New York Times has an obituary of novelist Kamala Markandaya who died on May 16 in London.
According to the NYT, she is best known for her first book, "Nectar in a Sieve," which introduced millions of readers to rural life in an industrialized India through the eyes a peasant woman named Rukmani. Apparently, most Americans' perception of India came through her books. And at least twelve Ph.D. theses have been written in American and British universities analyzing Markandaya's writings.
She was very influential and prolific till the early 80s and then seems to have dropped off the literary scene. This explains why I have never heard of her.
Additional link: An homage to her in Outlook magazine.
I know both the meanings of the word (one innocent and the other not-so) but I doubt that either explains the use of hooters as security devices around the Parliament (Xinhuanet).
Security agencies are relying on hi-tech gadgets like tyre killers, road blockers and hooters that have been installed at thetwo operational gates of Parliament House.
The new minister for IT and communications has declared that India will leapfrog to 4G wireless (ComputerWeekly).
This is well and good but just a buzzword-laden sound-bite since no one knows what 4G really means. It is generally used to mean whatever comes next after 3G (which is still not widely deployed).
Soon after the elections results were available, the BBC asked: How will history remember Vajpayee?
Tata Indicom has debuted a "push to talk" service that uses Qualcomm's BREW software and handsets provided by Kyocera (CNetAsia)
Push-to-talk technology allows callers to connect to other cell phones with just the push of a single button, similar to a walkie-talkie. Only one person can talk at a time, and there is no need to dial a number.
Update: Hutchison Essar, a division of telecommunications giant Orange, has announced their "push to talk" cell phone service too.
The Economist looks at the new goverment and finds that the coalition, however fragile, will be held together by a fear of the return of BJP, and by the worry that in a snap election Congress might do even better at its partners' expense (Economist.com).
It also makes the point that Congress' strength in the coalition can be seen in its success at holding the four most important - finance, foreign, home and defence - portfolios. Interestingly the PM, the foreign minister and the home minister are not elected and will be nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Interview with Kwang-Ro Kim, managing director, LG Electronics India Ltd. who has nurtured LG from an unknown name to the leading consumer electronics brand in India (Business Standard).
India contributes only 5 percent of LG's total sales but LG is pretty bullish on the next few years and wants to make India an export hub for their products.
The McKinsey Quarterly is convinced that reducing tariffs and restrictions on foreign direct investment will result in a a richer future for India.
The entire article requires registration but the summary is free.
International fund managers downgrade their recommendations for India and China over doubt about economic policy and red-hot growth in both countries.
India's average weighting remains above that of many other regional market but the country is unlikely to regain its status as a darling of the global equities markets unless the new government sets a fairly reform-oriented course in coming months, managers said.
Health officials are fighting misconceptions and misinformation about the polio vaccine in rural Uttar Pradesh. This resistance makes it very difficult to eradicate polio.
Doctors have had to resort to convincing, cajoling and even threatening to get parents to agree to vaccinate their children. (Voice of America News)
The report tells of a doctor who tries various approaches (including mentioning a possible future rule that would punish negligent parents) to convince a family to vaccinate their children.
UPDATE: Another example of the battle that these health workers are facing: A man from rural West Bengal who did not want his son to have polio drops has divorced his wife for disobeying him.
BBC's 'On this day' page covers Nehru's sudden death on May 27 2004.
And the Guardian's archived report from someone who attended Nehru's wake.
Days after the election results, people are still trying to figure out why the experts and analysts were wrong.
This analysis from the Times of London is one of those that reach the wrong conclusion. The vote was not anti-capitalist per-se. The rest of the country wanted what the BJP was advertising but not delivering.
He suggests that even with Dr. Singh at the helm, "support for market-oriented development, along with free trade and globalisation, may be less deeply rooted in India and other poor countries than Western economists and pro-Western local businessmen, financiers and politicians find it convenient to believe."
This editorial in the Vanguard newspaper from Nigeria is quite impressed by the free and fair nature of the Indian elections.
Nigeria faces some of the same problems as India - it is a big country with a lot of ethnic groups - and the write hopes that it will learn from India on how to manage itself.
The US government watched the Indian elections closely and were as surprised as anyone else. The presence of the Left in the new government has caused raised fears in Washington DC that the Left will force Congress to change the trade policy as well as some key apsects of foreign policy particularly when it comes to the US and the Middle East (Asia Times Online).
He makes a few good points (why are people known to be involved in the 1984 Sikh massacres in the govt) and quite a few outrageous ones (India is a multinational state and trying to hold it together is pointless). But then he is the President of the Council of Khalistan so such views are not wholly unexpected.
Santosh Mehrotra, an Indian-born economist with the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) feels that India's long-term growth requires heavier emphasis on areas such as primary education, health care, and rural infrastructure.
He and one of BusinessWeek's editors recently recently discussed what India must do to fight poverty.
His key points:
- overhaul the public distribution system
- increase irrigated land
- spend more on elementary education and less on colleges
- enact land reforms (we need Project Bhoomi in every state)
- peace with Pakistan will help free funds for other, crucial projects
BBC's profiles of key ministers in the new cabinet.
"Mr Dutt was a swashbuckling movie actor in the 1960s and 1970s." made me smile.
The BBC program 'World Weddings' looks at a Calcutta couple who waited for nine years before finally getting married.
Ujjala and Asad - a Hindu & a Muslim - waited for nearly a decade for their families to agree to their relationship and finally got married without their approval. Her family has been torn apart because of the wedding.
World Weddings: Love Converts is broadcast in the UK on BBC Two at 2100 BST on Wednesday, 26 May, 2004.
The increasing interest in heritage hotels (hotels that were once palaces) mirrors the rise of boutique hotels in Western cities. People prefer to stay at a place with character - and if the character is of the bygone days of the Raj, so much the better.
World Bank official Carl Hanlon has been visiting various development projects on his way to a conference in Shanghai, China. He reports on the 'Bhoomi' project in Karnataka which has greatly simplified land records. (WorldBank)
The project now covers almost 7 million farmers and includes 20 million computerized land records. It has made getting official documents much easier for farmers. The next phase of this project involves privately run internet kiosks that offers additional services like birth and death certificates and even telemedicine.
Gaurav Mazumdar, a disciple of Ravi Shankar, will perform the raag 'nat bhairavi' during a concert to commemorate the opening of the July 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The raag has been composed by Ravi Shankar and Gaurav will join artistes from the US, Brazil, Canada and Australia in a concert called ‘Orion’ being organized by renowned composer Phillip Glass.
At the International Indian Film Awards in Singapore, Kal Ho Naa Ho won Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress (iafrica.com).
The movie also won awards for Best Music Direction, Best Lyrics and Best Story.
The Best Actor and Best Director awards went to the Roshans for 'Koi Mil Gaya'.
The popularity of these awards among the stars - more than 300 flew to Singapore from India to attend the festivities - and the fans who lined up for hours attest to the growing popularity of Bollywood outside India and to the active promotion of the desi flicks to these audiences.
Here is what the Straits Times (Singapore) had to say about the three-day festival that included celebrity soccer game, a forum on the globalisation of Bollywood, and at least four movie premieres.
A few Japanese companies are eyeing India as a low-cost production center and booming market. (Manila Bulletin Online, Philippines).
The Global Integrity Report, prepared by the U.S.-based Center for Public Integrity after a year-long study put India in the "weak democracy" category on a public integrity index, the Times of India reported.
This will be a surprise to everyone who chalked up the change in government to a alive and kicking democracy. But the survey's ranking focussed on the level of corruption and the lack of accountability in public institutions. The report finds that very few people are actively fighting corruption.
New York Times' review of Mani Ratnam's 'Yuva'.
I haven't seen the NYT review a mainstream Bollywood movie before. They may have reviewed 'Yuva' because it is playing in a mainstream multiplex (Loews State Theater in Manhattan). If so, expect more such reviews in the future as more Bollywood movies get released in regular theaters.
The New York Times' coverage of Dr. Manmohan Singh's swearing in as the 13th Prime Minister and First Sikh in Job had some interesting information:
The Diane Rehm Show (a current-affairs radio show in the US) talked about the Indian elections with Gautam Adhikari (former executive editor, "Times of India"), Sunil Khilnani (professor and director of the South Asia Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University) and Teresita Schaffer (Director, South Asia Project).
After May 24 2004, you can listen to the hour-long show from the show's archives.
As part of the 'Indepedant Lens' series, PBS will air Nisha Ganatra's Cosmopolitan on June 1, which features Roshan Seth and Madhur Jaffrey.
The story revolved around a newly-divorced Gopal (Seth) who finds that there's more to love than the pages of Cosmo would suggest.
This op-ed from The Telegraph (UK) says that Sonia Gandhi had no right to walk away from the PM's job since the people voted for Congress because they thought they were voting for her.
He uses some pretty strong words - 'betrayed democracy', 'Trojan Horse' - to make his case. He also makes a pretty offensive statement about how people may not have voted for Congress if they knew that Dr. Singh would be the PM because Sikhs were responsible for Indira Gandhi's assassination.
One more view on what the election results really mean, this time from Pakistan. (Daily Times, Pakistan).
He also brings up the incident of the Pak govt deporting Nawaz Sharif's brother (previously covered).
Tom Friedman's take on what the election results really mean (New York Times). He says that unless the reforms and their benefits reach the poorest villagers, India cannot truly shine and that the BJP defeat was not an anti-reform wave but rather a 'more effective reform' need.
[The Houston Chronicle is also carrying the essay but while the original title in the NYT is 'Making India Shine', the Houstonians retitled it to 'India through an 'untouchable's' eyes'.]
Saatchi India claims 2 bronze Statues at Clio 2004. The Clios are the top awards in the international advertising industry (think 'Oscar').
British (and other foreign) investors watched the Indian stock markets tumble earlier this week with some trepidation but they are now convinced that the economic changes will continue (ThisIsMoney.com, a UK based site).
Despite the Congress party's historical pro-Arab stance (remember the Arafat-Indira embrace?), Israelis are confident of improved India-Israel relations (Forward Newspaper Online, a Jewish newspaper published in the US)
Diebold makes the EVMs that will be using in some areas in the US presidential election and they have been criticised for having major problems with their systems. Since the Indian elections used EVMs too (these were made by BEL), it is very interesting to see the Indian EVMs compared with Diebold.
The design of the Indian EVMs is much more simple and elegant but that didn't stop booth capturing (or booth management as it is now called) and 'vote stuffing' in Bihar. However, the effect of such booth management is much less than it was before since each machine can accept a maximum of 1500 votes.
The Indian elections have shown the properly designed and managed EVMs can work as expected.
Commentary: From India to South Korea, politics spooks markets (International Herald Tribune)
A primer on the current state of biotechnology laws and regulations in India (from Mondaq, a site with legal, regulatory and financial commentary and information).
There are various incentives for biotech firms and many companies are already offshoring some of their work.
Sonia's stepping aside and Manmohan Singh's crowning has generated almost as much press as the election upset last week. A few mentions:
New York Times Editorial: Sonia Gandhi Steps Aside
New York Times Opinion: The Jewel Turns Down the Crown (by the editor of the Hindu who is a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government)
'The poster boy of India's reforms' (Guardian, UK)
An account of a Sonia fan threatening to kill himself if she doesn't become the PM (Mirror, UK). I thought such emotions were limited to the southern half of the country.
The author uses words like 'proletariat' and 'bourgeoisie' in all seriousness giving this article a somewhat anachronistic feel.
Salman Rushdie had an op-ed piece in the Washington Post on May 14th but I can't find it on the WaPo site. Here is a reprint from the The Sydney Morning Herald: A defiant no to the status quo in India
All Pastor Kothapalli Prabhakara Rao wanted was some money. I bet someone told him that he could use this wonderful thing called the Internet to ask people for donations and the money would just flow in.
The last thing he expected was to pose for a photo with a loaf of bread, a fish and a bottle of wine (The 419 Eater).
The people behind this site string the scammers along and get them to send photos with interesting slogans and props. And then they publish the results for all of us to enjoy.
Actually, Pastor Rao's email is not strictly a 419 scam (419 scams typically ask for help to transfer millions of dollars from some frozen accounts) and I feel a little bad for him but hopefully, all he has lost so far is his innocence about the net.
If you always wanted to drive a Porsche but were frustrated that you couldn't buy it in India, fret no more. Porsche has signed contracts with dealerships in Delhi and Mumbai and will sell the 911 and the Boxter models.
I wonder if they will follow the model of text-book publishers and offer an 'Eastern Economy Edition'.
RBI didn't change the rate at which it lends to commercial banks holding it to its lowest rate in 31 years (International Herald Tribune).
The low rates have helped capital investments but it is unclear how long the RBI can hold it at this level.
According to the travel forecasts released by the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council, India is second fastest growing tourism economy in the world (Travel Daily News).
The numbers look a bit odd probably because they are percentages. That explains why Montenegro leads the list and Angola is in the top five. I wouldn't think of these two as top tourist draws and so even a small increase shows up as a big percentage gain.
The boom in personal and housing loans in India make the stocks of Indian banks like ICICI Bank and HDFC bank attractive buys (The Motely Fool, Fool.com).
These stocks are all the more attractive today (and for the next few days) because they are being hammered due to the politicial instability in India (see earlier entry).
Pakistan's announcement that it is reducing its army by 50,000 troops for cutting costs has been met with general approval. The reduction is mostly symbolic and is expected to be in the support staff (or orderlies) who serve the Army officers. The number of active combat personnel will remain the same and possibly even increase.
This move is likely to put some pressure on India to reduce its armed forces too (Asia Times Online) but India needs to evaluate its troop strength from a strategic perspective and then decide whether it needs to make a similar move.
Last week while democracy was proving itself in India, Pakistan was deporting Nawaz Sharif's brother and cutting cellphone service in Lahore (International Herald Tribune)
The author of the IHT piece concludes that though the neighbors have similar constitutions, there is a vast difference in the reality of each country has been governed for the past several decades.
While most Indian tech companies are confident that the new government will not make too many major changes that affect them, the uncertainty, especially about the PSU divestment is troubling (EE Times).
The stock markets crashed today on uncertainty over the formation of the government. They did recover later in the day but the early plunge was the biggest in BSE's history.
Stocks Plunge in India on Fears Over New Leaders (New York Times)
Indian markets crash on political turmoil (Reuters via Forbes)
India's stock market suffers big crash" (AP via MSNBC)
Investor fears spark Indian shares crash (Edinburgh Evening News)
Market loses over Rs 2 lakh crore capital (HindustanTimes.com)
UPDATE: This chart below (from Yahoo!) tells the story:
The flat parts are when the trading was halted (twice).
A top Israeli rabbi is asking for a ban on the use of wigs originating from India (Israel National News).
His opposition stems from the origin of the hair used in the wigs (from devotees who offer the hair in temples) which is counter to the Torah's teachings.
The New York Times has an article on this with some more details and with a perspective from NYC's Jewish community. This ruling is a farily big deal in the Orthodox community mainly because wigs are crucial in their everyday lives (women use them to adhere to the code of modesty that prohibits a public display of their hair after marriage) and wigs from India are very popular because they use real hair and last longer.
The election results are still sinking in and almost everyone is trying to figure out what happened.
India Shifts Course (New York Times Editorial)
Gandhi sweeps Hindu nationalists from power (China Post, Taiwan)
The Once and (Probably) Future First Family of India (New York Times)
Vajpayee´s peace legacy (Radio Netherlands)
Dolfin, a Swiss chocolatier is selling Masala chocolate. The couple of reviews I have read online make this sound delicious.
What started as a very odd news item last year in The Telegraph has culminated in the Save Chandan Now! campaign.
The site has a very tongue-in-cheek tone to it so it isn't clear if it is a joke on Chandan's expense or a serious endeavour.
The election results are in and everyone is surprised!
Here is how the world media is reporting it:
Gandhi-led opposition wins in India (USA Today)
Gandhi-Led Opposition Wins in India (Guardian, UK)
and many many others.
Here is a related story about the celebrations in Sonia's birthplace in Italy.
UPDATE: More reactions:
A stunning defeat for Vajpayee (The Economist). The article starts off by saying:
Bad for the credibility of almost every pundit and pollster; bad for political stability; even perhaps bad for economic reform. But the outcome of India’s election has been a triumph for democracy, and the ordinary voter’s refusal, after being subjected to months of self-congratulatory government propaganda about how “India is shining”, to accept rhetoric over results.
India's poor bring back Gandhi clan (Christian Science Monitor)
The 'muth' (or moat) bean is apparently a big thing in New York restaurants these days (San Francisco Chronicle). Not only in Indian places but also in trendy places like Gramercy Tavern and the Union Square Cafe.
The link above also has a couple of recipes for these beans.
Declining interest rates and losses in mutual funds have caused the big temples in Mumbai to switch their investments to post office deposits (Moneycontrol.com).
There is a lot of election analysis world-wide after TDP's surprising defeat in AP.
A widely carried AP analysis piece says that Vajpayee's gamble of calling for early elections may have backfired.
The New York Times says that the result means that Indian voters are shunning high technology.
And the BBC has a writeup on the media reaction to Naidu's loss. Many headlines focussed on his hi-tech halo ("System failure: Cyber CM logged out": Hindustan Times, "Naidu + delete": Indian Express) while others looked at AP's cyclone-prone location ("Cong (Congress Party) Cyclone shreds Chandra Pradesh": ToI).
The Global Entrepreneurs Meet 2005 (GEM), an international mega event organized for the promotion of trade and business matchmaking, will be held in Mumbai, India Feb. 4-8, 2005 (KoreaTimes).
Does Chandrababu Naidu's defeat in AP mean that the reliance on hi-tech as a solution to the nation's problems needs to be re-thought? (VOANews)
The counting centres in Mumbai are under heavy security till Thursday when the votes are tallied.
There is a lot of faith in the electronic voting machines. A BJP legislator says "The mood is more relaxed because the EVMs are tamper proof." While they are certainly immune to time-tested tactics like ballot-stuffing, they may be vulnerable in ways that we don't know yet.
Jojar Dhinsa, a UK businessman of Indian origin is all set to buy the Coventry City football club and turn it into a powerhouse. He plans to Ronaldo and David Beckham and says that he and his European backers will spend 200 million pounds and more.
And they have some surprises. Chandra Babu Naidu's TDP suffered a shocking defeat in AP state polls (Reuters). TDP is BJP's ally in the national NDA coalition and the general feeling is that TDP's loss may be an indicator of BJP's performance.
There is already talk of a Congress-led coalition government, an idea that seemed outrageous a few weeks back. The financial markets are unhappy at the uncertainty and things will be unsettled till the end of the week till all the specifics are known.
What an election!
A number of UK-based Punjabis visited Punjab during this election season to campaign for and support their candidates (BBC). Some Punjabis from US and Canada are also involved in politicking.
Despite increasing public sentiment in the US about offshoring particular to India, Indian companies are not worried (News.com). Almost all executives and govt officials believe that the debate in the US will die down after the presidential elections and that ecomics will eventually prevail.
A New York Times article looks at how
boom hasn't translated to more jobs overall (N Y Times). Outsourcing and the rest of the IT industry had made little difference to the rest of the economy.
The Indian Supreme Court has rejected a plea by scientists and rules that Astrology be allowed to taught in science degree courses (International Reporter).
The petition was filed by the scientists against HRD Ministry, Govt. of India and University Grant Commission. The HRD Ministry has been strong advocate of introduction of astrology as a course at the post graduation level and for providing platform to interested students in astrology to do research work.
Jayaprakash Narayan, head of the political advocacy group Lok Satta, estimates that about 300-400 of India's 4,072 state legislators and perhaps 15-20 of its 545 members of Parliament are accused of serious crimes -- right up to kidnapping, rape and murder (AP via Newsday.com).
He adds that ironically some of these are model legislators since they can get things done in their constituency.
The Bihar High Court has asked the Election Comission to consider banning prisoners from running for office but the it is not clear when the EC will issue such a ruling.
As noted in this earlier entry, Indian law doesn't allow those held in prison to vote but it doesn't stop them from running for office.
It has been 20 years since the Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal and the survivors are now urging the UN to start relief and rehab work.
The survivor's quest for solace got help last month when a US court decided that the they could file a class-action suit against Dow Chemical (Union Carbide's parent) in the US.
The improved relations between Indian & Pakistan have affected Bollywood where 'Pakistan as the villian' was a popular theme for the past few years (eircom, Ireland).
Ram Gopal Varma has shelved his project titled 'Ek' which revolved around militants based in Pakistan and several planned movies show Pakistan in a favourable light.
The world map in the just-published 'World Affairs Year Book - 2003/2004' (an official Chinese publication) does not show Sikkim as a separate country. Earlier editions had a separate entry in the list of countries.
Tom Plate, a professor at UCLA, thinks that part of the credit for the improved situation in the Indian sub-continent should go to the Bush administration (KoreaTimes).
He says that Bush and his team have 'skillfully intervened' several times to diffuse tentions between India and Pakistan.t
Pasadena's (California, US) Norton Simon Museum is exhibiting Rajput painting through August 23 (CNN).
These paintings have been collected by Ramesh Kapoor who also runs the Kapoor Galleries in New York City. After the exhibition closes, 64 of the 85 paintings will remain at the Norton Simon, 49 as gifts and 15 on permanent loan.
The current 'New England Journal of Medicine' has a study on AIDS drugs that finds that the three-in-one pill made by Indian companies—Ranbaxy and Cipla—is "better for new patients than any of those sold or planned by Western drug companies."
This is the same cocktail that the WHO has been recommending (according to a report in the New York Times) and the Indian government has been dispensing for about a month.
Nokia has teamed-up with McDonald's in India to promote their camera phones (Reuters).
Families buying Happy Meals will be offered framed pictures of themselves taken with a handset.
The Indian worker (archive link) who went missing in Maldives
was found in the jungle after 24 days (Haveeru Daily Online, Maldives). He is alive but nothing else is known about how he got lost or how he survived.
A ban on smoking in public places and any direct or indirect advertising of tobacco products came into effect in India on Saturday. But the local police departments lack the manpower to enforce the part about smoking in public (Hi Pakistan).
Many restauranters plan to pay off the cops if they ever come around to investigate.
And as far as the advertising ban goes, the tobacco companies have already figured out loopholes. They plan to sell products that share brand names with their top-selling cigarettes. ITC Limited has already introduced the Wills sport leisure and lifestyle line of clothes. The liquor companies did this in the 80s and 90s when they started advertising club soda to get around the ban on liquor ads.
The recent loosening of rules regarding FDI in print so that foreign companies can own upto 26% of Indian print media has resulted in boosted many newspapers and increased the options for the reader (Asia Times Online).
Partnering with large foreign media companies gives the Indian papers access to capital and resources they never had. It also helps them fight media monopolies that have existed for decades. For eg. the Hindustan Times has partnered with Henderson Global from the UK to launch a new company - HT Media - which will launch a daily newspaper in Mumbai. This will certainly threaten ToI's dominance in the city and may also help improve the ToI.
Other media giants like Bertelsmann, Vivendi Universal and Time Warner are also checking out the market. The Indian print media will see a big change over the next couple of years.
A 62-year old retired school-teacher from Trivendrum has given birth to a baby boy through a donor egg (The Australian).
BTW, the world's oldest woman to give birth is Satyabhama Mahapatra, a then 65-year old from Orissa.
While I don't want to have a cut-off age for having kids, where is the common sense in these cases? Will these women be in any shape to run around after their toddlers?
Charlie Chaplin's family seems to love India so much that his daughter named her daugher India.
A news report by a Washington think-tank, the Stimson Center finds that Indian rhetoric during the 2001-02 border crisis increased threat of N-war with Pakistan (Dawn, Pakistan).
The 'Muslim vote bank' cannot be taken for granted any longer and they are voting more as individuals than as a bloc (Al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt).
M J Akbar of 'The Asian Age' makes a good point when he says "A Muslim in Delhi has more in common with a fellow Delhite who happens to be Hindu than he does with a Muslim in Tamil Nadu."
Any downturn in the Chinese economy will affect other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea who have seen excellent growth through exports to China. However India will remain unaffected and maybe even gain from a Chinese downturn (Forbes.com).
Many royals including the Scindias (Gwalior) and Wodeyar (Mysore) are contesting in this year's elections (BBC).
The Delhi High court has asked Hotmail to provide details of one of their users who has been using the name of the Tata group in their email campaign.
Does anyone use their real information at Hotmail?
Raising revenues the "Bombay" way (MindaNews, Phillipines).
I really don't know what the article means. It says things like:
Remember that bicycle-riding "Bombay" who diligently collected on a daily basis payments of debts owed by many in the neighborhood?
He may no longer be as ubiquitous as he was in decades past.
'Bombay' seems to be a local word for a tax-collector. I wonder why.
Rising demand for Indian jewellery in the West coupled with a duty on Chinese jewellery has boosted the Indian jewellery export market (Strait Times, Singapore).
Many merchants have set up foreign branches to help deal with the competition. This has caused some of the foreign jewellers to cry foul because Indian laws do not allow foreign businesses in the sector.
Four Keralites who were taken to Iraq under false pretences spent many months in a US army camp as kitchen assistants. On their way out of Iraq, they met another group who were going into Iraq. Looks like the fake-job scam has extended to Iraq.
ABCNews (US) finds that even non-famous Indian havelis boast a surprising palette of colours.
The BBC profiles Anil Ambani and finds that his ambitions extend to politics.
The Mumbai-based Hiranandani Group has signed a $239 million deal with the island nation of Nauru that plans to reconstruct that country's economy.
The deal puts the control of several international properties owned by Nauru in Hiranandani's hands. As part of the agreement, Hiranandani will pay off the $172 million that Nauru owes to US-based General Electric Capital Corp.
Rajendra Babu was sworn in as the 34th Chief Justice of India (Khaleej Times Online)
Astrophysicist Dr. Ramanath Cowsik is only the 12th Indian in the last 141 years to be inducted into the US National Academy of Sciences. He is the second TIFR alumnus in 2 years to be honored by the NAS.
The US wants India to send its troops to Iraq to help with the transition of power on June 30 (Xinhuanet)