chairman and managing director, T-Series and Divya Khosla Kumar. Javed Akhtar, one of the lyricists, arrived late. While Chitra Singh made an extremely rare public appearance, the other guests spotted were Usha and Meena Mangeshkar, Suresh Wadkar, music directors Anand-Milind and Shaarangdeo and model Khalid Siddique who features in the video of the lead track, ‘Mujhe khabar thi’. RJ Archana (who also appears in a cameo in the video) was the host. The album’s title Saadgi has been derived from Lata Mangeshkar’s conviction that it is the simple things in life that touch our hearts. Said Lata, “There is no reason why the album happened, but it just did so. Nothing was pre-planned. Everything just fell into place. The lyrics appealed to me and I could identify with them.” The singer has always been fond of jewellery designing and has crafted beautiful intricate diamond jewellery designs, creating the brand Swaranjali, which has produced the album. T-Series chief Bhushan Kumar said, “As the premiere music company, we would have been incomplete if we hadn’t been able to contribute to Lataji’s album. We consider this association an honour and want to be an integral part of Saadgi.” Radio City and Bright Publicity are the other media partners. A contest is also being held to promote the album.

Smart Online to Open Development Office in India

Smart Online, a provider of various applications to businesses through a software as a service model, is establishing a development office in India.

Anil Kamath, the company’s chief technology officer, will lead the operation.

Jose Collazo, a current Smart Online employee, will assume a new role as U.S. CTO.

"By having an integrated development team that has the ability to offer round-the-clock operations we believe will better serve all of our technology objectives including our partner’s vertical solutions, as well as add new features and functions," said Michael Nouri, Smart Online’s chief executive officer.

"This is one of many important steps we are taking to prepare for our planned growth,” he added. “We are dedicated to building an infrastructure that has a cost-effective development operation that can deliver cutting edge technological solutions available in the software-as-a-service market."

Earlier this week, Smart Online disclosed that it had won or renewed nine contracts in the first half of 2006 compared to one renewal signed in the same time frame in 2006.

Smart Online also raised $6 million in a private placement earlier this year.

Bala Mandir training centre gets extension building

SUPPORT TO POOR STUDENTS: T. V. Kini, former general manager, Larsen and Toubro, inaugurating an extension building of the Bala Mandir-P.H. Mortensen Industrial Training Centre in Chennai on Wednesday. C .R. Ramakrishnan, former JMD, ECC (right); Lars Odd Pettersen, chairman, Braade Stiftung, Denmark (second from right); and Maya Gaitonde, honorary general secretary, Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust (left), are in the picture.

CHENNAI: The Bala Mandir-P.H. Mortensen Industrial Training Centre now has an extension building, which will enable poor students of the Mandir to get basic training in carpentry.

The centre was been built with the help of L&T ECC.

The extension building was inaugurated on Wednesday by T.V. Kini, former general manager, Larsen and Toubro.

A. Ramakrishna, former president and deputy managing director, Larsen and Toubro, said P.H. Mortensen, one of the legendary visionaries behind L&T, was a carpenter by profession and showed a keen interest in the activities of Bala Mandir since 1962. Over the years, the Braade Stiftung Trust, set up by him, was a major support for Bala Mandir’s service initiatives.

The students of the industrial training centre came from poor families in semi-urban and rural areas and were being provided training free of cost, besides sponsorship of educational expenses, Maya Gaitonde, honorary general secretary, Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, said.

This year, the eighth batch of carpentry students and the sixth batch of electrical trainees would take their examinations. Bala Mandir’s selfless service to the poor students need to be appreciated and encouraged and L&T was happy to support the cause through various donations, K.V. Rangaswami, former president and deputy managing director, L&T, said,

V. Sethuram, president of Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, and Lars Odd Pettersen, chairman of Braade Stiftung, Denmark, were present.

Chinese stories in Kannada

BANGALORE: What happens if the mind wanders in a world of ‘ifs’? “Anything can be inferred and in a story, there are immense possibilities to imagine and deconstruct those imaginings,” says short-story writer Vivek Shanbhag.

This Sunday, Shanbhag will release Adunika Cheeni Sanna Kathegalu, a Kannada book on modern Chinese stories which includes one such story: re (‘if’ in Kannada).

“It’s about a person who recounts an accident he survived. He keeps thinking of what would have happened if he had not taken that route,’’ he says. The story conjures up alternative choices he could have made, some even bordering on the absurd.

Author Gopalkrishna Pai says there have not been many attempts to translate Chinese stories into Kannada. “I found a lacuna on that front. So I chose 18 stories written by 16 writers, including two women. They cover rural aspects, city-centric issues, magic realism, etc., most of which are set in the post-1985 world. But for two writers who passed away, the others are still writing interesting pieces,” says Pai.

The collection will include heart-warming stories such as Saavu Badukina Naduve, Oh, Tsiyang Tsu and many others.

Q&A: Comics have lost ground to cartoon films

Anant Pai is best known as the creator of the famed Amar Chitra Katha series, which pioneered the telling of Indian folk tales, legends, myths and history through the comic form. Launched in 1967, the series has since run into over 400 titles and grossed sales of 86 million copies.

Can you recall for us the origin of the Amar Chitra Katha?

In February 1967 in Delhi, there was a quiz show on Doordarshan and one of the questions was, 'What was the name of Ram's mother?' None of them could answer. The funny thing is, moments later when the compere asked about some Greek goddess, they all knew. That struck me.

On my return to Bombay, I got associated with a children's magazine. The first issue had a poem called Daffodils and a story about a boy named Robert Warrington who longed to see London. I thought this was really strange. I have nothing against foreign authors or books based in foreign countries, but why should an Indian children's magazine have such a story? That was how it all started. I took the Amar Chitra Katha (ACK ) concept to several publishers and eventually, India Book House liked it.

Q: How has the ACK series evolved over the years?

Till 1969, we lost money, but after 1970-72, we didn't look back. It had started as a monthly, but soon we made it a fortnightly and then we began having three issues every month. The titles sold 20,000-60,000 copies.

Q: There is a certain criticism that the imagery in the comics is a little sexist.

We did get some criticism for it, but these were artworks done 40 years ago. I think our major influences were the sculptures
of Ajanta, Ellora, the work on Kalamkari cloth, etc; all traditional Indian art forms. We may have been a bit over-influenced by it (laughs). But forget the first 25 titles or so, we have toned it down now.

Q: What about the accusation that there isn't enough representation of various minority groups and communities?

I don't think that's true. I have tried to promote national integration though the series. We have done Jesus Christ , which has been a big success. We have done several on Muslim figures such as Babar, Humayan, Akbar, Chand Bibi. You know, when I go to Assam, they are so pleased...they tell me they have read Joymati and Lachit Barphukan. We have done all the Sikh gurus...

Q: Can ACK sustain its appeal in the face of Disneyfication? Children these days seem more acquainted with superheroes like Spiderman than Indian historical figures.

That is partly our mistake, we need to do more to promo

Monday, June 25, 2007

Literature binds Profession and talent: Sandhya Pai

‘Taranga’ magazine’s Managing Editor, S Sandhya Pai said that, if a person starts writing about the various experiences of life its hard to stop it.

She was speaking on the occasion of the release of the book “Ayaskantavar” written by Literateur, Kantavar Kannada Association’s President, Dr N Mogasale on June 24th at Hotel Kediyoor, Udupi. She said that to make dreams come true one should work hard, we may not desire to work hard due to our mind, but it happens only through dedication. She said that DR Mogasale was one of those dedicated people and he writes everything about his deepest feelings.

Senior literateur, Vyasaray Ninjoor was the Chief guest on this occasion. The programme was inaugurated by Felicitation committee’s secretary, Harikrishna Punaruru. Literateur D K Chowt, Kannada Sahitya Parishad’s District President, Uppunda Chandrashekar Holla wished everyone. Writer, Organizer, K C Virupaksha; Poet, Story writer, Belgodu Ramesh Bhat congratulated. Dr Madhav Moodukonaje from Karkala, who had done a Phd on the life and books of Dr Mogasale was felicitated on this occasion by Dr Mogasale.

Editor of the book, Dr Kamala Hemmige spoke about her views and opinions. Felicitation Committee’s organizer, literateur, Dr S P Padmaprasad from Tumkur gave the introductory speech. Nadavaibhavam Vasudev Bhat welcomed everyone, Amshumali was the host on this occasion. Prema Mogasale was present on this occasion. Ku Go gave the vote of thanks. Mogasale was felicitated on behalf of Nadavaibhavam and the felicitation committee. Felicitation letter was read by M S Giridhar and Jairam Karanth.

The corruption hater

One view of Dinesh Kamat is that this 75-year-old man has lost everything in the pursuit of justice. However, it is not merely the loss which he has endured that qualifies him as a real hero, it is his undaunted spirit to crusade against corruption despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Kamat belongs to the generation of people who had witnessed India’s struggle to be reborn as a free nation – and the subsequent birth pangs of the world’s largest democracy. “In free India I am not happy with the state of affairs of our country and I am certainly not taking it lying down,” said Kamat sitting in his daughter’s residence at Dombivli. He claims the corrupt system has wreaked vengeance on him by divesting him of his house. A property he owns is in the process of being usurped.

Currently he is pursuing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court against unapproved technical institutions operating in the state. The state has formed a high-power committee to study the issue raised by Kamat and would be submitting its report that would be tabled before the High Court soon.

Kamat has realised that taking on the influential and powerful is not an easy task as he has been attacked 23 times and his house ransacked and burgled seven times. Recently he received a phone call threatening him with dire consequences if he did not withdraw the PIL against unapproved technical institutions.

“The call was later traced by the police to a number in the Public Works Department (PWD) building in the High Court precinct,” says Kamat.

On June 21, 2007, a packed courtroom of the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court came to standstill, when Kamat accused the judges across the rank from the lower court to the Supreme Court of malpractice. The tension in the court room eased only when the Chief Justice Swantanter Kumar accepted his application.

Earlier in April 2005, Kamat’s application against malpractice in the judiciary to the Chief Justice was taken suo motto by the High Court and converted into writ petition. “Later I was hit-and-run by a vehicle and during my absence the suo motto writ petition was disposed,” he says.

He now wants the disposed petition to be reinstated.

Besides being a journalist running his Marathi weekly Bobata which roughly means expose, he is a qualified astrologer. He does not mince words and is a person who would not call a spade by any other name.

“The goondas left their slum houses and entered politics. In a years time they managed to get several buildings and several wives. This is without any prejudice to any one political party. There are no exceptions among the thieves,” he says.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blackstone deal validates Indian BPO industry’s strength- Kamath

The acquisition of Intelenet by private equity giant Blackstone signals a new era for the outsourcing industry, according to Mr Prakash Kamath, Principal Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Speaking to Business Line on the largest management buyout deal in the country so far, he said: “The BPO industry has for long been hailed as the ‘sunshine’ sector in India. It would be apt to say that this industry is now delivering to its potential.”

The deal comes as a shot in the arm for the sector, which has been seeing turbulent times due to the falling dollar, increasing employee costs and constant depletion of skilled personnel, he added.

The value of the deal is said to be in the region of $200 million (Rs 820 crore). Blackstone recently raised $4.13 billion in the biggest US IPO in five years, selling 12.3 per cent stake, which values the company at $33.5 billion.

Stating that the presence of Blackstone in the deal is testimony to the strength and the potential of the Indian BPO industry, Mr Kamath said that it is also a pointer to the emergence of private equity in India.

“Private equity investors from around the world – including big-ticket players like Carlyle Group, General Atlantic Partners and the UK’s Actis Partners – are increasing their bets on Indian corporate houses or making new ones.”

He added that domestic firms such as ICICI Venture Funds and Kotak are also stepping up investments. “It would not be surprising to expect more such deals in the future.”

The export-oriented IT and ITES industry in India has been conservatively valued at generating revenues of $15 billion.

It has consistently grown by about a third every year and more than a million people are currently employed by it.

However, ever since the rupee began its upward march, gaining by as much as 10 per cent against the dollar, BPO firms have taken a big hit.

“Suppose a BPO firm functions at an operating margin of 25-20 per cent. For this firm, the drop in operating margins would be a massive 40-50 per cent, assuming that all revenues are in dollars and there is no hedging,” Mr Kamath said.

He added that the top-tier companies of the industry would be able to tide over these times thanks to access to easier finance and labour.

“As for the smaller players, it has been seen that they are either finding financing partners with multimillion dollar pockets to fund their expansion plans or are being acquired by larger BPO firms or IT firms with BPO aspirations.”

Dwelling on the dynamics of the BPO industry, he said: “Most companies start off with one major client (for instance, Intelenet-Barclays) or as a captive unit (like Genpact-GE). In the next step, the client acquires a major stake in the BPO. As the last step of the cycle, the client divests from the BPO operations at a profit. All along, the client relationship remains active.”

Intelenet is India’s third largest BPO firm by headcount, with a base of around 17,000 employees spread over 18 locations in India and overseas.

The company was started as a 50-50 joint venture between TCS and HDFC in 1994. In 2004, TCS sold its stake to HDFC, which subsequently sold it to Barclays the same year.

The firm is reported to have revenues of Rs 380 crore with an asset base of Rs 410 crore.

“Its operating margins are around 15 per cent, significantly lower than the BPO industry average. It is also worth noting that currently, 70 per cent of its revenues are generated from Barclays.”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Symantec CEO visits Dubai Municipality - Shenoy

The Symantec delegation led by its Chairman and CEO John W Thompson included Kevin Isaac, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa, Johnny Karam, Enterprise Sales Manager, Middle East and North Africa and Satish Shenoy, Regional Sales Manager, Enterprise Accounts, Middle East and North Africa.

Eng. Abdullah Al Shaibani, Assistant Director General for Technical Services Affairs, Eng. AbdulHakim Malik, Director of Information Technology Department and Yousuf Mohammed Al Shaiba, Head of Operation and Network Section in the Information Technology Department received the delegation.

The meeting discussed the new challenges in the Information and Communication Technology field in the light of the urban development boom in Dubai.

Thompson stressed on the necessity to have advanced level security technology to meet the challenges that are increasingly faced by Dubai in its race to excellence.

The meeting explored possible areas of cooperation between Dubai Municipality and Symantec that include awareness campaign on e-services and customer confidence building measures.

Thompson, who was appointed by US President George W. Bush to the National Infrastructure Advisory Committee to make recommendations regarding the security of the critical infrastructure of the United States, said Symantec spends 15% of its revenue for research and development.

According to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report for the month of March 2007, UAE is the least affected country in the GCC. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Symantec currently has over 17,500 employees worldwide and has operations in 40 countries. The company manufactures software that protects home users, as well as large companies from viruses, online fraud attacks and other modern day threats. It is the largest organisation in the world to provide security solutions and manufactures the Norton brand of anti-virus software.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wanted: artistes for Konkani theatre

Wanted: artistes for Konkani theatre

Mandd Sobhann to set up Konkani professional theatre group

  • Applicants will undergo a minimum of one year's training
  • The last date for applying is June 25

MANGALORE: Unemployed? Aged between 15 and to 25 years? Have the flair for theatre and interested in earning Rs. 3,000 a month? Then contact Kalakul, Mandd Sobhann Natak Academy at Shaktinagar. Well, this might sound like a job advertisement. While this is no doubt an invitation for those interested in theatre, it is also an attempt to set up the first full-time professional Konkani theatre group locally.

Mandd Sobhann has involved itself in promoting Konkani language, its culture, arts and folklore. While promoting Konkani theatre was one of its prime objectives, preoccupation of its office-bearers with their vocation meant that theatre activities at "Kalaangann," its cultural head office was restricted to staging a play/drama one Sunday every month.

It is here that the idea of setting up Kalakul, a unit dedicated to producing new Konkani dramas gained ground. For Eric Ozario, the "Gurkar" of Mandd Sobhann, the idea of setting up Kalakul is one through which Konkani theatre can be given a new lease of life.

Mr. Ozario told presspersons here on Friday that the applicants would undergo a minimum of one year's training. The intake had been restricted to 15.

The applicants would be selected based on their skills and aptitude for theatre. Candidates have the option of either continuing at Kalakul or quitting after one year. Applicants need not have any experience in theatre. The last date for applying is June 25. The training will commence on July 16. Details can be had on ph. 0824-2230489/2232239.

Gods, kings, mantris and Uncle Pai

Forty years ago Amar Chitra Katha was born out of a need to re-acquaint Indian children with history and heritage. "I saw a problem with children writing stories about Robert living in Warrington, and knowing the names of the Greek gods of Mount Olympus and not Lord
Rama's mother" says Anant Pai, founder-editor, Amar Chitra Katha comics.

Today, children are perhaps even less concerned with the trials and triumphs of gods, kings and Machiavellian ministers. "Maybe, but providing children with role models is an adult's responsibility" says Pai. "Besides, I don't believe in glorifying heritage, just being aware of it." Still, Amar Chitra Katha's recent titles have chosen more modern-day heroes, like Kalpana Chawla and J R D Tata.

"I was once told by the principal of a school that for as long as he was around, he would never allow comics into the classroom," chuckles Pai. "Today educationists realise that the comic format is only used so a history lesson becomes palatable." Amar Chitra Katha has even been the subject of PhD theses, but intellectual validation notwithstanding, things just aren't the same for Uncle Pai.

Amar Chitra Katha, that once brought out a title three or four times a month, is down to three or four titles a year, and from edition sizes of 1,00,000 to 20,000. "For comic characters born in the 1960s, the overwhelming presence of television in the mid-80s was a big blow" says Pai, referring to their waning fortunes and the closure of the equally iconic Indrajal Comics. It became uneconomical for India Book House, publishers of Amar Chitra Katha, to issue fresh titles, so they took to re-printing popular old ones.

But Anant Pai is far from disillusioned, indulging instead in some good old-fashioned nostalgia. His office is adorned with framed photographs of presidents and prime ministers releasing titles. He remembers the names of hundreds of little girls and boys whose affection he has encountered as "Pai chacha". Several of them, now grown up, keep in touch, still sentimental about their early interactions with Amar Chitra Katha.

Pai gets a few thousand letters a year. Most are from hopeful young writers, others write to ask him why the sky is blue or who his favourite heroine is.

Amar Chitra Katha will see improved times with television and mobile content providers seemingly eager for character acquisition rights. Pai's other comic brainchild, Tinkle, still sells 90,000 copies per issue, owing probably to its more generic protagonists like Shikari Shambhu and Pyarelal, bumbling but well-intentioned, who have survived the test of time and diminishing attention spans.

It's easy to see Pai was born to be a raconteur. He steps around awkward questions, but loves to tell a good tale. He lives by a moral code and believes everyone else should. "On the pretext of telling a story one can always slip in a moral" he laughs. And he does. I walk away with my head full of axioms like "insecure minds never prosper" or "if you have to say something let it be pleasant".

But best of all, he has what it takes to ensure Amar Chitra Katha continues to entertain and educate in perpetuity the belief that children will always be children.

Plethico launches Coolz to take on Eno

Plethico Pharmaceuticals has launched Coolz, an over-the-counter product, to take on Eno, which is a leading market product for curing acidity.

"Our study shows that Eno has a business of Rs 20 crore and is a monopoly in the acidity curing drug segment," Plethico Chief Financial Officer Sanjay Pai told.

Launching Coolz was in tune with Plethico's strategy of introducing products where there was a monopoly, he said.

To counter Eno, Plethico has launched Coolz in three flavours: jal-jeera, plain and lemon. The pharma company has invested close to Rs 10 crore for Coolz and once the Indian market stabilises, it would take the product to other markets too, Pai said.

The company, with consolidated revenues of Rs 375 crore, is trying to spread its wings in lucrative markets. As a first step, Plethico is busy combing the US market for a USD 100 million acquisition.

Plethico, which specialises in herbal and neutraceutical products, would be looking for a company in the same segment for acquisition in the US, Pai said.

After the US, it would look at Europe, he added. The company is eyeing Rs 1,000 crore in revenues by 2009-10 and expects the US acquisition to help it reach the target, Pai said.

‘We are not bothered about controversies’- Kini

Venkatesh Kini, VP- marketing, Coca-Cola India loves cars and is a serious travel buff. At 44, Kini is the father of two and loves playing tennis and squash. Ask him about his favourite author and pat comes the reply-Thomas Friedman. An IIM Ahmedabad graduate Kini joined The Coca-Cola Company in India in 1998 as the senior brand manager for the Lemon Lime Category, where he was instrumental in the successful launch of Sprite. In October 1999, Venkatesh accepted the role of global brand manager in Atlanta working on new products.

He has over 17 years of marketing, sales & general management experience. His last assignment was as VP, Sprite and Flavours Brand Business Unit in Coca-Cola North America, which he held since September 2005. During that time, he led the development of breakthrough advertising and graphics redesign for the Sprite relaunch. He also led the successful national rollout of Vault and the business plan for Sprite and Flavours for 2007.

Managing a cola brand, especially in India, is a tough job. How do you deal with the challenges?

We market a great product, and it is unfortunate that some well meaning but misinformed people target us. If you ask me whether we would want controversies, I would say no. And if you ask me if we are bothered about controversies, I would say no to that as well.

But according to reports, Coke is not doing well here. Why aren’t people drinking it in India?

(Smiles). According to our numbers, Coke is doing well. I assure you that there has been growth though we can’t divulge the numbers yet. In fact, compared to 2004-2005 there has been a strategic shift in 2006-07, wherein Coca-Cola India has stepped up its investments into the cola category. Instore marketing is also a big feature in our plans for the year.

Instilling brand loyalty in consumers is a tough job for cola companies since it’s an impulse buy. How do you plan to do that for your brands?

In India the task is not creating brand loyalty at present. Loyalty is necessary but not sufficient. India has the lowest per capita consumption in the world. So the need of the hour is to expand the packaged ready-to-drink beverage market. Innovative instore marketing incites the consumer to opt for our brands

Minutemaid Pulpy Orange is touted to be a huge success for your company. Is there anything new that you are planning to do with the brand?

Yes, Minutemaid Pulpy Orange has been a huge success for us. In fact, before launching it here we had identified a gap in the market. There was no ready to drink beverage that was light and at the same time, had fruit pulp in it. Even our ad campaigns that said, ‘Where is the pulp’ emphasised the fact. Maaza was there but people drank it more for taste than refreshment. So, our unique packaging of 400 ml and price clicked well with consumers. After the South we have turned our attention to the North now, and only recently the brand was launched in Ludhiana. And Haryana and Himachal Pradesh will follow.

If it is doing so well then why are you going so slow with the launches?

We have understood the value of focussing on a particular market. The launches are a result of a phased roll out. We study the behaviour of a particular market. Even in China where it was launched before India, you will still not find the brand available all across the country. And there is also a very interesting trend that we noticed after launching Minutemaid Pulpy Orange in the South. The sales of Maaza rose with the sales of Minutemaid Pulpy Orange! That’s a classic example of one brand expanding the market and another benefiting from it.

A few days ago Coca-Cola COO Muhtar Kent said that he was hoping that India emerge as the third largest market for Coke in the long term? How is Coca Cola going to achieve it?

India is already the world’s third largest beverage market in volumes. Transformation is happening rapidly with Indians adopting global trends and the economy growing. And like I said earlier, we are trying to expand the market.

Coca Cola’s Georgia brand has not done well when you pushed it as a mass offering. What’s the strategy now?

We are pushing Georgia Gold as a premium offering by tying up with retailers like McDonalds and others. Its retail price will be decided according to the retail ambience in which it will be served. Other than one or two existing brands, this concept is new in India. So market creation will take some time.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?

When for the first time I left the country for Atlanta I faced a culture shock. I realised that I couldn’t apply what I had learnt in India. The market was different in every way. But what held me in good stead are the various diverse cultures existing in India itself.

Tell us something about your life in the IIM.

It was long back but it was the first time I was exposed to the world of business. The people I met were amazing. And if given a chance, I would go through the two years of grilling again.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The much awaited 'Sivaji' to hit Mangalore next week- Pai

Fans of Tamil cine star Rajnikanth in Mangalore will have to wait for a week more to see his latest flick Sivaji - The Boss, which has been much awaited among cine goers amidst the media hype. A restriction imposed by the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce on the number of prints which could be released for a non-Kannada film has effectively dashed the hopes of his fans here.

According to the rules laid down by the chamber, only 10 prints of non-Kannada film can be released in Karnataka. There will be 52 shows of Sivaji in Bangalore every day in 13 screens, with five prints in circulation there. In addit ion, there will be screening of the film in five other towns in the State including Kolar, Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Davangere and Chitradurga, according to Bangalore based Gokuldas Pai of Pai and Company.

Mr. Pai, who has obtained distribution rights for Sivaji for Dakshina Kannada district from Karnataka territory rights holder H.D. Gangaraju, told over phone from Bangalore that he has sought at least two prints of the mov ie from Mr. Gangaraju.

"I am confident of obtaining at least one print out of the two that I have sought. Besides, I am also making efforts to obtain satellite transmission rights for Sivaji" he said.

"If the satellite transmission rights come through, I will go in for just one print" Mr. Pai said and added that arrangements would be made to screen the same in a leading theatre as well as at Adlabs - the lone multiplex of the city located at Bharat Mall. "We have sounded out the exhibitors at Platinum theatre, who have the facility to download the movies digitally via satellite transmission. But, we have not given them any formal commitment" he said.

For die-hard Rajani fans here, it will be a long wait.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tuberculosis blood test no better than standard: review

Blood-based tests to diagnose tuberculosis in developing countries are no more accurate than the older, traditional test, researchers have found.

The standard test for TB, called a sputum-smear test, involves looking for TB bacteria under the microscope in mucus coughed up from the lungs.

But the sputum test is not sensitive, and it is not considered reliable for diagnosing active TB in children or people with HIV.

As an alternative, commercial tests designed to detect antibodies in the blood are being sold to developing countries, where 90 per cent of the world's TB cases occur.

In Tuesday's issue of the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, European and Canadian researchers concluded the blood tests also varied widely in performance, and none were worthy of replacing sputum tests.

"These tests thus have little or no role to play in the diagnosis of pulmonary TB at the present time," the study's authors concluded.

For the study, Madhukar Pai, a professor in McGill's department of epidemiology, biostatics and health, and Richard O'Brien of the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics in Geneva reviewed 68 studies on the accuracy of the antibody detection tests.

Although some researchers are trying to improve TB tests for developing countries, drug companies are more interested in targeting other diseases, Pai said. The "dream" test for TB would be a simple, rapid, finger-prick version, he added.

In the meantime, Pai suggested doctors apply the existing tools to detect active cases of TB.

In the developing world, people with tuberculosis may not be able to get a doctor until the disease is at an advanced state, and they may have already spread it to others, the researchers said.

People in developing countries may also be unable to access the continuous drug supply that is needed to prevent the bacteria from gaining resistance to the medications.

Panel launches Konkani campaign

MANGALORE: Konkani Prachar Sanchalan, a committee under Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy set up for popularisation of the teaching of Konkani in schools, launched a three-day campaign, “Shaaleyali Konkani”, on Wednesday. The committee will visit schools in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in an effort to coax the managements of schools to introduce Konkani as an optional language from the sixth standard.

President of the sanchalan Roy Castelino told press persons here on Wednesday that the permission given by the State Government for teaching of Konkani as an optional language from the present academic year was a happy moment for Konkani-speaking communities in the State. The academy had introduced Konkani in schools in three coastal districts last year, but this had been at an unofficial level, he said.

President of the academy Eric Ozario said that the main aim of the campaign was to clear doubts that the managements of schools might have about offering Konkani as a subject.

Konkani textbooks to be printed at last

MANGALORE: A timely intervention by Commissioner for Public Instruction M. Madan Gopal in waiving of some of the costs involved in printing Konkani textbooks ordered by the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy for sixth standard students has cleared the decks for the process. The academy has placed an order for 3,000 textbooks with the Karnataka Text Books Society and expects to receive them on Saturday.

Initially the academy was to receive the textbooks on June 4. However, the printing process had got put off at the beginning as the society sought a payment of Rs. 20,000 towards plate-making charges, which the academy requested to be waived. Managing Director of the society Eshwaraiah had pleaded helplessness in the matter, saying that he was not empowered to take a decision.

Left with no alternative, the academy took up the matter with Mr. Gopal through its president Eric Ozario. Mr. Gopal told The Hindu over phone from Bangalore that he had approved a request made by Mr. Ozario during a meeting with hi m on Monday. “I have issued instructions to the society to go ahead with the printing of the textbooks, and the process is now in its final stages,” he said.

Mr. Ozario, while expressing gratitude to Mr. Gopal for the gesture, said that the academy was sending a person to Bangalore with a demand draft for the amount payable to the society. “The society will hand over the textbooks to us on Friday, and we expect them to reach here on Saturday,” he said. “These textbooks will be distributed free to students who choose to study Konkani as an optional language in schools.”

The academy has organised a half-day workshop for Konkani teachers here on Saturday. “It will be ideal if we get the textbooks in time for the workshop so that the teachers know exactly what they are dealing with,” Mr. Ozario said.

Last year, the academy had brought out a textbook which it used for teaching Konkani to 1,586 students in 56 schools in three coastal districts outside of the official academic setup.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Giant A380 arrives in India on maiden visit

A superjumbo Airbus A380 landed in New Delhi on Sunday in its first flight to the country in a trip designed to raise the profile of its only Indian customer.

The aircraft flew into the country to mark the second anniversary of private domestic carrier Kingfisher Airlines, the only Indian airline and among 16 airlines globally to have ordered the plane from Europe's Airbus Industrie.

"The plane is here on a route-proving and airport compatibility exercise," an Airbus spokesman said.

As part of a technical drill, the massive jet will fly select passengers around New Delhi before heading off for the western financial hub of Mumbai on Wednesday.

Kingfisher Airlines, owned by Indian distiller UB group, ordered five A380s in 2005 among 15 planes in a deal worth about three billion dollar.

It expects the first delivery of the aircraft in 2011 as it draws up plans for an international debut, using the A380 -- which has been much delayed in production -- on high-density routes such as to the United States.

Air travel in India has soared in the past five years as almost a dozen new airlines have been launched to serve demand in the fast-expanding economy.

Psychiatrist to retire

Shasta, ,U.S.A : Pai's departure leaves county with three positions to fill

At least temporarily, Shasta County will soon have only one full-time psychiatrist to serve its nearly 2,500 adult and 600 youth patients.

Dr. Aravind Pai, the county's chief psychiatrist, is retiring this week after nearly 29 years. His departure leaves the county all the more shorthanded as it tries to fill three vacant psychiatrists' positions.

The Department of Mental Health is in talks with doctors to fill two of the positions, and child psychiatrist Dr. Okechukwu Nwangburuka may return soon from a six-month leave of absence, director Mark Montgomery said Tuesday.

As it stands, senior psychiatrist Dr. Richard Zarriello is joined only by a 25-hour-a-week child psychiatrist doing telemedicine from Sacramento, and Pai will see elderly patients on an extra-help basis a couple of days a week, Montgomery said.

"It's difficult," Montgomery said, adding he hopes to fill two of the vacancies by mid-July. "It's a real challenge to try and recruit psychiatrists in the state."

Prisons and the state mental hospital have recently boosted the salaries of psychiatrists, making it more difficult for counties to attract doctors with competitive wages, he said.

The county's shortage comes as Shasta Community Health Center in April fired one of its two psychiatrists, Dr. Lynne Pappas, and referred many of her patients to the county.

Chief executive officer Dean Germano said in early May the clinic was trying to recruit more psychiatrists and planned to contract temporarily with a teen-adult psychiatrist to help with the workload. Neither he nor chief operating officer Robin Glasco returned calls Tuesday seeking comment.

The shortage of psychiatrists comes after the county last year eliminated seven of its 10 psychologists' positions to cut costs. Supervisors agreed in February to spend as much as $280,000 per fiscal year for the temporary services of psychiatrists through the Georgia-based Jackson & Coker Locumtenens LLC. That contract runs through June 2008.

The shortage concerns Marge Hall, Shasta County chapter president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

"I think it's tragic because now we're down to one psychiatrist when at one time we had eight," Hall said Tuesday. "It's pretty sad. It's like things are going backward instead of forward."

Pai retires as the county's highest paid employee, making $187,678 a year. Zarriello takes home $181,364 annually. Eventually, one of the four psychiatrists -- Zarriello, Nwangburuka or one of the two new doctors -- will be appointed as chief, Montgomery said.

College management denies facilities despite court orders teacher fighting for justice since 1991

Mangalore:A teacher is considered to be a catalyst in shaping future of students and is hence held in high regard. But here in Kudroli Narayana Guru College, where one of such teachers is struggling to get what legally belongs to her.

This is the tale of Shakunthala Kamath and her quest for justice since 1992 against the unjust college management which brushing aside the order of the Apex Court, still pays Kamath a salary of Rs 986 only.

Activist Narendra Nayak narrates, shakunthal joined the Narayana Guru College in 1989, right during the inception of the college as Political Science lecture. When the college begun in 1991, she was appointed with a monthly salary of Rs 1,000 Seeing the potential in Shakunthala she was soon appointed as probationary principal of the college in August 1991 and her salary was hiked to Rs 1,200. The same year when the Mangalore University Affiliation Committee members visited the college, they set a condition for renewal of affiliation.

The committee directed the college should have a permanent principal. Seeing that even after many months she was not paid university scale, Shakunthala told the Management that she wished to resign from the post of principal and wanted to continue as a professor.

On July 1992, G K Shenoy was appointed as Principal and Shakunthala was removed from the job. In 2000 Mangalore Education Appellate Tribunal gave judgement in favour of Shakunthala Kamath and ordered that she must be paid the university scale, the sum pending from 1992.

The management committee contested in the High Court and the Supreme Court, but the order of the Tribunal was upheld by both the courts and ordered that Shakunthala would continue to work as professor.

On April 2003, when she went to the College she was sent back saying there was no principal. Later principal Vasanth Kumar imposed conditions if she wanted to join the college again. Her salary was fixed at Rs 1,000 and was not provided with even basic facilities such as table and chair.

Shakunthala again went to the court of law against the decision and again the order was on her favour. It said that she must be appointed from 2005 November onwards.

But after appointment, the tale of insults persists and she was given a peon’s chair outside the office. Shakunthala went to the High Court where it ordered that she must be provided with a decent working enviornment and to provide her an office.

At present Shakunthala has urged Women’s Commission to take up the issue. As of now, she continues to fight her battle for justice.

Anniversary of Vishwa Saraswat Sammelan

Mangalore:The Vishwa Saraswat Sammelan Anniversary Celebrations Committee here will observe the eighth anniversary of Vishwa Saraswat Sammelan at C.V. Nayak Hall here on Saturday.
It was in 1999 that Mangalore city hosted the first Vishwa Saraswat Sammelan to highlight the rich socio-cultural and literary heritage of the Saraswat communities across the world.
Chief convener of the committee Basti Vaman Shenoy told press persons here on Thursday that swamijis of four dharma peetas of the community had attended the meet and the sammelan provided an opportunity for members of the community to discuss various issues and chalk out an action plan for the future.
Shenoy said the main intention of observing the anniversary of the sammelan was to reinforce the spirit of the event among members of the community and also honor senior members of the community.
Those who will be honored are: president of T M A Pai Foundation, Manipal, K K Pai; Supreme Court advocate S V Pikale; chairman of Mangalore Urban Development Authority B Madhav Bhandary; former Minister R V Deshpande; former chairman of The Shamrao Vithal Cooperative Bank Ltd., Mumbai, G V Masurkar; and chairman and managing director, Bank of Maharashtra, M D Mallya.
Shenoy said that Dharmadhikari of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala D. Veerendra Heggade would honor and felicitate these persons.
Artistes from the community will present a cultural programme.
More than 1,000 persons from the community from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts are expected to participate in the celebrations.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pais open four-star hotel in city

Mysore: Bangalore's Pai Vaibhav Hotels India Limited has opened Pai Vista, a four-star hotel opposite the Sub-Urban Bus Stand here, built over a vast area of 60,000 sq.ft. One acre of land has been reserved for parking.

The hotel was inaugurated by City Police Commissioner Praveen Sood yesterday.

Speaking to media persons on the occasion, Sujay Pai, Director of the Group said that the company chose Mysore as its first destination to expand their business outside Bangalore.

"Built at a cost of Rs. 15 crore, the hotel has 66 air-conditioned rooms, a board room, a conference hall, a banquet hall to accommodate over 600 people, a unqiue terrace pool, massage parlour, gym, health club and a theme restaurant called 'Gufha' which provides an ultimate experience of dining inside a cave. Added to this is 'opium' pub playing only rock music "explained Pai.

Chairman of the Group Jagannath Pai, Directors Ajay Pai, Shanta Pai, Congress leader R.V. Devaraj, Vinita Sood, former MUDA Chairman Sandesh Nagaraj and others were present. Visitors can go to to book rooms online.

Coca-Cola plans manufacturing unit in Punjab - Kini

Coca-Cola is planning to set up a manufacturing facility in Punjab, as the company launches its fruit brand Minute Maid, in the states of Punjab , Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The Company has chalked out plans to establish a manufacturing unit in Punjab to cater to the Northern market. Venkatesh Kini, vice president, marketing, Coca-Cola India told, "This fruit juice manufacturing would be the first in the Northern region. We have not yet decided the exact location where it would be set up but talks are on with the Punjab government for the approval of the project. We expect that the unit would catalyse an investment of about Rs 50-100 crore. Moreover, keeping in mind the growth potential of the Northern market, we might start manufacturing from multiple locations. At present we are importing the product from China, where the juice, was launched last year. But soon we would be manufacturing it in India." Minute Maid is bottled at Coca-Cola's bottling unit in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.

Adding further Kini said "The juice is imported from Brazil and the orange pulp from Florida. We recently launched the Pulpy Orange drink in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in February. After selling it successfully in the Southern market we are now targeting the Northern region.

In the last ten years, the company has invested over Rs 4,000 crore in India. With the planned investment of about Rs 1,000 crore lined up over the next few years for India, Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages plans to expand the bottling facilities also."

Minute Maid brand was first launched in 1945 and has a rich 62 year old history. Wheras the company has launched only the Pulpy Orange in the market, it is exploring the option of brining another100 odd products under the Minute Maid brand to India as well.

"As part of the same process, over the next two months, Minute Maid Pulpy Orange would be retailed across 20,000 outlets in these states. Since only 10% of the total juice market is packaged, there is a huge scope of tapping this market. And eventually the consumer will start shifting to the packaged form of fruit drinks," said Kini.

Academy plans programmes to popularise Konkani in schools

To popularise Konkani as a third or optional language from sixth standard, Konkani Sahitya Academy in association with Konkani Prachar Sanchalan will organise various programmes.
Addressing a press meet, Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy President Eric Ozario said that children studying Konkani will be given free Konkani textbooks, two note books and a pen. Apart from this, various competitions will be organised. The top 10 highest scorers in Konkani will be awarded prizes.
He said teachers teaching Konkani will be given training and an additional allowance of Rs 3,000.
Mr Ozario said it is expected to teach Konkani to 1,000 students in 100 schools of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts. Konkani textbooks are getting printed. Nearly 3,000 textbooks will be purchased and distributed free of cost.
‘Konkani Manyatha Divas’ will be celebrated on August 19, he added. It was on this day that the Konkani was included in the Eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution providing the status of the official language. A meeting will be organised at Konkani Academy chavadi on June 17 at 10 am to discuss on the same. Dr Edward Nazareth, Louis Pinto, Roy Castelino of Konkani Prachar Sanchalan Samithi were present.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

`Konkani Manyatha Divas' preparatory meet on June 17

The Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Mangalore, has decided to observe the "Konkani Manyatha Divas" to commemorate the inclusion of Konkani as an official language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution on August 19 instead of August 20 this year since the earlier date falls on a Sunday. The academy has been observing the event for the past two years.

A press release from Eric Ozario, president of the Academy here said that the Academy would involve all Konkani speaking communities and organisations in the celebration this year. A preparatory meeting to discuss the modalities of organising the event would be held on the academy premises at Lalbagh here on June 17 at 10 a.m., Mr. Ozario said and urged all concerned to attend the meet. .

Details can be had on Ph: 0824-2453167.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Shweta helps Indian Gym to an easy victory

The 18-year-old scored fourteen points .

Indian Gymkhana had an easy win yesterday thanks to their top scorer Shweta Kamath who made the St Anthony look ordinary on the court. Both the teams had descent players in their team but Indian Gymkhana's attacking play right from the start sealed off an easy victory for the Matunga team. The end scores were one sided with 35-18 in favour of Indian Gymkhana of the D B Prabhu Memorial Basketball Tournament held at Indian Gymkhana yesterday.
The Micheal Jordan fan has been a consistent performer for the Indian Gymkhana; the same place where she sharpens her basketball skills. Youngest of the two kids it was her aunt that inspired her to take up the sport. Starting basketball at the age of eight it was the mere excitement that caught her eye to take up the sport.
When asked about if she wants to pursue her career in the sport she said, "There is no career in Basketball, you can't depend on this sport for living. I just play the sport for fun." Being the top scorer of the match her school and college records has also been pretty impressive and have played Nationals at School and College level. Being the top scorer with 14 points, her best performance was in a Ghatkopar tournament when she scored 28 points. Talking about their chances in the tourney she says, "If we win in the semis our chances of winning the finals are very high."
RESULTS: Girls U-18: Indian Gymkhana 35 (Shweta Kamath-14pts, Nandini Balkrishnan-8pts) bt St.Anthony 18 (Esha.D-6pts) Holy cross 36 (Bhargavi-14 pts) bt N.B.A 1

Kazakhstan maintains unbeaten record, Shenoy grabs 24 points

Kazakhstan trounced India for a second time in a closely contested game, 74 to 63 points on the final day's fixture of their FIBA Middle Asia Zone Basketball qualifying championship 2007 concluded at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium courts, Colombo last evening.

Kazakhstan put up a fine display to remain unbeaten throughout this tri-nation tournament.

Both teams were well balanced with their physic but Kazakhstan cagers took the lead from the initial stage of the match. They completely dominated the proceedings with their high class shooting to take a 45-25 points lead at half-time.

However, Indians fought back exceptionally well with their shooter Riaz Uddin when he accumulated a total of six three pointers brilliantly to reduce the gap. Although they were always trailing scores read 68 to 54 points at one stage. But Indians could not level the scores at any stage.

Mid court player Ponomarev Anton who collected 15 points including 3 three pointers was the best scorer for winners while Issakov Yevgeniy and Yargaliyev Rustam 12 points each and Yevstigneyev Mikhail (13) also found the basket well for the winners.

Centre player Jayachandra Shenoy Subash collected a massive 24 points while Riaz Uddin with 20 and Shiv Kumar with 11 points were the chief scorers for the Indian team.

This international tournament was organised by the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation under the approval of FIBA Middle Asia, the regional governing body after a lapse sixteen years.

The two visiting teams qualified to take part in the forthcoming FIBA Asia basketball championships which is scheduled to be held in Japan.

The prize distribution ceremony was held after the conclusion of the final with Minster Sports and Recreation Gamini Lokuge as chief guest.

Kingfisher buys 26% in Deccan Aviation

King of good times Vijay Mallaya has acquired 26 per cent stake in India's first low cost carrier Deccan Aviation at Rs 550 crore.

UB Group has paid an advance of Rs 150 crore and the balance will be paid in next four months. The Group has offered to pay at Rs 155 per share for a total of 3.5 million shares.

"The 26 per cent stake has been offered through allotment of new preference shares. None of the promoters has sold their shares," said Captain GR Gopinath, MD, Air Deccan.

The Deccan Aviation Board has approved Air Deccan to allow UB Group to invest 26 per cent in the low cost airline.

"In the interest of the long-term view, the synergy with Kingfisher will make enormous benefit for the company," said Captain Gopinath.

"We will continue to be the low cost business model. We will continue to operate as an independent entity," added Gopinath.

Captain Gopinath would continue to remain as the Executive Chairman of the Board, while Vijay Mallya would be the Vice Chairman.

Deccan Aviation is one of India's largest private sector charter aviation company with a network of bases spanning seven locations across the country.

With this acquisition, UB group will become the largest shareholder in Deccan Aviation. A formal announcement is expected later in the day.

"This will have a significant impact in the industry structure. The shareholders will stand to gain when Kingfisher gets listed on the bourses," said Kapil Kaul, CEO-India & Middle-East, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

"It is a win-win situation for both, be it market share, landing rights. It is good for the investors as well," added Amitabh Chakraborty, President, Religare Securities.

The markets took note of the development and the stock at Rs 146 levels zoomed 12 per cent in noon deals on Thursday.

Nine from Udupi selected for IIT

As many as nine students trained in the first batch of IIT-JEE training programme at the MICE have been selected to IIT-JEE 2007.

Dileep R Kini of MGM PU College, with all India rank 42, Abhiman Acharya of MGM PU College (708thrank), Pavan Kumar Holla of Little Rock Indian School (789th rank), Chethan Kumar of Poorna Prajna PU College (1461st rank), Rakesh Amin of Manipal Junior College (4732nd rank), Srikanth D M of Poorna Prajna PU College (4902nd rank), Christol Moses of SMS Junior College of Brahmavar (5738th rank), Gaurav Shenoy of Poorna Prajna PU College (6089th rank) and Karthik Hebbar of Little Rock Indian School (extended list) are eligible to join the Indian Institute of Science and Research.

Announcing this at a press meet, IIT-JEE training programme co-ordinator Severine Rosario said that MICE had trained 19 students in its first batch of IIT-JEE training. The training was for 2 years.

IIT-JEE is a science-oriented entrance exam, testing candidate's knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry.

Written test weeds out Dyer speller in D.C.

Keertan Kini may be a master speller. But one very big, very rare word was too much for the Schererville kid to handle during the preliminary round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

The fatal word: bewusstseinslage. It's so obscure it's not even available at

Bewusstseinslage was on the 25-word written test each of the 286 contestants had to take during the preliminary round. Only 107 kids made the cut to the quarterfinals.

The 13-year-old seventh-grader at Dyer's Kahler Middle School said he was disappointed that he didn't advance. But then he considered just how hard the test was.

"To be one of the top 286, that's a pretty big accomplishment," Kini said.

And he's still eligible to participate next year and plans to -- although he'll be taking a much needed spelling-study break in the summer.

Kini wasn't the only 13-year-old seventh-grader from Northwest Indiana to compete in the bee. Michigan City's Erik Allten Troske, a student at Barker Middle School, also competed and was eliminated in the preliminary round.

Troske said bewusstseinslage also gave him trouble. He missed the cut to the next round by just one point but said he still enjoyed the experience.

"I could tell everyone's pretty nervous, but if you get the word right you feel good about it," he said of the event.

Troske's had a few busy weeks in Washington. Not only did he participate in the National Spelling Bee, but he also represented Indiana in the National Geographic Bee on May 23.

Troske's mother, Joy Troske, said her son was already planning on coming back next year.

Wednesday, his father, Paul Troske, said he was very proud of his son, even though he didn't advance in the spelling bee.

"The main thing is he had a good time and met some new people," Paul Troske said.

National Spelling Bee: Cahoots and mastodon and bewusstseinslage, oh my!

WASHINGTON – After listening to his fellow contestants spell words like “cahoots” and “mastodon” during the preliminary round of the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee, Keertan Kini stepped up to the microphone.

The Kahler Middle School seventh-grader confidently – and correctly – spelled “facilitate,” but the words were about to get much tougher.

Following the contest’s oral portion, Kini and 285 other spellers sat down to a 25-item multiple choice spelling test.

Written exam words included “syssarcosis” (the joining of bones by means of muscle) and “bewusstseinslage” (a state of consciousness).

Though Kini earned a three-point bonus for spelling correctly during the oral round, he did not earn the 18 points necessary on the exam to advance. Only 107 participants moved on to the Wednesday afternoon quarterfinals.

The competition, which has gained widespread attention thanks to ESPN coverage and movies like “Akeelah and the Bee,” puts more on the line than just intellectual bragging rights. The champion wins $35,000 in cash, a $5,000 college scholarship, a $2,500 savings bond and an Encyclopedia Britannica collection.

Eighty-two kids have taken home national spelling bee championship titles since 1925 – two have been from Indiana. The word “autochthonous” (indigenous) cinched the 2004 title for David Scott Pilarski Tidmarsh of South Bend. Another South Bend resident, Betty Robinson, won in 1928.

Thursday’s semifinals will be broadcast from 9 a.m. to noon on ESPN, and the finals will be shown at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on ABC.

Academy looks forward to Konkani teaching in over 100 schools

Come Monday, and Mangalore-based Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy will receive 3,000 Konkani textbooks published by the Directorate of State Education Research and Training. These textbooks will be used to launch the official teaching of Konkani as the third optional language for students of sixth standard.

President of the academy Eric Ozario told presspersons here on Friday that he was eagerly looking forward to Konkani being taught in a formal set-up in schools across the State in general and coastal parts of Karnataka in particular. The language was taught in 55 schools in this part of the State during the last academic year under an initiative of the academy in a non-formal set up.

Mr. Ozario said that about 3,000 students in 100 schools were expected to learn the language. Mr. Ozario appealed to all sections of Konkani speaking communities to make best use of this opportunity and ensure that teaching Konkani in schools became a self-sustaining movement.


In an effort to help this, the academy has purchased the 3,000 textbooks and will supply them free of cost to schools introducing the language. In addition, the academy will also provide two note books and a pen to students taking up the language, organise competitions for them and also honour one student from each school who scores the highest marks in Konkani in the annual examination. The academy will also provide training to teachers to teach the language, give them an annual "Konkani allowance" of Rs. 3,000.

Mr. Ozario said the language would be taught in Kannada script.

Udupi lad shines with rank after rank

It's raining ranks for Dileep R Kini. This brilliant teenager from Udupi has bagged 42nd rank in IIT-JEE-2007, 4th rank in the State in AIEEE, again 4th in Manipal University entrance test and 108th in CET.

A student of MGM PU College in Udupi, Dileep has proved his academic talent much before. He has qualified in Indian National Chemistry Olympiad-2007. He attended the orientation camp at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in Mumbai and is entitled to HBSCE (TIFR) National Merit Award for Olympiad.

Dileep has qualified in the Karnataka Regional Mathematical Olympiad in 2006 and 2007 securing 3rd place. He is also a recipient of the prestigious "Kishore Vygyanik Protsahan Yojana" (KVPY) fellowship.

Apart from academics, Dileep in interested in music, European soccer and F1 racing. He completed his schooling at Little Rock Indian School in Brahmavar. He is the son of Bailur Raghunath Kini, a biomedical engineer, and Prof Kusuma Kini, HoD of Physics in MGM college.

Sahitya Academy Awards- Konkani

Sahitya Academy Awards- Konkani

1977 Ravindra Kelekar Himalayant (Travelogue)
1978 D.K. Sukhthankar Manni Punav (Humorous essays)
1979 R.V. Pandit Dorya Gazota (Poetry)
1980 Manohar Sardessai Pissolim (Poetry)
1981 B.B. Borkar (Bakibab) Sasaya (Poetry)
1982 Laxmanrao Sardessai Khabari (Essays)
1983 Damodar Mauzo Karmelin (Novel)
1984 Pundalik Narayan Naik Chowrang (One-act play)
1985 J.B. Moraes Bhitorlem Tufan (Poetry)
1986 Prakash Damodar Padgaonkar Hanv Monis Asvat-Thamo (Poetry)
1987 Arvind N. Mambro Panaji Atam Mhatari Zalea (Short stories)
1988 Chandrakant Keni Vhonkolpavnni (Short stories)
1989 C.F.D`Costa Sonshyache Kan (Poetry)
1990 Ramesh B. Veluskar Savul Gori (Poetry)
1991 Meena Kakodkar Sapan Fulam (Short stories)
1992 Nagesh Karmali Vanshakulachen Denen (Poetry)
1993 Mahabaleshwar Sail Tarangan (Short stories)
1994 Gokuldas Prabhu Antarayami (Short stories)
1995 Dilip Borkar Gomanchal Te Himachal (Travelogue)
1996 Sankar Ramani Nilem Nilem Braham (Poetry)
1997 Sheela Kolambkar Bhuim Chafim (Pen-portraits)
1998 John Baptist Sequeira Ashim Asim Lharan (Poetry)
1999 Saratchandra Shenoi Antarnad (Poetry)
2000 Pandurang Rajaram Shenay Bhangui Champhel`li Sanj (Poetry)
2001 Madhav Borcar Yaman (Poetry)
2002 Hema Naik Bhogadandd (Novel)
2003 (Late) Shashank Sitaram Parigh (Short Stories)