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.

Nava Bharat's Zambia's largest coal mine reopens

LUSAKA — Zambian President Rupiah Banda opened the country's largest coal mine Friday, after Singapore's Nava Bharat (Ashok Devineni Chairman and Managing director) took over majority shares and invested $750 million (525 million euros) at the once defunct state entity.

Nava Bharat, a Singapore subsidiary of India's Nava Bharat Ventures, has a 65 percent stake in Maamba Collieries, with Zambia's government owning 25 percent through its Zambia Copper Mines Investment Holdings.

The deal was signed last year to revive the mine situated in Maamba, about 410 kilometres (255 miles) southwest of the capital Lusaka.

Banda said the mine would create nearly 2,000 jobs when it is fully operational.

A power plant is to be built nearby as part of the scheme.

"With the reopening of the mine and the setting up of a power plant, the people of Sinazongwe and the surrounding areas and the Zambians in general will see an improvement in their lives," Banda said.

The mine will start full operations in August, Nava Bharat chief executive officer Ashwin Devineni said.

"Our target is to produce 50,000 tones of coal per month and we are on course to achieving our set targets," Devineni said.

He also said the mine would set up a 300-Megawatt coal-fire power plant, which could double its capacity later.

Devineni said that $650 million of the investment would go towards the power plant, with the remainder invested in the mine which has been dormant since 1997.

Nava Bharat Ventures operates in power, iron alloys, infrastructure and sugar.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

NSL Group bags 400-MW wind project in Chile for $ 650 mn

HYDERABAD: The NSL Group, a Rs 3,500 crore diversified business conglomerate based in the city, has acquired developmental rights to set-up a 400-MW wind power project in Chile, according to NSL Group (NSL) Chairman Mandava Prabhakar Rao.

Prabhakar Rao said the investment outlay for the entire project is expected to be around $ 650 million.

"We have acquired this 400-MW project in Chile during the search for global opportunities in wind power generation. Chile's excellent investment climate and economic stability and favorable policies toward renewable power made it a favourable investment destination for the group to and it would act as a springboard to capitalise on the opportunities in Latin America," Rao told.

The NSL Group's overseas subsidiary, which acquired development rights to set up the project, is expected to complete the project in three years, Rao said.

Jwala Gutta recommended for Arjuna award 2011

Jwala Gutta recommended for Arjuna award 2011 in Badminton. Arjuna Awards were instituted in 1961 by the government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports. The award carries a cash prize of Indian Rupee symbol.svg 500,000, a bronze statuette of Arjuna and a scroll.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Miss India Universe 2011 - Vasuki Sunkavalli

Kamma girl Vasuki Sunkavalli is Miss Universe India 2011

Mumbai, July 16: Vasuki Sunkavalli, popularly known as Vasuki in the Indian modelling industry, has been chosen to represent India at the Miss Universe contest this year. She says she is confident of making her country proud.

"In this competition, I met a lot of people from different parts of the country and from different professions. That was very interesting. I am very confident, hopeful and determined that I will bring the crown back. I will give it my best," Vasuki told reporters here.

The 26-year-old Hyderabad (Unguturu, West Godavari native) girl was crowned Miss Universe India 2011 through former Miss Universe-turned-actress Sushmita Sen's Wadhawan Lifestyle I Am She contest at a private ceremony here Friday night.

But the results of the contest were unveiled in the media Saturday.

Two more crowns were given out. The I Am She Globe International 2011 title was bagged by 23-year-old Parul Duggal, a fashion designer by profession, while 19-year-old Tanvi Singla from Mysore has won the I Am She Asia Pacific 2011 title.

Sushmita, whose production company Tantra Entertainment, was awarded the India franchise by the Miss Universe Organisation last year, is glad that her endeavour is now "three times larger".

"We have added two new franchises - the Miss Globe International and Miss Asia Pacific. I feel immensely proud to say that with these girls, the chances of the international crowns coming back to India are closer than we think," she said.

With the title, Vasuki has won a cash prize of Rs.200,000, while the other two title holders have been awarded Rs.100,000 each.