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Recap the madness of last year (from the financial crisis to the Presidential election to Elliot Spitzer and Miley Cyrus) and then thank your lucky stars the year is over.

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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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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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