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.