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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Some Facts:

  • India is the only country in the world where age bar for alcohol consumption is 25 years.
  • It is illegal to directly or indirectly advertise alcoholic beverages in India.
  • Hinduism declares alcohol consumption as one of the five heinous crimes and is comparable to murder and adultery. A drunkard is a dead body, say the scriptures.
  • Broadcasting Bill of the country prohibits screening of smoking and drinking scenes and are categorized as adult.
  • A prerequisite to become a congressman is to abstain from alcohol.

Mahatma Gandhi had canvassed total prohibition, and the Constitution of India endorsed, adopted, and imposed total prohibition in 1977. It lasted only two years leaving behind a few dry states like Mizoram, Manipur and Gujarat, and a couple of ‘dry’ holidays like Gandhi Jayanti and Independence day.

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India has initiated reverse brain drain. Realizing how many scientists, doctors, engineers and other professionals they loose every year, Indian government is taking steps to lure them back to the country.

The scheme for NRIs, though still in infancy, has already netted at least 40 PHDs and MTechs working in academics or industry in countries like US, UK, Japan and Sweden.

“We are intensifying the drive. In 2007 alone, we received 150 applications from NRI scientists and engineers and finally picked up 22. The number of applicants is increasing, with the majority coming from US,” a top Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist said.

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leander-paes.jpgLeander Paes, who has saved India from several Davis Cup disasters and a medal hope at the Beijing Olympic Games in August, is going to play a miracle man who helps school kids in cartoon television series called The Magic Racquet.

Not much has been disclosed about the story line. Paes will play roughly his own age and will sport tennis gear. The story will revolve around a school with three to five central characters between the age group of 6 to 10. There are also plans to include other sporting stars as guests in a few episodes since the objective is to promote sports in general.

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dalrymple-makes-india-his-home.jpgWilliam Dalrymple’s love for India is not unknown. He has penned six books, of which five have embraced Indian life as their storyline and have been award winning. India has sewn itself into his life since long now with him spending a lot of time in New Delhi India apart from London and Edinburgh.

However, since last couple of years Jaunapur (a small village on the outskirts of Delhi) has been home to the the author and his family. Delhi has been the backdrop for many of Dalrymple’s books including The Last Mughal, a prizewinning account of the Indian uprising of 1857, and the fall of the Mughal dynasty. The book has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide.

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Ferrari has announced that they will soon open 6 showrooms in India by 2010. There are about 36 Ferrari cars plying in India which were sold through Ferrari’s Singapore hub. Ferrari has five models which range between $276,280 on the lower side to $ 363,120 at the upper end.

Ferrari recently – and rather bravely – sent out two reinforced 612 Scaglietti super cars to tour the sub-continent’s potholed highways to showcase the marque. The car will be driving across 57 cities of India in 64 days. About 13,000 km will be covered during this tour.

“We had conducted such tours in countries like China earlier. India is a popular choice for us since sports car fanatics are no less here as well,” says Gabriel Lalli from Ferrari.

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Earth Hour 2008India has decide to stay illuminated when the world will switch off for Earth Hour between 8 and 9 pm on March 29. As of today no Indian city has officially joined the campaign to black out to show that India too is in the crusade to reduce global warming.

So far, 35 nations, 370 cities, towns and councils worldwide have pledged to turn out their lights for one hour. This includes cities like Christchurch, Bangkok, Seoul, Dubai, Antarctica’s Casey Base, Manila, Copenhagen, Rome, Dublin, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Mexico City.

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Lovesongs Kolkata is celebrating Jaya Bachchan’s latest in Bengali cinema Lovesongs -Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. However Bengali has been used sparsely in this movie; English being predominant language for the film. Based on the story by the Director itself, the film centers on 64-year-old Mridula Chatterjee (Jaya Bachchan) She is an independent, cheerful, fun-loving widow who runs an NGO for disabled people in Kolkata. The film is woven through Mridula’s unspooling her past which turns into a process of deep introspection and self-discovery, helping her to understand the choices she had to make.

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Armani SherwaniDo not be surprised if you see Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Tom Cruise wearing a Sherwani. Italian fashion giant, Giorgio Armani, has included sherwani in its collection.

India is 3rd most brand conscious country in the world with Greece leading the way followed by Hong Kong.

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Aamir Khan to Run for Olympics

Aamir Khan, accompanied by five other torchbearers Dr. Narayan G Hegde- President, BAIF Development Research Foundation, Dr. Kiran Bedi – noted officer in the Indian Police Service (IPS) and founder Navjyoti foundation, Ravi Singh- Secretary General & CEO, World Wildlife Fund India and Atul Singh, President & CEO, Coca-Cola India. Y. Subhash Chandra Reddy- environment champion, will bear the Olympic torch in Delhi on the 17th of April.

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Chairman Tata Sons, Rattan TataYahoo has struck an agreement with Computational Research Laboratories, a unit of Tata Sons Ltd., to pursue research on “cloud computing” technologies. Yahoo said the project with the laboratory in Pune would use the world’s fourth-fastest supercomputer and Apache Hadoop, a framework for creating software that can handle large amounts of data using several computers. (more…)

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Famous Five get a 21st century lookEnid Blyton’s The Famous Five have undergone a radical 21st-century makeover for a new Disney cartoon series Famous Five: On The Case. The members of the new Famous Five are children of the original five created in 1942 – team leader Julian, Dick, George, Anne and the dog Timmy. They are Jo, Max, Allie and Dylan together with their pet dog, Timmy.

The kids share their parents’ love of adventure and mystery-solving. However unlike their parents they are iPod-wearing children who fight off their enemies using mobile phones and other modern-day gadgets, and uncover plots like a pirate DVD factory, whose owner, a phony environmentalist, has been embedding subliminal messages in the discs to brainwash children.

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Anthony MinghellaShekhar Kappor who was in India for preproduction of his new film Paani, had to fly back to USA unexpectedly. He has been asked to direct the movie New York, I Love You that the acclaimed Academy Award winning Director, playwright and screenwriter, Anthony Minghella of The English Patient and Cold Mountain fame, was making before his death last week.

Anthony Minghella died on 18 March 2008 of a hemorrhage in Charing Cross Hospital, London, following an operation the previous week to remove cancer of the tonsils and neck

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Madhubala stamp releasedVenus of the Indian screen Madhubala is honored by Indian Postal Service: on 18 March 2008 a stamp was released in her memory. After Nargis, Madhubala is the second Indian actress to have a stamp released in her honor.

The Indian Postal Service organized a special two-day event in Mumbai on Indian cinema titled Magic of Film Through Postage Stamps along with a philatelic exhibition titled Mahafilmpex. They also showcased a few landmark movies.

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali of Devdas fame got standing ovation at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. Not for another Bollywood movie, but for an opera-ballet titled Padmavati: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s adaptation of the 1923 opera-ballet by Albert Roussel, one of the greatest yet least understood masters of twentieth-century French music.

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Indian Surrogate MotherIn India, there is a new IT industry: the new Infant Trading. After the adults, it is now the babies turn to be outsourced. Reproductive Outsourcing is catching on. The industry is valued at more than $450 millions, and the number of cases of surrogacy has doubled over the past three years. Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002. India is emerging as a leader making it into what can be called a viable industry rather than a rare fertility treatment. It has gained popularity for same reasons as outsourcing in other industries: a wide labor pool working for relatively low rates. In India womb is the new Web.

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popeThe Pope Benedict XVI‘s first ever visit as pontiff is scheduled in April, 2008 when on April16, Pope will reach New York. In New York he will meet with different religious groups including Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists.

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The World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) has decided against attending the April 17 inter-religious meeting with the pope because the US Secret Service refused to allow the kirpan, the ceremonial dagger that is one of the five articles of faith for Sikhs.Ten to fifteen Sikhs were to attend the papal audience, most of them veterans of a Catholic-Sikh dialogue begun in 2006. Negotiations have been going on for months between US Secret Service and the Sikhs over the dagger issue.

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barbara-mori-med1.jpgProducer- Director Rakesh Roshan picks up a little known Hollywood Latin actress, Barbara Mori, for his next film Kites. Of course, all Film Kraft Productions are born with letter ‘K’.

Barbara Mori is of Uruguayan, Japanese, and Mexican heritage. She has only one blockbuster film to her credit- La mujer de mi hermano (2005). Mori was invited to modeling by fashion designer Marcos Toledo; she later became a telenovela actress with TV Azteca. The actress has her own lingerie line, and uses her image to support charitable causes such as the fight against breast cancer in Mexico. Incidentally, recently she presented the 8th Annual Latin Grammy Awards.

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Here is an excerpt of an interview with an ophthalmologist Dr Gayathri Srikanth, author of yet another biography on superstar megastar Rajnikanth. This one is called, ‘The Name is Rajnikanth’.

Why did you zero in on Rajnikanth and not Kamal Haasan for your first book?

I felt he was the obvious choice because he was the superstar, and the hype surrounding Sivaji was so immense. When I searched for him on the Internet, I found out that he grew up motherless as a child, and had a very bad childhood. Later on, he had to work as a coolie, then a bus conductor and lastly became the superstar. I found the stories had so many gaps. But I thought the rags-to-riches story of Rajni was very fascinating. So, I decided to write a biography on Rajnikanth and started my work in March 2007.

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jodhaaakbar_poster.jpgIf Emperor Akbar were to watch Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar, he would have said, “Wow man! What opulence, very impressive indeed.” And if Jodhaa and Akbar were to watch Jodhaa Akbar together, they would have definitely fallen in love with each other even if they did not back then. Jodhaa Bai would have told Jodhaa of the story, “Cut that fuss out lady! What else do you need?”

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rahu-swallowing-sun-1.jpgIndian science of eclipses is different that rest of the world. We believe that an eclipse is caused when Rahu and Ketu, the two invisible planets, swallow either the sun or the moon depending upon the time of the year. An eclipse in Sanskrit is called grahanam.

Life on the day of the eclipse is very different than other days. Hindus bathe in the Ganges or the sea as soon as the eclipse begins. They will stand up in the water and chant Krishna Mahamantra till the eclipse lasts. (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila 13.124. purport.) This is mandatory even if News services warn you against it since the tides will be high.

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