Posts Tagged ‘News’

Jones suspended the event of the Qur’an burning immediately preceding 11th September, 2010. He ultimately gave a statement confirming that the Church will not burn the Qur’an, not today, not ever. He claimed that his ultimate aim was to expose that Islam is “very dangerous and very radical”.

The cancellation was announced by Jones on 9th September. He then planned to meet the Imam, Faisal Abdul Rauf at New York. Terry Jones claimed that he called off the burning as he was promised that the planned Islamic Centre and the mosque would be moved away from the New York’s Ground Zero. However, the Imam denied such promises. “We are, of course, now against any other group burning Qurans,” Jones said. “We would right now ask no one to burn Qurans. We are absolutely strong on that. It is not the time to do it.” He also believed that if the mosque will be moved, it would be a sign of God to call off the Qur’an burning.

The decision was welcomed by many, where as the ‘copy cat’ protests continued in some parts of the world.

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This piece of news is hard to imagine for the world who has always considered India as a third world country. This same country has been declared the third most powerful in a recent official report of the US. India comes after US and China in terms of Global Governance. And it comes fourth as the powerful blocks where European Union is ranked the second, as far as the data of 2010 is concerned.

The report, Global Governance 2025 was issued jointly by the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). It showcased the list of most powerful countries/blocks. Experts from Brazil, Russia, India and China, among others and some fictionalized scenarios illustrated what would happen over the next 25 years in terms of Global Governance.

According to the report the United States remains the world’s most powerful country in 2010, accounting for nearly 22% of the global power. It is followed by China (12%), and India (8%). Japan, Russia and Brazil follow with less than 5% each. Taken as a block, European Union comes second with 16% of global power.

Talking down the line, this ‘International Futures Model’ also mentions where these countries/blocks will be in 2025. It measures GDP, defense, spending, population and technology for individual states. It predicts the power of the US, EU, Japan and Russia would decline while that of China, India and Brazil would increase, even though there would be no change in this listing. US would be 18%, China 16%, EU will be 14% while India 10%.

The 82-page report is a product of immense research and dialogues among experts from various countries. The report says that apart from addressing threats such as ethnic conflicts, infectious diseases, and terrorism, new global challenges include climate change, energy security, food and water scarcity, international migration flows and new technologies. It concludes that three effects of rapid globalization are driving demands for more effective global governance – economic interdependence, the interconnected nature of the challenges on the international agenda, and interwoven domestic and foreign challenges.

About India, the report concedes that it is not well positioned to help develop regional institutions for Asia given China’s superior role in the region. ”The Indians thought existing international organizations are ‘grossly inadequate’ to deal with mounting challenges. Many hoped the United States would continue to be very much part of the Asian region as a political, economic, and military power,” the report observes.
Also an Indian interlocutor has quoted in the report “It would be a pity if the West does not hang together to influence the future.”

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Ratan Tata, the proud chairman of the salt-to-software conglomerate is looking for someone who can fit well into his huge shoes.

India keenly awaits the succession of the $71 billion TATA Group. Ratan Tata will retire in December, 2012, when he turns 75. He is the chairman of Tata Sons, the group’s holding company and non-executive chairman of group companies like Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Tata Consultancy Services.

This hunt for the successor ought to be on the priority list of Mr. Tata as he may not wish the future Chairman to face the challenges that he did when he took over after his uncle JRD Tata in 1991. “The process of succession planning is much more dignified than at the time of JRD Tata,” said Gita Piramal, management writer and author of Business Maharajas. “Nobody knew JRD’s mind. There seems to be an inclusive exercise going on as Ratan Tata is consulting within and outside to find the successor.”

The board of Tata Sons has formed a panel of five wise men to find out who should be the successor to Mr. Ratan Tata. The decision is certainly very complex given the size of the Tata Empire. The selection committee comprises of Tata Sons vice chairman N.A. Soonawala, two other senior group directors RK Krishnakumar and Cyrus Mistry, group adviser and lawyer Shirin Bharucha and Lord Kumar Bhattacharya, a London-based management guru and Ratan Tata’s close friend. He is the committee’s external member. Ratan Tata will be the mentor of this panel.

While the panel has commenced working on the hunt, India has started its speculation on who can or who will fit into India’s most desired Corporate Vacancy. According to the people in the know and the criteria set by Tata, some of the desired requisites in the successor for the Tata Empire are that he/she has to have a thorough knowledge about the Tata Group. Also, the successor should be a generalist with excellent people management skills. Tata focuses on the Indian way of working that is relationship-oriented and not transaction-oriented. He/she should be good at decision making, communication, politics, and global economics along with having a clean track record that would instill respect.

The Namoleague Times speculates a strong contender for the race of the successor. Noel Tata (53) is the name that crops up, a natural heir with the family surname. The role clearly got bigger when in July, Noel was appointed managing director of Tata International, the global trading arm of the Tata group, triggering the doubts that he is being groomed to be the successor. Noel, the half brother of Mr. Ratan Tata resigned from the same position at Trent Retail Firm (which runs the Westside Stores), where he is still the Vice-Chairman. He was also appointed the non-executive chairman of Tata Investment Corp Ltd, a listed investment firm that has a substantial holding in Tata Group companies. He took over from NA Soonawala. What strengthens the argument for him is that he is the son-in-law of the biggest shareholder of Tata Sons, Pallonji Mistry, popularly known as the Phantom of the Bombay House. Noel has strong work experiences in Nestle, Lakme and Tomco in the past, and served Trent for 12 years as the MD.

The other names with global exposure that figure in the huge sweepstakes are Arun Sarin, former CEO of Vodafone, Indra Nooyi of Pepsi, Keki Dadiseth of Unilever, Carlos Ghosn of Renault and Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit. The debate continues as some believe that insiders have a better chance to pull-off. B Muthuraman, Vice-Chairman, Tata Steel; Ishaat Hussain, Finance Director, Tata Sons; R Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, Tata Sons; S Ramadorai, Vice-Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services; and Ravi Kant, Vice-Chairman, Tata Motors are the names if one goes by the hear-say.

A very ingenious answer was given by Adil Irani, a stakeholder, to the succession riddle: “The last (letter) of Jahangir’s name (JRD Tata) was R, and the next chairman Ratan’s name began with R. Now, the last (letter) in Ratan’s name is N, so the next chairman’s name must begin with N. Thus it must be Noel”.

This curiosity is bound to be in the air till March, 2011, when the committee is supposed to come out with the name of one of the strongest contenders for the coveted post of the next chairman of the Tata Group.

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The US State of Ohio decided to ban all its Government IT and back-office projects’ outsourcing. The other American states too might take this decision due to the high unemployment rates. More than half of the world’s top 500 companies outsource work to India, which has become the world’s back office, where western firms have set up call centers and number-crunching and software development outlets.

“There are pervasive service delivery problems with offshore providers, including dissatisfaction with the quality of their services and with the fact that services are being provided offshore,” Ohio governor Ted Strickland said in an executive order.

The banned off shore locations include India. The Indian off shoring work is a whooping $50-billion industry. India, on the other hand is also facing higher visa costs and rising problems of outsourcing with other US states. The Ohio ban is a further blow to the IT industry in India. The Indian Tech industry has over the years benefitted immensely by the American firms that look forward to less wages and top rated quality performance.

Indian companies largely depend on the private projects but the trend is fast changing. The approach to business orders from the Government was a huge possibility. However, experts believe that the Ohio ban will not affect India. This is because of the marginal share of government projects in the current outsourcing pie and the faster adoption of such services by the private sector. According to estimates, currently only 5% of the total outsourcing projects are Government projects. On the other side, industry trackers mention that e-governance initiatives of the Government in future may restrict the participation of off shoring vendors in this growing pie. Also Timothy Roemer, US Ambassador said that such bans won’t affect the Indo-US ties. He said that this is not the first time that American states have banned outsourcing, similar efforts in the past were not able to create an adverse effect on the trade relations of India and the US. The ambassador said Indo-US relations have reached to a new stage which includes counter terrorism, green revolution and job creations, apart from the trade and commerce relations.

However, if other states of America will follow the suit, it will definitely cost dear to the Indian IT Industry. To insulate themselves, Indian firms need to aggressively develop the domestic markets as also diversify to other countries in a big way.

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The prestigious Harvard University has selected an Indian portal called for its research on transparency. Hollie Gilman, a doctoral student at the Harvard University Department of Government, who was in India for the purpose of research, told: “I found to be a database of information on politicians, their work and their track record. I also found that the portal has over 100,000 visitors – who would have made an informed decision in electing their leader.”

The portal was envisaged by Vivek Gilani, 33. Launched in 2008, the portal brags of more than 4,500 news reports from 12 newspapers, tracking nearly 1,500 politicians in the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai. It also has links to more than 400 video interviews of MPs, legislators, officials of the municipal corporation and other candidates directly linked with Mumbai. Another strengths being a record the elected representatives’ attendance in the legislature, the number of questions he/she raised during the working hours as also the criminal record of any candidate.

Gilani was working for a US firm when he thought that people generally do not vote as they do not know much about the candidates. And even if they do possess some knowledge, it is mere hearsay or pure guesswork. So he started accumulating information on various politicians in the city so that he could vote for the most deserving contender.

Hollie Gilman of Harvard, who has worked for the Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton’s election campaigns in the past, said that making this information available to the masses is itself a great effort. As also the participation and huge number of visitors to the portal speaks volumes of its transparency and accountability.

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Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has rightly said, “A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

This is also the case with the beautiful Kankaria Lake of Ahmedabad. Kankaria actually seems to be boasting and expressing its magnificence after the developments. An artificial lake with 34 sides, this lake is the most favorite picnic spots for the people of the city. The facelift given to this lake has made wonders. The lush green surroundings to the lake and the cleanliness can make one fall in love with the place. The pleasing view of the lake, the serene atmosphere, chirping of birds, humming noises and the green borders to the wide spread water body makes Kankaria the perfect place for peace-seeking people.

This new Kankaria took birth on the 25th December, 2008. The present Honorable Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kankaria Lake and to celebrate this event, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had organized a week long event called “Kankaria Carnival”, which was one of its kinds in the history. The carnival had some unique events like the senior citizens’ marathon, sky diving from helicopter and display of fire works.

Stroll along the walk ways, rest on the benches, go boating, chug into the mouth watering dishes or get aboard the toy train and be a child again – the development of Kankaria has left you with tons of options. The central garden called Nagina Wadi, which means a beautiful garden in Urdu, was also revamped in this process of development. Kankaria is also home to some of the rare species of birds and animals at the huge Kankaria Zoo. An aquarium, a gym called Ambubhai Vyayamshala which was renamed AMC Indoor Stadium, Bal Vatika and the natural history museum are other attractions.

Nights are all the more colorful at Kankaria with a laser sound and light show at Nagina Wadi that attracts the visitors further more. To add a feather to the huge cap of Kankaria, a tethered helium balloon, imported from Amsterdam, named “Ahmedabad Eye” is all set to be in air by September this year. The balloon can carry 30 persons and go up to 360 feet height at a time.

After the development, in these 2 years, more than 50 lakh people have visited the place. When are you planning to go?

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