India not easy to do business in: World Bank

By IANS New Delhi : By ranking India at a low 120 despite its strong stock markets and an economic growth of over 9 percent, the World Bank Wednesday said it was not easy doing business in the country and even called its judiciary the "least efficient" in the world. India was ranked 120th - though up 12 positions from last year - in the annual report titled "Doing Business 2008" issued by the World Bank and its private lending arm International Finance Corp (IFC). India ranks below Tunisia, Botswana, Uruguay and Ethiopia.

Markets start firmly at opening bell

By IANS, Mumbai : Indian equities markets opened higher Wednesday, rising firmly in the opening minutes with a key index gaining more than a percent over its close Tuesday. About 15 minutes into trading, the sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was at 10,453.91 points, a rise of 117.98 points or 1.14 percent from its previous close of 10,335.93 points. It had opened at 10,424.96. The broader S&P CNX Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was at 3,138.65 points at the same time, about 0.82 percent higher than Tuesday's close.

Reliance Power to invest $28 billion in 13 projects

By IANS Hyderabad : Reliance Power Ltd, part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG), will generate over 28,000 MW of electricity by building 13 projects in the next 6-7 years with an investment of $28 billion. Lalit Jalan, director, Reliance Power, told a news conference here Monday that the Indian electricity sector offered huge opportunities as the demand for energy was expected to grow by eight percent during the 11th plan period (2007-12) and by nine percent during 12th year plan period (2012-17).

Price rise sharper in rural India, shows data

By IANS, New Delhi: The problem of inflation has worsened across India but the price rise has been sharper in rural areas than urban, official data showed Monday.

Tax sops, more funds for welfare, infrastructure in India’s budget

By Arvind Padmanabhan, IANS, New Delhi : Promising to halve poverty by 2014 and add 12 million jobs each year, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented India's budget for this fiscal that hikes income tax exemption limit and steps up allocations for welfare schemes and infrastructure, while assuring high growth for the $1.2 trillion economy once again.

Guar seed contract at Rs.1,830 per quintal

By IANS, Ahmedabad : The guar seed contract for June was settled at Rs.1,830 per quintal at the National Multi-Commodity Exchange (NMCE). The settlement price of the commodity is calculated by taking the average of its closing prices of the preceding three days. Guar seed is traded in lots of 10 tonnes and prices are quoted in rupees per quintal. NMCE concurrently runs four series in guar seed for futures trading. The June contract, which expired Saturday touched a high of Rs.1,946 and low of Rs.1,696 during the last month.

India’s central bank sees 6 percent growth, cuts key rates

By IANS, New Delhi : India's central bank Tuesday predicted the economy would grow by 6 percent in the current fiscal. It cut key rates by 25 basis points and asked commercial banks to provide cheaper loans to industry and consumers. In the annual review of the monetary policy, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. Subbarao said commercial banks had not responded in equal measure to prior rate cuts, aimed at reducing the cost of credit and infusing more funds into the financial system.

Punjab National Bank hikes interest rates

By IANS, Mumbai : A day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revised repo rate and cash reserve ratio, public sector lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) Wednesday became the first bank to hike benchmark prime lending rates (PLR). PNB has increased its PLR by 100 basis points (bps), or one percentage point, from 13 percent to 14 percent effective from Aug 1. The New Delhi-based PNB has also increased deposit rates by 25-100 bps and its interest rates prescribed for retail advances (not linked to PLR) by 100 bps.

Torrent Pharma net profit up by 44 percent

By IANS, Ahmedabad : Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited Tuesday announced a 44 percent increase in their consolidated net profit for 2007-08. Announcing the audited results for the last fiscal, the company said the net profit amounted to Rs.1.35 billion, up from Rs.940 million during 2006-07. The consolidated sales earnings recorded only a marginal rise of three percent at Rs.13.36 billion, compared to Rs.12.92 billion the previous year.

September wholesale inflation eases to five-year low

New Delhi : India's wholesale price inflation eased to its lowest levels in nearly five years at 2.38 percent during September compared to 3.74...

China’s outsourcing services grow 17 percent

By Xinhua, Shanghai : Chinese companies had contracts to provide outsourced services abroad to a value of $1.9 billion in the first eight months, up 17 percent from the same period last year, according to the ministry of commerce. By the end of August, the number of outsource service companies in the country was about 1,800 with about 330,000 employees, the ministry's statistics showed. In 2007, total contracts abroad for outsourced services were $2.09 billion, up 118 percent over 2005.

Government receives 181 bids for 45 hydrocarbon blocks

By IANS, New Delhi : The seventh round of auction of India's hydrocarbon assets Monday received 181 bids from 96 companies for exploration in 45 blocks, the government announced. Indian petroleum officials termed this round as the "most successful round ever", there being every indication that investments would top $3 billion. This was also the highest number of bids received in block auctions so far. The sixth round in 2006 received 165 bids for the 52 blocks put on auction.

‘Economy to grow at 8-9 percent, inflation to moderate’

By IANS, New Delhi : Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Tuesday told heads of industry that the economy would grow eight to nine percent and inflation would start easing from October. "The finance minister was optimistic of an eight to nine percent growth," Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president K.V. Kamath told reporters after a meeting with Chidambaram. Chidambaram, according to Kamath, told a gathering of industry heads that the slowdown in industry was "marginal", and that it could be attributed to the slump in global economy.

Balco to become largest aluminium producer

By IANS Raipur : Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (Balco), a member of Vedanta Resources plc, is set to become the largest aluminium producer in the world from a single location as it signed a pact with the Chhattisgarh government to set up a new smelter plant with an investment of Rs.80 billion ($ 2 billion).

Modi co-opts US business in remaking India

By Saroj Mohanty, One thing that singularly defined Prime Minister Narendra Modi's high voltage US visit was the open courting of American capital and his efforts to alter the narrative about India as an investment destination. In his individual and collective meetings with business leaders in New York and Washington, he pledged to take a series of steps in the coming months to ease doing of business in India. Modi told them to invest in India before the queue became too long.

Pakistan’s forex reserves cross $16 bn

By IANS, Karachi : Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves have crossed $16 billion for the first time in three years, but the country's foreign debt stands at a staggering $54 billion. Central bank spokesman Syed Waseemuddin told Geo News Friday that as of May 21, Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves stood at $16.129 billion, largely because the US deposited $280.80 million meant for expenses in the war against terror. The last time the reserves had exceeded $16 billion was in August 2007.

EU economy contracted worse-than-expected 0.3 percent in Q2

By DPA, Brussels : The European Union's economy contracted by a worse-than-expected 0.3 percent in the second quarter, according to final Eurostat estimates out Wednesday. The European statistical office had previously estimated a fall in the bloc's gross domestic product of 0.2 percent. GDP in the 16-member eurozone also contracted more than previously thought in the second quarter - by 0.2 percent instead of 0.1 percent.

Mixed fortune for markets after initial slide

By IANS Mumbai : The Indian equities market had a mixed fortune this week, beginning with the dismal debut of the much-awaited listing of Reliance IPO coupled with weak global cues. However, the remarkable recovery in the last two trading sessions helped the market erase earlier losses. Of the five trading session three ended in green. The BSE Sensex surged 650.36 points or 3.72 percent to 18,115.25 in the week ended Friday (Feb 15). S&P CNX Nifty rose 182.55 points or 3.56 percent to 5,302.90 in the week.

Tech Mahindra posts Rs.221 crore net profit in Q4

By IANS, New Delhi : IT services exporter Tech Mahindra, which is taking over the fraud-hit IT giant Satyam Computer Services, Monday reported a net profit of Rs.221.3 crore for the fourth quarter of 2008-09. The company had reported a loss of Rs.207.07 crore in the corresponding period in 2007-08 after it accounted for one-time expense of Rs.440 crore, an official statement said. The company has logged a net profit of Rs.986.65 crore in 2008-09 as against Rs.342.11 crore during the year before.

West Bengal shutdown calls for Thursday, Friday

By IANS, Kolkata : Protesting the central government's decision to hike prices of petroleum products, West Bengal's ruling Left Front gave a call for statewide shutdown Thursday even as the main opposition Trinamool Congress also called for shutdown the next day. The city and state police Wednesday started making security arrangements for the two shutdowns.

Three million Mumbai commuters to ‘boycott’ trains Monday

By IANS Mumbai : Over three million Western Railway commuters will mark World Human Rights Day Monday (Dec 10) with an unprecedented mass protest - a voluntary "boycott" of the local train services for the day to demand increased frequency of trains. The move has been openly supported by all national, regional and local political parties, social and commuters' organisations, and more than 1,000 co-operative housing societies.

Promoting Muslim entrepreneurship

By Shahid Sayed, 'Threshold India 2009' is brain child of Shahid Sayed to promote entrepreneurship amongst the Muslim youth, to bring them closer to the mainstream and make them committed global citizens that value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a goal worth achieving by their own efforts.

‘Inside the heart of the conflict’, a new book on Bastar & Kashmir challenges...

A new book ‘Flaming Forest, Wounded Valley: Stories From Bastar and Kashmir’ by author and journalist Freny Manecksha investigates how places can be drastically...

Essar Oil makes maiden overseas acquisition

By IANS New Delhi : India's petroleum major Essar Oil has made its first overseas acquisition in the refining sector in Kenya. "Essar Energy Overseas Ltd, a subsidiary of the company, has entered into an agreement to acquire 50 percent stake in Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd (KPRL), a four million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) refinery in Mombasa, Kenya," Essar Oil informed the Bombay Stock Exchange Tuesday. "The government of Kenya holds the remaining 50 percent of KPRL," the company said.

Indian Railways cancel luxury tour post-Mumbai attack

By IANS, Kolkata : Indian Railways' joint venture with a private tour operator for a luxury package tour from Kolkata to Mumbai via Goa had to be postponed till the end of 2009 after denied security assurances from Goa government, the tour company officials said Saturday. The Railways' service arm, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) tied up with Kolkata-based tour operator I-Nova to offer tourists a package tour on a 16-coach luxury train, complete with hostesses, belly-dancers, multi-cuisine food and even a star-studded Bollywood night.

Indian economy no danger of economy overheating

By NNN-PTI New Delhi : Allaying fears of overheating of economy, the Government today exuded optimism that growth story would continue in 2008-09 too, notwithstanding the weak global trends. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in his post-Budget interaction with industry chamber Assocham, drew parallels with neighbouring China and referred to its Prime Minister Wen Jibao's speech to drive home the point that the growth story must be intact.

Government okays setting up of railway locomotive factories

By IANS, New Delhi : The government Thursday approved a proposal to set up two greenfield electric and diesel locomotive factories in Bihar at an estimated investment of Rs.20 billion (Rs.2,000 crore). The factories will be set up in Madhepura and Saran districts as a joint venture between Indian Railways and an international manufacturer. The companies short-listed for the joint venture include Alstom of France, Germany's Bombardier and Siemens, General Electric's Indian subsidiary and EMD of the US.

Deloitte to invest $100 mn in Indian market

By IANS, New Delhi : Global consulting firm Deloitte Monday said it would invest $100 million in the Indian market to expand its services in the country.

Tamil Nadu tipplers can now swig imported liquor

By IANS, Chennai : With India losing an appeal filed by the US at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against its customs duty regime and restrictions on liquor imports by some states, imported wine and spirits will soon flow into Tamil Nadu, an official at a state-run agency said. On the condition of anonymity, the official of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corp (Tasmac), the sole liquor wholesale and retail agency in Tamil Nadu, told IANS that foreign brands such as Johnnie Walker (Red and Black Label), Smirnoff Black and Gordon's Dry Gin will be soon available at its retail outlets.

Surat diamond units are back to business

By P.S. Anantharaman, IANS, Surat : Most of the 4,000-odd diamond processing unit owners and thousands who make rough-cut rocks into dazzling diamonds woke up Wednesday morning with a sunken feeling. But gathering up their courage and confidence, the units opened up, putting fears of serial bombings behind them. They had a providential escape as 23 bombs were found in this South Gujarat city Monday and Tuesday, most of them in the Varachha Road where a majority of the diamond units are located -- processing 60 percent of the world's diamonds.

Ashok Leyland to act on JV with Nissan Motors this fiscal

By IANS Kolkata : Ashok Leyland will operationalise its joint venture agreement with Nissan Motor Company Ltd in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment by the end of the current financial year. Ashok Leyland is the flagship company of the Hinduja Group.

Government backtracks on sugarcane pricing, opposition satisfied

By IANS, New Delhi : Putting an end to the bitter row, the central government Friday decided to restore the earlier sugarcane pricing policy, a move welcomed by opposition parties. After a meeting of UPA partners in the Parliament House, the government decided to delete the controversial clause from the Sugarcane Pricing (Control) ordinance, which required state governments to pay the difference between their State Advised Price (SAP) and the central government's Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP).

Markets under selling pressure in afternoon trade

By IANS, Mumbai : The Indian equities market extended their loss in the afternoon trade Thursday. All the key sectoral indices were under selling pressure. At 12.30 p.m., the 30-share benchmark sensitive index of the Bombay Stock Exchange was trading with a loss of 282.19 points at 16,960.97. At the day's high, it touched 17,104.59 and saw a low of 16,885.91 points. At the same time, the S&P Nifty of the National Stock Exchange was trading at 5,036.80, a loss of 80.85 points.

Toyota Kirloskar cuts prices on all models

By IANS, New Delhi : Automobile manufacturer Toyota Kirloskar Motor Monday said it would pass on the entire benefit of recently announced duty cuts to customers, and that prices of all its models will be reduced with immediate effect. The company in a statement said the price of its popular multi-purpose vehicle would be reduced by up to Rs.32,780, while high-end models like Corolla would be cheaper by Rs.40,750.

Dairy major Hatsun enters utensils, textiles retailing

By IANS, Chennai : Encouraged by the response to its utensils retail business started April, private dairy company Hatsun Agro Products Limited has decided to expand the new business as also enter the textiles sector. "By March 2009, we will sell low-cost textiles and utensils in our 5,000 milk collection centres," Hatsun Agro chairman and managing director R.G. Chandramogan told IANS. "We are leveraging the excess space and the manpower available in our milk collection centres in rural centres," he said.

India’s central bank extends scheme to fund mutual fund

By IANS, Mumbai : the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Tuesday said the auction of bonds to release Rs.200 billion ($4.18 billion) toward the needs of mutual fund industry would be extended till such time it was fully subscribed. The central bank had Tuesday announced a special 14-day repo auction (repurchase of securities) at a coupon rate of nine percent for a notified amount of Rs.200 billion to enable banks meet the liquidity requirements of mutual funds.

Chidambaram’s remarks assist recovery of Indian equities

By IANS Mumbai/New Delhi : On a day of fast-paced developments, a key Indian market index crashed some 1,700 points early Wednesday on fears of a clampdown on participatory notes but staged a marked revival of some 1,400 points by close following assurances from Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

Paramount Airways to start international operations

By IANS Mumbai : Chennai-based regional carrier Paramount Airways India Ltd. plans to start international operations by 2011. Managing Director of Paramount Airways M. Thiagarajan told IANS: "As soon as we finish five years of operations in 2010, we plan to start international operations." Initially, Paramount Airways hopes to explore direct flight operations to select destinations on the lucrative European and US sectors.

After airport, Deshmukh’s hometown to get direct rail line

By IANS, Mumbai : Barely a fortnight after getting a new airport, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's home district Latur will now be directly connected to Mumbai with a new broad guage railway line, officials said Friday. Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is set to flag off the inaugural Latur-Mumbai service at Latur station Sunday morning, an official said here. The daily service, apart from boosting the development of the state's backward Marathwada region, will result in reduction in travel time between Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Arcelor Mittal to earmark $200-300 mn for rehabilitation

By K.G. Sreenivas, IANS Vitoria/Belo Horizonte (Brazil) : Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel maker, has set its eyes on Orissa and Jharkhand as the focus areas for investments worth $20 billion in India and will use units in Brazil as the template for these mega projects, officials here said. The company, led by London-based Indian industrialist L.N. Mittal, will also set aside a cash chest of $200-$300 million for rehabilitating people who would be displaced after acquiring land for the steel projects.

WTO members resume negotiations on subsidies and access

By Xinhua Geneva : World Trade Organisation (WTO) members resumed intensive negotiations on the long-stalled Doha Round of global trade talks, trying to narrow their differences in the next few weeks. The negotiations that began Monday will be focussed on agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access), the two major fields that have blocked the six-year old Doha Round from making progress, trade officials said.

Laqshya bags advertisement contract at new Hyderabad airport

By IANS Hyderabad : GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) has awarded to Mumbai-based Laqshya Media Pvt Ltd the advertisement services management contract for the new airport its is developing at Shamshabad near here. The contract is valid for a period of seven years. A GHIAL statement said Laqshya emerged the preferred bidder from among several renowned international names through a highly transparent and competitive bidding process.

Nirma on track to acquire Shree Rama Multi-Tech

By IANS Ahmedabad : Detergent maker Nirma is on track to gain control of the city-based packing industry major Shree Rama Multi Tech Ltd (SRMTL), said officials. Nirma has already acquired a stake of 24 percent in the packaging company. Full takeover of the company by Nirma has become a distinct possibility following two crucial decisions taken by SRMTL's board March 15.

Highlights of India’s decisions on oil economy

By IANS, New Delhi : Following are the highlights of the decisions on the petroleum sector taken here Wednesday at a meeting of India's Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: - Petrol prices to be hiked by Rs.5 per litre - Diesel to be hiked by Rs.3 per litre - No hike in kerosene prices - Cooking gas to be dearer by Rs.50 per cylinder - Hikes to take effect from 12 a.m. Thursday - Petrol to cost Rs.50.56 per litre in Delhi - Petrol to cost Rs.55.51 per litre in Mumbai - Diesel to cost Rs.34.80 per litre in Delhi

OPEC crude price soars above $135

By DPA, Vienna : The price for crude oil produced by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) soared to new heights last Friday when it rose above $135, data released by OPEC Monday showed. One barrel (159 litres) of OPEC-produced crude stood at $135.31 Thursday, up by $4.54 from $130.77 the previous day.

US stocks rebound on Fed’s economic assessment

By IANS, New York: US stocks secured gains after fluctuating most of the session Wednesday as Fed's latest assessment on economy boosted market sentiment. Fed decided to keep the key interest rates unchanged, in line with market's anticipation, when it concluded its two-day policy meeting, Xinhua reported. Investors were more encouraged after Fed said "economic activity has continued to strengthen" since its last policy meeting in December. Fed's brighter tone helped stocks pared early losses after a negative housing data.

India, Egypt finalise free trade, economic accord

By IANS, New Delhi : India and Egypt are planning to finalise an economic cooperation agreement which will include free trade in goods and services - a key step expected to give a quantum jump to their burgeoning business ties. "India and Egypt have set up a joint study group to finalise an economic cooperation agreement that will include free trade in goods and services," Egyptian Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid told reporters here Tuesday.

Markets plummet as investors panic after Satyam shocker

By IANS, Mumbai : The Indian equities markets dropped sharply after Satyam chairman and co-founder B. Ramalinga Raju revealed that the company was involved in a fraud of about Rs.40 billion ($823 million) over several years. The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was down 7.25 percent or 749.05 points to 9,586.88 points after opening higher than the Tuesday's close of 10,335.93 points.

India’s growth dips to 8.4 percent in third quarter

By IANS New Delhi : India's economic growth has slipped to 8.4 percent for the third quarter of this fiscal, official figures showed Friday - the day Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented the national budget for 2008-09 with the promise to push growth. India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 9.1 percent for the same period of 2006-07 and 9.3 percent and 8.9 percent for the first two quarters of 2007-08, said the Central Statistical Organisation.

Sensex ends volatile session flat

By IANS, Mumbai : A key index of Indian equities markets closed flat Wednesday after volatile trading. The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened higher at 17,226.49 points, closed at 17,169.91 points, 28.36 points or 0.16 percent down from Tuesday's close at 17,198.27 points. The benchmark index had hit an intra-day high of 17,329.68 points and a low 17,142.36 points. At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 50-share S&P CNX Nifty closed at 5,118.7 points, down 0.06 percent.

Inflation to stay over 4 percent: Chidambaram

By IANS New Delhi : India's benchmark inflation rate will remain at over 4 percent for fiscal 2007-08, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, adding that efforts would continue to bring down prices. Chidambaram Thursday tabled the Economic Survey 2007-08 in the Lok Sabha amid din, with opposition members shouting slogans about alleged government apathy towards farmers' problems. "Inflation is expected to be above 4 percent. Our efforts will be to further contain it," Chidambaram told reporters outside parliament after tabling the report.

Kerala asks central government to protect coast

By IANS, New Delhi : Steps must be taken to "protect the coastal areas as we protect our borders", Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Friday, asking the central government to play a more intensive role in protecting India's coast. "In the wake of Mumbai terror strike, our demand to central government is to take immediate measures to protect the coastal areas of the country as we protect our borders. I will raise this demand when Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram visits the state Monday," Balakrishnan told IANS on phone from Kerala.

Markets soar during afternoon trade

By IANS, Mumbai : Indian equities markets rose smartly during Thursday afternoon trade with a key index touching an intra-day high of 10,015.18 points. The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was ruling at 10,009.24 points around 2:10 p.m., a rise of 3.03 percent or 293.95 points over its close Wednesday at 9,715.29 points. The broader-based 50-share S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was ruling at 3,028.00 points, rising 2.5 percent over its previous close .

British government unveils new economic aid package

By DPA, London : The British government announced a new aid package Wednesday to unlock the credit squeeze by offering loan guarantees to small and medium-sized businesses. The measures, worth 20 billion pounds ($29.6 billion), are aimed at reducing the risks of banks lending to companies struggling in the current economic downturn. Publication of the aid package coincided with a continuation of job losses in the finance sector and in the car industry, with Barclays bank and luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover announcing major job cuts.

KEF biggest AIM float this year, over 50 Indian firms now on LSE

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS, London : KSK Emerging India Energy Fund Limited (KEF) has floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), raising a record $200 million, the London Stock Exchange announced Tuesday. KEF became the fourth Indian firm to join the LSE's global market for smaller growing companies, raising an estimated $387 mn between them, the exchange said. KEF's arrival takes the total number of companies from India on the LSE's markets to 52, with a combined market cap of $16.8 billion.

WTO rules against India on wine duties: US

By Arun Kumar, IANS, Washington : The US says the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body has ruled in its favour in its challenge against India's additional and extra-additional duties on wine, spirits and other agricultural and manufactured products. The Appellate Body has reversed a panel's finding that any import charge offsetting an internal tax need only "serve the same function" as the internal tax and need not be equivalent in amount to that internal tax, US Trade Representative (USTR) Susan C. Schwab announced Thursday.

US sanctions 13 firms for supplying arms to rogue nations

By DPA, Washington : The US has imposed sanctions on 13 companies accused of aiding the weapons programmes of North Korea, Iran or Syria, the State Department said Friday. The companies include firms based in Russia, South Korea, China, Sudan, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in the three targeted countries. The United States had "credible information" that the companies made sales that could "make a material contribution to weapons of mass destruction or cruise or ballistic missile systems," State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said in a statement.

Market closes 620 points down

By IANS, Mumbai : The Indian equities market again closed deep in red Friday. The 30-share benchmark of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) sensitive index (Sensex) opened at 14,127.76 points, touched a low of 13,760.24 before closing at 13,802.22 points. It went down by 619.60 points or 4.30 percent at the days close. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) S & P Nifty, which opened at 4,315.30 points, closed at 4136.65 points. It went up by 179.20 points or 4.15 percent.

Airtel makes calling US, Canada cheaper

By IANS

New Delhi : Bharti Airtel Monday announced a 39 percent reduction in its international long distance tariffs to the US and Canada.

IDB executive directors hold meeting in Jeddah

By KUNA Riyadh : The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Board of Executive Directors started a regular meeting in Jeddah on Sunday, chaired by IDB President Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali. The meeting will discuss a proposal for supporting the program, adopted by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a new organ in the Bank Group, with USD 1 billion for bolstering trade among the member states, the IDB said in a statement.

Citibank to continue recruitment in India despite slowdown

By IANS, Kolkata : US-based banking major Citibank will continue with its recruitment process in India despite the global economic slowdown, a top official said here Thursday. "We will continue with recruitment at the fresh level as we did earlier. If you believe that the future is bright in the country then you should be recruiting at fresh level. The pool of talent has to be created," Tashwinder Singh, head of commercial banking (India), Citibank, said on the sidelines of a conference.

Commuters can now call Delhi Metro for complaints

By IANS, New Delhi : The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has started a 24-hour online customer care cell to cater to public queries and complaints. “Commuters can now call on the number 128128 to register their complaints and suggestions. The number has caller ID and recording facilities. The concerned officials are immediately informed about the complaint to ensure that a quick solution is provided,” said Anuj Dayal, spokesperson DMRC.

Agra markets join shutdown against FDI in retail

By IANS, Agra : Markets in Agra wore a deserted look Thursday as shopkeepers joined the nationwide shutdown to protest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the retail sector.

Markets head south despite Reliance Power bonus offer

By IANS Mumbai : The Indian equities market declined marginally Monday in choppy trades despite starting the day on a positive note on back of an announcement of bonus share offer by Reliance Power Ltd. The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) opened at 18,228.21 points and notched a high of 18,256.82. It lost 67.08 points at the day's close to 18,048.17, down 0.37 percent.

Sensex slips into red, depressed Asian cues a dampner

By IANS, Mumbai: A benchmark index of the Indian equities markets slid into the negative around Tuesday noon as other Asian markets were depressed. At 12.27 p.m., the sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) -- which opened at 17,150.59 points -- was ruling at 17,051.02 points, down 46.53 points or 0.27 percent from its previous close at 17,097.55 points. It had risen more than 102 points during early trade.

BHEL Bhopal Unit Outbids MNCs, Bags Order for Transformers Worth Over Rs. 163 cr....

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net 
Bhopal, June 6: Against stiff international competition, Bhopal unit of Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited, (BHEL), India's giant Public Sector Undertaking, has once again bagged a very prestigious order for Transformers from National Thermal Power Corporation, (NTPC), outbidding Multinational companies.

Russia to expand commercial space services

By IANS/RIA Novosti, Moscow: Russia will expand its commercial space services and push the US and the European Union out of that market, a minister has said.

ONGC second quarter net up 5.8 percent

By IANS, Mumbai : State-run upstream oil firm Thursday said its net profit for the quarter ending Sep 30 grew 5.8 percent to Rs.5,089.64 crore compared to the corresponding quarter in the previous fiscal. The company's total income during the quarter under review, however, dipped 13.18 percent to Rs.15,191.57 crore from Rs.17,499.62 crore it earned for the quarter ending Sep 30, 2008.

PM counsels ‘sobriety in corporate lifestyles’ to tackle inflation

By Arvind Padmanabhan and Prabhat Sharan, KUNA, New Delhi/Mumbai : In an attempt to check rising prices that have become a major worry for the ruling coalition going into an election year, the Indian government Tuesday unveiled a slew of measures, both administrative and monetary, to tackle runaway inflation amid a call to industry by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for "tightening of belts".

Markets close in green, Sensex gains 317 points

By IANS, Mumbai : Buoyed by the government's second stimulus package announced Friday, Indian equities markets closed in the green Monday. A key index ended trade 3.36 percent higher than its previous close. The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) closed at 10,275.6 points (provisional), up 3.19 percent or 317.38 points from its previous close of 9,958.22 points. The broader S&P CNX Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) gained 2.69 percent to close at 3,128.6 points.

China auto sales rose 6.7 percent in 2008

By Xinhua, Beijing : Auto sales in China rose 6.7 percent in 2008 despite slackening sales on the global market, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said Monday. It was the first non-double digit growth for Chinese auto sales since 1999. The auto sales growth rate was 21.84 percent in 2007. The sales totalled 9.38 million units last year in the world's second largest car market after the US, the CAAM said. The country's carmakers rolled out 9.34 million motor vehicles last year, up 5.21 percent compared with 2007.

Cholamandalam eyes Japanese and South Korean companies

By IANS Chennai : Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co is targeting Japanese and South Korean companies located in India for business. The Chennai-based insurance company is a 74:26 joint venture between India's Murugappa group and Japan's Mitsui Sumitomo insurance group. Cholamandalam MS General has a separate strategic business unit under the independent charge of Yu Kitai, director. There are more than 400 Japanese and Korean companies operating in India, Kitai told the media here Thursday.

German team to explore energy cooperation

By IANS Kolkata : A high-level German energy delegation will visit Kolkata end September to explore opportunities in cooperation on energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, emissions trading and clean development mechanism (CDM). The energy delegation, headed by Volkhard Riechman, deputy secretary of ministry of economic affairs and energy, state of North Rhein Westfalia, would comprise top officials from leading German power and energy companies.

Regulator’s report on valuation of insurance firms next month

By IANS, Kolkata : The country's insurance regulator will introduce fresh guidelines for valuation of insurance companies, a top official said here Thursday. "A committee of actuaries headed by me is currently working on a new norm for the valuation of companies. The report would be ready next month," R. Kannan, member of the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) (actuary), said.

Corporate governance award for UAE banks launched

By Aroonim Bhuyan, IANS, Dubai : The United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based institute for corporate governance Hawkamah has launched a new corporate governance award for banks in this Gulf nation.

Sensex rises 75 points on positive Asian cues

By IANS, Mumbai : A benchmark index for Indian equities was trading in the positive terrain Monday taking cues from Asian peers. The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), opened in the positive and rose 75 points or 0.45 percent to 18,219 from its previous close in noon trade. At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 50-share S&P CNX Nifty was trading at 5,463 points, up 0.44 percent or 24 points.

Indian IT firm HCL on Forbes’ cover

By IANS

New Delhi : Indian IT bellwether HCL Technologies features on the cover page of Forbes' forthcoming issue, with the magazine tracing the journey of the firm as India's first computer company in the 1970s to growing into a billion dollar enterprise today.

SBI launches first ‘cash factory’ in Lucknow

By IANS, Lucknow : India's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) Wednesday launched its first Currency Administration Branch (CAB), an exclusive branch to handle currency notes, here. Also known as cash factory, CAB is part of the bank's plan to open one currency chest in every city that will distribute notes and rupee coins to the local banks and ATMs, apart from identifying counterfeit currencies.

CBI to take over Satyam probe from Andhra police

By IANS, New Delhi : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday will take over the investigation into the Rs.70-billion (Rs.7,000-crore/$1.43 billion) Satyam accounting fraud from the Andhra Pradesh police. "We have received the notification from the government of India to take over the Satyam Computers scam cases from CID, Andhra Pradesh. We are going into various aspects of this multi-dimensional and unique scam. We will soon register the case," the agency said in a statement. The CBI now proposes to establish a multi-disciplinary investigation team based in Hyderabad.

Apollo Tyres seeks state help over Kerala unit lockout

By IANS, Trissur (Kerala) : The Apollo Tyres management, which declared a lockout at its Perambara unit near here over a labour dispute, now wants the Kerala government to intervene, a senior company official said Monday. "We feel it is only the labour ministry in the state that can intervene and settle the issue, because even after making an additional capital investment of Rs.150 million three months ago, production has not gone up," the official told IANS requesting anonymity.

Test-run of bus corridor shows discipline needed

By IANS, New Delhi : The test run of bus rapid transit system (BRTS) corridor between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand Sunday has shown that more discipline is called for from the prospective users, said the officials associated with the project. "It is a system trial, and will continue for days before the corridor is officially thrown open for the users May 1," Manoj Aggarwal, a senior official of Delhi Integrated Multimodal Transit System (DIMTS), told IANS.

Equities markets open with an upswing

By IANS, Mumbai : The Indian equities markets opened with a positive gap Friday. The 30-share benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Sensex, opened with a gain of 51.69 points at 16,958.80. The S&P Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange opened at 5,026.55 points with a marginal gain of 1.10 points compared to its previous close. Other Asian markets were trading mixed.

Sundram Fasteners to build IPR portfolio

By IANS Chennai : Sundaram Fasteners, the Rs.15.75-billion auto component major, will focus on research and development to drive its future growth with an emphasis on holding a host of patented technologies, a top official has said. The focus to ramp up the company's intellectual property will be on both product and process innovations, while seeking collaborations with leading universities, said S. Ramasubramanian, who is with the firm's business strategy and systems group.

New policy to realise revenue potential of mobile governance: BSNL

New Delhi : State-run telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has come up with a new policy for realizing the revenue potential of...

India’s Sensex down 322 points on dismal global cues

By IANS, Mumbai : Indian equities markets ended deep in the red once again Thursday, with a key index dipping by more than 322 points to finish below the 8,500 mark on very dismal global cues. “The minutes of the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released Wednesday reveal a very negative outlook,” Jagannadham Thunuguntla, head of the capital markets arm of India's fourth largest share brokerage firm, the SMC Group told IANS.

Sarkozy calls for G8 expansion

By DPA, Toyako : French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed that the Group of Eight (G8) should add five developing nations to the annual meeting of the seven largest developed economies and Russia, to promote dialogue with emerging nations, a Japanese daily said Monday. In an interview with Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, Sarkozy expressed support for enlarging the summit membership to include China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. "G8 needs to adapt to the 21st century," he was quoted as saying.

Income Tax department to set-up 264 special counters

By IANS, New Delhi: The income tax department Monday said it would set up 264 counters in the city from July 21 to 31 to help tax payers file their returns. "We would set up 264 special counters to receive income tax returns from July 21 to July 31," Income Tax Delhi Circle-I Chief Commissioner Meenakshi Singh said. The special counters to help tax payers file their returns will be set up in two designated locations at Mayur Bhawan from July 21 to 23 and at Pragati Maidan from July 28 to 31.

Decision on 12 Goa SEZs June 4

By IANS, New Delhi : The central government will take a decision next month on the 12 approved special economic zones (SEZs) of Goa as the state is up in arms against them. "We will call them (developers) for a hearing at the next meeting June 4 and then will take a decision on those 12 SEZs," G.K. Pillai, Secretary of the ministry of commerce and industry, told reporters here. “The Board of Approvals - BOA - (for SEZ) has already issued show-cause notices (to the developers),” Pillai added.

India pitches for more Gulf FDI

By IANS, New Delhi: Calling for better regulation to check economic imbalances and reform of international financial institutions, India made a strong pitch Wednesday to woo foreign investment from Gulf countries. "India is a more attractive destination for such investments than other places in the world," Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said at a two-day India-Arab Economic Summit here.

US economy better than expected: Biden

By IANS, Berlin: The current economic situation in the US "was in good shape", Vice President Joe Biden said here Friday.

Pakistan’s per capita income rises to $1,027

By IANS, Islamabad : Pakistan's per capita income has risen to $1,027 in fiscal 2007-08 against $878 in the last financial year. The total size of Pakistan's economy went up to $170.8 billion in the fiscal that ends June 30 against $143.9 billion in the previous fiscal to register a growth of $26.9 billion, says a paper forwarded by the National Accounts Committee (NAC) to the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC).

Now own your studio apartment in Kolkata’s IT township

By Soudhriti Bhabani, IANS, Kolkata : Well-earning young professionals with a grungy lifestyle and seeking a place to unwind would soon be able to own a studio apartment in this eastern metropolis. Studio apartment, also called Efficiency apartment or Bachelor-style apartment, combines a living room, bedroom and kitchenette into a single unit. They are dime a dozen for hire but none to own in this metropolis.

Around 400 people walk for corruption free PCI

Kolkata: Around 400 people on Friday joined hands for a walk here, in a bid to speed up the process of reconstituting the Paralympic...

UAE telecom operator sets up software unit in India

By IANS Dubai : United Arab Emirates' leading telecom services provider Etisalat has entered the software solutions and mobile applications market in India. The company has set up a new subsidiary in Bangalore called Etisalat Software Solutions, which will operate under the Technologia brand name, it said in a statement.

Government pares down growth outlook to 7.7 percent for this fiscal

By IANS, New Delhi : The Indian economy is likely to grow at a rate of 7.7 percent in 2008-09, compared to 9 percent in the last fiscal, predicts the government's economic outlook report released here Wednesday. The agriculture sector is predicted to grow by a very low 2 percent, worse than the poor 4.5 percent growth recorded last fiscal, says the report. Growth in the industrial sector is also likely to fall to 7.5 percent this fiscal from 8.5 last fiscal. The services sector will grow 9.6 percent, predicts the report, compared to 10.8 percent last fiscal.

ING-Vysya aims Rs.10-billion premium income

By IANS Kolkata : ING Vysya Life Insurance Co Ltd, a part of the world's largest financial service provider ING Group, is targeting Rs.10.68-billion ($268 million) income from premium by Dec 2007. "We are targeting to achieve Rs.10.68 billion premium income by Dec 2007. Of this targeted amount, we are expecting an income of Rs.6.35 billion from new business," ING-Vysya's associate vice president, product development, Rajeev Kanal told reporters here on the occasion of launching its new unit-linked education guarantee plan Tuesday.

Orchid Chemicals floats Japanese subsidiary

By IANS Chennai : Cephalosporin bulk drug manufacturer Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd has announced that it has formed a Japanese subsidiary, Orchid Pharma Japan KK, to enter the generics market of that country. Orchid is targeting a turnover of $100 million over the next five years selling its generic antibiotic and life style disease products in Japan, said K. Raghavendra Rao, managing director, Thursday. According to Orchid, the Japanese generics market is currently estimated at $2.5 billion.

Jet, Kingfisher asked to clear dues by Oct 24

By IANS, New Delhi : The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has asked leading private carriers Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines to clear their dues by Oct 24, a senior official said here Tuesday. While Jet Airways owes Rs.3.95 billion to the AAI for using airport facilities, Kingfisher owes Rs.2.11 billion. Airlines also owe more dues to the oil companies. According to the official, these airlines have failed to pay parking and landing fees. The two airlines Oct 13 announced a strategic alliance following which they now control 60 percent of the airline market share.

Burj Dubai to be taller than originally planned

By IANS, Dubai : The United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based real estate giant Emaar Properties has announced that the final height of its skyscraper Burj Dubai, set to become the world's tallest building, will be more than what was originally envisaged. As such, the opening of the tower here has been pushed back till September 2009. The original deadline was December this year but was then pushed back to April next year. The company said in a statement that the final height of the tower, till now a closely guarded secret, would be known only at the time of its opening.

No cheap foodgrains for Bengal’s non-poor

By Faraz Ahmad, IANS New Delhi : The central government has said it cannot meet West Bengal's demand to provide cheap foodgrains to above poverty line (APL) people in the state which is witnessing riots over the shortage of subsidised wheat and rice. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has said in a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, "It is not possible to increase the allocation of rice and wheat to the state of West Bengal for the APL category of households."

RBI likely to hold interest rates in Tuesday policy review

New Delhi : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to keep interest rates unchanged when it reviews its monetary policy Tuesday as...

Danish group ISS acquires Indian company SDB Cisco

By IANS, Chennai : Danish facility services group ISS has added security services to its portfolio in India by acquiring 49 percent in city-based SBD Cisco (India) Ltd for an undisclosed sum. The Rs.300-crore revenue SDB Cisco is a joint venture between Sicagen India and Certis Cisco of Singapore. The purchase has been structured in a way that Innovative Salary and Pay Roll Management Pvt Ltd (ISPRM) have bought out the holdings of Sicagen and Certis Cisco.

Congress hails budget; Left, opposition term it populist

By IANS New Delhi : As Congress leaders brought truckloads of farmers to party president Sonia Gandhi's home Friday to thank her for the loan waiver in this year's budget, politicians reacted along predictable lines - the Congress and coalition partners hailed it, while its Left allies and the opposition termed it populist and election-oriented. The ruling Congress and other constituents of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government were all praise for the budget and some even hailed it as "one of the best budgets in independent India".

Delhi metro completes 6 years, 729,000 use it daily

By IANS, New Delhi : The Delhi Metro completed six years of operations Wednesday and the average number of commuters now stands at 729,000 every day, an official said. "The first section of the Metro between Shahdara and Tis Hazari, a distance of 8.5 km, was inaugurated on this day in 2002. Commercial operations began a day later on Christmas and got an overwhelming response from the people of Delhi.

Food price-rise a matter of concern: Mukherjee

By IANS, New Delhi : Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said high inflation was a matter of concern and the government was monitoring the price situation. "We have already liberalised imports to meet the shortage of essential commodities. Certain items are under strict vigil and most of these items are duty free," Mukherjee told reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by the rural development ministry.

Tata Acquires Jaguar, Land Rover

By Bernama London : India's Tata Motors Wednesday acquired Ford's British marquees Jaguar and Land Rover for US$2.30 billion dollars in an all cash deal, sealing a deal that it pursued for nine months, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. Under the deal, Tata would continue to source engine from Ford, which would be paying about US$600 million dollars toward the pension liabilities of Jaguar-Land Rover employees.

Air Passengers from Delhi to pay additional fee from March 1

By IANS, New Delhi : The government Monday approved additional fee of Rs.200 on all domestic passengers and Rs.1,300 per head on those going abroad from the airport in the national capital as access development charges to its developer. The development fee will be paid to the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), which has the Bangalore-based infrastructure major GMR and the state-run Airports Authority of India as principal promoters.

India Strives to Reactivate Economy

By Prensa Latina, New Delhi : Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), D. Subbara, announced today a cut in interest rates by one percent in an attempt to stimulate national economy. The decision takes place after it was confirmed Friday that inflation keeps on dropping at 8.40 percent in the week of November 22, 0.84 percent less than the previous week. For his part, the Ministry of Finance indicated in a release that the RBI decision is a clear sign for all banks, in particular private ones, to reduce their rates.

Inflation a short-term challenge: Montek

By IANS, New Delhi : Inflation is a short-term challenge, arising out of crude oil price increase, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said here Wednesday. "It is properly handled and should not affect the medium-term average growth rate of 9 percent," he said on the sidelines of a function. Referring to the current fiscal, Ahluwalia said the growth rate could be 8 percent or “a little less than that, say around 7.9 percent”. India's annual rate of inflation hit a 13-year high of 11.42 percent for the week ended June 14.

Rising steel prices matter of concern: Jitin Prasada

By IANS New Delhi : The rising prices of steel is a matter of concern and the government will take every possible step in this regard, the newly-inducted Minister of State for Steel Jitin Prasada said here Monday. "The demand is rising but there is a shortage in supplies," said Prasada, 34, a day after he was administered the oath of office to become one of the youngest ministers in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Ajanta Pharma net profit up 49 percent

By IANS Mumbai : Ajanta Pharma has reported a 49 percent increase in net profit for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2007 compared to the same period last year. Net profit for the Oct-Dec quarter amounted to Rs.39.4 million ($1.01 million) compared to Rs.26.5 million ($67,948) during the corresponding period last year. For the nine-month period ending Dec 31, 2007, the gross sales were to tune of around Rs.2.03 billion ($52.05 million) and net profit was Rs.90.4 million ($2.31 million), up by 24 and 49 percent, respectively, over the corresponding period the previous year.

‘Gujarat model may help India jump 50 spots in ease of doing business’

New Delhi : India, which is current placed 134th in the World Bank's ease of doing business report, would jump 50 spots by implementing...

India takes largest share of US investment in Asia-Pacific

By DPA, Singapore : US investments in Asia grew 12 percent last year with the biggest jump coming in India, where acquisitions in the information sector propelled the increase, media reported Tuesday. Investments in the rising economic giant surged 48 percent to $13.6 billion in 2007 from a year earlier, according to US Commerce Department statistics published in Singapore's Business Times. Investments in China rose 21 percent to $28.2 billion as a result of reinvested earnings in manufacturing, the department said.

Nissan Motor sells 1,249 cars in August

By IANS, Chennai : Nissan Motor India has closed August selling 1,249 cars, up from 22 units sold during the same month last year. Bulk of the August month’s sales- 1,182 units- is accounted by the company’s new small car Micra, while other models like Teana, X-trail and 370Z accounted for 21, 44 and 2 respectively. Nissan Motor claimed an order book position of around 3,600 units for its Micra and is taking steps to reduce the delay in vehicle delivery period like starting the second shift and realigning the production process to meet the market demands.

Finance minister hopes Inflation will moderate after monsoon

By IANS, Hyderabad: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday voiced concern about the high rate of inflation saying it is no longer confined to food items and hoped that it would moderate after the monsoon season. "Up to April-May it was food items which contributed significantly. In December it went up to as high as 20 percent. Gradually it has come down 14 to 15 percent," he said. Mukherjee said fuel and other ingredients of inflationary basket recently started picking it up and as a result inflationary pressure is being felt.

Chidambaram may announce some sops in interim budget

By IANS, New Delhi : Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is likely to announce some sops in the interim budget for fiscal 2014-15 to be presented...

Biomass use for power on the rise: minister

By IANS New Delhi : Biomass is increasingly being used to light those Indian villages where supplying electricity from the national grid is still not feasible, Minister of State for Renewable energy Vilas Muttemwar said here Monday. The minister was replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament.

Work begins on Cairn’s 600-km pipeline

By IANS, Jaipur : The Indian arm of British hydrocarbons exploration major Cairn Tuesday began work on a 600-km a pipeline to transport crude oil and gas from Barmer district in Rajasthan to the coastal district of Jamnagar in Gujarat. "The 600-km pipeline is the first heated and insulated pipeline in the country," said David Nisbet, director of Cairn India's corporate communications unit.

Tobacco industry flouts rules, exploits workers, study shows

By IANS, New Delhi : Not only does it represent a serious health hazard, the tobacco industry also exploits its workers by not paying them minimum wages and employing children among its labour force, a study said Wednesday. The Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), on the basis of a study in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, released a report which said the tobacco industry flouts all rules and exploits its workers, in contrast to its claims about economic benefits to the people and the government.

Etihad Airways to augment freighter fleet

By IANS, Chennai : The $2.5- billion Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to increase the share of its cargo revenue from the current 15 percent by augmenting its freighter fleet. "Currently we have three freighter craft, and that number will be doubled," said Geert Boven, executive vice president, sales and services, Etihad Airways. Eithad is expecting deliveries of three A330 freighter aircraft between 2008 and 2011. The freighter order is part of its $2.2 billion order for 12 aircraft, including nine passenger carriers, placed with Airbus.

OPEC oil price goes up ahead of expected production cut

By DPA, Vienna : The price of oil produced by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose by $1.21 Monday, ahead of an expected decision Wednesday to cut output in order to raise oil prices and react to lower demand. One barrel (159 litres) of OPEC-produced crude stood at $42.53 Monday, the Vienna-based organization announced Tuesday. OPEC President Chakib Khelil said Monday evening that all member states were in favour of lowering production at their meeting in Oran, Algeria Wednesday.

Pakistan suspends wheat exports due to hoarding

By IANS

Islamabad : Pakistan has suspended its wheat exports, including to India, with immediate effect following protests from flour mill owners and the provincial governments over a sudden surge in prices blamed on hoarders and speculators.

‘Improving gas supply needed, not gas price review’

By IANS, New Delhi : Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey Thursday ruled out a reassessment of the administered price mechanism for gas in the near future, saying improving its supply was a more important priority for the government. "The first thing is to improve supply, then once it becomes a buyer's market, price can find its own balance," Pandey said on the sidelines of an industry conference on the gas scenario in India.

Expert group’s report on fuel pricing by month-end

By IANS, New Delhi : An expert committee on fuel pricing, headed by eminent economist and former Planning Commission member Kirit Parikh, will submit its recommendations Jan 31. "I will give my report on January 31 concerning petroleum product pricing," Parikh told reporters Wednesday after a meeting of an expert group on low carbon economy, of which he is the chairman.

China’s industrial output up 18 percent in July

Xinhua Beijing : China's industrial output grew by 18 percent in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said. More than 98 percent of the industrial products were sold in July and the export volume of industrial products stood at 608.5 billion yuan ($80 billion), up 22.2 percent, the bureau said. Among major industries, the transport facility manufacturing industry saw the biggest growth of 26.6 percent, followed by the general equipment-manufacturing sector that rose by 23.5 percent. The textile industry grew by 15.8 percent and the chemical industry 20.2 percent.

Sensex up 252 points in early trade

By IANS, Mumbai : Indian equities markets made a strong start Thursday with a key index soaring 252 points within five minutes of the opening bell. The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) opened at 14,930.05 points, as against Wednesday's close at 14,809.64 points. It rose to 15,062.07 points, 252.43 or 1.7 percent up, within five minutes of trade. The S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) too was trading in the positive terrain at 4,465.35 points, a gain of 1.62 percent.

Industry body spells out growth agenda for Rajasthan

By IANS Jaipur : The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) presented a wish list to the state government Wednesday in its pre-budget memorandum. The memorandum includes, among other things, suggestions to improve the state's fiscal health. "The pre-budget memorandum, in effect, lays the roadmap for development of the state," R.K. Poddar, head, CII Rajasthan, told IANS here Wednesday. CII recommended amendments in Rajasthan value-added tax (VAT) act such as including definitions of manufacturing and capital goods.

Indian-Canadian couple accused of insider trading

By IANS

Toronto : An Indian Canadian couple has been accused by Canadian market regulator of making nearly $1 million through illegal insider trading.

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has alleged that Shane Bashir Suman, who worked as an IT employee, had access to secret internal emails about a pending takeover involving his company, MDS Sciex, a Mississauga-based life sciences company.

The commission filed insider-trading charges against Suman and his wife Wednesday, reported the online edition of The Star newspaper.

Satyam chairman Ramalinga Raju, MD Rama Raju quit

By IANS, Bangalore : Satyam Computer Services Ltd founder chairman B Ramalinga Raju and managing director B Rama Raju resigned from the board Wednesday, the company announced. In a notification to the stock exchanges, the Hyderabad-based IT firm said Ramalinga Raju and Rama Raju have tendered the resignations earlier in the day and the regulator (SEBI) has been informed. "Rama Raju shall continue in the position till such time the board is expanded and the continuance is to ensure enhancement of the board," the company said in the notification.

States woo ‘pravasis’ for industrial investment

By IANS, Chennai : Gujarat logs double digit growth, but would like to have equal contribution from the industrial, agriculture and services sectors so a downturn doesn't affect it seriously, Chief Minister Narendra Modi said here Friday. "Our plan is to see the three sectors contributing equally - one third - in the state's growth so that a downturn does not affect the state seriously," Modi said at the seventh Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), India's annual convention to connect with its diaspora.

Hinduja company gets nod to distribute foreign channels in India

By IANS, Mumbai : Planet E Shop Holdings India Ltd (PESHIL), an affiliate of Hinduja Ventures, has obtained the government's permission to downlink and distribute foreign TV channels and content in India. In a statement issued here Monday, Subhashish Mazumdar, the company's business head, said the government's green signal to distribute foreign TV channels and content would help integrate and strengthen the Hinduja Group's media business.

US IT firm to hire 2,000 employees in India in six months

By IANS, New Delhi : At a time when many companies go for downsizing their workforce due to the financial crisis, the US-based IT services provider Computer Science Corp (CSC) Wednesday said it will add 2,000 people to its India tally in next six months. "In the next six months, we will add another 2,000 employees in India," CSC (India) president Rajendra B. Vattikuti told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here. In the next three years, we will recruit at the industry average, he added.

Pakistan expected to acquire share in American companies

By SPA Islamabad : Pakistan is expected to acquire a significant share of American companies outsourcing agreements in information technology as a number of firms have shown interest in tapping the rich potential of Pakistan s IT industry services. During a recent series of meetings with a visiting Pakistani delegation, several renowned companies in USA expressed their willingness to outsource various projects to Pakistani companies, a spokesman for Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) said.

Markets dull moments before Mukherjee presents interim budget

By IANS, Mumbai : Indian equities were trading on a dull note in the run-up to the interim budget Monday. A key index was ruling 0.75 percent lower than its last close about an hour into trade. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensitive Index (Sensex) opened at 9,637.04 points, marginally higher than its 9,634.74 point close Friday. About an hour into trade, it was at 9,561.36 points, 0.75 percent or 73.88 points lower than its previous close.

Global energy panel calls for investment in clean energy

By IANS, New Delhi: The International Energy Agency (IEA) Tuesday urged all countries to invest in clean energy for a low-carbon future.

Qatar telecom operator cuts mobile broadband rates by 90 percent

By IANS, Dubai : Qatar's leading telecom provider Qtel has announced reduction by 90 percent on additional data download charges for its mobile broadband service. Under the new rates, all out-of-bundle charges for mobile broadband services will be reduced by 90 percent, with prices being set at 0.1 Qatari riyal ($0.02) for every additional megabyte (MB) downloaded over the data allowance.
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