Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Humpy won gold and Harika won Silver in the World Women's Team Chess Championship.

MARDIN: The Indian team met another nemesis in China and went down 1.5-2.5 to miss out on a medal and sign off fourth in the World Women's Team Chess Championship

For the Indians, Koneru Humpy played out a draw on the top board against world champion Yifan Hou while Donavalli Harika also did not disappoint on the second in splitting the points with Ju Wenjun

Humpy was the pick among the Indians and the world number two also won the gold medal on the first board with her fine 6/8 performance. Harika was the other medal winner from India to win a silver for her performance on the second board.

In the last round, Humpy did not let Yifan do much and got an easy draw as black with exchanges at regular intervals while Harika was her solid self yet again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Madhucon to set up Indonesia power plant

A consortium led by Madhucon Projects (Nama Nageswara Rao, Chairman) has received a letter of intent to set up 300 mw (2 x 150 mw) coal-fired power plant at south Sumatra in Indonesia. The mine-mouth project would be set up on a build-operate-transfer basis.

The project would come up close to a coal mine owned by PT Madhucon Indonesia at Dawas. This mine is expected to assure the supply of coal to the project and also offer significant cost benefits.

According to sources, the power project would cost about Rs1,800-2,000 crore. The company would achieve financial closure for the project in about a year’s time and would have another 36 months from there to complete the project. The company officials were not available for providing the details.

A special purpose vehicle would be incorporated to handle the power project and Madhucon Projects would hold about 65% stake in the SPV, while its other group companies would hold the remaining 35%.
However, Madhucon will have to sell the power produced to the Indonesia government-owned energy company PT PLN.

According to a communiqué from the company to the exchanges, the SPV would enter into a 25-year power purchase agreement with PLN.

The state-owned company has a monopoly over electricity distribution in Indonesia. Under the Indonesian laws, though the private companies are allowed to sell power to the consumers directly, they have to use PLN’s electricity network to reach the consumers.

Interestingly, the company’s Dawas coal mine spread in about 8,600 acre is expected to have significant coal reserves to the tune of about 900 million tonne.

The mine would commence production sometime in February 2012.

The company, which has a mining licence for Dawas site, would use the mined coal for its new power project and explore the possibility of exporting it to India.

Meanwhile, Madhucon Infra, a subsidiary of Madhucon Projects Ltd, is also setting up a 1,920 mw coal based power project near Nellore in AP. The construction of Phase I of 300 mw is said to be complete and is heading towards synchronisation.

The project, being set up by an SPV Simhapuri Energy, would enter into Phase II of another 300 mw sometime in August 2012. The company has applied for clearances for Phase III of 1,320 mw, which would commence activities in the second half of 2012.

Karuturi to Construct Sugar Factory in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Dec 26: Karuturi Agro Products, a subsidiary of Indian giant Karaturi International, (Sai rama Krishna Karuturi, Chairman) is set to establish a sugarcane factory in Ethiopia.

The factory, with an estimated capacity of crushing 7,000 tonnes of cane a day, is to be built in Ethiopia's Gambella Regional state.

Some 15,000 hectares of Karuturi land in Gambella will start producing sugarcane in three years, said Assefa Arega, manager of Karuturi's sugarcane plantation. The company expects the crushing plant to be ready in time for the harvest.

Karuturi is currently undertaking a feasibility study and work on the sugarcane crushing factory, including site identification, supplying and installation, will commence early in 2012.

The sugarcane plantation and the factory will be adjacent to each other, said Assefa.

Karaturi Group is one of the biggest flower exporters in the world and has its farms in Ethiopia and Kenya. Establishing a sugar factory in Ethiopia is expected to return significant economic benefits in terms of domestic demand and also for import, he said.

The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation is to import 300,000 quintals of sugar by February 2012 to fill the supply gap in the country. It is estimated that the sugar, mainly from Brazil and India, will cost Ethiopia $33 million.

Neighbouring countries like Djibouti, Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia rely on imported sugar, according to a local newspaper, and this dependence could reduce once the new factory comes up.

LaPlace movie theater completes face lift

New Year's brings a season of turning over new leaves and starting fresh. But this year, few can claim to be starting fresher than Vishu Mandava, owner of the Hollywood Cinemas 7 movie theater in LaPlace.

A pair of new high-backed movie seats await installation at LaPlace's newly renovated Hollywood 7 movie theater.

This past week, crews have completed the installation of hundreds of new high-back, rocker-style seats in the theater's seven auditoriums. And with that, Mandava -- who bought the then-neglected facility a year and a half ago -- will put the finishing touches on months' worth of renovations.

"Everything is new," Mandava said during a recent tour of the theater in which he showed off the upgrades. "We've replaced almost everything" over the past 16 months.

That starts with a renovated lobby, which Mandava connected to the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream parlor next door -- which he also owns -- to allow patrons to bring ice cream into the theater. It also includes the two new digital projectors recently installed so the theater could offer 3-D films, as well as a number of smaller touches, such as fresh paint and the like.

With the installation of the new seats -- which include leather headrests and cup holders -- the overhaul is complete.

"People used to have to go to (the AMC) Clearview (Palace) or to Baton Rouge to see 3-D movies," said Mandava. "Now they can come here."

Mandava, who also runs the Hollywood Cinemas 9 theater in Kenner, said renovation plans there have been shelved until he learns whether the locally owned Southern Theatres chain intends to go through with its plans to build a competing multiplex in the Jefferson Parish city.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Former Tennis Player Wins First Professional Tournament

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Saketh Myneni, a 2010 graduate of the University of Alabama, won his first professional tennis tournament at the International Tennis Federation's Futures Tour in India this past November.

Myneni won both the men's singles and doubles tournament, a feat not shared by many of even the best professional tennis players.

"I am really happy to have won my first professional event and I feel pleased with my efforts the entire week," says Myneni.

As a result of his win, Myneni gained 18 points to go towards his ATP ranking. Based on more recent tournament play, Myneni now has 21 points in singles play and is ranked around 700th in the world, says Billy Pate, UA's men's tennis coach. Myneni now plans to focus his efforts on increasing his ATP ranking so that he may compete in higher-level tournaments.

"My main goal is to play on India's team in the 2012 Davis Cup tournament," says Myneni. "My short term goals are to try and compete with the best athletes in the world, increase my ranking and also to stay healthy."

Coach Pate says he believes that Myneni has a good chance at making the Davis Cup team despite his current ATP ranking.

"Saketh's major goal is to play in the Davis Cup for India," says Pate. "He has a good chance on his current path and has certainly captured the attention of the Indian federation--the people who will make decisions on which wildcards to allow into higher level events."

In light of winning the India F9 tournament, Myneni credits his time spent at UA to be a large contributing factor to his success.

"Playing for the Crimson Tide has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life," says Myneni. "I got to travel and play in one of the toughest leagues in the country, if not the best. By doing so, it helped me mature my game immensely and gave me a lot of exposure. I also got to learn a lot about myself from the outstanding staff who worked with me during my playing time."

4G Identity Solutions Wins the Prestigious ET Now ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ Award 2011

An able thought leader and a successful architect of Identity innovation, Dr. Sreeni Tripuraneni, Chairman & CEO of 4G Identity Solutions has received the prestigious Indiamart ET Now ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ Award 2011, at an award function held at Mumbai, India on 28th November 2011. The award was presented by the chief guest Legendary N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys Technologies.

'Leaders of Tomorrow' salutes the spirit of entrepreneurship and celebrates the success of India's best Small and Medium Enterprises. This award will inspire future leaders to tread a path of success and triumph. The award will celebrate the success stories and honor entrepreneurs who have transformed stumbling blocks into stepping stones driven by their passion,Determination and undying spirit of entrepreneurship.

More than 50,000 nominations have been received across 13 different categories for the Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2011 and after thorough review of the nominations by the process experts Ernst & Young around 70 companies per category have been shortlisted, which were invited for the preliminary jury round. After the preliminary jury round, 5 companies per each category have been invited for the final jury round. The award is decided by a diverse panel of independent, impartial jury from various backgrounds to execute the judging process headed by Mr. Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations. 4G Identity Solutions has emerged a winner in IT/ITES-BPO/VAS category for its pioneering vision, strong financials and the state of the art solutions and its impeccable project delivery.

On winning the award, Dr. Sreeni Tripuraneni, Chairman & CEO, 4G Identity Solutions said “This award recognizes our high standards of quality and the significant investment we have made in identity innovation. Our unrelenting efforts have resulted in implementation of national scale Unique ID solutions and improved Government services delivery. This honor acknowledges the pioneering efforts we have made over the years and I extend my thanks to all the people who have contributed in transforming the dreams to reality.”

4G Identity Solutions has also won “Aadhaar Excellence Award” from Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in Enrolment Agency category for its excellent efforts in Aadhaar Enrolment services. Dr. Sreeni Tripuraneni received the Aadhaar Excellence Award from Mr. Nandan Nilekani – Chairman, UIDAI on 29th September 2011 on the occasion of 1st year anniversary of Aadhaar project launch.

Holding The Aces

Live online rummy proves a moneyspinner for this company.

Deepak Gullapalli had a feeling that the cards before him held his future. He liked playing rummy and many a time as a Master’s student in Middlesex University, London, Gullapalli and his friends unwound with a game in the evenings. They were also online gaming junkies. It didn’t take him long to put two and two together and end up with an idea for an online portal for rummy. So in 2005, Gullapalli quit his internship at a consultancy, and came to India to set up, making it the first portal for rummy in India.
Today, with 600,000 registered users, the portal owned by Head Infotech expects to clock Rs 25 crore in revenues this year. “We have tried to create the same user experience online as one would find offline,” says Gullapalli. About 8,000-10,000 tournaments per day are played on the website with an average 15,000 players logging in. The stakes: cash prizes of up to Rs 15,000 per day.
Though the Hyderabad-based company has a posh address today, it started in a small 100 sq ft room on the terrace of Gullapalli’s Hyderabad residence, where he and his two software developer friends started their “small project.”
Starting Trouble

The initial plan was to sell the game on CDs, pitting players against the computer. But a game where one played against the computer was difficult because it involved use of sophisticated software. Also, Gullapalli realised that rummy is more fun when playing against live players. So the partners worked on an online version where players could play each other over a network.
The Ace2three team built a basic prototype for two players in 2006 that they later upgraded to a multiplayer game. But there were still no plans to go commercial. “We didn’t have a revenue model then as it was only a play-for-fun portal,” he says.
The three friends had invested Rs 30 lakh but the money was starting to dry up. So in 2007, they started a subscription model where for Rs 200 per month players could log in for a game. But it met with little success. The slow internet connections, frequent disconnections and the game itself crashing added to their woes, says Gullapalli.
A loan of Rs 30 lakh from investors at, solved their money problems in 2007. And two years later, they received a fresh injection of close to Rs 1 crore from an angel investor. This funding brought stability to the business.
Yet another fillip to the growth plans came from an investment of Rs 7 crore by Matrix Partners in 2010.
With this they moved their server to Chennai from the UK to reduce the lag time (the time taken by the server to respond to commands given on the computer), although costs increased by 50%. “From 50,000 users in 2009, we’ve been growing 20-30% month on month,” says Gullapalli.
To handle the growing user base, the company plans to add more servers to the six it has currently. The company can now handle up to 10,000 users simultaneously. In the next two years, the addition of more servers will allow up to 50,000 players to access games simultaneously.
About 70-80% of the users of, play for fun, while a small percentage of them play for cash (between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000). Only 20% of the players take part in cash tournaments where the players have a prize pool, Ace2three charges a 10% fee—the site’s sole source of revenue. The tournaments can have a minimum of two and a maximum of 1,000 players. The lowest prize pool for a tournament is Rs 100.
All users are given an Ace2three virtual wallet and chips. They settle dues via credit cards or bank accounts. Unlike other online portals, the gaming site does not have any advertising revenues. “We don’t want the customer’s focus to be away from the website,” says Gullapalli.

On The Cards

Avnish Bajaj, CEO, Matrix Partners, believes the market for online gaming is huge. “Our research shows that almost 100 million have played rummy [offline],” he says. “Currently Ace2three has penetrated less than 5% of the market, so they have a huge market ahead of them. And for any nascent industry, 5-10% is good penetration,” he adds.

Though there are plenty of competitors like Games 24X7,, and ibibo, Ace2three is confident of growth.

To attract more users, the portal is planning to introduce more regional variants of rummy along with other games of skill like Bridge. With these new offerings, they hope to hit the 1.5 million registration mark by March 2012. Then, revenue will be Rs 50-60 crore by FY12-13.

In 2012, Ace2three intends to design games for Facebook and launch apps for the iPhone and Android. As they scale up, more challenges are bound to show, but the founders are confident that they are holding the right cards.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Senior IPS officer Kode Durga Prasad likely to head SPG

NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh cadre senior IPS officer Kode Durga Prasad, who had a long stint in the state's anti-naxal force Grey Hounds, is frontrunner in the race to head the elite Special Protection Group (SPG).

The elite force is headed by BV Wanchoo, who retires on Monday after having the longest tenure of seven years.

Durga Prasad, a 1981 batch IPS officer, is presently the additional director general of police (Sports) in AP.

He, however, had no previous experience in the SPG, a force which was primarily created to guard the Prime Minister and their immediate family members.

Besides the Prime Minister, SPG also guards Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her two children— Rahul and Priyanka.

Durga Prasad is among the few officers who were considered for the post.

Though Durga Prasad said he did not have any `news' of his posting, he confirmed that he was considered for the same.

"Yes. I was among quite a few people (officers) who were interviewed for the post," he told Express but said he did not receive any official confirmation from government sources about his posting.

Durga Prasad headed Grey Hounds for a long period and had a brief stint as the chief of state's intelligence wing.

Durga Prasad was also handpicked for heading the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) in 2008 but had to return to his parent cadre in less than a year on personal grounds.

If Durga Prasad is selected to head the SPG, he would be the first IPS officer from the state cadre to be posted in the elite force.

Prasad was among the two officers interviewed for the post and it is understood that the Government has cleared his name to head the 23-year-old force.

Wanchoo, a 1976 batch IPS officer from West Bengal cadre, considered a close confidante of Gandhi family, retires on Monday.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meghana Kamineni Wins 33rd Orland Park Open Spelling Bee

Meghana Kamineni, a 6th Grade student at St. George School, felt wonderful when she took home this year’s trophy for first place in the “10 and under” division. Last year she came in second in the competition. Meghana said "I did not get a chance to really practice this year because I entered at the last minute.”

Divi Murali and L Madhusudhana Rao in the Forbes India's Richest list

Divi Murali: #53 with $1.05 billion
Pharmacist and youngest of 13 siblings, owns 52% of Divi's Laboratories, pharma firm he founded in 1990 after stint partnering with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories. Company makes off-patent generics and does custom manufacturing of patented drugs for big pharma companies. Gets over 90% of its $266 million revenues from international markets. Investing $90 million to expand its manufacturing capacity; its new 350-acre special economic zone in eastern India opened in June.

Lagadapati Madhusudhana Rao: #91 with $495 million
Fortune down 78% as shares of his power producer Lanco Infratech plummeted amid sector slowdown. Inked $716 million deal to buy Australia's Griffin Coal but got slapped with $3.5 billion lawsuit by fertilizer maker Perdeman Chemicals alleging breach of a coal-supply agreement. Tripling power capacity to 9,300 megawatts by 2014 and bidding for power projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia. Brother L. Rajagopal has been member of parliament since 2004.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

G Varadaraj

Shri.G.Varadaraj was a pioneer of education, business and industry as well as a Parliamentarian.

Born to Shri.Ganga Naidu on 1st November 1936, at Coimbatore. Shri.G.Varadaraj proved an astute businessman while promoting industry, education, science, sports, culture and social welfare. He supported the growth and development of the PSG( Periaveedu Sama Naidu Govindaswamy Naidu) college of Arts and Science. the PSG industrial Institute, the PSG college of Technology and the PSG Medical College.

As the Managing Trustee of the PSG Group of Institutions from 1978 to 1990, he founded the institute of Medical Science and Research in 1985. He was the founder of Rajshree Sugars and Chemicals Limited in 1987 in a most backward area of the Theni District of Tamilnadu which paved the way for the economic and social development of the area by providing employment opportunities to the local people.

Shri.G.Varadaraj was a distinguished Parliamentarian. As a Mamber of the Rajya Sabha for six years from 1983, he served on several commitees. He passed away on 23rd October, 1990 but his legacy lives on.

Padma Shri T. N. Manoharan

Padma Shri (CA.) T. N. Manoharan is an Indian Chartered Accountant and a former president of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

Manoharan was born in April 1956 in a freedom fighter's family in a small village near Vellore, with agricultural background. He obtained a post graduate degree in Commerce from Sri Venkateshwara University and a law degree from Madras Law College. He became a Chartered Accountant in 1983 and set up his public practice in the same year. He is the founding partner of the accounting firm Manohar Chowdhry & Associates, Chennai. He was elected to the central council of ICAI in 2001 and its Vice President in 2005. He remained as a Central Council Member till 2007. He has also chaired various committees of the Institute. In 2006, he was elected as the President of the ICAI (for a one year term). He is also a notable freemason.

In 2009, Manoharan was one of the four members (as representatives of Government of India) appointed to the board of the scandal hit information technology company Satyam Computer Services for restructuring the company. As of 2010, he continues to be a member of the company's board. He has been a visiting faculty for Taxation at the Southern India Regional Council (SIRC) of ICAI and the Reserve Bank of India's staff college and has authored text books on Taxation. He is very popular amongst CA Students and he is very much involved with students. In 2009, he won the CNN-IBN "Indian of the Year" award (along with his fellow board members of Mahindra Satyam) in the business category. He was awarded the Padma Shri (India's fourth highest civilian honour) in 2010. He is also a board member of a number of organisations including Nani Palkhiwala Foundation, Alpha Capital Management and Sahara India Finance Corporation.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The business of jokes

Comedy group Cheese Monkey Mafia scouts for talent while making the city laugh.

I have two skills that are talking points at parties… making drinks and telling jokes,” claims Raghav Mandava, founder of Cheese Monkey Mafia (CMM), a Delhi-based events company set up in 2010. While his bar-tending days are behind him, Mandava uses CMM to organise comedy events and Open Mic Nights across the capital.

Working as a bartender in Delhi’s News Cafe, Mandava met internationally-acclaimed comedian Papa CJ who took him under his wing in 2009. Admitting that he still lacked a “funny bone”, Mandava had to perform at nine shows amidst awkward silences before receiving his first laugh from the audience. “It took me a while to find that one joke that clicked with the audience,” he says. Funny or not, Mandava manages to pull in a crowd — his show ran to a packed house this week at the India Habitat Centre.

At present, artists performing in the capital are seasoned ones such as Abish Mathew and Rajneesh Kapoor — however a real Open Mic Night, according to Mandava, is “when you can literally smell the desperation to be funny”. Mandava uses these nights to scout for young talent. “I plan on taking them along for corporate events,” he says. And of course, he’ll take a cut.

It was comedian Louis C K that “turned his life around”. Talking about the rules of humour, or the lack thereof, Mandava believes that one can joke about anything. Quoting his other comedy idol, American actor Chris Rock, Mandava adds, “Talk about what people do, not what they are.” Though he enjoys Canadian funnyman Russell Peters too, Mandava finds Peters’ humour to be repetitive and focused on racial stereotypes.

What about funny women? “I’m going to dig my own grave here… but women generally aren’t funny.” But the numbers don’t lie — one woman among 10 artists at an Open Mic Night seems to suggest the same. “There are funny women but not many take the stage as a profession, be it in India or abroad,” he adds.

Mandava’s own humour spares no one — it may be city-specific (though he avoids clichéd jibes at Punjabis), at times sexist (“jokes on women drivers never get old”) and even anti-establishment. While C K perfected the art of being a rebel speaker, Mandava tries to question the simpler things in life. Preferring an anecdotal conversation to a structured script, Mandava wants his joke to “take the audience by surprise”.

He demonstrates. “At a fancy dinner, you never pick up the first plate because you don’t want to look like a greedy pig,” he says a matter-of-factly. “The one who does pick up the first plate becomes a hero of sorts... and the lesser mortals just follow suit,” he laughs off.

So is Indian humour a consequence of British wit or American slapstick? “No… we have our own niche now,” he says emphatically. Though self-deprecation is the easiest form of humour to pick up when starting out, some have mastered this form such as Indian stand-up artist Sanjay Rajoura, believes Mandava. Cussing, swearing and sexual innuendo (or even literal jokes looked upon as ‘filthy’) seem to be indispensable to comedy. While some enjoy them, Mandava confesses to several “squeamish ones” walking out on him.

Comedy is not just an art but a booming profession too. Having performed at various corporate retreats , the job pays him more than being a VJ, claims Mandava. With only 30 stand-up artists doing the rounds in the country, this may be true. With only two videos of himself up on YouTube and a Facebook page, Mandava has not been marketing himself extensively. Why?

“I don’t want to give away everything just yet. A joke is like a fruit — first you grow it, ripen it and then enjoy it... after a while it begins to rot and you must toss it!”

Though he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page yet, like some of his idols, Mandava’s humour seems to be tickling the capital’s bones successfully.

Happy Diwali to all

Monday, October 10, 2011

Justice Jasti Chelameswar sworn in, SC strength now 28

Justice Jasti Chelameswar today sworn in as Supreme Court judge, raising the strength of the apex court to 28.

Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia administered the oath of office to Chelameswar, former chief justice of Kerala high court.

Justice Chelameswar had assumed the charge of Kerala High Court as its chief justice on March 17, last year. He was first elevated as an additional judge in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 23, 1997 and was made a judge there on May 17, 1999. On May 3, 2007, he was appointed as chief justice of the Gauhati High Court.

Born on June 23, 1953 in Andhra Pradesh, Justice Chelameswar enrolled as an advocate in the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 1976.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Novatel Varun Beach Hotel to be ready by next month

Novatel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach — a five-star hotel built by the Varun group on the beach road — is getting ready and will be operational by next month, according to Mr Vallurupalli Prabhu Kishore, Chairman and Managing Director.

He said at a press meet here on Tuesday that almost 90-95 per cent of the work on the project had been completed and it would be ready by November. “We started the work on the project in 2008. Sea Valley Private Ltd, our company, started the work and later on we entered into an agreement with Accor Hotels group and Novatel is their brand. There are three Novatel properties in the country, two in Hyderabad and one in Mumbai, and Varun Beach will be the fourth,” he said.

Mr Kishore said that Varun group, the dealer of Maruti here, had hitherto been only in the automobile business and for the first time had ventured into the hospitality and entertainment sector. “We have constructed six Inox cinema halls adjacent to the hotel and started operations in March 2010,” he said.

Best hotel project award

Recently, he said, Novatel Varun Beach had been presented the “Best Hotel Project - Pan India 2011” by the Zee Business channel and the Union Minister for Urban Development, Mr Kamal Nath, had given the award in New Delhi. “It is an honour and it is a great tribute to our team working tirelessly for the past three-and-a-half years on this prestigious project,” he said.

Convention centre

He said Novatel Varun Beach would boast of the biggest convention centre, its unique selling point. It would have 225 rooms, nine executive suites, one presidential suite and one accessible room. “Previously, big conferences could not be held here for want of a really big convention hall. Now we have one here on the beach and it will be big attraction,” he said.

In response to a question on the project cost, Mr Prabhu Kishore said that exclusive of the land cost Rs 100 crore had been spent on the hotel so far and Rs 16 crore or so on the cinema halls. The project would generate 350-400 jobs, he added.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yeswanth Nadella and Raymond Wins Doubles Regional Title

Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney doubles team of Josh Raymond and Yeswanth Nadella won the ITA Central Regional for a second straight season Sunday afternoon at Harmon Park in Kearney.

Raymond, a senior from Elkhorn, and Yeswanth Nadella, a sophomore from India, had to both bounce back from losses in the single semifinals Sunday morning.

The second-seeded Raymond fell to 3rd-seed Shane Giannetti of William Jewell (5-7, 6-3, 8-10) while the 7th-seeded Nadella pushed top-seed Lucio Cangiano of Metro State before also losing in three sets (4-6, 6-4, 10-7).

In his third set tiebreaker, Nadella fought back from a 3-0 hole to tie things at seven before Cangiano, the defending champ, scored three straight to advance. Giannetti managed to score six straight points to win the first set against Raymond. He then came back from a 7-5 deficit to win the third set.

Raymond and Nadella wasted little time, getting out to a 3-0 lead. Eventually up 6-1 and then 7-2, Cangiano and Vlahos battled back to score four straight points. Up 40-30, Raymond sent a strong serve over the net that Vlahos returned but Nadella promptly tapped the ball back over for an easy point and an 8-6 win.

Durban man Euvin Naidoo makes Forbes list

A former Durban man has been placed on the Forbes list of “the 10 youngest ‘power men’ in Africa” for his work in promoting investments in the continent in the West. Also on the list are Mark Shuttleworth and Julius Malema.

At 40, Euvin Naidoo is the CEO of the SA Chamber of Commerce in America and facilitates the expansion of business, trade, and investment opportunities between SA and North America with the view of promoting sustainable economic growth across the two continents. The former Stanger High School pupil graduated with a BA Law from UKZN in 1998, and went on to graduate from the Harvard Business School in 2007.

Naidoo, a father of two, said:

“Africa is going to need an investment of human capital, particularly African-born leaders who are being educated or have now emigrated to the US or elsewhere in the Western world.”

The Forbes list of “power men” in Africa is described by the publication as a “line-up of 10 youthful movers and shakers who wield influence in Africa’s political and business circles”.

Ottawa Centre's Anil Naidoo gets Nobel-sized endorsement

Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar might be more focused on gaining grassroots support than big-name endorsements, but even he likely wouldn't have turned down the one his would-be provincial counterpart got today.

Anil Naidoo, the NDP's provincial candidate for Ottawa Centre, has announced on his website that he's been endorsed by noted anti-apartheid humanitarian Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Naidoo and his family escaped South African apartheid to come to Canada.

Writing from his home in South Africa, Archbishop Tutu said, “Anil Naidoo has been an advocate for the human right to water, the rights of nature and progressive environmental causes. I share these values and support Mr. Naidoo so that he can continue this important work as an elected representative.”

Archbishop Tutu, who turns 80 this week, has worked with Anil Naidoo on international issues. Naidoo, who was born in South Africa and whose family escaped apartheid to come to Canada, is a well-known organizer behind many international environmental causes, including the UN vote to recognize water as a human right.

Anil Naidoo has taken time off from his day job as a human rights expert with the Council of Canadians, Canada's largest citizens' organization, to run for the NDP in Ottawa Centre.

The "unprecedented" endorsement by a Nobel laureate, as the press release calls it, comes on the same day the Ottawa Citizen chose incumbent Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi "by a hair" over Naidoo as their choice to represent Ottawa Centre.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Red Lion Hotels Signs Franchise Agreements with Owner, Positive Investments, for Two Hotels in New Mexico

SPOKANE, Wash., Sept. 21, 2011-- Red Lion Hotels Corporation (NYSE: RLH) announced the company has signed franchise license agreements with the owner of two New Mexico hotels. The two properties are among a group of hotels owned by Positive Investments, Inc., (Rao R Yalamanchili, Owner)  which is also the owner of the Red Lion Hotel Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California.

"These hotels operate under strong management already known to Red Lion," said Rich Carlson, Senior Vice President of Lodging Development for Red Lion Hotels Corporation. "We are committed to growing the Red Lion brand in the West and we are very excited to enter the New Mexico market with an experienced owner like Positive Investments."

The future Red Lion Hotel Farmington is located in the Four Corners region of New Mexico. The 192 room full service hotel, located at 700 Scott Avenue, was formerly the Best Western Inn & Suites of Farmington.

The other property will be the Red Lion Hotel Gallup, located on the historic Route 66, about 130 miles west of Albuquerque. Gallup is a regional trade and transportation center, close to the Navajo Reservation. The 126 room full service hotel, located at 3009 West Highway 66, was formerly the Best Western Inn & Suites of Gallup.

Both hotels have begun the conversion process and are expected to open as Red Lion Hotels this fall.

"These two full service hotels have historically had a strong reputation and customer base in the region," says Rao R. Yalamanchili, who owns Positive Investments, Inc., along with Srinivas Yalamanchili. "Now, together with the strength and support of the Red Lion brand, we are excited to take the hotels to the next level in quality and guest satisfaction."

NSL group launches villas on Mediterranean theme

NSL group (Mandava Prabhakara Rao, Chairman), with interests in sugar, IT SEZs and power, has embarked on a premium villa project, NSL Divyasree Orion, at Raidurg near Gachibowli, the emerging IT hub in Hyderabad.

The location is the advantage for the project, which is coming up in 10.5 acre near NSL Divyasree IT SEZ. The project, having 66 villas, uses Mediterranean themes for designing and landscaping and offers sizes ranging from 350-500 sq yd (3,150-4,500 sq ft).

“The location of the project is in the city but away from the clamour normally associated with it,” said Shr­awan Kumar Gone, chief executive officer of NSL Infratech.

According to him, about 60 per cent of the properties are booked. “Th­e bigger properties within these villas are already sold,” he said adding that the cost of the villas available now is around Rs 3.5 crore, with the construction due for completion in December 2012.

The features of the project includes lift in the villas to address the needs of the elderly, a club house with a pool, a party area, gym, a tension court, jogging track, discussion rooms and power back-up. The project will also have an efficient water management system.

The location is neighbouring Jub­ilee Hills and Hitec City on one side and Gachibowli and the financial district on the other.

“The township is located on a plateau overlooking a lake,” he said adding that the natural slopes of the site have been taken to advantage for vaastu compliance. Also, efforts have been made to incorporate elements of nature inside the villas.

NSL is also doing another project Sushaanta at Kukatpally, where it has procured several land parcels. It will have mid-sized flats from 1,180-2,000 sq ft. It is doing 135 apartments and is quoting between Rs 35-55 lakh depending on the size. The project is in the vicinity of malls, schools and hospitals.

“These will be ready in 16 mo­nths,” he said adding that one new project that will have flats in the Rs 10-20 lakh will be launched in about six months at Ibrahimbagh, which is closer to the Outer Ring Road.

NSL Infratech has drawn up plans for five million sq ft residential space in five years. At present, it has about 5,00,000 sq ft of residential projects across cities. It also has residential projects happening in Bangalore, wh­ere 900 units are in the making.

The company, which has a land bank of about 1,400 acre across cities, will shortly start a major township pr­oject in Chennai with 5,000 apa­rtments in 100 acre near old Mah­abalipuram.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vasuki Sunkavalli Loses Miss Universe Title Due To Delay

India's respresentative contestant at the Miss Universe pageant in Sao Paulo, Vasuki Sunkavalli was unable to to get the crown home as Miss Universe 2011. The 24 - year old damsel was not able to display herself in her national costume as it got delayed and did not reach her on time for the show.

However, the 60th edition of the beauty pageant was won by Miss Angola Leila Lopes. Lopes defeated the rest of the contestants and won the title. Last year, Mexico's Ximena Navarrete handed the crown to Lops in a glamorous moment.

the year 2000, Lara Dutta won the Miss Universe title for India, while Miss World was won by Priyanka Chopra in the same year.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Karuturi Global to Plant 20,000 Hectares in Oromia

September 11, 2011 - Ramakrishna Karuturi of Karuturi Global has made expansion intentions of his limited company clear. According to Ramakrishna Karuturi, his company is planning to use 20,000 hectares to plant food crops, including rice, Sorghum, maize, soybeans, and sunflower, in the Oromia region by November 2011. The company has leased a total of 100,000 hectares in Ethiopia, besides two flower farms in Oromia.
Karuturi Global employs about 3,000 people in its two flower farms in Holeta, which produce roses to be exported to Europe, particularly Germany. Besides, the Indian limited company has two farms in Gambella and Bako areas, which process sugar, rice, palm oil, maize. More than 2,000 people work on these two farms. Karuturi Global plans to expand employment to at least 25,000 people with an eye on increasing production.

The company’s managing director said they expect to harvest rice and maize on about 10,000 hectares by September and palm oil on 5,000 hectares. The company plans to increase the production of palm oil by up to 20,000 hectares in about five years, hoping to take the production to about 100,000 tons so as to meet the demand of this Horn of Africa country, which exports about 90,000 tons of palm oil annually.

Karuturi Global began planting sugarcane on about 15,000 hectares in Gambella region in December 2010. The company has plans to increase the production to about 20,000 hectares. Sugar and palm oil remain the principal crops for Karuturi Global, which has a rich market in Ethiopia and member states of COMESA.

The company started investing in Ethiopia seven years back. At that time, Karuturi Global Limited, primarily known for venturing into Food processing, Agriculture, and Floriculture sectors, started with an initial investment in 100 hectares. Today, its total investment in the country has reached $150 million from $5 million seven years back.

Karuturi managing director believes that agriculture ventures will help further the growth of the company and consolidate its presence in African markets, including Ethiopia and Kenya. The company, the biggest exporter of cut roses, has a rose farm in Kenya as well.

India is only the second largest investor in Ethiopia, preceded only by the European Union. Recently, many Indian companies have shown interest in Ethiopia and plan to invest in the country in the coming years, particularly in agriculture and floriculture. In fact, according to the Ministry of External Affairs, more than $2 billion of India’s total investment of $4.78 billion in Ethiopia comes from these two sectors.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Justice Jasti Chelameswar appointed as Supreme Court Judge.

President Pratibha Patil has appointed Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court Jasti Chalameswar as Supreme Court Judge.

Justice Chalameswar, 58, will represent Andhra Pradesh following the retirement of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy in July. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court in May 2007 and then shifted to the Kerala High Court in March 2010. He will have a tenure of seven years as Supreme Court judge.

Born on June 23, 1953 at Pedda Muttevi, Movva Mandal in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh, India. His father was late Jasti Lakshminarayana, a lawyer at Machilipatnam, Krishna District. Had his earlier education up to Class XII at Hindu High School at Machilipatnam in Krishna District and Graduated in Science (Physics) at Madras Loyola College. Graduated in Law from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, in 1976. Enrolled as an Advocate in High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in the year 1976 and practised under a senior Advocate Dr.B.Bhimaraju, former Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P., Sri.P.Rajarao, Ex. Government Pleader, High Court of A.P. and Sri.K.Srinivasa Murthy, a leading Advocate in High Court of A.P. Specialized in Constitutional Law, Election Laws, Central Excise, Customs, Income Tax and Criminal Law. Appointed as Standing Counsel of A.P.Lokayukta in 1985 and 1986. Worked as Government Pleader for Home Affairs in High Court in the years 1988 and 1989. Designated as Senior Counsel in the year 1995. Appointed as Additional Advocate General on 13.10.1995. Elevated as Additional Judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh on 23.6.1997 and as Judge w.e.f. 17.5.1999.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

J.P. Morgan Invests $110M In Soma Group

J.P. Morgan Asset Management is investing $110 million or around Rs 500 crore in Hyderabad-based Soma Group (Rajendra Prasad Maganti, Managing Director), which is involved in construction and development of infrastructure projects in the transportation, hydel power and water resource sectors.
J.P. Morgan, which raised an $860 million Asian infrastructure fund last year, will invest in the company in two tranches, as per this report. SRGR Law Offices advised Soma while Amarchand & Mangaldas advised JP Morgan, the report has stated, quoting one of the legal partners involved in the deal.

-mail queries and phone calls to reach out to Soma Group and J.P. Morgan spokesperson did not elicit any response till the time of posting this story.

Although the specifics of the investment cannot be determined, it may have been done for the funding of Soma’s highway projects unit, which holds its portfolio of BOT (build, operate, transfer) projects in the highways and road sector. Earlier reports had stated that the firm was looking to raise fund for Soma Highway (Toll) Projects Pvt Ltd.

Soma is currently executing nine national highway projects under different Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs).

Soma Enterprises Ltd, the group’s flagship, is promoted by Rajendra Prasad Maganti and it raised Rs 191 crore from 3i Infrastructure Fund in November 2007. The company started out with irrigation projects and further expanded into areas like tunnelling, roads and hydropower. The company is currently executing projects in various states including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Kerala and Assam

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Centre to release postage stamp on Tripuraneni Gopichand

The Union government has decided to release a postage stamp in memory of eminent Telugu poet and novelist late Tripuraneni Gopichand on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary on 8th September 2011. Late Gopichand had written many great stories and novels, including"Asamarthuni Jeevitha Yatra" and won accolades.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mullapudi Harischandra Prasad passes away

The first generation entrepreneur and popularly known as Andhra Birla, Chairman and Managing director of Andhra Sugars, Mullapudi Harichandra Prasad (91) has passed away this afternoon in Banjara hills Care hospital. His health condition is critical since a few days as he suffering with Kidney related problem.

Mullapudi Harichandra Prasad has started his entrepreneur career with Andhra sugars in 1947 and regarded as one of pioneers of Andhra Pradesh industry with Andhra Sugars one among the first industries set up in Independent India. Perhaps, it is one of very few companies in India which have operations and corporate office in the single location and in the rural regions. The Andhra sugar group of companies has served their best to rejuvenate rural economy from agro based to agro industry based economy. Under his dynamic leadership and guidance the Company grew in strength and size and diversified into an Industrial Complex manufacturing besides Sugar, wide range of Organic and Inorganic Chemicals. Prasad has won many accolades for his achievements during his career as entrepreneur; his factories have never shut down due to strikes.

Having started with Sarpanch, he served as Municipal chairman and MLA (1955-67) and known as highest and prompt tax payer in the state. Known to be a close friend of late NTR and helped TDP financially when NTR floated the TDP.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vote for Vasuki Sunkavalli Miss Universe

You can vote ten times per email address per day until the 11th of september. she wil need all your support.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Karuturi Global Plans $500 Million Investment in Tanzania Food Production

Karuturi Global Ltd. (KARG), the world’s largest rose grower, may invest as much as $500 million in food production and processing in Tanzania as it expands operations in East Africa.

The company plans to lease land to grow palm oil, sugar cane and cereals in Tanzania, to add to land it has acquired in Ethiopia where it already grows the same crops, Managing Director Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi said in an interview. Karuturi is currently visiting Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia as part of a delegation of 35 Indian investors who are considering investing $2.5 billion in the three countries, he said.

“There is huge potential for the agriculture sector in East Africa,” Karuturi said. “The region has 120 million hectares (297 million acres) of arable land, the same size of arable land in India.”

Companies from India are boosting economic ties with Africa amid competition from China, its regional rival, whose trade with the continent totaled $106.8 billion in 2008, according to Consultancy Africa Intelligence’s website. Trade between India and Africa currently stands at $50 billion, according to the African Union.

Karuturi Global’s investment in Tanzania will “mainly come from our internal resources,” Karuturi said, without providing further details. The company is seeking 200,000 hectares of land for palm oil, 150,000 hectares for cereals and 20,000 hectares for sugarcane, he said.

Quiznos opens first store in India

USA based Quiznos, one of the Sub Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) chains with over 4000 stores in over 35 countries, has entered the Indian market in a franchise model with Apollo Elixirs. The quick service restaurant chain plans to open 10 stores in India by the end of the year, in the cities of Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, and 30 by the end of 2012.

Lee Vala, international chief development officer, Quiznos, USA said that after its success in Central and South America, Quiznos plans to grow the brand’s international footprint to more than 40 countries and territories, with target markets in Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia in the next few years. He confirmed that the restaurant chain has already appointed a franchisee for North and West India.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohit Mathur, CEO, Quiznos India, said: “We will offer 30 products to our customers through these chain of restaurants. Our range of products start from Rs. 50 for a Sammi and will go upto Rs. 325/- for Premium Sandwich. We have two kinds of restaurants viz Special Venue Restaurants(SVR) and Full restaurant. SVR kind of restaurants are set up Malls. We even plan to set up outlets in educational institutions where students strength is above 10,000.”

Arjun Valluri, chairman of Apollo Elixirs, said that Quiznos has signed a master franchise agreement with Apollo Elixirs for Southern India, Goa and Sri Lanka. The first flagship store of Quiznos in India is all set to open in Film Nagar, Hyderabad followed by the next two opening in September at Inorbit Mall, Gachibowli and Infosys, Pocharam campus. He also informed that upto ten outlets will open in Hyderabad in next one year.

In its 30th year, USA-based Quiznos is an international chain with over 4000 stores in over 35 countries. Its restaurants offer recipes for sandwiches, soups and salads. CNN Money ranked toasty sub pioneer Quiznos as the No. 2 most popular franchise of the past decade in 2010.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Munirathna Naidu wins by a big margin

Well known film producer Munirathna Naidu who is also a corporator for the Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is the new President of the Kannada Film Producer Association. He has won the recently held elections for the KFPA held on Sunday afternoon with a big margin of 78 votes beating his nearest rival Ba.Ma.Harish.

It is also his team of supporters like A.Ganesh and Soorappa Babu who have won the elections for the posts of Vice President and Secretary beating their rivals. There was a unanimous choice for the post of Joint Secretary, Treasurer and eight executive committee, after the other contestants withdrew their candidature in time.

The elections were held under the supervision of K.V.Chandrashekhar, Former President of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, Mars Suresh, Former Vice President of the KFCC, Narayana Reddy, former Treasurer and veteran producer-director K.V. Gupta who was also the former President of KFCC. More than 210 producers casted their votes in this election and there was an all around interest generated in the film industry, media about the contest.

Ba.Ma. Harish who is famous for making news in channels because of his closeness to the media projected himself as a strong candidate and was trounced by a big margin. He got only 53 votes, but the low key contestant like B.R.Keshava who had contested for the post of Secretary managed to get nearly 86 votes against Soorappa Babu.

Munirathna thanked the producers for electing his team and said that he will ensure smooth functioning of the association with the help of many elders who have run this organisation. "My first priority is to protect the interests of the producers. I will not hesitate to step down if even one person in the orgnisation genuinely feels that I have not worked for their benefit. The producers can spell out a problems to me by just writing a personal letter to the association or even by just telephoning me. I am sure to address their grievances," said Munirathna.

The victory of Munirathna in the Kannada film producers association elections which was held after a gap of 27 years clearly has enthused big time producers like Ravichandran, Dwarakish and many others. "The real work of Producers association will start now. There was no concrete work done in past' noted Actor and Producer Ravichandran. Veteran Dwarkish said that he has high hopes on the leadership of Munirathna who has the necessary skills to execute things in favour of Kannada film producers.

Gutta Jwala-Ashwini make history at Wembley

Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa etched their names in history books on Friday when they became the first Indian pair to ensure a medal at the World Badminton Championships.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallists defeated 12th seeds Vita Marrisa and Nadya Melati of Indonesia 17-21, 21-10, 21-17 to storm into the women's doubles semifinal in London on Friday, thereby ensuring at least a bronze.

Jwala and Ashwini's performance also ended India's 28-year medal drought in the flagship event.

India's only other medal in the championship came in 1983 when Prakash Padukone bagged the men's singles bronze in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The unseeded pair removed the gloom in the India camp after the loss of Saina Nehwal earlier in the day.

The world number 21 pair began on a slow note and played catch up through the first set. But the late charge in the opener gave them the confidence to go on the attack.

"Jwala was fantastic with her service and net play, while the opposition had no answer to Ashwini's smashes," chief national coach, Pullela Gopi Chand, told.

Jwala and Ashwini had created a buzz with a straight sets hammering of second seeds Wen Hsing Cheng and Yu Chin Chien of the Chinese Taipei in the second round.

"That victory gave us the confidence that we could match the best in the world," said Jwala.

On Thursday, they rallied from a set down to beat 11th seeds Lok Yan Poon and Ying Suet Tse of Hong Kong to come within whispering distance of a medal.

They will now face fifth seeds Qing Tian and Yunlei Zhao of China for a berth in the final.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

USA Cricket: Anand Tummala find place in 14-man squad named for Canada tour

The USA Cricket Association has announced the 14 players who will be leaving on Wednesday for Toronto to play in three Twenty20 matches beginning on August 11 against Afghanistan, Canada and Trinidad & Tobago as well as a two-day match against Canada.
Anand Tummala, Amir Nanjee, Charan Singh, George Adams, Stuart Mills and Hussain Haidar will all be making their debuts for USA. Jignesh Desai, who last played for USA at the 2006 ICC Americas Division One in Canada, has been recalled at the age of 37 and named captain of the squad while Andy Mohammed gets his second opportunity at the senior level after debuting against Jamaica last year.

Anand Tummala-USA's Next ALL-ROUNDER?

Currently representing the North Atlanta Cricket Club in the Atlanta Georgia Cricket Conference 2011 with an unbelievable batting average of 197.00 (388 runs including two unbeaten centuries) and superb bowling average of 8.2 (13 wickets with an economy rate of 2.5), Anand Tummala must consider himself a serious contender for the all-rounder spot in the USA national cricket team.

Anand moved to the USA in 2007 and has been part of the South East Regional team since performing exceedingly well in the USACA National Championship. In recognition of his superb and consistent all-round performances, Anand was selected in 2010 to represent the USA national team in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Dubai. Unfortunately, for the USA and Anand, he could not participate due to the fact that he narrowly missed the minimum residency requirements of four years before an individual can represent any country in an ICC tournament. Brushing aside this disappointment, Anand focused and worked hard on improving all aspects of his game. In April 2011, he met the residency requirements and is now eligible to represent USA in any ICC tournament.

Anand is an excellent middle order batsman who is technically sound with a good temperament and has shown that he is capable of building innings. He has an uncanny ability to keep the scoreboard ticking at the start of his innings and then accelerate towards the middle and end of the innings playing good quality cricketing shots to hit boundaries and sixes. Anand is a high quality medium pace bowler who swings the ball and relies on line and length which makes him an asset to any side in all forms of the game. Anand is also a very good fielder and has one of the safest pair of hands. A feature of any performance by Anand is his ability to quickly assess the current situation of a match and adjust his game accordingly to suit the needs of his team.

Growing up in India, Anand played most of his cricket in Delhi including school, college, age-group, university and ultimately realizing the dream of representing Delhi in the Ranji Trophy (India's premier first class cricket tournament) in 2001. The experience gave Anand the opportunity to play alongside and against world class cricketers like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Sourav Ganguly to name a few.

Anand also traveled with teams representing the Delhi District Cricket Association in tournaments as Vice Captain during the England tour in 1995 and as Captain during the South Africa tour in 1996. Between 1996 and 1998, he was part of the world renowned MRF Pace Foundation in India which is a training academy for pace bowlers from all over the world under the leadership of the great Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee. In addition, Anand represented the Bishen Bedi (former India skipper) Cricket Coaching Trust teams on tours to England in 2001 and Australia in 2007.

Anand's desire to pursue his education resulted in him enrolling in the Master of Business Administration program from the University of Wales and moving to the United Kingdom in 2005. It was during his stay in Wales that Anand excelled both on and off the field. He had the honor of being the captain and coach of the University of Wales cricket team in 2005 and 2006. He was also contracted as a player and senior coach by the Croesyceiliog Cricket Club in the South Wales Premier League. During his stay in the United Kingdom Anand had the privilege of playing alongside former West Indian greats like Richie Richardson, Jimmy Adams and former New Zealand allrounder Chris Harris in exhibition matches. The University of Wales sponsored Anand for the prestigious level I and level II ECB coaching certifications. Off the field, Anand was the recipient of the Best Full-Time International Student Award (MBA) and also held the post of "Overseas Officer" in the University of Wales Newport Students Union.

After moving to the USA in 2007, Anand has not only managed to play with a high level of consistency, but also put in a lot of effort and time into coaching the South East Region and various age group levels at the Cricket Academy of USA on a regular basis. Anand has also been instrumental in taking cricket to schools in the Atlanta, Georgia area inclusive of introducing and implementing a development program involving more than 200 physical education teachers in the Fulton County school system which has earned him high praise from children, parents and authorities. He is also a Certified England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) level II Cricket Coach and a current member of the England & Wales Cricket Board Coaches Association since 2006.Anand owes a lot of his success to his parents who have supported him in all aspects of life. An excellent work ethic has ensured that he has remained focused and determined in achieving his goals.It is just a matter of time before Anand dons the USA colors and represents the country at the highest level. Good luck, Anand!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

3 crowns for Pranjala Yadlapalli

Guwahati, July 23: Yadapalli Pranjala of Andhra Pradesh annexed triple crowns in the Oil India Ltd-AITA Super Series (under-12 and under-16) tennis tournament that concluded at the Chachal Tennis Complex here this afternoon.

The 11-year-old won the under-12 and under-16 girls’ singles and the under-16 doubles, partnering Sruta Kirti Gunaganti of the same state.

The top seed beat Mihika Yadav of Maharastra 6-3, 6-2 for the under-12 crown. She, however, had a cakewalk 6-1, 6-1 victory against Renu Sharma of Haryana for the under-16 title.

In the under-16 doubles final, Pranjala and Gunaganti conceded a couple of games in the first set before coming back strongly to defeat Renu Sharma of Haryana and Bhavya Wadhwan of Chandigarh 7-5, 6-1.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tyneside director Bharat Nalluri's baby news

MOVIE maker Bharat Nalluri has revealed details of his latest production . . . a baby daughter with his TV presenter wife!

The top director, who grew up on Tyneside, met and fell in love with his wife Kylie Morris when he least expected it . . . while he was making a moving drama about the 2004 Asian Tsunami.

The former Newcastle Royal Grammar School pupil went to Thailand in 2006 to direct the two-part BBC drama Tsunami: The Aftermath, recounting the disaster through the eyes of several families affected, and Kylie was a key researcher for the drama, having been one of the first news reporters on the scene of the Boxing Day disaster.

Now, three years on, Bharat and his Channel 4 news presenter wife live happily in London where – in between working on Spooks, Torchwood and a whole raft of other projects - he is busily preparing for the arrival of a baby girl to join their two-year-old son.

The Emmy Award winner beamed: “There are always things in the pipeline – I’m finishing editing Spooks series 10 at the moment and talking about stuff here and in the US . . . but the next big production is the birth of our baby girl at the end of August.

“Our first was a boy and he’s two-and-a-half now, so I’m taking a little bit of time out to help out at home.

“I’m lucky in that I’m freelance so I get to choose when to work or not. The choice to leave home and shoot is never easy, but one of the perks is that the family can come with me.”

While the 45-year-old may be taking a break from work to spend time with family, his TV work is getting lots of air time . . . and he’s the man behind some of the biggest shows on TV in the last decade, including Life on Mars, Hustle, Spooks and the current series of Torchwood.

He’s currently completing the latest series of Spooks, a decade after the espionage drama first began, and says it’s “shaping up very well”.

But it’s Torchwood: Miracle Day that’s keeping fans gripped at the moment. And Bharat had a blast shooting scenes at the Warner Bros studios LA as well as on location in Cardiff, with US newcomers Bill Pullman and Mekhi Phifer, who have appeared in many Hollywood blockbusters between them.

He said: “Torchwood has got bigger every year, it started in BBC3, went to BBC2, then to BBC1 and now in America. I suspect it will go on forever and if they want me I’ll be the first to say yes.

“When it started three seasons ago Russell T Davies, the writer, and Julie Gardener, the producer, asked me to do the very first one but sadly I was busy on an another project.

“This fourth season is when Russell asked me and I could finally say yes.

“Bill is an incredibly intelligent, gently spoken man who put everyone at ease. He’s a real pro and we got on very well.

Rally ace Naren Kumar retires

CHENNAI: Just a week shy of his 37th birthday, one of India iconic rally drivers, Velappan Rajendran Naren Kumar, has announced his retirement from motorsports after an 18-year career.

The Coimbatore-based Naren Kumar said that he wanted to retire when on top rather than delay the inevitable.

"I won my seventh national title last year, driving for Red Rooster Racing. They have since pulled out of motorsports and I was left without a drive this season. So, I thought it was best that I quit when I am on top."

Harika Dronavalli earns Grandmaster title in chess

Chess player Harika Dronavalli has achieved a rare feat to earn the Grandmaster title. She is the second Indian woman after GM Koneru Humpy to attain this top-most honour.

The Andhra Pradesh player grabbed the final norm following her fine performance at the 1st Hangzhou Women Grandmaster Chess Tournament in China on Saturday. Harika pocketed a total of 5.5 points, following seven draws and two wins, to finish at a commendable third position. Top 10 women players competed in this round robin event.

Harika had held double norms for GM title and already had bagged the titles of Woman Grandmaster and International Master previously. So, in a way, this feat is a natural progression.

Harika said, “It’s been a dream come true for me. I have been working hard to achieve this for the past few years and was confident getting into this tournament.

“I am naturally very happy. I am looking forward to the future tournaments and will continue working hard to be the world No 1. Also, I would like to thank Lakshya and Flame for lending me support when needed the most. I am happy that I have reposed their faith in me.”

Harika is one of the four chess players currently supported by Lakshya. Before setting out for the tournament, she had been at the Flame Campus in Pune to undergo special training at the chess camp by legendary GM Vladimirov.

GM Vladimirov commented, “I congratulate Harika on this special achievement. There was never a doubt in my mind about her capability. I am sure she will continue this form and bring more laurels.”

GM Abhijit Kunte, the mentor for the chess vertical at Lakshya, said, “Harika has been in great form, following her fine performances at the Asian Individual Chess Championships and the South African Open. We were expecting a good result at this tournament too and are very pleased with her performance.”

A resident of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Harika had received the Arjuna Award for her excellence in the year 2007, following which she proved her calibre by winning the girls title at the World Junior Chess Championship held in Turkey in 2008.

She had recently won a gold medal at the Asian Individual Woman Chess Championship and silver in the women’s category at the Commonwealth Championship held in South Africa this year.

Green’s the way to go

Nagarjun Vallurupalli, Director, Surya Ray Elixir Pvt Ltd, is the owner of not just a beautiful house, but India’s first platinum-rated green home, certified by the Indian Green Business Council.

Away from the chaotic lanes of Jubilee Hills, Arjun and his wife, Sarada’s mansion overlooks the blue sky and a green-hued lake. It’s not just the surroundings, the interiors of his house, Avani (named after their daughter), are equally natural and eco-friendly. “I always wanted to have a green home. My research in 2007 led me to the LEED Certification initiative in the US. And I subsequently decided to seek help from IGBC to build a green home,” states Arjun.

The entrance on the second floor opens into a huge open area encompassing the living area, dining area and the lounge. There are no dividing walls and the double-glaze glass used on the tall wall-to-wall windows keep the heat at bay. “What you see is old teak wood or 80-90-year-old wooden blocks-reused from old, damaged houses,” confesses Arjun. Bamboo tiles — the most recyclable form of wood, has been used for the flooring.

The breakfast area overlooking natural rocks conserved during construction is fascinating. The house also boasts a rooftop garden with a seating area and a lotus pond. Measures have been taken to ensure that the house is energy and water efficient. The entire house runs on solar energy. To minimise the use of electricity, the house has open-to-sky toilets, heat recovery wheels and sun-pipes, directing sunlight to the lower-most parts of the house, providing natural light to the garage and storage areas. The low-VOC paints ensure less pollution. LED lights and motion sensors preserve energy. Grey water in the house is reused for flushing the toilets and gardening.