Dell opens another call center in India (InfoWorld) [Thanks to Rudra for the link]
Dell will open a third customer contact center in the Chandigarh metro area that will hire about 300 people.
This is a particularly interesting step because Dell had stopped usings its Indian call centers for technical calls from some corporate customers because of complaints from customers about poor quality of service. (See this [warning: has a popup])
They must have improved their training to address the complaints.
Food: Eat, Memory (New York Times)
Mira Nair's article on how chai and other desi foods sustain her. She says, "Chai-making, like cinema, is all about rhythm, patience and timing."
She also describes how desi food - samosa, kachoris, gathias etc. - fuelled the set of one of her American movies.
First Person: Bollywood Confidential (The New York Times)
Suketu Mehta's ode to Bollywood in last Sunday's New York Times (he is author of ''Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found"').
This is a very well written piece about the deep and lasting relationship between Indians and Bollywood.
Some notable passages:
Why do I love Bollywood movies? To an Indian, that's like asking why we love our mothers; we don't have a choice. We were born of them. .... They shape the way I conduct my love affairs or think about religion or treat my elders. ... In New York, whenever I get a haircut, I'm confident of getting a discount if the hairdresser is from the former Soviet Union.
A couple of weeks after 9/11, 16 of India's biggest stars got on an American airliner; 4 other passengers got off in fear. Anil Kapoor was reading a copy of Time with Osama bin Laden's picture on the cover; his manager advised him to fold the magazine so that the portrait wouldn't be visible. Aamir Khan reached for an orange and a passenger flinched. They were telling me these stories in the locker room of the Trenton hockey arena, one stop on their road show. They were going to tour 20 cities in 40 days, putting on a vaudeville act for their fans, immigrants from all the countries that love Bollywood.
The last couple of paragraphs are the best. He describes how his son is at ease in both - Indian and American - cultures and how the son's school (in Brooklyn) mounted a Bollywood version of "The Ramayana" for the second grade play.
India's Hetero takes AIDS drugs off WHO list (Reuters AlertNet)
Another Indian drug company, Hetero Drugs, has withdrawn all of its drugs from the WHO's list of approved drugs. This sucks!
Ranbaxy and Cipla had previously withdrawn their drugs after finding discrepancies in the equivalvency tests.
China seeks Indian English teachers (Big News Network)
China's education minister is visiting India universities and schools in search of language teachers to meet the growing demand for English in China.
English has been India's major advantage over China in attracting the IT work. Once the Chinese become proficient in English, what's stopping them from luring the work away from India? A few teachers could potentially erase the competitive advantage India has.
Intel considers India for chip manufacturing (ComputerWeekly)
This is big news because while many other semi-conductor companies have design centers in India, no one has a fab. An Indian fab will be a great way to attract more hi-tech manufacturing business as well as talent. It would have been even better if the fab was independent i.e. not built by one company but this is a great way to start. Maybe once the fab starts production, capital might be available for private fabs.
Intel is also funding e-learning projects in India. It has signed separate pacts with three states -- Uttaranchal, Kerala and Karnataka -- on specific learning and e-government projects.
Yoga with warm bodies and fast hearts (New Zealand Herald, NZ)
Rajashree Choudhury, Bikram Choudhary's wife (he of Bukram Yoga fame/notoreity) held a class in Newmarket, New Zealand during a 10-hour stopover that attracted students from far-off places. The couple have their yoga studio in Beverly Hills, California and have licensed their technique to other yoga instructors around the world.
This article in The Times (UK) describes Britain's first yoga championship. The world championships are in LA next Feb and the organisers want to get yoga accepted as an Olympic sport, if not by 2008, then at the 2012 Games.
Yoga has certainly come a long way, baby!
India May Set Up Company in 1 Month for Dredging Canal in East (Bloomberg.com)
India plans to setup a company - Sethusamudram Corp. - to dredge the channel between India and Sri Lanka and make it deeper so that ships don't have to sail around Sri Lanka to reach Indian ports on the east coast. The channel is expected to cut the sailing time by 36 hours.
India plans to collaborate with the Suez Canal Authority as well as the governement of Panama for the project.
Environmentalists fear that the project would have an adverse impact on fish catch of the 250-odd fishing villages and irrevocably damage the marine biodiversity.
Books effective in education Hindu youths (The Post, South Africa)
Books on Hindusim imported by the Shree Sanathan Dharma Sabha of South Africa are very popular among the youth. The books - Shree Satya Narian Vrath Katha and Vishnu Sahastranaama - have been distributed free at various temples and religious centers throughout the country.
India should not expect much from Powell's exit (Dawn, Pakistan)
The [outgoing] US state secretary had a penchant for public diplomacy on India-Pakistan issues that have not been appreciated by foreign policy mandarins here.
The Indian diplomats try very hard to avoid any impression that the US dictates India's intenal as well as external interactions. And yet Powell tried more than once to imply that.
Curiously, the title of the article doesn't match the gist of it.
This Asia Times Online article is much better when explaining why Rice will be better than Powell when it comes to US-India relations.
A September 2000 interview with The International Economy sums up Rice's views on foreign policy vis-a-vis India. She said: "We need to encourage new centers of stability, new centers of prosperity. Let me give you an example: India. This is a country that we have generally treated as if it is simply a nuclear problem and a problem concerning Kashmir, and that's all we ever talk about with India. But this is an emerging knowledge economy that has a real place in the new international economy."
In fact Rice, Robert Blackwill (US ambassador to India during 2001-03) and Stephen Hadley (the new national security adviser) have been considered as the three-person team working to implement Bush's India policy, often meeting resistance from Powell
Despite economic boom, India desperate for jobs, infrastructure (Channelnewsasia.com)
Despite India's economic boom in software and outsourcing services, economists have warned the government needs more reforms to create jobs in manufacturing to cut poverty.
The food-for-work program announced last weekend will help.
Cattle, the Research Catalyst (Wired News)
RSS and VHP and other Hindu-focussed organizations are funding research into cows and their benefits. They are also making ludicrous claims about the efficacy of cow dung and cow urine.
Some examples of this 'research':
- cow dung and spread over walls and roofs can block nuclear radiation
- cows' urine can cure cancer, renal failure, arthritis and a lot of other ailments
- cow slaughter causes exceptional seismic activity i.e. earthquakes
Commentary: For India and Pakistan, peace may come in a pipeline (Bloomberg News via IHT)
Even by arming themselves to the teeth, India and Pakistan have not been able to keep peace. It's time they tried to build economic stakes in each other as a way to prevent a fourth war.
The Iran-India gas pipeline may be the best way for peace between India and Pakistan. The pipeline will be a win-win for both countries and it will be in both their interests to make sure that it is not damaged.
According to the director-general of the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, India stands to save $2 billion a year by importing piped gas, as opposed to buying costlier liquefied gas stored in ocean tankers, and Pakistan, will make $600 million annually by charging India transit fees.
Thousands March and Rally Against Coca-Cola in India (No Sweat, UK)
Thousands of people are expected to take part in the march and rally between two Coca-Cola bottling plants - in Ballia and Mehdiganj - both in the state of Uttar Pradesh, from November 15-24, 2004. The march will end will a large rally in Mehdiganj, near the holy city of Varanasi, on November 24. ... "Drinking Coke is like drinking farmer's blood in India," said Nandlal Master of Lok Samiti and the National Alliance of People's Movements, a key organizer of the march and rally.
More details about the complaints against Coca-Cola are at the India Resource Center
Building boom as border town readies for trans-Kashmir bus (Khaleej Times Online)
A hotel and a large shopping complex are under construction and another three-star hotel is planned.
All this is in anticipation of a bus route linking Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK.
1st TEST: Pakistan v India at Karachi, 15-20 Nov 1989 (Cricinfo) [Thanks to Sanjeev for the link]
Cricinfo's archived details of the Pakistan v India match (Nov 1989) where Tendulkar made his debut - 15 years ago today.
Bonus link: Tendulkar's profile
The PM launched a food-for-work scheme on Sunday that will pay the equivalent of five kilograms of grain for each day's work - mostly paid in food but including a small cash sum. The workers will help build roads, bridges, canals and work on water conservation and flood prevention projects.
The federal government has allotted 20.2 billion rupees (US$450 million, €348.27 million) for the plan.
(Previous entry on the topic that highlights corporate (rather than govt) initiatives: Solving rural unemployment through technical training)
Commentary: Indian banks are solvent, but are they healthy? (Bloomberg News via IHT)
The Finance Ministry and the RBI don't seem to agree on the health of the country's banking system. The FinMin thinks that the banks have too many bad loans. The analyst feels that less government involvement and more private enterprise will help fix the problem.
As India struggles to eliminate malnutrition among the rural poor, wealthy urbanites are packing on extra pounds due to sedentary lifestyles and the growing abundance of sugary, high-fat foods.
While city-dwellers account for only 5 percent of India's billion-plus population, they consume 40 percent of the country's fat intake.
Add the increasing popularity of PC games and all-day TV channels and Indians are getting fatter, younger. Playgrounds are hard to come by in the cities which makes the problem worse.
The government has signed on to a World Health Organization plan that promotes, among other strategies, healthier school lunches and standardized food labels. This is a good start but it can only go so far.
Indian, 107, granted bail - for now (BBC) [Thanks to Sanjeev for the link]
Seventeen years ago, Nankau Prasad Mishra was convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for attacking Jwala Prasad in a land dispute in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was 90 years old then. He has been in and out of jail since.
The Lucknow High Court overturned a six-year jail sentence and freed him last March. But the Uttar Pradesh state government appealed to the Supreme Court, which ordered him back to jail in August this year. He recently got bail on health reasons (guys, he is 107 years old!) but only until the Lucknow High Court rules on his case.
Don't the lawyers and the government officials have some younger crooks to catch?
India provides Guyana US$25 million for cricket stadium (JamaicaObserver.com)
India will give Guyana US$25 million in grants and loans to build a new stadium to host matches of the Cricket World Cup in 2007, officials said yesterday. .. The package includes a US$6 million grant and a US$19 million loan to be repaid over 20 years at a 1.7 per cent annual interest rate.
Why? What's in it for India and Indian cricket?
India's over-rate earns Ganguly two-Test ban (The Independent, UK)
Sourav Ganguly, the Indian cricket captain, was suspended yesterday for two Tests due to India's slow bowling rate in the one-day international against Pakistan in Calcutta on Saturday.
This means that Ganguly will miss the two-Test home series against South Africa which begins on 20 November.
Ganguly, the first captain to be suspended for a team's slow over-rate will appeal to the ICC.
A few Bollywood related news items via the Bollywood tracker:
1. Bollywood Comes to German TV (DW World)
Most Germans have never seen Indian films with their elaborate satins and silks and lavish musical numbers but one German network hopes to change that. German private broadcaster, RTL II, will air the three-hour epic "Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Sad" on Nov. 19.
The movie was released with German subtitles but the three-hour epic was too much for most Germans and it only attracted 7,000 viewers. RTL II hopes the German dubbing will attract larger audiences.
I would love to see the song and dance routines translated into German. That would be fun!
2. Bollywood star curries favour (The Scotsman)
Asha Bhosle will provide the recipes, decor and the music for Britain's first national curry house chain.
3. Bunton offered record-breaking Bollywood fee (Ireland On-Line)
Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton has been offered a record-breaking $1.8m (€1.4m) to make a Bollywood movie.
This sounds more like a publicity stunt than a real offer.
4. Pakistanis no longer Bollywood baddies (Reuters)
The article uses 'Veer-Zaara' and Mahesh Bhatt's "Nazar" as examples of the trend of portraying Pakistanis in a positive light. Mahesh Bhatt's film is actually an India-Pakistan co-production and stars Meera, a leading light in Lollywood.
Microsoft to double size of India facilities (The Seattle Times)
Microsoft has also suspended work on a second local campus, in Issaquah [Washington state], and last month it gave up more than half the land it had reserved for that project.
Dreams turn sour for Indian doctors in Britain (AFP via HT)
Many Indian doctors going to the UK find that it is not all as great as they had expected. They need to pass exams that cost hundreds of pounds and then compete with hundred of other doctors for a few jobs.
The situation is only going to worsen since the medical council is trying to make the exam cheaper for foreign doctors.
Arundhati Roy's speech after being awarded the Sydney Peace Prize.
Eloquent as always...
Married couple or brother and sister? (BBC) [Thanks to Sanjeev for the link]
The village council in a Haryana village decreed that a married couple is from closely related clans and should live as siblings instead of spouses. A High court decision has forced them to retract their position.
Such stupid panchayat's are not limited to the North. A couple of months back, a TN panchayat upheld a marriage to an 8-year old girl.
Commentary: On this, at least, investors and Indian Marxists agree (Bloomberg News via IHT)
The issue of agreement is that there needs to be some way of taxing agricultural income. A panel estimated that the govt was losing 10 billion rupees, or $220 million, a year from laundering of nonfarm income as agricultural income.
Plus the lack of any agricultural taxes has led to high taxes on manufacturing.
Sitaram Yechury, a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said in a recent interview that the rural rich need to be taxed.
However, the Indian constitution puts agriculture as under control of the states so any income from taxes on farm-income goes to the states. If the central govt wants the money it has to amend the constitution.
And the definition of 'rural rich' will also lead to much debates. Still this is a good start to discussions on an important issue.
Imran and Kapil to be honoured at Pakistan-India match (Daily Times, Pakistan)
Imran, Kapil and 17 other captains from both countries will be honoured during the dinner break of the match being organised as part of the 75th year celebrations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Among the Indian captains attending the match will be current stars Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. The others will be Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Ajit Wadekar, Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Bishan Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and Krishnamachari Srikkanth.
I found it interesting that the title of the article calls it a 'Pakistan-India match'. Is there a general concensus on which name is written first - always the host, always the guest or always my team?
Bollywood colours in the classics (The Independent, UK)
A colorized version of Mughal-e-Azam will be released tomorrow.
The distribution rights for the 44-year-old film's re-release in Bombay alone have sold for 22.5m rupees (£270,000) - a new record.
The lights go on all over India (Asia Times Online)
Sign of the times:
Cheaper and more colorful Chinese electric lights dominate the market of traditional Diwali diyas and candles.
For the first time ever, cracker packets must reveal their decibel levels.
Celebrate Diwali! - Enjoy authentic Indian delights (Jamaica Observer)
The article starts off with:
Do you have any left over candles from hurricane Ivan? Yes? Oh good! Now find a couple of candelabras, position them strategically around the house and start making plans for Diwali.
and also includes recipes for Kashmiri tamatari ghosht, thepla and shrikhand.
Diwali ushers in Hindu New Year (San Francisco Chronicle)
The food columnist's recollection of her visit to a friend's place for a Diwali dinner. She is a good sport about her problems with a sari as well as eating daal-chawal by hand. The article also includes a recipe for 'Shahi Kofta Curry'
Indian company pulls plug on AIDS drug (UPI via MENAFN - Middle East North Africa . Financial Network)
Ranbaxy Laboratories voluntarily withdrawn seven of its antiretrovirals and all pre-qualified products from the WHO pre-qualification.
Ranbaxy could not guarantee that its drugs were as potent as more expensive brand-name versions. The drugs have not been found to be substandard but are not proven to be as effective as drugs of rival expensive brand names.
This decision is expected to affect tens of thousands of patients using the drugs in poor countries.
This is a major blow to the WHO effort to fight AIDS in Asia and Africa. Ranbaxy and Cipla were two major companies who had offered very inexpensive AIDS medicine to WHO. This withdrawal will also strenghten the claim of other large pharma companies that their expensive drugs are justified.
Court bars import of defective globes (siliconindia.com)
The Delhi High Court barred the import of China-made globes that show Jammu-Kashmir in a color different from that of India as if it was not a part of the country.
Interestingly the Court also asked the government to pay Rs. 10,000 to Subhendu Prakash Gautam, as costs in recognition of his efforts to bring the defective globes to the court's notice.
This highlights an interesting possiblity of China surreptitiously changing maps and borders in toys and maps and somehow spreading their viewpoint of geography.
Bollywood's Gulzar in Pakistan to inquire after Nadeem Qasmi (Daily Times, Pakistan)
Gulzar was in Pakistan this week to inquire about the health of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, whom his calls his guru.
And here is a factoid for the trivia buffs: Gulzar is also known as Sampooran Singh.
Mobiles overtake fixed-lines in India (Financial Times, UK)
According to India's telecommunications authority, the country's mobile telecom base grew by 1.4m in October to reach 44.9m subscribers, compared with 43.9m registered users of land lines in the country.
India's teledensity has doubled in the past 3 years to 8.5 phones per 100 people. China has a teledensity of 20.
The article has an interesting quote by the CEO of Bharti Televentures, one of the largest cell phone providers in India. He says "In India mobile phones are for ordinary people and fixed-line phones are for the rich. We used to think it was the other way round."
Afghanistan's minister of Information and Culture, Sayed Makhdom Raheen, has criticized the state television and cable services for broadcasting too many Bollywood Indian movies and Western films. He called on media outlets to air pure Afghan and Islamic cultural movies rather than what he called "vain misleading things".
Bollywood vain? misleading? No way!
In any case, this seems to be just another case of a policitican promoting 'values' as a political ploy.
Upside Gets Outsourced for Indian IT (TheStreet.com)
Analysis of the rebound by Infosys, Wipro and Satyam from their May 2004 lows.
The EU is going to launch a system of 27 satellites which will be a European version of the already existing U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). The EU is also in talks with China, Israel, Russia, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Australia to be a part of the project.
India pledged on Wednesday to strike a deal soon on joining the European Union's multibillion-dollar satellite navigation system project, but it declined to spell out how much it would invest.
This agreement "would guarantee highest-quality signals over Indian territory."
I don't understand this part:
India had originally spoken of contributing 300 million euros to the project but the EU officials said it was now more likely to be 150-200 million.
So the EU wants less money than India offered? That's a little bit odd.
But India being a part of Galileo is very cool.
The 50 Women to Watch (The Wall Street Journal)
The inaugural "Women to Watch" survey of the Wall Street Journal places Indra Nooyi, president and CEO of Pepsico in India on the 16th position. Nooyi has been nominated for being one of the lead negotiators of the $13.9 billion acquisition of Quaker Oats and its prized Gatorade brand.
The deputy CEO of HSBC in India Naina Lal Kidwai also finds mention in the list at 34th position for helping Indian companies raise billions at home and abroad.
The 50 were selected by a team of Wall Street Journal reporters and editors from 550 nominations worldwide.
India-EU partnership talks begin (Reuters, Agence France-Presse via IHT)
The PM will be discussing the details of forging a strategic partnership with the EU today. Only the United States, Canada, Japan, China and Russia have the status of EU's strategic partner.
Interestingly India and the EU will also will sign an agreement worth € 33 million, or $43 million, for 1,000 Indian students to pursue courses in Europe toward master's degrees over the next three years.
This will certainly reduce the US's allure as the default destination for higher education.
India accepts President's proposal to jointly develop Buddhagaya and Anuradhapura (Daily News, Sri Lanka)
India's President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has accepted a proposal made by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to implement a joint programme to develop Buddhagaya in India and Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.
This will be good not only for historical and cultural reasons for also for economic reasons. A restored Buddhagaya will be an attraction for the tourists from Japan and other places in SE Asia interested in Buddhism.
New code of conduct for India's teachers (UPI via Washington Times)
A new code of conduct for teachers includes not smoking, drinking, chewing pan or tobacco when in public.
The code also requires no teacher or non-teaching staff should engage in any private business and trade.
This sounds like a good idea in theory but will be nearly impossible to implement. Are students supposed to tell on teachers they see chewing pan outside of school? And the thing about no private business - what were they thinking? How will they control all the tuition classes that are run on the side? Are they going to increase the pay?
Just another 'feel-good' set of rules.
Sukhi Turner - Indian Mayor in New Zealand (Thanks to Sanjeev for the link)
Sukhi Turner formerly known as Sukhinder Kaur Gill and the wife of former New Zealand cricket captain Glenn Turner, recently resigned as the mayor of the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. She server three terms as mayor before retiring in Oct 2004.
She is one of the few Indians who has risen to such heights in the politics of New Zealand.
'Surgical vacations' to India (CBC News, Canada)
Shaz Pendharkar, a Canadian businessman, is offering special medical travel packages to India for people facing long waits for various surgical procedures in Canada. He promises that the tour will include a recuperative stay in a four-star tropical hotel.
So the Americans are going to India to for the low costs (previous entry) while the Canadians are doing so to avoid long waits. Looks like medical tourism is here to stay!
Boje Pulls Out of SA's Cricket Tour to India (allAfrica.com)
Nicky Boje will not be touring India because the Indian police and the cricket authority could/would not provide assurances that he would not be rrested for the ongoing probe into match fixing. The article says that this is a severe setback to the South African national cricket team's chances of pulling off a series victory in India this month.
He is the second SA player after Herschelle Gibbs to drop out of the tour.
Jobs fears as engineer moves to India (ThisisLondon)
UK is just now getting used to call-center and bank-office jobs moving to India but the announcement by one of the UK's leading precision engineers, Hampson Industries, to move key manufacturing operations to Bangalore has sent shockwaves through the work-force.
Hampson makes high-precision parts for the turbochargers needed by DaimlerChrysler, BMW and Ford as well as aerospace parts for Rolls-Royce and Airbus. Hampson says that the move is at the behest of Rolls-Royce.
The bigger import of this news is that companies are setting up manufacturing plants in India. That is good news!
India do the impossible [ 05nov04 ] (The Sunday Times, Australia)
THE Indians have turned in a stunning bowling performance on a crumbling wicket to win the fourth and final Test in Mumbai by 13 runs.
Sunil Shetty's Popcorn Entertainment has partnered with TravelMart to offer 'Bollywood Tourism' for about $100 a day. The plan is to offer a 'behind the scenes' tour to the tourists and let them watch a film shooting. Tourists may also be able to meet their favourite stars for an additional fee. The idea has the support of the Tourism ministry.
This is a great idea!
The Central Public Works Division, which is the agency responsible for constructing government buildings, told the BBC the country's urban development ministry was "seriously thinking" about redeveloping the sprawling white mansions designed by the late British architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, to construct spacious apartments to accommodate MPs.
Lutyens' Delhi, as it has come to be known, is one of the capital's heritage sites and there is opposition to convert it.
The BBC article ends with "The issue has now reached the Indian prime minister's office. " which sounds like "The Quizmaster's decision is final".
Commentary: A new benchmark in the race between India and China (Bloomberg News via IHT)
A new survey by Edelman Public Relations Worldwide of asks 65 business journalists in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Singapore, China and India about their view on the competition between India and China.
The global media are more optimistic about the "current industrial vitality" of India than any other emerging market in the world, including China.
The top answer to the question, "When you think of these countries as an emerging market, what comes to mind?" was "democracy" for India, and "lack of democracy" for China.
However one of the other important views is that India is "not doing a very good job of communicating its value proposition". Overall, China enjoys a 46 percent "share of voice" in the U.S. media, compared with 14 percent for India.
The survey, which will be conducted annually, will be a good way for India to keep track of where it stands in the race for investment dollars.
Challenge for India's top schools (Bloomberg News via IHT)
Interesting analysis of the challenges that the IITs face.
The Dept of Education in the central govt is not averse to letting foreign universities open branches in India. This would mean an exodus of faculty and researchers to these places. It would also reduce the allure of IITs to aspiring engineers.
The article says that about 15% of all IIT grads go abroad for further education. I thought the number was much higher.
However, Sylvester Fernandez (Republican) running for the House of Representatives from New Jersey's 6th Congressional District lost to Rep. Frank Pallone (Democrat from New Jersey), a co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on Indians and Indian Americans.
Nikki won by default as her opponent, an independent, was unable to get his name on the ballot.
Jindal is the second Indian American to enter the Congress nearly 50 years after Indian American Dalip Singh Saund made it from California in 1956. He narrowly lost the gubernatorial race last year.
Dandekar is a Democrat while Haley-Randhawa and Jindal are both Republicans.
And this article from last month other Indian American political movers and shakers tells of the challenges they face.
UPDATE: Five other Indian Americans won in local elections while two others lost. Shinku Sharma won a position as a board member of the Saratoga Union School District of Santa Clara County in California and Jagrup Sidhu was elected council member of the Kerman City Council of Fresno County. Also winning a seat as council member was Harry Sidhu at the Anaheim City Council of the state's Orange County while Rajendra Ratnesar was elected a member of the board of directors of the Eden Township Health Care District of Alameda County. In Washington, Mital Gandhi won a position on the Advisory Neighbourhood Commission of Northwest Washington.
Coca-Cola boosting Indian crops (MENAFN - Middle East North Africa . Financial Network)
Many farmers in AP and Chhatisgarh have found that spraying their cotton and chilly fields with Coke keeps the crops free of bugs. Coke is also much cheaper than chemical pesticides.
Apparently, Coke is not happy with the new usage. I wonder why? They should actually promote such usage and incorporate it into their ads and promote Coke as a health drink - "If it can kill farm pests, just think how effective it must be on your body's bugs" or something like that.
Winning Over India (National Review Online)
This journalist attributes "smart policy" to the pro-Bush feelings in India. He notes that Kerry's anti-outsourcing rhetoric hurt him more than the general opposition to the Iraq war hurt Bush.
The NRO is a conservative magazine so the article's focus is not a surprise. Still, the author does a good job of taking India's various viewpoints into consideration.
India taps tech talent in China (NYTimes via IHT)
[Also in the San Jose Mercury News as Indian outsourcing firms outsourcing jobs to China]
Infosys, the Bangalore software-services company, and other top Indian outsourcing rivals, including Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro Technologies, are doing application development and maintenance work in China as they grow rapidly to keep up with booming demand from the West for their services.
And they are quickly concluding that only China has a worker base equal to India's in terms of cost, quality and scale. Expansion there also offers the ability to cater to -- and possibly garner more of -- the local and regional markets, including Japan.
The Chinese govt is doing its part by offering high-quality infrastructure at low costs.
How long before the Indian workers start noticing the effects?
VSNL is to buy US-based undersea cable system firm Tyco Global Network for $130m (£71m). This will give the Tata Group, the majority-owner of VSNL, a submarine network linking three continents. The deal is in response to Reliance buying Flag Telecom earlier this year.
Tata's might introduce an international calling plan similar to Reliance's recent offering. Good news for NRIs!
Hundreds of Indian children attacked by monkeys (AP via The Globe and Mail, Canada)
Monkeys at a Guwahati temple have started attacking children recently. According to the temple's priest none of the 2,000 rhesus monkeys roaming in and around the temple have shown aggressive behaviour in the past.
Officials at the Guwahati zoo are examining a couple of monkeys to determine what has caused this recent change.
BTW, the same story on Yahoo! News is headlined: 300 children bitten by 'blood sucking' monkeys at famous Indian temple. Nothing like a bit of drama to liven up the news!
Commentary: The temptations of India's currency stockpile (Bloomberg News via IHT)
The central govt and the RBI are fighting over control of India's $120 billion foreign currency reserves. The RBI has formal ownership but the govt wants to use part of the reserves for its domestic agenda.
The RBI is warning that any reduction in these reserves will be viewed negatively by the international financial markets but the Planning Commission is recommending that $5 billion of the central bank's reserves be spent annually in the next three years on extra investments in infrastructure. The govt's argument is that this improvement in the basics will invite more foreign investment which will more than offset the amount spent.
Ford Hospital Telecasts Surgery to India (AP via ABC News)
Fifteen-hundred doctors at a conference in Bombay watched a three-dimensional broadcast of a two-hour prostate surgery at a Michigan hospital.
Dr. Mani Menon developed a form of prostate surgery that uses a robotic arm to remove cancerous tissue and used a new, high-tech operating room to broadcast the prostate surgery to the World Conference of Endourology in Bombay.
In India, doctors at the conference wore 3-D glasses that enabled them to view the operation it all its detail.
CalPERS says invested $100 mln in India in 6 mnths (Reuters.com)
Top U.S. pension fund CalPERS, which only picked India as an investment destination in April, has invested about $100 million in the country so far and expects more pension funds to show an interest, an official said.
Previous entries about CalPERS and their interest in Indian markets:
International money managers like Indian markets
Corporate India roots for Bush's re-election (Gulf Daily News)
Corporate India favours the re-election of US President George W Bush as it feels a Republican win would boost India's already booming BPO sector, industry officials said yesterday.
Either these leaders don't understand politics or they are idiots or both.
India's Outsourcers Gain Traction (BusinessWeek)
On a year-to-date basis, American depository receipts (ADRs) of Indian info-tech outsourcing leaders Infosys Technologies (INFY; recent price: $67) and Wipro (WIT; $21) have risen 43% and 35%, respectively, while those of Satyam Computer Services (SAY; $26) have leveled off slightly after hitting a high in early 2004. We at Standard & Poor's have accumulate (4 STARS) recommendations on the shares of these companies based on several factors.
That's a solid recommendation!
The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Miloon Kothari, issued a statement expressing his concern about the practice of forced evictions in India generally, and in New Delhi particularly.
He is specifically concerned about the forced eviction of women and children from Palika hostel that has pushed over 100 homeless women and children back on the streets.
The Special Rapporteur calls on responsible government bodies to immediately provide alternative housing for the displaced women and children in an adequate shelter, close to the original location of Palika Hostel.
Will the NDMC respond?
Various viewpoints on India's resounding defeat against Australia:
Australia trounce India to finally end 35-year wait (Scotsman.com)
Team more in tune with India (The Age, Sydney)
India's chaotic surrender comes from the top down (Independant, UK)
Dark clouds gather as India lose stomach for the battle (Telegraph, UK)
India collapse turns spiteful (The Australian)
Indians take a gamble on US elections (Asia Times Online)
The US presidential election is on the top of almost everyone in India including the satta operators.
Prominent hotels and pubs have set up huge screens for people to tune in to election discussions before and after the results are determined. Given the general expectations of lawsuits and counter-suits after the polls close, the people watching the results at these venues better have a lot of patience.
Liz Hurley to marry in India? (Ananova)
The actress is hosting two parties for boyfriend Arun Nayer's (a Bombayite, btw) 40th birthday and friends claim the couple will tie the knot at one of them.
Yesterday (Oct 31) was the 20th anniversary of Indira Gandhi's assassination. It was marked by homages and tributes and renewed calls by human rights groups to the government to make a public commitment to prosecute those responsible for the anti-Sikh violence that followed her death.
1984: Indian prime minister shot dead (BBC's 'On This Day' news archive from 1984)
1984: Assassination and revenge - your memories (BBC's 'Witness' section with first-hand accounts of the people's reactions to the assassination and the riots that followed)
In pictures: Painful memories - two decades after the massacre, BBC News revisits some of the riot victims.
The Guardian's (UK) (archived) account of the post-assassination riots.
India to loosen curbs on bank acquisitions (Bloomberg News via IHT)
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram of India said the government would allow foreign banks to take control of domestic private lenders and promote mergers and acquisitions in the financial industry.
Will the Left oppose this?