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Markets want clear time-limit for fiscal stimulus

Posted in BUSINESS,NEWS,TECH NEWS by sworldist on November 21, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) – Financial markets want a clear time-limit for any tax cuts or extra spending pledges in the pre-budget report on Monday.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been saying for weeks that higher government borrowing to support the economy is the best way to brace the country against a sharp slowdown.

Economists expect any stimulus package to inject at least 15 billion pounds into the economy, in line with a likely European Commission call for stimulus equivalent to 1 percent of GDP. The IMF has called for 2 percent.

But the government will have to present clear plans for how it will rein back spending or raise taxes once the worst of the crisis is over, or sterling risks weakening further and the interest it pays on new debt may rise.

“A large fiscal expansion that is not accompanied by a robust and credible framework for medium term fiscal discipline can get a punishing response from the markets. The risk premia on UK assets could widen, yields jump higher and sterling depreciates sharply,” said Amit Kara, an economist at UBS.

The economic slowdown and existing government finance pledges mean the IMF forecasts that Britain will run a budget deficit of over 3 percent this year and over 4 percent in 2009, more than any G7 country apart from the United States.

Demand at government gilt auctions has sagged in recent months as borrowing racks up to fund the recapitalisation of high-street banks, and sterling has fallen by almost a quarter on a trade-weighted basis since the start of the year.

Wipro board allots equity shares

Posted in BUSINESS,NEWS,TECH NEWS by sworldist on November 21, 2008

The administrative committee of Wipro`s board of directors resolved to issue and allot 32,700 equity shares of Rs 2 each pursuant to exercise of the stock options by the eligible employees under the Wipro Restricted Stock Unit Plan 2004.

Wipro, headquartered in Bangalore was established in 1946. It is a leading provider of IT solutions for customers across Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

Wipro provides comprehensive research and development services, IT solutions and services, including systems integration, information systems outsourcing, package implementation, software application development and maintenance services to corporations globally.

Shares of the company gained Rs 10.2, or 4.64%, to settle at Rs 230. The total volume of shares traded was 324,966 at the BSE (Friday).

Belgium, Luxembourg scramble to sell Fortis

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on October 6, 2008

BRUSSELS/LUXEMBOURG: Belgium and Luxembourg scrambled on Saturday to find a buyer for the remains of troubled financial group Fortis and mulled a further nationalization after the Netherlands took over its Dutch units.

The break-up of the cross-border banking and insurance group, less than a week after a first rescue attempt in which the three governments injected 11.2 billion euros ($15.4 billion), highlighted the ferocity with which the global crisis has swept into Europe.

Luxembourg’s economy minister said French bank BNP Paribas was one possible bidder for parts of Fortis and a solution had to be found by the end of the weekend.

“BNP Paribas is one among many possibilities,” Jeannot Krecke told Luxembourg’s RTL radio station.

“Now we have to return to the solution we were looking at last Sunday, that is to find a strong partner because the Belgian government is the main shareholder of Fortis Luxembourg and that situation will be remedied this weekend.”

The Dutch government bought the banking and insurance units of Fortis in the Netherlands on Friday for 16.8 billion euros, including most of Dutch bank ABN AMRO, after depositors and lenders fled the bank.

The second bailout in six days came on the eve of Saturday’s Paris summit of the leaders of Europe’s four major powers with the heads of European Union financial institutions to seek a common response to the credit crisis.

SALE OR NATIONALISATION?

A Belgian source familiar with the situation said the only solutions for the rump Belgo-Luxembourg group were a sale to the private sector or further nationalization to protect depositors and save as many as possible of the 45,000 jobs at stake.

“Leaving things as they are now is not a realistic option,” the source said.

Belgian business daily De Tijd quoted political sources as saying there were three or four would-be bidders for the Belgian activities of Fortis, including BNP. But a source told Reuters that there appeared to be fewer.

BNP Paribas, which sources said had offered 1.6 euros a share for Fortis a week ago, declined to comment. Fortis shares stood at 5.42 euros at Friday’s close, before the Dutch nationalization and break-up was announced.

A source close to Fortis said the board was holding crisis meetings at Fortis’s Brussels headquarters, with announcements due at the end of the weekend or the start of next week.

However, Finance Minister Didier Reynders told Belgian RTBF television on Saturday evening that the government would not necessarily be taking decisions in the next few days.

His comments came after core members of Prime Minister Yves Leterme’s government met, ostensibly to discuss the 2009 budget.

The government, which has 49 percent of Fortis Bank Belgium, said on Friday the Dutch deal allowed Belgium to concentrate on the evolution of the group in the short and medium term. Leterme said then he did not rule out further developments for Fortis.

Fortis Chief Executive Filip Dierckx, who took no questions at a brief news conference on Friday, failed to make television and public appearances planned for Friday evening and Saturday.

Dutch media were split on Saturday over the government’s decision to put the Dutch units under state control.

Calling it a baffling move, leading financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad said in an editorial: “In one move, ABN AMRO and Fortis have become the most trustworthy banks in the market. This is an unfair competitive advantage during the current credit crisis.”

But left-wing daily De Volkskrant said the move was unavoidable due to the uncertainties swirling around ABN AMRO and as depositors withdrew their money.

Fortis, a Belgian-Luxembourg group, is now made up of Fortis’s banking and insurance activities in Belgium, Fortis Banque Luxembourg, international operations, notably banking in Poland and Turkey, and asset management arm Fortis Investments.

Steel imports to stay high

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on October 6, 2008

New Delhi, Oct. 4 (PTI): The country may continue to be a net importer of steel in the current fiscal because of the huge demand-supply mismatch, Union steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said.

“The demand for steel continues to be at around 11.2 per cent, while production growth in the first half of the year has been only 5.2 per cent,” Paswan told reporters at the 22nd Steel Consumer Council meeting her today.

In the last six months, the country’s steel imports have shot up 50 per cent to about 3 million tonnes compared with the corresponding period last fiscal. In 2007-08, the country imported about 6 million tonnes of steel.

Paswan said the demand for steel was expected to reach 109 million tonnes by 2012-13, whereas the government had envisaged a production of 124 million tonnes, excluding the proposed greenfield projects of Posco and ArcelorMittal.

“We should be able to achieve the production target. SAIL has placed work orders worth Rs 30,000 crore to increase its capacity to 26 million tonnes,” he said.

While rejecting the idea that the global economic slowdown might affect domestic consumption, he said demand would be strong because of the booming infrastructure sector.

As the steel companies plan to expand their production capacities, Paswan said it was essential for them to secure raw material resources, including iron ore and coking coal.

He said private and public sector steel firms had proposed to form a consortium along with Coal India to develop the Jharia coal mines and use its coking coal reserves on a sharing basis.

The Jharia coalfields, which have valuable coking coal reserves, have been burning for decades as the state government and Coal India failed to douse the fire.

AIG to sell Japanese units

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on October 6, 2008

Tokyo, Oct.4 (Reuters): American International Group (AIG) plans to sell its three Japanese life insurance businesses, an AIG spokesperson said today.

AIG, once the world’s largest insurer, said it would focus on its main insurance operations and put the rest of its businesses up for sale to repay up to $85 billion borrowed from the US government.

As part of such efforts, AIG intends to sell shares in American Life Insurance Co, AIG Star Life Insurance Co and AIG Edison Life Insurance Co, said Fumiyasu Sato, a Tokyo-based spokesperson for AIG.

Sato said AIG had no intention of selling its non-life insurance operations in Japan.

Japanese business daily Nikkei said the price for the sale could top 1 trillion yen ($9.5 billion) combined, and added that a number of Japanese and overseas insurance companies may be interested in acquiring the businesses. Domestic life insurers may form an alliance to make the purchase because of the size of the businesses, Nikkei said.

“It would be hard for a single domestic insurer to make the acquisition by itself,” Nikkei quoted a senior official at a major life insurance company as saying.

Sato said he had no information about potential buyers.

IDFC PE picks up 17% stake in SE Forge for Rs400 cr

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 29, 2008

IDFC PE picks up 17% stake in SE Forge for Rs400 cr

New Delhi: IDFC Private Equity today said it has picked up 17% stake in SE Forge Ltd, a subsidiary of Suzlon Energy Ltd (SEL), for Rs400 crore.
“We have invested Rs400 crore in SE Forge Ltd through an equity investment. We have picked up about 17% equity of the subsidiary of Suzlon Energy Ltd,” IDFC Private Equity (IDFC PE) President and CEO Luis Miranda told PTI.
The investment compliments the company’s large portfolio in the infrastructure sector. This is the first investment from Fund III and the largest investment to date, he added.
An official of SEL said the Rs400 crore raised through the PE investment would be utilised for capacity expansion and operational expenses.
SE Forge has set up two facilities – a 120,000 MT foundry in Coimbatore and a 42,000 rings per annum ring-rolling foundry unit in Vadodara.
Both the units are already commissioned and commercial production is expected to start from November 2008.
SEL claims to be the fifth largest wind turbine manufacturing company in the world in the world. SE Forge is promoted by SEL with the objective of manufacturing and machining large forging and casting products catering primarily to the wind power industry.
Further, the board of Suzlon Energy today approved the shareholders’ agreement to facilitate IDFC Private Equity to invest Rs400 crore in SE Forge Ltd. Post approval Suzlon’s shareholding in SE Forge stood reduced to 82.9%.
The wind power major has also received board approval for raising up to Rs1,800 crore through allotment of shares to the existing shareholders on rights basis.

India, Russia extend military commission tenure till 2020

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 29, 2008

New Delhi and Moscow will form an apex body headed by the defence secretaries of the two countries to coordinate operation of several working groups for military cooperation

New Delhi: India and Russia today decided to extend the tenure of an inter-governmental commission for military cooperation by another 10 years to 2020 and inched closer to resolving Gorshkov aircraft carrier price and T-90 tanks technology transfer issues.
New Delhi and Moscow also decided to form an apex body headed by the defence secretaries of the two countries to coordinate operation of several working groups for military cooperation.
“We have taken an in-principle decision to extend the tenure of the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) for Military and Technical Cooperation by another 10 years to 2020 from 2010, when the current Commission’s 10-year term ends,” defence minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov said at a joint press conference soon after their annual IGC meeting here.
“The apex body headed by the two defence secretaries will meet every six months to review the joint working groups’ functioning and to sort out all issues concerning defence relations,” Antony said.
The two Defence Ministers said Indo-Russian military relations have evolved over the years from “buyer-vendor” to “partners” for joint development of weapons and equipment.

‘RBI to keep benchmark interest rates unchanged’

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 29, 2008

NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to keep benchmark interest rates unchanged in its upcoming policy in the light of moderating inflation and adverse impact of global turmoil on liquidity, a Citigroup report said.

“With headline inflation moderating coupled with the global turmoil, the odds of the RBI keeping rates on hold are also rising,” the report said.

RBI could ease monetary policy by mid-2009 when inflation moderates to the 8 per cent level, it said.

While the US liquidity shocks didn’t help, the tight funding conditions have more to do with India-specific factors, brought about initially by RBI tightening moves to fight soaring inflation, it said.

Domestic liquidity conditions, which have remained in the deficit mode since the last few months, took a turn for the worse due to currency intervention to stem rupee weakness caused by capital outflows and also outflows on account of advance tax payments and bond auctions, it added.

But funding conditions should improve with the new RBI liquidity measures and as the government steps up the disbursement of funds parked with the central bank.

In an effort to ease inject liquidity in the system, it said, RBI indirectly reduced the statutory liquidity ratio (the amount banks must invest in government bonds) to permit greater access to liquidity under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) as well as conducting LAF twice daily starting from September 16.

In addition, RBI also raised the interest rate cap on non-resident deposits to attract capital flows.

Asian stocks end negative

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 29, 2008

sian stocks fell for the fifth day after Fortis received bailout and the UK seized Bradford & Bingley, fueling concern a US financial rescue plan will fail to stem a wave of bank failures.

Mining and shipping companies declined, led by BHP Billiton and China Cosco Holdings Co. after commodity prices and cargo rates slumped.

Japanese benchmark index Nikkei lost 149.55 points, or 1.26%, to end at 11,743.61.

Hong Kong`s index Hang Seng decreased 801.41 points, or 4.29%, to end at 17,880.68.

China`s Shanghai Composite fell 3.72 points, or 0.16%, to end at 2,293.78.

Taiwan`s Taiex index dropped 131.20 points, or 2.16%, to settle at 5,929.63.

South Korea`s Kospi index slipped 19.97 points, or 1.35%, to end at 1,456.36.

Singapore`s Straits Times slipped 50.12 points, or 2.08%, to close at 2,361.34.

Sensex provisionally closes 3.6 pct down

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 29, 2008

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex provisionally fell 3.61 percent on Monday as a spreading global financial crisis kept investors nervous, with top private sector lender ICICI Bank leading the losses.

The 30-share BSE index provisionally closed 472.58 points down at 12,629.60, with all but three of its components falling.

The 50-issue NSE index provisionally lost 2.9 percent to 3,869.65.

U.S. to take control of Fannie and Freddie: reports

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 6, 2008

//www.reuters.com/resources/r/?m=02&d=20080906&t=2&i=5885160&w=192&r=2008-09-06T050344Z_01_N05278014_RTRUKOP_0_PICTURE0” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. government plans to put government sponsored mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under federal control, the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers reported late Friday, in what could be the largest financial bailout in the nation’s history.

The two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) own or guarantee almost half of the country’s $12 trillion in outstanding home mortgage debt.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that the U.S. Treasury Department is close to finalizing a plan to restructure the two companies that includes changes to their senior management.

The plan could be announced as early as this weekend, the Journal said.

U.S. Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin declined to comment on the Journal report on Friday. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac spokesmen also declined to comment. The Federal Reserve, which earlier this year gave both companies the right to borrow from its discount window if necessary, declined comment also.

The two firms would be placed in “conservatorship”, the Washington Post said, citing sources familiar with the discussions.

The value of the company’s common stock would be diluted but not wiped out, while the holdings of other securities, including company debt and preferred shares, would be protected by the government, the Washington Post said.

Senior Bush administration and Federal Reserve officials called in top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Friday and told them that the government was preparing to place the two companies under federal control, officials and company executives told the New York Times.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson were present at meetings with James Lockhart, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator of the two companies, and with Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron on Friday, Reuters can confirm. There were separate meetings with the two CEOs.

The executives were told they and their boards would be replaced and shareholders value diluted, but the companies would be able to continue functioning with the government generally standing behind their debt, the New York Times said.

Daniel H. Mudd, chief executive of Fannie Mae, and Richard Syron, his counterpart at Freddie Mac, are expected to step down from their posts eventually, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Earlier, McLaughlin had told Reuters the department was “making progress on our work” with Morgan Stanley, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The U.S. Treasury had hired Morgan Stanley on August 5 to advise it on whether the companies were adequately capitalized and help it determine how it would use its new powers to support the GSEs.

An emergency plan approved by Congress in late July gave Treasury the authority to offer an undetermined amount of credit to the two companies, or take an equity stake in them if they ran into trouble. The housing legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush in July requires the companies agree to a Treasury backstop.

Shares of the two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs)have plunged about 80 percent since mid-May this year as the U.S. housing market slump resulted in the two companies reporting about $14 billion in losses in the past four quarters, eroding some of their capital.

“People have priced in an equity infusion that would wipe out shareholders,” said Chuck Gabriel, managing director at Washington-based consultants Capital Alpha Partners. “On the other hand, they have come to understand you wouldn’t have such an event without the GSEs agreeing to it.”

Financial markets have come to expect that an investment by the U.S. Treasury would explicitly back the companies’ $1.6 trillion in debt, but leave their shares nearly valueless.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the plan was expected to involve the creative use of authority the Treasury won from the U.S. Congress to pump capital into the two government-sponsored enterprises if it believed it was necessary.

Instead of giving each company a big capital infusion up front, the government plans to make quarterly infusions as the companies’ losses warrant, sources told the Washington Post late Friday. This would be an attempt to minimize the initial cost of the rescue, the paper said.

Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which had rebounded since August 21 on speculation a government intervention might be averted, plunged in after-hours trading in New York on Friday.

Fannie Mae stock fell 16.9 percent to $5.85, while Freddie’s shares declined 7 percent to $4.74.

Analysts at Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs since mid-August have issued reports saying the companies had plenty of capital to operate for the near term, and both companies have successfully rolled over debt on schedule in the meantime. Yield spread premiums on the companies’ senior debt narrowed as traders bet government funding would cut their risks.

However, the major credit rating companies since August 22 all cut their ratings on preferred stock of the two GSEs on expectations that the share price declines had cut access to capital, increasing the need for emergency financial support.

The companies never lost their access to capital markets where they raise money to support the U.S. housing market, but the biggest buyers of the debt have grown more cautious.

Foreign central banks reduced their holdings of “federal agency” debt in custody at the Federal Reserve in the past week for the seventh week in a row.

Russia has continued reducing its holdings of agency debt, Alexei Ulyukayev, first deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, said on Friday.

The U.S. Congress created Fannie Mae as a government agency in 1938, during the Great Depression, to buy government-insured mortgages from lenders, providing them fresh money to make more loans.

Fannie continued to function as a government-run agency during the 1940s and 1950s, even as it took steps toward privatization. In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson decided to turn Fannie into a shareholder-owned company.

(Additional reporting by Dena Aubin, Kristina Cooke and Julie Haviv in New York, and Dmitry Sergeyev in Sochi, Russia; Editing by Anthony Boadle, Todd Eastham and Clive McKeef)

PayByCash(r) Named one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 6, 2008

Mumbai, Sept 5 : PayByCash(r) (Internet Payment Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of PLAYSPAN INC.) has been listed by Inc. Magazine as the 34th fastest growing, privately held financial services company in the United States, climbing in the ranking from 49th place in 2007.

In both Ohio and Virginia, where PayByCash maintains offices, PayByCash came in at first place among financial services companies.

Inc. Magazine annually releases its rankings for the Inc. 500 or 5000 list. In the complete list, PayByCash climbed to a ranking of the 626th fastest growing company, with a 3-year revenue growth rate of 527 percent, up from 351 percent the previous year.

PayByCash president, Kevin Higgins commented, “In spite of a bumpy economy, it is gratifying to have improved on our already strong growth. I am proud of our team and associates for their creativity and hard work. As we drive further distribution of our Ultimate Game CardT across over 20,000 retail locations in North America and see increasing transaction volume thru our integrated PlaySpan Microtransaction platform for publishers, we expect further acceleration in our growth and an even higher ranking in the INC magazine list next year.”

PayByCash(r) has been empowering non-credit card customers and the Internet businesses that want to reach them since 1998. PayByCash offers more than 70 payment methods with a global reach, typically with no transaction fee to the merchant. Most payment methods are not reversible. A straightforward integration gives merchants all the PayByCash payment options, including our Ultimate Game CardT, which can be used to pay for more than 200 online multiplayer games. As part of its service offering, PayByCash handles all foreign payment considerations and alternate payment option support.

Japan’s Nomura eyes Lehman bid: report

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 6, 2008

TOKYO: The president of Japan’s biggest brokerage house Nomura Holdings said the company was considering buying a stake in troubled US investment bank Lehman Brothers, a report said on Saturday.

The move would be part of a plan to spend more than 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion) on investment in US and European financial institutions Kenichi Watanabe said in an interview. Lehman “is one of the candidates in which we plan to invest,” Watanabe said without elaborating.

A number of overseas banks and securities firms are said to be considering bidding for a stake in Lehman, which suffered billions of dollars in writedowns and credit losses amid the meltdown in US subprime mortgages sector.

A news report from Seoul said the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) had offered to buy a 25 per cent stake in Lehman for more than $4 billion.

Japan’s largest banking group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, has denied a news report that it was considering bidding for a stake in Lehman, which will report third quarter results next week.

Theatre, the latest motivation tool in Indian metros

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 6, 2008

NEW DELHI: Theatre serves many purposes, one of the primary ones being motivation. A recent theatre workshop showed the medium is fast becoming a potent motivation tool in Indian metros, where inspiration levels are subject to frequent changes, courtesy the hire-and-fire corporate culture.

The 15-day theatre workshop that concluded in the capital recently proved to be an effective motivation ground for 40-odd participants ranging from a 14-year-old school student to a 53-year-old professional.

The participants were taught the rudiments of Constantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski’s acting method in which an actor has to rigorously practise his craft and hone his skill.

“Theatre helps foster team spirit and better coordination when working in a group. It is also a great motivational tool, bolstering self-confidence and self-esteem,” said Sunit Sinha of The Actor Factor Theatre Company, who attended the Chameleon Actor – Advanced Acting Skills Training Workshop.

The workshop, Sinha told IANS, had several motivation and group exercises like standing blindfolded in the centre of a group and learning to trust those around him and ice-breaking drills in which two people would lie on top of each other and feel the heartbeats – look into each other’s eyes and relate to one another.

According to Tanushree Podder, author of the “Book, Belts and Berets”, theatre is a medium that conveys a very strong social message to a wide cross-section of people who would otherwise ignore a topic altogether. In the process, it ends up motivating and mobilising opinions – which are interconnected.

“Theatre motivates an individual though in an indirect manner. If a person trains in stage theatre, he is able to hold sway in a group, relate better to people and can strike a better rapport in the emotional context,” Podder explained to IANS.

Theatre, says the Applied Research and Autism Network (Artran), is a safe place for individuals to try new things and make mistakes. It is inherently fun and motivating and yet it is highly structured.

An actor has prescribed lines that help him develop control over reflexes. Theatre strategies, says Artran, are usually inexpensive and it allows an actor to repeatedly practise a set of specific skills to perfection.

Doctor Ric Charlesworth, former captain of the Olympic gold-winning Australian hockey team and author of the book “Shakespeare the Coach”, best brings out the the role of theatre as an exercise in motivation.

The former coach said over a period of time he found that “a bunch of stuff William Shakespeare had said was relevant to sports”. The author, who admires the playwright’s insights into human nature and motivation, used a quote from Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It” in his book.

“Sweet are the uses of adversity.” Explaining the implications of the quote, Charlesworth said it meant pushing people sometimes harder than they wanted to be pushed. “The message is you need to do that if you are going to develop and grow and improve and be better and be able to handle conditions when they come along.” Veteran actor-director Vineet Kumar, a National School of Drama (NSD) alumnus, feels that theatre enriches the soul. “If you ferret out the soul, a person comes alive and if you make an actor practise method acting, a soul is born,” he told IANS.

Kumar believes that theatre is the best inspiration and motivation guide because it fosters synergy between the four sutras (tenets) of natya shastra (the art of theatre as enshrined in ancient Indian scriptures) – Aangika, Achika, Aharya and Attvik – which include body language, make-up and emotional and facial expression.

“Perfect coordination between the four breeds concentration and acts as a motivating factor even in everyday situations,” he explained. “Youth in our country lack concentration and coordination and have lost sensitivities. They require self-discipline and only a stint on the stage can help breed it,” he said.

Training in theatre is important for a city like Delhi – which has an active stage – and in other metros where theatre is alive. “Grooming in theatre helps a person become a serious citizen and teaches him how to respond to his immediate surroundings,” Kuljeet Singh of the theatre group Atelier told IANS.

Singh conducts several theatre-related motivational projects in schools to sensitise children to issues of gender, sexuality, communal violence and social issues like child labour.

“My elementary workshops involving teachers and students focus on issues of incorporating drama in school,” Singh said. He is working on a project with schoolteachers on creative teaching that uses theatre to make classrooms a fun place to learn.

Singur talks ‘positive’; to resume today

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 6, 2008

Singur talks ‘positive’; to resume today

Kolkata: Talks to end the impasse over land acquisition at Singur for the Tata small car project remained inconclusive on Friday with all parties concerned agreeing to meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday to take the process forward.

Friday’s meeting was slated for 10 a.m. but was rescheduled to 4 p.m. It continued for three hours. In the morning, the West Bengal Governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, told newspersons that the State Government had requested that the meeting be postponed by a couple of hours and, hence, it was rescheduled. Later, the Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, denied that the State Government had made any such request.

We will cooperate with Governor over Singur talks: Mamata

In Friday’s talks, the delegation representing the State Government was led by West Bengal’s Minister for Industries & Commerce, Nirupam Sen. The Trinamool Congress delegation was led by the Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly, Partha Chatterjee.

Special: Singur siege

Emerging after the meeting first, Chatterjee said the talks were “positive” and the issue of land acquisition in Singur was discussed. Later tonight, he was set to brief his party leader, Mamata Banerjee, on the deliberations that were held.

Tata Motors will work to launch Nano on time

None representing the State Government spoke to the media. After the meeting, the CPI (M) leadership met at the party headquarters at Alimuddin Street to discuss the developments.

Singur will not deter foreign investors: Rahul Bajaj

‘Constructive discussions’

Gandhi, who briefed newspersons later, said: “We had very useful and constructive discussions in a spirit of understanding”. He thanked those who came to participate in the meeting.

More India business stories

A statement released from Raj Bhavan said the “discussions were held between the State government panel and the panel representing Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee on the Singur project, for three hours. Both sides expressed their respective views and the discussions were held in a constructive spirit with the intention of providing a way out. The discussions will resume at 11 a.m. tomorrow”.

CEOs take away 25 percent of company’s net profit

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 5, 2008

Bangalore: While companies boast of their highly paid CEOs, a review on the compensation received by this genre reveals that the salary taken home by the CEOs are disproportionate to the net profit of their respective company. As reported in Economic Times, the amount drew by these industry honchos in some cases is as high as 25 percent of the net profit.

While the normal amount to be received is 0.43 percent of the total net profit, around 65 top level honchos under study grabs more than five percent of the company profits as the take away amount. Future Capital CEO Sameer Sain tops with a compensation that is 24.3 percent of his company’s net profit, while IL&FS Investsmart CEO James Whiteford and Bayer CropScience MD Stephen Gerlich grossed more than 10 percent of the net profit of the respective firms. Other names that came to the full focus are Edelweiss Capital’s Rashesh Shah and V Ramaswamy, Sun TV’s Kalanidhi and Kavery Maran, Apollo Tyres’ Onkar Kanwar, Hindustan Construction’s Ajit Gulabchand, Bombay Dyeing’s Ness Wadia, Ispat’s VK Mittal, Apollo Hospital’s Prathap Reddy, NIIT’s Vijay Thadani, Trent’s Noel Tata, Raymond’s Gautam Singhania, GM Rao of GMR Infra, Sona Koyo’s Surinder Kapur and IVRCL Infra’s ES Reddy. The CEOs who earned more than a crore are evaluated in FY 2008. 

However, there are CEOs who have faced a decline in their earnings like Balrampur Chini, Moser Baer and Eveready Industries, as they witnessed a greater loss. Ditto Eveready Industries’ Managing Director Deepak Puri’s total package shrunk by about 11 percent to Rs 3.1 crore.

Sensex dips 326.47 pts

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 5, 2008

The benchmark index Sensex continues to trade in the negative terrain in the previous trading hour. Realty, IT, metal and banking stocks traded weak.

The 30-share index, BSE Sensex opened with a loss of 330.09 points, at 14,569.01 on Friday.

Currently, the Sensex is trading down 326.47 points, or 2.19%, at 14,572.63, after touching a high of 14,601.39 and a low of 14,438.59. Meanwhile the broad based Nifty is trading lower by 85.75 points, or 1.93%, at 4,362.00, after hitting a high of 4,444.70 and a low of 4,328.90. (01.51 p.m.)

Overall market breadth is sharply negative. Out of the total 2,596 stocks traded at BSE, 995 advanced, 1,502 declined while 99 remained unchanged.

Biggest gainers in the 30-share index were Tata Power Company (0.64%), ITC (0.58%), Tata Consultancy Services (0.34%), Hindustan Unilever (0.27%), Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (0.21%), and Reliance Energy (0.14%).

On the other hand, Ranbaxy Laboratories (7.51%), Housing Development Finance Corporation (5.09%), Jaiprakash Associates (4.67%), Wipro (4.15%), ICICI Bank (3.86%), and HDFC Bank (3.75%) were the biggest losers in the Sensex.

Deora rules out immediate cut in fuel prices

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on September 5, 2008

NEW DELHI: Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Friday ruled out any immediate cut in fuel prices, saying international prices will have to fall further to trigger a retail price reduction. 

“Oil companies are still losing money….Please pray that prices come down further so that we can consider reducing fuel prices,” Deora told reporters here. 

Fuel retailers are currently losing about Rs 400 crore per day on sale of petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene.

Call rates decline

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on August 29, 2008

Overnight call rates decreased within the range of 6-8.90% on Thursday, August 28. Weighted Average – Rate (WAR) stood at 8.12% on August 28, as compared to 8.92% on the previous working day i.e. August 27. The total turnover of the call market decreased sharply to Rs 1,41,853.6 million from the previous day`s Rs 1,45,707.9 million.

The amount outstanding under the standing liquidity adjustment facility available with the RBI was Rs 10.12 billion at 9% on August 28. The cumulative cash balance of the scheduled commercial banks with RBI stood at Rs 35,412.97 billion as on August 26.

Victory Paper & Boards locked at lower circuit

Posted in BUSINESS by sworldist on August 29, 2008

Shares of  Victory Paper (Q, N,C,F)* & Boards (India) are locked at 4.93% lower circuit. The shares were last traded at Rs 3.86, down Rs 0.2 at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Friday at 10:55 a.m.

The scrip has touched an intra-day high of Rs 4.05 and low of Rs 3.86. The total volume of shares traded at the BSE is 1,000.

In the earlier session, the shares lost 4.92%, or Rs 0.21, at Rs 4.06.

Currently, the stock is trading down 56.33% from its 52-week high of Rs 8.84 and above 52.57% over the 52-week low of Rs 2.53.

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