Archive for 08/07/2013

For all of UPA minister’s shenanigans, this must surely take the cake.
In the last two days, V Narayanswamy, MoS in the PMO and the Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, have launched a broadside against Anna and his team, apparently as a response to their questioning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s role in the so-called ‘Coalgate’.
“How the three persons Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and this (Arvind) Kejriwal all three got this award. What is their contribution? What is their contribution to get a prestigious international award or the Magsaysay award, what is the purpose? So, it all kind of a (sic), I suspect there is a conspiracy to destabilize Indian politics,” Ravi thundered.

“…American Trusts, Rockefeller Foundation as well as the Ford Foundation finance these award committees. The money comes from the American foundations”, he added in good measure.
Earlier, Narayanswami had charged that Hazare was surrounded by “anti-national elements” and those supported by “foreign forces”.
Apparently, the ministers’ logic is that as Kiran Bedi (1994) and Arvind Kejriwal (2006) have been awarded Magsaysay, which funded by “American Foundations” , who presumably act to destabilise India, which can only mean that – Team Anna is a proxy for bringing India to its knees.
Only problem with this formulation of the esteemed ministers is that Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council (NAC), the body that sets the tone and tenor for socio-economic mandate for the government actually has three members – Aruna Roy (2000), Deep Joshi (2009), M S Swaminathan (1971).
So by the ministers’ logic it stands to reason that the NAC itself stands infiltrated by “anti-national elements” funded and backed by “foreign forces” to bring India to its knees.
Surely, they are not questioning the judgement and integrity of their own party president!
Moreover, by the logic of the Narayanswami-Ravi duo, the following are those who should be suspect in their eyes, for they are among those Indians who have been awarded the ‘American funded’ Magsaysay Award.
Vinod Bhave (1958), Verghese Kurien (1963), Jayaprakash Narayan (1965), Ravi Shankar (1992), Arun Shourie (1982), R K Laxman (1984), Baba Amte (1985), Ela Bhatt (1994), M S Subalakshmi (1994), T N Seshan (1996), Mahasweta Devi (1997), J M Lyngdoh (2003).
(Just another small point, Minister Ravi did not even get his facts right. Anna Hazare has never been given the Magsaysay Award, though he has been awarded both the Padma Sri and the Padma Vibhushan.)
Of course, not a word on the fate of the Jan Lokpal bill from the ministers. But, ‘anti-nationals’, ‘foreign forces’ it is!

Let’s be honest, a job is never really ‘just’ a job. For those of us who go to an office, for gainful employment, our workplaces are an integral part of our lives. It is here that we spend one third (and sometimes more) of our daily lives. The other parts are divided over getting a good night’s sleep and just getting on with life. So what happens if this important one third of our day is always rotten? Lots, says a recent study, which indicates that sticking to a job one hates can result into mental and physical health problems. Read about it here

Having said that, is there really a ‘perfect’ job? My first job was the one that I enjoyed the most. I learned all my professional chops while at it. I met some brightest and best co-workers, got a platform which groomed me professionally and as an individual. The downer? It paid peanuts. I remember staring into an empty bank account for the first year and a half of my work life. All the good things that the job offered simply faded away, as I scrounged for survival each month. (It’s only now, when I look back, I realize the good things)

My second job, paid well. Only it took my life away. Subsequent jobs followed. Each with its own set of problems. Each left me with a new learning. Over this period, I have developed a never-to-go-away back problem, thanks to hours and hours spent sitting at my desks, a capacity to absorb reasonable amounts of stress, a knack to deal with deadlines and not to forget some considerable ‘weight gain’ because most of my earlier jobs never left me enough time, so that I could keep myself fit and fine.

I often wonder if there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Will there ever be a job that comes clean on all my professional and personal objectives. Hopefully one day, I will land into that utopian, elusive, exists-only-in-my-fa​ntasy office, one that lets me get my pet to work. Till then, I guess I am just going to have to deal with those Monday blues.

Sebastian Vettel finally won a race on his home soil on Sunday when he survived spells of intense pressure to steer his Red Bull to victory in the German Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old German, who also had never won a race in the month of July, came home narrowly ahead of fast-closing Finn Kimi Raikkonen and his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean of France.

Vettel’s win was his fourth this year and the 30th of his career and it lifted him 36 points clear of nearest rival, Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, in the drivers championship.

Alonso came home fourth ahead of Britons Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Jenson Button of McLaren with Australian Mark Webber seventh in the second Red Bull.

Mexican Sergio Perez finished eighth for McLaren ahead of Germans Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes and Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber.

Vettel became the first German to win a German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in the history of the Formula One world championship.

After the drama of four exploding tyre blowouts in last Sunday’s British Grand Prix, the race was run without similar incidents other than when an errant wheel flew off Webber’s car during a pit-stop and struck a tv camerman in the back.

He was taken to the circuit medical centre, but later said to be bruised and shocked, but not seriously injured.



London: Andy Murray wiped out 77 years of pain and hurt as he became the first British man since 1936 to win the men’s title at Wimbledon with a 6-4 7-5 6-4 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

Just why Britain had to wait almost eight decades to witness such scenes of unbridled patriotic joy at the spiritual home of lawn tennis was summed up by an astonishing final game when Murray won and lost three match points, leaving 15,000 fans gasping in disbelief.

The pulses were racing even faster as Djokovic displayed his own survival instincts to earn three break points before a wondrous volley winner gave Murray another championship point.

This time Djokovic could not deny him and when the Serb dragged a backhand into the net after yet another lengthy exchange, 60 million Britons leapt up and Murray tossed his racket to the famous turf.

“That was one of the toughest moments, today was unbelievably tough match,” Murray said after fulfilling a lifelong dream of holding aloft the gilded Challenge Cup.

“I don’t know how I came through the final three points, I’m so glad to do it.

“I understand how much everyone wanted to see British winner at Wimbledon and I hope everyone enjoyed it.”

A gracious Djokovic added: “Congratulations to Andy you absolutely deserved it, you played incredibly.

“I know what it means to you guys in the whole country so well done. It is a great achievement. I gave it my all and it was an honour to be in this match, in this final.”

Murray took three hours and nine minutes to finally lay Fred Perry’s ghost at 5.24 local time on Sunday.

On the hottest day of the year in Britain, with the mercury soaring toward 30 degrees Celsius, the world’s two best players produced scorching sinew-stretching action from the start and the first three games alone lasted 20 minutes.

The opening salvo of the Centre Court clash lasted 20 strokes as Murray went up 0-40 on the Serb’s serve but Djokovic produced staunch defence to stave off his opponent’s attacks.

The duo did trade breaks in the third and fourth games, with each Murray winner being greeted by a chorus of 15,000 roars.

Second seed Murray got another chance to break to love in the seventh game and this time he pounced as the 2011 champion surrendered his serve by slapping a backhand into the net.

A set that initially looked like lasting forever ended exactly on the hour mark as Djokovic whipped a service return wide to give Murray, runner-up to Roger Federer last year, the one-set cushion.

San Francisco/Seoul: An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 with 307 people on board crashed and burst into flames as it landed at San Francisco International Airport after a flight from Seoul, killing two people and injuring more than 180. Witnesses to Saturday’s crash said the tail of the plane appeared to hit the approach area of the runway, which juts out into San Francisco Bay, as it came in for landing.

The tail came off and the aircraft appeared to bounce violently, scattering a trail of debris, before coming to rest on the tarmac. Pictures taken by survivors immediately after the crash showed passengers emerging from the wrecked plane and hurrying away.

Thick smoke then billowed from the fuselage, and TV footage later showed the aircraft gutted and blackened by fire, with much of its roof gone. There was no immediate indication of the cause of the accident, and federal officials were travelling from Washington to investigate. One survivor said the pilot seemed to be trying to gain altitude just before the crash.

Asiana Airlines said it did not appear that the crash had been caused by mechanical failure although it declined to blame either the pilot or an error by the control tower.

New Delhi: Aiming to ensure safe and secure environment for women employees, IT industry body NASSCOM today felicitated winners of All India App Fame Contest 2013, which focused on creating solutions for women safety.

The theme for this year was ‘Collaborating forces for Women Safety’, which invited applications from students, developers and corporates to design apps that help women in a distressed situation and work as an emergency response tool, NASSCOM President, Som Mittal said at the awards here.

“The basic utility behind the apps was to help women in a distressed situation and work as an Emergency response and crises communication tool,” Mittal added.

Mortgage Process Outsourcing is the new mantra for Indian IT and BPO companies, who expect to double their revenues from this source to $316 million this year from $158 million in 2009, according to a report by HfS.

Regulators in the US are tightening the mortgage verification process, and the BFSI sector has spotted the merit in outsourcing mortgage processing services, ranging from loan verification, underwriting services, documentation for claims and counter claims, and foreclosure services. Banks and mortgage companies want to outsource documentation to third-party Indian IT/BPO vendors, so that they can focus on their core business.

The move offers significant cost benefits and is driven by the need to manage deteriorating portfolios. Vendors are expected to provide either the platform or platform enhancements. Infosys, TCS, Accenture, Cognizant, and Wipro reportedly have capabilities in mortgage processing. The Infosys BPO has a 400-member strong team providing mortgage services to its clients. Accenture acquired Zenta, a residential and commercial mortgage services provider, while Cognizant bought the India operations of Core Logica in 2011 to strengthen its mortgage service capabilities. With the acquisition of mortgage solutions provider South Gallagher Financial Systems in 2008, Wipro equipped itself for mortgage process outsourcing delivery.

In addition to cost efficiencies, analytics capabilities are being viewed as key differentiators among Indian vendors.

“Apart from the locals, a large number of pilgrims from other states had lost their lives which distressed our party. In this hour of disaster, our party prays that nature provides the family of the victims the strength to bear the loss,” she said, while addressing a rally.

Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati took a jibe at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over reports that he rescued 15,000 Gujaratis from flood ravaged Uttarakhand.

“The leader of the party who dreams of being India’s Prime Minister and goes to the flood-hit state of Uttarakhand and talks about rescuing the people of Gujarat state only. Giving a national thought, he did not speak about rescuing stranded people from all states,” she said, while addressing a rally here. Mayawati also sympathised with the kin of victims killed in flash floods of Uttarakhand, and asked her party cadres to provide all kinds of assistance to the families of the hill state.

“Apart from the locals, a large number of pilgrims from other states had lost their lives which distressed our party. In this hour of disaster, our party prays that nature provides the family of the victims the strength to bear the loss,” she said, while addressing a rally here.

Trying to lure the gathered crowd, Mayawati said that her party was aiming at fostering brotherhood with the people from upper caste.

New Delhi/Patna: Nitish Kumar government came under Opposition attack over the Bodh Gaya serial blasts for its alleged failure to act on warnings by intelligence agencies about terror designs targeting Mahabodhi temple.

The BJP, with which the JD(U) parted ways in Bihar just last month, targeted the Chief Minister saying he was busy receiving Congress Ministers in the state and has no time to save the people while RJD leader Lalu Prasad sort a probe into whether intelligence inputs were ignored. “Let Nitish Kumar state if he has not received an IB report on this,” Prasad said.

“It is a serious issue that central agencies had warned about this attack and given specific inputs that Bodh Gaya would be attacked and still no proper arrangements were made (by the state government),” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said here.

“The central intelligence agencies had conveyed that in view of whatever was happening in Myanmar, terrorists would attempt something in Bodhgaya temple. Despite that no steps were taken to improve security,” he said.

Mumbai: Sonam Kapoor, currently basking in the fabulous reviews and box office success of ‘Raanjhanaa’, is immensely pleased with the outcome of Anand L. Rai’s directorial venture that also starred southern star Dhanush.

“The thing is, I never got to do a role and film like ‘Raanjhanaa’. This is the first role since Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s ‘Delhi 6’ where I got a chance to create a character from the working-class,” said Sonam.

“Not that I don’t love every character I play. I’ve come away from every film with something. But I can only be as good as the material offered and my co-stars. My director and co-star in ‘Raanjhanaa’ are brilliant,” added the actress.

She may not have entered Bollywood with a bang as her debut film ‘Saawariya’ bombed at the box office, but critics appreciated her work in the film and later they lauded her for her performance in ‘Delhi 6’.

In six years, Sonam has been part of about a dozen films and admits she has been learning acting on the job.

“I am not a trained actor. I learned the basics of acting while doing ‘Saawariya’ with Sanjay Bhansali. So, he was my acting guru,” she said.

“I don’t follow any technique. I just flow with my character. That’s what I did in ‘Raanjhanaa’. I surrendered to my director. It was both exhilarating and terrifying. Because I really didn’t know where I was heading,” she said.

Her next release will be ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’, a biopic on legendary athlete Milkha Singh.