Famous In India

Archive for July 2009

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share index surged by 282.35 points to more than a 13-month high of 15,670.31, boosted by India Inc’s excellent first-quarter performance.

The Sensex gained 1.83% to hit a level not seen since June 17, 2008, when it had closed at 15,696.90.

Excellent Q1 earnings by most corporates raised market expectations about an encouraging outlook for Indian companies in the current financial year.

The mood turned upbeat after India’s largest public sector bank SBI and the biggest tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra yesterday came out with strong Q1 results, beating analysts’ estimates.

Initially, firm Asian markets aided investor sentiment. Asian indices ended up about 1.0 to 3.0%.

The broader 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also soared by 65 points or 1.42% to 4,636.45 from its last close.

Bonanza Portfolio Assistant Vice-President Avinash Gupta said, “The market opened strong but was dragged down by profit booking. A sharp recovery in the last half an hour of trading helped the Nifty to close with a gain of 65 points. The advance-decline ratio was almost 1:1. The market is expected to consolidate around the current levels.”



If you’re an online shopaholic, make sure you have a personal identification number (PIN)/password for your credit or debit cards. Otherwise, forget about using them for internet shopping from August 1.

A recent directive by the Reserve Bank of India makes it mandatory to have an additional authentication passcode verified by Visa or MSC (Mastercard Secure Code). This is in addition to the other information already on the card like name, card number, expiry date and CVV (card verification value) number.

So how do you get this new password? Credit/debit card users have to register online with their banks, giving personal and card details. They will then be given a PIN or password to be be used as an additional layer of security at the checkout point before completion of the transaction.

This will be known to the card holder only. So, even if somebody notes your card number, he can’t misuse it for online shopping.

With the date fixed for RBI directive to take effect getting close, banks are loaded with thousands of requests for additional authentication. Some are allowing customers to create passwords on their websites while others are busy sending fresh user IDs and passwords to customers via post. Some banks like Citibank are allowing customers to use net banking password as their password for e-commerce transactions.

“We have already started the process of making the consumer aware of the service using text message alerts, e-mails and advertisements. Having started the process much ahead, we are well equipped to implement the process fully,” said a spokesperson of ICICI Bank.

In fact, ICICI Bank has gone one step ahead. While generating 6-digit PIN as an additional security layer, it also asks its customer to type a message, known as personal assurance message (PAM) on the same web-page. This PAM is known only to customers. When you type your credit card number on the merchant’s website, it will take you to the bank’s website to complete the transaction, where you need to type in the PIN.

Prabhu Rangam, AGM (IT), State Bank of India, says, ‘‘SBI has already accommodated the required change. Our debit cards are PIN based, so they may not require another layer of security.’’ However, in case of credit card, the customers have to apply for PIN.

Industry observers feel that although RBI directive may be a dampener for e-commerce industry initially, in a few months it would help the space to grow faster as it will deter online frauds.



BEIJING: A landslide caused a train to derail in southern China on Wednesday, killing at least four people and injuring 50, state media said.

train derails The official Xinhua News Agency said the train derailed in the pre-dawn hours in Liuzhou city in the Guangxi region.

It was headed to Guangdong province from central China’s Xiangfan city, Xinhua said, citing railway authorities. No futher details were immediately available.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

It’s when the new moon gets between Earth and Sun, and covers the solar disc completely. This can happen only during a new moon, when the sun and moon are in conjunction as witnessed from earth. Minimum two and solar eclipsemaximum five solar eclipses can occur in a year.

Is it a big deal? A total solar eclipse is easily the most spectacular celestial event you can view from Earth. The astrologers and astronomers believe the total solar eclipse to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and this one being the longest solar eclipse is definitely going to be a reason of curiosity. An eerie darkness descends during totality, birds fall silent and stars peer out in day time.

What’s so cool about this one? This one’s truly special. It’s the longest total eclipse this century and the longest seen in India since Aug 18, 1868. The next big total eclipse in the country takes place on Jun 3, 2114. Between then and now, there’s only 1 total eclipse, on March 20, 2034, and it would just be visible in J&K. The line of totality traverses a distance of over 3,000 km. So, more Indians will be in the path of totality than ever in history! With this triple eclipse, a series of seven triple eclipse is marked till 2028.

When can Total Solar Eclipse be viewed? The solar eclipse in Kanpur will be visible at 95.38 per cent. It will start at 5.32 am and last up to 7.26 am and is likely to peak at 6.26 am. The solar eclipse will commence even before sunrise and so the rising Sun itself will be eclipsed. The partial eclipse will be visible from all over India. The Total Solar Eclipse is visible in Patna, Bhopal, Indore, Gaya, Varanasi, Bhavnagar, Darjeeling, Gangtok, Sibsagar, Surat, Ujjain and Vadodara. The time is early morning from 05:30 AM to 07:30 in most regions.

Timings differ slightly. The maximum duration of totality for the Pacific Ocean is 6.39 minutes, for China about six minutes. For Kanpur region, the duration would be more than two minutes. The last total eclipses visible from India were in 1999, 1995 and 1980.

SUPERSTITIONS There have been several popular superstitions attached with the eclipse and have been passed down the generations. # Pregnant women are not supposed to do any work with a needle, knife or scissors (basically any sharp object) because of the risk of physical mutations in their baby. # Pregnant women are advised not to go outside during the eclipse to avoid having a blind baby or one with a cleft lip. # It is also suggested that food cooked before the eclipse should be thrown out afterward as it becomes impure. # Another interesting story attached with the eclipse is that those who are holding a knife or axe or any other sharp instrument during the eclipse will cut themselves. # Eating is generally not allowed during an eclipse for the same reasons of impurity. # Sometimes, even bathing after a solar eclipse is recommended. # People should not venture out during the eclipse.

LEGENDS * The Demons Rahu and Ketu, according to Hindu mythology caused the solar eclipse by eating away the Sun, but the mighty lord Sun was saved by Lord Vishnu and so every time an eclipse occurs, it is Rahu who eats the Sun. * Ancient Chinese eclipse records can be used to calculate the slowing of the earth’s rotation, due to the braking action of the moon. * According to the Chinese, a dragon swallows the sun. It needs to be frightened away by beating of drums so that it stops eating the celestial bodies. Sky-gazers may just miss the fun as parts of state from where the total solar eclipse could be seen on July 22 are likely to have cloudy conditions. It is a natural phenomenon. The only matter of concern is that this is the monsoon period and the visibility of the sun, low on the horizon, just after sunrise, when the eclipse takes place, is doubtful from almost all Indian locations. Unfortunately, the weathermen of agronomy department of CSA have predicted rainfall in the next couple of days and so the overcast skies on Wednesday is likely. “Cloudy conditions would prevail during the next four or five days as pro-rainfall systems like low pressure area are present in the city,” pointed Dr Anirudh Dubey, weather scientist of CSA. “Besides local conditions like moisture and temperature would have an impact,” he added. DOs and DONTs # Do not look at the Sun with naked eyes as during the transition period, it may burn the retina and one may lose eyesight. # Do not use ordinary dark glasses to see the Sun; UV glasses are appropriate to watch the eclipse, as they have the ability to reduce intensity. # The safest method is to project the Sun’s image on a wall with a pinhole camera and look at it.

Find or make a long box or tube.

Cut a hole in the centre of one end of the box. Tape a piece of foil over the hole. Poke a small hole in the foil with a pin. Cut a viewing hole in the side of the box. Put a piece of white paper inside the end of the box near the viewing portal. Point the end of the box with the pinhole at the sun so that you see a round image on the paper at the other end. If you are having trouble pointing, look at the shadow of the box on the ground. The round spot of light you see on the paper is a pinhole image of the sun. Do not look through the pinhole at the sun! Look only at the image on the paper. If you have some shady trees in your location, try looking at the images of the sun coming through the holes formed by the leaves. A piece of white posterboard is all you may need to have a great viewing session!

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

Mumbai is back on the radar with the Intelligence Bureau handing out a fresh warning that several parts of the city could be targetted by Pakistan-based terror outfits. The warning was issued based on the interrogation of a militant who was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir.LASHKAR

IB sources said that while the alert has been sounded off to security agencies, they are also not ruling out the possibility that this could be a tactic by terror groups to distract security forces in other areas. Sources say that terror groups always plan big, when it comes to striking at important destinations in India and they would not carry out a ‘hurried’ or ‘half-baked’ operation. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba was expected to plan some operation with a view to disrupt the Indo-Pak talks scheduled in Egypt. The outfit has done so several times in the past since the very meaning of the outfit’s existence will vanish if both the countries enjoy cordial relations. IB sources say that the possible targets for the LeT are Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Jammu and Kashmir, which are focal points for the outfit and any attack on these places would help escalate the tension between India and Pakistan. Despite international pressure and a crackdown by Pakistan, LeT operatives in India have been directed by their bosses to continue with operations.

While recuruitments have come down considerably due to security being beefed up along the borders, logistical activity continues in almost every major city in the country. Updates about key installations are being sent across to the bosses at all times. The LeT plans to carry out a strike similar to the November 26 terror attacks, in Mumbai again.

Photographs which have been recovered from the Kashmiri militant suggest that they plan on targeting railway stations and banks in Mumbai. The focus again is the southern part of the city since strikes there would create more impact. The IB says that the ongoing monsoon is something that the Lashkar may take advantage of. They are likely to use to coast once again since it is difficult to monitor the coast during the rain.

However there is likely to be a change in plan since the Lashkar will be doubly careful before launching an attack out of Pakistan. The finances this time around will be from the Gulf and they may use Nepal or Maldives to launch the attack. The stategy is well planned since immediately after the attack Indian agencies would blame Pakistan, which would strain relations, but a further probe indicates that the attack was launched not from Pakistan again serves the purpose since the heat will not be on the country at a later stage. Meanwhile an alert has been sounded and security agencies in Maharashtra and other parts of the country have beefed security. The coastal areas in Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka are witnessing heightened security in the wake of the IB alert.


A series of letters and a piece of cloth signed and autographed by Mahatma Gandhi were bought for around 10,000 pounds in an auction here on Tuesday jointly by two leading Britain-based NRIs, who will gift the precious items to the government of India.
Mahatma Ghandi
A series of 29 letters and four autograph notes signed by Jawaharlal Nehru for friend Mridula Sarabhai, together with a signed document, a signed greeting card and 29 envelopes (estimated price 4,000-5,000 pounds or Rs 3.17-3.97 lakh) was also sold for 8,750 pounds to British firm UK Trade.

NRI entrepreneurs Sir Gulam Kaderbhoy Noon and Prof Nat Puri bid for priceless Gandhi letters and postcards almost for double the pre-sale estimates at London auctioner Sotheby’s.

Curry King Sir Noon told agency he telephonically bid for the Gandhi articles and bought them for around 10,000 pounds.

The first lot comprised Gandhi’s three autographed letters to Maulana Abdul Bari, an Islamic scholar and leading figure in the Khilafat movement, in Urdu. The letters referred to Hindu-Muslim relations, including communal tension in Lucknow, their personal friendship and in one letter writing from prison with thanks for the gift of cotton for spinning.

Maulana Abdul Bari (1878-1926) worked closely with Gandhi from 1918 onwards.

The second lot comprised a piece of Khadi cloth signed by Gandhi and said to have been woven by him. The hand-woven white cotton piece (420x390mm) with a simple purple border was signed by Gandhi in Gujarati.

The cloth, which was a gift from Gandhi to South African-born actress Moira Lister, had an estimated price of 2,000-2,500 pounds (Rs 1.59-1.99 lakh). Lister was a friend of Maharani of Jaipur Gayatri Devi.

The third lot consisted of two autographed postcards addressed to Hamid Ullah Afsar in Urdu, thanking him for his letters and advising him that previous letters had answered his questions. Asfar (1895-1974) was a prominent Urdu poet.

Sir Noon said he was extremely happy that he could get the treasured letters and postcards. “Mahatma Gandhi is an icon not only for India but for the world. His treasure should go back to India,” he said.

On two previous occasions, Sir Noon in partnership with Puri and Lord Raj Bagri had bought Gandhi’s letters that had gone under the hammer and handed them over to New Delhi.

On July 15, 1998, letters by the Mahatma to Islamic scholar Bari, were bought at a Sotheby’s auction by Sir Noon and carpet czar Nat Puri for 21,000 pounds. The letters were later presented to the then President K R Narayanan.

On another occasion, Sir Noon had bought another set of Gandhi documents along with Lord Bagri, former chairman of the London Metal Exchange, for 14,000 pounds at an auction.

Both the Indian government and Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, had opposed the New York auction of Gandhi artefacts in March this year. The items were bought by liquor baron Vijay Mallya for 1.8 million dollars.

Source:  http://www.zeenews.com/

The Union government is unlikely to appeal the Delhi high court’s landmark judgment on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, Home Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai told rediff.com in an exclusive conversation. “I don’t think the government is likely to go in for an appeal,” Pillai said.

Section 377 criminally penalises so-called ‘unnatural offences’, even if the offence is a consensual sexual relationship. The Delhi high court declared that Section 377 of the IPC ‘criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private’ and it is ‘violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.’

However, the court added that Section 377 will ‘continue to govern non-consensual’ sex between homosexuals involving minors.

The issue of ‘legitimatising homosexuality’ has created a bitter national debate. Since most religious leaders have opposed the judgment, political leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have been cautious in their reactions on the issue.

While returning from the G-20 summit in Italy, when the prime minister was asked what his views on the high court ruling was, he merely responded, “I haven’t discussed this matter with my Cabinet colleagues. When I go back, I will seek their views if anything further needs to be done or said in this regard.”

Home Minister P Chidambaram also evaded the question, saying his personal opinion does not matter on this issue.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government would like the media to treat the ‘issue of decriminalising of homosexuality’ as a Constitutional subject rather than a cultural or religious issue.

Home Secretary Pillai, who believes in taking a middle-of-the road-solutions to problems, explained his views on the controversy regarding Section 377 and the judgment.

“There are some people who believe homosexuality is bad,” he said. “It’s their strong conviction. There are others who are equally strong in their conviction that it is their private affair and their reality. There are other shades of opinion on it. There are some who say that they don’t mind homosexuality, but why should they call it a marriage? In their opinion, a marriage can only be between a man and a woman. It can’t be between two men.”

“So each person has his own view and when you look at it, you try to balance. I think the high court’s judgment was a very balanced judgment. It brought out different issues and said here is the section that is violative of the Constitution and they said that you can’t have such kind of relations between a minor and a major. That is still illegal. Now, as per the directions of the high court, we have to amend Section 377.”

Pillai argued that the issue is sensitive, therefore the government will take a decision after taking into account the sensitivities of various sections of the national community. “If you are going to amend Section 377,” the home secretary said, “you have to take different nuances into account and sensitivities of every different viewpoint.”

Source: http://news.rediff.com/

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