Friday, December 12, 2008

India's first 3G service launched in Delhi

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Delhi: Ushering in a new era in the Indian telecom sector, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday launched the state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam's (MTNL) third generation (3G) mobile service 'Jaadu' here.Communications and IT Minister A. Raja, who was also present on the occasion, made a video call, demonstrating the capabilities of 3G services.
Launching the services, the prime minister said: "I congratulate MTNL and the communications minister for launching the 3G service.""Competition has to be the major propeller of the Indian economy and it has to be a sustainable one," he said while demonstrating the mobile TV facility available with 3G services."However, effective objective and impartial regulations have to be an integral part of all these processes for investors to invest further," he added.Added Raja: "BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam) and MTNL have already been allotted 3G and broadband wireless access spectrum with a view to ensuring early rollout of 3G and Wi-max services in the country."While MTNL has rolled out its 3G services only in Delhi Thursday, BSNL will launch its services in Chennai next month.Talking about the revenues generated through licensing fees and sale of spectrum, Raja said: "After migrating to revenue sharing regime, this sector has contributed Rs.500 billion (Rs.50,000 crore) through licence fee, entry fee and spectrum charges till the end of last financial year.""During this financial year alone, it is expected that about Rs.160 billion (Rs.16,000 crore) will be collected from the licence fee and the spectrum charges," he added.The minister also said mobile number portability (MNP) would be implemented in metros and category A circle by the middle of 2009 and the entire country by end of next year.MNP will enable mobile users to retain their telephone numbers when changing from one network to another."This will promote competition among service providers," he added.

Cyberpunks bet on job-seekers for cash

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bangalore: The cyber criminals are playing their chances on the scarce-job situation with scores of spams being released under the veil of mails offering job in reputed companies and ways for easy earning. To lure in the job-seekers the mails are sent with subject lines like get rich, position for manager and international sales representatives.
As per the study by global anti-virus company F-Secure, many of the e-mails show promising new openings in multinational companies. Infact, 2008 has been a record year of explosive growth in the amount of malicious software (malware) on the internet. "The detection count tripled in one year, which states that the total amount of malware accumulated over the last 21 years increased by 200 percent in the course of just one year," the report stated. Even McAfee Virtual Criminology Report 2008 pinpointed the same and assumed that in such a state where cyber crime is at the extreme, the speed of global recovery in 2009 will slow down.As reported by Financial Chronicle, Dave DeWalt, CEO and President, McAfee, said "As the attention of the government and law enforcement bodies is diverted by the current economic crisis, the door is left open for cyber criminals to continue to target bank balances worldwide and to potentially damage the consumer trust needed to aid rapid recovery." The grim impact of economic downturn is making a lot of people turn to the web for better options around the globe. So, this has become the best bait for all the spammers and hackers to cash in on.

IIM-A entrance tougher than Stanford, Harvard

By siliconindia news bureau
Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ahmedabad: Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), country's leading business school has outdone the world's premier business institutions like Stanford and Harvard on the scores required for admission. The minimum Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score required for admission in IIM-A's one- year post-graduate executive management programme (PGPX) for the 2009-10 batch was fixed at 722 out of 800. This score exceeds the score required for admission in institutes like Harvard or Stanford, where the GMAT cut-off is between 710 and 715.
The IIMs use Common Admission Test (CAT) scores for admission in their management programme (PGP), while they accept GMAT scores for the one-year executive management programme. GMAT scores are accepted by all top universities globally for taking in executives for management training, reported The Economic TimesTogether with a good GMAT score, IIM-A also looks for a good academic and career record in candidates interested in joining the course.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terror attacks in Mumbai, over 100 killed, 900 injured

By agencies
Thursday, November 27, 2008

MUMBAI: Over 101 people are reported to have been killed and more than 900 are reported injured as unidentified groups of gunmen opened fire in at least four places across south Mumbai on Wednesday night. Terrorists used heavy machine guns, including AK-47s, and grenades to strike at the city's most high-profile targets - the hyper-busy CST (formerly VT) rail terminus; the landmark Taj Hotel at the Gateway and the luxury Oberoi Trident at Nariman Point; the domestic airport at Santa Cruz; the Cama and GT hospitals near CST; the Metro Adlabs multiplex and Mazgaon Dockyard -- killing at least 80 and sending more than 900 to hospital, according to latest reports.
The firings, which is reported to be still continuing, have taken a tragic toll on the city's top police brass: The high-profile chief of the anti-terror squad Hemant Karkare was killed; Mumbai's additional commissioner of police (east) Ashok Kamte was gunned down outside the Metro; and celebrated encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar was also killed. The attacks appeared to be aimed at getting international attention as the terrorists took upto 40 British nationals and other foreigners hostage in three hotels - Taj, Oberoi and Trident. The chairman of Hindustan Unilever Harish Manwani and CEO of the company Nitin Paranjpe were among the guests trapped at the Oberoi. All the internal board members of the multinational giant were reported to be holed up in the Oberoi hotel.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Ghafoor said the attacks were suspected to be "coordinated terrorist acts", and added that automatic weapons like AK-47 and AK-56 and semi-automatic rifles were apparently used. Most of the injured were policemen.It appeared that small groups of heavily armed terrorists sneaked into busy public places, mostly in south Mumbai, leading to a scare in the metropolis that has been a target of terror attacks in recent years.Police official said suspected terrorists opened fire at police and paramilitary forces outside the Hotel Taj Intercontinental in south Mumbai between 10.15 p.m. and 10.30 p.m.The police officials, who refused to speak on record because it was too early to confirm anything, said firing was on near the five-star hotel where around 2,000 guests and staff were stranded. The body of a foreign woman guest was recovered from the Taj Hotel and two terrorists were holed up inside the building, a police official said. At least 90 percent portion of the 22-storey building was plunged into darkness as authorities cut off power in a precautionary measure.Minutes later, bullets were fired near the Hotel Trident (previously known as Hotel Oberoi) - another five-star hotel barely a kilometre away from the Taj. At least 1,000 tourists were inside the hotel, which is in a high-security zone and lies just behind the Air India and Maharashtra legislature buildings. Suspected terrorists also opened indiscriminate firing near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (previously known as Victoria Terminus), the headquarters of the Central Railway, which is a world heritage building and remains crowded almost throughout the day.
A terrorist was hiding inside the railway terminus where thousands of people have been evacuated. As a precautionary measure, authorities suspended suburban and other railway services.Later in the night, two bomb blasts, one in Vile Parle, a residential suburb in north Mumbai, and another in Mazgaon, also injured an unspecified number of people, the police officials said. The blast in Vile Parle occurred in a taxi, which was blown into pieces. There was a firing reported from the Bade Miya Street behind the Hotel Taj. All roads linking south Mumbai with the rest of the metropolis were barricaded. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh urged people to maintain peace and calm even as a Red Alert was sounded across Maharashtra state.Four major terrorist attacks have occurred in India's financial capital Mumbai in the last 15 years. Following is a chronology of the major terrorist attacks here:* Nov 26, 2008: Several killed and many more injured in seven terror attacks targeting mostly foreigners' hangout places. * July 11, 2006: More than 200 people killed in seven blasts on suburban trains and stations.* Aug 25, 2003: 46 people killed in two blasts including one near the Gateway of India.* March 12, 1993: A series of bomb blasts left 257 dead and around 700 injured. Buildings attacked included the Bombay Stock Exchange, hotels, theatres, passport office, Air India building and Sahar Airport.However news reports in Thursday afternoon, citing A N Roy, Director General of Police, said that all the hostages held in Taj Hotel were rescued by Indian forces. Photo Courtesy: CNN-IBN

Barack Obama Condems Mumbai Terrorists Attacks

27 November, 2008 07:57:00 Dinesh Singh - Rawat

Barack Obama Condems Mumbai Terrorists Attacks
Washington (ABC Live): US President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday categorically condemned the Mumbai attacks.Obama said that United States must work to strengthen ties with India and other to "root out and destroy terrorist networks."Brooke Anderson, Obama's chief national security spokesperson shared in statement that "These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism."
According to written statement issued on Thursday says "President-elect Obama strongly condemns today's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and his thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the people of India."

England cancels India tour: reports

Updated at: 1134 PST, Thursday, November 27, 2008 NEW DELHI: England has canceled its cricket tour of India in the wake of terror attacks that have killed at least 101 people in Mumbai. While the English squad remained in Cuttack, where it lost Wednesday night to go 5-0 down in a seven match limited-overs series, England and Wales Cricket Board officials met Thursday morning with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.The Indian news agency reported that the tour, which still had two limited-overs internationals and two test matches remaining on the itinerary _, had been canceled.A high-ranking BCCI official, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to comment to the media, told the media that the tour had been canceled and a formal statement would be released later Thursday. The Champions League Twenty20 tournament, due to start next Wednesday in Mumbai, could also be scrapped. Officials were not available to comment, but Australian and English provincial clubs had already postponed leaving for India.

India’s Index Futures, Rupee Forwards Fall After Terror Attacks

By Chen Shiyin and Pooja Thakur
Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- India’s stock index futures and rupee forwards fell while credit-default swaps rose after militants killed 101 people in Mumbai, taking hostages in the nation’s first terrorist attack against foreigners.
S&P CNX Nifty Index futures for November delivery dropped 2.4 percent in Singapore, the most since Nov. 19. Contracts that protect against the debt of government-controlled State Bank of India Ltd. rose 15 basis points to 412.5 in Hong Kong, according to Morgan Stanley’s prices, the first increase since Nov. 20, while forwards on the currency that trade outside the country fell 0.3 percent, the first drop in five days.
Stocks, bonds and currencies trading were halted in Mumbai after the assault, which injured 287. The attacks may hurt investor confidence in a country where the global economic slowdown caused the benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index or Sensex to fall a record 56 percent this year.
“It is worrying that the targets were foreigners and businessmen,” said Ajay Bodke, who helps manage the equivalent of $872 million at IDFC Assets Management Co. in Mumbai. “We will see a ripple effect in terms of investor sentiment as the terrorist attack was in the financial hub and in iconic places. India needs to deal with this with an iron hand.”
Both the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange may resume trading as early as tomorrow, along with bond, foreign exchange, commodities and money markets, bourse officials and the central bank said, without providing further updates.
‘Bounce Back’
The attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi hotels are increasing concerns among some investors that economic growth is slowing. While Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram last week said economic growth will “bounce back” to 9 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund predicted a 6.3 percent expansion for 2009.
Overseas funds sold a net 3.12 billion rupees ($63 million) of Indian stocks on Nov. 24, increasing outflows from equities this year to $13.5 billion, the nation’s market regulator said.
Nifty futures retreated 64.5 to 2,685 at the close of Singapore trading, after falling as much as 4.9 percent. Most indexes climbed in Asia today, with the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index advancing 1.8 percent.
The futures contract, based on the 50 stocks on the underlying S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd., added 4.1 percent in Mumbai yesterday.
Reliance, Indiabulls Fall
Shares of Indian companies including State Bank of India and Reliance Industries Ltd. traded overseas fell. Global depositary receipts of the government-owned bank dropped 3.1 percent to 33 euros in Frankfurt trading, a one-month low. Reliance, India’s biggest company by value, slipped 6.7 percent to 33.90 euros.
Among India-linked shares traded in Singapore, Indiabulls Properties Investment Trust fell 11 percent to 16 cents at the close, the biggest drop since Nov. 17. Ascendas India Trust, an owner of industrial properties in India, dropped 7.5 percent to 43.5 Singapore cents. iShares MSCI India, an exchange traded fund, declined 1.9 percent to $3.09, halting three days of gains.
Mark Mobius said Templeton Asset Management remains bullish on Indian stocks after the attacks, on the expectation they will fail to derail expansion.
“It’s possible that once the market opens there will be a number of people who’d want to get out because of what’s happening,” Mobius, who oversees more than $24 billion in emerging-market stocks as chairman at San Mateo, California-based Templeton, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview. “A lot of selling has already taken place so there might not be that much left.”
Infosys, Mercator Rise
Some Indian stocks traded overseas have risen. Infosys Technologies Ltd., second-largest computer-services provider, rose 5.6 percent to 18.74 euros in Frankfurt trading, while Mercator Lines Ltd., the only Indian shipping company to trade in Singapore, gained 3.7 percent to 14 Singapore cents, the highest since Nov. 17.
Non-deliverable forwards on India’s rupee retreated 0.3 percent to 49.90 per dollar. Forwards are agreements in which assets are bought and sold at current prices for delivery at a later specified time and date. Non-deliverable contracts are settled in dollars.
The rupee is the third-worst performer among Asia’s 10 most- active currencies outside Japan after falling 20 percent this year. It gained 1.1 percent to 49.435 per dollar yesterday in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
‘Knee-Jerk Selling’
The attack “might be an excuse for some knee-jerk selling,” said V. Anantha-Nageswaran, chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at Bank Julius Baer (Singapore) Ltd., which manages $350 billion in assets worldwide. “Our views on India have been cautious even before this, primarily because of the global slowdown, the current account deficit.”
The cost of protecting corporate bonds from default rose in India. Credit-default swaps on ICICI Bank Ltd., India’s second- largest lender, were last quoted 15 basis points higher at 715, according to Morgan Stanley. A basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, is worth $1,000 on a swap protecting $10 million of debt.
India last shut its stock and bond markets in July 2005 after monsoon rains disrupted Mumbai and other areas in the western state of Maharashtra. Trading of shares had been temporarily disrupted in 1993 after a series of explosions in the city killed at least 70 people, the last time the exchange was shut because of a terrorist attack.
About 40 people were being held hostage at the hotels, the Press Trust of India reported. A little-known Islamist group called the Deccan Mujahadeen claimed responsibility for the attacks, the report said.
The Sensex has tumbled 57 percent since rising to a record high of 20,873.33 on Jan. 8. The gauge had climbed for the previous six years, on speculation that economic expansion will drive profit growth for the nation’s companies.
India’s 10-year bonds gained yesterday, pushing yields to 7.1 percent, the lowest since January 2006 as a drop in crude oil prices fanned speculation inflation will slow. Takahira Ogawa, a Singapore-based director at Standard & Poor’s, said today the shootings and blasts won’t affect India’s sovereign rating.
Local-currency bonds are the best performers this year among 10 Asian debt markets outside Japan, returning 11.5 percent, according to HSBC Holdings Plc. They are rated BBB- by Standard & Poor’s, the lowest investment grade.
Interest-rate swap rates have almost halved from a record level reached in June. The five-year swap rate, a fixed rate paid to receive a floating rate, fell to 5.74 percent yesterday from a record of 10.57 percent in June. Overnight money-market rates have fallen to less than a third of the 19-month high of 20 percent reached on Oct. 31 as the central bank cut borrowing costs. The Reserve Bank of India has lowered its key repurchase rate by 1.5 percentage points since Oct. 20.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chen Shiyin in Singapore at; Pooja Thakur in Mumbai at