Showing posts from March, 2013


The much sought H-1B work visas could be decided through lottery this year, industry experts and officials feel, based on initial feedback from companies, as the US starts accepting applications from tomorrow. If it happens it would be for the first time since 2008 that the fate of thousands of applications for H-1B visas would be decided by a computerised draw of lots. Even Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it expects the cap for H-1B visas to be filled in the first five days itself. According to Congressional approved mandate, USCIS can reward a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2014 beginning October 1, 2013. In addition, the USCIS can also reward 20,000 H-1B visas for those having masters or higher degree from US academic institutions. This limit on H-1B visas has been in place for more than two decades now. For three years from 2001 to 2003, Congress had increased the cap to 195,000; which was not reached. "Based on feedback…


Nurturing the ambition to make it big in the finance arena, a 23-year-old Delhi girl has qualified as chartered accountant, cost accountant, and also company secretary -- becoming possibly the youngest person to complete all the three professional accounting courses. A Delhi University commerce graduate, Pallavi Sachdeva admires ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar as a role model and has already got her dream job with an offer from international finance major, Barclays Plc. "Once you understand the subject, it will not be difficult," Sachdeva said when asked how tough it was to clear all the three courses -- Chartered Accountancy, Cost & Works Accountancy and Company Secretaries -- at such a young age. She has cleared her CA, CS and CWA courses from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), New Delhi the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), New Delhi, and the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI), Kolkata, respectively. S…


) Indian equities may see sluggish trading sentiment early this week following data that India's CAD touched a record high of 6.7 per cent in the October- December quarter, but the markets are expected to bounce back in view of the recent downtrend. Analysts said the sentiment is likely to be subdued as investors may react to the Current Account Deficit data that was made public by RBI in its report on Balance of Payments - released after market hours on Thursday, followed by long weekend because of Good Friday holiday. CAD, which is the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, widened from 5.4 per cent in Q2 (July- September) to a record high of 6.7 per cent of the GDP in Q3 of 2012-13 fiscal, driven mainly by large trade deficit.
However, some analysts said that the recent downtrend in the market may prompt some value buying and push it up after the initial reaction to CAD, if any. "The recent sharp fall in the market suggests that much of the negativity m…


Dubai International Airport has been confirmed as the world's second busiest for international passenger traffic, moving ahead of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport for the first time, it has been announced. Since the start of the year Dubai International has moved up two positions in the global rankings and now has London Heathrow's title as the world's busiest international airport firmly within its sights. The rankings were confirmed by the latest figures published by Airports Council International, the Dubai Airports company said in a statement. Dubai Airports has maintained its impressive passenger growth in 2013, with passenger traffic at Dubai International rising 13 per cent to 10,640,120 passengers in the first two months of this year, up from 9,413,286 for the same period in 2012. "It is extremely gratifying to see Dubai International leap up two places in the international passenger rankings in a single year. It is a clear signal that more people are choo…


Television is still the preferred medium for news consumption for most people, rather than laptops, smart-phones and tablet PCs, a study said today.According to the study conducted by InSites Consulting for BBC World News, respondents said 42 per cent of their time for news consumption was spent on TV, while that on laptops was 29 per cent, on smart-phones 18 per cent and tablets 10 per cent. It also added that rather than competing, the different platforms complemented one another. "There's been speculation for years that mainstream uptake of smart-phones, laptops and tablets will have a negative impact on television viewing, but this study has found that the four devices actually work well together, resulting in greater overall consumption rather than having a cannibalising effect,
" BBC Global News CEO Jim Egan said. Smart-phones and laptops are most popular during the working day, while TV usage spikes dramatically from evening onwards and its usage i…


Leading stock exchanges BSE and NSE will extend the pre-open call auction facility to all shares and introduce a periodic call auction for illiquid scrips from the next month following market regulator Sebi's directive."Exchange shall extend pre-open session to all securities with effect from April 1, 2013. Exchange shall introduce periodic call auction for illiquid securities with effect from April 8, 2013," BSE and NSE said in similar circulars.
The bourses said they would soon announce the list of securities eligible for pre-open and call-auction session.
In a call auction, buyers set a maximum price at which the shares can be bought while the sellers keep a minimum price for selling the scrips. The facility, conducted before start of trading session, helps reduce price volatility.Currently, the pre-open call auction sessions are in place on pilot basis Sensex and Nifty shares. The 30-stock Sensex is the BSE index, while the 50- share Nifty is the benchmark of the Nat…


The government's fiscal deficit touched 97.4 per cent of the budget estimates (BE) in the April-February period of the current fiscal. In absolute terms, the fiscal deficit, or gap between expenditure and revenue receipts, stood at over Rs 5.07 lakh crore at the end of February, according to the data released by Controller General of Accounts (CGA) today. The Government has estimated the fiscal deficit for current fiscal at Rs 5,13,590 crore, or 5.1 per cent, of GDP in the budget for 2012-13. However, in the revised estimate, it pegged the deficit to be at 5.2 per cent for the fiscal ending March 31. The fiscal deficit rose from the budgeted levels due to the rising subsidy outgo. To contain it at 5.2 per cent, the government has taken a number of steps like rationalisation of expenditure including 10 per cent mandatory cut on non-plan expenditure. Besides, steps have been taken to cut the subsidy outgo on petroleum products. The fiscal deficit in the corresponding period last yea…


Car buyers are being bombarded with "buy now, pay later" offers after once-booming sales skidded to a 12-year low, highlighting the struggle to stimulate consumer demand in a sagging economy. "Go ahead, pinch yourself," says an ad for German giant Volkswagen's $13,400 Vento sedan, giving buyers a chance to trade in their old car, make a one Rupee (two-cent) down payment and start paying for the new one a year later. Other offers dangled include interest-free repayments and up to 20 per cent discounts to lure buyers back into showrooms and reduce unsold vehicle pile-ups in Asia's third-largest car market.
"The slowdown has forced automakers to cut prices and offer massive discounts to move the metal," Ammar Master, India manager at global industry forecaster LMC Automotive, said. Passenger car sales fell 26 per cent from a year earlier in February alone, the worst performance since 2000, and are projected to record their first full-year dive in the…


Italian Car Maker FIAT bets big on Indian Market with SUV and SPORTY CARS. It want to adopt GO SPECIALIST AND GO ALONE policy. That's Fiat SpA's new mantra for India, the world's seventh-largest car market. Fiat, one of the first Western carmakers to enter India but now the worst performing. Rather than launch a new model in the cheap, small car segment Fiat plans to tap into fast-growing areas like sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and sporty cars. It will bring its Chrysler Jeep SUV to the country this year and build a small version of the car there by 2015, as well as take aim at the higher end of the market with Abarth, the sports version of its 500 and Punto models. Analysts think it will be a challenge, but could work. "I think Fiat's focus is on launching a couple of niche products and rebuilding the customer experience," said Deepesh Rathore, Managing Director of IHS Automotive India. "It's painful but it's the time to tell the customer tha…


In order to prevent promoters from influencing stock prices through frivolous open offers, Sebi today said no offer can be withdrawn on the ground that it is not successful.The decision was taken to address the concerns that some acquirers use the public announcement as a means to influence the market price and subsequently attempt to withdraw the offer on the pretext that the acquisition was not successful.In a notification, Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) said: "An acquirer shall not withdraw an open offer pursuant to a public announcement made...even if the proposed acquisition through the preferential issue is not successful."
Sebi said that a company can acquire the shares of the target company through preferential issue or through the stock exchange settlement process, other than through bulk deals or block deals, in case such shares being kept in an escrow account. However, the acquirer firm can not exercise any voting rights over such sh…


Motor insurance premium is set to become more expensive, with IRDA allowing up to 20 per cent increase in third party rates from April 1 in view of rising inflation and the history of claim settlement. "The overall percentage increase in the motor third party portfolio works out to 18.9 per cent. The above rates will be effective from April 1, 2013," IRDA said in a notification. Charges for the third party insurance cover as per the notification will go up for two-wheelers, passenger cars and commercial vehicles. For passenger cars not exceeding engine capacity of 1,000 cc, the revised third party premium is proposed to be hiked by 20 per cent to Rs 941 per annum. For two-wheelers exceeding 350 cc, the premium would go up by 18.30 per cent to Rs 804. For goods carrying vehicles, excluding three-wheelers, with carriage capacity exceeding 40,000 kg, the premium would be Rs 15,035 per annum. There is no increase in case of three-wheelers used for carrying pas…


Despite weak buyer sentiment, the National Property Index went up by over 3 per cent in the October-December quarter over the preceding three months last year, a survey has said. National Property Index (NPI) is a weighted average of supply and prices across 11 cities. Of the 11 cities in the apartment index, nine saw a marginal rise, while one recorded stable values and the other registered a small drop in the city index, leading property portal said in its report titled PropIndex. "Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Gurgaon and Noida witnessed a rise in city index values. 
"On the other hand, Ahmedabad registered stable values and Bangalore remained largely stable with a small two per cent drop in the index value during the October-December 2012 quarter," the report said. The report observed that cities such as Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bangalore received greater demand for premium properties as compared to De…


In a major achievement for India in its campaign for reforming the international financial architecture, BRICS nations today decided to establish a new development bank to finance infrastructure and to create a USD 100 billion Contingency Reserve Arrangement to tackle any financial crisis in the emerging economies. The decision was taken at the BRICS Summit here which also launched a Business Council to encourage investment and trade in member countries and to expand business cooperation. Leaders of the inter-continental grouping including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, met here this morning for an extended session and accepted the report of their finance ministers saying "we are satisfied that the establishment of a New Development Bank is feasible and viable". "We considered that developing countries face challenges of infrastructure development due to insufficient long-term financing and foreign direct investment, especially inestment in capital stoc…


Within weeks of publishing its annual global rich list, Forbes today said legendary investor Warren Buffett has become the world's third richest person, unseating Zara billionaire Amancio Ortega. At the end of trading session on Monday, Buffett's net worth stood at USD 54.9 billion, while Ortega's market capitalisation stood at USD 54.5 billion. "After Monday's markets closed, Ortega was down USD 2.5 billion from his net worth at the time we finalised our numbers for the 2013 Forbes billionaires list, which we published on March 4 using February 14, 2013 stock prices. Buffett, by contrast, was up USD 1.4 billion," Forbes said.
On Monday, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway shares rose 0.03 per cent, while Ortega's Inditex, sank 0.15 per cent on the Madrid exchange. "Those are tiny shifts, but given the concentrated holdings each of the billionaires has in these companies, coupled with the constantly moving dollar-to-euro exchange rate, the changes were …


Bollywood actress Nandita Das and cricketing star Gautam Gambhir are likely to provide company to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) officials who are going on their annual break next week. "Actress Nandita Das and cricketer Gautam Gambhir are invited for the sixth Annual Retreat of DEA officials, which will be held on April 5-7 at the National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) in Faridabad," a senior finance ministry official said. Finance Minister P Chidambaram is also likely to attend the retreat. He had attended such retreat in 2008 also, the official added. Traditionally, the annual retreat used to be held in the month of January, ahead of the Union Budget. However, this time, it is being organised in April as the Finance Minister was not in the country. During the retreat, DEA officials would participate in various activities such as yoga sessions and playing a cricket match with NIFM trainees. Officials of rank of deputy directors and above will also be a…


India's financial capital Mumbai slipped to 66th rank in the list of world's leading financial centres, but New Delhi failed to make a mark, according to the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) released today. GFCI which provides profiles, ratings and rankings for 79 financial centres worldwide ranked Mumbai at the 66th place, down three places from last year when it was ranked 63rd on the coveted list.
Mumbai is the only Indian city on the list, which was topped by London.
New York was ranked second in the list followed by Hong Kong and Singapore in the third and fourth place respectively. Others in the top 10 are: Zurich (5th), Tokyo (6th), Geneva (7th), Boston (8th), Seoul (9th) and Frankfurt (10th).
Although New Delhi, the country's political hub, was added to the GFCI questionnaire recently and its progress was being monitored it failed to make it to the list. Almaty, Baku, Busan, Guangzhou, Liechtenstein, New Delhi, Riga, Santiago, Tel Aviv and Tianjin have…






Tech Mahindra today said it has extended the proposed merger of Mahindra Satyam with itself for six months.The company in a BSE filing said that its "board of directors extended the validity of the (amalgamation) scheme by a further period of six months i.e. up to September 30, 2013."The board has extended "scheme of amalgamation and arrangement of Venturbay Consultants Pvt Ltd and Satyam Computer Services Ltd and C&S Systems Technologies Pvt Ltd and Mahindra Logisoft Business Solutions Ltd and CanvasM Technologies Ltd with Tech Mahindra Ltd and their respective shareholders and creditors", it said. Tech Mahindra took over reins of the scam-tainted Satyam Computers in April 2009 and rebranded it as Mahindra Satyam.Last year, it had announced the merger of two companies and have secured the mandate of both the boards and shareholders, barring the minority ones, who have challenged the swap-ratio in the Andhra Pradesh High Court. In February this ye…


Millions of small savers and PPF account holders will earn less on their post office savings schemes, with the government deciding to reduce interest rates on them marginally by 0.10 per cent. The interest rate of Public Provident Fund (PPF) has been lowered from 8.8 per cent to 8.7 per cent with effect from April 1, 2013, said a Finance Ministry statement.However, the rates on savings deposit schemes and on fixed deposit of up to one year run by post offices has been kept unchanged at 4 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively.

Further, Monthly Income Schemes (MIS) of 5 year maturity will earn an interest of 8.4 per cent.
The National Savings Certificates (NSC) having maturity of five and 10 years will now attract 8.5 per cent and 8.8 per cent interest respectively, down 0.10 per cent each. The interest rates would be applicable for the entire 2013-14 fiscal. The rate for senior citizens savings scheme (SCSS) will now stand at 9.2 per cent, down from 9.3 per cent. The revision in inte…


Despite the falling prices of the yellow metal, gold ETFs (exchange traded funds) will remain attractive as an asset class in the near future, say industry players. "Gold ETFs will remain attractive as an asset class. A trend can't be drawn from the fall in the AUMs for one short period," IDBI Mutual Fund Chief Executive Debashish Mallick has told PTI. After recording net inflows for seven consecutive months, gold ETFs witnessed a net outflow in February as investors booked profits to invest in equities and other asset classes. The net outflows, although a small amount of Rs 8 crore, has happened on the back of falling gold prices, which witnessed a dip of around 2.5 per cent drop in the first three months of 2013. Mallick also said though it is difficult to take a call on the price movement of the yellow metal, gold ETF remains a good source for portfolio diversification for an investor. Similarly, Reliance MF Chief Executive Sundeep Sikka said gold r…


Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) continued buying into Indian markets despite the lacklustre earnings performance holding up the market. FIIs have injected nearly USD 34 billion since January 2012, which led to multiple expansions, while earnings growth remained flat, HSBC Research said in its earning season analysis here. In Calendar Year 2012, FIIs inflow in Indian market stood at USD 24 billion taking FII ownership to record levels. The reform process initiated by the government since September 2012 has fuelled strong foreign inflows into India. Out of the largest 200 companies listed, foreign investors were net buyers of 145 companies in the quarter ending December 2012, while their ownership in nearly 50 companies was at record high levels, the report said. It pointed out that the revenue growth of Indian corporates, however, turned out to be the worst in the last three years. Revenue growth came down from 27 per cent year-on-year in March 2010 to 10 per c…


Got an idea how to come up with the 'next generation condom'? You may bag upto one million dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation is offering USD 100,000 of initial funding, with up to USD 1 million of possible continued funding to whoever comes up with a viable proposal. Ideas for a better condom are being accepted at Ideas that may prove too expensive for widespread use in the developing world, or those that doesn't do the job of preventing pregnancy or disease transmission will be dismissed right off the bat. The next-generation condom challenge is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's "Grand Challenges Explorations," a continuing initiative to fund programs geared toward improving the lot of the world's poorest citizens. "To overcome persistent health and development problems, we need new, game-changing ideas," said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discove…


Reliance Industries today said it has been awarded the prestigious 'International Refiner of the Year' 2013 at HART Energy's 27th World Refining & Fuel Conference at San Antonio, Texas, USA. "The award was presented to RIL for producing cleaner, higher-quality gasoline and diesel fuel, operating with the highest international refining standards and innovative use of resources in diverse environments and for innovation, global vision, and ability to chart future changes," the company said in a statement.
K Balachandran, Chief of Operation (Jamnagar Refinery and Petrochemical Complex) accepted the award on behalf of RIL and its employees. This is the second time that RIL has received this Award for its Jamnagar Refinery, the first being in 2005. RIL is the only Asian refiner to have been conferred this award twice.
RIL operates two of the world's largest and most complex refineries. With 1.24 million barrels per day of crude processing capacity, RIL is the …


The fate of the much touted low- cost computing device Aakash looks uncertain with the government today conceding that there has been a "failure" in its production. Concerned over the tardy progress, the HRD Ministry has written to IIT Bombay (the executing body) to ensure the vendor (Datawind) meets the terms and conditions and the supply order by March 31 in letter and spirit, failing which action could be initiated against it. The ministry is also awaiting a report from a committee headed by Rajendra Pawar before taking a call about the prospects of the device on which many students had pinned their hope. "... the other challenge is productionising it. That is where the failure has come. If the productionisation had happened on time, students would have accessed to it. The product exists but we are not able to productionise it as much as required," HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju told reporters here. The tablet was promised to be made available to students at a sub…


The Association of National Exchange Members of India (ANMI) today said it is aiming to double the retail investor base in the country to over 2.5 crore in the next three years. Currently, the retail investor base in India is at 1.3 crore. "... plans to double the retail investor base in India by 2016 from an existing 1.3 crore to over 2.5 crore through a series of direct and indirect measures and endeavours," ANMI said at Asia Forum for investor Education (AFIE) Conference. ANMI, which comprises the trading members of all the leading bourses in the country, said this target can be achieved by increasing banking facilities among others. Speaking on the occasion, AFIE President Rakesh Somani said: "ANMI believes that increased sophistication of product offerings is widening the gap of investor understanding." "The objective of ANMI is to move to create a base of retail investors who are financially aware of working of the financial market before they educate th…


Britain's Asian entrepreneurs have defied the recession with some becoming billionaires from millionaires, according to a latest report on some of the country's richest businessmen. The 'Eastern Eye Asian Rich List 2013' found that the number of billionaires in the annual list more than doubled to seven, up from three in 2012. The net worth of the country's top 101 wealthiest Asians also registered growth from 41.2 billion pounds to 45.6 billion pounds, signifying a 10.7 per cent increase. This year's top 101 wealth creators will be unveiled at an annual Asian Business Awards ceremony here, later today. The list is reportedly topped by the Hinduja brothers, at the helm of one the UK's largest industrial groups. They are set to displace steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal, whose fortunes took a tumble over the last year as a result of a global slowdown in the steel industry. Most of the entries in the list are family-run enterprises, with the younger generation of…


Direct selling sector in India is expected to grow at the rate of 20 per cent year on year and reach up to Rs 10,843.6 crore in the financial year 2014-15, according to a report. As per the annual survey on the Indian direct selling sector by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, undertaken in association with Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA), the size of segment was pegged at Rs 6,385.1 crore in 2011-12.
Commenting on the growth of the sector, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Economist and Head of Research SP Sharma said: "The Indian direct selling industry has scaled remarkable growth over the years and has been expanding its horizons in India as a rapidly emerging alternate distribution channel."
Growth drivers have been wellness, healthcare segment followed by beauty, cosmetics and personal care segment, survey said. Products related to wellness have contributed 44 per cent to the total sales revenue at Rs 2,745.5 crore followed by beauty, cosmetics and…


Online share trading has seen a sharp rise of over 72 per cent in the last two years among young investors who use the platform as a source of additional income with easy availability of gadgets, use of technology and access to analyst information, an Assocham survey said. In its survey conducted under the aegis of its Social Development Foundation in January-February on 'Boom time for online share trading: Online trade is a fast growing biz', Assocham today said online share trade industry is growing by 150 per cent year-on-year and the value of all trades executed through Internet has grown more than ten-times in two years. "Online share trading has become a major fascination by large number of young energetic and intelligent population mostly professionals or unprofessional and employed or unemployed," said Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat. Delhi ranks first in online share trading followed by Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Dehradun. Ac…


Housing demand has picked up in the national capital region (NCR) with sales rising by 46 per cent in January this year to nearly 9,000 units mainly on the back of clarity in land acquisition issues in Greater Noida, property research firm PropEquity said. Housing sales in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), however, dropped by 14 per cent, according to PropEquity that tracks over 45,000 projects of 8,200 developers in over 40 cities. The total absorption in NCR stood at 8,812 units in January 2013, a 46 per cent increase from last year's January figure of 6,032 housing units. "This revival in NCR is caused by higher sales velocity in Greater Noida, Yamuna Expressway, Noida Extension and Faridabad. "The clearing up of the land acquisition issues lumbering upon the area along with the highly affordable units available in Yamuna Expressway and Noida Extension have resulted in the sale of 3,998 units in January 2013," PropEquity Founder and Chief Executive Officer Samir …


India will add a significant part of the next 5 billion Internet users, with maths suggesting that it is the country to look out for, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said today."This place is going to be rocking," said Schmidt, who is in the national capital for the Google's Big Tent Forum."In the short term it is China, but math favours India. And I'm a mathematician," Schmidt said when asked by Guardian's Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger on his choice on India and China.Speaking at the question and answer session with Rusbridger, Schmidt expressed great hope for the growth of Internet and broadband users in the country.
He said: "(There are) roughly 600 million mobile phone users in India, there are about 130 million Internet users, (but) there are only about 20 million broadband users. So by any definition India is under-penetrated. And in our book... we talk a lot about the importance of the next 5 billion. "There are…


A Parliamentary Panel today suggested that the government should make amendment in laws to provide protection to victims of counterfeit operations. The Committee are disappointed to note that no steps to amend the penal provisions for providing protection to the hapless victims of counterfeit operations have been initiated by the government, a panel headed by senior Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said in the report tabled in Parliament. The Committee on Public Undertaking said, "this is all the more imperative since more and more law enforcing agencies are being involved by the government to curb and control this problem of gargantuan proportion." Taking a note of various measures taken by the government to effectively control the menace of counterfeit currency, the report said "the Committee, therefore, reiterate their earlier recommendation and desire that Government initiate appropriate steps in this regard immediately. " For selecting new secu…


Market regulator Sebi has asked all listed companies to use electronic mode for making cash payments to investors, a move that would help check misuse of funds.The Securities and Exchange Board of India in a circular said that listed companies can utilise electronic payment modes approved by the Reserve Bank for cash payments.
To ensure cash payments are done through the electronic mode, companies are required to keep bank account details of investors.Electronic Clearing Service (ECS), National Electronic Clearance Service (NECS) and National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) are among the payment systems approved by the RBI.
The circular, which would help in ensuring more transparency in market dealings, is aimed at curbing misuse of investor funds."For investors that hold securities in demat mode, companies or their RTI (Registrar to the Issue) and STA (Share Transfer Agent) shall seek relevant bank details from the depositories," the circular said.In case…


India's Mahindra & Mahindra and Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals have won two of the top seven 2013 Boldness in Business Awards instituted by the Financial Times (FT) and Arcelormittal. At a function held at the Royal Institute of British Architects here last night, Mumbai-headquartered Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd won the Emerging Markets Awards. Mahindra and Mahindra is ranked 21st in the list of top companies of India in Fortune India 500 in 2011. The Bangalore-headquartered Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals bagged the Corporate Responsibility Award. The Bangalore cardiac unit of Narayana Hrudayalaya is one of the world's largest paediatric heart hospitals. It is the brainchild of renowned cardiac surgeon Devi Shetty. Narayana Hrudayalaya also receives patients from outside India and it has created a record of performing 15,000 surgeries on patients from 25 foreign countries. It is a renowned centre for telemedicine and it offers this service free of cost. Other recipients of…


Telecom operator Videocon Mobile Services today said its subscribers will not be charged roaming fee for incoming calls. "We reiterate our commitment towards 'One Nation – Free Roaming'...our subscribers roaming across Videocon Network will stand to benefit from free incoming calls," Videocon Mobile Services CEO Arvind Bali said.
The company said subscribers will not be charged roaming fee for incoming call, irrespective of its origin. Videocon operates in four circles-- Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat-- while it has licence to operate in seven. The company is finalising its plans to start operations in rest of the circles-- Bihar, Uttar Pardesh East and West. "We will absorb the expenses that will be incurred on free incoming calls while roaming. There are no strings attached to the proposition, no special vouchers or recharges required. This is yet another 'Industry first' by Videocon," Bali said.


Amid a flurry of political engagements, Barack Obama, America's first black president, has invited Israel's first black beauty queen to dine with him. 21-year-old Yityish Titi Aynaw, an immigrant from Ethiopia who was an unknown face till about a month ago when she was crowned miss Israel, will attend the state dinner hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres for Obama today. In an interview to a local TV channel, Titi described Obama, 51, as a role model for her and the chance to see him as a dream coming true.

"It's a huge honour for me to meet him. I know his life story and I know he is a strong man and he is a role model for me, and I am very very excited to meet him," she said. Asked what is she going to talk about with the US President, it seems she would narrate her own life story and the story of her acceptance in the Israeli society. "I am going to tell Obama that I was born in Ethiopia and I came to Israel and the Israelis helped m…


A collection of Princess Diana's most memorable evening gowns, including one she wore to a White House dinner where she danced with John Travolta and another that she used during her state visit to India in 1992, fetched nearly 863,000 pounds at an auction here. The dress worn by Princess Diana when she danced with John Travolta at a White House state dinner was sold at an auction here for a whopping 240,000 pounds to an anonymous bidder. The off-the-shoulder, midnight blue velvet gown, designed by Victor Edelstein, captivated the public when the late princess was pictured wearing it as she was twirled around the dance floor by the Hollywood star during a visit to the US in 1985. While, a Catherine Walker Mughal-inspired embroidered pink silk evening gown and bolero which was made for Diana's a state visit to India in 1992 was sold for 66,000 pounds. It was on this trip that the famous photograph of the princess sitting alone outside the Taj Mahal was taken.  The dress she wore…