Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another Kamma Hero Rana Dagubati makes debut with big bash

Leader comes at the right time

Be the change you want to see in the world, Mahatma Gandhi had said a long time ago.

Taking these words to heart, director Sekhar Kammula gives us Leader, whose protagonist Arjun Prasad's (Rana Daggubati) maxim is Avineeti nirmoolana (eradication of corruption). This 'principle' reverberates throughout the Telugu film.

The film is a relevant take on contemporary politics in the state of Andhra Pradesh -- a large slice of reality infused with fiction in the form of a love story and other elements.

But it's applicable to the nation too though Sekhar makes a case for a leader and distinguishes him from a politician on rather simplistic grounds.

He scripts a saga of the journey of a boy, Arjun Prasad from a political family who does his PhD in the US but has to return to India after his father, played by Suman (the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh), is injured in a bomb blast.

When Arjun's father dies, the patriarch of the family, Peddayana (Kota Srinivasa Rao) wants someone to take over his nephew's place so that the 'dynasty' can continue.

A 'struggle' for power then ensues. Peddayana nominates Dhananjay (Subbaraju) as the successor though Subbaraju doesn't have a good track record. On the insistence of his mother (Suhasini Mani Rathnam) and to keep his father's last wish, Arjun enters the race for CM.

But he soon realises that corruption is everywhere. To his horror he finds out that even is father was guilty of corruption. He begins to understand the machinations and manipulations in the race for money and power, and tries to clean the system of all this.

But in order to do so he uses the very system he's trying to change to win over the people. He carries on the task of 'reform' despite the precarious nature of his position where MLAs try to pull the rug from under his feet at every opportunity.

All this is nothing new. We all know about wily politicians, nepotism, corruption, bomb blasts etc. And while Sekhar has stressed on the corruption bit a little too much, he fails to attack the root of the problem. Plus, he offers no 'solution' perse.

Change is good but one has to be a catalyst to bring about that. One needs an extraordinary person (like Gandhi in the past) to rise to the occasion with a powerful 'ideology' or tool to take on corruption.

Agreed that Arjun has the inclination to reform the system but the way it is depicted in the film is rather simplistic. A leader is far above 'politics', 'power' and 'position' if analogies are drawn with Gandhi.

If anything, the film is a wish-list of what one would like to see in the arena of politics, which Sekhar should be lauded for even trying, though the message that he sends out makes the film rather preachy in parts and somewhat idealistic.

There are certain elements like the love story and the item song which seem to be pander to the masses, and at odds with the serious nature of the film. It looks rather odd for the CM to be waiting for his 'girlfriend' Archana (Richa Gangopadhyay) in a restaurant with the black cats behind him! Agreed the CM is young but it didn't have to be so blatant (even though the wooing started off as a scheme as she was another politician's daughter).

There is a quite a bit of Gandhi in the film too. The modelling of the protagonist itself to some extent seems to be on Gandhi's ideals -- honesty, integrity and a state free of casteism.

In fact one scene in the film resembles a scene from Richard Attenborough's Gandhi. In the scene Arjun (before he becomes a CM) sees a woman in tattered clothes crossing the stream and throws his towel to her. As we recall, Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) threw his clothes to a woman in a river.

Performance-wise, Sekhar scores. His choice pf Suhasini as Arjun's mother is good. She is the inspiration and motivation for Arjun to become CM and leader. Suhasini is a brilliant actress. She brings grace and dignity to her role.

Rana Daggubati suits the character of Arjun Prasad. He looks fresh and exudes confidence and seriousness. His body language too is right for the part. An impressive debut, indeed.

Richa looks pretty and charming. Harshavardhan (who plays Ali) and Priya Anand (Ratna Prabha) are competent in their roles. Kota, Subbaraju, Ahuti Prasad and Rao Ramesh are good as the other politicians.

Mickey J Meyer's music is good too. The background score is quite haunting in parts. AVM, the production house, ensures that the movie is technically good. Thota Tharani's sets are good while Vijay Kumar and Marthand Venkatesh take care of the camera and editing, respectively.

All in all, Leader may be a little far-fetched and utopian but it has been released in the state at a time of political uncertainty. When one is certainly bemoaning the lack of leaders it may perhaps prove to be a catalyst for change

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beceem and Motorola Accelerate Availability of 4G Chip Solution

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 17 -- Mobile World Congress -- Beceem Communications, (Babu Mandava CEO) the leading provider of 4G chips, and Motorola (NYSE: MOT) announced today that both companies are working together to pair Motorola's advanced 4G WiMAX infrastructure with Beceem's upcoming BCS500 4G chip.

The BCS500 4G chip supports WiMAX 16e and 16m as well as UE Class 4 LTE capabilities in both the TDD and FDD configurations, including plans for handoff between WiMAX and LTE. The optimization of TDD and FDD coexistence for LTE is important for many operators with disparate spectrum holdings. This WiMAX chip is expected to be the first to support TDD and FDD flavors for LTE with future plans for LTE-to-WiMAX roaming.

"The know-how gained during the development and deployment of our leading 4G WiMAX solution has contributed to our work with Beceem to offer this advanced chipset solution," said Bruce Brda, senior vice president, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions and Networks business. "We look forward to the opportunities provided by this capability to address market demand."

"Our 4G-WiMAX chips are powering every device in Clearwire's network, and we would not have been able to achieve this level of performance and market success without our collaboration with Motorola," said Babu Mandava, CEO of Beceem Communications. "We are pleased to enter the 4G-LTE market later this year with our new BCS500 4G-LTE/WiMAX chip that will become the performance benchmark of the 4G industry."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BGS Global Hospitals launches World class Centre for Liver Transplantation

Bengaluru: BGS Global Hospitals (Kancherla Ravindranath, Chairman and MD) launched its Centre of Excellence for Liver & Pancreatic Disorders and Multi Organ Transplantation and Liver ICU. This makes the Global Hospitals Group the largest in this part of the world for liver transplantation along with the other two other centres in Hyderabad and Chennai.

Speaking on the inauguration, Minister for Medical Education Mr. Ramachandra Gowda said, “I congratulate BGS Global Hospitals on the inauguration of the new center of excellence for Liver and Pancreatic Disorders and Multi Organ Transplantation and Liver ICU. There is a need for such an innovative facility in Karnataka. Every person should pledge to donate their organs which can save many lives. I will be holding discussions with a team of doctors regarding the amendments required in the state act for organ transplantation. I assure you that it will be on par with or better than in states like Tamil Nadu where organ donorship is very high.”

In his address, Dr. K. Ravindranath, Chairman and Managing Director of the Global group of hospitals, recalled he returned to India from Britain precisely to start a dedicated facility to undertake liver transplantation. Although India had top-end medical professionals and world-class hospitals, most facilities fought shy of venturing into liver transplantation, the ultimate in the world of surgery. Liver transplantation is the only means of saving a person with end-stage liver disease. That nearly 200,000 patients in India need liver transplantation as of today underlines the magnitude of the problem. He built the first dedicated facility for liver transplantation in Hyderabad in 1999 and extended the program to Global Chennai and now to Bengaluru.

Dr. Ravindranath said he was happy to announce that the Global Group has had the distinction of successfully carrying out nearly 100 liver transplants. Thanks to state-of-the-art infrastructure and finest professionals, Global Hospitals are on par with the best centers in the world in their success rate. “We will scale new heights with the world-renowned liver transplant surgeon, Dr. Mohamed Rela, heading Global group’s liver transplantation program in India.” The CMD said the Global group is the fastest growing players in extending tertiary level super specialty care in a host of specialties. Global will make its presence felt in Mumbai soon and in Delhi and Kolkata by 2012. The secret of Global’s success lies in providing world-class and personalized care at affordable rates. “No wonder, patients from all parts of India and countries around the world come to our facilities.”

About BGS Global Hospitals:
BGS Global Hospitals is a 500-bed multi-speciality tertiary care centre focused on the Centres of excellence – Liver & Pancreatic Disorders and Multi-organ Transplantation Gastroenterology, MIS and Bariatric Surgery, Neurosciences, Orthopedics and Trauma Services, Cancer and Blood Disorders, Kidney and Urological Disorders and Heart & Lung Disorders. The Hospital's advanced infrastructure includes 14 major specialty operating rooms, 120 intensive care beds and a comprehensive emergency care and trauma unit. Its intensive care facility is the largest available across the state. The hospital is recognized by leading TPA's, Yeshaswini, Arogya Bhagya and Arogya Raksha health schemes, Karnataka State Government, etc.

Achanta Sharath Kamal clinch title in National TT

Guwahati, Feb 16: Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal defended men's singles title at the Senior National Table Tennis Championship here today.

Sharath overcame Saurav Chakravarty 4-1. Sourav put up good fight but failed to break the lanky Chennai paddler, who beat him 11-13, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 in the best of seven tie.

Solar Semiconductor to Open Green Energy Plant in Oakville

The Town of Oakville is proud to welcome Solar Semiconductor (Hari Surapaneni President and CEO) to Oakville. This international investment will provide Canadian manufactured solar photovoltaic (“PV”) products and solutions for the growing green energy market.

Solar Semiconductor will be establishing its first North American manufacturing plant in Oakville in 2010.

The company designs, develops, manufactures and markets a variety of solar PV products and solutions. High quality PV modules offered by Solar Semiconductor provide reliable, environmentally friendly and commercially viable electric power for residential, commercial, industrial and public utility applications in multifarious markets worldwide.

Over the coming months the company will be hiring local personnel for their Oakville facility. In 18 months, Solar Semiconductor plans for additional expansion quickly becoming one of Oakville’s top 10 private employers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

UAE's MEC in talks to lease Indonesian farmland

The UAE's Minerals Energy Commodities Holding (MEC) is in talks with Indonesia to lease around 100,000 hectares (247,100 acres) of farmland, the firm's vice chairman Madhu Koneru said on Sunday.

Gulf countries, mainly reliant on food imports, have ramped up efforts to buy land in developing nations such as Pakistan, the Philippines and Ethiopia to secure food supplies.

The farmland MEC plans to lease is located in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province, the region where MEC also has a railway and coal project worth around $1 billion.MEC is a 50-50 joint venture between government run investment fund RAK Minerals and Metals Investments (RMMI) and privately run UAE based mining company Trimex (Prasad Koneru Chairman).

Friday, February 12, 2010

CHOWDARY's Popularity and Statistics in United States

CHOWDARY is the most popular 9973.rd name in USA (... 9971.cosme , 9972.shaheena , 9973.chowdary , 9974.ham , 9975.yetunde ...). One in every 140,441 Americans are named as CHOWDARY and popularity of name CHOWDARY is 7.12 people per million.

If we compare the popularity statistics of CHOWDARY to USA's population statistics, we can estimate that as of February.12.2010 00:11 there are 2,198 people named as CHOWDARY in the United States and the number of CHOWDARY's are increasing by 19 people every year.

Usage of chowdary as a first name is 60% and its usage as a middle name is 40%. The sum of alphabetical order of letters in CHOWDARY is 97 and this makes CHOWDARY arithmetic buddies with words like Indulgent, Determined, Whimsical, Witty, Plausible, Beautiful, Brilliant, Orderly, Yummy, Nobleminded.

Some thing interesting:

If we compare the popularity statistics of GOGINENI to USA's population statistics, we can estimate that as of February.12.2010 00:27 there are 821 people named as GOGINENI in the United States.

There are 1,216 people named as TUMMALA in the United States.

There are 842 people named as PALADUGU in the United States.

There are 412 people named as KONERU in the United States.

There are 859 people named as TRIPURANENI in the United States.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sreenu Dandamudi appoints to Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission

Jefferson City - Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed St. Louis-area attorney Sreenivasa Rao (Sreenu) Dandamudi to serve on the Administrative Hearing Commission for a six-year term. Dandamudi, of Town and Country, currently is general counsel for the State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, a position he has held since 2006.

"I appreciate having such a quality candidate for this position, and Sreenu will bring valuable experience and diversity to the commission," Gov. Nixon said. "Sreenu also has demonstrated a deep commitment to his community, and I am pleased to appoint him."

Prior to serving as general counsel for that board, Dandamudi operated a private law practice in St. Louis and also was a Missouri assistant attorney general. While with the Attorney General's Office, he was legal counsel to several licensing boards, representing those boards before the Administrative Hearing Commission. Dandamudi is a graduate of Washington University School of Law.

The Governor's appointment now moves to the Missouri Senate for confirmation.
The Administrative Hearing Commission is a neutral, independent administrative tribunal that decides disputes involving state agencies and another party, usually a private person or corporation. The Commission typically decides the cases after a trial-type hearing. The commissioners do not sit as a body; instead, each commissioner hears evidence and arguments from the state agency and from the other party and decides a case as an individual. Any party, including the state agency, may seek review of the Administrative Hearing Commission's decision from the judicial branch.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Karuturi Arm In PE Deal Talks To Raise $100M

Stanchart PE and an arm of Reliance Capital are among the players believed to be in the fray.

Karuturi Overseas Ltd (Karuturi Sai Rama Krishna Chairman and MD), a subsidiary of world's largest rose exporter Karuturi Global, is in advanced level of talks with private equity players to raise up to $100 million to fuel its expansion plans in Africa.

Karuturi Overseas is the holding company for the Karuturi Group's Africa operations, which has interests in floriculture and agriculture. The fund-raising talks were initiated back in 2008. The deal is taking time to close as there are issues regarding pricing andstructuring as Karuturi Overseas is a subsidiary of a listed firm, said one source familiar with the transaction.

The Reliance Capital arm may look at co-investing in Karuturi in order to limit its exposure. Karuturi is betting on the growth story that is developing in Africa, where many investors and corporates are buying and leasing land at relatively cheaper rates for crop production.

"While it is true we are raising capital, we are not in discussions with any PE player at present for a specific dilution in our Dubai subsidiary at the moment," said Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, managing director of Karuturi Global, in an email response.

Karuturi has acquired vast tracts of land in Ethiopia for its foray into agriculture, which it believes will be its next driver of growth.

The Bangalore-based company had earmarked a capital expenditure of $250-$300 million to fund its land acquisition in Ethiopia. While debt has been raised from the banks, the company now needs an equity infusion to meet the capex requirement. Karuturi bought around 311,700 hectares of land on lease in Ethiopia to start agricultural cultivation in a phased manner. It plans to grow crops like cereals, sugar and palm, which could be exported.

Karuturi, whose rose export accounts for most of its revenues right now, annually produces around 555 million stems of cut roses which are exported to markets like the US, Europe, Japan, Russia and Australia. It has an area of 239 hectares in countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and India under green house for this. The company became the world's largest rose exporter after it acquired Ethiopia’s Sher Agencies for $68 million back in 2007. Karuturi Global reported revenues of Rs 445 crore and a net profit of Rs 117 crore for FY09.

Fortune Hotels opens Fortune Park Vallabha in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Fortune Park Hotels, a subsidiary of the ITC group, announced the opening of its 32nd property, Fortune Park Vallabha in the city on Tuesday. Vijay Vallabhaneni, CEO and chairman, Fortune Park Vallabha said , “It’s been a long cherished dream of ours to come back to our roots and expand here, in the city, and it’s finally happening. And it makes perfect bnusiness sense too, after all the city in one of the fastest growing cities in the country.”

The property has 68 rooms, of which 34 are Standard rooms, 30 are Fortune Club rooms and four Suites. The hotel also offers facilities like complimentary airport pick-up and drop, Wi-Fi connectivity, a fully equipped business center and a health club. As for the interior aesthetics, this contemporary business class hotel blends present-day style and traditional aesthetics to provide premium accommodation for the discerning traveler.

Fortune Park Vallabha also offers state-of-the-art facilities for events and conferences. They have a boardroom capable of accommodating 20-25 people that’s ideal for business meetings. For larger gatherings, they have business forums that can accommodate up to 150 people.

Madhucon bags 75Mw hydro power projects

Madhucon Projects Limited, (Nama Nageswara Rao Chairman) a Hyderabad-based infrastructure development company, has bagged three hydro power projects aggregating 75 Mw, with a scope to expand to 100 Mw, from the Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited.

To be executed on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis, the projects include development of the Agastyamuni, Tilwara-I, and Tilwara-II hydro power projects, with a capacity of 25 Mw each, in the tributary Mandakini of River Alaknanda in Rudrapryag district.

“Madhucon will be operating these projects for a period of 35 years and the detailed project reports are in the process of preparation,” the company said.

Madhucon, through its associate company Madhucon Sugar and Power Industries Limited, is already operating a 24-Mw co-generation plant near Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. Through its subsidiary Simhapuri Energy Private Limited, it is setting up a thermal power plant of 1,920 Mw at Tamminapatnam and Mommidi villages in Nellore district in four phases.

“Construction of Phase-I of 300 Mw is in full swing, and will be commissioned by February 2011. The financial closure for Phase-II of 300 Mw is in advance stage, and will be commissioned by July 2012. Environmental clearance process for Phase-II of 660 Mw is under way. This thermal power plant will b operated on imported coal and a major part of the coal will be sourced through Madhucon’s coal mine in Indonesia,” the company said.

Madhucon’s subsidiary PT Madhucon Indonesia has been given licence of 10,000 hectare and all initiatives are in the final stages for commencing coal production at the coal mine in south Sumatra, which has reserves of 900 million tonne, before March 2010.

The company has also drawn plans for setting up gas-based power plants in 2 states and the planning is in advanced stage. The company plans to set up a 5,000-Mw power generating facility within the next five years, the company added.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Prasad Thotakura receives Bharat Gaurav Award for 2010 from IIFS

India International Friendship Society (IIFS), New Delhi, has announced globally reputed “Bharat Gaurav Awards” for the year 2010. Mr. Prasad Thotakura, a well known NRI Community leader from Dallas, Texas is one of the recipients of this prestigious award for his community service achievements. Mr. Thotakura along with other recipients was honored with Bharat Gaurav Award and a Certificate of Excellence at a high profile Global Friendship Day gala banquet held on January 7th, 2010 at New Delhi. Prasad Thotakura has been serving the Indian American community in the USA for the last fifteen years in different capacities. Prasad by profession a Chief Operating Officer of an e-commerce company, currently serving as the Executive Vice-President of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) and the General Secretary of the Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC) besides serving as an Advisory Board of Director of the Dallas Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Humpy among 11 leaders in Gibetelecom Masters chess

GIBRALTAR: Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy outplayed Azerbaijan GM Namig Guliyev with an attacking game in the seventh round for a share of the top spot in the Gibetelecom Masters chess tournament.

Three rounds are to go in 96000 Pound prize money event. Humpy played a tough and complicated game with black pieces to keep Guliyev guessing. It was a Sicilian Paulsen wherein the Azerbaijani could not get any of the desired King side attack and his progress on the queen side was also questioned by many experts after the game.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Woman Achiever: Sridevi Koneru

Sridevi Koneru, a woman with a competitive spirit and courageous outlook, who drives the career of 120 employees as Director of Wireless Networking Business Unit at Cisco.

To succeed we first must believe we can.” Sridevi Koneru at Cisco corroborates these words of Michael Korda. “Always believe in yourself and follow your instincts, be true to yourself and you will achieve your goals.” she asserts. Today, her self-belief has paid off, as she leads the wireless technology business unit driving critical product development and business decisions at Cisco. As the Director of Wireless Networking Business Unit at Cisco India, she drives the careers of 120 employees, enhancing their performance and productivity while developing wireless networking solutions.

Her thirst to learn more motivated her to pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Science after her graduation in the same discipline. “No one pushed me to take up Computer Science. I was good at mathematics and very analytical by nature, so it came to me easily,” she says. Filled with vigour and impatient by nature, Sridevi was rearing to start her career and joined her Professor’s start-up and then later a company called ‘Compression Labs’, a video conferencing solution provider, while studying for her Master’s degree. Once out of the university she joined ‘Stratacom’.

“I view every change as an inflection point”, she says. Sridevi, who was married by the time she finished her Master’s degree, found that she needed to adapt to the demands of raising a family, after sometime. For a while she was caught in a dilemma, faced by a lot of women, on how to strike an optimum work life balance. She had begun to work part time but felt that she was not doing justice to her career. During these times, she felt she was given projects as they required less expertise and she couldn’t demonstrate her capabilities through them. The zeal to establish her career and to build her own identity dawned on her only with the birth of her daughter. “The birth of my daughter was the turning point in my life and career. I realized the need to be an individual, the need to identify with my own life and the need to manage my career. After her birth, my mere job turned into my full-fledged career,” Sridevi expresses nostalgically. With the help of her supportive family she returned to work full time. She also managed to disprove the preconceived notions of others who questioned her ability to be a good mother and managed to achieve the much desired balance in her roles as a wife, mother, and a career woman.

The acquisition of Stratacom by Cisco was the silver lining in her career. She went onto to lead Cisco’s wireless networking business space. From then onwards there was no looking back for this spirited lady.

Her competitive spirit, her courageous outlook and ability to take risks are traits that she attributes to her active interest in sports which ranges from volleyball, hiking to adventure sports.

While change is constant in most of the realms, technology is one realm where change takes the fastest, and this makes Sridevi, who welcomes change, ideally suited for this domain. Her quest for challenges and constant improvement in everything makes her a catalyst for change, for the better, in every aspect of her life and career. It didn’t take her much time to bring in changes within Cisco that helped improve the efficiency of the processes she was responsible for. Even in the regular work environment, which mainly involves customer interactions, she makes as effort to instill changes for the better, every day in small ways. Sometimes, this could be building new strategies to help the sales team with information to support their sales efforts, while at other times it could be efficient resolution of product support issues.

Her experiences have helped her analyze her team’s aspirations better and guided them well. And at times, she has even opened up opportunities for the people who showed interest in exploring territory in their respective careers. “There was a situation where one of my engineers expressed interest in customer facing projects. So when an opportunity came up, I asked her to accompany me to a customer conference and conduct the workshop and interface with the customer and partner audience. That helped her exposure and built her confidence and over time, she transitioned into a customer support engineer and now excels at it!” says Sridevi.

While Sridevi started her career in a technical role, she opted to pursue an MBA from Wharton, University of Pennsylvania to allow her to venture into the business world as a leader that would use the combination of her management experience and business skills. At Cisco she is involved in managing the different technology areas for various customer segments.

“Back in the 1990s the avenues to receive mentoring at work were limited, unlike today, where you are spoilt for choice” says Sridevi, who now ensures that her team has the mentoring opportunities that she did not have. Although customer interactions and developing product roadmaps keep her busy most of the time, employee development is always a priority for her. She spends time to understand the members of the 200 person team that she manages, each of whom has a personality different from the other and she reacts accordingly. The strength of any team lies in realizing the diverse skills of each member and using those skills for a common goal. Being honest and transparent with her employees also helps her build a better team. “I want to share more of my professional experience with the larger community. For example, every year I visit rural schools in India to talk about the benefits of education in general and Cisco certification in particular, because I know this will give students a way to help uplift their family and community, at large,” she says.

Sridevi who opted for the career she did because it did not involve much hard work for her and came to her easily, today maintains that there is no substitute for hard work. She believes that luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

The versatility that is enabled by technology makes it a good career option for capable women and Sridevi embodies this aspect. Technology today gives her the flexibility to determine when and how she works and enhances her productivity.

Talking about work-life balance Sridevi asserts, “One could be career oriented and still maintain a work-life balance as personal life is of prime importance to any professional. An organization like Cisco also gives me the flexibility to do so”. In case an emergency at home requires her intervention she does not have to think twice about voicing her concerns and leaving office, even in the middle of an important meeting. She expects and gives the same level of understanding and flexibility to everyone in her team, without compromising on work.

It is determination that helped her achieve success in her career; but till today Sridevi owes her career to the one person who inadvertently set her on course to achieve her goals in life, her daughter. She also states that “I am always guided by the early ingrained ethical values and principles by my dear Father who has taught me everything I am today.”

Bharat Biotech begins trials for swine flu vaccine

NEW DELHI: Bharat Biotech (Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing director) on Monday said it had begun human trials of Influenza A HINI (swine flu) vaccine to test its efficacy and safety after getting the nod of the national health regulator.

“Bharat Biotech is the first company in India to develop a cell culture based vaccine candidate for influenza, which can serve as a platform technology for both pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines,” the company said in a statement.

The Hyderabad based company said it had initiated the first phase of clinical trial in Bangalore with more than 150 volunteers for evaluating the safety and immunogenicity after getting the go ahead from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

Bharat Biotech has earmarked a budget of Rs 70 crores for the development of the vaccine.
“The company expects to complete the trial in six weeks,” Bharat Biotech International Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Krishna Ella said.

Vaccines are one of the most effective ways to protect people from contracting illness during influenza epidemics and pandemics, Mr Ella said.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scout bridges healing, gardening to earn Millun Atluri's Eagle rank

Folsom's Millun Alturi, 14, raises $8k for hospital project

Millun Atluri of Folsom has earned his Eagle Scout rank thanks to a hospital project inspired by a science fair exhibit.

(Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). A Scout who attains this rank is called an Eagle Scout or Eagle. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young menThe title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle").

Millun, a member of Boy Scouts Troop 237 in Folsom, earned his newest rank on Nov. 22 at a Court of Honor. He is the 44th Eagle Scout from the troop that will soon be celebrating its 20th anniversary.

He is currently a freshman at Vista Del Lago High School. He earned 32 merit badges, 11 more than the requirement for the Eagle Rank. He worked on his project at Mercy Hospital and spent 1,000 hours and a year-and-a-half to complete. He raised close to $8,000 for the project.

As part of the project, Millun added soothing music in the Mercy Emergency Department waiting room to help patients and their families relax while waiting to be treated. This project was started from a science fair project that won him first place at the Sacramento Regional Science Fair in 2008, which he later presented at the California State Science Fair at Los Angeles.

As the second part of his project, Millun created a healing garden from the existing Friendship Garden at Mercy Hospital, Folsom.

He planted 100 plants and trees, added new mulch, rebuilt a footbridge, installed a vinyl picket fence, added solar lights, solar artwork and a fountain. He converted the fountain to solar energy using a large solar panel and other components and built a chain-link fence around it for security. Millun organized 70 volunteers who worked for six days to make it all happen

Oscar hero Gullapalli Phanindra says he follows his heart

VIJAYAWADA: Gullapalli Phanindra, who made the city proud by being part of the team that won the coveted Oscar award in 2009 in the visual effects category for the film ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, attributes his achievement to what he calls ‘Follow my heart’ policy.

The first Telugu man to share Oscar honours, Phanindra is in the city on a personal visit. Phanindra said he had worked in a team that provided visual effects to other Hollywood films too that included 2012, Mummy-III and Transformers-II. He said he was working for ‘Troy II’ at the moment.

Stating that he had started working on visual effects since his college days, he recalled the support he had from his professors.

Phanindra is the son of G Chennakesavara Rao, who works for the United India Insurance Company in the city. After his schooling at NSM Public School, he did his Intermediate at Gowtham Junior College and obtained his degree in B.Tech from the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT). Later, he went to do his Masters in Graphics in US.

Expressing happiness over being part of an Oscar-winning team and visiting his native place after a gap of four years, Phanindra said that his first attempt to provide visual and audio effects to his college’s name had earned him appreciation from his friends and that spurred his interest in the subject.

Phanindra, who won several awards for his graphic designs, said that he had learnt the basics at the local Shaft Animation Studio.