Bank of Baroda Financial Year Results 2010 37.32% Hike in Net Profit

DESPITE a lacklustre credit scenario and volatile bond market, Bank of Baroda ( BoB) has managed a net profit growth of 37.32 per cent in financial year 2010 ( FY’ 10) and 20 per cent in fourth quarter of FY’ 10.

“ The bank managed to sustain a decent profit performance in FY’ 10 despite a lacklustre credit scenario and volatile bond market,” BoB chairman and managing director, M. D. Mallya said.

Operating profit of the bank, at Rs 4,853.81 crore in FY’ 10, was up 15.29 per cent as against Rs 4,209.99 crore in FY’ 09. Net profit in FY’ 10 was Rs 3,058.33 crore up 37.32 per cent as against Rs 2,227.20 crore in the last fiscal.

Net profit for Q4 of FY’ 10 was up 20.41 per cent at Rs 906.28 crore as compared to Rs 752.69 crore in year- ago period. The bank’s total income registered a growth of 9.40 per cent yearon- year ( YoY) and reached the level of Rs 19,423.25- crore in the last fiscal.

While interest earned on advances increased by 12 per cent ( YoY) to Rs 12,541.22- crore by March- end, non- interest income rose by just 2.34 per cent ( YoY) to Rs 2,724.91- crore, reflecting a slowdown in profit on sale of investments.

Canara Bank Q4 Results 30% Drop in Net Profit

CANARA Bank on Wednesday reported a 30 per cent dip in net profit at Rs 503 crore for the fourth quarter ( Q4) ended March 31, 2010, due to low trading profit and higher provisions.

During 2009- 10, the bank made a total provision of Rs 2,039 crore — including Rs 927 crore for Q4 — which includes a provision of Rs 1,408 crore towards non- performing assets ( NPA), bank chairman and managing director A. C. Mahajan said while announcing the results.

On the decline in the Q4 net profit, he said, “ Income from sale of investments during the quarter was to the extent of Rs 114 crore against Rs 349 crore during the same period a year ago at Rs 3,021 crore.

The bank, however, saw a jump of 45.8 per cent to Rs 2,072 crore in its net profit. Total business for the year rose by 24.3 per cent to Rs 4,03,986 crore from Rs 3,25,112 crore in 2008- 09.

Deposits and advances grew to Rs 2,34,651 crore and Rs 1,69,335 crore, a growth of 25.6 per cent and 22.5 per cent, respectively.

Giving a sector- wise NPA of the bank, he said there was a slippage in advances to agriculture sector to the tune of Rs 460 crore, and that to micro, small and medium enterprises ( MSME) to the extent of Rs 393 crore, among others.

Little More Turmeric Powder Can Help to Cure Cancer

THE therapeutic properties of Haldi or turmeric appear to be endless. Two scientists of Indian origin - Subhash Chauhan and Meena Jaggi, working in the University of South Dakota – have found that pre- treatment with curcumin – a component of turmeric - makes ovarian cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The researchers tested the effects of their curcumin formulation on therapyresistant ovarian cancer cells. One strategy to improve the effectiveness and limit the toxicity of cancer therapy is to induce chemo and radio- sensitization in cancer cells using natural dietary chemicals like curcumin. Since curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body, scientists developed a nanoparticle formulation for targeted delivery of curcumin into tumours.

The pre- treatment with curcumin could lower the dose of chemotherapy and radiation treatment needed to suppress the growth of cancer cells. The findings have been reported in Journal of Ovarian Research.

Cobalt 60 Radiation Source Found in Delhi by Cops

THE DELHI Police have traced the Cobalt-60 found in the Mayapuri scrap market earlier this month to the chemistry department of Delhi University (DU). Eight persons who were exposed to the radioactive isotope had taken ill and one of them died on Monday. DCP (West) Sharad Agarwal said the Cobalt-60 came from a laboratory equipment called gamma irradiator.

“The device was among the junk the university had recently auctioned to the scrap dealers of Mayapuri,” Agarwal said. One of the four radiation sickness patients who were shown photographs of the equipment identified it, he added.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the gamma cell — the part of the irradiator that contained the radioactive material — had been purchased from Atomic Energy Canada Limited in 1968 and was not in use since 1985. DU authorities auctioned the irradiator along with other junk in February and it was purchased by scrap dealer Harcharan Singh Bhola.

He removed the iron parts from the cell and sold the parts made of lead to Giriraj Gupta, another dealer. Gupta, in turn, dismantled it and sold the lead to other scrap dealers. However, he kept an iron part he found embedded in the lead.

The iron scrap Bhola had removed reached Deepak Jain, the scrap dealer who was first hospitalised with radiation sickness.

The worker Rajinder, who died on Monday, had brought it to Jain’s shop.

The police got leads to the device from the report it received from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board ( AERB) on April 26. The report contained photographs of the source cage of the irradiator that was recovered from Gupta’s shop.

Gupta, from whose shop two sources of radiation were recovered, revealed on interrogation that he had purchased lead in bulk from Bhola. The latter, in turn, revealed that he had purchased a big machine with lot of lead parts at the Delhi University auction.

The university authorities confirmed that the machine Bhola had referred to was the Gamma Cell from the irradiator.

However, the police have not arrested anyone in connection with the incident.

“ We are investigating what condition the device was in when it was auctioned. We will question the university officials concerned and take action accordingly,” the DCP said.

Panic had gripped Mayapuri in the first week of April when some people suspected of radiation sickness were admitted to different hospitals in the Capital.

On April 8, a team of scientist/ experts from Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, Delhi and the AERB among other officials visited a shop thought to be the source of the radiation and asked the police to cordon off the surrounding area. The police cordoned off the area as advised.

The experts said the radioactive source was apparently present inside the shop.

Subsequently, a team of radiation- safety experts from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, Narora Atomic Power Station ( NAPS) and the AERB identified the source after a thorough search. The team could locate, recover and secure six sources of different intensity and placed them in the lead shielded flasks brought from NAPS. During the operation, the team recovered and secured two sources of different intensity from Jain’s godown.

Subsequently, two more sources were recovered from the shop of Gupta.

Kristen Stewart to be Casted with Hrithik Roshan for New Film Paani

SHEKHAR Kapur wants Hollywood beauty Kristen Stewart to star opposite Hrithik Roshan in his upcoming ambitious venture Paani . While a section of the media has reported that Kristen, heroine of the hugely popular Twilight series, is on her way to signing the film, Kapur tweeted on Wednesday that “ people are jumping to conclusions”. “ Kristen Stewart is not aboard Paani . We’ve just had one conversation. She still needs to read the script,” he added.

The Elizabeth director however seemed impressed with Kristen. “ She’s terrific and ( I) love her,” he wrote on his Twitter page. Meanwhile, Kristen’s representative has stated the actress is not set to star in this movie as of now.

Hrithik, on his part, looks final for Kapur’s ambitious movie. Hrithik’s wife Sussanne has confirmed it on Twitter: “ H ( Hrithik) has signed Paani .” Kapur and Hrithik, though, are yet to confirm the report.

Coming back to Kristen, a tabloid has stated that Kapur wants the 20- year- old actress to play a stunning rich beauty who falls in love with Hrithik’s character in a sort of a Romeo and Juliet story in the film. Kapur apparently is on the lookout for a tall and pretty girl to play a new- age Juliet, and feels Kristen is perfect.

Kapur in fact has been throwing random Hollywood names to bolster hype over Paani . Recently, he hinted he was approaching Oscar- winning actor Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds fame.

Kapur wrote on his blog: “ I told him ( Waltz) the story and ( about) the world of Paani . I told him about the character I wanted him to play. And he said he loved it. And we decided to meet to see how we can work it out.” The filmmaker has already started working on the movie’s music with A. R. Rahman. “( I am) In AR Rahman’s studio working on music of Paani … Beautiful experience working with him. He transports you into a different world,” Kapur tweeted.

As for Hrithik, the filmmaker has been meeting him regularly over the past few months. At the moment, the actor is looking forward to his next film, Anurag Basu’s Kites , in which he co- stars with Mexican beauty Barbara Mori.

Meanwhile, Kapur, a jury member at the Cannes film festival this year, is set to work with Hollywood star Julia Roberts on a new project. He will direct a biopic of English explorer George Mallory. The film is to be produced by Roberts along with Kevin Townsend.

On his new film with Roberts, Kapur said recently: “ I am making the film, the news is true. I find it very exciting to be doing this as it’s a fantastic story.” Set in post- World War I England, the story chronicles Mallory’s attempts to scale Mount Everest and how his obsession takes a toll on his marriage.


THE International Cricket Council ( ICC) has ensured that news from the World Twenty20 reaches every corner of the globe by signing Sports News Television ( SNTV) and Reuters for the event.

These deals ensure news broadcasters around the world will have access to news highlights from matches, press conferences, player interviews and event- related stories providing up- to- the- minute information to hundreds of millions of viewers all over the world.

“ These partnerships will ensure that news broadcasters and, through them, cricket fans around the world will have access to match highlights and other event news,” said Aarti Singh Dabas, ICC media rights and broadcast manager.

The 17- day tournament will feature 12 teams with all the top international players in the world taking part. With tickets for the big event fast disappearing, fans who are unable to support their teams at the grounds will be afforded the best possible coverage courtesy of ESPN- STAR Sports. The tournament will also feature eight women’s teams, which will play their group- stage matches in St Kitts. The semifinals and final will run as doubleheaders with the men’s version.

Govt to set up 8 more IT units overseas to track tax evaders

THE government has set up two income tax overseas units at its missions in Singapore and Mauritius and plans to create such units in eight more countries to keep an eye on tax dodgers using foreign bank accounts, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Tuesday.

“ It has also been decided to create eight more such units at the US, Britain, the Netherlands, Japan, Cyprus, Germany, France and the UAE missions,” the minister added.

He said there is no verifiable information available about the money allegedly parked in foreign banks.

However, the Central Board of Direct Taxes ( CBDT) has asked its investigation directorates to collect information about Indian nationals suspected to have bank accounts in tax havens, and agents of foreign banks who are soliciting people for opening foreign bank accounts.

They have also been asked to collect information as regards foreign visits of Indian nationals to tax havens, the minister said.

Efforts are being made to collect evidence during search/ survey operations pertaining to opening of foreign bank accounts or other assets abroad, Mukherjee said.

Besides, whenever any specific case of suspected unauthorised maintenance of accounts abroad by Indians comes to the notice of department of enforcement, appropriate action is taken, he added.

No roving enquiries can be made by the directorate, though, Mukherjee said.

Besides, the ministry has requested the existing partner countries for re- negotiation of the article concerning exchange of information in the tax treaties for specifically, including provisions for obtaining bank- related information.

Responses from some of these countries, along with their counter proposals, were also received recently, he disclosed.

Negotiations have already been completed in one case, the minister said, adding the treaty partner- countries, with whom pacts do not have provisions relating to assistance in tax collection, have been approached to include such a provision.

In answer to another question, Mukherjee said there is no proposal to set up any new agency to conduct study on the quantum of black money in the country.

He said there is currently no proposal for legislative changes to arrest stashing away money out of the country. At present, there is no proposal for any legislative changes in the matter, Mukherjee said in the reply to a query on whether the government is contemplating to modify and strengthen the existing laws, or to bring in a comprehensive legislation for checking siphoning off black money from the country.

Vladimir Putin traps his critics in scandalous web videos

SHE’S A perky brunette, a seductive model who invites men into her Moscow apartment for sex.

But if you are a member of Russia’s political opposition, you’d better look out.

The mysterious Katya is no ordinary girlnext- door but the bait in a honey trap involving hidden cameras and cleverly edited Internet videos that has snared up to six prominent critics of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. She stars in a series of scandalous videos that has caused a stir in the Russian blogosphere and prompted speculation that they were masterminded by agents of the FSB, the successor to the Soviet- era KGB. During the Cold War, the KGB perfected the honey trap — the use of sex and threats of blackmail to compel foreign agents and diplomats to cooperate with the Soviets.

Now those tactics have been updated for the iPhone era and deployed against opponents of Putin’s government, with the apparent aim of embarrassing them and undercutting their moral authority.

In a video that surfaced online last week, three well- known Kremlin critics are shown having sex with a girl, all in the same bedroom though at different times.

They are Viktor Shenderovich, a liberal satirist; Eduard Limonov, founder of the banned National Bolshevik Party; and Alexander Belov, former leader of the nationalist Movement Against Illegal Immigration.

Shenderovich and Belov, both of whom are married, have confirmed to Russian media that they were in the video. “ For over 10 years, I have been commenting on the deeds of Mr Putin and his thuggish administration... ( they) listened indifferently and without denying anything responded with illegal filth,” Shenderovich wrote on his blog.

Limonov, who is divorced, has not confirmed whether he was in the video but wrote on his blog: “ I do not see anything objectionable about the fact that opposition men do not refuse women.” The creators of the video — posted on the website of the obscure group Civil Committee for the Defence of Morality, Law and Civil Agreement — were clearly sophisticated.

The video features multiple camera angles, music and clips from a popular comedy show. The girl’s face is digitally obscured.

“ This needs professionals,” FSB ex- agent turned anti- corruption activist Kirill Kabanov told The New Times . “ You need to observe the target, bug his phones so you know his timetable and then make sure the victim suspects nothing.” Former KGB general Alexei Kondaurov, however, told the weekly it was unlikely that state intelligence was involved.

More likely, it was private security firms who had the appropriate technical equipment.

The Katyagate scandal unfolded in March with a video that showed a man resembling Mikhail Fishman, the editor of the Russian edition of Newsweek , sniffing cocaine on a couch next to a girl in her underwear.

Then two prominent opposition activists said they had been targeted in similar honey traps, with the same girl and the same apartment shown in the Fishman video.

Ilya Yashin, a co- founder of the opposition Solidarity movement, identified the girl as Yekaterina Gerasimova — Katya for short — and said she was a model with whom he had a brief sexual relationship in 2008.

New Species of Frogs Discovered by Scientists

A TEAM of scientists has discovered a new species of frogs at the highest peak of the Western Ghats. The same team had earlier found the purple frog whose ancestors had evolved alongside the dinosaurs.

In this week’s cover story of Current Science published from Bangalore, S. D. Biju of Delhi University and Franky Bossuyt of the Free University of Brussels have assigned it a new name — Raorchestes resplendens.

The first part of the generic name of this relative of the shrub frogs honours Prof C. R. Narayan Rao ( 1882 – 1960), for his contributions to the study of amphibians. Rao taught zoology at Central College in the city.

The latter part of the name, Raorchestes, is based on the first ever generic name coined for frogs — Orchestes.

The species name, in Latin, means ‘ bright- coloured, glittering, resplendent’. Bright orange to reddish, bulging with several big glands, having very short limbs, the frog showed its uniqueness in genetic tests.

Belonging to the rhacophoridae family, which has about 300 species spread across tropical Asia and Africa, they usually make foam nests, doing away with the free- swimming tadpole stage. They breed from the soil to the forest canopy — hence the name tree frogs The frogs are orange in colour with several big glands and short limbs.

and bush frogs.

The researchers located a pair of frogs in bamboo thickets on the mountaintop late in the afternoon.

By that night, the female burrowed the eggs under the moss- covered forest floor, deep inside the base of bamboo clumps. Later they observed the eggs hatching from what looks like glass bubbles in their lab.

The species is likely to be found in less than 3 sq km on the Anamudi summit in Kerala, 2,695 metres above sea level, where temperature dips to minus 3 degree Celsius.

The scientists have suggested top- priority conservation for the new frogs.

Western Ghats, an ancient mountain range, is a treasure trove. In 2003, Biju and Bossuyt had found the rare purple frog or the Jurassic frog ( Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis).

Its close relatives were found in the Seychelles archipelago, 3,000 km and an ocean away suggesting there was a single undivided land mass called Gondwana long ago.

In a parallel study published later Sushil K. Dutta ( now at North Orissa University, a coauthor of the new paper) and team had also found the purple frog in the Ghats.

Scientists say any discovery of a new family among vertebrates ( advanced animals with backbone) is a rare event.

In an earlier comment, Prof Raghavendra Gadagkar of the Centre for Ecological Studies at the Indian Institute of Science said the Western Ghats helps in study of evolution of life on earth over 100 million years.

“ These fragile mountain ecosystems are under severe onslaught because of developmental activities,” he said.

Female Cop Falls in Love with Undertial Costs Her Job

THIS is the stuff Bollywood potboilers are made of. A woman police constable falls in love with a criminal and wants to get married. But the story takes a different turn when her superiors come to know of the affair.

Reena Khan, a 22- year- old Haryana Police constable, fell in love with undertrial, Mushtaq.

The two were reportedly college friends and became close when both applied for a police job.

While Reena got through, Mushtaq failed and took to crime.

For the last two years he has been languishing at the Bhondsi jail but that didn’t deter the two from continuing their affair.

However, it didn’t go down well with the police authorities.

Reena had to lose her job for her alleged nexus with a criminal against whom several dacoity cases are pending.

The affair was discovered after police intercepted calls made by Mushtaq. “ The Gurgaon Police were keeping a tab on the phone calls of a few criminals. During their investigation they found out that Mushtaq — of the infamous Salli gang — was in regular touch with Reena, a Haryana Police constable,” Mewat SP Ram Singh Bishnoi said.

“ They used to call each other late in the night and were also planning to get married. How he managed to get a phone inside the jail is also a matter of investigation,” he added.

“ After intercepting calls, investigators found out that a lady constable from Nuh was talking to a prisoner. The calls were recorded and Reena was questioned.

She admitted that she used to talk to Mushtaq and that she was in love with him. She claimed that she had never assisted him in any criminal activities and had even urged him to leave the crime world,” Bishnoi said.

He added that Reena used to meet Mushtaq regularly and gave him money. “ Her name figures in the register of Bhondsi jail. She was recently caught handing over Rs 10,000 to Mushtaq.

But the charges could not be proved as she claimed that the money was given by his relative,” Bishnoi said.

A Gurgaon police source said some members of the Salli gang had recently fled from prison and they were intercepting Mushtaq’s calls to know their whereabouts.

“ Mushtaq was also planning his escape and we were keeping a tab of his phone calls. During this we learned that he was having an affair with a Haryana Police constable,” said a Gurgaon Police officer.

After Mushtaq was arrested and taken to Bhondsi jail, Reena got herself posted as a guard on the prison van which ferried prisoners to court. They used to spend quality time during that period which came to an end some six months back.

Bishnoi said Reena’s services had been terminated for her alleged nexus with a criminal.

“ In her personal life she is allowed to do anything. But the job of the police doesn’t allow a woman to get married to a criminal,” Bishnoi pointed out.

Lalit Modi Suspension is the Beginning of New Mind Games

THE suspension of Indian Premier League ( IPL) chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi is the beginning of the mind games between him and the BCCI. It was part of a well- devised strategy that Modi was handed a relatively “ minor punishment” by asking him to reply to the showcause notice within 15 days despite a 20- page chargesheet having been prepared on his “ individual misdemeanours”. Also part of the ploy — which is to gradually marginalise Modi — was the fact that the BCCI waited till the end of the IPL final on Sunday to give him the notice.

Experts say that the board can extend the suspension up to six months — and then prolong it to frustrate him.

“ The suspension notice is intended to test Modi’s patience; it is meant to gauge his reaction.

With the ball in Modi’s court, some of the key board officials would now wait and watch how he reacts to the notice,” a BCCI insider told M AIL T ODAY . “ If Modi moves a court, it will provide ammunition to his rivals in the board to fire another salvo. And he might start disclosing undesirable details about some key officials. And if Modi does that he would give an opportunity to his foes to blast him,” he explained.

The source said it was unlikely that the board would now buckle under any threat from Modi. “ The board is on a solid footing. The list of his ‘ misdemeanours’ runs into 20 pages.

So, if Modi dares them, they would counter- attack with a vengeance,” he said.

The source also said there was no effort for a compromise from either side in the days leading to Modi’s suspension. “ Modi, along with I. S. Bindra, who has been his staunchest supporter, was completely out of touch with the BCCI top brass for the last two- three days. There was no communication between the two groups; not a single word was exchanged between them,” he said.

The insider pointed out that although Chirayu Amin, a council member and a BCCI vice- president, has been appointed interim IPL chairman, the real intent is to prolong his stint.

“ He would effectively remain in the position till the next IPL,” he said.

A few days ago, Modi had apparently wanted to move court, but he did not do so. Wellknown Kolkata- based senior advocate U. N. Banerjee said Modi was unlikely to get a reprieve on the issue of suspension.

“ If he has a ground he can take legal recourse. I don’t know the contents of the notice he has been served. But I don’t think that he would get relief from a court on mere suspension. The law is very clear on suspension: it’s not a punishment,” Banerjee, who has fought BCCI cases for 19 years, told M AIL T ODAY . “ A suspension, according to the BCCI constitution, has to be completed within six months.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delays SAARC summit

THE heat over the phone tapping issue and the finance Bill in Parliament reached a relatively colder Bhutan and will delay the inauguration of the 16th SAARC Summit on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be the last among the leaders of the eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ( SAARC) to arrive in Thimphu. Bhutan is hosting the summit for the first time.

The inauguration had to be put off to Wednesday afternoon instead of morning, Nepalese daily Daily Nagarik reported on Monday. Sources here also indicated same.

“ The summit inauguration has been delayed as the Indian prime minister will come a day later,” Bhutan’s information and communications secretary Kinley Dorji was reported as saying by the daily.

“ Instead of morning, it has been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon.” Most other heads of states will arrive in Thimphu by Tuesday. Though Singh was earlier expected on Tuesday, parliamentary proceedings will delay his arrival. There were speculations about whether Singh would skip the summit, but the Prime Minister’s Office denied the reports.

According to sources, the bilateral meetings of the Indian prime minister with other SAARC heads of state and governments will also be rescheduled.

India is now the 7th Largest Shareholder of the World Bank

INDIA has become the seventh largest shareholder in the World Bank after the Washington based financial aid institution raised the voting share of the South Asian economic powerhouse.

“ The changes in the shareholding structure of the bank would make India one of the important shareholders in the bank. India would now be the seventh largest shareholder in the bank,” said a finance ministry statement.

The changes announced on Sunday bring about a 3.13 percentage- point shift in favour of the developing countries giving them just over 47.19 per cent of the total votes, while advanced economies’ share of the total falls to just under 52.81 per cent.

India’s voting power has gone up from 2.77 per cent to 2.91 per cent, while China’s has soared to 4.42 per cent from 2.77 per cent.

As a result of this change, India moves ahead of Russia, Canada, Australia, Italy and Saudi Arabia in voting power.

The United States still leads with 15.85 per cent of the voting rights followed by Japan’s 6.84 per cent.

Other big members are Germany ( four per cent), France ( 3.75 per cent) and the United Kingdom ( 3.75 per cent).

“ The bank also agreed to review its shareholding every five years and as India’s economy grows further, this should lead to a further improvement in India’s relative importance,” the statement added.

World Bank members, including India, have endorsed boosting its capital by more than $ 86 billion and giving developing countries a little more voice in running the affairs of the 186- member institution.

The enhanced lending capacity would enable India to receive additional assistance to the extent of $ 7- 10 billion in the coming years.

UIDAI Project will now be called Aadhaar

THE Unique Identification Authority of India’s ( UIDAI) project to assign 16- digit identification ( ID) numbers to all residents will now be known as ‘ Aadhaar’ ( foundation) and the authority has a new logo.

UIDAI chairperson Nandan Nilekani said the change of name became necessary because common people were finding it hard to name the authority’s project correctly.

“ UID itself is very confusing.

Some people call it DUI, some call it IUD. It was difficult to explain the acronym. We wanted a name that could effectively communicate its potential and promise to residents.

We wanted a name with national appeal, was easy to remember and speak and applied to different languages,” Nilekani said at a seminar organised by the authority on Monday.

Aadhaar means foundation.

It has been entrusted an ambitious project to assign 16- digit unique ID numbers to all residents in India.

Nilekani also unveiled the authority’s new logo — a yellow sun with a fingerprint embedded in its centre. The authority had invited entries for the logo as part of a competition.

The winner of the contest, Mumbai- based Atul Sudhakarrao Pande, was given a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh at the function.

It is all about Genes if You cannot Quit Smoking

SMOKERS who find it hard to cut down or quit may be at the mercy of their genes.

Scientists identified three genetic mutations that increase the number of cigarettes people smoke a day. Several also appear to be associated with taking up smoking, and one with being able to quit.

The findings could lead to more personalised — and ultimately more effective — treatments that help people stub out their cigarettes.

Three studies published online in Nature Genetics compared the DNA of about 140,000 people and discovered the desire to give up is down to your genes rather than willpower.

Two of them found regions associated with the number of cigarettes smoked per day. These include two genes that have been linked with nicotine dependence and two others that regulate nicotine metabolism in the body. Mutations in these genes are associated with a small increase in smoking quantity but around 10 per cent increase in risk of lung cancer compared with non- carriers.

Lead author Professor Kari Stefansson, a neurologist at deCODE genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland, said: “ Smoking is bad for anyone’s health. It is worse for some. To some degree these variants suggest those for whom nicotine is more addictive are driven to smoke more.

But it may also be they make people more susceptible to the effects of tobacco smoke. These variants — which are all near genes that encode nicotine metabolising enzymes and receptors — are giving us a solid starting point for finding answers to advance personal and public health.” A third study by Clyde Francks, of the University of Oxford, and colleagues found variants of three genes on chromosome 15 that make people more prone to nicotine addiction. “ Smoking behaviour and nicotine dependence are multifactorial traits with substantial genetic influences,” he said.

Pakistan TV Channels Banned for Anti India Agenda

THE JAMMU district administration has ordered all cable operators to stop airing 11 Pakistani television channels that are involved in anti- India propaganda and sometimes allegedly arouse religious passions.

The administration asked the operators if they have permission to transmit these channels.

In case an operator doesn’t have the permission to transmit a foreign channel, the channel is considered illegal, according to the Cable Television Regulation and Guidelines Act.

The notices were issued by Jammu deputy commissioner M. K. Dwivedi after it was brought to his notice that some operators were airing Pakistani channels in violation of the Act.

Dwivedi said notices have been issued to all cable operators in the district.

“ The operators are supposed to reply within a period of two days whether they have the permission to air these foreign channels or not,” he said. As these channels were not registered with the information and broadcasting ministry, they were illegal, he added.

The banned channels include QTV, ARY, PTV, Geo, Dawn, Express TV, Waqt, Noor, Hadi, Aaj TV and Peace TV. Cable operators have already stopped airing these channels.

This is the second time the authorities have taken Pakistani channels off air because of their anti- India propaganda. Earlier, the ban was imposed in 2008, but lifted after a strong reaction from the Muslim community.

Sources in the district administration said the channels have been taken off air because of the sensitive social fabric of Jammu district that includes a significant population of Muslims.

But the local Muslim community has condemned the decision.

Shia Federation Jammu and Anjumani Imamia — the two organisations that exert influence over the community in Jammu — have decided to launch a protest against the order of the administration.

“ This is interference in the affairs of the minority community,” Aashiq Khan, president of Shia Federation Jammu, said.


District authorities said the channels were airing anti- India propaganda and trying to arouse religious passions

Cable operators have been asked if they had permission to transmit the channels

Jammu’s Muslim community has protested against the move, calling it interference.

Stephen Hawking Warns World of an Alien Attack

DO ALIENS exist? They do, but humans should try to avoid any contact with them — at least that’s what one of the world’s leading physicists, Stephen Hawking, claims.

The suggestions, that the extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist, come in a new documentary series for ‘ Discovery’ channel, in which Hawking will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe — not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space, The Sunday Times reported.

Hawking’s logic on aliens is unusually simple.

The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, the Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.

“ To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like,” the 68- year- old was quoted as saying.

The answer, Hawking suggests, is that most of it will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals — the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history.

One scene in his documentary shows herds of two- legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff face where they’re picked off by flying, yellow lizard- like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans underlying the thick ice coating Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point — that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. He believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity, and suggests that aliens might raid Earth for its resources and then move on.

“ We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach,” he said.

Sush wants Lara to be a ‘ Beauty Mentor’

RUMOUR has it that former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen is in talks with another ex- Miss Universe, Lara Dutta, to join her in her entrepreneurship venture, the beauty pageant.

Lara’s role, if she chooses to accept, will be to become a mentor to the girls competing in the pageant.

The buzz has it that Sush is trying to get other ex- beauty queens on board, too.

Sush’s agenda is to get the right grooming and training for the girls and enable them in the best manner possible to get another Miss Universe crown to India.

Their guidance is bound to help the participants.

IMF officials say India will play big role in Asia’s rise

INDIA is now integrating more with the rest of Asia and will play a major role in Asia’s growth, top officials of the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) said.

“ You have a very rapidly growing large economy in the South Asia region, and that is India, and India is now also integrating much more with the rest of Asia,” Kalpana Kochhar, IMF deputy director ( Asia Pacific), said.

“ For example, trade between China and India is growing rapidly. Of course, it mostly imports from China, but it has grown very rapidly in recent years. So, prospects for integration both in the South Asia region amongst them and with the rest of Asia, I think, have greatly improved and will continue to do so,” she said.

IMF director, Asia Pacific department, Anoop Singh said the fund expects Asia to continue leading the global recovery and grow by about seven per cent this year and next year.

“ As is now well- known, China and India will again lead Asia’s growth with growth rates of 10 and 8.8 per cent this year,” he said.

While the pattern of recovery has varied in Asia, as it has in other regions, Singh said it is important to note that both the more domestically oriented economies, such as China, India and Indonesia as well as the more export- oriented economies are experiencing strong upturns.

Singh said IMF expects output gaps to close this year in a number of economies, including South Asian countries, such as India.

“ By the end of 2009, output in most of Asia had returned to the pre- crisis levels even in those economies that were hit hardest by the crisis,” Singh said.

“ After the deepest recession in recent history globally, we know that Asia is leading this global recovery,” he said in a briefing on the region. “ In fact, activity in Asia has rebounded fairly swiftly over the past year and in the first quarter of 2010.” While the pattern of recovery has varied in Asia, “ both the more domestically oriented economies such as China, India and Indonesia as well as the more export- oriented economies are experiencing strong upturns,” Singh added.

Singh identified two factors as underpinning Asia’s strong performance. First, the global and domestic inventory cycles are boosting Asia’s industrial production and exports. Second, private domestic demand in the region is expected to remain robust even as macroeconomic policies begin to withdraw stimulus.

Asked if rising inflation in South Asia will pose a serious threat to the region’s recovery, Singh said it is not surprising that inflation has begun to turn up as output gaps in much of Asia have begun to narrow. “ We do expect output gaps to close this year in a number of economies including countries in South Asia, such as India,” he said noting there is a significant contribution to higher inflation coming from food and energy prices.

IPL Commissioner Modi is listed as owner of 132 web domains

IPL COMMISSIONER Lalit Modi appears to have recognised the power of the Internet to leverage businesses. ‘Lalit Modi’ is listed as the owner of as many as 132 domains on the web, including the official websites of the IPL and the Champions League. One J. Cherian, who is listed as the technical/ administrative contact for the official website of the IPL, has an email address hosted at, the mailserver address and domain name of Modi’s family business empire.

His name, along with Modi’s is associated with as many as 174 domains, investigations by this newspaper show. Modi also appears to have registered several permutations and combination of the official website. As many as 24 domains such as these are registered in his name, and list his email ID as lalitkmodi@

Interestingly, the address given in several such domains is 25, Chester Street, London, London SW1x 7bl . This is in the tony Belgravia area of London, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and Belgravia Square. The property at 25 Chester Street does not officially list the owner’s details. But, a popular London property website, lists the property as a 233 square metre terrace flat. Similar properties in the area range around a quarter of a million pounds.

Interestingly, there appears to have been some attempts to change some of the records at these sites. The official website of IPL,, which used to list Cherian as the administrative contact and gave the address as 3rd Floor, Nirlon House, Worli, Mumbai, now lists ‘bccl/ipl’ as the owner and gives the address as Wankhede Stadium. Incidentally, Wankhede Stadium is currently closed as it is being completely rebuilt. Modi’s connections with those holding the digital, Internet and mobile rights of IPL have already sparked a controversy.

Sources close to the current investigation say there is nothing illegal in Modi owning these domains, many of which can be registered for just a handful of dollars per year. However, the BCCI would find that it will have to evict the ‘domain squatters’ in case it ever wants to officially claim ownership of the IPL brand, which is valued at over $4 billion (Rs 17,726 crore) commercially. In which case, it might have to fight a legal battle to wrest control from Modi, even if Modi is removed from the IPL in future. Emailed queries sent to Modi went unanswered.

3D TV Launched for High Defining Entertainment at Home

From a distance, it looks like a grand tinted mirror framed by polished aluminium. Come closer, and you discover it’s a television. Interesting? Read further. On its back, a wall bracket swings out the screen up to 45 degree for viewing from different locations. Or you can even tilt it while sitting on the floor playing games on your Sony PS3. Now, this is a stunning piece of technology viewing or should I say a work of art hanging on your wall from the brand Bang & Olufsen.

Indeed, luxury knows no bounds. Today, TVs are intuitive, beautiful and satiate your viewing desire the moment you settle in your couch and pick up the remote.

So, get all your friends together and go to the matches in your pyjamas . Why wait in a line for a live experience when you can enjoy it in your own living room? Confused? 3D LED TVs, the latest in TVs, revolutionise the home viewing experience, by adding a third dimension in your life for a breakthrough picture quality. Cheer for your favourite team, see the ball hitting the goal posts, all in real, oh, I mean, hyper real. Says Ravinder Zutshi, MD Samsung India, “ Watching a match in the 3D mode makes you feel as if you are right inside the stadium and it’s so exciting. ” Samsung is the industry’s first, to come out with this innovation and other companies are soon to follow suit. Says Takakiyo Fujita, GM, marketing, Sony India, “ We would come up with the 3D TV during the FIFA so that people get to see football matches in an all new action- packed way.” Manish Sharma, Head of Marketing, Panasonic India, shares, “ A sequel of Mr India is in the making in 3D mode that would further popularise the technology.” However, Prasoon Banerjee, Director, Consumer Electronics, Haier India disagrees. He says, “ 3D TVs are at an initial stage. There’s not much content to show. But yes, people with a lot of disposable income might go for it.” So, what are you waiting for? With the screen size as big as 65”, treat your eyes with a fabulous 3D show. And as you enjoy, don’t forget the popcorn!

I-T Department raided KKR's Office and now has enough evidence to nail them

A PIECE of paper believed to have been seized during raids at the Kolkata Knight Riders’ ( KKR) office in West Bengal may have given the income tax ( I- T) department clinching evidence to nail the IPL team.

Sources said that while conducting the raids at the Cricket Association of Bengal’s premises in Kolkata, where the KKR has one of its offices, the investigators found many documents missing. They are, however, understood to have found a chit containing vital leads.

While officials did not reveal what the chit contained, they claimed they had sufficient proof to put KKR on the mat. The team is run by Red Chillies Entertainment, which is owned by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan along with other stakeholders such as friend and actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta. The latter is now under scrutiny of the tax authorities.

Sources said the subsequent raids in Mumbai and summons to the KKR to submit relevant documents and information were attempts to unravel what the I- T department claimed was the dubious source of funding to the team. Alluding to Mehta, the authorities said they were planning to trace the source of funds or route through which he invested the money. The taxmen believe Mehta could be a front for someone else investing money in the team.

The I- T department is currently investigating all the teams that have routed money through Malaysia. Interestingly, while Khan has claimed that Mehta and Juhi were in the venture from the beginning, I- T officials said they had evidence to prove that Mehta came into the picture only in 2009.

The agency is ascertaining why Mehta’s name was given as an owner when he was not a part of the team ownership.

The Enforcement Directorate, which is also simultaneously investigating the money trail in the IPL, recorded the statement of actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband, Raj Kundra, on Friday. Kundra has a stake in the Rajasthan Royals team, which is under the scanner of the investigating authorities.

They believe that the franchisee not only has money invested in it through “ dubious and questionable means”, but also is a front for IPL chairman Lalit Modi.

Maruti Unveils New Cheaper WagonR 2010 with New Features

INDIA’S largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd ( MSIL) has relaunched its venerable WagonR model with a new design and a brand new engine.

As competition hots up in India’s exploding ‘ B’ car segment — compact hatchbacks and wagons — Maruti is hoping its second- best seller after the Alto will tackle competition from global carmakers like Ford, GM and Volkswagen.

The new WagonR is priced between Rs 3.28 lakh and Rs 3.81 lakh ( exshowroom in Delhi), creating a new price point about Rs 10,000 cheaper than competition, but about the same amount more expensive than the old model WagonR, depending on the variant. The new WagonR will take on the likes of GM’s Chevrolet Beat ( Rs 3.41 lakh- Rs 4.43 lakh), Ford’s Figo ( Rs 3.49 lakh- Rs 3.99 lakh) and Hyundai’s i10 ( Rs 3.47 lakh- Rs 3.83 lakh), among others.

The new WagonR “ demonstrates the growing research and development capability of the company,” Maruti Suzuki India CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said. Developed on the current WagonR platform in Japan, the car is powered by the BS- IV compliant 998cc Kseries engine. MSIL had invested Rs 290 crore to bring out the WagonR. The existing WagonR, which was launched in 1999 and sold a total of 8.8 lakh units, will be phased out.

“ WagonR was the second best- selling car last year. It averaged about 10,000 to 12,000 units a month and I am confident that we should be able to maintain that sales,” MSIL executive officer ( marketing and sales) Mayank Pareek said.

He said the new WagonR, with its pricing and features, will be able to ward off competition in the compact car segment, where there are nearly 20 models in all. The new WagonR is taller, wider and longer than the old one, though width has gone up by just five mm and the wheelbase lengthened by 10 mm. It is much taller than the old model at 1.7 metres, up from 1.53 metres.

Indian Premier League is now Surrounded by Betting and Match Fixing Allegations

PUNTERS around the world have scented a huge business opportunity in IPL- driven online betting. And bookmakers in India are taking full advantage of the grey areas in the country’s gambling laws and giving good business to international betting sites.

Go to any bookmaking site and you’ll find sections devoted to the IPL where bets can be placed on almost everything — from wins and losses to the maximum number of sixes and boundaries.

These sites, mostly UK- based, take bets from people registering from Indian net addresses and allow only payments made through legal money transfers.

Some, like the UK- based Bet 365 ( www. bet365. com ), are even customised to accept payments in Indian rupees.

India Bet ( www. indiabet. com ), where you can garner information on betting in India — from live odds to pitch conditions and winners/ losers of tosses — explains the operation in simple terms to newcomers.

It also points to the difficulty of being in the betting game in India.

“ A large number of online bookmakers take bets from those living in India, but the main problem for Indian customers is sending money to bookmakers and getting it back again when your bets win,” the site, with the address 16, Rugby Street, London, says.

“ The difficulties of the Indian banking system mean there are only a small number of bookmakers who can properly service the Indian market.” These issues, though, haven’t

deterred the Indian punters. A customer care executive for Bet365. com, which operates from Staffordshire in the UK, said “ thousands and thousands of Indians” are logging on to the site to place bets daily. He did not divulge exact figures.

At Ladbrokes, Britain’s largest operator of online gambling, an executive assured this writer that online gambling wasn’t illegal in India and that payments could be routed through any credit card and even the Western Union.

IndiaBet. com clarified that though it doesn’t take bets, it can “ help you find out where to bet on all aspects of cricket and how best to make lots of cash from betting on cricket”. Bookies ( www. bookies. com ), which shares India Bet’s office address, also offers similar services to Indians hoping to cash in on the IPL jamboree.

Its stated objective is to be an “ odds comparison site” where you can compare the services of bookies and their prices, and the odds quoted by them, without visiting individual sites.

These are the lesser- known but popular sites. The big boys in the business, such as Ladbrokes ( www. ladbrokes. com ), William Hill ( ) and 888 Sport ( ), are listed on the London Stock Exchange.

In view of the legality of betting in India, the bookmakers hasten to add a word of caution on the sites. They make it clear in their ‘ Terms & Conditions’ that when you apply for an account, you should be aware of the legality of online sports gambling in your area.

“ The question of whether it is legal to bet from India using an international bookmaker is not clear in law,” India Bet’s article points out. “ While bookmaking in India is illegal, there is no specific law which bans a customer from placing an online bet with a bookmaker based outside India.” Clearly, Indian punters are taking full advantage of this grey area.

Web mourns as Hitler parody videos go down

ONE OF the most hated villains in history was also a cult figure on YouTube. Until April 21, that is. A video clip of Adolf Hitler from the movie The Downfall was often used by humourists to poke fun at zeitgeist events by adding funny sub- titles to the German- language movie excerpt.

For example, when Usain Bolt created a world record, Hitler was there to show his anger. When author Chetan Bhagat began blocking people from his Twitter account for poking fun at him, Chennai- based IT professional and humourist Krish Ashok posted a video of Hitler seething at the author for blocking him.

But on April 21, Constantin Film AG, the producers of the German movie Der Untergang ( The Downfall) forced YouTube to take down all such Hitler parodies for copyright infringement.

Such was the outrage over this act that pranksters immediately put up a parody of the act of pulling down all parodies.

In the new video, Hitler says: “ Haven't they ever heard of fair use? Title 17, U. S. C., Section 107? Parody is not an infringement of copyright.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights for digital rights, said: “ If copyright owners want to block remix creativity, they should have to use a formal Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice ( and be subject to legal punishment if they fail to consider fair use), rather than a coarse automated blocking tool.” In fact, the EFF had asked YouTube to fix the bugs in the Content ID system ( which tracks copyright infringement) so that remixed videos are not automatically removed. “ That was over two years ago,” EFF says, “ And YouTube told us then that they were working on improving the tool. If YouTube is serious about protecting its users, it is long past time for YouTube to do that work.

Monsoon Forecast for this Season as heat Soars Up

IF THE met department gets its predictions right, the country can expect normal rainfall during this monsoon season.

In its yearly monsoon forecast, the India Meteorological Department ( IMD) on Friday said the country was expected to have 98 per cent of the average rainfall or long period average rainfall in the year 2010 during June to September.

Technically, this prediction comes with the possibility of an error of five per cent.

The long period average rainfall for the country for the period 1941- 1990 was 89 cm.

That means India usually got 89 cm rainfall during a normal monsoon season.

Last year, the IMD had predicted 96 per cent average rainfall. But the country experienced one of the worst droughts since 1972, with a deficiency of 23 per cent.

This year, though, the situation appears to be better. Rainfall is expected to be boosted by the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon and the heat wave prevailing in northern India, officials said.

El Nino is an ocean- atmosphere phenomenon which is associated with droughts, floods and other disturbances. This means rains could shift towards the lesser or higher side of the predicted quantity.

The El Nino conditions over equatorial Pacific that remained weak during mid- June to October 2009 started strengthening from late October and peaked in the third week of December.

From late December, the El Nino conditions have started weakening.

The forecasts indicate high probability for the El Nino conditions to maintain till early part of the monsoon season and then weaken to become near neutral in the subsequent months.

A few models also indicate the development of weak La NiƱa conditions by July- August 2010.

La Nina conditions are the opposite of El Nino and are indicated by the cooling of sea surface temperatures.

The forecast is based on statistical models which use five parameters — north Atlantic sea surface temperature, equatorial south Indian Ocean sea surface temperature, east India mean sea level pressure, north west Europe land surface temperature and Equatorial Pacific warm water volume.

The department will update the forecast in June.

Experimental forecasts prepared by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune; Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad; National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore; Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation, Bangalore and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, Noida have been taken into account in issuing the forecast.

98 per cent of average rainfall expected in ’ 10

96 per cent was the predicted average in ’ 09

73 per cent was the actual rainfall last year

Bollinger Heroics Pushed Chennai to IPL 3 Final

CHENNAI Super Kings bowlers pulled off an incredible 38- run victory over Deccan Chargers in the second semifinal of the Indian Premier League ( IPL) on Thursday.

This sets up an intriguing clash with the Mumbai Indians in the final to be played on Sunday.

This will be the Super Kings’ second final in the three editions, having been runners- up to the Rajasthan Royals in 2008.

Chennai’s strategy of playing three spinners on a sluggish track, where the odd- ball produced awkward bounce, paid off as the Chargers, chasing 143, were dismissed for 104 in 19.2 overs.

But the real star for the men in yellow was Australian left- arm paceman Doug Bollinger, who finished with four for 13 in four hostile overs and was named the Man of the Match.

Deccan had a quiet start to the reply, with the spin- pace combination of Ravichandran Ashwin and Bollinger keeping the explosive Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs down to just two runs off the first two overs.

Gilchrist tried to hit his way back into form with a sweetly- timed hit over Ashwin’s head for six.

But the skipper perished at the beginning of the sixth over, with the asking rate touching 8.50.

He chipped Bollinger to mid- wicket, only to find Anirudha Srikkanth in the way. Tirumalasetti Suman perished in the same over, caught by Suresh Raina at cover, to leave the defending champions struggling at 23 for two at the end of the powerplay.

Rohit Sharma tried to push the scoring rate but was caught by Muttiah Muralitharan off Albie Morkel. The introduction of left- arm spinner Shadab Jakati worked as Gibbs was bowled for 18. Jakati also got rid of Monish Mishra by getting him stumped, before Ashwin returned to account for Andrew Symonds for 23.

Ryan Harris and Bodapati Sumanth connected with a few big hits, but Bollinger sent both back to the pavilion in his last over.

Earlier, paceman Harris led the way for the defending champions, scalping three for 29, as Deccan restricted Chennai to 142 for seven.

The Super Kings almost had a horror start after choosing to bat when Matthew Hayden tried to smack one over mid- off, giving RP a chest- high chance, which was grassed.

Harris produced another chance, getting Hayden to edge him to point, where Sumanth dropped another straightforward catch. But Hayden’s luck finally ran out when he drove on the up towards cover, only for Symonds to pouch his fellow Queenslander.

RP Singh was handed the ball next over and Murali Vijay smacked him for the first six of the day, eventually taking 13 in the over. But Harris struck off the first ball of the fourth over, getting Vijay with a length delivery that angled in and hit him plumb in front.

Raina almost gifted Deccan another wicket when a leading edge from his blade flew to gully, but this time Suman put down the chance.

Symonds was re- introduced in the fifth over and provided the breakthrough, getting Raina caught behind by Gilchrist.

Chennai were in dire straits at 29 for three in 4.5 overs when Dhoni strode to the crease to join Subramaniam Badrinath.

The two built up a partnership of 52 off 51 balls, as Gilchrist rang in the bowling changes. Only four boundaries were hit between over numbers five and 13. It was an innocuous leg- cutter from Harmeet Singh that got rid of the dangerous Dhoni for 30 off 32 balls.

Badrinath began to cut loose after Dhoni’s departure, clubbing a full- toss from Harmeet over mid- on for four, before stepping down the track and smashing Ojha for a straight six. But Albie Morkel failed to stay put for long.

Rogue McAfee update affects PCs worldwide

A ROUTINE anti- virus update from Web security firm McAfee confused a valid Windows file with a virus on Thursday, disrupting computers around the world.

Universities, hospitals and businesses across the US were among those reporting problems after the update misidentified a valid Windows system file as malicious code and caused computers to continually reboot.

The problem hit corporate users of Microsoft’s Windows XP Service Pack 3 operating system, according to McAfee, which released another update later in the day to fix the problem and urged customers to download it. The Internet Storm Center, an initiative of the SANS Technology Institute which monitors problems on the Web, said the affected systems will enter a reboot loop and lose all network access.

The centre said it received reports of networks with thousands of down machines and organisations who had to shut down for business until this is fixed. “ The McAfee software slip pretty much took Intel down on Thursday,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.

Enderle told of being at the computer chip titan’s headquarters in Northern California for an afternoon of meetings when laptop computers began crashing around him.

“ Much of Intel was actually taken out,” Enderle said. “ I imagine most companies running Intel and McAfee were literally taken out.” It was not immediately possible to determine how many computers had been affected around the world by the faulty update, but the number was likely to run into the tens of thousands.

McAfee said, “ We are not aware of significant impact on consumers. We believe that this incident has impacted less than one half of one per cent of our consumer base and enterprise accounts globally,” it said.

Micro- blogging service Twitter was flooded with complaints by users about Santa Clara, California- based McAfee, one of the world’s leading providers of anti- virus software and computer security systems.

“ It is not often that a security vendor takes out a large number of their clients,” Enderle said. “ Customers don’t forget this stuff any time soon. This is going to hurt McAfee.” Among the US universities reporting problems was the University of Michigan. The website AnnArbor. com said 8,000 of the 25,000 computers in the university’s health system and medical school were hit.

Syracuse, New York’s Upstate University Hospital saw 2,500 of its 6,000 computers affected, the website Syracuse. com quoted a hospital spokeswoman.

McAfee said the faulty update was quickly removed from all McAfee download servers, preventing any further impact on customers and that it was taking measures to prevent this from reoccurring.


PC Killer

Corporate users of Microsoft’s Windows XP Service Pack 3 operating system in the US faced problems after a routine McAfee anti- virus update misidentified a valid Windows system file as malicious code & caused computers to reboot losing all network access.


Most firms running Intel hardware & McAfee were literally taken out. Universities, hospitals and businesses were hit.


McAfee released an update to fix it & urged users to download it. The faulty update was removed from McAfee servers.

Forbes’ Global 2000 list of top listed firms has 56 Indian cos

AS MANY as 56 Indian companies, including Reliance Industries Ltd ( RIL) and State Bank of India ( SBI), have been named among the world’s 2,000- most powerful listed companies, according to US magazine Forbes . The ‘ Global 2000’ list of the biggest and most powerful companies worldwide has been topped by US banking giant JPMorgan Chase and is followed by General Electric ( GE), Bank of America ( BoA) and ExxonMobil.

Among Indian high performers, Mukesh Ambani- led RIL leads the

pack and has been ranked at the 126th place in the compiled global list.

Other Indian companies named in the list include SBI ( 130), Oil and Natural Gas Corp ( ONGC) ( 155), ICICI Bank ( 282), Indian Oil Corp ( 313), National Thermal Power Corp ( NTPC) ( 341), Tata Steel ( 345), Bharti Airtel ( 471), Steel Authority of India Ltd ( SAIL) ( 502), L& T ( 548) and HDFC Bank ( 632).

The global rankings span 62 countries, with the US ( 515 members) and Japan ( 210 members) dominating the list as usual, although the number of companies from developing nations in the Global 2000 is fast increasing.

This year, the countries that gained the most ground are mainland China ( 113 members), India ( 56 members) and Canada ( 62 members), it said.

Forbes’ ranking of the world’s biggest companies used an equal weighting of sales, profits, assets and market value to rank companies according to size and this year’s list reveals the dynamism of global business.

In total, the Global 2000 companies now account for $ 30 trillion in revenues, $ 1.4 trillion in profits, $ 124 trillion in assets and $ 31 trillion in market value. All metrics are down from last year, except for market value, which rose 61 per cent, Forbes said.

Two companies from the Anil Ambani Group, Reliance Communications ( 742) and Reliance Infrastructure ( 1,702), have also made it on the list.

Other Indian companies named on the list include stateowned Punjab National Bank ( 695), Tata Consultancy Services ( 741), HDFC ( 783), Infosys ( 807), DLF ( 923) and Hero Honda Motors ( 1,571).


1 JPMorgan Chase

2 General Electric (GE)

3 Bank of America (BoA)

4 ExxonMobil


126 Reliance Ind (RIL)

130 State Bank of India

155 ONGC Ltd

282 ICICI Bank

313 Indian Oil Corp (IOC)

Lisa Ray Hopes for ReBirth as She Fights Cancer

TEN MONTHS after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Lisa Ray says she is cancer free, has enjoyed being bald, and is ready to embrace her second home, India, with new vigour.

The Canadian actress and model, frequently named as one of the most beautiful people in the world by Indian and Canadian media, said she is feeling reborn after a stem cell transplant in January.

“ Multiple myeloma has hijacked my life for long enough and now I am going to take matters into my own hands,” Ray, 38, said.

“ It’s really been a kind of rebirth,” she said of her radical stem cell transplant treatment.

“ It’s like being reborn from the inside out. It’s a big cleaning from the middle of your marrow and spreading out.” Multiple myeloma is a cancer of white blood cells that attacks and destroys bone and which more commonly afflicts people in their mid- 60s. There is currently no known cure and treatment is focused on containment.

But Ray, born in Canada to an Indian father and Polish mother, chose to fight back, and chronicle her battle in a painfully honest yet humorous blog that has won her even more admirers.

The glossy- haired star of Bollywood movies Water and Kasoor , showed off her new short- hair look this week in Los Angeles.

Her most recent movie Cooking with Stella opened the Indian Film Festival in the US city as a benefit for the Los Angeles- based Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research.

“ My hair is coming back and it is looking awesome. I am loving it. It is the sleekest and most well- put together I have ever looked,” she laughed.

Ray recalled that she had cut off her long dark locks for her role in 2007 Oscar- nominated movie Water . But having her hair suddenly fall out while undergoing cancer treatment was a different matter. What was traumatic about losing my hair this time was I didn’t have a choice. But I have enjoyed being bald, she added, relishing the absence of shampoos, conditioners and hair- dryers in her life.


Ray got her first modelling job after being spotted in India at the age of 16 while on a family vacation.

And India was the first place she headed for after her stem cell transplant.

“ It was the best thing I could have done,” she said. “ I am planning to divide my time between Mumbai and Canada now. I felt really re- embraced and re- connected with a world and people in that world that I had missed, and it feels right to start really reengaging and spending a lot more time there.” “ There has been some tension in my life, living and belonging on two continents. But now I have come to peace with it,” she said.

India's Chandrayaan inds moon magnetic field

THE LIST of discoveries made by India’s maiden lunar mission, Chandrayaan, is growing. The latest addition is the presence of a mini- magnetic field on the lunar surface.

Analysis of data beamed back by one of the 11 payloads carried by the lunar orbiter, SARA ( Sub- keV Atom Reflecting Analyser), shows the presence of a mini- magnetosphere on the lunar surface. This is the first direct evidence of some sort of a localised magnetic field present on the moon.

“ The magnetosphere, which indicates the presence of a magnetic field, observed is localised in an area near the Gerasimovic crater, but there could be more such minimagnetospheres on the moon’s surface,” said Dr Anil Bhardwaj, head of planetary science at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivananthapuram, which had jointly conducted the experiment with the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.

The magnetosphere has a diameter of about 360 km and is surrounded by a ringshaped region about 300 km wide. The observations by SARA were made on June 17, 2009 when Chandrayaan was orbiting the moon from an altitude of just 200 km above the lunar surface.

Unlike the earth, the moon does not have a global magnetic field and, therefore, does not have a magnetosphere surrounding it. The magnetic field of the earth is surrounded by the magnetosphere, which keeps most of the particles from the sun, carried in solar wind, from hit- ting the earth and makes the planet’s atmosphere livable.

It was so far believed that the moon has small regions of magnetisation called magnetic anomalies. These small areas of locally strong magnetic fields can create minimagnetospheres that deflect the solar wind in the same way the earth’s magnetosphere shields most of the planet from solar wind.

But these were only theories, there was no clear cut evidence.

Now Chandrayaan has provided direct proof of the magnetosphere on the moon.

The study has been published in scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters . Solar wind, a constant stream of particles given off by the sun, contains largely protons. They collide with every celestial object in the solar system but are usually stopped by the object’s atmosphere. On bodies without such a natural shield, for example asteroids or the planet Mercury, solar wind reaches the ground.

When these protons from the solar wind hit the surface of the moon, some are scattered back as energetic neutral hydrogen atoms.

Using data from SARA, researchers identified a region above a strong magnetic anomaly where the number of energetic hydrogen atoms bouncing back was lower than in surrounding areas, Bhardwaj said.

This indicates that the region was shielded by a minimagnetosphere, as protons were getting deflected along the flanks of the magnetic shield.

Delhi gets its Tallest Building

AFTER much delay, the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Civic Centre was finally inaugurated on Thursday by home minister P. Chidambaram.

While praising the city’s tallest building, Chidambaram urged both the Congress and the BJP to work in tandem for the welfare of the people and to turn the Civic Centre into a world class structure.

“ A great city like Delhi must have a good civic administration and all stakeholders must join hands to make it look world class,” Chidambaram said.

Former deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit were also present during the inauguration.

Dikshit took the opportunity to congratulate the citizens of Delhi. She said it was significant that the civic centre, with a number of energy conservation and environmental protection measures, was being unveiled on the ‘ Earth Day’. Expressing happiness over the naming of the building after the Jan Sangh founder, Advani described Mukherjee as a great leader and a national hero.

“ I am happy that the MCD has decided to name it after him and the Delhi and central governments also gave their approval,” the BJP leader said.

The building, which is expected to cater to 20,000 footfalls a day, will bring under one roof the various departments of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi ( MCD), which looks after 96 per cent of the areas in the Capital.

The existing MCD headquarter at Town Hall is expected to be turned into a heritage hotel or a museum.

The 28- storey, 368 feet or 112- metre civic centre, was built at a cost of Rs 650 crore.

It was constructed for over an area of 1.16 lakh square metres following a concept called ‘ green building’. It was designed for optimum utilisation of natural resources such as air, water and sunlight.

MCD commissioner K. S. Mehra noted that the Town Hall, which was constructed in 1860, used to cater to only 1.20 lakh people in 1958, when the civic body came into being. “ With the population of Delhi touching 1.60 crore, the need for a new headquarter was felt for long,” Mehra said.

Delhi finance minister A. K. Walia assured the MCD of the government’s assistance to carry out developmental work in the city.

The MCD has signed an MoU with the Income Tax department for leasing out 40 per cent of the built- up area at an approximate value of Rs 1,800 crore.

Some work at the building is yet to be completed. It is being done in phases. “ The civic body will shift some of its offices, such as the engineering department and the mayor’s office, even as the work is on,” officials said.

Delhi Markets Getting Prepared for Terrorists after US cautioned India

Countries like Australia & the US have asked their citizens to avoid crowded markets in Delhi as these are susceptible to terror attacks. Their fears may not be entirely unfounded


IT IS the market where the quick action of local traders and the market association, and effective public announcement system had come in for a lot of praise by the police brass after the 2008 Delhi serial blasts.

Rajender Sharda, market Traders’ Welfare Association president said: “ We had our systems in place. An announcement was made immediately after the first blast — that the public should move to the central park.

Within minutes, the second blast took place but by then the people were already out of the way, thanks to the swift action.” But that was in the past. The security situation is poor in the market as of now.

There are four barricaded entry points but no metal detectors or frisking of people. Cars can move freely inside and that can be a major breach of security. Even the association members acknowledge that.

The parking for vehicles is inside the congested main market and opposite the shops. This causes traffic jams and leaves attackers free to carry in anything.

And, despite the local traders’ enthusiasm and awareness, the market falls short on a major security parameter.

There are only four CCTV cameras to cover 225 shops — and on Thursday even they weren’t working. The Delhi Police reportedly plan to put up 27 cameras in the market. But they can’t be counted till they are actually installed.



Four for 225 shops, but they were not working on Thursday.Police plan to put up 27 more


None installed. No security personnel present to frisk visitors


Four barricaded entry points but people and vehicles enter freely and unchecked


Parking space inside market, opposite shops. Causes snarls and breaches security

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