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Archive for May, 2008

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Jeffery Archer In IndiaJeffrey Archer is in India on a eleven day six-city trip to promote his latest (14th) novel A Prisoner Of Birth, which he says is modern day version of The Count of Monte Cristo. (Click on the picture for the Video)

Undoubtedly Indian crowd has charmed him just the way he has charmed the Indian crowd. Many of us have grown up reading his novels. His fans in India affectionately call him Sachin Tendulkar of Books. Sachin Tendulkar he is indeed, after giving so many best selling and popular hits.

What does Archer wish from India? Well, he wants to be sold at traffic signals across India. “That’s where, I am told, the top selling authors are sold,” he says jokingly.

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Mc Cain\'s Vice President ?Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal along with wife Supriya are spending the Memorial Day weekend at Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s ranch in Arizona. There is speculation that Jindal might be called Mc Cain’s Vice President. Mc Cain may present Jindal with the opportunity to speak at the 2008 Republican National Convention, in a similar fashion to Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, cementing a place for him in the party and opening the gate for a future run for the presidency.

At 36, this first-generation Indian-American Rhodes Scholar is America’s youngest governor in a southern state with a long history of racial discrimination.

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112,000 broadband centres would be set up in rural areas across the country, within a year. The government Saturday announced a $2-billion public-private partnership to provide broadband and internet connectivity in country’s rural areas. Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, speaking at Global Telecom Summit here, said that $1.5 billion for the project would be generated from the private sector and the balance would be funded from government sources.

The ministry of communication & IT is also expected to unfold its third generation of mobile phone standards and technology – 3G service – guidelines by June this year. The 3G services are expected to be rolled out by the end of current year. The aim of the these policies is to provide wireless telephone and mobile telephone to every household in rural India by 2010, said the minister.

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Antilla as seen in artists sketchTo everyone’s surprise, price tagged at $ 2 Billion, Antilla (named after the mythical island) is in India and is World’s First Billion Dollar Home. Indeed, like its name, it houses stuff that surrounds myth!

Owner is India’s richest, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance fame whose net worth was 43 Billion in March of this year and was the 5th richest in the world.

The only remotely comparable high-rise property currently on the market is the 70 million dollar triplex penthouse at the Pierre Hotel in New York, designed to resemble a French chateau, and climbing 525 feet in the air.

When the Ambani residence is finished in January, completing four years of design and construction, it will be 27 story and 550 feet high (height which normally houses 60 floors) with 400,000 square feet of interior space. Click on the picture to see the video.

However, all of this has not been without its share of controversies. Antilla is being built on land sold to Ambanis’ to be used as orphanage by Waqf Board.The land measuring 11793 sq yards was sold in 2004 by the trust for a charitable purpose of looking after the destitutes and orphan children belonging to the Khoja Mohammedan community. The land was given to the Maharashtra State Board of Waqf by Jivagi Raje Scindia in 1957. The MoU was signed with four companies namely Antillia Commercials, Saphire Realtors, Rockline Constructions and Baun Foundation trust.Balroom at Antilla

The Waqf Board has told the Supreme Court that it sold the property thinking it was to be used for an orphanage and that commercial buildings are not allowed on Waqf land. Property having a market value of Rs 400 crore was sold only for Rs 21.05 cr to M/s Antillia Commercial, a company of Reliance group of Industries. Rs 16 crores were also paid to Waqf Board for No Objection Certificate.

The Supreme Court on Friday decided not to intervene in the construction of the building on Waqf board land in Mumbai and has directed the matter back to the Bombay high court.

Critics have also said that showing off such extravagant wealth in a country rife with poverty is insensitive and ethically questionable. This is excessive and ostentatious given that more than 65 percent of Mumbai’s 18 million residents live in tenements.

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