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first_imgTHE HIGHER CIRCLE Entries or exits, the power list, now in its fourth edition, is a barometer of its times. It is a charmed group of people, but also one that is subject to changes in the economy and society. In 2004, a year in which media was starting to,THE HIGHER CIRCLEEntries or exits, the power list, now in its fourth edition, is a barometer of its times.It is a charmed group of people, but also one that is subject to changes in the economy and society. In 2004, a year in which media was starting to make headlines, there was a sudden spurt in the representation: from six in 2003, their number went up to 10. In 2005, a year which saw a change of government and ideology, there was a change again-the number of academics/activists, in keeping with the altered state of the state, shot up to 13. This year again, after a succession of IPOs, launches of new TV channels and a new phase of FM radio bids, the media has bounced back. There is a core, though, to the list, dominated in the absence of the sarkar, by big business, that is undisturbed: 20 names have remained common to the list since its inception in 2003, including of the Brothers Ambani, who have since split. The average age of the power listers has declined: from 58 to 55. This year’s list has new stars: Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani is the highest entrant at No 13, while Vijay Mallya has shot up 18 places since last year. Merit, as always, triumphs.1. RATAN TATA, INDUSTRIALIST World Power Because he has made Tatas a truly global group with 25 per cent of its revenues coming from overseas operations across 40 countries. Because his group market capitalisation is now $45 billion (over Rs 2,00,000 crore), the largest in the country. Because Tata Group revenues have doubled to nearly a trillion rupees in just four years. Because he is the first among equals in an array of areas: Tata Tea is the world’s largest integrated tea company, TCS is Asia’s largest software company, and Tata Steel is India’s second largest steel producer. Because he has pumped more than Rs 4,500 crore into acquisitions since 2002, ranging from the purchase of the spiffy New York hotel, The Pierre, to a joint venture with IMACID, a chemicals company in Morocco. Because as chairman of the Government’s Investment Commission, he is not afraid of speaking out against vested private interests and political pulls. Because with Tata Sons raising the retirement age of non-executive directors to 75, he isn’t saying tata for another six years. Little-known fact: Is the country’s largest private sector employer with over 2,20,000 employees. Is embarrassed about: The public spat with Kumar Mangalam Birla over shareholding in Idea Cellular. Is secretive about: What the Rs 1-lakh car will look like. First love: Flying either of his two Falcon jets. Current love: Two German Shepherd pups. Holidays are: Private affairs mostly in Europe. Off-duty attire: Armani vests, casual shirts, khakis.2. MUKESH AMBANI, INDUSTRIALIST The Winner Because he has inherited the original legacy of the patriarch-Reliance Industries Limited. Because despite losing half his empire to his brother, he has raised Reliance Group’s market capitalisation from Rs 60,000 crore to Rs 1,09,000 crore. Because Reliance Industries, with revenues touching Rs 1,00,000 crore, continues to be India’s largest and only private sector company in the Fortune 500 list. Because he was cochairman of the World Economic Forum this year, when India was ‘everywhere’. Because his Reliance Petro is in line for a big bang Rs 6,000-crore public issue next month. Because he has ambitious plans to invest Rs 25,000 crore to double the capacity of his Jamnagar facility, making it the world’s largest grassroots refinery. Because he is all set to storm the retail segment with a Rs 30,000 crore spend on Wal-Mart-style stores. Because when he walks the corridors of power, everyone does a salaam namaste. Little cool buddies: Anand Jain and Manoj Modi, his classmates from Hill Grange School in Mumbai. Stress management tool: Watching a Hindi film every night and taking vacations in Africa, with his family. His children, Akash, Isha and Anant, joke that even the animals can recognise them. Little-known fact: Wife Nita downloads his diet chart on his phone to keep him from excessive eating. Hot wheels: The Rs 5.25-crore Maybach. Is member of the advisory board of: McKinsey, Citibank, Stanford University and Brookings Institution. Annual ritual: Predicting Oscar and Filmfare winners.3. N. R. NARAYANA MURTHY, INDUSTRIALIST Mentor Mantle Because he has transcended the growth of Infosys as a globally respected corporation to emerge as a thought leader promoting the cause of Indian companies on the world stage. Because he is a powerful Indian presence in top academic institutions ranging from Wharton to Cornell University. Because instead of kowtowing to former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, he quit as chairman of the Bangalore International Airport before pointing out his company’s investment in Karnataka. Because the only public office that would tempt him is that of Indian Ambassador to the US. Big move: Investing Rs 285 crore in Infosys’ global education campus in Mysore, the world’s largest training centre, which can absorb 30,000 students every year. Little cool buddy: 22-year-old son Rohan who is doing his PhD in computer science at Harvard. Stress management tool: Music and travel. He is on the move 25 days a month. Prized possession: The entire works of Mozart on 176 CDs. Little-known fact: Reads books on maths and solves crosswords and puzzles. Hopes to: Ring in the 25th anniversary of the company in July and step down to become non-executive chairman, functioning from an office where he can walk down from his home. Is obsessed with: Fairness and excellence in all his dealings, no matter with whom. Favourite line: “Go ahead. Do your own thing, and have fun.”4. AMITABH BACHCHAN, ACTOR Super Brand Because when he fell ill last year, the film and television industry went into intensive care. Because with his performances in Black, Bunty Aur Babli and Sarkar, he redefined old age to rhyme with cool dude. Because his own critical and commercial achievements, culminating in an awards sweep, have been bolstered by pride in his son Abhishek’s box office success. Because Kaun Banega Crorepati 2 surprised naysayers by winning audiences, phone calls and Rs 270 crore as ad revenue. Power moment: When Abhishek was nominated in the best actor category this year, even as he himself was nominated for best supporting actor. Stress management tool: Working out in his personal gym at home. Currently reading: Medical reports, income tax notices and scripts. Little-known fact: Loves listening to the same music as Abhishek, which varies from trance to house and hip-hop to electronica. Next move: To pray and start shooting by the end of this month. Last thing he does before going to bed: Read all newspaper and magazine cuttings that mention him or his family. Latest prized possession: Painting of Ganesh gifted to him by M.F. Husain when he visited him in hospital last year. In 1982, Husain had painted a Hanuman for him. Biggest personal discovery of the year: The excellence in medical care that helped him recover. The affection of friends, colleagues and well-wishers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who wrote to him during his illness. 5. KUMAR MANGALAM BIRLA, INDUSTRIALIST Growth King Becausehe is the chairman of one of the fastest growing business houses in India, with a market cap of Rs 50,000 crore. Because whether it is standing up to Ratan Tata or to Rajendra Lodha, he is not afraid of a bruiser. Because grandfather B.K. Birla has declared Kumar will inherit his stake in the sprawling family empire, making him the Birla to bet on. Because the Government has its ear cocked to his softspoken critiques, be it as chairman of the advisory committee of the Ministry of Company Affairs or as a member of the PM’s Advisory Council on Trade and Industry. Little cool buddies: His three children, Ananyashree, Aryaman Vikram and Advaitesha, aged 11, 8 and 2. Stress management tool: Weekly satsangs, conducted by the Chinmaya Mission at his home. Out of the closet: His favourite colour is blue, his favourite brand Louis Phillippe, which he owns. Hot wheels: Bottle green BMW 5 series.6. ANIL AMBANI, INDUSTRIALIST Return Of The Jedi Becausehe has not only fought tooth and nail for his share of empire but hammered out his own. Because the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is now No. 3 in India Inc. Because he has successfully listed the telecom arm Reliance Communications Venture to claim a group market capitalisation of over Rs 86,500 crore. Because with over Rs 5,000 crore in operating profits, ADAG is among the top three profit-making entities. Because with 19 million subscribers, he is the largest telecom player in the country. Because with his investments in media such as a 51 per cent stake in Adlabs, a hospital in Mumbai, acquisition of life insurance company AMP Sanmar, and investments in power projects in Dadri and Orissa, he is poised to have a presence in virtually every significant sector of the economy. Because he has successfully morphed a clutch of companies into a cohesive group despite an ongoing battle with his brother. Power moment: When he got his mother Kokilaben to ensure his brother kept his word on the sharing of natural gas for his proposed power plants. Hot wheels: Toyota Landcruiser. Book on his bedside: The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. Loves to: Talk facts and figures. His rivals are surprised by: How much he knows about their business.7. AZIM PREMJI, INDUSTRIALIST Mr Ethics Because the richest Indian with a personal wealth of over Rs 30,000 crore remained unruffled by the exit of Vivek Paul, the fifth vice-chairman of Wipro Technologies in six years, and showed he could run the company, which remains the largest BPO services provider in India. Because he has shown that he cares with a foundation that spends over Rs 20 crore a year from his personal wealth to improve primary education facilities for 2,500,000 students in 13 states. Because he believes ethics in business is an asset, not a liability, that may increase transaction time but reduces cost. Because the Financial Times ranked him tenth among the top 25 influential people in the world. Hot wheels: A Toyota Corolla, which the frugal tycoon bought last year after many years of being driven around Bangalore in a Ford Escort. Big cool buddy: His wife Yasmin. USP: Works the details. Little-known fact: Last year, this electrical engineer from Stanford became the first Indian to be awarded the Faraday Medal established in 1922 by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Europe.8. NARESH GOYAL, BUSINESSMAN Air Don Because he owns India’s biggest and the most profitable airline, valued at Rs 11,000 crore. Because when Jet Airways launched flights to Singapore and London, even mighty rivals like Singapore Airlines and British Airways slashed fares by 30 per cent. Because he has a formidable global network of 123 airlines issuing Jet tickets to travellers to India. Close associates: Javed Akhtar, Yash Chopra, Deepak Parekh, Vijay Kelkar and almost every bureaucrat in the civil aviation ministry. Embarrassing moment: Fall out with Singapore Airlines, the carrier he admires the most. Was caught unawares: By the sudden onslaught of low-cost airlines. Is obsessed with: Getting passenger feedback on Jet’s on-time performance and inflight experience on a daily basis, even when he is in London, where he spends half of the year. Mentor power: J.R.D. Tata introduced him to the then Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar and Javed Akhtar put him in touch with Madhavrao Scindia, the then civil aviation minister. These associations were instrumental in his phenomenal rise. Little-known fact:Was working on a plan to launch an airline in Scotland before he started Jet Airways. Also known as: Kakaji. Next big move: Raise another $800 million (Rs 3,600 crore) from the market and launch flights to the US.9. SUNIL MITTAL, BUSINESSMAN Lord Of The Ring Because with over 17 million mobile subscribers and a presence in all 23 mobile phone circles, the cellular sultan has the biggest footprint in the country. Because Vodafone’s approximately Rs 6,700-crore purchase of 10 per cent of Bharti Tele-Ventures has made him the owner of a Rs 74,000-crore telecom company. Because with a personal wealth of over Rs 25,000 crore, the third richest man in the country is diversifying into agriculture and life insurance, the latter in partnership with French company, Axa. Close associates: Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit, Farooq Abdullah, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s family, and DLF’s K.P. Singh. Biggest regret: Withdrawal by Singapore’s Changi airport from the bid for modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports which also put Mittal out of the race. Latest customers: All the employees of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries who were asked to switch to Airtel when the empire split. Little-known fact: Is a part-time hotelier, having bought and refurbished the 12-acre, 150-room Le Meridien Barbarons Hotel in Seychelles, which came with his acquisition of Telecom Seychelles. Stress management tool: A daily walk around Delhi’s Lodhi Garden. Best recent compliment: From Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who said he was expecting him to effect a transformation in agriculture. Fetishes: Neatness. And can never switch off from business.10. SAMIR AND VINEET JAIN, MEDIA BARONS Expanding Times Because their ownership of The Times of India, the country’s largest selling English daily with a circulation of over two million, sustained in the face of competition, gives them tremendous corporate and political clout. Because they have fulfilled a long-standing ambition to enter the TV news channel market, with Times Now. Because they have set new trends in advertising by buying stakes in big cross-group advertisers such as Videocon and Pantaloon Retail. Because they had a successful IPO of Entertainment Network India Limited, that raised over Rs 200 crore and operates, among others, Radio Mirchi, which has seven radio stations, with seven more to go. Because while their rivals have dumbed down, they have smartened up. Power moment: Getting President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as guest editor of The Times of India. Relative values: The family’s close relationship with religious gurus. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Deepak Chopra are current favourites. Should be embarrassed about: The tabloid Mumbai Mirror, which was launched with much fanfare, and is now circulated free as part of TOI’s Mumbai edition. Prized possession: The family’s art collection, which Samir Jain’s brother-in-law was asked to evaluate. Character traits: Samir likes exotic flowers, endless religious discourses and Indian art; Vineet likes high tech, high life and low costs. Turnaround: Loosened purse-strings for journalists who were earlier second-class citizens.11. SUBHASH CHANDRA, MEDIA BARONS Turn Around Because his channel Zee TV is finally back in the TRP reckoning, with a 25 per cent revenue raise this year. Because in tandem with the Bhaskar Group, the chairman of Essel Group has taken on The Times of India in Mumbai with DNA. Because though he has stepped back from micro-managing, he still takes his role as TV pioneer seriously, launching Zee Sports, the first sports channel owned by an Indian, Play TV, the country’s first interactive gaming channel, and Zee Arabiya. Little-known fact: He is a high school dropout who wanted to be an engineer. Recent personal acquisition: A customised Mercedes Vito van. Surprise: Zee TV CEO Pradeep Guha has lasted more than a year. 12. ANAND MAHINDRA, INDUSTRIALIST In Top Gear Because he has ramped up M&M’s group turnover to Rs 14,300 crore from Rs 11,250 crore. Because the group market cap has doubled from Rs 6,750 crore to Rs 13,500 crore. Because all his businesses: auto, software, real estate and finance are firing from all cylinders. Because with the acquisition of aerospace engineering company Plexion and forging giant Am Forge, M&M is poised to storm the market as an auto conglomerate which designs, engineers and produces vehicles. Because he is entering the truck market with International Trucks and the car market with Renault. BecauseTech Mahindra will belisted this year. Because he is seen as the articulate face of the young Indian entrepreneur. Book on his bedside: Saturday by Ian McEwan. Latest passion: His new boat, Dreamcatcher. What he told Bush: “We would like to sell a tractor to you.”13. NANDAN NILEKANI, BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Digital Dada Because he has strengthened Infosys as a global brand that has doubled revenues in less than two years to cross the $2 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) mark this year. Because his thoughts on the playing field being levelled inspired a new business concept as interpreted in Thomas L. Friedman’s best seller The World is Flat. Because he believes brand India is on a winning wicket and chaired CII’s “India Everywhere” campaign at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. Little-known fact: He got the Joseph Schumpeter award of the Austrian government, joining an elite club that includes Helmut Kohl and Ted Turner. Loves: Listening to Pink Floyd and Dire Straits on his iPod. First pay: Rs 1,200 with Patni Computers in 1979.14. PETER MUKERJEA, BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Murdoch’s Man Because his second Hindi entertainment channel, Star One, took off quicker than all the wits on the uber-successful Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Because after a little adjustment for cross-media control guidelines, the ill-starred direct-to-home (DTH) service, Tata Sky, will start operations by June in Mumbai, almost a decade after Rupert Murdoch first made his move. Because in the volatile world of satellite TV, his channel bouquet remains the leader in the Hindi general entertainment segment, with revenues of Rs 1,900 crore, and in the even more erratic world of TV talent, 13 years on, he remains the Star TV CEO. Usual management tool: Always ask why. If there’s no convincing answer, there’s no compelling reason. Little cool buddy: Eight-year-old daughter Vidhi, whose homework he does so he can spend time playing with her. Big cool buddies: Doon School mates (1971 batch). Among them, TV anchor Karan Thapar and Max India’s Analjit Singh. Best recent party: His 50th birthday in November last year, celebrated in Thailand, with family, including his 25-year-old and 23-year-old sons from his first marriage. Biggest revelation: When he went to a little tea shop in Nainital and saw Star Utsav on air through Doordarshan’s DTH service.15. DEEPAK PAREKH, BANKER Home Truth Because he has the ear of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is a trusted advisor of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. Because the Rs 1,50,000-crore HDFC group, serving 1.2 crore customers, is one of the largest financial sector groups, straddling home loans, insurance, banking and mutual funds. Because HDFC Bank is the best-run bank. Because thanks to his networking with global CEOs and investment bankers, he is the first stop for investors looking at India. Because no matter who is in power, Parekh is the crisis manager. Loves to: Watch cricket at Lords and tennis at Wimbledon. Favourite relaxation: The odd peg of a 30-year-old Ballantine, with a friend at his artistically designed apartment in south Mumbai. Secret passion: Chocolate cookies, which he buys by the bagful on his foreign trips. Is embarrassed about: His Mumbaiyya Hindi, but only when he is speaking to friends in the Capital.16. SUBRATA ROY, BUSINESSMAN The Survivor Because he has withstood a series of reverses, personal and professional, with his famous friends-if not his Rs 50,000-crore fiefdom-intact. Because he has made sure his luxury real estate and entertainment divisions are unaffected by the change in Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines making it mandatory for his parabanking company to deploy 100 per cent of its deposits in government securities. Because he beat tough competition to win the Indian cricket team’s sponsorship rights for four years, with a bid of over Rs 300 crore, ensuring his brand is always in the spotlight. Should be embarrassed about: His disappearing act which led to rumours of a mysterious illness. Home to him is: A 100-acre estate in Lucknow, where you need a smart card to enter. Recent accomplishment: Losing 15 kg in three months.17. KALANIDHI MARAN, MEDIA BARON Southern Express Because he launched the evening daily Tamizh Murasu that sells more than 4,00,000 copies and introduced the tabloid format for the first time in Tamil mass media in 2005. Because, in a switch in strategy, he bagged 45 of the 69 FM radio licences on offer this year to move beyond the Vindhyas. Because he expanded TV coverage with two more music channels-Aditya in Telugu music and Udaya 2 in Kannada-to make Sun TV a 14-channel network. Because all roadblocks to his DTH licence have been cleared. Because his is the No. 1 TV network in the country, with a 20 per cent share of the cable and satellite households, while Star at No. 2 has a 17 per cent share. Because even Jayalalithaa has not dared to target Maran, though he is bitter rival K. Karunanidhi’ grand nephew. Relative values: It doesn’t hurt that his younger brother Dayanidhi is Minister of Communications and Information Technology.Hot wheels: A gleaming silver Porsche bought last year. Loves: Spicy Thai cuisine18. ADITYA CHOPRA, PRODUCER Studio One Because Yash Raj Films (YRF) made Rs 130 crore at the box office last year from three successive films. Because while Yash Chopra is the public face of the company, his son has quietly powered the company into distribution, audio, home video, and now a Rs 100-crore state-of-the-art airconditioned studio, whose interiors have been designed by wife Payal. Because his “must-watch-every-new-film-in-a-theatre-on-Friday” theory allows him to tap into contemporary culture. Because nothing in his company escapes his eagle eye, from the pictures sent to the media to the font on premiere invites. Because while other filmmakers say give the market what it wants, he says the market should want what he gives. Because he can make, or unmake, Bollywood stars. Master-of-the-universe move: Has invested in a film development and special projects division which works on scripts by new writers, surprising in an industry which puts wordsmiths at the bottom of the food chain. Fetish: Never gets photographed or interviewed. Thinks nothing of: Dropping all work to fly to New York for over a week to help childhood buddy Karan Johar in the shoot of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Usually to be found: Playing table tennis with in-house directors at the YRF office-cum-studio.19. VIJAY MALLYA, BUSINESSMAN advertisementadvertisementadvertisementHigh On Flying Because by launching Kingfisher Airlines, he put the class back into economy air travel, and by paying over Rs 1,500 crore for Shaw Wallace, UB became the world’s second largest liquor company. Because two of his labels, Bagpiper and McDowell No. 1, are the largest selling whisky brands in the world. Cool buddies: Biotech tycoon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, banker Anil Khanna, UB distributor Neeraj Rawal, car racer Vicky Chandok and school buddy Rafiq Gangjee.Stress management tool: Party, which he did in style for three consecutive days in Goa on turning 50. Lionel Ritchie sang-all night long. Fetish: Sports the all-black attire for 41 days before going to pray at Sabarimala once a year. Prized possession: Tipu Sultan’s sword bought for Rs 1.50 crore from a London auction house. New toy: A $35 million Airbus corporate jet to add to a collection which includes a fleet of 100 cars and two yachts.20. E. SREEDHARAN, ENGINEER Delivery Man Because with 4,50,000 people travelling by Delhi Metro on a daily basis, he has changed the way the Capital commutes. Because he has laid 56 km of rail lines in seven years at a cost of Rs 10,571 crore, in the busiest areas of Delhi, without disrupting traffic. Because he is an icon of credibility, as the Government showed when it invited him to evaluate the controversial airport modernisation bids. USP: Punctuality. Any train late by more than 60 seconds is declared “dead”. Stress management tool: Yoga, an afternoon nap, no parties, snooze time-8.30 p.m. Bet you didn’t know: Gifted a copy of The Bhagwad Gita to all DMRC staff on new year. Fetish: Keeps a notebook next to him, even when he is doing yoga, to write down ideas.21. K.V. KAMATH, BANKER Cashing In Because ICICI is the fastest growing and the largest private sector bank in the country. Because he took the total assets of what was once just a development finance institution, from over Rs 1,45,000 crore in 2004 to about Rs 2,10,000 crore last year. Because the total number of accounts in ICICI Bank jumped from 10 million to 17 million and total deposits from almost Rs 82,000 crore to Rs 1,34,000 crore in a year. Because ICICI is the leader in retail lending. Because he was the first to identify and benefit from the boom in small town India, and is now focusing on the rural market. Because he has taken the ICICI business global with branches in 10 countries across the globe. Because he enabled the successful settlement of troubles in India’s largest business house, Reliance. Books on his bedside: Adventures of a Bystander by Peter Drucker and Universal History of Numbers by Georges Ifrah. Loves to: Watch Formula One car racing and Grand Slam tennis. Mentor power: ICICI chairman emeritus Narayan Vaghul. Stress management tool: Weight training and stretching exercises. Fetish: Always dresses in shades of blue. Favourite film star: Ultimate showman Raj Kapoor. Would like to: Pay more attention to his health. Favourite line: The next growth horizon is rural India. We must make sure we get in place for the boom.22. SHAH RUKH KHAN, ACTOR Box-Office Badshah Because despite a lacklustre year at the box office, his marquee value remains undiminished, thanks to a series of high-visibility advertising campaigns. Because he has smartly replaced Amitabh Bachchan in the much-sought-after affections of the Gandhi family. Because at 40, he is the king every new pretender has to unseat. Books by his bedside: Reads several simultaneously. His current crop: Khushwant Singh’s I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale Sing; Muhammad Umar Memon’s Book of Urdu Short Stories; and A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage. Loves to: Watch DVDs, especially episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives and Nip and Tuck, usually on his new laptop, a Compaq Presario, the latest brand endorsed by him. What drives him: The idea of working. Fashion statement: Black Gucci vest, Seven jeans, Cesar Paciotti shoes, Tag Heuer watch and Louis Vuitton bag. Stress management tool: Spending time with his children Aryaan, 8, and Suhana, 4. Drops them to school first thing in the morning and tucks them to bed at night, before hitting his personal gym.23. PRANNOY AND RADHIKA ROY, MEDIA OWNERS Making News Because they have maintained their leadership in the hard-nosed English news channel segment with a 33 per cent market share. Because Prannoy Roy is still the most credible face on Indian TV. Because together, they constitute a formidable team which commands respect and loyalty in equal measure. Major moment: Making their maiden appearance at the WEF jamboree in Davos. Should be embarrassed about: Losing Rajdeep Sardesai and the others who joined him at CNN-IBN. Stress management tool: Weekends in Mussoorie hideaway. Relative values: Their closeness to Radhika’s sister Brinda Karat and niece, filmmaker Shonali Bose.24. RAHUL BAJAJ, INDUSTRIALIST Cruise Control Because in a highly competitive market, Bajaj Auto is back in the fast lane. Because within a year, his company’s gross turnover jumped from about Rs 5,800 crore to Rs 9,000 crore. Because the market capitalisation of his shares has almost quadrupled to Rs 30,000 crore. Because by March-end, Bajaj would have sold over 2.3 million bikes and could just nudge back to pole position. Because Hamara Bajaj is still the first voice to crash the sound barrier when it comes to airing Indian business interests. Because he is still the captain of Indian industry far beyond his two-wheeler empire. Favourite film stars: Clint Eastwood and Amitabh Bachchan. His all-time favourite movie is Sholay. Preferred vacation: Going on cruises. Has done five, including on the Caribbean, Alaska and the Mediterranean. Rare honour: The Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award last year. He is only the second Indian to have received it. Stays clear of: Party politics, as “I will lose the freedom to speak out”. Next goal: Ensuring the split with brother Shishir goes smoothly.25. RAMESH AND SUDHIR AGARWAL, MEDIA BARONS DNA Warriors Because they have forayed into English media by launching DNA in partnership with Zee, adding it to their folio of language newspapers in 26 cities and six states and securing an estimated readership of over 1.5 crore, according to the National Readership Survey. Because with a Rs 135-crore plan to launch FM stations in 17 towns, the Rs 2,000-crore group synergy is being closely watched by industry analysts. Because by sparing no expense in the launch of DNA (Rs 80 crore on just the market survey and ad blitz), they have shown they have deep pockets and the guts to empty them. Cool buddies: For Ramesh, they are sons Sudhir, Girish and Pawan, and classmate Vimal Bhandari. For Sudhir, it is homemaker wife Jyoti. Are embarrassed about: For Ramesh, it’s for being tightfisted with journalists in the past. For Sudhir, it’s for not having moved out of a small town in time. Addicted to: Work. So much so, that they had to organise annual Dandia fests on Dussehra to socialise in Bhopal. Next move: This year they plan to start Bhaskar from Punjab, another DNA edition and an FM radio station in Jaipur. Another 16 FM stations will be launched in January 2007. 26. M.F. HUSAIN, ARTIST Celebrity Feat Because he derives his power purely by dint of his barefoot genius. Becausethough he holds no public office, and never has, he is anall-encompassing cultural phenomenon. Because he is ubiquitous, whetherhe is being hounded by fundamentalists for a painting of Bharat Mata orbeing feted by the art mart. Because last year, his work Last Suppernotched the highest ever sale price of $2 million (approximately Rs 8.80 crore) in an online sale in Singapore. Because though he has no fixedaddress, he still manages to mark his presence indelibly in theimagination of innumerable people. Stress management tool: Watching Hindi films, sometimes more than one a day. Sometimes the same film over and over again. Current favourite: Iqbal. Obsessed with: Women. As muse and consort. Big cool buddy: Filmmaker Yash Chopra. Next move: To make his autobiographical film M.F. Husain ki Kahani. 27. AMAR SINGH, POLITICIAN Thakur On Top Beacuse he has transformed a personal embarrassment into a political campaign to revive the Third Front, getting support from across the divide, from J. Jayalalithaa to Prakash Karat. Because despite no mass appeal, he is probably the most important person in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to his proximity to Mulayam Singh Yadav. Because despite his troubles, his famous friends stand by him. Obsessive about: Sonia Gandhi, whom he blames for all the wrongs in his life, from his children’s education to the Samajwadi Party being kept out of the UPA Government. Should be embarrassed about: Risque phone conversations with women friends that his wife and daughters seem comfortable with. Stress management tool: Photo-ops with his close buddies at religious pilgrimage spots.28. JAVED AKHTAR AND SHABANA AZMI, ARTISTES Voices Of Reason Because taking time off from powerhouse performances and speed lyrics, they have invested effort in social causes, be it earthquake relief or creating awareness about the Muslim Personal Law Board. Because while Azmi’s international work continues, Akhtar has found an unexpected additional profession: as speaker at various symposiums across the world. Because they are often called to 10 Janpath for brainstorming sessions. Little-known fact: Azmi is the “world’s worst cook” and Akhtar was a gymnast as a boy and a ballroom dancer in his 20s. Prized possession: Azmi says it is her father’s gold Mont Blanc pen, the “only material possession he had”, which her mother gave her with a beautiful note. For Akhtar, it is an Anjolie Ela Menon.29. RAJNIKANT, ACTOR Marquee Mogul Because the Tamil superstar burned up the screens last year for 325 days, making Rs 60 crore with Chandramukhi. Because with a Rs 15-crore cheque for his forthcoming Sivaji, he has emerged as the country’s highest paid actor. Because he opened an entire new world market for Tamil films with his 1995 hit, Muthu. Because he has resisted the temptation to monetise his celebrity status and promote any brand. Little-known fact: After completing a film he goes on a 40-day pilgrimage to the Himalayas. Big cool buddies: Telugu actor Mohan Babu and Kannada star Ambarish. Prized possession: A white Fiat he bought from his first earnings in the 1970s. Stress management tool: A dose of meditation and Black Dog whisky. Relative values: Tamil star Dhanush is his son-in-law.30. RAGHAV BAHL, MEDIA TYCOON Business Boom Because with Awaaz, CNN-IBN and a stake in Channel 7, his Rs 1,100-crore media house TV18 has grown from being a single-channel company to a versatile news bouquet in the past 13 months. Because CNBC and Awaaz have given him 80 per cent of the business news market. Because he commands the respect of industry veterans with his non-abrasive but firm style of anchoring, which he does less frequently now, on the weekday CNBC show The Nation’s Business. Fetish: Guards his privacy fiercely. “I have no social friends. All my friends are people I work with,” he says. Should be embarrassed about: Not being tech savvy, despite being at the helm of a business empire. Stress management tool: A glass of Scotch, preferably Ballantine’s or Johnie Walker Black Label, aged between 12 and 18 years. Or a session of yoga.31. T. VENKATRAM REDDY, MEDIA BARON Deccan King Because he survived the onslaught of The Hindu and The Times of India to retain Deccan Chronicle’s position as Andhra Pradesh’s largest selling English daily. Because the Rs 149 crore he raised on the stock market in December 2004 helped him acquire The Asian Age, buy the Odyssey chain of stores, take his daily to Chennai and emerge, or so he says, as the owner of the fourth largest English newspaper. Because he also publishes The International Herald Tribune. Master-of-the-universe move: Launching Deccan Chronicle in Chennai last year to take on the Mahavishnu of Mount Road, The Hindu. Prized possessions: A Porsche Cayenne and a Rolex Daytona cosmograph. Big cool buddies: Vijay Mallya and M.J. Akbar. Should be embarrassed about: Not getting a second term in the Rajya Sabha despite his Congressman father.32. RAKESH JHUNJHUNWALA, STOSK BROKER Raging Bull Because from being a mere trader, he has gone on to become a builder of strong companies through private equity investments in assets as varied as ratings firm Crisil and security company Tops Security. Because he saw the future in 2002, predicting long before the charge of the bull brigade began, that the stock market was on the verge of a boom. Because he bet on Titan in 2001 when the stock was trading at Rs 35, and now, when he holds 8.5 per cent stake in the company, its stock price is Rs 800. Big cool buddies: Fellow investors Radhakrishnan Damani, Ramesh Damani and Kalpraj Dharamsi. Little-known fact: That he is the cousin of Anil Ambani’s lieutenant Amitabh Jhunjhunwala. Dream: To buy and fly a Gulfstream aircraft. Embarrassed about: His weight. He thinks he eats and drinks too much and wants to lose 25 kg. Next move: To become an international trader and investor when the Reserve Bank of India allows capital account convertibility.33. MAHENDRA MOHAN AND SANJAY GUPTA, MEDIA BARONS Heartland Honchos Because the 25-edition Dainik Jagran’s claim of the largest readership of about two crore is backed by IRS, NRS and ABC. Because they had a successful IPO, raising over Rs 300 crore. Because with strategic tie-ups with the UK-based O’Reilly’s The Independent and CNN-IBN, the Guptas acquired formidable partners last year. Because the group, with an annual turnover of more than Rs 450 crore, now plans to launch an English language newspaper and a standalone weekly tabloid. Little-known fact: Sanjay’s father, grandfather and uncle shared a prison cell in Kanpur during the Emergency for four days. Prized possessions: His father’s Rolex watch for Sanjay. For Mahendra, it is his father’s teachings. Best known for: Hosting parties which bring the heartland’s street cuisine to Delhi, with an array of chaats and sweets. Little cool buddies: Sanjay is close to son Dhruva, 12, while Mahendra has a card-playing set.34. SATISH SHARMA, POLITICIAN Favourite Uncle Because he is the only “uncle” who is as close to the Gandhi Gen Next as he was to Rajiv Gandhi. Because he is the only MP to contest from both the First Family constituencies, Amethi and Rae Bareli. Because though he may not have become minister, he has enough power to decide who does. Prized possession: The Indian flag carried by space shuttle Discovery. It hangs in his drawing room. His style: Patek Philippe watch, holidays on the French Riviera and flying his favourite B-200 King Air Beechcraft. Fetish: Jogging morning and evening at his farm. Relative values: His Dutch-born wife keeps his feet firmly on the ground.35. SACHIN TENDULKAR, SPORTSMAN Top Earner Because at 5 ft 4 inch, he continues to stand tall in cricket with more international centuries than anyone else in the game. Because after 16 years in a fickle business he is still the highest earning celebrity brand, over Big B and SRK. Because in his presence, presidents, prime ministers and tycoons all turn into fans. Little-known fact: The man of steel suffers from pre-match nerves and disturbed sleep before big games. It is his way of getting ready. Prized possession: Toss up between the Ferrari 360 Modena and the guitar presented to him by rock great Mark Knopfler. Big cool buddies: Everyone wants him to be their instant best friend but Tendulkar’s inner circle of childhood confidants and Mumbai cricketers is a small one. Stress management tool: The iPod with its Bose speaker-docking station that carries all his music. His favourites: Dire Straits, Pink Floyd and, recently, Robbie Williams.36. AAMIR KHAN, ACTOR Rebel With Cause Because he has emerged as Bollywood’s Arundhati Roy, taking on causes such as corruption and terrorism. Because he emerged from his self-imposed fouryear exile to get a great first-week box office revenue of Rs 19 crore for the Rs 35-crore Mangal Pandey; a dream-run of Rs 50 crore, and still counting, for the Rs 25-crore Rang De Basanti, and endorsements from Titan and Toyota. Because he rose above tabloid fodder about his second marriage to Kiran Rao to reach out to audiences directly with his work. Little-known fact: He is a big prankster, going to great lengths to play April Fool’s Day jokes on his friends. Fetish: Being accurately quoted in the media, down to the dotted i-s and the crossed t-s, and will pursue it even if it takes a two-hour SMS session. Preferred transport: He never travels in anything less than a Mercedes. This is written in every contract. Character trait: No starry tantrums while working. Often shares a makeup van and eats with the unit.37. KIRAN MAZUMDAR SHAW, BUSINESSWOMAN Bionic Woman Because apart from retaining her position as India’s richest woman, she has become a voice to reckon with on industrial issues. Because she was the only woman CMD in the high-powered CEO forum formed by the Government on how best to boost trade relations with the US. Because she is not afraid to speak her mind and has even taken on state governments. Because doors open for the Padma Bhushan winner in Delhi, even those leading to 10 Janpath. Badly needs: Stress management. Admits she hasn’t learnt to prioritise her life and tends to say yes to almost everything. Is embarrassed about: Bangalore’s infrastructure and the proposal to change its name to Bengaluru. Cool buddies: Nandan Nilekani, Vijay Mallya and Naina Lal Kidwai. Fashion statement: Pearls and kurtis. Loves: Everything Scottish. Husband John Shaw is from there, her home is called Glenmore, and she cannot live without vacations in Glasgow. Dotes on: Her 10-year-old nephew Eric, who lives in Indiana, USA.38. SUNITA NARAIN, ENVIRONMENTALIST Agent Provocateur Because she has become the Government’s lightning rod on environment issues. Because be it the vanishing tigers of Sariska, the clean-up of the Yamuna, fighting for green fuel for public transport or pushing soft drink companies to meet water quality standards, the Government sought and listened to her advice. Because she is willing to do in-depth research and push ahead with the cause even in the face of debilitating criticism. Cool buddies: Retired IAS officer Bhure Lal and agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan. Stress management: Yoga. A teacher comes home daily. Hot wheels: Wants to switch to a battery-operated car from her current Maruti Zen. Little-known fact: The fact-finding and research-oriented ecologist has a BA Pass course.39. KAPILA VATSYAYAN, CULTURAL ADMINISTRATOR Doughty Doyenne Because despite a PIL against her, the newly-nominated Rajya Sabha member has made a comeback to Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, one of the richest cultural institutions of the country, from where she was turfed out by the NDA government in 2000. Because as vice-chairperson of the advisory committee in the Culture Ministry, Indian representative on UNESCO’s executive board, and chief patron of the Asia project under the India International Centre, she is back in the heart of Delhi’s social circle. Fashion mishap: Tulsi beads and chandan on her forehead and a rudraksh necklace that supposedly keep her famous temper in check. Little-known fact: She often breaks into an impromptu dance when hosting a dinner. Character trait: Speaks in erudite elliptical sentences which only insiders understand.40. KARAN SINGH, POLITICIAN Dharmic Prince Because the political prince is a ready dispenser of cultural favours as president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and India International Centre. Because as head of the World Council of Religions and convener of the Congress party’s foreign relations cell, he indulges his other passions: of playing learned man and policy wonk. Because he hopes it will be a prelude to his long-cherished ambition to be vice-president of India next year. Big cool buddies: None after the late Romesh Thapar. Style: Safari suit with Nehru cap. Fetish: Is likely to burst into bhajans at any moment. Stress management tool: The sheersh asan. Next career move: From VIP to VPI.41. AVEEK SARKAR, MEDIA BARON Bengal Tiger Because with two news channels in three years, phenomenal growth of Bengali newspaper Ananda Bazar Patrika, a monopoly in the Bengali magazine market, and the biggest English newspaper in West Bangal, he has refused to follow the beaten path of other media houses in the state. Because his Star Ananda has set the tone for 24X7 news channels in Bengali, capturing 50 per cent of the West Bengal TV news market within a month of its launch. Should be embarrassed: That he “drinks only Grand Cru claret, Bolivian coffee and smokes only Davidoff cigars”. Fetish: His suits come from Lahore because he thinks the tailoring there is superior to that of Saville Row. Little-known fact: That he presented former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto an M.F. Husain painting. It showed her father being hanged.42. YOGI DEVESHWAR, BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Green Revolutionary Because he can give a lesson or two to the UPA on how to serve the aam admi, creating 2 million jobs primarily in tribal areas. Because he has integrated 3.5 million farmers across 31,000 villages into ITC’s value chain. Because he has diversified what was once a tobacco company into an FMCG behemoth, with only 60 per cent of his company’s earnings coming from the sale of cigarettes. Because CII, of which he is currently president, speaks his language-the speed of growth is not as important as its spread. Because green is not just a colour with him, but also-with practically no solid waste disposals for ITC-a corporate mantra. Favourite line: “I’m a very common person.” Pet gadget: A Treo phone, which he uses as his diary to keep in touch with everyone. Stress management tool: Used to be golf, but he doesn’t play that often now.43. SHOBHANA BHARTIA, MEDIA OWNER Chasing Times Because with the launch of Hindustan Times in Mumbai, she upped the stakes against The Times of India. Because the Rs 1,000-crore company has now diversified into FM radio, signing a joint venture with Richard Branson’s Virgin. Because she raised Rs 370 crore through a public issue. Because she has just been nominated to the Rajya Sabha, a house familiar to her father. Big cool buddies: Jyotiraditya Scindia, Raian Karanjawala and Murli Deora. Little-known facts: She has a fetish for even numbers. All her cars are either 8888 or 2222. Should be embarrassed about: Her editorial director referring to her as Princess in his newspaper columns.44. SANIA MIRZA, TENNIS PLAYER Smash Hit Because she became sport’s most visible brand in 2005, turning a modest Rs 5.5-lakh deal in January 2005 into a Rs 1.5-crore signing fee per deal 12 months later. Because, with a lightningspeed whip of her racquet, she became the biggest Indian sporting icon outside the cricket team. Because in an age of cultural straitjacketing, she defies all stereotypes. Mistress-of-the-universe move: Shooting up the WTA rankings from No. 206 to 31 last year, winning her first title and making it to the last 16 in the US Open. Fashion statement: Her T-shirt at Wimbledon that said, “Well-behaved women rarely make history”. Little-known fact: That she turned down an endorsement offer from Nike because it would have meant abandoning her oldest sponsor GVK, whose logo she still sports.45. PARMESHWAR GODREJ, SOCIAL ARBITER Queen P Because she led from the front at the WEF’s India Everywhere campaign, clapping for Indian delegates and performers alike. Because Heroes Project, a national movement cochaired by her along with Hollywood star Richard Gere, gathered more celebrity support with cricketing star Rahul Dravid and actor Amitabh Bachchan doing TV ads last year. Because in a city where parties are aplenty, her guest list remains the one to die for. Big cool buddies: From Bill Clinton and Goldie Hawn to her over-the-top kindred spirit Donatella Versace. Character trait: Is full of Punjabi warmth but not if you are on her wrong side. Prized possessions: Her family. Husband, three children, and grandchildren Aryaan and Azaar. Style statement: Gravity-defying dresses and unique, Ascot-worthy headgear.46. RAJIV SETHI, CULTURAL CZAR God Of Small Things Because the new vice-chairperson of the impressive-sounding Taskforce on Creative and Cultural Industries at the Planning Commission is on the verge of getting the Government to accord manufacturing sector status for unorganised rural artisans. Because, after a 90-minute presentation to Sonia Gandhi last year, both Renuka Choudhary and Sheila Dikshit rushed to offer him Delhi’s Safdarjung Airport land for his NGO, Asian Heritage Foundation. Because starting as chief aide to Pupul Jayakar in the 1980s, he has now become one of the world’s most sought after scenographers. Style: Creator of the angavastram chic, which he first tried on Rajiv Gandhi. Big cool buddy: Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Hot wheels: A bicycle in his office which he cannot ride and an Ambassador Classic, which is chauffeured. Prized possession: The best maintained network of international culturati.47. K. SUBRAHMANYAM, STRATEGIC ANALYST Atomic Power Because the chairman of the new Task Force on Global Strategic Developments will shape India’s future strategic thinking. Because the first convenor of the National Security Board’s passionate advocacy for the benefits of the nuclear deal was one of the many voices the Government listened to. Because it doesn’t hurt that S. Jaishankar, the head of Americas division in the Foreign Office and a key interlocutor in the Indo-US deal, is his son. Character trait: Obsessive about his work. When the then US Ambassador Frank Wisner called on him after a bypass surgery in 1996, he asked him, “Have you read my article today?” Little-known fact: As chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in 1977-79, he drafted the standard operating procedure in case of a hijack and then spent 36 hours aboard a hijacked flight to Jammu in 1984. Best known for: Never losing an argument.48. CHARLES CORREA, ARCHITECT Urban Cowboy Because the architect, planner, activist and theoretician has been appointed chairman of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission where he is preserving and maintaining the aesthetics of Delhi’s skyline. Because as he showed in the controversial Mumbai mill land redevelopment case, he is not afraid to speak up for urban breathing space, taking on a powerful lobby of politicians, builders and mill owners. Master-of-the-universe move: His design of the new Brain and Cognitive Science building at MIT, Cambridge, unveiled in December 2005. The 30,000 sq ft structure is the largest neuroscience centre in the world and has a railroad line running through it. Stress management tools: Making films (You and Your Neighbourhood, 1955; City on Water, 1974) and watching films- from old favourites like La Dolce Vita to newer ones like Being John Malkovich. Prized possession: His toy trains, collected since childhood, which taught him the principles of basic design. Favourite line: “As an architect, your concerns are not limited by the commissions you get.”49. HARISH SALVE, LAWYER Legal Evangelist Because it was only after he was appointed the Supreme Court’s amicus curiae in the Best Bakery retrial that the court convicted nine of the 17 accused. Because it was he who won the case against reservation in private institutions. Because he has argued in court for almost all the other names in INDIA TODAY’s power list. Because though his fee ranges from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for a final hearing, it is never more than what he can deliver. Favourite cause: Civil liberty. Has represented Jayalalithaa against the income tax department and is taking on Amar Singh’s phone tapping case, solely because he sees both as victims of the government’s political agenda. Favourite song: Misty by Ella Fitzgerald. Especially when his wife Meenakshi sings it. Hot wheels: His red 530D turbo-prop BMW.50. VENUGOPAL DHOOT, INDUSTRIALIST Global Predator Because he is going international with a vengeance. Because he is the first port of call for M&A adventurers looking to sell consumer durables plants in India or abroad. Because he has bought out the picture tube division of Thomson and the Indian operations of Electrolux and is now gunning for Daewoo Electronics. Because he is the largest producer of glass shells for television companies. Because he is the third-largest picture tube maker in the world. Because Videocon is India’s largest television and washing machine maker. Little-known fact: Often gives lengthy discourses on the Bhagwad Gita for private audiences. Loves to: Play the flute in the mornings. Management tool: Brainstorming over lunch.last_img read more

Mary Kom hails inclusion of women’s boxing in London Olympics

first_imgFour-time world champion MC Mary Kom on Thursday hailed the inclusion of women’s boxing in the London Olympics as a “dream-come-true” moment and vowed to defy age and clinch gold in the 2012 Games.”It’s a dream-come-true for me. The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision has given me the strength to continue. I would represent my country at the biggest sporting show in the world and have to win gold. It cannot get any bigger then this,” an elated Mary Kom told PTI.Women’s boxing was on Thursday included in the 2012 London Games at an IOC meeting in Berlin. Boxing administrators had earlier lobbied for inclusion in the Beijing Olympics but could not get the IOC’s nod.The International Boxing Association last year roped in Mary Kom as it’s brand ambassador and the Indian played a crucial role in making AIBA’s campaign successful this time.”I was a part of the AIBA campaign and I travelled to countries like Sweden to raise awareness about the sport. I am thankful to the IOC for recognising our efforts,” she said.The 27-year-old mother of two, who currently competes in the pin weight 46kg division, would be in her 30s when the London Games are held but the Khel Ratna pugilist says she wouldn’t let age become a factor.”I am ready to make all the adjustments. I will have to increase my weight a bit to fit into the 51kg category which (along with 60kg and 75kg) has been picked for the London Games. Yes, it will be tough at that age but I have the will power to make it happen,” Mary Kom said.Mary Kom has won a medal at every World Championships starting with a silver in the first edition in 2001. The Manipuri clinched a gold in every edition of the event after that, prompting AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu to call her ‘Magnificent Mary’.Her fourth straight world title came in China last year where she went into the competition after just two months of training as the birth of her twin sons had kept her out of the ring for nearly two years.”If I could do it then, I can do it again,” she said.Mary Kom said she would have lost the motivation to continue for long had the sport not got the IOC approval for 2012 Games.”It’s all about motivation. If this had not happened, I would have competed for another couple of years but then my dream would have died,” she said.AIBA included women’s boxing in its programme in 1994 and the sport is currently competed in 120 countries.Compared to the 124 boxers who took part in the inaugural World Championships, there were 218 competitors in the last edition in China.advertisementlast_img read more

Jammu & Kashmir: Even as terror takes centrestage, people push ahead with elections

first_imgRallying ground: Parties like the NC are drawing crowds, as at this rally for Omar Abdullah in Kupwara town. But even a small gathering would be unsafe without security firepowerOmar Abdullah shifts the brand new silver-grey Scorpio Turbo into fifth gear. Noisy Srinagar has disappeared, the frequency-jamming car ahead is,Rallying ground: Parties like the NC are drawing crowds, as at this rally for Omar Abdullah in Kupwara town. But even a small gathering would be unsafe without security firepowerOmar Abdullah shifts the brand new silver-grey Scorpio Turbo into fifth gear. Noisy Srinagar has disappeared, the frequency-jamming car ahead is setting the pace and in cars behind there are more than a dozen guards bristling with automatic weapons.The sun-dappled, poplar-lined highway to Baramulla, from which he will veer off to address the day’s three political rallies in Kupwara district, is hauntingly beautiful. The company of Rashtriya Rifles by a stretch of apple orchards near the highway, checking for landmines, belong in a picture postcard from the edge. It’s a lovely day to drive.So Omar, son of Farooq, recently crowned king of the ruling National Conference (NC) and its chief minister-in-waiting, does what any urbane young man with a punishing poll schedule, troubled inheritance, tense future and life on the line-he now ranks after Farooq on the terrorist hit list-might do to unwind. He reaches out, taps a switch on the dash and plays a tape of Buddha Bar.As soothing lounge music fills the car, I tease him about how the day before, Mehbooba Mufti had complimented the “generosity of the Crown Prince who campaigns in helicopters and luxury cars”.It was in response to Omar’s own dig earlier, when he said he had to leave some space in newspapers for Mehbooba, archrival and leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that is riding on the promise of ridding the state of the “misrule, nepotism and corruption” of the NC. Omar laughs. He’s enjoying this. “She should talk,” he says. “She’s a political inheritor as well.”advertisementVILLAGE VOICEIndependent candidate Sofi on the trail in Handwara. He draws spontaneous, rapt crowds.Then he gets reflective. “In Kashmir, there are four or five of us in our late 20s to mid-30s.” There’s Mehbooba. There’s Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, a leader in the separatist Hurriyat Conference that is boycotting the polls.There are the Lone brothers, Sajjad and Billal, sons of recently assassinated Abdul Ghani Lone, whose Hurriyat-aligned but moderate People’s Conference have spawned two breakaway, independent candidates. “And there’s me,” says Omar, “We’ll be around for the next few years.” Pause. “After these elections, nobody will be able to say that I haven’t earned my place. It’s an extremely difficult election and I’m working very hard for it.”He and everybody else. On the afternoon of September 11, just five days from the first phase of polling, the state’s Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone was gunned down by Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists at an election rally in Kupwara district.A little later, militants fired at a crowd in Poonch district to the south, gathered at a political rally of an independent candidate. They killed a dozen innocents, including a 12-year-old boy.Though the administration is prepared for violence, the incidents have severely jolted the veneer of security, leading both Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and state Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to declare that security would be beefed up with half a million state and Central forces deployed across the state.Till the fourth and last phase of elections are held on October 8 in Jammu’s terrorist-infested Doda district, the grisly, deliberate toll will continue to rise, pushed by an estimated 3,000 militants spread across Jammu and Kashmir barring Ladakh.Already, since the assembly elections were notified on August 22, about 150 people have died, almost 120 split evenly among militants and civilians, the remaining security folk.Crown prince: Omar Abdullah plays it cool. The NC’s chief ministerin-waiting drives himself wherever he goes. He dresses casually, speaks forcefully, promises clean governance and smoothly trashes the opposition.This land, which ancient Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang and medieval Kashmiri historian Kalhan raved about as heaven on earth, is now a place where just contesting elections is an act of immense bravery. It will come a close second to the crucial act of actually getting out there and voting.In 1996, the government tom-tommed a 40 per cent turnout of the state’s electorate, but in places, actual turnout was reported as low as 8 per cent.This time, if 40 per cent of the state’s 56 lakh voters actually vote, backed by boosted security, the Election Commission’s statement of dealing sternly with incidents of rigging votes and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s pledge of “free and fair” elections, it will be regarded globally as an amazing success story.So far, contestants have come forward for elections in hundreds. In just 15 assembly constituencies in the two first-phase districts of Kupwara and Baramulla, bordering the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the hills teeming with terrorists, there are over a hundred candidates.advertisementAcross the state, all major national parties have fielded candidates. There are active state behemoths like the NC that earned a majority of 57 out of 87 assembly seats in the last elections in 1996, though by Omar’s own admission, anything above 40 seats this time will be a bonus.Congress punters scale it down to 35-37, predicting a NC wipe-out in Jammu. As if to pre-empt this, Omar plays direct at rallies. At a 5,000-strong meet in Kupwara town, after the customary pasting of his opponents- “those who use India’s machinery and then cry for azadi” and “those who owned disco-dancing clubs in Dubai”, this one aimed at Sajjad Lone-he lists out promises: district hospital, sports stadium, higher secondary school and a water-supply scheme.There is the three-year-old PDP of former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. There are breakaway Independents such as the iconic Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi, the key contestant in Handwara who recently left the People’s Conference and whose popular election line, “I can have my head cut of f, but I can’t bow my head” draws spontaneous, cheering, rapt crowds numbering hundreds in his home village of Machipora and elsewhere, his strident speech filled with hate for the NC.Ballot ready: Doda is so rugged and dangerous that it will be the only district to go for voting on October 8- to better focus security. These village defence committee volunteers will help regular troops.There is former militant Kuka Parray who is representing the Awami League from Sonawari in Baramulla; and dozens of traders, teachers and wealthy farmers.It is similar in the Jammu region, with the addition of pro-Hindutva parties like the Shiv Sena and a new coalition of 21 small parties and Independents, the Jammu State Morcha.The Morcha is being guided by the staunchly nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and vows to fight for statehood for the Jammu region, a part of the Union of India without the umbrella of Article 370 of India’s Constitution that bestows special status on Jammu and Kashmir.All this, because even a Kashmir in autumn has more promise of spring in one state election, and stakes big enough for entire nations. There’s something in it for everybody.Pakistan calls it a farce and its President Pervez Musharraf says he can’t stem the tide of militants from his country, which intelligence officials in Srinagar confirm is steady. (“You can’t really stop it,” says one.”If we kill 10, Pakistan will push in 15 so even if five die in the crossing, the strength remains con- stant.”) For India, elections signal free will and democracy are alive and well in its dominion, a crucial play against Pakistan’s claims over Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley.For Omar, it’s a chance to seal his inheritance, overcome his still halting Kashmiri and reverse nepotism in government, sloth, misappropriation and the overbearing attitude of the state’s security apparatus that he freely admits is part of his inheritance.advertisementFor the Hurriyat, it’s an opportunity lost. For people of Ladakh, where two independent candidates from Leh and Nubra constituencies have already been elected unopposed, it’s just a matter of time before the region is by general consensus and Central legislation declared a Union territory.Blood price: Abdul Rahman (right), a candidate from Handwara, was shot dead by militants a day after this photograph was takenFor those in the Jammu State Morcha, essentially a flanking manoeuvre by the BJP, it’s the first step to what many feel is inevitable, whether it comes next year or a decade later: statehood for Jammu. And for Independents, many thrust forward by hopeful groups of villagers or townsfolk to voice their crushed opinion, it is a chance to be part of what should be.It is time for a campaign pit stop. In the garden of the Showqueen Hotel and Restaurant in Handwara, Sheikh Abdul Rahman, independent candidate, sips tea. Next to him, unwinding with a hookah is Ali Mohammad Dar, the Congress’ district president and Rahman’s opponent-both are Sofi’s rivals.Dar is trashing the NC. “They keep switching between being with India and wanting autonomy for Kashmir.” He rants on about the Ikhwani, surrendered militants who now form part of J&K Police’s feared counter-terrorist Special Operations Group, and are known to lean on civilians.Rahman takes a different route. “It would have been better to provide four lakh jobs than hold elections.” If elections aren’t worth it, why fight? “We have to fight for our rights. Unless people have jobs they will pick up the gun.” And what of the threat to his life from the guns of fear and loathing militants are aiming at the elections? “The risk is always there.”The next day, he’s dead. Hizb-ul Mujahideen terrorists ambushed his Sumo, and as his hapless guards dropped their weapons and ran for their lives, the attackers riddled Rahman, his two nephews and his driver with bullets.A Kashmiri will wish for you zindagi, life. He will unashamedly crow about mohabbat, love-a shikara on Srinagar’s Dal Lake is christened “Hello My Sweetheart”, and farm tractors adorn stickers that proclaim, “Kiss”.But “miltan” still call the shots after 13 years of war. And they are doing their damnedest to destroy the elections of 2002, potentially the one that will undo the injustices of 1987 polls, widely believed to have been rigged, and that sparked the firestorm of militant hate that has so far killed 30,000, more than military casualties of independent India’s wars.Today, the terms high BP and low BP have as much to do with high or low blood pressure triggered by tension as they signify high or low levels of bullet-proofing. A phrase during an election speech, or even a simple belief in the concept of polls, can result in death.”In Kashmir, we have all become demons,” blaz es Sajjad Lone. “All of us. We can kill with mere words.” He’s remembering his father. Sajjad regains composure. “Kashmir is not about making India or Pakistan happy, but about making the people of Kashmir happy. We shouldn’t overestimate ourselves.”That theory will be tested over the next month. As Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a sharecropper outside Baramulla, staring at the wake of Omar’s motorcade says, “I’ll vote in the name of Allah, but that day I don’t know where my finger will travel, to press the button for which party.” And so it shall come to pass.-Photographs by Narendra Bishtlast_img read more

Greece Falls In Penalties

first_imgThe Greek National Water Polo team was unlucky in today’s Semi-final against the United States at the FINA World League Super-Final. After an 11-11 tie at the end of regulation, the Galanolefki fell in penalties 6-5.The National Team fell heroically in today’s semi-final against the United States at the FINA World League Super-Final. After a slow start in the first period, falling behind by three goals, Greece brought the game within one goal by half time. By the end of the third quarter, the scores were leveled 10-10. The United States took the lead in the fourth period and Greece dramatically scored a equalizer at the buzzer to send the game to penalties. Unfortunately, in the shootout the United States prevailed 6-5. Afroudakis, who sent the game into penalties with his buzzer-beater goal, missed the penalty that decided the final result. Despite the loss, Greece seems to be ready for the upcoming Olympic Games where our National Team is favored to earn a medal.Greece will play Italy in tomorrow’s 3rd place game in hopes of finishing 3rd in this year’s FINA World League. The Galanolefki defeated Italy 15-5 earlier in the tournament during group play. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Report: Mason Rudolph Rehab Ahead of Schedule

first_imgMason Rudolph underwent surgery just weeks ago on his right foot, and according to a report from Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten, his rehabiliation is progressing ahead of schedule.According to The Tulsa World, Rudolph has already shed his protective boot, and was not wearing it at Monday’s practice. Although his participation is limited, the report states that Gundy expects Rudolph to participate “at a complete level” during next week’s practice sessions. At this point in his recovery, it would appear he should be on track to start in the Sugar Bowl on January 1.“He’s progressing well,” Gundy said. “He’s kind of getting back into it. We want to get him up and running. He’s a little bit ahead of schedule. It’s encouraging, for sure.”If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

MLS Review: Playoff-bound Sounders win big

first_imgMLS MLS Review: Sounders, Timbers win big to book playoff spots Dejan Kalinic Last updated 2 years ago 10:55 10/16/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Harry Shipp Lamar Neagle Will Bruin Seattle Sounders Jennifer Buchanan MLS Seattle Sounders New York RB v Atlanta United Orlando City v Columbus Crew Chicago Fire v Philadelphia Union New England v New York City Toronto v Montreal Impact Colorado Rapids v Real Salt Lake Sporting KC v Houston Dynamo Vancouver Whitecaps v SJ Earthquakes Portland Timbers v DC United Seattle Sounders v Dallas LA Galaxy v Minnesota United FC New England New York City SJ Earthquakes Atlanta United New York RB Toronto Portland Timbers Colorado Rapids Montreal Impact Real Salt Lake LA Galaxy Minnesota United FC Columbus Crew Orlando City Chicago Fire Philadelphia Union Houston Dynamo Sporting KC Vancouver Whitecaps DC United Dallas The Cascadia sides posted 4-0 victories to secure their spots in the Western Conference playoffs The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers recorded resounding wins to clinch MLS playoff spots Sunday.Reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle crushed FC Dallas 4-0 to climb into third place in the Western Conference.The Timbers beat D.C. United 4-0 to also secure a spot from the West, while the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City clinched playoff places as well. Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. In Seattle, the Sounders took a 31st-minute lead through Victor Rodriguez, who finished clinically after being put in by Clint Dempsey.A quick-fire brace from Will Bruin helped Seattle on their way, the forward putting away a rebound and later a side-footed finish. Lamar Neagle headed in a Nicolas Lodeiro cross to complete the comfortable win in additional time.WHAT A PASS! WHAT A GOAL! WHAT A NIGHT!Pure magic at @CenturyLink_Fld . #SEAvDAL pic.twitter.com/hYLLOg8m2T — Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) October 16, 2017 Portland cruised past D.C. thanks to a second-half brace from Sebastian Blanco at Providence Park. Diego Valeri scored via a penalty before Alvas Powell curled in a fine effort shortly after halftime.Blanco made it 3-0 with a curling strike into the top corner on the hour mark before he sealed the victory with one more insurance goal.What. A. Strike. Take a bow, Blanco. #RCTID #PORvDCU pic.twitter.com/bT1e1mypdj — Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) October 16, 2017 Kansas City and Houston are also heading to the playoffs after playing out a 0-0 draw.The first-place Vancouver Whitecaps were held to a 1-1 draw by the San Jose Earthquakes, who are fighting for the sixth and final spot. Yordy Reyna gave Vancouver a first-half lead before Chris Wondolowski equalized with 13 minutes remaining.The sixth-place Earthquakes are level on points with seventh-place Dallas, while Real Salt Lake is a point back after going down 1-0 to Colorado Rapids on a Joshua Gatt strike.The Eastern Conference playoff spots were already secured, with Supporters’ Shield winner Toronto FC edging the Montreal Impact 1-0 thanks to Jozy Altidore’s early tally.New York City FC went down to New England Revolution 2-1, as Diego Fagundez scored twice before Khiry Shelton pulled one back late.Nemanja Nikolic pulled clear atop the goalscoring charts with a hat trick in Chicago Fire’s 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union, who scored off an Alejandro Bedoya strike and Johan Kappelhof own goal.Elsewhere, the New York Red Bulls drew 0-0 with Atlanta United and Ola Kamara scored as Orlando City lost 1-0 to the Columbus Crew in Kaka’s final game for the club.True love from our Captain. #ThankYouKaka pic.twitter.com/DMBLveTLNu — Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) October 15, 2017 The LA Galaxy powered past Minnesota United 3-0, meanwhile, on a Romain Alessandrini brace and Jonathan dos Santos strike.last_img read more

Nightmare for Bengalis in Assam

first_imgFor the Bengalis in Assam–both Hindu and Muslim–the year 2019 is proving to be a veritable annus horibilis, a terrible year. The final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) is going to be published on July 31. In two lists–the second was an addition to the first and main one–nearly 41.09 lakh Bengali citizens have been left out of the NRC. They will be eventually declared Bangladeshis but Bangladesh will not accept any of them. So they, along with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, born in India (Assam) will never get Indian citizenship and virtually become stateless with no citizenship rights, no admission to schools, no jobs and not even admission to hospitals when they fall ill. This inhuman situation is being created by the present dispensation in its holy mission of making India ghuspetia-free. As many as fifty persons have committed suicide so far after they found their names omitted from the NRC. Ironically, there are more Hindus among those who committed suicide than Muslims. Also Read – A special kind of bondHow many ghuspetias (illegal infiltrators) can be actually deported is anybody’s guess, but there is no doubt that the desperate attempt to get one’s name included in the NRC has created a highly lucrative ghush (bribe) industry. Corrupt officials are charging a ‘fee’ of anything between one and three thousand rupees (according to his estimate of the payer’s capacity) for inclusion of a name in the NRC. Apart from those whose names have not appeared in the NRC, there are several thousand “doubtful” voters who have been kept in detention camps. There are six detention camps now. The number will soon go up to ten as more ‘doubtful’ voters are being caught and herded into the camps. The ‘doubtful’ or ‘D” voters cannot vote till their citizenship right has been conclusively proved. Also Read – Insider threat managementAnother dirty game is going on side by side with omitting genuine Indian citizens’ names from the NRC. Some senior BJP leaders are nudging local people to file objections against suspected ‘Bangladeshis’ names being included in the NRC. The persons in whose names the objections are being filed are themselves blissfully unaware of the fact that in their names objections are being filed against persons whom they never knew, whose names they never heard. But those against whom objections have been made now have to prove their Indian nationality. There is no end to their harassment. Non-official sources claim that about two to three lakh objections have been filed. But after verification, most objections have been rejected. Indiscriminate filing of objections sometimes causes embarrassment to the objector. Take, for example, the case of an objection which was filed by the secretary of a local unit of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in Udalguri district. He filed about a hundred odd objections against ‘Bangladeshis’, one of whom turned out to be none other than a former president of the Kalaigaon unit of the AASU and the son of a freedom fighter, Siddique Ali! The witch-hunting for the ghuspetias has raked up the old Assamese-Bengali conflict which had become dormant and not being felt in day-to-day life. To the surprise of many, some eminent Assamese intellectuals with impeccable Left credentials have come out in support of NRC with strange arguments that smack of plain sophistry. Take, for example, Dr. Hiren Gohain’s argument in defence of NRC: “It is a pity that some people are going all-out to dismiss the National Register of Citizens in Assam with thin arguments, apparently armed with selective history and socio-economic criteria divorced from the concrete social and political history of India’s Northeast. “Western liberal theories must not be borrowed for application in a decontextualised manner to explain issues of the Indian Subcontinent, and, specifically, those of the Northeast. A tactical ploy colouring this kind of narrative is a flat denial of the role of colonialism in shaping the circumstances that still keep the region subject to periodic convulsions.” Pray, what is the “role of colonialism” today in driving out tens of thousands of Indian citizens–Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims–more than seventy years after India became Independent? The NRC issue is dividing not only Assamese and Bengalis but Bengali Hindus and Muslims as well because the BJP Government’s policy is to treat the Bengali Hindus coming from Bangladesh as “refugees” and Bengali Muslims as illegal entrants. The Citizenship Act was sought to be amended to give effect to this policy but it could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha. As the Lok Sabha was dissolved, the Bill lapsed. Now, the BJP is expected to secure a majority in the Rajya Sabha as well. Then the Amending Act may be reintroduced. Now, all Bengalis are being served with notices, irrespective of their religion. But the situation may change tomorrow and become more heavily loaded against the Muslims. In the era of fake news and fake photographs, fake objections have also been reported. The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) has alleged that “certain organisations” have filed false objections against people belonging to linguistic and religious minorities. AAMSU has claimd that certain organisations of the Bodos (a Scheduled Tribe) have taken signatures of villagers in blank forms and filed objections in their names. In one case, a Bodo villager of Bhalukjhora complained that activists of a Bodo students’ organisation forced him to sign ten blank forms of objection. He has now sought to withdraw his objections. There are dozens of such cases going unreported. Over four million Bengalis in Assam are passing sleepless nights and wondering what July 31 will bring for them. Will the country they were born and brought up in for generations disown them, and either drive them out or deprive them of their Indian identity? (The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

New Brunswick health officials confirm 9th case of measles in province

first_imgFREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick have confirmed another case of measles — bringing the total to nine in the Saint John area — and some officials predict the number could go higher.Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer, says the latest case is linked to a previous infection at Kennebecasis Valley High School.On Friday, public health officials issued a directive that staff and students at the high school must receive a measles booster shot if they want to continue working and studying at the school.As of Monday, more than 950 students and staff had been given the vaccine, and it was still available to the final few people who had not received it.District school officials have cancelled a number of planned out-of-province class trips at two other schools in the district as a result of the measles outbreak.“In light of the long incubation period of the measles virus, and the understanding that more cases of measles could possibly be confirmed in the coming days, it was decided not to take an unnecessary risk,” district communications director Jessica Hanlon wrote in an email.“Our greatest concern would be that a student could start to present symptoms while travelling, away from home and their regular health care provider, and in extended, close proximity to their classmates.”Early symptoms of the virus may include fever, cough or tiny white spots in the mouth.Within three to seven days, a red rash will appear, first on the face and then spreading to the body, arms and legs.Dr. Serge Melanson, an emergency physician in Moncton and president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, said he’s not surprised by the number of cases. He believes the total could rise.“Given the infectiousness and ease of spread of this particular virus, it’s not all that surprising that we’re up to nine. And that’s despite public health and the regional health authorities doing an exceptionally good job getting out a lot of information to folks on what to do and how to contain it and to urge people to vaccinate,” he said Tuesday.“It has a very long incubation period, which means people can feel relatively well for a good week or two weeks before they display symptoms, which means they have a lot of opportunity to transmit it to other folks,” Melanson said.  Education Minister Dominic Cardy has said he’s not ruling out mandatory immunization for teachers and school staff in the province. Russell has been asked if she thinks that’s necessary but said that during an outbreak is not the time for that debate.On Friday, legislators in neighbouring Maine signed into law a bill that eliminates religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccinations in the state. Maine has one of the highest rates of non-medical vaccine exemptions in the United States.Melanson said he isn’t prepared to push for the same action in New Brunswick.“I’ll leave those policy debates to those drafting those laws, but I will say there’s little scientific doubt that the easiest, safest and best way to prevent the spread of these communicable diseases is by vaccination,” he said.“What the medical field can do better, I think, is attempting to debunk some of the messages that are out there in the community, on social media and other platforms that are promoting vaccination hesitancy.”The measles virus is transmitted through the air or by direct contact with an infected person. Measles can be more severe in adults and infants and can lead to complications.Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Jason Biggs Loves SeaWorld So Much

first_imgIt’s got sex, nudity, and violence, and it’s available to stream this week — but it’s not season two of Orange Is the New Black. Instead, it’s series star Jason Biggs’ brand-new PETA video, which reveals what might happen if Biggs ever sat down to shoot a SeaWorld commercial.Video: Jason Biggs Loves SeaWorld So Much! He Just Loves It!The video starts off mildly enough as Biggs tries his hardest to film a commercial for the despised amusement park, but it becomes apparent that he simply can’t stomach the party line as he starts to ad-lib: “Maybe [visitors will] get lucky — see one of the trainers get their legs ripped off.” A few dozen takes later, Biggs storms off the “SeaWorld” set and heads to a PETA set, where a drastic wardrobe change and a kiddie pool give viewers an eyeful of what orcas experience in SeaWorld’s tiny tanks.The new dad has been speaking out against SeaWorld on Twitter ever since he saw the hit documentary Blackfish, which reveals how SeaWorld tears baby orcas away from their mothers and ships them from park to park in order to sell tickets to see “baby Shamu” — something that has Biggs especially livid. The American Pie star also takes issue with the way that orcas — including Tilikum, the subject of Blackfish who has killed three human beings — have their sperm collected and used to impregnate their own daughters and sisters.Biggs is part of a growing list of celebrities — including Tommy Lee, Bob Barker, Eli Roth, Cloris Leachman, No Doubt’s Tony Kanal, Joan Jett, Alec Baldwin, and Kathy Najimy — who have teamed up with PETA to speak out against SeaWorld’s cruelty to marine mammals.For more information, please visit PETA.org or SeaWorldOfHurt.com.Source:PETAlast_img read more

Sudan resolving humanitarian crisis requires funding peace pact says UN official

30 May 2010Funding in Southern Sudan and a peace agreement in Darfur are key ingredients for resolving the humanitarian crisis in the two regions, a senior United Nations official said today, wrapping up a four-day visit to Sudan. The UN and its aid partners have appealed for $1.9 billion for this year for the country, making it the largest humanitarian operation in the world. Food insecurity and rising malnutrition caused by poor rains and crop failures, along with higher food prices, are among the factors which have led to a new humanitarian crisis in Southern Sudan, said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes. As many as 1.5 million people in the region face severe food insecurity, while tribal violence has so far claimed 700 lives and uprooted 90,000 people. Continued attacks by the notorious Ugandan rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has also contributed to insecurity, displacement and deaths. “All this adds up to a very worrying situation against the background of high poverty and poor human development indicators in a number of areas, as well as the political uncertainties ahead of the 2011 referendum,” Mr. Holmes said. Southern Sudan will vote on independence early next year as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended two decades of civil war with the northern-based national Government. Just over one quarter of the $531 million requested for humanitarian assistance for Southern Sudan has been received so far, Mr. Holmes noted, with efforts to pre-position essential stocks before the rainy season hindered by transport and logistical constraints. He welcomed the $35 million contribution made by the Government of Southern Sudan to tackle food insecurity. On Darfur, the official said that little has changed since his last visit to the war-ravaged region last year, shortly after Khartoum expelled over a dozen aid agencies following the issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).While major gaps in response have been filled, quality and capacity remain below previous levels in some areas, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Bureaucratic impediments and insecurity are impeding the ability to help those in need, as exemplified by recent fighting between the Government and rebels, inter-tribal conflict and the unresolved abduction of a staff member from the United States working for a non-governmental organization (NGO). Seven years of war between military forces and rebel groups in Darfur have killed some 300,000 people and driven 2.7 million more from their homes. “We desperately need to see a proper ceasefire in Darfur and a definitive political settlement, so we can move away from a focus on humanitarian aid and towards the recovery, reconstruction and development the region so badly requires,” Mr. Holmes said. “In the meantime, we will continue to work as closely as we can with the Government to address the problems and to make sure as fully as we can that humanitarian needs are met.” The official’s visit to Sudan, his fifth since 2007, took him to Southern Sudan and Darfur, wrapping up today in Khartoum, where he met with Government, UN and NGO representatives. read more

Leading cement brands reach settlement over trademark dispute

Both parties mutually agreed to a settlement, thus the Defendant, Ruhunuwas able to continue to retain their trade name “Mitsuki”, putting any allegations of trademark infringement to rest. However, in order to ensure no confusion would arise again, the Defendant, in the settlement, declared that they would no longer use the aforementioned green and red horizontal logo getup in their packaging/ trade dress. Nevertheless, the Defendant would continue to distribute the remaining stock of cements with the aforesaid logo within a given time period.Cases such as this are evidence that a growing number of businesses in Sri Lanka are becoming more active in protecting their intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, it is important to note when there is a likelihood of confusion between trademarks a number of factors need to be considered. This includes the type of goods and services, customer base, purchasing channels, packing/ trade dress and so on, and not just the noticeable similarity of the trade names. Thus, the Plaintiff said that the Defendant’s brand name “Mitsuki Cement” was confusingly similar to the Plaintiff’s own brand “Mitsui Cement” along with the prominent green and red horizontal lines and blue lettering, which were in both brand logos.The Plaintiff, who was represented by Eraj De Silva, instructed by Anusha M. Fernando, declared that the aforesaid stylized presentation and trade name had come to be used exclusively by the Plaintiff for which they have gained a market reputation. And stated that the Defendants were “attempting to piggyback on and usurp the goodwill of the Plaintiff’s products.” The Plaintiff argued on the basis that the defendant’s trade name was contrary to honest practices and that it can cause confusion and mislead the public with respect to the plaintiff’s activities. And thus, sought an action of an interim injunction to stop the Defendant from trading under their brand name “Mituski”, as well as demanding a recovery sum for losses and damages suffered.The Defendant’s Counsel was led by Manoj Bandara with Hasitha Gamage, instructed by Sudath Perera Associates. It was argued that the intellectual property right of the trade name “Mitsui” belongs to Mitusi& Co Ltd of Japan, which the Plaintiff had allegedly been using without the authority of Mitsui & Co Ltd. It was also questioned whether the Plaintiff actually had any intellectual property rights in Sri Lanka in respect of the “Mitsui” trade name, since they were not seen to be registered as a licensee of any “Mitsui” trademark.Further in regard to the confusion of the two similar names, it was stated that, since the Plaintiff was abandoning the brand “Mitsui” and changing to “Nippon”, therefore “Mitsui” and “Mitsuki” would not be seen in the market at the same time. The Defendant’s Company, Ruhunu Lanka Cement, is part of distribution conglomerate, Hansagiri Group of Companies and is the sole agent in Sri Lanka for DG Cement Industries (Pakistan). It distributes under cement brands such as Ruhunu Cement, Maha Cement, DG Cement and Mitsuki. Two leading cement brands in Sri Lanka have reached a settlement over a trademark dispute.Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC agreed to a settlement over a suit filed against Ruhunu Lanka Cement (Pvt) Ltd in the Commercial High Court of the Western Province. Tokyo Cement, one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of cement in Sri Lanka, alleged infringement with regard to the similar trade names of the brands that the two companies distributed under. The Plaintiff’s Company, Tokyo Cement, distributes under various brands including Tokyo Super, Mitsui and Nippon. The Company stated that it was in joint venture with Japan’s Mitsui Mining Co Ltd (now Nippon Coke and Engineering Company Ltd), and used its brand name Mitsui and Nippon in its distribution brands. The dispute came to an end as it became increasingly evident that the Defendant’s brand had established its own goodwill under “Mitsuki” with its own distributors and customers in the market. read more

Sonys profit dip sticks to forecast for year

TOKYO — Sony Corp. has reported a 33% drop in its fiscal first quarter profit as sales dipped in its electronics operations, including TV sets and camcorders.The Japanese electronics and entertainment company reported Tuesday that its April-June profit totalled 152 billion yen ($1.4 billion), down from 226 billion yen in the same period of the previous year.Quarterly sales inched down 1% to 1.93 trillion yen ($17.7 billion).Tokyo-based Sony, which makes Bravia digital TVs and the Aibo robotic dog, kept its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March 2020 unchanged at 500 billion yen ($4.6 billion).The Associated Press read more

Global food prices fall for fifth year in a row but economic

According to a press release released today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), bumper harvests – or harvests that have been remarkably plentiful – as well as promising prospects for staple cereals, helped to offset pressure on tropical commodities like sugar and palm oil, whose production was adversely impacted by El Niño. The FAO’s Food Price Index measures the monthly change in international prices for five major food commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat, and sugar. The 2016 average was 161.6 points.Throughout 2016, cereal prices declined steadily – down 39 per cent from their 2011 peak. Meanwhile, sugar rose by 34.2 per cent and vegetable oil prices saw an 11.4 per cent increase. According to Abdolreza Abbassian, an FAO senior economist, “economic uncertainties, including movements in exchange rates, are likely to influence food markets even more so this year.” FAO reported that vegetable oil prices rose by 4.2 per cent from November, in part due to low global inventory levels and tight supplies for palm oil and in the case of soy oil, due to the rising use of biodiesels in North and South America. Higher prices for butter, cheese, and whole milk powder due to restraints in the European Union and Oceania drove dairy prices up by 3.3 per cent. Both sugar and meat indexes fell, the former due to a weakening Brazilian currency and the latter because of lower costs in bovine and poultry meats. The Index was introduced in 1996 in order to help the public monitor global agricultural commodity markets. It gained prominence as an indicator of potential food security concerns for developing countries following significant price hikes in 2008.Since then, with brief exceptions, agricultural commodity prices have remained relatively high. Further information about the index, including how it is calculated and updated, is available online. read more

Mondays Daily Brief World population Desertification Day ocean protection Nigeria Yemen and

By the year 2050, there will be some 9.7 billion people living on Earth, says a UN population report released on Monday. However, the overall growth rate will continue to fall, and more countries will have to adapt to the consequences of an ageing population.“The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights”, estimates that the next 30 years will see the global population add an extra 2 billion people to today’s figure of 7.7 billion, and, by the end of the century, the planet will have to sustain around 11 billion.Read our full coverage here. UN oceans treaty ‘essential’ to combat ‘unprecedented pressure’ on the world’s seas – UN chief Food continues to be taken “from the mouths of hungry little boys and little girls” in many areas of Yemen controlled by Houthi rebels, warned the head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday, who said the agency would be forced to suspend some food assistance within days, unless agreements are finally honoured.David Beasley was briefing the Security Council on the continuing dire humanitarian situation, along with the UN relief chief, Mark Lowcock, and the UN special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who provided updates on the search for a political solution to end more than four years of brutal fighting between the Houthis and the Saudi-led pro-Government coalition.Find our full story here. 9.7 billion on Earth by 2050, but growth rate slowing, says new UN population report Yemeni children ‘dying right now’ due to food aid diversions, Beasley warns Security Council A newly installed solar power plant in the Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), will reduce Nasser Hospital’s reliance on donated fuel and, by providing life-saving interventions, help build resilience. This is according to the World Health Organization (WHO).The power plant provides clean energy and is expected to save fuel, reduce CO2 emissions by 185 tons, and improve health services for an estimated 19,000 people per month.“Interruptions in energy supply have created an enormous challenge for the health sector in Gaza, putting lives of the most vulnerable patients at risk,” said Gerald Rockenschaub, WHO head for the OPT. “The solar electrification of Nasser Hospital is an important step towards ensuring more sustainable power supply to health facilities”.Chronic electricity shortages in Gaza have severely compromised basic health assistance and left the enclave reliant on backup generators to sustain critical life-saving services. Solar electricity can help decrease hospital’s dependence of on emergency generators.Listen to or download our audio News In Brief for 17 June on SoundCloud: In a video message released in advance of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, marked on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world loses 24 billion tons of fertile land every year, and that the degradation in land quality is responsible for a reduction in the national domestic product of up to eight per cent every year.“Desertification, land degradation and drought are major threats affecting millions of people worldwide,” said the UN chief, “particularly women and children.” Mr. Guterres said that it is time to “urgently” change such trends, adding that protecting and restoring land can “reduce forced migration, improve food security and spur economic growth”, as well as helping to address the “global climate emergency”.Find our story here. Nigeria: UN condemns ‘horrific’ triple suicide attacks and use of children as ‘human bombs’ The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, strongly condemned the triple suicide attacks that took place on Sunday in Konduga, Borno State, north-east Nigeria, in which three children we used to detonate explosives. In total, at least 30 people were killed and another 40 were injured. According to reports on the ground, two girls and one boy detonated the bombs at a community football viewing centre.“It is unacceptable that children should be used in this way,” said the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), appealing “to all those involved in this terrible conflict to protect children at all times and to keep them out of harm’s way” in line with international humanitarian law.According to the agency, this incident brings the number of children recorded as having been used as human bombs this year to five. In 2018, 48 children – including 38 girls – were used in so-called “suicide attacks”.Mr. Guterres sent his “sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Nigeria” and wished “a speedy recovery to the injured,” hoping that “those responsible for these attacks will be swiftly brought to justice”. He reiterated the solidarity of the UN with the national and regional efforts against terrorism and violent extremism.Solar power plant in Gaza, ‘an important step’ The oceans are not only under “unprecedented pressure” due to climate change, but “half of all living coral has been lost in the past 150 years”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, addressing the latest gathering of nations which are party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.“In the past four decades, plastic pollution in the sea has increased ten-fold”, he told the meeting. A third of fish stocks are now overexploited; de-oxygenated dead zones are growing rapidly in extent and number; and ocean acidification, sea level rise and other impacts of climate change are “taking a massive toll”.Find our complete story here. 24 billion tons of fertile land lost every year, warns UN chief on World Day to Combat Desertification read more

Rugby players rescued after breaking hotel lifts weight limit

first_imgSeven professional rugby players had to be rescued when they got stuck in a hotel lift because they broke the weight limit.The seven men from Sale Sharks included Wales’ scrum half Mike Phillips, South African prop Brian Mujati and Samoan centre Johnny Leota.The other four were flanker David Seymour, wing Paolo Odogwu, one-time Wales international Eifion Lewis-Roberts and Tongan prop Halani Aulika.But together they tipped the scales at 755kg – more than 120kg above the maximum weight limit in the lift at the Hilton hotel in Bath, Somerset. Johnny Leota was trapped too  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. As a result it got stuck half-way between the reception and the first floor and the players had to call for help.They spent an hour and a quarter trapped inside the cramped compartment while a fire crew and an engineer were called out.The players managed to prise open the lift doors and were handed bottles of water, coffee and sandwiches as temperatures rose inside.Mujati filmed the drama on his mobile phone and at one point Leota jokingly wrote ‘Tell My Wife I Love Her’ in the condensation forming on the metal interior of the lift.The players remained in high spirits and were heard laughing that their combined weight could have caused the lift to buckle.One is recorded saying: “This is nobody’s fault but our own because we’ve overloaded the thing.”The six were eventually freed around 2.50pm on Saturday October 7 – in plenty of time before their game against Bath at 7.45 evening.But the Aviva Premiership match also proved to be a big let down for the team who were soundly beaten 30-3.Avon Fire and Rescue Service said: “We received a call at 1.35pm to reports of seven people trapped in a lift between the ground and first floor.”It was the Hilton Bath city hotel on Walcot Street. We had an engineer in attendance and they were released at 2.50pm.” Johnny Leota was trapped too Credit:Stephenson/JMP/REX/Shutterstocklast_img read more

Calls for banning 3Dprinted guns leads to huge interest in 3Dprinted gun

first_imgWhat happens when the government indicates that it wants to ban something? The same thing that happens when parents tell their children not to put their hand in the cookie jar. Thus, because there have been calls to ban the 3D printing of any sort of firearm or anything that could be used in the making of a firearm, guess who the beneficiary is.DEFCAD, a website that is focused entirely on 3D-printed guns, is now raking in about 3,000 visitors every hour. The site, operated by gun activist group Defense Distributed, has generated more than 2TB worth of traffic since it launched — not bad for what is actually a super-niche site.Of course, it has garnered significantly more attention than it ever would have if top officials hadn’t turned it into a major controversial talking point, especially after the school massacre in Connecticut.Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson was quoted saying that he receives a lot of emails from people, both in the US and abroad, in support of what the website stands for. It has become sort of a symbol of the Second Amendment. However, its purpose is obviously more than symbolism. According to Wilson, more than 250,000 files have been downloaded from the site, ranging from grenade models to bullet casings and everything in between.Most of the headlines about this niche are not so pretty, though. There is a bill in the works to ban 3D-printed gun magazines, and mainstream 3D printing companies have had to cave to social pressure — MakerBot removed all gun parts from its repertoire and Stratasys publicly seized one man’s 3D printer because he was trying to make guns.last_img read more

Inmates graduate from Anger Management Program

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, October 20, 2016 – On October 12 2016 a graduation ceremony was held at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), for eight (8) inmates that completed the most recent Anger Management Program.   The anger management program which began in 2007 has seen over 137 inmates graduated to date.  Each year, two cycles are conducted to train inmates in how to resolve conflicts and control their anger.The program is facilitated by Mr. Stanley Been, Substance Abuse Counselor within the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence.  In his address to the graduates, Mr. Been encouraged them to lose sight of their past afflictions and focus on their future, using the negativity they once bottled inside as fuel for something positive.Further remarks were received from the Hon. George Lightbourne, Minister of Home Affairs, Transportation and Communication; Mr. Raymond Grant, Deputy Superintendent of HMP; Dr. Alicia Malcolm, Director of the Department of Mental Health & Substance Dependence and Hon. Lillian Missick.The Department of Mental Health & Substance Dependence, has been allotted future calendar dates so as to assist the prison with these support services.  This program continues to represent the collaborative work that is being done to aid in the rehabilitation of prisoners within the Turks and Caicos Islands.For further information on this program, kindly contact the Drug Prevention Foundation on 347-2424 or the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department at: 338-3613 in Grand Turk, or 338-4737 in Providenciales. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Were not charging fees for delivery bags Subway

first_imgNew Delhi : Fast food restaurant chain Subway on Saturday told a consumer forum here that it has stopped the practice of charging bag fees for delivery purposes. After hearing Subway’s response, New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum President Arun Kumar Arya directed the company to pay Rs 9,000 as litigation cost to the complainant, who was charged around Rs 100 for a carry bag while placing an order from the restaurant through online food delivery platform Swiggy. Also Read – Dehydrated elephant being given treatment Advertise With Us A few months back, a Chandigarh Consumer Commission ordered a footwear company to pay Rs 9,000 fine for charging Rs 3 from a customer for a paper bag to carry the shoebox.The Delhi district consumer forum was hearing a petition filed by advocate Krishna Kumar Sharma who also cited the order of the Chandigarh consumer commission directing a footwear company to provide free carry bags to all customers who purchase articles from its shop and stop unfair trade practice of charging for carry bags Sharma requested the commission to direct Swiggy and Subway to change the policy of illicit charges, which they have been exacting from customers through coercion. Also Read – CBI carrying out surprise checks at 150 government departments Advertise With Us Sharma told the forum that one of his clients had placed an order from Subway through Swiggy and was charged around Rs 100 in the name of bag fee. But the bag received by the complainant would not cost more than Rs 3-5, he added. The advocate said Swiggy failed to give a satisfactory reply to the queries of his client and told him to contact its customer care. Swiggy, in its response through the customer care service, told the complainant the charges levied on the bag were as per their policy. The advocate said the illicit charges of Swiggy and Subway had caused the complainant loss and injury.last_img read more

Singapores Capella Hotel named TrumpKim summit venue

first_imgNorth Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and US president Donald TrumpThe much-vaunted summit between US president Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un will take place on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa, the White House said Tuesday.”The venue for the Singapore summit between @POTUS and Leader Kim Jong Un will be the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. We thank our great Singaporean hosts for their hospitality,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.The 12 June meeting will be the first between sitting leaders of each country and will focus on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.Sentosa is home to palm-fringed beaches, casinos, tourist sites and some of the best golf courses in Asia.It also houses the luxurious Capella Hotel, which — at a distance from centers of population — can be more easily secured.Sources familiar with the arrangements told AFP that American diplomats had picked the island resort, which is connected to the Singapore main island by a single causeway that can be easily closed off to traffic.It is also home to some of the city-state’s richest residents with waterfront villas costing up to Sg$39 million ($29 million).Singapore authorities on Tuesday marked out a part of the island surrounding the Capella hotel a special security zone on the days around the 12 June summit.According to a posting on the government gazette, weapons, flares, loud hailers, sound systems and banners will be banned in the special zone, with police allowed to conduct body searches on those entering the area.Drones are also not allowed.Set on 30 acres of lush, manicured greenery, the Capella’s 112 rooms and villas were built in restored colonial buildings that once included an officers mess for the British army.Designed by British architect Norman Foster, it has played host to A-listers like queen of pop Madonna and Lady Gaga when they stopped over in the city-state on tour.Basic rooms start at Sg$663 ($496), with the opulent three-bedroom colonial manor going for Sg$10,000 for a night’s stay.The entire hotel has been booked out in the period leading up to the summit.last_img read more