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January 06, 2012


IndoAmerican News

Business IndoAmerican News


Indian Tycoons Hinduja Brothers Poised to Grab British Bus Maker Optare via Leyland

By Peter Campbell LONDON (Mail Online): Optare will vote this Friday on proposals to dilute their own holdings and relinquish control of the group to the Hinduja brothers. The Indian tycoons already own a 26 per cent stake in the company, through bus and coach manufacturer Ashok Leyland. In return for a £12million loan to help keep the company running, they have demanded a share placing of £4million, which would triple their holdings to 75.1 per cent of the group. But the move requires the backing of shareholders, who will vote at a general meeting on Friday. Optare, which was born out of the remnants of the bus-making arm of British Leyland, said it could not continue trading if investors vote down the proposals. But not all shareholders have embraced the move, which would see the Hindujas pick up the shares at the equivalent of 0.27p, a discount of 80 per cent on their value the day the plan was announced. One of the firm’s top 10 investors said: ‘If they gain control at the proposed price it would dilute our holdings. This is another example of overseas businesses seeing value

Entrepreneurship in the Indian DNA: GP, left, and Ashok Hinduja (Dhiraj Singh) the two London-based brothers of the four who between them command their global business empire from India, Switzerland and the UK, are ranked number 9. The pair’s joint wealth is “cautiously” valued at £6 billion. Source: The Sunday Times UK and coming in to buy it up rather cheaply, and that is very frustrating. We are a long-term shareholder and we do not want it to be sold at this time.’ But another institutional shareholder said: ‘The company has not had an easy time of it, and has been trying to improve itself. ‘But we are content that this is

probably the best solution to the company’s difficulties available at the moment.’ Optare said it had already received ‘irrevocable undertakings’ from investors representing 34.7 per cent of shares, including Ashok Leyland, to back the deal. For more news, visit us online:

For the Hinduja brothers the best sectors today in India are health, education, infrastructure, transport, retail, consumer items and food. They are also in discussions with the UK based Chemring group to set up a defence joint venture in India

Piping Technology Faces $1 MM Fines in OSHA Safety Violations HOUSTON (Houston Chronicle) — Piping Technology and Products faces more than $1 million in proposed fines after a six-month federal investigation discovered numerous safety violations at its south Houston manufacturing facility, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The piping manufacturer received 30 citations for failing to protect employees in the path of dangerous machinery at its manufacturing facility at 3701 Holmes Road, which is also home to its main offices. OSHA has proposed $1,013,000 in fines against the company, the federal agency said Wednesday. This is Piping Technology’s third run-in with OSHA in less than a decade. The agency cited the company with penalties totaling $82,500 in 2004 and an additional $33,000 a year later. The most recent penalty covers an offense that Piping Technology had been cited for before, according to OSHA. “Piping Technology deliberately exposed its workers who operate band saws and other dangerous machinery to amputation hazards while misleading OSHA investigators about the use of these machines,” David Michaels, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor, said in a written statement. OSHA has placed Piping Technology in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which launched last year and calls for repeated inspections of offending companies to ensure compliance with safety laws. P i p i n g Te c h n o l o g y Vi c e President R.K. Agrawal declined to address specific violations cited by OSHA but said that company leaders “disagree strongly with the conclusions that they reached.” He said the company has cooperated with OSHA’s investigation. The company has 15 days to


R.K. Agrawal is vice president and his father Durga is president and CEO of Piping Technology.

pay the fine, request a conference with OSHA or contest the citations before an independent review board. OSHA opened an investigation into the company’s operations after an employee tipped the federal agency to alleged workplace violations, including a lack of brakes on overhead cranes. Agency inspectors found several cases where required protective gear and equipment were not being used to shield employees from machines, OSHA said. Piping Technology was cited for 13 willful violations and 17 serious violations. Willful violations are cases in which the company defied rules intentionally or with voluntary disregard, according to OSHA. Serious violations are those that risk death or serious physical harm in cases where the employer knew or should have known of the risk. Piping Technology is a 35-yearold supplier of piping products to the petrochemical and oil production industries and others. Agrawal said that the company has 600 employees.


January 06, 2012

Darjeeling Tea Companies Smile as Local Demand Goes Up

KOLKATA (ET): Darjeeling tea producers are all set to cheer. The year 2011 has brought smiles to them as the average price of Darjeeling tea in the domestic market has shot up by Rs 35 per kg. Even the end-season Darjeeling teas, being offered at auctions now, are fetching Rs 267 per kg as against Rs 204 per kg in 2010 end -- a rise of 31%. This augurs well for the Darjeeling tea industry which generally depends on exports for revenues. CTC and dust tea prices have risen by Rs 8 a kg compared to the previous year. Western India companies , Tata Global Beverages and HUL are active in the market which has pushed up the prices of end-season teas. J Kalyansundaram, secretary of Calcutta Tea Traders Association (CTTA), said: “Darjeeling teas have fetched good prices this year. Even the end-season teas are fetching good prices. There is a demand for Darjeeling teas in the domestic as well as the export

58-year-old Ashok Lohia took up production of Darjeeling tea in 1988 with two estates — Chamong and Pussimbing. He mastered the trade for 10 years and started acquiring estates in Darjeeling in 1998. Today, he is the largest Darjeeling tea producer with 13 tea estates in his fold. markets. Companies and exporters drought-like situation . We lost the are buying Darjeeling teas.” premium firstand second-flush teas, Darjeeling tea production has which fetch maximum revenues increased by at least 25% compared for tea companies. But this year, to the previous year. “Last year, the weather has improved and this production was affected by a will have a good impact on the

production,” said Ashok Lohia, chairman of Chamong Tee. Chamong Tee is the largest Darjeeling tea producer. Last year, Darjeeling produced 8 million kg tea, the lowest in the last decade. There is an expectation that production this year will be around 10 million kg though the final figure is yet to be published by Tea Board. The appreciation of Euro has helped Darjeeling tea exporters as most of Darjeeling teas are exported to European Union countries. “This will be definitely a good year for the Darjeeling tea companies . We a r e happy that the domestic consumption of Darjeeling tea has increased,” said Sanjay Bansal, chairman

of Ambootia Group. Generally, 40% of Darjeeling teas, which have the unique muscatel flavour, are exported. The rest 60% are considered as rains teas and do not make much headway to export markets. But this year, there has been no lull in Darjeeling tea offtake. The CTTA secretary said CTC and dust teas have fetched better prices even at the year-end sale. “Companies are buying tea for the present season and for the Februray-March period. They have been strong this year and bought good quantities of teas,” he said.

India to Achieve N-arm Triad in February 2012

NEW DELHI (ET): India will take a big step towards achieving a credible nuclear weapon triad in February when its first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant begins sea trials off Visakhapatnam. Top defence ministry sources say the “sea-acceptance trials’’ (SATS) of INS

extensive SATS and missile trials before the boat is ready for commissioning into Navy.’’ With INS Arihant’s induction, India for the first time will brandish the most effective third leg of the nuclear triad - the ability to fire nukes from land, air and sea. The first two legs revolve around the Agni family of ballistic missiles and fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Mirage-2000s jury-rigged to deliver nuclear warheads. Only the Big-5 has nuclear triads till now, with a total of over 140 nuclearpowered submarines. America leads the pack with 71, followed by Russia with about 40, while China, the UK and France have around 10-12 each. India did get delivery of INS India launched her first indigenous nuclear Chakra, the rechristened powered submarine Arihant on July 26, 2009. Akula-II nuclear-powered Now INS ‘Arihant’ means ‘Destroyer of Enemies’ submarine ‘K-152 Nerpa’, is set to start trials off Vishakapatnam’s coast from Russia on a 10-year lease last week. Arihant are slated to begin “towards India’s nuclear triad will be in place, end-February’’ after the completion of as Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma its ongoing harbour-acceptance trials has declared, once INS Arihant is out at (HATS). “It will take at least six months of sea on “deterrent patrols’’. It has been

a long journey for INS Arihant since it was “launched’’ at Vizag in July, 2009, with PM Manmohan Singh in attendance. Each and every sub-system was checked and re-checked, along with high-pressure steam trials of all the pipelines, before the miniature 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor, fitted in a containment vessel on board the over 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, went “critical’’ last year. Simultaneously, fabrication work on the three follow-on SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear ballistic missiles), dubbed S-2, S-3 and S-4, is in full swing under the over Rs 30,000-crore advanced technology vessel program. The second SSBN after INS Arihant is to be named INS Aridhaman, both of which loosely mean “potent destroyer of enemies’’. They are to be armed first with the 750-km K-15 and at a later stage with the under-development 3,500-km K-4 SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles). INS Arihant has four silos on its hump to carry either 12 K-15s or four K-4s. Nuclear-powered submarines can silently stay underwater for months at end, unlike conventional ones that have to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries.

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January 06, 2012


Forward in Friendship, India and Pakistan to Put Their Woes Aside

By Faris Islam obviously a host of issues remain 27 per cent of the EU’s imports KARACHI (Dawn): While much to be solved before peace can be from Pakistan. of our national attention has been achieved – from water-sharing to In the long term this sets an fixated on the ongoing soap opera of border demarcation to disarmament important precedent as well, that Pak-US relations and the growing to the ever-explosive (literally) issue regardless of the tense relationship crises on our western border, a of Kashmir – by building strong between Pakistan and India, there major piece of good news on the eastern front has slipped by almost unnoticed. After a meeting between Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma, the two countries have announced major new initiatives towards increasing trade between the two foes – initiatives that if implemented would go a long way to strengthen trade relations between the two countries as well as Pakistan’s trade relations with others. Headlining the good news coming out of New Delhi was the announcement that India would support Pakistan’s efforts Renewed hopes for a lasting friendship between India and to receive trade concessions from Pakistan have been established by the efforts to revive trade the European Union. In addition to relations between the two countries toward the end of 2011 this news – hailed as a “landmark decision” by the Chairman of the All economic links between Pakistan is no need to continue the petty, Pakistan Textile Mills Association and India, our governments can knee-jerk reaction of opposing (APTMA) – the two countries both foster cooperation and raise the a policy because it benefits the have also announced plans to cost of conflict till it becomes but other country. Should Pakistan more than double their bilateral a distant nightmare. The stronger reciprocate this gesture, this could trade within the next three years the economic exchanges between pave an important step in the history and open another border trading our two nations, the more costly to of the Indo-Pak peace process as post in addition to the crossing our economy it becomes to increase both countries realise that their at Wagah. These announcements hostility and the more stable our bilateral disagreements need not be mark an important step on the relationship becomes. aired on the floor of any and every long and difficult journey towards If the prospect of peace were international organization. normalising trade relations with our not enough, on a more immediate This relates to a broader point in larger – and economically stronger level the announcement that India the relationship – or lack thereof – Eastern neighbor and could reap is posed to withdraw its objection – between Pakistan and India. enormous dividends in the difficult at the WTO to trade concessions Disagreements over Kashmir, as journey for peace in South Asia. to Pakistani products by the crucial as they may be, should not Indeed, stronger trade and European Union provides both be the sole determinant in Indocommercial ties between Pakistan tangible benefits and an important Pak relations. I also believe this and India could provide the long- precedent. On the ground this eases ought not to paralyse any prospect sought after foundation upon the process towards providing of peace between my countrymen which a sustainable and mutually trade concessions on 75 goods and our neighbors across the border beneficial peace can be built. While representing 900 million Euros or with whom we lived side-by-side

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for hundreds of years. While the people of Kashmir deserve the right to live in peace, so too do the other hundreds of millions of residents of the subcontinent. Increased trade has the possibility to increase prosperity, to lift people out of poverty and jumpstart the economy of areas along the IndoPak border. Ending the precarious state of insecurity within which South Asia has lived for more than 60 years has more benefits than could possibly be imagined. Peace has the potential to let us shift our national priorities – and funds – away from preparing to fight our neighbor and towards fighting poverty and illiteracy and disease. Peace has the potential to allow families that have been torn apart

by the borders of 1947 to meet again and visit each other easily. Peace has the potential to allow us to come to terms with our own proud history as a united South Asia and end the maligning of Hindus in Pakistan and Muslims in India. Luckily, while so many have been distracted by the ongoing drama between Islamabad and Washington, the potential of peace has been laid in New Delhi. Faris Islam is a past student of Political Science and History at Tufts University. He is based in Karachi, where he now works in the development sector. The views expressed by this writer may not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Indo American News. Send us your email comments on this or any story.

Dusk at the India-Pakistan gate at Amritsar, North India where Lahore City is on the other side. Photo: Ashkani

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January 06, 2012

15-Year-Old Afghan Girl Tortured By In-Laws Will Go to India for Treatment

By Patrick Quinn & Rahim Faiez KABUL (OS): A 15-year-old Afghan girl severely tortured for months by her in-laws in an attempt to force her into prostitution will be sent to India for medical treatment, an Afghan official said Monday. Sahar Gul’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law were arrested and her husband was being sought, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi. The case has shocked Afghanistan, though rights activists say serious

abuses against women and girls in the conservative society are common. President Hamid Karzai has said that whoever used violence against Gul will be punished. According to officials in northeastern Baghlan province, the in-laws kept Gul in a basement for six months, ripped her fingernails out, tortured her with hot irons and broke her fingers. Police freed her last week. The public health and women’s affairs ministers visited Gul, who is now in a Kabul hospital.

Child bride Sahar Gul was ill treated to the point of death, it is a case of brutality unheard of, but going on unnoticed in several nations. This case was reported to police by her uncle

She was freed from a basement at her husband’s home last week after her uncle called the local police. “It is a violent act that is unacceptable in the 21st century,” Sediqi told reporters. “We are thankful of Sahar Gul’s uncle.” He added that “if the police had not arrived in time she may have died.” He did not provide details on the treatment she would seek in India. But many Afghans with serious injuries or illnesses prefer to go to India or Pakistan for care because of poor medical services in Afghanistan. Gul was married about seven months ago. Jawad Basharat, spokesman for the provincial police Continued on page 30

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January 06, 2012

15-Year-old Afghan Girl Tortured by In-Laws... Continued from page 30

chief in Baghlan, said an arrest warrant had been issued for her husband, who is serving in the Afghan army. “After police found out about the small girl Sahar Gul they took action and found her in the basement of the house in very bad condition,” Basharat said. “Her nails were pulled out, she has injuries in all parts of her body, there are signs of burning on her body, she was suffering from different kinds of injuries.” He said that her mother-in-law and other members of the family were reportedly involved in what he described as “criminal activities,” which he said included selling alcohol and prostitution. According to preliminary reports, Basharat said, “they tried to force her into prostitution and she did not agree. This was one of the reasons that they detained her in the basement for six months.” Rahima Zarifi, the provincial director of women’s affairs in Baghlan, said a commission had been set up under Karzai’s orders to investigate the case. “According to the neighbors in the area, Sahar Gul’s in-law’s were not good people. Besides selling alcohol, they were involved in prostitution and that is why they put pressure on Sahar Gul to join with them. She was not happy with

it and that is why they put her in the basement, detained her for six months and tortured her,” Zarifi said. “They pulled out her nails. You can see the signs of torture and abuse all over her body, several types of torture and abuse. They even burned her with hot irons.” Health Minister Suraya Dalil said that despite progress in women’s rights, work remained to be done. “This is the very most extreme case that we have seen. That a child, that a girl child has been abused, has been physically abused, psychologically abused. It is an issue that shows that we are still need to work a lot with regard to education, with regard to awareness, with regard to social and economic development,” Dalil said. Despite much progress since the fall of the Taliban 10 years ago, women’s rights in Afghanistan remain a problem area in a country with a strict patriarchal culture Under Taliban rule, girls’ schools were banned and women could only leave the house accompanied by a male family member. A U.N. report issued in November found that a 2009 law meant to protect Afghan women from a host of abusive practices, including rape, forced marriage and the trading of women to settle disputes was being undermined by spotty enforcement. The Law on the Elimination


of Violence Against Women was passed in August 2009 and had raised hopes among women’s rights activists that Afghan women would get to fight back against abuses that had been ignored under Taliban rule. The law criminalized many abuses for the first time, including domestic violence, child marriage, driving a woman to resort to suicide and the selling and buying of women. Yet the report found only a small percentage of reported crimes against women are pursued by the Afghan government. Between March 2010 and March 2011, prosecutors opened 594 investigations involving crimes under the law. That’s only 26 percent of the 2,299 incidents registered by the Afghan human rights commission, the U.N. report said. Prosecutors filed indictments in only 155 cases, or 7 percent of the total number of crimes reported. Sometimes victims were pressured to withdraw their complaints or to settle for mediation by traditional councils, the report said. Sometimes prosecutors didn’t proceed with mandatory investigations for violent acts like rape or prostitution. Other times, police simply ignored complaints, the report said. To subscribe to our newspaper, please call us at 713-789-6397 - we can mail it to your home / office.


January 06, 2012

Sachin’s Son, Arjun Looks Ready for Cricket as Bowler

SYDNEY (NI): Sachin Tendulkar’s 12-year-old son, Arjun, looks ready for a life in cricket as a bowler and can be seen in Team India’s gear at the Sydney Cricket Ground practice nets. Bowling at his father at Moore Park, as India stepped up preparations for the second Test against Australia starting tomorrow, he acted as if he was part of the Indian squad. One day he could be playing for India. Expectations are a facet of life of being Tendulkar’s offspring, and those of young Arjun have only intensified recently. Arjun is busy making a name for himself, and not just in the Sydney nets and is not affected by his father’s quest for a 100th international hundred, which is keeping the cricket world holding its breath with each attempt, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. It was in an interschool match in Mumbai in November that India’s cricket-obsessed public of 1.2 billion realised Arjun’s burgeoning talents with bat and ball. The left-arm Arjun took 8-22 for the Dhirubhai Ambani International School on debut in the Harris Shield schools competition, bowling a dozen overs in a row and reportedly troubling all the opposition batsmen with his swing and accuracy. The reason for the subsequent hysteria on the subcontinent was not


India’s Batsmen Hope for SCG Magic By Brydon Coverdale SYDNEY (ESPN): Australia. India. The SCG. Four years ago, those three elements together sparked one of the most controversial Tests in recent history. It was a match of umpiring blunders, a racism allegation, excessive appealing and ugly behaviour all round. Fortunately for the integrity of this upcoming contest, several of the key protagonists are gone. Andrew Symonds has retired. Harbhajan Singh is no longer considered one of India’s two best spinners. Both of the umpires, who struggled to maintain control on the field, have stepped down from international

Ground. Only Lord’s and the MCG have hosted more Tests. This time, the teams head to Sydney with Australia 1-0 up in the series, having won inside four days in Melbourne. India’s batsmen were the major disappointment in the Boxing Day Test. Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar all made 60s or 70s in the first innings but in the second, Tendulkar’s 32 was the best score. Chasing 292, that was vastly inadequate. Australia’s strong and consistent pace attack built pressure and the Indians could not show the skills that had earned them more than 53,000 Test runs collectively

Sachin’s 12 year old son Arjun is a left-arm bowler. He bowled to his dad at the nets. The left-arm Arjun took 8-22 for the Dhirubhai Ambani School on debut in the Harris Shield schools competition, bowling a dozen overs in a row and reportedly troubling the opposition batsmen with his swing and accuracy. Photo: Ben Rushton

only because he is cricketing royalty. It was in the very same schools tournament in Mumbai more than 23 years ago that Tendulkar entered the public mind. However, young Arjun’s efforts for his school and in the Indian training nets indicate that he could become a bowler rather than a batsman. Arjun is, contrary to his legendary old man, a left-hander with the bat but didn’t get a chance to pad up yesterday as Fletcher’s side was in serious training mode following

their 122-run defeat to Australia in Melbourne last week. Yet his bowling has made headlines in India and also reportedly got the better of one of Tendulkar’s colleagues in the lead-up to the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Indian media reported that Arjun, bowling at Rohit Sharma, had with late away movement beaten the batsman with his first delivery in the nets, the paper reports. To subscribe for a year, call us at: 713-789-NEWS (6397) today.

Saina Will look to Make a Winning Start in 2012

NEW DELHI (TOI): India ace shuttler Saina Nehwal will look to start the new year on a resounding note when she begins her campaign at the Korea Super Series, which commences with the qualifiers on Tuesday in Seoul. Saina reached four finals last year but could clinch just one title -- the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold. The Hyderabad girl, who finished runners-up at the season-ending Hong Kong Open, will start 2012 facing Susan Egelstaff of Scotland. She is expected to reach at least the quarterfinals even though she has to tread her path carefully if she comes across Sayaka Sato and

Ai Goto of Japan, who beat her last year.

The 21-year-old Saina Nehwal is expected to meet world number one and top seed Yihan Wang of China in the quarterfinals.

The world number four Indian had lost her finals at the Hong Kong Super series against the Chinese.

In the men’s singles, Ajay Jayaram will start afresh this year. The Chennai-born shuttler, who reached the quarterfinals in his maiden World Championship last year, will take on Korean Wan Ho Shon in his tournament opener Wednesday. I n t h e w o m e n ’s d o u b l e s competition, world number 14 Indian pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa will face Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon of Malaysia in the first round of the main draw. Jwala will combine with V Diju to take on Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh in the opening round.

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The Sydney Cricket Ground pitch has traditionally not bounced as much as other Australian surfaces, perhaps one of the reasons it has been appreciated by India’s batsmen. But that character has changed, and the curator Tom Parker expects a similar pitch to that on which England’s swing and seam bowlers set up an innings victory last summer.

cricket. It was also a Test that went down to the wire, finishing late on the fifth day, as the shadows grew longer over the Sydney Cricket Ground. The fans will hope for a similarly tight finale this time around, albeit without the argy-bargy and ill feeling between the two teams. A memorable contest would be fitting, for this is the 100th Test to be played at the historic Sydney Cricket


over their Test careers. There is more of a chance of India’s batsmen enjoying the SCG. Sachin Tendulkar’s Test record at the venue makes for imposing reading. In four Sydney Tests, he has made 148*, 45, 4, 241*, 60*, 154* and 12. VVS Laxman’s Sydney efforts have been just as impressive: 7, 167, 178, 109, 20. But they and their colleagues will need to show significant improvements if they are to level the series.


January 06, 2012

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Jan 6 Pages 27-36  

Jan 6 Pages 27-36

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