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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obama at 100-day mark with packed foreign policy agenda

Tue, Apr 28 10:41 AM

Washington, April 28 (DPA) US President Barack Obama's first 100 days in office have been dominated by the economic crisis, but he has gotten off to a fast start in addressing key foreign policy challenges.

Days after taking office, Obama fulfilled a campaign pledge by ordering the eventual closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. He has drawn up a timeframe for withdrawing US combat forces from Iraq and reached out, cautiously, to Cuba and Iran.

So far, Obama has visited Canada, Britain, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Iraq, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago as part of his offensive to change the face of American foreign policy after eight years of George W. Bush's unpopular policies.

Progress on the diplomatic front can move at a slower pace than pushing an economic stimulus package through Congress, and success often depends on how other countries react to the new president.

'States are like big ships. Moving the ship of state is a slow process,' Obama said earlier this month in Turkey.

Obama quickly named special envoys for the Middle East peace process, the Afghan-Pakistan conflicts, North Korea and for dealing with Iran's role in the region, indicating the broad array of issues he intends to tackle.

He has suffered some early challenges.

North Korea announced it would no longer participate in the six-nation nuclear disarmament negotiations, shortly after defying the United States and other countries by launching a ballistic missile.

The situation in Afghanistan has continued to deteriorate, and Islamic militants in Pakistan are growing stronger.

Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei rebuffed Obama's offer of a 'new beginning' in relations with Tehran, saying the United States first had to change its policies in the region. Tehran has refused to suspend uranium enrichment, a key aspect of its nuclear programme.

The Obama administration is reportedly weighing whether to drop the US demand for a suspension of uranium enrichment as a precondition for any early negotiations. During the campaign, Obama pledged to work toward better relations with long-standing US foes, including Iran and Cuba, and has not ruled out meeting with those countries' leaders.

Obama sought to reach out to Cuba shortly before attending the Summit of the Americas earlier this month in Trinidad and Tobago. He announced that he was lifting tough measures enacted by the Bush administration that limited travel by Cuban-Americans and the remittances they can send to relatives on the island, in a symbolic easing of the decades-long economic embargo against Cuba.

Havana's response to Obama was lukewarm, but his gesture played well with Latin American countries who are closely watching US policy toward Cuba as a sign of Washington's willingness to improve relations with the western hemisphere.

US and Cuban diplomats met Monday for the second round of informal talks since Obama took office. The Obama administration hopes that thawing relations with Cuba will encourage democratic reforms and more political freedom on the communist island.

'There are a host of steps that the Cuban government would take and we'd like to see,' State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood said Monday.

Despite Obama's wild popularity in Europe, he won few concessions during his first oversees trip there in early April. NATO allies, including France and Germany, still refuse to send significantly larger number of troops to Afghanistan, or to ease restrictions that limit their participation to peacekeeping and training missions.

DPA

From China, The World's New Car Capital


Robyn Meredith, Forbes.com


Half a world away from Detroit, where the Big Three are fighting for survival, car lovers are running their hands over the shiny sheet metal on display at the Shanghai auto show this week.

China is the world's bright spot when it comes to car sales. Despite a slowdown in sales, China has even dethroned the U.S. as the world's biggest auto market--every month this year, more cars have been sold in China than in America, where industry sales have plunged by a third in recent months.

Global Automakers Race To Shanghai

In Pictures: Detroit's Top Car Debuts

In Pictures: 20 Cars Of The Future

In Depth: America's Top-Selling Cars

In Pictures: 10 Cars That Can Save Detroit

Because the global economic slowdown has crimped budgets in China too, mainland Chinese car buyers who used to favor foreign brands are more likely to buy Chinese, according to a survey from TNS Automotive China, part of custom research agency TNS. The survey showed that 44% of China's future car buyers who want to buy foreign brands instead plan to purchase Chinese makes. "The economic slowdown offers real opportunities for Chinese domestic car makers," said Klaus Paur, Shanghia-based TNS Automotive Director for North Asia. "They can benefit from the cautious consumer behavior and position themselves as attractive alternatives to foreign brands--if they deliver sufficiently well on consumer expectations regarding product quality and reliability."

Most of the world's auto makers displayed their wares at the show, alongside Chinese auto companies.

Porsche kicked off the Shanghai Show this year by unveiling the Porsche Panamera, its first sedan. For many sportscar lovers, it was heretical for Porsche to produce a four-door car. But the Panamera is quick: The top-of-the-line turbo version has a 500-horsepower engine that gets to 100 kilometers an hour in just 4.2 seconds.

Don't expect to see too many on the streets of China, where Panamera prices start at a shocking 1,843,000 yuan ($236,282). Porsche also showed a Cayenne GTS and the Cayenne S Transsyberia.

Porsche isn't the only luxury maker counting on China. Audi showed off its Q7 SUV; and BMW and Mercedes both displayed sedans--the BMW 760 Li and S-Class S65, respectively.

Not every car at the show was a gas-guzzler.

Electric cars were stars. General Motors displayed the Chevrolet Volt, which will go on sale in China in 2011. And Chinese battery maker BYD, or Build Your Dream, showed off its M6 multipurpose car, along with its plug-in hybrid (See "Buffett-Backed BYD Goes Electric.")

But the biggest surprise in the show came from Chinese automaker Geely. When it revealed its Geely GE concept car, heads turned. But not for the right reason. The car is a knockoff of the Rolls Royce Phantom, right down to its winged hood ornament.

Robyn Meredith, Forbes.com

Satyam inflated sales by 47.46 billion rupees, says CBI

Tue, Apr 28 12:25 PM



New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has said that the fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services inflated sales by 47.46 billion rupees.

The CBI said that with the help of cyber forensic techniques, it was able to decipher modus operandi of Satyam corporate fraud.

"It happened like this-the accused were hiding some of the invoices that was generated through Excel porting. As a result, the concerned business circles were not aware that such invoices are existing.

These invoices were not dispatched to the customers even. In fact these false invoices were generated for purpose of inflating the sales and thus inflating the revenue of the company. As a result of further investigation, individuals who generated and hidden these false invoices have been identified," said Harsh Bahl, a CBIpokesman.

The bail application of former chairman of Satyam, Ramalinga Raju and others was dismissed by the trial court on April 25.

In early January, Ramalinga Raju shocked investors by saying profits had been overstated for years, putting in doubt the survival of a company once ranked as India's fourth-largest software services exporter.

The government quickly stepped in and sacked the board to limit damage to India's once-shining IT sector.

Satyam, which counts Citigroup Inc, Cisco Systems Inc. and General Electric among its clients, has not reported results since releasing its July-September figures in October.

Its accounts are in the process of being reconciled and restated. (ANI)

Unemployment Soars Throughout America, Bleak Job Market Predicted for 2009

WASHINGTON-- Rising unemployment spared no state last month, and 2009 is shaping up as another miserable year for workers from coast to coast.

Jobless rates for December hit double digits in Michigan and Rhode Island, while South Carolina and Indiana notched the biggest gains from the previous month, the Labor Department said Tuesday. A common thread among these states has been manufacturing industry layoffs tied to consumers' shrinking appetite for cars, furniture and other goods.

With tens of thousands of layoffs announced this week by well-known employers such as Pfizer Inc., Caterpillar Inc. and Home Depot Inc., the unemployment picture is bound to get worse in every region of the country, economists say.

"We won't see a light at the end of the tunnel until 2010," said Anthony Sabino, a professor of law and business at St. John's University.

The number of newly laid off Americans filing claims for state unemployment benefits has soared to 589,000, while people continuing to draw claims climbed to 4.6 million, the government said last week. There's been such a crush that resources in New York, California and other states have run dry, forcing them to tap the federal government for money to keep paying unemployment benefits.

Aside from manufacturing, jobs in construction, financial services and retailing are vanishing -- casualties of the housing, credit and financial crises.

Clobbered by problems at Detroit's auto companies, Michigan's unemployment rate soared to 10.6 percent in December. Rhode Island's jobless rate hit 10 percent, the highest on records dating back to 1976.

Those states -- along with eight others and the District of Columbia -- registered unemployment rates higher than the nationwide average of 7.2 percent, a 16-year high.

South Carolina and Indiana posted the biggest bumps in their monthly unemployment rates. Each state logged a 1.1 percentage point rise in unemployment from November to December.

In South Carolina, the unemployment rate bolted to 9.5 percent as laid-off textile, clothing and other factory workers found it difficult to find new jobs.

"The money I was making, I'd be hard-pressed to find a job paying that," said Gregory Smalls, a 49-year-old Columbia, S.C., resident who lost his more than $50,000-a-year job as a truck body shop manager when his department merged with a dealership's service department.

Indiana's jobless rate soared to 8.2 percent in December as workers were hit by layoffs in manufacturing -- including at engine maker Cummins Inc. -- as well as in construction and retail.

Many Indiana counties with high jobless rates are in the northern part of the state, which has been battered by layoffs in the recreational vehicle industry. Hundreds of workers have lost their jobs at RV makers such as Monaco Coach Corp., Keystone RV Co. and Pilgrim International.
Gayle Glaser, who owns the Shortstop Inn restaurant in Wakarusa, Ind., said those job losses have hurt her business, too.

"We just don't have the traffic here from the plants," she said. "All my customers coming in -- they're all laid off."

States that have been spared the worst of the recession's pain tend to benefit from energy and agriculture production, while also having relatively minimal exposure to the housing and manufacturing busts.

Wyoming posted the lowest unemployment rate, 3.4 percent in December. It was followed closely by North Dakota at 3.5 percent and South Dakota at 3.9 percent.

In 2008, the country lost 2.6 million jobs, and in 2009 at least 2 million more jobs are forecast to disappear.

Minneapolis-based retailer Target Corp. said Tuesday that it will cut an undisclosed number of workers at its headquarters. Elsewhere, specialty glass company Corning Inc. said it would cut 3,500 jobs, or 13 percent of its work force, as demand slumped for glass used in flat-screen televisions and computers. And chemical company Ashland Inc. said it would eliminate 1,300 jobs, freeze wages and adopt a two-week furlough program.

Roughly 40,000 layoffs were announced on Monday by a string of companies, including Pfizer, Caterpillar and Home Depot.

To stimulate job growth and the broader economy, President Barack Obama and Congress are racing to enact a $825 billion package of tax cuts and increased federal spending, including money for big public works projects.

The U.S. has been mired in a recession since December 2007. It is on track to be the longest downturn since World War II.

Unemployment rose again last week

Unemployment is continuing to show little sign of improvement, according to the latest government figures.

On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that first-time unemployment claims had reached 640,000, up 27,000 from the previous week's figure of 613,000 claims. Initial claims rose the most in Florida, Pennsylvania and California, with the largest declines coming in Michigan, North Carolina and Missouri.

The unemployment rate has undermined many workers in areas like personal finance and retirement planning, while also contributing to an elevated loan default rate.

Weeks of gains in the stock market have helped fuel the perception that the recession has finally bottomed out and an economic recovery could be imminent. This has been fueled by positive earnings news from a handful of companies in recent days.

Still, other parts of the economy such as the foreclosure rate, the loan default rate and retail sales indicate that consumers are not out of the woods yet. Economists have also warned that unemployment is unlikely to rebound until late next year even once the recession does start to show more signs of ending.

By Bill LaformeADNFCR-1724-ID-19135999-ADNFCR

India's Hero Motors Gets $250 Million Order From BRP-Powertrain

NEW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- India's Hero Motors Ltd. - part of the group that owns motorcycle maker Hero Honda Motors Ltd. (500182.BY) - Tuesday said it has received a $250 million order to supply transmission equipment to Canada-based BRP-Powertrain.

"The global recession is putting pressure on large companies. Under (these) extreme conditions, the big companies are looking at sourcing from India," Hero Motors Managing Director Pankaj Munjal told a news conference.

The equipment will be supplied over five years from Hero's factory in Ghaziabad, near New Delhi, to BRP-Powertrain, a unit of privately-held Bombardier Recreational Products.

-By Rakesh Sharma, Dow Jones Newswires; +91-11-4356-3334; rakesh.sharma@ dowjones.com

Thursday, April 23, 2009

List of hotels in Tirupati

TIRUPATI HOTELS
(Andhra Pradesh)

Kences Hotel, (Fortune Hotel) Tirupati

Temple Valley Resort - Tirupati

Hotel Bliss - Tirupati

Kalyan Residency - Tirupati

Ramee Guestline Hotel, Tirupati

Peppermint Hotel, Tirupati

Sindhuri Park, Tirupati

Hotel Mayura, Tirupati

Bhimas Residency, Tirupati

Tirumala Residency, Tirupati

Hotel The Sai Inn, Tirupati

Hotel Gopikrishna, Tirupati

Sunday, April 19, 2009

IPL New Criket 2009 Schedule in South Africa

Date Match Venue Time
April 18 Mumbai vs Chennai Cape Town 4 PM
April 18 Rajasthan vs Bangalore Cape Town 8 PM
April 19 Delhi vs Punjab Cape Town 4 PM
April 19 Kolkata vs Hyderabad Cape Town 8 PM
April 20 Bangalore vs Chennai Port Elizabeth 8 PM
April 21 Kolkata vs Punjab Durban 4 PM
April 21 Rajasthan vs Mumbai Durban 8 PM
April 22 Banglore vs Hyderabad Cape Town 8 PM
April 23 Delhi vs Chennai Durban 4 PM
April 23 Kolkata vs Rajasthan Cape Town 8 PM
April 24 Punjab vs Banglore Durban 8 PM
April 25 Hyderabad vs Mumbai Durban 4 PM
April 25 Kolkata vs Chennai Cape Town 8 PM
April 26 Banglore vs Delhi Port Elizabeth 4 PM
April 26 Rajasthan vs Punjab Cape Town 8 PM
April 27 Chennai vs Hyderabad Durban 4 PM
April 27 Kolkata vs Mumbai Port Elizabeth 8 PM
April 28 Delhi vs Rajasthan Pretoria 8 PM
April 29 Kolkata vs Banglore Durban 4 PM
April 29 Mumbai vs Punjab Durban 8 PM
April 30 Delhi vs Hyderabad Pretoria 4 PM
April 30 Rajasthan vs Chennai Pretoria 8 PM
May 1 Mumbai vs Kolkata East London 4 PM
May 1 Banglore vs Punjab Durban 8 PM
May 2 Rajasthan vs Hyderabad Port Elizabeth 4 PM
May 2 Chennai vs Delhi Johannesburg 8 PM
May 3 Punjab vs Kolkata Port Elizabeth 4 PM
May 3 Mumbai vs Banglore Johannesburg 8 PM
May 4 Hyderabad vs Chennai East London 8 PM
May 5 Punjab vs Rajasthan Durban 4 PM
May 5 Delhi vs Kolkata Durban 8 PM
May 6 Mumbai vs Hyderabad Pretoria 8 PM
May 7 Banglore vs Rajasthan Pretoria 4 PM
May 7 Punjab vs Chennai Pretoria 8 PM
May 8 Delhi vs Mumbai East London 8 PM
May 9 Hyderabad vs Punjab Kimberley 4 PM
May 9 Chennai vs Rajasthan Kimberley 8 PM
May 10 Banglore vs Mumbai Port Elizabeth 4 PM
May 10 Kolkata vs Delhi Port Elizabeth 8 PM
May 11 Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Kimberley 8 PM
May 12 Banglore vs Kolkata Pretoria 4 PM
May 12 Punjab vs Mumbai Pretoria 8 PM
May 13 Hyderabad vs Delhi Durban 8 PM
May 14 Chennai vs Banglore Durban 4 PM
May 14 Mumbai vs Rajasthan Durban 8 PM
May 15 Punjab vs Delhi Bloemfontein 8 PM
May 16 Chennai vs Mumbai Port Elizabeth 4 PM
May 16 Hyderabad vs Kolkata Johannesburg 8 PM
May 17 Punjab vs Hyderabad Johannesburg 4 PM
May 17 Rajasthan vs Delhi Bloemfontein 8 PM
May 18 Chennai vs Kolkata Pretoria 8 PM
May 19 Delhi vs Banglore Johannesburg 8 PM
May 20 Rajasthan vs Kolkata Durban 4 PM
May 20 Chennai vs Punjab Durban 8 PM
May 21 Mumbai vs Delhi Pretoria 4 PM
May 21 Hyderabad vs Banglore Pretoria 8 PM
May 22 Semi Final 1 Pretoria 4 PM
May 23 Semi Final 2 Johannesburg 4 PM
May 24 FINAL Johannesburg 8 PM
Note: Please note that this is a tentative schedule and subject to change

Friday, April 17, 2009

Power Star Pavan Kalyan Visiting Tirumala

As the local hosts said the Power Star Pavan Kalyan will likely to visit Tirumala on 17-04-2009...

Shriya slaps Man in Tirumala


Actress Shreya Sharan, who paired with Tamil superstar Rajnikanth in Shivaji slapped a man who allegedly "misbehaved" with her in Tirumala temple on Monday morning.

Shreya she had come out of the temple after prayers and was talking to journalists when a man standing behind her in the crowd misbehaved with her. "I think women should stand up for against misbehaviour. Irrespective of being an actress or not, I had to stand up for myself and I think any woman who is a victim of eve teasing and molestation should stand up," she told PTI.

The actress' aides pinned down the man, who was identified as Hari, a cleaner at a temple. Shreya has not filed a complaint with the police.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rate cut puts pressure on banks

The RBI believes that it has to “take calibrated monetary policy actions as necessary and at the appropriate time” to maintain the flow of credit to productive sectors.

Cuts in indicative short term interest rates — both lending and borrowing — and Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) have always — albeit in the recent past — gone hand in hand since the economic slowdown hit the nation. However, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a cut in the indicative short-term rates on March 4, sprang a surprise on the markets by not cutting the CRR – a policy initiative that continues to be debated both in the banking and market circles.

Corporate houses and investors alike were without doubt looking forward to a cut in CRR, as such a move would have brought more liquidity into the markets. They were naturally disappointed. However, if the country’s apex bank chose not to effect a cut in CRR, it was because of its understanding that banks had enough funds to lend to their customers and they could do without a CRR cut.

Weak rupee

No wonder that the cut in indicative short-term interest rates by the central bank failed to enthuse the bourses, with the benchmark BSE 30-share Sensex tumbling to 3-year closing lows at 8197.92, the next day (March 5), led by banking stocks. Sustained selling by foreign funds, weak rupee and weak European markets weighed on the market sentiment.

On March 4, the RBI cut the short-term indicative rates — repo rate by 50 basis points from 5.5 per cent to 5 per cent and reverse repo rate by 50 basis points from 4 per cent to 3.5 per cent — with immediate effect. Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow from the central bank, which is an indicative lending rate and the reverse repo is the rate at which banks park their funds with the central bank, which is an indicative borrowing rate.

The RBI’s decision to cut the rate was impelled by the deterioration of the global financial and economic conditions since the release of the RBI’s third quarter review on January 27, as revealed by the latest available information. The U.S. real GDP contracted sharply at an annualised rate of 6.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the unemployment rate has moved up to 7.6 per cent. The real GDP in the euro area also declined by 1.5 per cent in this period.

Reflecting deteriorating global demand, Japanese exports fell by 45.7 per cent (year-on-year) in January 2009. The Japanese economy also contracted sharply by 3.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008. The fourth quarter real GDP numbers of several advanced economies have turned out to be worse than expected. The uncertainty, therefore, on global recovery has increased.

Global fiscal policies

As a response, the governments all over the world continue to unveil expansionary fiscal policies. Central banks have also taken several measures to stimulate demand and moderate the impact of the global downturn and credit crunch on their economies.

“It is expected that the reduction in the policy interest rates will further encourage banks to provide credit for productive purposes at viable interest rates. The Reserve Bank on its part would continue to maintain ample liquidity in the system,” RBI had stated while announcing the latest monetary stimulus.

However, the RBI preferred not to cut the CRR, which is the percentage of the deposits banks have to set apart without using for business purposes.

The RBI had a well thought-out plan behind its twin moves — of cutting the indicative short-term interest rates and leaving CRR untouched. On the one hand, the central bank wanted banks to disburse funds to productive sectors of the economy, while on the other, it sent across a message to the market players that there was enough liquidity in the system and it would monitor the use of that liquidity.

The cumulative amount of actual or potential primary liquidity made available to the financial system through various measures initiated by the RBI was over a staggering Rs. 3,88,000 crore. Besides, the reduction in SLR by one percentage point of NDTL has made available liquid funds of the order of Rs.40,000 crore for the purpose of credit expansion. “This sizable easing has ensured a comfortable liquidity position,” RBI stated. However, markets ignored all talks on liquidity by the central bank.

Taking a cue from the reductions in the repo and reverse repo rates in recent months, all public sector banks and several private sector and foreign banks have reduced their benchmark prime lending rates (BPLRs). Since the announcement of the third quarter review, eleven banks have cut their BPLRs ranging from 25 to 125 basis points. Several banks have also cut their deposit interest rates.

Even as some public sector and private sector banks have cut lending rates in response to the RBI’s monetary policy stance, concerns over rising credit risk together with the slowing of economic activity appear to have moderated credit growth. The RBI urged banks to monitor their loan portfolio and take early action, to prevent asset impairment down the road and safeguard the gains of the last several years in improving asset quality.

“At the same time, banks should price risk appropriately and ensure that creditworthy enterprises continue to get funding,” RBI pointed out. All these measures and talks, however, are not resulting in credit offtake. There are sectors, which still need funds and growing, for example consider power sector. But bankers are not willing to lend and only few consumers are willing to borrow.

The RBI is expecting that the rate cut would put pressure on banks to lend additional funds at a lower interest rate. The cut in indicative deposit rate (reverse repo) to 3.5 per cent is identical to the rate at which banks mobilise savings deposits. In such a scenario banks would find it difficult to park their surplus funds with the central bank and tempted to lend more to individuals and corporate houses.

Excessive volatility

As uncertainty continues in global economic scenario foreign funds are dumping stocks and this put further pressure on the Indian rupee. Interestingly on the previous day (March 3) of the announcement of last rate cuts, the RBI had warned the markets by saying that “the market developments were being monitored and the central bank’s policy was to manage excessive volatility”. The weak stock market affected the Indian currency and a stronger dollar overseas added to the downward pressure on the rupee.

The RBI understands that risk management is a difficult task for banks even in normal circumstances; it is even more challenging in an environment of uncertainty and downturn.

However, the RBI believes that it has to “take calibrated monetary policy actions as necessary and at the appropriate time” to maintain the flow of credit to productive sectors.

The moral of the story is: the RBI is effectively controlling liquidity in the market and that it does not want to give an opportunity or a situation to the market players to exploit the excessive liquidity — if there at all be in the market — for speculative purposes.

LIC lost Rs.950 crore in Satyam scam

Cash balance in banks inflated from Rs. 139 crore to Rs. 5,160 crore

Company sales were also inflated from Rs. 23,434 crore to Rs. 27,691 crore

NBFCs lent Rs. 1,744 crore following mortgage of shares by Raju borthers

HYDERABAD: The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is the single largest institutional investor to lose heavily in the Satyam Computers fraud, having coughed up Rs. 950 crore.

On the contrary, Allahabad Bank, Union Bank of India, Punjab National bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and the Corporation Bank together lost Rs. 10 crore, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stated in its charge sheet filed in the court on Tuesday.

The 80-page document highlighted that ex-Satyam chairman B. Ramalinga Raju and other accused generated 7,561 fake invoices against software services that were not rendered and showed a turnover of Rs. 5,117 crore. The sales of the company were also inflated from Rs. 23,434 crore to Rs. 27,691 crore.

The accused inflated the cash balance available in banks as well from Rs. 139 crore to Rs. 5,160 crore and claimed to have earned an interest of Rs. 375 crore which was non-existing. The Income-Tax paid on revenue from interest was shown at Rs. 30 crore while the actual tax deducted at source was only Rs. 1.5 lakh. However, the actual interest that accrued to company was only Rs. 7 lakh.

The charge sheet maintained that Ramalinga Raju and his brothers Rama Raju and Suryanarayana Raju first offloaded their shares in Satyam for Rs. 75 crore and gifted the proceeds to their wives and family members. They sold the share holding of their family members in the company to earn Rs. 707 crore in 2002. The funds were used for purchase of several properties. As a result of these transactions, the stake of the family in Satyam fell from 18 per cent in 1992 to 1.27 per cent by 2008 end.

Many non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) lent Rs. 1,744 crore following mortgage of shares by Raju brothers who had equity participation in 327 front companies of Satyam group. In this background, a significant feature of the charge sheet was the claim of Ramalinga Raju that 37 front companies had pumped in Rs. 1,430 crore into Satyam which CBI and the Government appointed board of the company denied.

The CBI stated that it found no entries in support of the claim in Satyam’s books of accounts.

Tech Mahindra acquires Satyam outbidding L&T

Tech Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra addresses a press conference called to announce the winning of the bid to buy Satyam Computer Services, in Mumbai on Monday.

MUMBAI: The beleaguered Satyam Computer Services has finally found a new owner, after its founder chairman, B. Ramalinga Raju left it in the lurch with his confession of corporate fraud in January this year.

Tech Mahindra pipped Larsen & Toubro and Wilbur Ross to the post and is set to initiate the takeover process pending the approval of the Company Law Board which should happen in a week.

The final act of the Satyam saga played out on Monday with the government-appointed board of directors selecting Venturbay Consultants Private Ltd., a subsidiary controlled by Tech Mahindra, as the highest bidder to acquire a controlling stake in the IT services company.

Share subscription

Upon being declared the highest bidder, Tech Mahindra and Satyam executed an agreement whereby Tech Mahindra agreed to subscribe to and acquire 30.28 crore shares of Satyam, representing 31 per cent of its share capital, at Rs. 58 a share. This will infuse Satyam with Rs. 1,756 crore. The subsequent open offer for 20 per cent, amounting to Rs. 1,132 crore, will result in a total of Rs. 2,889 crore coming into the company for the 51 per cent stake.

Addressing the media, Tech Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra said, “This is a landmark development for Tech Mahindra and I am delighted that we

are the highest bidder for Satyam.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Making cost-effective telecom base stations

CHENNAI: Wireless and mobile communication has helped India leapfrog in telecommunications, making phone calls affordable. Can the wireless technology help India do a similar feat in Internet access? The broadband access is increasingly becoming a necessity. Though the total number of Internet users is around 40 million, there are only four million broadband subscribers is only four million. Can broadband access in India catch up with the developed world, if not South Korea and Japan?

The challenge

One of the challenges in the spread of broadband Internet through wireless will be the rapid expansion of wireless base stations (or, towers as they are normally called). The process of building tower infrastructure has been time consuming and expensive. In addition, the equipment used needs air-conditioning and uninterrupted power.

A Bangalore-based company, Sloka Telecom, is addressing these issues, designing smaller and cheaper base stations for broadband wireless and cellular networks. Base station is the electronic equipment that sits next to a tower, transmitting and receiving radio signals for mobile phones or a wireless broadband device.

Package

Sloka Telecom’s 5.8GHz suite of WiMAX (Worldwide Inter-operability for Microwave Access) products caters for the unlicensed frequency spectrum allowing wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) to deploy wireless broadband access networks without having to obtain frequency licences. Sloka’s 5.8GHz suite of WiMAX products includes base stations, subscriber stations, the authentication, authorisation and accounting (AAA) server and the network management system (NMS).

These small all-outdoor base station units from Sloka can be easily installed directly on towers, rooftops, traffic poles and walls. These base station solutions help the operator reduce the capital expenditure by more than 50 per cent, as they do not require air-conditioning.

Currently, Sloka Telecom focusses on WiMAX products and solutions to connect fixed wireless subscribers, such as homes, offices, kiosks, enterprises, schools, and hospitals. It offers point-to-multipoint and point-to-point solutions in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

Sujai Karampuri, founder and chief executive officer of the company, says: “The traditional landline business based on copper connectivity took many decades to reach 40 million subscribers, while it took less than a decade for mobile connectivity to connect 200 million subscribers. With wireless, once the network is installed, the cost of adding new subscribers is much lower. The number of subscribers will go up dramatically once wireless connectivity kicks off. WiMAX is the best suited wireless technology and standard to provide broadband to homes, offices, enterprises and other areas. Also, WiMAX links can replace the current microwave backhaul to connect cellular towers — this is going to be a major application.”

Patent-pending architecture

In order to make the base stations smaller, cheaper and less power-consuming, Sloka has developed a patent-pending architecture called the SDBSA (software defined base station architecture). This architecture allows Sloka to use readily available hardware while emphasising efficient software algorithms to make them smaller and more compact. Mr. Karampuri claims that Sloka’s base stations break away from legacy architecture, with emphasis on software.

To design this product, the company has invested around Rs.4 crore. With the launch of this base station, the company hopes to bring down the operators’ cost. This, in turn, will translate into savings by reducing the cost of subscription to end-users. At present, the solutions are being deployed in Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan. Now it plans to enter the Indian market with some customised solutions of the product. The product has been recognised and awarded by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).

The idea of creating such a product came when the need for increased throughputs by the end-users and use of higher frequencies arose. The existing architectures used by incumbent players were not suitable for making extremely low cost and compact base stations.

Indian scenario

In India, the company’s solutions are currently under advanced stages of negotiations with large telecom OEMs and service providers. There is already considerable interest from various operators and the company is now poised for trial of its products with some partners in India, North America, Europe, South America and South Asia.

U.S. tugboat with 16 crew hijacked

NAIROBI: The head of a Kenyan seafarers’ programme said on Saturday Somali pirates had hijacked an American-owned tugboat with 16 crew in the Gulf of Aden.

The hijacking took place as the American captain of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama was still being held hostage on a lifeboat being watched by two U.S. warships.

The East African Seafarers’ Assistance Program said maritime industry sources had informed his organisation that the Italian-flagged U.S. tugboat was towing two barges when it was attacked. He said it was unclear if the attack took place off the coast of Somalia or further north near Yemen.

More U.S. warships were trying to stop Somali pirates from sending reinforcements to the lifeboat where the American captain was being held for a fourth day hundreds of miles from land, a diplomat said Saturday.

The Nairobi-based diplomat, who receives regular briefings on the situation, said the four pirates holding Capt. Richard Phillips in a lifeboat under the close watch of U.S. warships had tried to summon other pirates from the Somali mainland.

China, India will remain the fastest growing economies

KOLKATA: It may be difficult for China to repeat the success story of double-digit economic growth in the foreseeable future because of the ‘heavily-damaged’ consumption markets of advanced economies.

Indicating this, the Consul General of China in Kolkata, Mao Siwei, said that China’s economy had just touched the bottom and a recovery was likely to begin by mid-2009, according to a recent World Bank report.

However, he also said that Chinese economists were warning that “we should not be too optimistic as the newly-emerging trend of improvement has been largely stimulated by government-influenced investment.”

Participating in an interactive session on ‘India and China to drive global economic growth,’ he said that as the two largest developing countries, China and India would remain the fastest-growing economies in the world at a time when the world economy would contract.

“This itself is our two countries’ contribution to the world economy,” Mr. Mao said.

The session was organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Mao said that while China had now become India’s largest trading partner, for the first time, (with bilateral trade of $51.8 billion in 2008), India had become the largest overseas market for Chinese companies undertaking contract projects. Last year, Chinese companies were awarded contracts worth $12.9 billion for various construction projects in India.

Referring to the complementary nature of the two economies, he said that while India was strong in knowledge-based industries, especially IT and pharmaceuticals, China was strong in manufacturing and infrastructure.

Referring to the co-operation in the power sector, he said certain reports in the Indian media about the problems of power projects constructed by Chinese companies and that these were teething problems.

SBI slashes rates on new SME loans

MUMBAI: State Bank of India on Saturday cut interest rates for new small and medium enterprise (SME) loans and announced a few other measures to improve credit flow to the segment.

The bank has slashed the lending rates for new SME loans up to Rs. 5 lakh to eight per cent and those for loans Rs. 5-25 lakhs to 10 per cent, a SBI release here said.

The rate reduction will be available for the next two years and will be applicable for working capital and term loans provided they are covered under CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises), the bank said.

After two years, the bank will review the rates according to the prevailing market conditions, the bank said. SBI has also extended the SME Help and SME Care schemes, under which it offers loans at eight per cent to SMEs from April to September 30. Moreover, loans under SME Help will now be available for two years at eight per cent, it said. The bank at present has 12-lakh SME customers.

SBI has so far disbursed Rs. 300 crore through SME Help and SME Care out of which, nearly Rs. 250 crore was disbursed under SME Care, SBI Chief General Manager B. S. Bhasin said.

SMEs now contribute 20 per cent to the bank’s total revenue and the performance was likely to improve in the period ahead with an expected revival post-September, Mr. Bhasin said.

“The sector expects a recovery from the downturn post-September, which would have a positive impact on the bank’s SME business as well,” Mr. Bhasin said. SBI has begun the restructuring process of 41,000 SME accounts, Mr. Bhasin said. — PTI

Friday, April 10, 2009

Indian Premier League match schedule calendar details, IPL Teams ...

IPL Season 2 Match Schedule 2009 Schedule and Match Dates

The Indian Premier League second season will be DLF IPL 2009. Indian Premier League is established by the BCCI in 2007. The second season is tentatively scheduled between April 10 2009 and May 29 2009. The format of the tournament would remain unchanged from the 2008 season format. The eight franchisees will first play against one another in a league on home-and-away basis. The top four teams will then figure in the two semi-finals and a final

You will find the leaked schedule here … I will again verify the same and post here updated with exact dates…