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Monday, March 31, 2008

Norman crash claims Texas woman

NORMAN, Okla. (U.S.A) - A Texas woman critically injured in a crossover accident on Interstate 35 has died.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 25-year-old Anjali Pai of Plano, Texas, died about 2 a.m. Sunday at Norman Regional Hospital from injuries sustained in a car accident Saturday night.

The patrol says Pai was driving southbound in I-35 about 9:50 p.m. Saturday when her car crossed through the center dividing cable and slammed into a northbound vehicle driven by Angela Gilmore of Wayne.

Gilmore was listed in serious condition at a Norman hospital, while her passenger Charles Cornett of Purcell was listed in stable condition.

The patrol says all of those involved in the crash were wearing their seat belts.

Vijaya Bank to scout for talent on campuses

Vijaya Bank, a public sector undertaking, has decided to continue scouting for talent on college campuses across the country.

The bank recruited 893 candidates, a majority of them at the entry level, as management trainees during 2007-08 and intends to take around 750 to 1,000 candidates during 2008-09.

Addressing presspersons after inaugurating the bank’s 1,047th branch at Bajpe near here on Saturday, chairman and managing director of the bank Prakash P Mallya said that campus selection was aimed at infusing young blood into thebanking system. “We are focusing on tier-two business schools and professional colleges in India,” he said.

The remuneration of Rs 3 lakh a year to recruits at entry level being offered by the bank was commensurate with the industry standards, he said.

Udupi Staff Correspondent reports: Prakash P Mallya, chairman and managing director of Vijaya Bank, inaugurated the bank’s 1048th branch at Manipal on Saturday. He said the net and gross non-performing assets of the bank had come down significantly.

The bank was providing online banking facility. All the branches of the bank would be brought under Core Banking Solution (CBS) by 2009, he added.

Chairman of Manipal Media Network Ltd T Satish U Pai, former chairman of Syndicate Bank K K Pai, chairman and managing director of Kurl-on T Sudhakar Pai and the deputy general manager of Udupi Region of Vijaya Bank M Shridhar Shetty were present.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mallya plans India-China flight

While Naresh Goyal-owned Jet Airways is likely to launch the daily Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco flights in first week of May, Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher is exploring the option of having similar flights next year.

Kingfisher executive V-P Hitesh Patel said: "We are getting 10 long-haul planes this year, which will be used for non-stop Bangalore-New York and San Francisco routes and flights to Europe. Next year we will have additional capacity as more planes join the fleet. We are exploring sectors for them and flights in and out of China are being studied."

Kingfisher is getting five Airbus A-330 and an equal number of A-340s this year.

Currently, Air India is the only Indian carrier flying to China while three Chinese carriers - China Eastern, China Southern and China Air - ply on this route. Ethiopian Airlines also has a Delhi-Beijing flight. With its launch in May, Jet will become the first airline to offer a direct non-stop daily China-India flight.

As Goyal and Mallya set up their China plans, the state-owned Air India has also reacted.

For the past four years, it was offering a one-stop flight to China, which is now being changed to a direct one. "We have four times a week Mumbai-Delhi-Bangkok-Shanghai flight from which Bangkok is being omitted from next week. While frequency will not change as of now, we will offer direct flights between India and China. AI will look at connecting more cities like Beijing once the Boeing 787 Dreamliner starts joining the fleet," said Jitendra Bhargava, ED at AI.

Meanwhile, Goyal is learnt to be eying more flights out of China to Canada and US, apart from connecting Indian cities to Beijing. It has approached the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for relaxing pilots' flying time restrictions. Sources said, the airline is studying ultra long-haul flights from China to distant US cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

Last week, India and China had ended months of stalemate when aviation authorities of both the countries allowed airlines of both sides to a maximum of two beyond points in three regions each.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

M A Baby to lay stone for Govinda Pai Memorial

KASARGOD: Cultural Affairs Minister M A Baby will lay the foundation stone of the Rs one crore Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Memorial Mandir in Manjeswaram on March 23.

Karnataka former Minister Veerappa Moily will inaugurate the programmes in connection with the 125th birth anniversary of the poet Govinda Pai.

Kannada Development Authority chairman Dr Siddalingaiah will present the Govinda Pai Award to Kannada writer Dr N Basava Raju on the occasion.

I.M Vital Murthy, Cultural Affairs Secretary of the Karnataka Government will release a souvenir in connection with the event. P Karunakaran MP will be the chief guest on the occasion. Kannada writer Dr Chandrasekhara Kambar will inaugurate the literary conference in the afternoon. C K Chowta, PVK Panayal and Venkitaraja Puninchithaya will address the function.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Winners of Safe Place Week poster contest named

Left : Poster by Jessica Shenoi

Tulsa, Arizona, U.S.A : This week marks the 25th anniversary of National Safe Place Week, which Youth Services of Tulsa is celebrating with its annual Safe Place poster contest.

The two grand-prize winners are Jessica Shenoi, a seventh-grader at the School of St. Mary's and Veronika Napelenok, a seventh-grader at Whitney Middle School.

The winning poster entries will be displayed on area billboards and city buses.

QuikTrip stores, the YST shelter, fire stations throughout Tulsa County and Tulsa Transit buses are designated Safe Place sites for youths in crisis.

Any young person in a crisis situation can walk in and ask an employee for help. The YST shelter and a wide range of Youth Services programs are available to help those in need.

Safe Place is in more than 700 communities in 37 states and already has helped more than of 96,640 young people in crisis. In Tulsa County, the Safe Place program was started in 1991 by Youth Services of Tulsa, and has since served more than 1,000 young people.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Frequent eye check-up ‘must’ for diabetics

Dr Mohanan presents a memento to Dr Pai

THE necessity of diabetics having frequent eye check-ups was highlighted at a session jointly hosted by the Indian Medical Association (Qatar chapter) and Indian Doctors Club recently at Ramada Hotel.
At a presentation, Dr Anant Pai, a retina specialist at Hamad Hospital, said diabetics should take utmost care in protecting their eyes as diabetes and hypertension had been found to be most common ailment for eye diseases these days.
Calling upon patients to have regular check-ups, Dr Pai said vision related complications could be prevented to a certain limit through frequent eye check-ups. "Such patients should have at least one check-up a year and frequent check-ups would ensure that their eyes had not been affected by any major problems," said Dr Pai.
He said laser and surgical treatments at Hamad Hospital were of the highest order. "Hamad Hospital has a fully equipped eye care centre, dealing in anterior and posterior segment diseases of the eyeball," he stressed.
Dr Joel Jacob Mathew, general secretary, the IMA, welcomed the gathering and Dr Krishna Kumar proposed a vote of thanks.
Ranbaxy was the official sponsor.
At another seminar, held at Millennium Hotel, Dr Thomas Cherukara, a consultant gastro-enterologist from Sharjah, said more than 60% of the population suffered from gastro-eosophageal reflux diseases (GERD) and at times it overlapped with functional or psychosomatic disorders.
Dr Cherukara said functional heart burn is an episodic and retrosternal burning sensation in chest in the absence of any pathological disease.
He observed that a number of patients with GERD, approached physicians these days with cough, throat pain, hoarse voice and asthma. Treatment modalities for this, said Dr Cherukara, included lifestyle modification, dietary and postural changes, weight reduction and cessation of smoking and alcohol.
Dr Jacob welcomed the audience and Dr K P Najeeb delivered a vote of thanks.
Dr Reddy's Lab sponsored the event, with the launch of their products in the country.

Mallya applies for inflight mobile

Vijay Mallaya-owned Kingfisher Airline has sought clearance from government for providing inflight mobile service on its international flights. According to airline's executive vice president Hitesh Patel, the ministry of communication's nod has been sought as the company wants to provide this service from day one of its international services that start in August.

"Our wide-bodied aircraft are coming installed with the required infrastructure for inflight mobile service. Airbus is doing this job and we are seeking regulatory approvals from agencies like the department of telecommunication," he said.

Of the two carriers that currently fly abroad, Jet Airways is yet to decide on providing this service. Air India is studying technological options and plans to install this facility. Leading airlines across the world are in the process of offering inflight mobiles but weigh it against the option of discomfort to other passengers and regulatory issues. People have to pay premium international roaming charges for using this facility.

According to sources, India is not averse to its carriers providing such service, subject to safety compliance. Kingfisher has made a presentation to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which wants a complete report on the technology that will be used and its effect on aircraft navigation systems.

"The request for clearance is with the department of telecom. One issue is that Indian carriers should use the BSNL server for this facility so that the country's security agencies are able to monitor the calls if need be. From BSNL, the calls will be routed to other networks. The airline's service provider is looking at the cost implications of this routing," said sources.

The DGCA wants to see what steps have been taken to ensure that wattage emissions from mobiles on board aircraft are kept low enough to not interfere with navigation systems. Modern technology allows this emission to be limited to one watt so that even if 20 to 30 phones are being used for calls or SMS texts, there is no interference with the aircraft.

On Thursday, Emirates claimed to become the first airline to commercially launch an inflight mobile telephone service. "The first authorised mobile phone call from a commercial flight was made on Thursday at 30,000 feet enroute from Dubai to Casablanca an Emirates Airbus A 340-300 aircraft," it said. "The service will only be activated when aircraft is at cruising altitude and the cabin crew will have full control over the system, including the ability to prevent voice calls at certain times such as during night flights."

Home Garden Awards announced

The Botanical Society of Goa organised its annual All Goa Home Garden Competition recently wherein a panel of judges led by the immediate past president, Dr Heman Yeshwant Karapurkar and with Dr K G Hiremath, Ms Rena Menezes e Fernandes, Mr Anand Jadhav and the current president of BSG visited the houses from Sanquelim to Chandor and judged the gardens for aesthetics, health of plants, composting of garden and kitchen waste, recycling of water and maintenance of roadside trees near the residence.

In the competition, the first place went to Dr Jyoti Mallaya, Ponda, the second place was shared by Ms Amita Audhut Nayak Salatry, Porvorim and Mr Cedric D’ Souza, Altinho, Mapusa, and the third place went to Ms Lira Rodrigues from Davorlim, Margao.

Also, the annual general meeting and the elections to the new executive committee of the BSG will be held on March 30 at 10 a.m in the WWF office, Nehru Science Centre campus, Miramar. The prizes and certificates of the All Goa Home Garden Competition 2008 will be awarded at 11 a.m at the AGM.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kamath wins Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award

ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO K V Kamath has been chosen as the winner of 'The Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award 2007' for the Asia Pacific and Gulf Region.

The award, instituted by 'The Asian Banker', a publication and research services company in the financial services sector, recognises Kamath as the top banker in the region, a release here stated.

The honour is the highest award available for achievement in the banking industry in the Asia Pacific and Gulf Region, it added.

The award ceremony, held in Hanoi, Vietnam, coincided with 'The Asian Banker Summit', an annual rendezvous of financial services professionals.

"The benchmark for excellence in leadership in Asia Pacific and the Gulf Region has become incredibly high, as the accomplishments of this year's Achievement Award winners demonstrate," The Asian Banker President Emmanuel Daniel said.

An international jury chaired by Dubai International Financial Centre Authority Board Chairman David Eldon selected the winners through a rigorous process.

The previous winners of the Asia Pacific award have been Jiang Jianqing, Chairman ICBC China, John McFarlane, CEO ANZ Australia and Guo Shuqing of China Construction Bank.

IT has revolutionised banking operations

Mangalore: The diverse applications of information technology (IT) in banking sector � from the days of local area networks (LANs) to the current era of Internet banking, from the days of the use of Advanced Ledger Posting Machines (ALPMs) to the present branchless banking models � and the future outlook for IT in banking were discussed in detail at a Business Line Club lecture on �IT: Evolution, Usage and Future� at Mangalore University on Monday.

Making a presentation on the topic, B.R. Bhat, General Manager (IT), Corporation Bank, told MBA students of the university that IT had helped in handling larger volume of business, and it also ensured improved productivity levels and reduced transaction costs.

As innovations galore in IT sector, there will be no end to dreams and new ideas. However, there is a need to keep abreast with the changes to succeed, he said.

Stating that IT had helped banks to make foray into hitherto un-banked segments, he said branchless banking model uses business correspondents as agents with the use of RFID and smart card-based authentication systems.

While extensive networks of ATMs are offering various banking services to the customers, biometric ATMs in rural areas are now catering to the needs of illiterate customers.

Highlighting the benefits of mobile banking, Bhat said SMS banking alerts are emerging as an ideal option to reach the large customer base using mobile phones. At the end of January, the country had around 24.24 crore mobile subscribers.

Touching upon the other IT initiatives in banking, he said e-mail facility has gone beyond closed user group to exchange information with the customers and other stakeholders.

On the future of IT in banking sector, Bhat felt that device-based operations will replace computers and service-based applications will replace the browser-based ones in the days to come.

To impart a personal banking feeling, there may be focus on video banking and video servicing.

While data management will be the focus instead of data, collaborative commerce will replace mass marketing. Innovative authentication technologies may emerge in the days to come, he said.

Bhat felt that future for the country is bright, as today�s young generation is sharp and fast in grasping and adapting to the technology based offerings. In addition to this, 70 per cent of the population in the country is less than 36 years of age unlike countries like China with a large component of aged population.

G.R. Venkatesh, Deputy Regional General Manager of The Hindu, Mangalore, proposed a vote of thanks and explained the activities of Business Line Club on the occasion.

HAL bags $150-million Airbus order

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has taken another step towards attaining its target of becoming a $4-billion company by the end of the current five-year plan: it has just bagged an order from aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie for the supply of 2,000 doors for its single aisle family of aircraft.

The order, worth around $150 million, envisages supply of 2,000 ship sets of forward passenger doors for the A-318, A-319, A-320 and A-321 aircraft of the Airbus family.

Disclosing this to The Hindu, Managing Director of the Bangalore Complex Ashok Nayak said that this was in addition to the earlier orders that the company had received from the European aviation major.

The HAL, which has already delivered around 1,000 ship sets for this family of Airbus aircraft, and is executing an order for another 500, might, according to Mr. Nayak, eventually become Airbus’ single vendor as far as these doors were concerned.

Currently, the Airbus also sources these doors from a company in France.

According to Mr. Nayak, the HAL will start executing the fresh order from 2009. The contract is expected to run for around five years. More importantly, the HAL is likely to supply these doors as long as this family of aircraft are rolled off the Airbus manufacturing line.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dreams can be pathway to success, says Kamat

Noted environmentalist, Dr Nandkumar Kamat, said that children should always dream to achieve success in a field to acquire it in reality.

"Think deeply about your present activities and discover yourself and then success will surely be in your hands," he said.

Dr Nandkumar Kamat was speaking as chief guest at the prize distribution function for the winners of the cultural talent search competition organized by the Directorate of Art and Culture, at the Institute Menezes Braganza Hall, Panaji.

The function was presided over by Mr Shridhar Kamat Bambolkar, the vice chairman of Goa State Cultural Development Committee.

Speaking further he said that the parents and teachers should encourage and boost the inborn artistic qualities in their children.

Mr Bambolkar said that in future the government will make an effort to encourage drawing and other art fields also. He mentioned that the government has taken steps to award scholarships to the winners of the state level competition.

Mr Prasad Lolayekar, the director of Art and Culture, and Mr Ashok Parab, the assistant director were also present on the occasion.

Nearly 500 students had participated in this competition and 279 participants achieved success in the events of Indian classical, light music, western solo, harmonium, tabla, violin, guitar, keyboards, bharatnatyam, kathak and monologue at taluka and state level.

The programme was compered by Mr Pardip Naik, Mr Kirti Umarye welcomed the guest and the vote of thanks was proposed by Ms Vibha Dhume.

Mallaya throws a party for IPL team

With Vijay Mallya set to announce his high-profile IPL team at a grand show, the event was bound to be something memorable. And memorable it was. Though the host flew in three hours late, when he arrived, the grand show, complete with lasers, a burst of orange-and-red confetti and the grand lineup more than made up for it. (though some guests missed the presence of some of the foreign players like Chanderpaul, Kallis and Bracken).

For the early birds, there was lots of chilled bubbly and premium whisky on offer. Dav Whatmore, very low-profile these days, was spotted chatting with friends before leaving early to catch up with some shut-eye. Brijesh Patel, Syed Kirmani and other former cricketers were also seen enjoying the evening. Saad bin Jung, with wife Sangeeta (glam in all-black), brought along British journalist guests Keith and Riva Elliot.

Martand and Rina Mahindra, Ashok and Madhuri Genomal, Shahid Mehmood, Ramesh Ramanathan, Pritham Basappa, Anuja Sharma (husband Charu was busy officiating behind the scenes) were among those seen that evening. Among the glam brigade were Meeru Pai (also stunning in a black gaara saree) and Leena Singh (also in black).

Seen making a grand entrance was Srikantadatta Wadiyar. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and John Shaw, Nilima Rovshen, Vinita Bali, Venkat Vardhan and Ritu Mallya added their presence to the gathering.

Then, to the sounds of Eye of the Tiger, appeared Vijay Mallya, dressed in designer black along with his super-glam team led by Rahul Dravid. Introductions were made, witticisms exchanged and as the crowds of guests and photographers gathered around the stars of the evening, other guests drifted off to eat dinner and to check out what Clement had lined up for them, musically speaking.

Sanjay Gupta to direct Vijay Mallya's IPL film

In a landmark move ace industrialist Vijay Mallya, Rediff, & popular producer and director Sanjay Gupta have joined hands to create the grand Royal Challengers AD film.

It may be known that Vijay Mallaya's is one of the seven Franchisees of the Indian Premier League besides Shah Rukh Khan, Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta, Reliance Industries Limited, PK Iyer, Managing Director of Deccan Chronicle, Fraser Catellino, CEO, Emerging Media, Lachlan Murdoch. The auction regarding the same was held a few weeks ago in Kolkatta.

Lalit Kumar Modi, Chairman and Commissioner of IPL described as an historic event for Indian and world cricket.

The Franchisees made a bid for ace cricketers from all over the world to be a part of their team. The bidding earned the cricketers an astronomical amount making it a milestone event in Indian history.

The aim of the ad to bring about an awareness of Mallay's Indian Premier League Team.

The close door meeting between Mallya and Gupta that was initially expected to be of 30 minutes lasted for over six hours where the two honchos had meticulous discussions for the ad film.

While Sanjay Gupta will direct, Allan Amin, who shot to fame with DHOOM has been officially appointed as the action director for the ad.

Known for his expensive tastes Vijay Mallya is leaving no stone unturned to make the ad as unique as possible. The businessman has allotted a whopping amount as a budget for the ad. Sanjay Gupta is known to be the most technically accomplished director in Bollywood.

The ad features Rahul Dravid, Zahir Khan and blue eyed boy, Virat Kohli and has some of the most eye-popping visuals.

Virat Kohli, who shot for an ad for the first time said, "It's been exciting to do this shoot (with Sanjay Gupta) for royal challengers & hope it comes out really well.''

Rahul Dravid said, 'It's been hectic... I really enjoyed the pace at which you guys work... Had fun shooting."

Zahir Khan said, "Nice to get to know the players... Friendly vibe with the production team."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Servant nabbed for Rs 4 lakh theft

MUMBAI: A 20-year-old house-help, who had stolen Rs 4 lakh in cash from his employer's residence at Kandivli (E), was nabbed by the police in less than a month. The accused, Harish alias Halla Mina, was traced to his hometown in Rajasthan where he had been holed up. Officials said he intended to spend the stolen amount in buying property in his hometown.

Mina worked at the residence of senior citizen Jagdish Kamath at Thakur Village. Kamath (63) is a businessman and lives with his wife and grown-up children. Mina had been employed by the family since 2006 and they trusted him. Apart from Mina, there were also other house-helps who worked for the Kamaths.

On February 14, Kamath had fetched a sum of Rs 4 lakh for a wedding in the household. He had locked away the money into a cupboard. But on February 20, Kamath realised that the cash had gone missing. He approached the Samata Nagar police who started making inquiries.

"We started questioning all the house-helps employed by Kamath. By then, Mina had fled to his hometown in Rajasthan. We then formed a special team and combed a few areas in Rajasthan. Mina was nabbed from Udaipur and Rs 3 lakh from the stolen booty was recovered from him,'' inspector Vinayak Mule said.

Mina was produced before a local court which has remanded him in police custody till March 15.

IPL's Bangalore Royal Challengers unveils logo

BANGALORE: Vijay Mallaya's UB group which won the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise for Bangalore unveiled its team logo late last night. The team has been named Royal Challengers (RC).

As has been reported earlier, the team has Charu Sharma as the CEO and Rahul Dravid as the team captain. Martin Crowe, whose role is to focus on the strategic aspects, is the Chief Cricket Officer. Venkatesh Prasad is the team coach and Evans Speachley of South Africa is the physiotherapist with Muthu Kumar of Bangalore as assistant.

The RC team has tied up with Reebok for the sporting uniforms and Louis Phillippe for formals. Monoviraj Khosla has designed the special uniforms for the cheer leaders.

During the second round of the IPL player auction, RC netted Pakistan batsman Misbah-ul-Haq and India under-19 captain Virat Kohli. New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor, Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzaq and India U-19 wicket-keeper batsman Shreevats Goswami were the others who came to Bangalore.

The team has a blend of batsmen, bowlers and all rounders. The batsmen are: Rahul Dravid; Shivnarine Chanderpaul; Misbah-ul-Haq; Ross Taylor, Wasim Jaffer; Virat Kohli; Jadessh Arunkumar; Bharat Chipli. The bowlers are: Dale Steyn (reportedly the fastest bowler in world cricket at present); Zaheer Khan; Nathan Bracken; Balachandra Akhil; Anil Kumble; Sunil Joshi; Abdur Razzak; KP Appanna; Praveen Kumar. The all rounders are: Jacques Kallis; Cameron White; Vinay Kumar. The wicketkeepers are Mark Boucher; Shreevats Goswami; Devraj Patil.

An official statement indicates that the UB group is in talks with several partners in the online space to tap young fans, create virtual clubs, explore mobile space and leverage new media potential for marketing the team. Sale of merchandise and on ground activations will be used to reach out to the Royal Challengers fan flowing.

The rising value of gold leads to a seller's rush

Texas, U.S.A :As the economy falters, gold glistens.

Fears of a recession, the credit and housing crunch, slumping retail sales, higher energy prices and unemployment have propelled the precious metal's value to new heights.

Gold reached a milestone Thursday, hitting an all-time high of $1,001.50 an ounce in trading before closing at $993.80.

With those prices, it shouldn't be a surprise that across the Houston area, stores that deal in gold are doing brisk business with customers wanting to sell their jewelry and those looking to buy.

At U.S. Coins & Jewelry in the Spring Branch area, a man walked in Thursday with a few pieces of jewelry he had lying around the house.

" 'The only reason I came in is that I saw that story on the news,' "' store sales manager Nick Koutsodontis said the man told him.

At the Houston Gold Exchange, owner Brad Schweiss said there were "housewives cleaning out their jewelry box, getting rid of some things they haven't worn in the last 20 years. A lot of people are selling off their yellow gold because it's no longer in style," he said. "We're getting a little bit of everything.

"The awareness level is definitely increased, and it has sparked additional activity," Schweiss said.

The last time he saw a rush this big was in the early 1980s, when gold hit $850 an ounce.

Other Houston-area residents are buying gold, viewing it as a safe investment.

Richard Plance, the manager of a wellhead company in Humble, has been purchasing U.S. gold coins and bullion from U.S. Coins & Jewelry for years.

"I'd like to buy more if I could," Plance said. "My 401(k) has nose-dived."

He had been waiting for gold to hit the "magic number" of $1,000.

"I expect it to go up even higher," Plance said, "just like oil did when it hit $100 — especially the way the economy is right now."

Too expensive for some

Though gold's increasingly steep price is prompting some people to either cash in or stock up, others in the market for gold jewelry are being priced out.

On Hillcroft, where jewelers have catered to the city's South Asian community for years, shop owners say customers are being hit with sticker shock.

Gold sales have slowed about 50 percent since February at Kirti Jewelers, owner Suresh Shenoy said. He orders new inventory monthly instead of weekly now, and he's been encouraging shoppers to buy more diamonds.

"People are just waiting to see if it will go down," Shenoy said. "Now people are just buying it when it's absolutely necessary for a wedding or something."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Atom-based notebooks to cost between $250 and $300

More than 25 low-cost notebooks based on Intel's upcoming Atom processor are in the works, including models from multinational PC vendors, according to the chip maker's top executive in Asia.

These Atom-based notebooks will be available in the middle of this year for about $250 to $300, said Navin Shenoy, general manager of Intel's Asia-Pacific operations, in an interview. "We'll see some slightly richer configurations that get up to $350," he said

The Atom processor, formerly called Diamondville, is a small, low-power chip designed for inexpensive notebooks, a class of device that Intel and others refer to as "netbooks." These machines are intended for first-time computer buyers in emerging markets as well as users in mature markets willing to trade performance for a low-cost notebook that complements their existing computers -- a market that until now has been largely dominated by Asustek's Eee PC.

Atom will offer lower performance than Intel's Core 2 Duo processors for mainstream notebooks, but the Atom's performance will be good enough for browsing the Internet and sending e-mails, Shenoy said.

Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner was more specific about the processor's capabilities last month, telling reporters that a related chip, called Silverthorne, offers performance similar to Banias, the first version of Intel's Pentium M processor released in 2003. Silverthorne is designed for small, handheld computers that Intel calls Mobile Internet Devices, and will be available as part of the Centrino Atom chip package set for release during the second quarter.

The introduction of the Atom and the rush of vendors to build the chip into low-cost notebooks could mark the emergence of a new type of device, expanding on the early success of Asustek's Eee PC. But not everyone is convinced there is much demand for low-cost notebooks, either as a secondary computing device or a substitute for a more capable, and more expensive, notebook PC.

Bryan Ma, the director of personal systems research at IDC Asia-Pacific, is a self-described skeptic and doubts that low-cost notebooks will have more than a limited impact on the market for portable computing devices so long as performance and features are traded for lower prices. "I was never convinced that price was the best way to sell these products," he said.

But the marketing clout of Intel and top-tier PC vendors could alter this equation by creating additional demand among customers in both emerging markets and developing countries. "Intel, pushing this, gives it more legs," Ma said.

"There's going to be some experimentation," Shenoy said.

Most Atom-based notebooks will have screens ranging in size from 7 to 10 inches, Shenoy said, adding that some models will be equipped with screens that can swivel and lay flat against the keyboard, turning the device into a tablet computer. Devices will ship with either hard disks or solid-state drives that use flash memory and offer battery life ranging from three to five hours, he said.

"Some will be really sleek and thin, some will be a bit more ruggedized," Shenoy said, adding that Wi-Fi will likely be a common feature.

On the software side, Atom-based notebooks will ship with either Windows XP or some version of Linux. "I don't think you'll see a lot of Vista in this space for cost reasons," he said.

The availability of Windows XP on low-cost notebooks set to arrive during the middle of the year is noteworthy because Microsoft has stated previously that Windows XP licenses will not be sold after June 30. Microsoft officials in Singapore reaffirmed the June 30 deadline in a statement released through the company's public-relations agency. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Windows XP will completely disappear after June 30.

"There are probably going to be certain exceptions here and there," IDC's Ma said.

New bill reduces Prasar Bharati CEO's term to 5 years

A bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha seeking to reduce the term of the Chairman of Prasar Bharati to three years from the six and for the CEO to five from the present six stipulated in the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990.

With the aim of ‘injecting sectoral experience to rejuvenate’ the public service broadcaster, the Bill also provides for fixing the upper age limit of the Chairman at 70 to ensure appointment of comparatively younger talent and experience’. In the parent Act, there is no age limit for the Chairman.

Reducing the term of the Chairman will, according to the Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Bill, ‘help to bring diversity of experience at the top level for the benefit of the organisation. Similarly, a need is also being felt for change in the tenure and upper age limit of Chief Executive Officer from six to five years and from 62 years to 65 years respectively.'

The Bill also makes it clear that both the Chairman and the CEO cease to hold office if their appointment is inconsistent with the provisions of the Ordinance.

Thus veteran journalist M V Kamath, who is 86, will have to resign before his term comes to an end on 9 January 2009. He had been in the news in January this year when he did not accept the suggestion by CEO Baljit Singh Lalli to induct fellow IAS officers in All Indian Radio and Doordarshan. The Board turned down the move to provide for professionals in radio and TV as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

In January 2003, the Congress party had called Kamath’s appointment as “one more blatant attempt by the National Democratic Alliance government to influence DD and AIR”.

Kamath, who will turn 87 in September, is a senior columnist and commentator on a whole range of national and international issues and an author of over 35 books on diverse subjects such as journalism, travel, history and culture, biography, politics and philosophy.

B S Lalli, 61, took charge as Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati at the end of December 2006. He is an Indian Administrative Service officer of the 1971 batch from the Uttar Pradesh cadre with vast administrative and managerial experience spanning over three decades.

The bill, seeking to replace an ordinance promulgated to this effect by the President on 7 February, was introduced by Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Govinda Pai birth anniversary celebrations on March 23

KASARGOD: The 125th birth anniversary of poet Govinda Pai will be celebrated on March 23 with various programmes.

The organising committee chairman C.H.Kunhambu told media persons here on Saturday that the foundation stone of the Govinda Pai memorial complex will be laid in the morning of March 23.

Union Minister for Cultural Affairs Ambika Soni, State Cultural Affairs Minister M.A.Baby, Karnataka former Chief Minister Veerappa Moily, P.Kar unakaran MP, C.H. Kunhambu MLA and film actor Murali will address the memorial meet.

Kannada Development Authority chairman Dr. Siddhalingappa, Rashtrakavi Siva Rudhrappa, Sara Abu-backer and Amrutha Someswaran will attend the programmes.

C.H.Kunhambu said a trust has been form-ed with Veerappa Moily as chairman and D.Krishnanada Chowta as managing trustee for the construction of the Govinda Pai memorial complex.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The survivor

Goa's 15th chief minister, Digambar Kamat, is known for following a strict fitness regime. He plays a daily game or two of badminton and also swims regularly � perhaps the skills he has acquired in these two sports also help him remain afloat in the treacherous politics of Goa.
Like any shuttler worth his salt, who judges to perfection where the next smash or drop is coming from and is there to return it even before it drops on his side of court, Kamat is a master of judging changing political scenarios and changes his gameplan accordingly. Similarly he also uses his aquatic skills to perfection and has survived at least two attempts to pull down his government in his eight-month stint as the chief minister.
The 53-year-old Kamat, who has interests in realty and mining, comes from a family with RSS affiliations and belongs to the small but influential community of Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, better known as GSBs. In fact, he was the Congress�s first GSB chief minister in Goa. Kamat later participated in a movement to collect bricks for the Ram temple during the heydays of the Ayodhya movement. In 1993, he entered Goa�s 40-member assembly on a BJP ticket.
Kamat stayed with the BJP till 2005 and even became a trusted lieutenant of the high-profile BJP chief minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar. He was made the deputy chief ministership as a reward for his loyalty.
But when the Congress decided to topple Parrikar�s government after lodging Gandhi loyalist S C Jamir at Panaji�s Raj Bhavan, Kamat, sensing it was the Congress that now had the momentum, switched loyalties. In the bargain, he was allowed to keep his deputy chief ministership and power portfolio.
Kamat, who likes to maintain a low profile, must have realised he would never become chief minister if he stayed in the BJP so long as Parrikar, who enjoyed the trust and blessings of both RSS bosses and the BJP�s top brass, was on the scene. Such brazen turncoat politics might have raised eyebrows in other states but not in the revolving-door politics of a small state like Goa.
But there is another side to the politician in Kamat: he is a good administrator. He has had reasonable success in ministries such as town and country planning, mining and tourism. His administrative skills helped make his stint in the power ministry a success story. When most state electricity boards are incurring huge losses, Kamat managed to ensure a turnaround in Goa.
When the tug of war was on between the then outgoing chief minister, Pratap Singh Rane, and Goa Congress president Ravi Naik over the chief ministership, Kamat watched from the sidelines, confident that he would emerge as the compromise candidate. He remained patient and didn�t try to woo any MLAs to his side. Finally, when Congress observers Margaret Alva and Sushil Kumar Shinde were unable to resolve the deadlock, they zeroed in on Kamat. His name was duly announced as leader of the legislative party.
During the initial days of his government, Kamat was pro-special economic zones (SEZs), but the rising anti-SEZ sentiment and vociferous opposition from the Church made him see it as a good opportunity to deliver the knock-out punch to his opponents. Chief among these was Dayanand Narvekar, the heavyweight Congressman who was trying to destabalise the government and was also seen as pro-SEZ.
Kamat�s decision to scrap the SEZs has not only helped him to cut down his opponents in the party to size and dilute the BJP�s anti-SEZ plank. It has also won over the Church which was weary of his RSS past.

This M.D.'s for the girls

LEFT: Drs. Joelle Wennlund (left) and Aparna Pai work together at Healthcare for Women in New Lenox, providing most of the medical care a woman needs. Two other doctors are on staff for other woman-oriented services.

NEW LENOX -- When Dr. Joelle Wennlund named her new medical practice Healthcare for Women, she meant it.

The new office suite at 1938 E. Lincoln Highway offers women one-stop shopping for most of their medical needs. Patients are offered everything from blood pressure treatment and laser hair removal to breast surgery and Botox.

For the past decade or so, Wennlund has been in private practice as a gynecologist. She's noticed a trend of women patients wanting women doctors. At one time, Wennlund would refer her patients to other doctors, but there was no guarantee they would follow through.

That's why she has partnered with fellow female physician Dr. Aparna Pai, an internal medicine doctor, who can handle medical issues Wennlund can't.

"We realized nobody else had that kind of service in the area," Pai said. "It's for the women, by the women."

The percent of doctors who are women in the United States has almost quadrupled from 7.6 percent in 1970 to 27.8 percent in 2006. The actual number of women doctors has increased from 25,401 to 256,257 during the same time period, according to the American Medical Association. The change makes female-dominated medical practices more possible.

And Wennlund and Pai appear to be tapping into a trend geared toward treating women patients from head to toe. For instance, the University of Nebraska Medical Center opened the Olson Center for Women's Health in October.

The facility groups physicians, mostly women, who are able to treat all of a woman's medical needs, under one tastefully decorated roof. The center even has a massage therapist in the waiting room and valet parking. And the center uses pagers so patients' names aren't called out loud.

"It eliminates a lot of the unnecessary noise," said Sheila McFarland, the center's manager.

Scales are inside exam rooms. "No woman wants to stand in the hallway and be weighed," McFarland said.

So far, the center has been a hit.

"We're tickled," McFarland said. "And I know this is the trend."

Wennlund and Pai, too, feel they've come up with a winning combination for New Lenox, though their practice is smaller than the one in Omaha, Neb.

In addition to primary medical care, Wennlund and Pai brought Dr. Paula Lapinski, a dermatologist, and Dr. Jose Rios, a plastic surgeon into the office.

Rios can do breast reduction or augmentation surgeries and reconstructive surgery after mastectomies, Wennlund said. And Lapinski's sub-specialty is in skin cancers and lesions. She also does Botox and dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm.

The office can handle weight and cardiovascular issues as well as prevention programs.

"Heart disease is still what kills the majority of women," Wennlund said.

But sometimes less serious issues are really bothering women, and they tend to talk about them during their annual gynecological exams, Wennlund said. "It's a more comfortable place to do it."

Now Wennlund can refer those women to Lapinski for laser hair removal or spider vein reduction.

In her previous New Lenox office, Wennlund shared a waiting room with other physicians. That meant her female clients had to rub elbows with male patients. By setting up her own office suite, Wennlund has eliminated that issue, too. Men can still visit her practice for hair removal or other dermatology procedures.

"But we set it up at a time when our waiting room is not packed with women," Wennlund said.

The practice also has evening hours Tuesdays and Thursdays and Saturday morning hours, which helps female clientele.

"It's more convenient for mothers home with their kids or working people who find it hard to take off during the week," Wennlund said.

Healthcare for Women opened in January, and Wennlund said she's been surprised by the number of women driving by who see her name on the sign and make an appointment because they're long overdue for an exam.

In the past, Wennlund said she sometimes was the only doctor a woman saw during the year.

"I'd get pressure from patients who wanted me to be able to treat everything," she said. "And I was always referring patients out. Or they would be scrambling (to find another doctor) when they did come down with some kind of illness."

But those days are over and Wennlund said she feels she can help women overcome just about any of their health concerns now.

"Hopefully, they'll be comfortable in one place."

Manipal group to buy 40% in Kerala hospital for Rs 100 cr

The Manipal group is close to acquiring a substantial stake and management control in Kochi-based Lakeshore Hospital, a super-specialty medical centre and a pioneer in medical tourism initiatives.

Sources said Manipal is likely to pick up around 40% stake for about Rs 100 crore, thus putting up a tough fight against Thailand’s healthcare tourism major Bumrungrad and at least two private equity players.

The deal is yet to be ratified by the board of Lakeshore Hospital, which was originally conceived almost a decade ago by a group of senior medical professionals. It is believed that Manipal Health Systems, a part of Manipal

Education and Medical Group (MEMG) which operates a chain of tertiary- and secondary-care hospitals, has emerged as the front-runner to acquire the stake in Lakeshore. Nevertheless, interest from Bangkok-based and public-listed

Bumrungrad International shows the growing importance of South India on the medical tourism map.

The multi-specialty Lakeshore is one of the few hospitals to have air, water and surface ambulance services.

The hospital’s roof-top helipad is pressed into service to help critically-ill patients while water ambulance service caters to people living in islands around Kochi.

Manipal’s likely stake buy may see it taking over administration and management duties of the hospital, which also has investments from NRI investor and promoter of Dubai-based Lulu Group, MA Yousaf Ali.

Sources said some of the original medical professionals who conceived the project may exit as shareholders.

Dr Ranjan Pai, CEO of MEMG, declined to comment on the impending transaction at this point of time. When queried on the possibility of a takeover by Manipal, Lakeshore Hospital finance director AJ Pai said the board of directors had not taken any decision.

Sources said Manipal may have offered Rs 53 per share, which was below the asking price of Rs 60/65 per share. But what could have tilted the deal in its favour may be the fact that it did not insist on a majority stake straightway, like Bumrungrad or PE investors such as India Value Fund or IVEN Medicare.

MEMG runs a chain of at least 12 hospitals in South India both in the tertiary- and secondary-care segments, with Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, being the flagship. It has two more hospitals in Bangalore, besides some primary care facilities.

M&A action has been seeing a spurt in South India, with a spate of deals involving strategic players as well as private equity funds.

Fortis recently snapped up Malar Hospital in Chennai; IVEN Medicare, part of ICICI Ventures, invested over Rs 100 crore in Mysore-based Vikram Hospitals and India Value Fund infused around Rs 200 crore into Kochi-based DM Healthcare, which plans to set up a network of hospitals nationally.

Happy Maha Shivarathri to all of you!!

Site inspected for solid waste management unit

Karwar: The newly elected president of Kumta Municipal Council (KMC), Sadanand Nayak along with other members and also a few political leaders inspected the site identified on Muroor hillock near Kumta for the establishment of solid waste management unit on Friday. The selection of site by the previous body of KMC had led to a controversy.

The people living in the villages around the hillock had opposed the unit to come up on the hillock arguing that it would pose health hazards and environmental problems.

Nayak observed after inspecting the site that the apprehension of the villagers was genuine. Dinakar Shetty, the JD(S) leader, who accompanied Nayak, said that Muroor hillock had a clean environment at present.

There was every need to protect it from being polluted. Shrikant Bhat, the president of Muroor Hill Protection Committee, also a scientist, explained how the proposed unit could pollute the environment and cause harm to the villagers.

Sadanand Bhat elected as Honnavar TP president

Honnavar: The BJP is successful in getting power in Honnavar Town Panchayat after a gap about eight years as its candidate Sadanand Bhat has been elected TP president.

The election for the posts of president and vice president were held recently. Mr. Bhat got 11 votes and defeated Congress nominee Azad Annigeri with a margin of four votes. The vice president Vinod Naik defeated Congress nominee Tulasidas Pulkar with the same margin. The four independents played a key role as both Congress and BJP were short of majority to form TP body on their own.

All independents backed the BJP. Congress with maximum of seven votes could not garner the support of the independents. Three independents, who earlier believed to have been close to Congress, said to have changed their mind as they were not happy with the Congress presidential candidate.