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IPL - IT IS NOT JUST CRICKET
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VOLUME 10 ISSUE 5 MAY 2011
5 STRATEGIES THAT MAKE YOU BETTER AT SPORTS
LESSONS IN LIFE DHONI GAVE US
Vol 10 Issue 5 May 2011
Managing Editor Jason D Pavoratti Editor John Antony Director (Finance) Ceena Senior Editorial Coordinator Jacob Deva Senior Correspondent Bina Menon Creative Visualizer Bijohns Varghese Photographer Anish Aloysious Correspondents Bombay: Rashmi Prakash Hyderabad: Iqbal Siddiqui Delhi: Anurag Dixit Director (Technical) John Antony Publisher Jason D
the bull market inside a bear market inside a bull market What a mighty Government and the combined might of all FIIs and DIIs couldn’t do, a person achieved during this past fortnight. Everything about India and its markets were negative. Scams, inflation, rising interest rate, rising crude, and even anticipated things like a poor Q4. FIIs who started dumping since November, accelerated their pace one month back, and this time, DIIs were in no mood to catch the falling knifes. Brokerages one after the other came out with drastic reports. You know the types - ‘If Nifty breaks 5200, it will touch 4800’ or ‘Nifty will touch 5000 before 6000’. Even big overseas names like Credit Suisse, or respected Indian names like Motilal Oswal had joined suit. The brokerages even invented a term for this - ‘the bear market inside a bull market’.
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Then this man came along. An old man at that. He didn’t invest a paisa during his visit. But he said a simple thing, almost casually - Indian markets look good. And that it will look good for a long long time. Then all the hell broke loose. Starting on 22nd March, and extending to 9 straight days, FIIs were net buyers daily, in amounts zooming quickly from Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 4000 crore. On April 4th, foreign institutional investors were net buyers for Rs. 4087 crore. And that too in a week notorious for redemption pressure from MFs. In less than 10 days, India had attracted nearly Rs. 10,000 crore in FII money. So, what should this be called? The bull market inside a bear market inside a bull market? Call it the Buffett effect if you like. But how did his simple words change these FIIs and brokerages like chameleons? Nothing had changed on the ground. In fact, it has turned worse. Inflation has again resumed its upward journey, crude is finding new peaks, newspapers and channels are more into the nitty-gritty of scams than ever, RBI might take interest rates even higher, and Q4 is nearer. Still, the Buffett effect was overpowering. That is the power of reputation, and, of course, uncluttered thinking for which the
third richest man in this globe is famous for. Buffett’s logic was simple enough. India is not just about 8% growth. It is about the secondmost populous nation and the second-largest consumer market growing at 8%. It is about that nation being a full democracy, unlike China. It is about that nation having at least a hundred big companies adhering to the world’s best corporate governance standards, even if you forget the wider market of 3000 odd big and small companies. It doesn’t really take a Buffett to see the opportunity. But the sad point is that it still takes a Buffett. Is it that the FIIs and brokerages don’t have a clue regarding how to do their own business? Yes, it is partly true. Their capabilities are complex, but their thinking is cluttered. Watching the drama closely over the fortnight, it was clear that only one overseas brokerage could get the bull call accurately. But more than that the problem lies with the eagerness to make quick and massive money, wherever the market goes, and whatever happens to their clients including retail investors. Almost all the smart money players including institutional investors, brokerages with proprietary trading, and even HNIs have mastered the art of making money both ways. When the market goes up they make money on spot and when the market goes down they short the futures and make even more money. That is where investors like Buffet stands a class apart. His Berkshire Hathaway takes so much pain in choosing stocks, that any American investor can blindly follow his buys if they are listed, or even more easily buy Berkshire stock. It might not do an Apple in the short-term, but it will outdo Apple in the long-term. It was interesting to note how the FIIs and DIIs were confused to act on the Buffett signal. The smartest ones started refraining from net selling first. Then they went in for net buys in a small way. All the time watching which way the market would ultimately swing. Then the momentum gathered pace, with the less smart FIIs also joining in, taking daily net buys to 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, and now 4000 crores! The message is clear and loud - the smart money players wanted to make money at every twist and turn, every day if possible. But it is up to our Government whether India should allow this senselessness. Allowing the strategy of short selling - selling something before buying - is not that a great strategy for either the country or its retail investors. Of course, market participants would pooh-pooh this idea, citing short selling as a price discovery tool and all. But all that is plain rubbish invented by brokerages for brokerages.
In fact, many European markets like Germany have emerged stronger from crises by banning naked short selling, even if for short durations. Plain commonsense shows that truer price discovery is possible when sellers are selling only what they have bought first. Buffett went back almost empty handed. Though he did have truckloads of money with him, and anticipated a few Indian business houses to call him to invest, nothing of that sort happened. It shows that what Buffett told is so right. The big and best business houses of India realize that they are indeed sitting on huge potential, even if that means Buffett doesn’t get a pie from them. On meeting Dr. Singh, Buffett was as clear as he was about the market. The Prime Minister is “wise and kind”, were the exact words. But India has started wishing that the words were “smart and aggressive”, words used to describe his Indian born deputy Ajit Jain, who is seen by many Berkshire watchers as Buffett’s successor. Buffet has gone. Markets will fall again. Then it will rise again. But apart from being shocked each time the trend bends against one’s wishes, there is much to learn from this simple old man. Buffett is no saint. He had given a chance to Goldman Sachs against the wishes of American public. He has hedged his positions using derivatives. Now, he is under heat due to the insider-trading allegations against his former top lieutenant, David Sokol. But despite being one of the largest investors in this globe, even the smallest of retail investors can learn much from this pragmatic man. Even his best known quotes are still relevant. For example his advice to new recruits: “Rule No. 1 - Never Lose Money. Rule No. 2 - Never Forget Rule No. 1.” Beyond the joke what does it mean? It means that the first thing to know about capital markets is that there is no capital protection and to insure against capital loss, you have to invest in the strongest frontline stocks. In the current scenario, it means selecting those stocks that have corrected the least post-November, in each sector. But the average investor thinks it is a foolish strategy. He looks for the most corrected stocks, and ends up losing capital at the next downturn. Rules 1 & 2 also mean that you should always place your stop-losses. The third rule is also quite relevant today - buy a stock believing that you are spending forever one out of 20 stockbuying chances in a lifetime. In other words, be quite choosy with your money earmarked for equities. If you consider capital protection with growth prospects, this also rings true in today’s market. There are not a lot more than twenty stocks worth your money at the current prices. John Antony
INSIDE BANKING STOCKS: MULTIBAGGERS, FIXED DEPOSITS, & NPAS! Banking is the only sector that all other sectors need. Banking can look up even if half of the industry sectors look down, as the other half would be totally reliant on banking. Conventionally, this reliance on banking by the entire industry, if not economy, has been motivating investors of all kinds to invest in banking stocks. Choosing banking stocks, it was argued by many, did away with the difficulty in choosing between sectors, say, auto or IT, or engineering or services. But this hope has been largely shattered during the past four monthsâ€™ correction in Nifty, in which BankNifty participated rather..
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Lessons in life Dhoni Gave Us The Indian captain did many things right to help us lift that cup. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty tells you what you can learn from him While you're basking in the glory of India's world cup victory, you may as well take some tips from M S Dhoni on how to stay on top of your game. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty decodes the mantras that have made our captain among the greatest of all..
IPL- It is Not Just Crickets Can we take a breather?? The just-concluded ICC Cricket World Cup has certainly lived up to itâ€™s name as a high-voltage and heart-pumping tourney and the entire cricket congress is still to awaken from itâ€™s backlash. Now with the commencement of the Great Indian Premier League, not many will regain their senses as the cricketing spectacle kicks off within a few days time.
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LESSONS IN LIFE DHONI GAVE US
he Indian captain did many things right to help us lift that cup. While you're basking in the glory of India's world cup victory, you may as well take some tips from M S Dhoni on how to stay on top of your game. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty decodes the mantras that have made our captain among the greatest of all times.
looked at Ravi Shashtri and, with a genuine smile, said, "I remember you called us underdogs and so we have won the cup for you". Here is a man who does not collapse under the weight of a comment from an important cricketer but works forward with gusto, logic and a renewed determination. When important people undermine or underestimate you, get in touch with your feelings of fear, dread, anger or sadness and convert these into greater resolve. As a kid, Let criticism inspire you Sachin Tendulkar too would not During the presentation ceremony rest till he had defeated his friends of the 20-20 World Cup, Dhoni in a table tennis match after a loss
at his old residence Sahitya Sahawas.
Us, not I On the day of victory, the World Cup was in every player's hands, except Dhoni's. A couple of years ago, Dhoni asked Anil Kumble to take the cup after a victory in a test series. His genuine affection for his team is visible and the bonding is strong. He has praise for all but neither did he mince words when Gambhir failed to make his 100 due to a bad shot. He is genuine, even blunt. He has publicly made statements such as, "Our middle order should perform" or "Sreeshanth should behave".
Stay cool Dhoni is cool during tense mo-
ments. No sledging, or rash words. It would be interesting to learn more about his self-talk. It probably involves thoughts such as 'Calm down', 'Focus now' or "Let me try something new'. The feeling of dread and fear is allowed to pass. He probably observes these emotions come and go on his mind screen. This thought process is visible on his face that remains childlike many a time during a crisis. So, when the chips are down, just observe your feelings as they come. If you find yourself fretting or yelling, you have been hijacked emotionally and will lose friends and battles. If not, creative responses will emerge.
Keep at it MSD teased Ravi Shashtri by saying, "If we had lost, many questions — why Sreeshanth, why did
I bat before Yuvraj — would have been asked". His getting into the middle of a battle shows he loves challenges and does not bother with incessant advice from exgreats. Like Anil Kumble, who shared at his retirement that he ignored all criticism during his lean period and persisted, our captain also practices 'dogged perseveration with risk-taking'. The Dhoni mantra is clear — persevere while down, take risks and obey your instincts.
Gratitude Lastly but importantly, Dhoni feels and expresses his gratitude openly. After the win, he said, "I chose to come before and Gary backed me". Thanking 'Gary and Paddy', and others significant to his performance as well as that of the team, comes naturally to him. Gratitude is a part of his personality.
When India loses, Dhoni often publicly accepts the team's shortfalls but does not dwell on them for long. During one loss, he said, "This match is over, let's plan for the next". Unlike captains of yesteryears, who would brood, ruminate and introspect too much, our reigning captain has mastered the art of leaving things behind. Fear and disappointment are not allowed to percolate his mind. Just focus on newer frontiers with a fresh pair of eyes and a refreshed mood. Do not be the victim of excessive critical appraisal from yourself or others. It may paralyse you.
IPL - IT’S NOT an we take a breather? The just concluded ICC Cricket World Cup has certainly lived up to it’s name as a high-voltage and heart-pumping tourney and the entire cricket congress is still to awaken from it’s euphoria. Now with the commencement of the Great Indian Premier League, not many will regain their senses in time, as the cricketing spectacle kicks off within a few days time. The extravaganza has assured those lazy bones, curled around on their sofas, of non-stop cricketing masti. If the world cup is the role model in the cricketing stage, then the IPL is the mischievous model. IPL is more than just cricket which makes it closely followed by different masses with rapt attention. The new edition involves two more teams making it, surely, a more keenly contested affair. It’s all about powerhitting, close-shaves and cheer girls, thereby creating an atmosphere of tension and glamour and also a peppery one at that. Here is a look-out on the teams that would be fighting to achieve 20-20 triumph with minimal effort and maximum sixers.
Mumbai Indians The team has befittingly retained four of it’s superstars for this year’s IPL. Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard were instrumental in Mumbai Indians’ successful IPL campaign over the past years. Tipped as the heavyweights, the only blot on this team is their inability to live up to the expectations, and is easily bogged down by nervewrecking matches. They were finalists in the previous editon and can be slated as the South Africa of IPL - they choke to death rather meekly. But, the sheer presence of Tendullkar gives them an upper hand over the other outfits. Players to watch out for: Sachin Tendulkar, Lasith Malinga
Chennai Super Kings
They are undoubtedly the best performing team so far in the three editions. Captained by a World-Cup winning skipper in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the team by now has achieved two major titles, including the
Champions League winners and not to forget their IPL-3 victors tag. During the auction, the franchisee made sure that they went with the same combination as in the previous editions by claiming successful bids, except losing out a key player in Muralitharan. They are the only team to feature in two IPL finals and there’s nothing to be surprised if they go on to book another final berth. Players to watch out for: MS Dhoni, Michael Hussey
Delhi Daredevils Unmistakably, Delhi has the least fancied players in the squad. Previously they had the likes of Villiers, Dilshan etc but the auction meant they would lose out on many of their stars. Their best buy seems to be Wayne Parnell but that too isn’t something to boast about for a team that had the likes of McGrath, Dirk Nannes etc. Possibly, DD may find the going tough this year as many felt that they were the worst prepared for the auctions. Loosing a player of the caliber of Gambhir may hurt them but the management has made a sensible choice by
retaining explosive Indian opener, Virender Sehwag. They made it to the semis on two occasions but their lacklustre performance in the big games dashed their hopes of making into the final. Players to watch out for: Colin Ingram, Virender Sehwag
Royal Challengers Bangalore A disastrous campaign in IPL-1 shocked many as they were tipped as favourites to grab hold of the trophy, but made a rousing fight-back in the next edtion, unfortunately losing out to Deccan Chargers in the final. RCB is a team that showed a gradual and consistent change over the years. Their buys have been spot-on and indicates their quest for a trophy-winning team, something that has hampered their chances before. With Kumble opting out of this yearâ€™s IPL, the captaincy role may be taken up by former DD player, Daniel Vettori. On paper, they look a fabulous team but one will have to wait and watch whether they are able to utilize their resources into gains.
Players to watch out for: Virat Kohli , Dirk Nannes
Rajasthan Royals If the RCB has improved steadily over the years, the performance of RR has decelerated to an extent where even the great Shane Warne is unable to save the blushes. They are well remembered for lifting the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League but since then they haven’t played to their full potential . They have roped in a few names but it remains to be seen whether they can achieve the impossible. Players to watch out for: Shane Watson, Ross Taylor
Kings X1 Punjab They can be clubbed along with the RR as the Punjabi boys too have found the going tough. In the first Edition, they did well under the leadership of Yuvraj Singh, reaching the semi-final and a rollicking group stage performance. Sangakkara took over the reigns the following year after Yuvraj was stripped off captaincy. But Sanga couldn’t lead the team to further triumph and Punjab finished rock bottom in the league standings last year winning just a couple of matches. Addition of Gilchrist has boosted their chances with the Australian having previously led the Deccan Chargers to IPL victory. Players to watch out for: David Hussey, Ryan Harris
Deccan Chargers Come April 8th and the Deccan Chargers will be all charged up. Their debut season not withstanding, the Chargers since then have proved a point that they are no pushovers. Finishing in the last position a year and going on to win the following years title just stands to show their fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude. The team will sorely miss the expertise of seasoned campaigner, Adam Gilchrist, who single-handedly took them to the top. However, the team can brag about having a solid, thinking and classy captain in Kumara Sangakkara, who led his national team to the World Cup final. Fitness of Kevin Pietersen is a worry but they have the players to cover up such risks.
Players to watch out for: Dale Steyn, JP Duminy
Kolkata Knight Riders Of the 8 teams that participated over the three IPL editions, KKR is the only team that is yet to enter the semi-final stages. Easily the strongest team, KKR will want to get past that dubious record and establish their supremacy. Inconsistency has had the better of them time and again but the team sports a new look with the purchase of Indian batting star, Gautam Gambhir, and numerous other big names. They came agonizingly close to qualify last year but lady luck didn’t shower her blessings upon them. KKR have in their ranks the very best players and the fans would be hoping that their team makes the cut when this year’s IPL commences. Players to watch out for: Eoin Morgan, Ryan ten Doeschate
Sahara Pune Warriors One of the two new entrants into the IPL sphere, SPW have in their midst a team that can go all the way. Captained by an in-form and boisterous Yuvraj Singh, who won the Player of the Tournament in the just-concluded WC, the team will seek to start off on a positive note and sent shivers down the spines of their competitors. Owned by the Sahara Group of Companies, SPW will play their home matches at the DY Patil Stadium ground located at Navi Mumbai as the MCA Stadium is still under Construction. The
Warriors play their first match in the IPL (2011) against the Kings XI Punjab at Navi Mumbai on the 10th of April 2011. Players to watch out for: Yuvraj Singh, Callum Ferguson
Kochi Tuskers Kerala
Players to watch out for: Muttiah Muralitharan, Brendan McCullum.
This new born baby has seen it all. From the time the team took shape, they have gone through difficult periods, faced severe allegations and possibilities of axing loomed large. But, the prayers and support of their fans helped the team to regain foundation and confidence and the team will want to give back something to cheer for their well-wishers. Many pundits feel that KTK is the most balanced team having a blend of both senior pros and fresh legs. The teamâ€™s base is at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where they are slated to face-off with the Royal Challengers of Bangalore on the 9 th of April. Mahela Jayawardena is unquestionably KTKâ€™s man of the moment after his breath-taking batting in the final of the World Cup and justifiably the skipper of the Kochi outfit. They would want to pose a serious threat on all titlecontenders and the intensity they have shown during their practice sessions clearly indicates their hunger for success.
Ginseng & Saffron Better Aphrodisiacs than Chocolate & Wine Ginseng and saffron are proven performance boosters and will improve sexual function, according to a review of natural aphrodisiacs. Forget the chocolate and strawberries, ginseng and saffron are the best aphrodisiacs. The review adds that people can indulge in wine and chocolate, too, but need to know that their amorous effects are all likely to be in their head. The review was carried out by
‘Aphrodisiacs have been used for thousands of years all around the world but the science behind the claims has never been well understood,’ said Prof Massimo Marcone of the research team.
researchers at Guelph university in Ontario, Canada. They examined hundreds of studies of commonly used aphrodisiacs to test claims of sexual enhancement. The ones which satisfied their criteria were panax ginseng,
saffron and yohimbine, a natural chemical from yohimbe trees in west Africa. ‘Aphrodisiacs have been used for thousands of years all around the world but the science behind the claims has never been well understood,’ said Prof Massimo Marcone of the research team. Alcohol was found to enhance sexual desire but impede performance, while chocolate – despite claims made on its behalf – was not linked to arousal or satisfaction. And stay away from the more obscure Spanish fly and Bufo toad – they can even be toxic, the researchers advised.
BANKING SECTOR OUTLOOK / PICKS FOR 2011
anking is the only sector that all other sectors need. Banking can look up even if half of the industry sectors look down, as the other half would be totally reliant on banking. Conventionally, this reliance on banking by the entire industry, if not economy, has been motivating investors of all kinds to invest in banking stocks. Choosing banking stocks, it was argued by many, did away with the difficulty in choosing between sectors, say, auto or IT, or engineering or services. But this hope has been largely shattered during the November-February’ correction in Nifty, in which BankNifty participated rather strongly. The core reasons are simple enough. Firstly comes the issue of the preceding huge run-up in banking stocks. But this should be only a technical reason, as fundamentally, even when BankNifty was making new highs, most analysts were giving buy, accumulate, or hold calls. Fundamentally, at least on first looks, things looked alright for banks then. But looking at banking stocks now, even if it is on hindsight, many of them doesn’t seem like great investment opportunities. Here, a sharp demarcation should be made between public sector banks and private sector ones. Not that one of them is superior over the other, but that each of them suffer from different problems. Private banking space is largely affected by its inability to grow volumes quickly, in comparison with PSBs. For example, the smallest listed PSB by revenue, State Bank of Mysore, has more revenue than 12 out of 16 private sector banks. It should be remembered that SBM is the smallest among 23 PSBs! In fact, ICICI Bank is the only private sector bank that beats some heavyweight PSBs handsomely. Even the second-largest private player, HDFC Bank, is smaller than the Top-5 PSBs from SBI to BoB. Coming to the third-largest player, Axis Bank, it is smaller than the Top-8 PSBs from SBI to Central Bank. Indeed, private sector players have a definite hurdle in scaling up. On the other hand, public sector banks lag their private peers in the quality of their growth. To cite just one core metric, private sector banks are much more profitable than PSBs, with their average net profit margin at 12.62%. PSB’s average NPM is more than 2.5% lower, barely able to cross the pivotal 10% profit level, and even this average performance is aided by a few PSBs with margins above 15-16%. Same goes with other vital metrics like Return on Equity (RoE). The basic reason for this difference in quality remains PSBs’ slower embrace of alternative channels like net banking, ATMs, credit / debit cards, mobile banking etc that ensures growth at lower costs. Private sector banks, on the other hand, are finding it difficult to grow volumes because they continue to turn their face away from programs of financial inclusion and social commitment, which continue to be the volume drivers in a country like India. And then there are the vital opportunities both the sectors missed, like microfinance, which unfortunately led to the establishment of an unwanted, unjustified NBFC sub-sector. And amidst all these banking plays, there remains no doubt, a handful of players from each banking sector, who are outperforming in all the vital fronts. These are the banks to watch out for, and Seasonal Magazine, in this issue, brings an analysis on the keyPSB players to watch out for.
BANKING SECTOR OUTLOOK / PICKS FOR 2011
State Bank of India State Bank of India headquarters in Mumbai
Strengths: SBI is 330% larger than the nearest public sector competitor by income, and 275% larger than nearest private sector peer. Not only canâ€™t both of them - PNB & ICICI - play catch-up in the coming few years, but size-wise things are getting better for SBI due to the upcoming mergers with SBI Group banks like SBM, SBBJ, & SBT. The dominance in income is also on a comparable asset base. Has shown the capability for leading other PSBs in innovative products, and lately even a brand of defiance to regulators when it comes to pushing things their way. Has access to some of the lowest cost CASA funds in the country that protects margins. Reputation wise and trust wise, quite popular among customers.
Despite leadership in income and CASA, lags in profitability compared with a few other PSBs, and many private sector banks. This might hint at systemic inefficiencies. Recent rows with RBI regarding teaser loans and provisioning can invite unnecessary wrath and regulation. Has been very sluggish compared with private sector peers like ICICI when it comes to offering a bouquet of services. Witnessed a significant negative cash flow last year. Return on Equity is below 14, unlike many outperforming peers in both public and private sector. Free reserves per share is not impressive at less than 40% of the book value.
Strategic Initiatives: Recently concluded a successful bond issue that takes care of the fund requirements. Remains bullish on teaser loans in home financing, and seems to have
Technical Chart - SBI 1-1-2008 to 31-3-2011
Outlook: The recent correction has shaved off almost Rs. 800 from the share price and made SBI safer than before. But it is not the safest bet among PSBs, as it still trades
at a significant premium to its peers with a P/E of over 17 and P/BV of 2.70 times. For a while, that is during the last Bank Nifty rally, it seemed as though SBI would be re-rated to private sector valuations. But this was not to be, and the scrip took its investors through a painful correction, which seems to have not found its bottom still. But if Bank Nifty improves in the coming months, expect SBI to join in, but not outperform. Even taking out its 52-Week High of 3515 again seems to be a task for SBI.
Investment Grade: If both FII inflow and credit growth outperforms, SBI can perform as good as a fixed deposit, that is deliver an annual return of around 10%. Has the potential to double in the long run - 3 to 5 years or more - if and only if the mergers with all the three group banks occur. Chances are more for this to get delayed, and SBI delivering only an FD type return in good markets, and correcting significantly in adverse market and credit growth conditions.
the tacit approval of FinMin, even against the wishes of RBI. Teaser loans are expected to be a future money-spinner for SBI, if it doesn’t regress to a sub-prime like scenario. Due to its unique positioning as the bank ‘closest’ to GoI, has access to some incredible funds like the recent EPFO decision to park Rs. 3.5 lakh crore solely with SBI, even if it is for three months.
BANKING SECTOR OUTLOOK/PICKS FOR 2011
Bank of India Strengths: Bank of India is the fourth largest PSB by income, and achieves this on a comparable asset base as its peers. Bigger by income than HDFC Bank and all other private sector banks, other than ICICI. Had a strong cash flow position last year, as it more than doubled its cash position to near Rs. 9500 crore. Free reserves per share is nearly half of its book value per share. In a recent survey, was adjudged as the second most trusted bank among all PSBs.
Weaknesses: Despite being the fourth largest by income, Bank of India lags a couple of its comparable peers in profitability. Its Return on Equity is below 14, and comparable to SBI, but not with many outperforming peers in this regard. Despite being the first Indian bank to open a branch outside the country way back in 1946, and the first Indian bank to open a branch in Europe, its overseas growth hasnâ€™t been as impressive as Bank of Baroda.
Despite suffering from a slow start in implementing and expanding its alternate banking channels, BoI has been quite bullish recently on fronts like internet banking, online share trading, ATMs, credit / debit cards, remittance services, online bill payments, ticket booking, and even
Technical Chart - Bank of India 1-1-2008 to 31-3-2011
mobile banking. This newfound thrust will help improve volumes even when cutting costs and improving margins in the long run. Shrugging off its overseas lethargy, over the last couple of years, Bank of India has an overseas business upwards of 20%. BoI has offices in almost all financial nerve centres of the world like London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, & Singapore. The bank recently started its New Zealand subsidiary.
Outlook: After the recent correction, Bank of India looks safer and more attractive for investments. At a P/E of 10 odd and P/ BV of less than 2, BoI is cheaper than a few comparable PSBs by size, and definitely much cheaper than both bigger and smaller private sector banks. Compared on interest income, Bank of India’s market cap definitely has room to accommodate more value. Amidst Bank Nifty’s correction, BoI was one of the banks to correct the least, showing its strength vis-à-vis its peers. Taking out its 52-Week High doesn’t seem to be a big deal fundamentally and technically, and that in itself can provide an upside of almost 25%. Will outperform many peers when Bank Nifty moves up.
Bank of India’s income growth is on a higher orbit since the last two years, and if profitability too improves, this is one of the PSB stocks that can be a 2 bagger (double) from the current levels, say, 2 to 3 years from now. Can even be a 3-bagger if overseas aggression is kept intact. Highly likely to outperform FDs in the intermediate term by a factor of 2 to 3, that is, 20-30% upside.
BANKING SECTOR OUTLOOK / PICKS FOR 2011
Union Bank of India Strengths: Generates more profits than bigger peers by revenue like Bank of India and IDBI Bank. Achieves this feat on similar asset bases as peers. Union Bankâ€™s Return on Equity (RoE) of 23.55 is not only above many of its peers, but above many highflying private banks like HDFC Bank. Also, one of the rare PSBs that has grown its tech-led alternate channels to an impressive 45% of revenue.
Witnessed a net decrease in cash and cash equivalents due to the rapid expansion. Free reserves per share is only one-third of the NAV. Sometimes prone to witness a QoQ dip in net profits.
Technical Chart - Union Bank of India 1-1-2008 to 31-3-2011
Strategic Initiatives: Is gearing up for good credit growth by going in for a Rs. 1096 crore preferential issue by the Government. Has appointed consultancy major, McKinsey to assist with delivering an enhanced customer service experience. Will be getting into wealth management business soon. Is working to grow its alternate channels like net banking, mobile banking, ATMs, cards etc to an even higher level that should drive volumes and profits at lower costs.
Outlook: The recent correction has made the stock quite attractive at less than 8 times P/E and less than 2 times its book-value. Cheaper than most private sector banks, and many PSBs like SBI and Bank of India. If and when market bounces back, and interest rates stop moving up, Union Bank can easily outperform Bankex. At current growth rate, may comfortably rebound within a fiscal to current 52-Week High of Rs. 427, which in itself is an upside of over 31%.
If economy and markets do well, it can outperform 1year fixed deposits by at least 100%, that is, deliver an annual return of around 20%. Has the potential to be a 2 or 3 Bagger within the next two-three fiscals.
BANKING SECTOR OUTLOOK / PICKS FOR 2011
Canara Bank Strengths: Canara Bank is today enjoying an enviable limelight, as the country’s third largest PSB after SBI & PNB. It recently crossed the Rs. 5 lakh crore business target. The South India based major also achieves this on a comparable asset base as its closest peers. Compared with private sector peers, not only is Canara Bank larger than all except ICICI Bank, and with which it has come within striking distance. By the core performance metric of Return on Equity, Canara Bank is way ahead of its peers like SBI and Bank of India, with an impressive 24%. The bank which had a negative cash position in FY’09 had rebounded strongly in FY’10 with a strong cash position of around Rs. 3000 crore. The free reserves per share is not bad at more than 42% of its book value.
Weaknesses: When it comes to profits, Canara Bank is slightly less profitable than the comparable peer, Bank of Baroda. Though profit growth remained intact in FY’10, income growth had slowed down considerably. But in the three quarters since then, while income rebounded impressively, profit growth has been stagnant. This shows that there are some ongoing stability issues that Canara Bank hasn’t fully surmounted. The bank’s overseas operations are smaller than comparable peers, with presence only in UK, Middle East, & Hong Kong.
Strategic Initiatives: During the past one year, Canara Bank underwent a massive re-branding exercise which included a new brand identity and the catchy tagline ‘We are changing for you’. But beyond a cosmetic change as is customary, the bank indeed is re-inventing itself by giving a big push to its alternate channel development. Thrust areas include internet banking, online trading, e-shopping, online ticketing, bill payments etc, apart from older offerings like ATMs and credit/debit cards. Corporate Banking is also getting separate and dedicated attention at Canara, much like how private sector banks go about it. The bank recently raised around Rs. 2000 crore by a QIP, which was the
Technical Chart - Canara Bank 1-1-2008 to 31-3-2011
Outlook: The QIP price of Rs. 604 offer a strong reference point to enter Canara Bank. The stock has received good support at that level, post-QIP. After the postNovember correction, Canara Bank stock is also quite attractive at a P/E of less than 8 and a P/BV of just over 2
times. Compared with most peer group PSBs, this is cheaper, while compared with private sector peers the valuations are mouth-watering. Canara Bank, along with Union Bank, is one PSB that can legitimately stake a claim to rerating to near private sector levels, due to their competitive service offerings much like in the private sector. On sustained recoveries in capital market and credit growth, Canara Bank can soar to its 52-Week High levels, which in itself is a near 35% upside from here.
Investment Grade: Canara Bankâ€™s recent QIP was quite ambitious, and apart from meeting upcoming regulatory requirements like Basel III, this hints at strong credit growth over the next couple of years. If income and profit levels grow more synchronised, Canara Bank is set to be an outperformer at the bourses, in the long-term, and can bring in 2 to 3 fold returns within the next 2 to 3 years. Highly likely to beat FDs by a factor of 2 to 3 within a year. Will outperform Bank Nifty significantly.
second ever QIP by a PSB, and the largest ever. The Issue witnessed strong subscription by both FIIs like Templeton and DIIs like LIC, SBI, & SBI Life.
BANKING SECTOR OUTLOOK / PICKS FOR 2011
Punjab National Bank Strengths: For many years, the second largest PSB in the country by income wasn’t a hot favourite at the bourses. But this was undeservedly, as PNB soon proved to be a much more profitable bank than even the largest PSB, SBI. Punjab National Bank also achieves this on a comparable salesto-assets ratio as SBI. Compared with private sector peers, it is now only a matter of time before PNB outpaces ICICI Bank, the only private player bigger than it. In profitability, PNB has already outpaced ICICI convincingly. Its Return on Equity is quite impressive at above 24%, and it has been maintaining its RoE above 20% for some years now.
Weaknesses: Though PNB’s cash position remains healthy at around Rs. 2060 crore, it has been dipping since the last two years. Sales grew at a slower pace in FY’10 than in the earlier two years. During the last three quarters, profit growth has also become sluggish. Though it was one of the first banks to develop its tech-led alternate channels, the growth from these channels have been lacklustre as the bank is yet to develop an agile customer service delivery platform, much like how private sector banks do. Used to be very slow in overseas expansions, but has recently made some dramatic moves to improve its position.
Strategic Initiatives: PNB is bracing for good credit growth this year, as shown by their recent capital addition of Rs. 184 crore from the Government. Maintaining CASA deposits at over 40% will remain a priority, thereby safeguarding margins. It recently stunned competition by taking controlling stake in JSC Dana Bank in Kazakhstan. PNB is also beefing up its presence in UK, China, Hong Kong, Dubai, Norway, Kabul, Australia, Nepal, & Bhutan. Recent signals from the bank also indicate that it is beefing up tech-led deliveries like ASBA, share
Technical Chart - Punjab National Bank 1-1-2008 to 31-3-2011
trading, mobile banking etc. Recently, PNB has also turned bullish in promoting its five domestic subsidiaries in sectors like life insurance, housing finance etc, as well as its four domestic joint ventures in sectors like asset management, in what is clearly a move to remain one up above catchingup peers like Canara, BoB, & BoI.
Outlook: The recent preferential issue to GoI was at around Rs. 1220, when the ruling price was Rs. 1110. In the week since then the stock has gained much, but still not breached the preferential issue price. This in itself should provide for a good entry point in the stock, as Rs. 1220 will provide good support in the future. PNB was one of the PSB stocks that was least affected by the post-November correction, losing only 18% from its 52-Week High. Still, PNB is quite attractive by core valuations, trading just above 8.5 times its P/E and 2.25 times its book. It can easily take out its 52-Week High on a sustained rebound in Bank Nifty, and this 18% is a good intermediate-term gain to look for.
PNB is a very interesting banking stock, as it is rightly positioned for a re-rating in the intermediate to long term. Forget private sector valuations, even if it is rated close to SBI by earnings multiple, there is significant room for upside. Will outperform fixed deposits in the short term (one year), and has the potential to be a 2-bagger over the next couple of years. Can even end up being a 3-bagger within the next five years, if it can grow its alternate channels and overseas activities aggressively.
BANKING SECTOR OUTLOOK / PICKS FOR 2011
Bank of Baroda Strengths: What differentiates the 5 th largest public sector lender from its peers is not only its better profitability on a relatively smaller asset base, but its strong cash flow position. For example, in FY’10, BoB improved its cash/cash equivalents position by an impressive Rs. 11,380 crore. This might be the highest for any PSB, with only Bank of India coming even near at Rs. 9469 crore, while Canara Bank generated cash of only around Rs. 3000 crore, PNB around Rs. 2000 crore, and while SBI had a negative cash generation of around Rs. 6900 crore. This was what made the PSB a darling among investors in the just concluded fiscal. Beats all other PSBs in their international reach with solid operations in over 26 countries. Recently concluded a preferential issue to government that brought in Rs. 2461 crore.
Weaknesses: Though Bank of Baroda’s Return on Equity is healthy at around 20%, over the past couple of years, peers like Punjab National Bank and Union Bank have improved their performance to 24% levels. Free Reserves per share is only around 15% of the book
value per share. Annually, income growth had moderated in FY’10, despite profits growing impressively, while the last three quarters displayed a moderation in profit growth.
Strategic Initiatives: The recently concluded preferential issue to Government was the biggest among all PSB issues in this round, and clearly signals outperformance in credit growth in the coming quarters. BoB is setting up the India International Bank Malaysia Berhad, together with IOB and Andhra Bank, which is expected to be operational this June. Its existing overseas operations continue to outperform with the latest example being its Trinidad & Tobago operation growing by over 120% in the first 10 months
of this fiscal. It is expanding its New Zealand operations this year. If the MCX IPO concludes successfully, BoB stands to gain a windfall as a first investor in the commodity exchange together with peers SBI & Corporation Bank. BoB is also focussing on expanding its branch network in North and North East of the country.
Outlook: Why the post-November dip in BoB was not as serious as in other PSBs, and why the rebound was quick is largely due to BoB’s fundamental performance. The recent correction has made the BoB scrip safer for an entry now. At
Technical Chart - BoB 1-1-2008 to 31-3-2011
a P/E of just 9.30 times, and a P/BV of 2.37 times, BoB is definitely looking more attractive than SBI. Looking also at private sector players, BoB is comparable to HDFC Bank in sales and profits, but trades at a steep discount of even less than one-third P/E and P/BV. Forget HDFC Bank, or even ICICI Bank, even if BoB approaches the valuation of SBI, the prices could double in the next two years. Stature-wise and strategy-wise, Bank of Baroda, together with Union
Bank, is one of the betterequipped PSBs to take competition from private sector players head on.
Investment Grade: The recent preferential issue price of Rs. 902.14 had given a good reference point for entry. But BoB has already soared to Rs. 980 levels displaying its strength. Though there isnâ€™t much space before reaching its 52-Week High of Rs. 1050 levels, that should be taken as a strength. Along with the
rebound in BankNifty, BoB will most probably be the first PSB scrip to mark new yearly highs, ahead of all peers and the banking index itself. And if the capital market and credit growth both look good, BoB is better equipped to keep on hitting new highs throughout the bull season. Will definitely outperform bank FDs by a factor of 2 to 3 or more within a year, and is poised to be one of the first banks to double in value within the next 2 to 3 years. On a longer horizon, BoB holds the promise of being a 3-bagger or even more.
arriers are apparently warming up to the idea, and the Wi-Fi alliance is now taking the first step to make that happen. hammered their networks. AT&T, for example, purchased Wi-Fi hotspot operators Wayport in 2008 after the iPhone, which was exclusive to the AT&T network, brought cell reception to its knees. Now the operator relies on its WiFi network to handle the brunt of the traffic from the iPad and other tablets. Even Verizon, which was initially hostile to Wi-Fi, signed an agreement with Boingo to offer its subscribers access to Wi-Fi.
WI-FI BROADBAND ROAMING GETS ONE STEP CLOSER
he Wi-Fi Alliance will work with equipment providers, carriers and device manufacturers to create a testing and certification program that will enable operators to eventually offer consumers the ability to roam on WiFi networks. Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, said the results of such action wouldnâ€™t be put into practice until the first half of next year. The next step for the Wi-Fi Alliance and the companies working on the problem is to agree to some common standards and frameworks around identifying devices with some type of subscriber information. The benefit for the consumer is potentially huge, as an ability to certify and authenticate Wi-Fi devices enables a carrier to track a
device as it moves onto its Wi-Fi network, and allows users on the network without a break in connectivity or enduring a sign-in screen. In USA, carriers have been turning to Wi-Fi in recent years as the demand for mobile broadband has
Kelly Davis-Felner, Marketing Director, Wi-Fi Alliance
With their dependence on Wi-Fi, the next logical step for operators would be to implement some type of roaming agreement that allows a customer to transition from an AT&T Wi-Fi network to a Verizon Wi-Fi network seamlessly without going through multiple authentications. Or perhaps roaming agreements would allow a Wi-Fi customer from the U.S. to travel overseas through a roaming partnership made with an international operator. Cell companies could offer Wi-Fi to customers via a more seamless, cellular-style experience. Carriers are apparently warming up to the idea, and the Wi-Fi alliance is now taking the first step to make that happen. By figuring out what carriers and device makers are willing to do in order to authenticate Wi-Fi devices, the Wi-Fi Alliance provides a mechanism to get carriers to trust unlicensed devices on their network by associating those devices with some kind of identity, much like a SIM card provides an identity for a mobile phone. Members working toward this goal include Cisco, France-Telecom, Bel Air Networks and Marvell among others. Davis-Felner states that the certification itself will be softwarebased and inexpensive.
What Is Facebook Doing With Your Data? acebook, the social networking giant with more than 600 million active users (as well as having earned the distinction of the most visited website on the Internet) has had its share of privacy scares in the past; it’s ever-changing Terms of Service policy can make it difficult to keep your private data safe and secure. Which begs the question: what, exactly, does Facebook do with your data?
In 2008, Facebook launched “Engagement Ads,” which would prompt users to interact with a targeted ad once they login (such as “like” a product or RSVP for a movie) and then grant marketers access to what users did with that information, as well as share it with friends to get it in front of “more eyeballs.” To add fuel to the outrage, in 2010, Facebook announced that it would automatically opt users into a kind of
Moreover, even if you choose to deactivate your account, Facebook still retains your data in case you choose to re-enable it, which caused a privacy uproar in 2009 when its Terms of Service was once again changed. (Basically, Facebook has the right to freely use information you leave out in the open, even after you close your account.) Even if you delete your account, your comments and messages to friends will be left intact. Many are concerned about the selling of users’ private information without their consent - so much so that even Congress has gotten involved. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the
As it turns out, quite a lot.
IT security firms now warn users to remove all personal information from their profiles, lest rogue applications with malicious intent — like spammers and those that illegally trade in credit card information — take hold of your data. It’s not much of a secret that major networks can sell your private information to advertisers, but some consider Facebook’s policies particularly egregious when it comes to the practice.
I give private information on corporations to you for free, and I’m a villain.
mini-Facebook connect on thirdparty websites in order to “personalize” your online experience. Basically, this means that advertisers and Facebook partners have access to your unique “cookie,” and use that information to display information about your friends and their actions on the site (such as having “liked” a company.) The websites also have the ability to share this information with “everyone,” which is the default setting on Facebook. These sites now have access to your profile and can access your name, profile picture, gender, city, networks, friend list, likes/interests, and fan pages.
I give your private information to corporations for money, and I’m Man of the Year
chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, wants to investigate datamining and protect consumers at the same time; he’ll be introducing a bill in congress later this year that will require companies to let you know that you’re private information is secure, and allow you to opt out of providing the information in the first place. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will begin hearings on March 16, 2011 to try to prevent consumer harm. In 2010, 14 privacy and consumer advocate groups filed a complaint with the FTC against Facebook.
In January of this year, Facebook announced in its developer blog that it would be allowing the third parties that develop its partner applications to access users’ home address and telephone information, though these parties can only obtain this data if users give them explicit permission to do so. Facebook temporarily suspended this feature just three days later after — after the inevitable public outcry — but decided to move forward with the plan in February. Due to the controversial nature of the move, Facebook has also said it is “actively considering” whether to restrict users that are under 18 from sharing the data.
1. Acting Like a Jackass When You Score 2. Wearing Red 3. Singing 4. Sports Drinks 5. Grunting
5 MENTAL STRATEGIES THAT MAKE YOU BETTER AT SPORTS alent, hard work, desire -- they're all nice if you're trying to get to the top of your sport. But all other things being equal, there are a few other factors that give one side the edge. Random, ridiculous factors, such as ... Acting Like a Jackass When You Score
The study looked specifically at shootouts in soccer. For those of you who just frowned at the word "soccer" or try to avoid any information related to it out of principle, just pretend we're talking about sudden death in hockey. For the completely unfamiliar, a shootout is exactly what it sounds like: Five players from each team get to fire off one penalty kick with only the keeper to beat. Whichever team scores more goals wins. It's not the ideal way to settle a winner but it beats tacking on overtimes until it becomes one of those endless and absurd sports.
No matter how many times the NFL calls it unsportsmanlike and throws fines and penalty flags at it, excessive celebration after scoring might actually help a team win. And it's true in just about every sport. A study found that players who overtly celebrated with their teammates -- particularly during an important game were -- more likely to come out on top.
1. Acting Like a Jackass When You Score 2. Wearing Red 3. Singing 4. Sports Drinks 5. Grunting The study found that when a player scored, his team was more likely to go on to win if he showed visible signs of elation. So walking away with a "that's how you do it" smirk might make you look cool, but it's not helping your team. Even stranger, the study found that celebrating while facing the crowd didn't help, the player has to be celebrating in the direction of his team. And this strategy won't help anything.
Research indicates that doing anything that your brain also controls (singing or humming) preoccupies your mind from the task at hand and will keep those pathways from becoming over active.
Why? Well, the action simult aneously encouraged everyone else in the same jersey and seemed to mess with the other team's heads, causing them to miss a high percentage of shots directly after watching their opponents jump all over each other. That's right: Science says classy players lose in the long run.
Wearing Red We've already covered how wearing red makes you more attractive to the opposite sex, but now it looks like we might as well throw away any nonrose toned clothing because it turns out it makes you more likely to win at sports too. Two British researchers studied the results of the 2004 Olympics and found that the team or person wearing red was more likely to win in close matches -and that's
across a huge variety of team and individual sports, like soccer, tae kwon do and wresting. The key though, is close matches; if you were ranked 23rd and had to wrestle the #1 guy in the world then no amount of red is going to save you. But in an even match up, wearing red is a statistically significant factor in winning. The researchers think the reason for this might not be all that different from why red attracts us to people: Red equals dominance. We see it in species of monkeys, too, where the males have red colorations in their face and butts. The more dominant males tend to be much redder then the ones lower down the hierarchy. In humans, our faces turn red when we are all riled
Well, it turns out they are actually more likely to choke, and choke harder than any of us.
Singing Yes, singing. But to understand why it works you have to know something about the phenomenon we call "choking." It happens to pro athletes in every sport, from the 1993 Houston Oilers (who famously blew a 35-3 lead in the playoffs) to figure skater Michelle Kwan in the Olympics. But why does it happen? An amateur is one thing, but a professional who has done nothing but train his/her entire life?
But it turns out that the solution to all of it can be as simple as singing. Research indicates that doing anything that your brain also controls (singing or humming) preoccupies your mind from the task at hand and will keep those pathways from becoming over active. This in turn keeps your working memory from shutting down and prevents you from choking. It's essentially just distracting your conscious mind long enough that your muscle memory can finish the job.
up, angry or ready for a fight. The association of red uniforms with dominance and aggression may send subconscious signals to an opponent that they are being really stupid and challenging the alpha male.
Basically, once you get the mechanics of a sport honed and perfected, it's best to just let it happen. Choking occurs when people who know better start thinking too hard about what they need to do. The added pressure forces your brain into a state called "paralysis by analysis" where the "working memory" part of your brain literally stops working, and the more talented you are the more working memory you have meaning the harder the failure.
Golfers consistently use a variation of this strategy to avoid psyching themselves out. They will count down from 10 while putting to keep their mind from over analyzing the situation. You probably participated in group song that time you served on the
1. Acting Like a Jackass When You Score 2. Wearing Red 3. Singing 4. Sports Drinks 5. Grunting actually be kicking it harder.
chain gang. Regardless of the activity, as long as you don't mind mouthing lyrics on the free-throw line or humming at the plate then it turns out providing your own soundtrack can actually help your game.
Grunting At some point, we've all at least been near a television while a women's tennis match was on and surprised at the sounds. Particularly the noises Monica Seles used to make. Grunting, and sometimes almost screaming, is common place for many male and female athletes and while it might seen ridiculous and distracting, according to one study, grunting in tennis actually helps those players win.
Sports Drinks Sports drinks are a huge business -- Gatorade alone makes well over a billion dollars a year. And the reason so many athletes swear by them is the promise of increased performance, replacing all those vital nutrients lost during exercise, just like the ads say. It turns out, however, that all that electrolyte and re-hydration technology is nothing compared to the simple pleasure of having a bunch of sugar in your mouth. A study found that sports drinks
Grunting, and sometimes almost screaming, is common place for many male and female athletes and while it might seen ridiculous and distracting, according to one study, grunting in tennis actually helps those players win.
work because they activate the pleasure center of your brain. You don't even have to drink them, just swishing some around in your mouth and spitting it out has the same effect. The carbohydrates in the drink stimulate receptors in your mouth that then send your brain messages that things are all totally cool. Your brain, in turn, becomes more active in the pleasure center, allowing you to enjoy feeling the burn far longer than some idiot without a sugary drink. It also stimulates the part of your brain in charge of movement control. So not only will you be content while kicking your waterdrinking opponent's ass, you'll
Now as intuitive as it may seem that grunting would help put more muscle into a swing (like karate guys screaming "HIYAA!!" when they hit you), that's not what the study suggested. Instead, the grunt is effective because it can disorient the opponent. Even when a nongrunting tennis player is used to playing someone who makes a lot of noise, each and every grunt in every match actively affects the tennis player's ability to return the ball. This is likely a result of the shock the sound causes on the opponent, making it harder for him/her to perceive where the ball is at any given time. It also, drastically slows the reaction time of someone trying to return a serve from a heavy grunter; after a player grunts, the ball will travel on average two feet further before being returned than it would have with no noise at all. So if you like to make noise on the court, it might not be winning you any friends but it very well could win you the game. Isn't that what's really important? And you know what would really give you an advantage: combining grunting with the singing thing earlier.
5 Stunning Business & Fun Apps for iPad 2 iPad 2's hardware and software prowess is not evident until you use some stunning apps built for it. Using its vastly superior processing power and gyroscope, iPad 2 delivers impressive video conferencing to smooth video capture / upload to stunning games.
Cisco WebEx (Free) If you need to work, but don't want to be tethered to your desk, this virtual meeting app offers two-way video conferencing that uses the iPad's front-facing camera, but just like with FaceTime, you need to be on a Wi-Fi network to use it. But the performance is simply awesome.
rarely have to wait for a map to redraw. Here's hoping Google adds gyroscope support soon.
footage directly to your HDTV via Apple TV or the optional Apple Digital AV Adapter.
Real Racing 2 HD ($9.99)
Apple's own desktop videoediting app, iMovie, goes mobile with a new iPad version. The easy-to-use app makes good use of the tablet's touch-screen interface, and lets you clip, add photos, music, themes, and more to the video you capture right on the iPad 2. You can share your cinematic masterpieces in HD directly from the app to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and even CNN iReport. Integrated AirPlay support lets you stream your
If you're looking for the ultimate in mobile 3D racing games, Real Racing 2 HD delivers with beautiful, fluid, realistic graphics. Two new gyroscope-based steering methods makes hugging those curves even easier, since you don't have to touch the iPad's screen to steer. This awesome racing game gets souped-up with additional controls that use the iPad 2's new gyroscope.
Flipboard (Free) This gorgeous, graphicsintensive, just-for-the Web "magazine" that lets you flip through your news sources and social media was no slouch on the first-gen iPad, and performance is even better on the iPad 2.
Google Earth (Free)
The awesome Google Earth is another app that really showcases the iPad 2's processing and graphics power. The app is visually stunning, moving around is fast and seamless, and you
Strange he U.S. citizenship test is administered to all immigrants applying for citizenship. It is comprised of 100 questions across five categories - American government, systems of government, rights and responsibilities, American history and integrated civics.
urope came out on top. Around three quarters of British, Finnish and Danish people could, for example, identify the Taliban but just over a half of Americans could, despite the fact they led the charge in Afghanistan.
ARE AMERICANS First Christina Aguilera forgot the words to the national anthem. Now it has emerged that 70 per cent of Americans do not know what the Constitution is, and six per cent don't even know when Independence Day falls. ewsweek recently gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship test and found that their knowledge of the history and running of their own country was seriously lacking. Although the majority passed, more than a third - 38 per cent - failed, and some of the basic questions surrounding citizenship were answered incorrectly.
The U.S. citizenship test is administered to all immigrants applying for citizenship. It is comprised of 100 questions across five categories - American government, systems of government, rights and responsibilities, American history and integrated civics. Newsweek found that there were huge discrepancies in the kinds of civic knowledge Americans collectively possess. A mark of 60 per cent was needed to pass.
An alarming number of Americans did not know basic information about the Constitution, namely that it was the supreme law of the land,
that it was set up at the Constitutional Convention and that the first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. Newsweek reported that civil ignorance is nothing new. Americans have been misunderstanding checks and balances and misidentifying their senators for as long as they have existed. And their ignorance is only highlighted by the knowledge of their European peers. In March 2009, the European Journal of Communication asked citizens of Britain, Denmark, Finland and the U.S. to answer questions on international affairs. Europe came out on top. Around three quarters of British, Finnish and Danish people could, for example, identify the Taliban but just over a half of Americans could, despite the fact they led the charge in Afghanistan. Many blame it on the complexity of the U.S. political system. Michael Schudson, author of The Good Citizen, said: 'Nobody is competent to understand it all, which you realize every time you vote. You know you’re going to come up short, and that discourages you from learning more.' Others blame it on economic inequality in the U.S. as the top 400 households have more money than the bottom 60 per cent combined. NYU socioloist Dalton Conley told Newsweek: 'It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Unlike Denmark, we have a lot of very poor people without access to good education, and a huge immigrant population that doesn’t even speak English.'
The questions that Americans could not answer went from the more challenging - how many justices are in the Supreme Court? (63 per cent did not know) to the most basic - who is the Vice President of America? (29 per cent did not know)
WHY JAPAN AND JAPANESE INSURANCE CAN DO IT
Japan has a big financial challenge in the wake of its devastating chain of disasters. Here, a look at just how big is this rebuilding, and why this unique economy and its insurance industry is able to take up this feat. Japan's three-headed earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster has taken a terrible toll in human lives, injuries, and the general well-being of the Japanese people. It will, of course, carry a financial cost, too. And now, the first financial estimates of the damage are rolling in. Here's a look at what it will take for Japan to recover, by the numbers:
Estimates for a Rebuild 9,080: Official death toll from the disasters 13,561: Number of Japanese still reported missing 390,000 : Number of Japanese who remain homeless $247 billion: Japanese Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano's estimate of what it will cost to rebuild Japan $235 billion: World Bank estimate of what it will cost to rebuild Japan $12 billion: Government funds needed from the current Japanese budget, according to the World Bank. More would be needed later. $33 billion: Amount private insurers may have to pay for reconstruction, according to the World Bank $1.2 billion: Amount insurer Swiss Reinsurance estimates it will lose from the disasters
Why Japanese Can Meet the Estimate $339 billion: Amount of life insurance Japanese bought in 2009, representing 17 percent of world total $1 trillion: Japan's stockpile of foreign reserves
$4.9 billion: Total claims for life insurance from the disasters
12 YEAR OLD AUTISTIC BOY SET TO RIVAL EINSTEIN? Autistic boy, 12, with higher IQ than Einstein has developed his own theory of relativity. This child prodigy has astounded university professors after grappling with some of the most advanced concepts in mathematics. Jacob Barnett has an IQ of 170 - higher than Albert Einstein - and is now so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role. The boy wonder, who taught himself calculus, algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a week, is now tutoring fellow college classmates after hours.
And now Jake has embarked on his most ambitious project yet - his own 'expanded version of Einstein's theory of relativity'. His mother, not sure if her child was talking nonsense or genius, sent a video of his theory to the renowned Institute for Advanced Study near Princeton University. People with this disorder can have
strophysics professor Scott Tremaine - himself a world renowned expert - confirmed the authenticity of Jake's theory. a range of abilities, from being severely disabled to gifted. It is estimated one in every 150 child has the condition. According to the Indiana Star, Institute astrophysics professor Scott Tremaine -himself a world renowned expert - confirmed the authenticity of Jake's theory. In an email to the family, Tremaine wrote: 'I'm impressed by his interest in physics and the amount
that he has learned so far. 'The theory that he's working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics. 'Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize.' But for his mother Kristine Barnett, 36, and the rest of the family, maths remains a tricky subject. Speaking to the paper, Mrs Barnett
said: 'I flunked math. I know this did not come from me.' And it hasn't gone un-noticed by Jake, who added: 'Whenever I try talking about math with anyone in my family they just stare blankly.' Jake was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism, from an early age. His parents were worried when he didn't talk until the age of two, suspecting he was educationally abnormal. It was only as he began to grow up that they realised just how special his gift was. He would fill up note pads of paper with drawings of complex geometrical shapes and calculations, before picking up felt tip pens and writing equations on windows. By the age of three he was solving 5,000-piece puzzles and he even studied a state road map, reciting every highway and license plate prefix from memory.
His classroom presence is quite unnerving for many of the 18-plus year old students at his IPIU lectures. Speaking to the Indy Star, Wanda Anderson, a biochemistry major said: 'When I first walked in and saw him, I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm going to school with Doogie Howser.'
She added: 'A lot of people come to him for help when they don't understand a physics problem. 'People come up to him all the time and say, 'Hey Jake, can you help me'. 'A lot of people think a genius is hard to talk to, but Jake explains things that would still be over their head.' And his Professor John Ross said his performance in lectures had been 'outstanding'. 'When he asks a question, he is always two steps ahead of the lecture. 'Everyone in the class gets
e would fill up note pads of paper with drawings of complex geometrical shapes and calculations, before picking up felt tip pens and writing equations on windows.
quiet. Poor kid. . . . He sits right in the front row, and they all just look at him. 'He will come to see me during office hours and ask even more detailed questions. And you can tell he's been thinking these things through. 'Kids his age would normally have problems adding fractions, and he is helping out some of his fellow students.' According to his parents Jake has trouble sleeping at night as he constantly sees numbers in his head. But far from complaining, Jake has turned the sleepless nights to his advantage - debunking the big bang theory. The next step, according to professor Ross, is for Jake to leave class altogether and take up a paid research role.
By the age of eight he had left high school and was attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis advanced astrophysics classes.
omen in the study were doubly attracted to men when they were uncertain whether or not the man had a crush on them.
Do Women Love Mystery Men? e loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not. The sacrificial flower is plucked bald and flower petals are strewn about the floor; it’s a familiar feeling for most people — wanting. A recent study of female Facebook users found women enjoyed the uncertainty. Yes, ladies, we relish the tease.
When it comes to matters of the heart apparently our hearts defy our unwritten social contracts.
Typically, if you like me, I’ll probably like you back. If you are mean to me, I’ll probably be mean to you. Sociologists call this the reciprocity principal, which essentially means humans respond in kind. However, women in the study were doubly attracted to men
when they were uncertain whether or not the man had a crush on them. Furthermore, the women were not just attracted to these men, but the women also reported being in a happier mood. Now some parts of the reciprocity study still held true. When women were clearly liked by a guy, they liked the guy back. Additionally, when men showed average interest, the women too returned that average interest. Bear in mind, this study was small and there was no offline interaction between the men and the women in the study. Plus, the study did not analyze the reverse scenario, namely are men equally intrigued by a woman whose affections are uncertain. Why uncertainty drives women wild is unclear. Certainly, from a reproductive standpoint it does not make a lot of sense. A man that plays mind games is not going to make a great father for our offspring. Perhaps, though, there is something that happens on a chemical level, which drives us towards these mystery men. In recent years, anthropologist Helen Fisher has studied our brains on love. Her findings indicate according to brain scans, love areas in our brains are associated with addiction. Perhaps during the lust phase our brains get the obsessive-compulsive, addictive-like high from the fantasy of Prince Charming. Ultimately, genetically speaking, what may get men in the “relationship door” is not going to keep them there. In fact, other research suggests women do think nice guys are sexier.
COMPANIES STRUGGLE TO MANAGE EMPLOYEES'
icrosoft had decided to give Windows Phone 7 devices to all of its 89,000 employees free, or at least to those who want them. But it's not all fun and games for Microsoft workers who connect smartphones to corporate systems, whether that's a WP7 device or something else. "At Microsoft, we have a policy that says if you try to log in on a phone five times incorrectly, we actually wipe the phone," says Microsoft's Brad Anderson, corporate vice president for management and security. "When that phone gets wiped, it doesn't differentiate between what is corporate data and what is personal data. If that happens, the pictures you have on there could get wiped." I was talking to Anderson at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, where Redmond is pitching its next wave of products to help enterprises handle cloud computing and the consumerization of IT.
But if Microsoft solves the problem, it can not only address its own employees but rake in tons of money by selling a new smart phone management product aimed
One of Microsoft's goals, both for its own employees and customers, is to build software that can differentiate between the corporate and personal data on smartphones, and help IT shops manage the two types of data separately. As of today, Microsoft is one of many companies struggling to find the right balance in handling smartphones, especially those owned by employees.
at security-minded IT organi zations. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the company hasn't yet figured out how to build that product. "That's something my team is definitely looking into," Anderson said. "As far as how it's implemented, I don't know. I know what the problem is, but I'm not sure how we're going to solve it yet." Although Microsoft's password/ wipe policy may seem strict, some companies have taken a far more draconian view of personally owned devices. Wells Fargo, whose executives I recently interviewed, say employees simply cannot hook their own devices up to the corporate network, whether that be a smartphone or a tablet. "I carry two phones. One for personal, and one for work," says Martin Davis, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's technology integration office. "I've got two iPads in my briefcase, for personal and work. We keep it separate."
That's too strict for a company like Microsoft. Smartphones are very
personal devices, and it makes sense to let employees to use their devices for both work and play, Anderson said. "There are still some companies that mandate, you
can't use a corporate provided device for any personal use," Anderson said. "I think that's a thing of the past." Many IT shops will let employees bring their own phones to work as long as they meet basic security requirements, namely the ability to force users to type a password to bring the phone up from an idle state; to remotely wipe data from the phone; and encrypt data on the phone. VMware, a rival of Microsoft, is going even further, building a virtualization platform for Android that will create separate virtual machines on the phone to separate work applications from personal ones.
I carry two phones. One for personal, and one for work," says Martin Davis, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's technology integration office. "I've got two iPads in my briefcase, for personal and work. We keep it separate.
Although Anderson acknowledged Microsoft hasn't come up with its own solution yet, he didn't back VMware's approach. Virtualization "makes sense to me on a PC," he says. "I'm not sure that makes sense yet on a phone." Microsoft already has a product called System Center Mobile Device Manager, and an article on Microsoft Technet says new versions can be expected to support iPhones, Androids, Windows Phone 7, and Symbian. But supporting a mobile device in a management platform isn't the same as being able to manage that device's personal and corporate data and applications separately. Finding a long-term solution will be difficult, Anderson said, because users want to bring their own devices to work and don't want IT making significant changes. Finding a balance that respects the users' wishes and IT security will be the key for Microsoft's product development team. (By Jon Brodkin, NetworkWorld)
Microsoft Helps Bring Down World's Largest Spam Mail Network A Microsoft lawsuit, unsealed recently, is responsible for causing government raids last Wednesday that lead to the downfall of the world’s biggest spam network, Rustock. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit used information gained in its 2010 takedown of the Waledac botnet to work with the U.S. Marshals Service in locating and obtaining evidence from five hosting companies in seven U.S. cities.
mails per day,” said Richard Boscovich, Senior Attorney at the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, in a blog post. With approximately one million computers worldwide infected by Rustock, the botnet was able to send 240 billion spam messages in a single day.
from the Rustock botnet. This means the dismantling of the Rustock botnet could mean a reduction in global spam by 39%–at least for a little while.
Symantec revealed in August last year that botnets were responsible for 95% of the Internet’s spam, and that 41% of botnet spam came
“DCU researchers watched a single Rustock-infected computer send 7,500 spam emails in just 45 minutes – a rate of 240,000 spam
Firefox 4 Has Already Eclipsed Internet Explorer 9
Now website analytics company StatCounter says Mozilla’s new browser has already taken 1.95 percent of the worldwide Internet browser market. In contrast, StatCounter adds, Internet
Explorer 9 has taken only 0.87 percent of the worldwide browser market a week after its debut. And as you can tell from the screenshot above, not only Firefox 4 but also the recently released Opera 11 browser has a steady lead over IE9 at this point. Worth noting: Internet Explorer 9 isn’t compatible with Windows XP, ageing operating system that was released ten years ago but still has an enormous
user base around the world. When all versions of each browser are taken into account, IE still leads the global market with 45 percent, followed by Firefox with 30 percent and Chrome with 17 percent, StatCounter says. The web analytics company recently reported that Firefox overtook IE to become the number one browser in Europe for the first time in December 2010. In the US, IE (all versions combined) leads the market with an even bigger margin: 48 percent, followed by Firefox at 26 percent and Chrome at 14 percent. StatCounter says its Global Stats numbers are based on aggregate data collected on a sample exceeding 15 billion page views per month from a network of more than three million websites.
Mozilla has just released Firefox 4, and in less than a day clocked more than twice the downloads Microsoft boasted about after the release of Internet Explorer 9.
DLF to be Kerala’s Largest Developer? hey are already India’s largest developer by completed residential and commercial space. Now, the way their sales is booming in Kerala, DLF is soon poised to be the state’s largest developer too, by completed space. But for Lt. Gen. M.G. Girish, who heads the Kerala operations of DLF Ltd as Executive Vice-President, topping the Kerala market is not the core issue. He has set up DLF’s Kerala operations in that way, and with what is perhaps the strongest realty brand in the country, he knows that it is only a matter of time. The suave former General, whose stars include a PVSM for distinguished service, is more concerned with delivering the finest real estate value for his Keralite homebuyers whose demands are unique, even while aligning with DLF’s national brand values. Gen. Girish, whose Malayalam is as chaste as his English, believes that quantity will follow quality sooner rather than later for DLF, in Kerala market too. Seasonal Magazine in conversation with Gen. Girish on DLF’s projects in Kochi, including new launches like Marine Drive’s Bay View and Kakkanad’s Infinity Tower.
units. Then there are so many other USPs like all apartments being air-conditioned, the 20,000 sq ft clubhouse, and so on.
but our accessibility to the upcoming expressway between the terminal and NH-47 would be a definite plus.
Apart from the traditional importance of Marine Drive, are you foreseeing any advantages coming to the project due to new infrastructures like the container terminal? Definitely. We think that the Vallarpadam Terminal would be a game-changer for Kochi as well as for projects like Bay View. The project just overlooks Bolgatty Island. But not only is the terminal very accessible from our project,
But are you experiencing an up-tick in sales due to the terminal? Yes, and we think it will gather pace in the coming weeks. But this phenomenon is not only with Bay View. If you look at our trackrecord, DLF at Kochi has always grown with Kochi. Take DLF New Town Heights at Kakkanad, as an example. The sales there has definitely been influenced by the expansion of Infopark & CSEZ,
Lt. Gen. M.G. Girish, Executive Vice-President, DLF - Kerala
DLF has recently launched its ‘Bay View’ at Marine Drive. Given that Marine Drive is getting crowded with competitive offerings these days, can you provide the USPs of the project? There are many unique features for DLF Bay View, but let me state at least the most surprising ones for homebuyers. Despite being at the costliest location in Kochi, the project has 1 acre of landscaped gardens. That is 1 acre out of the total 3.78 acres of land which in itself is quite generous at Marine Drive. Secondly, Bay View’s unique design ensures that 95% of the apartments are waterfront
and now with the Smart City project resuming, there will be no looking back. We have recently launched a premium project there, DLF Infinity Tower. The recession is definitely behind us. Is it as premium as Bay View, or how is Infinity Tower positioned? Yes, DLF Infinity Tower is one among our most luxurious projects in Kochi. Of course, different customers have different connotations about luxury, especially on features like location. Some favour waterfronts, some others favour accessible suburbs. Anyway, the distinctive feature of Infinity Tower is that apart from DLFâ€™s all top-of-the-line luxury features, there is an integrated luxury mall, Plaza Centre, within this project. We are designing it as a high-end retail destination with two floors of retail boutique, exclusive retail
We go that extra mile to ensure that our projects are a notch above the best. For example, almost all our projects in Kochi are by Hafeez Contractor. They excel in space utilization, and in bringing in natural elements like breeze and sunshine.
DLF Bay View, Marine Drive
brands, and a food court. The bulk of your Kochi sales has come from New Town Heights. How is the demand now? That is because, it is our largest project here, as well as our only township in Kochi. DLF New Town Heights will have 21 towers, of which the most luxurious one is the Infinity Tower. But, what you said is true, that the bulk of our sales has come from the other towers here. They were launched earlier and are also more affordable, at upwards of Rs. 40 lakhs. DLF Riverside at Vyttila, which was also launched earlier, had strong sales. It is a waterfront project by the Chilavannoor River. Where does your overall sales figure stand now? Are you satisfied with the progress? We have sold close to 2 million sq ft of residential property during the last 2Â˝ years. This compares
quite favourably with many builders who have been around much longer. We are here only since 2006. But then our performance is because DLF is a national brand, and undoubtedly regarded as the largest by completed space. How do you find the Kerala real estate market? How far has
its specialities helped or hindered DLF? Well, we would say that Kerala real estate market is very matured. Though the volumes are much lower than metros, the concept of branded apartments is very much in place due to many builders being in this business for one decade or more. But what we found surprising was that Keralite
homebuyers are very discerning, very demanding. They wonâ€™t make up their mind easily, not until the developer has come up with satisfactory answers to all their questions. However, in hindsight, this mindset has helped us a lot in winning homebuyer confidence as DLF as a brand has the best solutions for all homebuyer needs.
DLF Infinity Tower, Kakkanad
But the kind of affordable real estate projects that DLF is pursuing in Chennai and elsewhere is still not seen hereâ€Ś That is only because of two peculiarities of the Kerala market. Firstly, believe it or not, comparable land is costlier in Kochi than in Chennai or Bangalore. It arises from the acute scarcity of land, and we cannot do much about that. Keralites also donâ€™t want to live much away from the arterial highways that run across the length of the state. Secondly, labour costs are much higher in Kerala than even in metros. So, we are practically handicapped to offer more affordable pricing here.
In a mature market like Kerala, where almost all notable developers are already there, how do you envisage DLF projects to stand out? We are the largest developer in India by delivered space, and DLF has achieved it by getting both the quality and quantity aspects correct. We go that extra mile to ensure that our projects are a notch above the best. For example, almost all our projects in Kochi are by Hafeez Contractor. They excel in space utilization, and in bringing in natural elements like breeze and sunshine. We have apartments even up to 5400 sq ft in Kochi. Apart from such holistic design, how do DLF projects in Kochi fare by way of features or amenities? DLF is known for delivering the most feature-packed projects across the country, and our Kochi projects are no exception. Though it is impossible to mention many features now, let me say that cutting-edge features like WiFi,
DLF New Town Heights, Kakkanad
We offer 11% interest on all advance payments against upcoming EMIs. We also offer an 11% discount on apartment price if the whole purchase price is made as downpayment. For a Rs. 2 crore apartment this would amount to a savings of Rs. 22 lakhs.
Boradband, IPTV, 3-Tier Security, Video Surveillance, Guest Suites, Creche, Integrated Boat Jetties, Modular Kitchens, Inbuilt Wardrobes, Integrated Servant Room, ATM, Coffee Shop, and lots more will be there. Township class projects will also have a Health Centre, Pre-school / School, Shopping Centre, Food Court etc. Apart from your quality standards and features, how does a DLF home make more sense, say, financially? As a corporate and listed
developer, our financial terms are highly competitive and unlikely to be offered by anyone else. We offer 11% interest on all advance payments against upcoming EMIs. We also offer an 11% discount on apartment price if the whole purchase price is made as down-payment. For a Rs. 2 crore apartment this would amount to a savings of Rs. 22 lakhs. And if at all any of our projects are delayed by more than three years - which is the average construction period - we will pay the homebuyer a fair penalty per sqft per month. How will you counter the allegation that apartments are not as good an investment as land? Well, this is not always true. If you see in the case of DLF New Town Heights itself, we started offering the basic units at around Rs. 33 lakhs. Now within less than two years the price has gone up to more than 40 lakhs. We expect it to go much higher by the time all the towers and amenities are completed. Appreciation will remain a function of not only demand-supply, but on how well a project is conceived multidimensionally, and on the brand value. DLF excels in both.
South Indian Actor Nets Rs 40 cr in Final ookies say he was so sure of an Indian victory that he placed all his bets on the Men in Blue; Rs 25,000 crore was bet on the match from across the world. Team India's dogged determination despite losing the wickets of Virendra Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar in quick succession spelt doom for bookies, even as it helped a popular south Indian actor net a cool Rs 40 crore. The actor, who was sure of an Indian victory, placed all his bets on the Men in Blue.
Bookie losses Odds oscillated wildly throughout yesterday's match, with India ceding the favourites tag to Sri Lanka after Tendulkar's early exit. The Men in Blue started out at 57 paise, which climbed to Rs 1.18 when India was 31-2. The Sri Lankans then became favourites with their odds at 81 paise as opposed to the Rs 1.70 they had started out with. Things changed again when Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli
consolidated the innings without letting the asking rate shoot up. "We had to switch off our phones for more than 15 minutes to avoid taking more bets on India. It was only after Kohli fell to Dilshan that we accepted bets again. But Dhoni's knock made India the firm favourites one more time. God was not with us and we lost a lot of money," said a bookie. Sources said more than Rs 25,000 crore was bet on Saturday's match in cricket-loving countries such as India, Pakistan, Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand and Dubai.
"Some Bollywood celebrities held a meeting with bookies at Lokhandwala before heading to the stadium. Lekin saara paisa woh Madras ka hero le kar gaya," lamented a bookie.
SAFE NUCLEAR DOES EXIST, AND CHINA IS LEADING THE WAY WITH THORIUM Is India, with all its Thorium, listening? few weeks before the tsunami struck F u k u s h i m a ’s uranium reactors and shattered public faith in nuclear power, China revealed that it was launching a rival technology to build a safer, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper network of reactors based on thorium. This passed unnoticed – except by a small of band of thorium enthusiasts – but it may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.
If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption. China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”. The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball. Further evidence of Barack `Obama’s “Sputnik moment”, you could say. Chinese scientists claim that
hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently lessprone to disaster. “The reactor has an amazing safety feature,” said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA engineer at Teledyne Brown and a thorium expert. “If it begins to overheat, a little plug melts and the salts drain into a pan. There is no need for computers, or the sort of electrical pumps that
were crippled by the tsunami. The reactor saves itself,” he said. “They operate at atmospheric pressure so you don’t have the sort of hydrogen explosions we’ve seen in Japan. One of these reactors would have come through the tsunami just fine. There would have been no radiation release.” Thorium is a silvery metal named after the Norse god of thunder. The metal has its own “issues” but no
Professor Robert Cywinksi from Huddersfield University said thorium must be bombarded with neutrons to drive the fission process. “There is no chain reaction. Fission dies the moment you switch off the photon beam. There are not enough neutrons for it continue of its own accord,” he said. Dr Cywinski, who anchors a UKwide thorium team, said the residual heat left behind in a crisis would be “orders of magnitude less” than in a uranium reactor. The earth’s crust holds 80 years of uranium at expected usage rates, he said. Thorium is as common as lead. America has buried tons as a byproduct of rare earth metals mining. Norway has so much that Oslo is planning a post-oil era where thorium might drive the country’s next great phase of wealth. Even Britain has seams in Wales and in the granite cliffs of Cornwall. Almost all the mineral is usable as fuel, compared to 0.7pc of uranium. There is enough to power civilization for thousands of years. I write before knowing the outcome of the Fukushima drama, but as yet none of 15,000 deaths are linked to nuclear failure. Indeed, there has never been a verified death from nuclear power in the West in half a century. Perspective is in order. We cannot avoid the fact that two to three billion extra people now expect – and will obtain – a western lifestyle. China alone plans to produce 100m cars and buses every year by 2020. The International Atomic Energy Agency said the world currently has
442 nuclear reactors. They generate 372 gigawatts of power, providing 14pc of global electricity. Nuclear output must double over twenty years just to keep pace with the rise of the China and India.If a string of countries cancel or cut back future reactors, let alone follow Germany’s Angela Merkel in shutting some down, they shift the strain onto gas, oil, and coal. Since the West is also cutting solar subsidies, they can hardly expect the solar industry to plug the gap.
from old reactors, reducing radiotoxicity and acting as an eco-cleaner.
BP’s disaster at Macondo should teach us not to expect too much from
Yet any hope of state support seems to have died with the Coalition budget cuts, and with it hopes that Britain could take a lead in the energy revolution. It is understandable, of course. Funds are scarce. The UK has already put its efforts into the next generation of uranium reactors. Yet critics say vested interests with sunk costs in uranium technology succeeded in chilling enthusiasm.
“They operate at atmospheric pressure so you don’t have the sort of hydrogen explosions we’ve seen in Japan. One of these reactors would have come through the tsunami just fine. There would have been no radiation release.” oil reserves deep below the oceans, beneath layers of blinding salt. Meanwhile, we rely uneasily on Wahabi repression to crush dissent in the Gulf and keep Arabian crude flowing our way. So where can we turn, unless we revert to coal and give up on the ice caps altogether? That would be courting fate. US physicists in the late 1940s explored thorium fuel for power. It has a higher neutron yield than uranium, a better fission rating, longer fuel cycles, and does not require the extra cost of isotope separation. The plans were shelved because thorium does not produce plutonium for bombs. As a happy bonus, it can burn up plutonium and toxic waste
Dr Cywinski is developing an accelerator driven sub-critical reactor for thorium, a cutting-edge project worldwide. It needs to £300m of public money for the next phase, and £1.5bn of commercial investment to produce the first working plant. Thereafter, economies of scale kick in fast. The idea is to make pint-size 600MW reactors.
The same happened a decade ago to a parallel project by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). France’s nuclear industry killed proposals for funding from Brussels, though a French group is now working on thorium in Grenoble. Norway’s Aker Solution has bought Professor Rubbia’s patent. It had hoped to build the first sub-critical reactor in the UK, but seems to be giving up on Britain and locking up a deal to build it in China instead, where minds and wallets are more open. So the Chinese will soon lead on this thorium technology as well as molten-salts. Good luck to them. They are doing Mankind a favour. We may get through the century without tearing each other apart over scarce energy and wrecking the planet. (By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph)
thorium reactor could easily spin out of control in the manner of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or now Fukushima.
As Sales Slow, Freebies Flow, Leases Soar
Hit by declining sales and fast approaching debt repayments, property developers in Mumbai are doling out a catalogue of freebies and incentives to kick-start the soft housing market. Like during the 2008-09 property slowdown, realtors are offering holiday packages, LCD TV, Wii video game console and hefty discounts to lure customers.
ake the case of Lodha Group: It is offering a four-day & three – night trips to Lords in London, a 32 inch LCD TV and a Wii video game console in a lucky draw every week for its Casa Rio residential project, near Dombivali, on the city outskirts. The buyer has to pay a booking amount of Rs 27000/ - and apartment prices start from Rs 22 lakh.
30-40 per cent in down payment. Normally, a buyer needs to pay 1020 per cent in down payment.
RCL group is offering a discount of Rs 1,01,000 in its properties at Karjat and Alibaug on the city outskirts and a two-night, three-day holiday package to Kerala through a lucky draw. Another developer in South Mumbai is giving a 10-15 per cent discount to buyers willing to shell out
“Many of the developers are telling us that if buyers come to their table with cheque book, they will not allow them to go without finalizing the deal,” said Amit Goenka, national director, Capital transactions, Knight Frank, an international property consultant.
The first quarter of a year is always slow. We have to see how the next quarter goes. Then we will decide on discounts and freebies.
Though many developers were bearing stamp duty and registration charges during 2008-09, property consultants say such goodies will follow soon, if sales don’t pick up. Sandeep Runwal, director of Runwal Group, which has projects mainly in Central Mumbai, said. “The first quarter of a year is always slow. We have to see how the next quarter goes. Then we will decide on discounts and freebies.” The April to June quarter is considered a good season for home sales, as most buyers book homes during the summer vacation. Gudi Padwa, a Hindu festival that marks the beginning of the New Year in Maharashtra, is considered auspicious for new purchases.
Sandeep Runwal, Director, Runwal Group
Property developers are worried as property registrations have been falling since August 2010. According
Developers are reworking on their plans. If they are building two apartments earlier on each floor, they are trying to make it three. This is clearly a return of 2009 trend,
Ramesh Nair, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle India
to data compiled by brokerage Prabhudas Liladhar, last month saw registrations of 4,716 sale deeds, 22 percent fewer than February 2010, and seven percent fewer than January 2011 “Developers are reworking on their plans. If they are building two apartments earlier on each floor, they are trying to make it three. This is clearly a return of 2009 trend,” said Ramesh Nair, managing director,
Nirmal Lifestyle, another builder in the same area, is offering a price of Rs 3199/- per sq ft in its Riverside project, against the normal price of Rs 3294 a sq.ft. But the buyer has to pay 20 percent of the apartment price within a week instead of a month.
demand,” said RK Bansal, executive director and group head, retail banking, IDBI Bank.
West India, Jones Lang LaSalle India, an international property consultant. Since the third quarter of 2009 calendar year, property sales have been heading south due to sharp increase in prices and lending rates For instance, property prices have increased by 40 per cent in Mumbai since the September quarter of 2009, severely affecting the affordability of buyers, according to Nair. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has hiked interest rates six times since March 2010 to tame inflation. “Gone are the days when large numbers of apartments were sold during the launch itself. The trend of short-term speculators booking apartments at pre-launch or launch prices and selling them a few months later at higher prices has reduced considerably,” said Nair.
New rules like scrapping of parking FSI (floor space index) scheme, wherein developers were allowed to build more space, restriction on charging space to buyers and delay in approvals by municipal authorities have also hit developers in Mumbai. According to recent reports, 23 proposals from prominent developers such as DLF and Raheja Developers are hit by the government’s plans to scrap the parking FSI scheme. “After
Gone are the days when large numbers of apartments were sold during the launch itself. The trend of short-term speculators booking apartments at prelaunch or launch prices and selling them a few months later at higher prices has reduced considerably,
the new chief minister came in, a lot of changes have taken place, which has made lives of developers difficult. A lot of developers bought land and launched projects to benefit from the Parking FSI scheme, but now they are in a soup,” said a property broker on condition of anonymity.
Sanjay Sanghvi, a property consultant and investor based in Central Mumbai, said most of his clients were preferring leased properties instead of owning them. “ If the sale price of a one-bedroom apartment is Rs 1.5 crore in Dadar (in Central Mumbai) and the rent is Rs 35,000/- a month, it makes sense for them to go on rent,” he said. The report from Prabhudas Liladher said lease volumes in Mumbai were seeing an upward trend due to the affordability factor. Mumbai saw 8055 lease agreements in February 2011, 20 per cent higher than the previous corresponding month.
Buyers in a wait and watch mode
“Increased stress on affordability on account of increasing rates, along with the expectation of a correction in property prices, is leading to a deferral in purchases,” Kejal Mehta and Dhrushuk Jhaveri, analysts at Prabhudas Lilladher, said in the report.
“People are waiting for a correction in property prices before making fresh purchases. Also interest rates have gone up in the past six months. All these put together, there has been some impact on housing loan
Sanghvi said buyers were preferring apartments in old buildings due to low loading ratio and lower tax and maintenance charges. Loading is a percentage charged on top of carpet area offered to buyers.
Gadget / Widget
Coming, Blackberry's iPad Killer RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook follows iPad pricing, and is coming on April 19. Research in Motion has finally unveiled the launch details for its long-awaited BlackBerry PlayBook tablet: It will hit stores on April 19 and start at $499 for the 16 gigabyte version, the same price as the iPad 2. RIM’s pricing makes the PlayBook the first real
competitor to the iPad in terms of both pricing and features. Motorola’s Xoom Android tablet, which launched last month, is feature packed and offers 32 gigabytes of storage, but it retails for $699 to start. Motorola is planning a WiFi-only version for $599, but most consumers will still consider it more expensive than the iPad, even though it has more storage. Also like the iPad, RIM will offer a 32GB version of the PlayBook for $599, and a 64GB version for $699. All of RIM’s current PlayBook offerings will be WiFi-only, with mobile broadband versions (likely with both 4G and 3G support) to come later in the year.
Google Introduces New 'Like' Button, +1 Google's got a "Like" button. The company announced they will introduce a feature called +1, which lets you recommend any webpage or ad you like. The results will then begin to appear in search results. For example, if you're searching for a tapas restaurant, some of the results may show you a +1 from one of your Gmail contacts, or how many other strangers have +1-ed the same site.
While your Google contacts will initially determine the +1's you see, Google may eventually incorporate recommendations from your Twitter contacts. In case you're wondering who Google thinks your buddies are, you can check out the "Social Circle and Content" section on your Google Dashboard. In January, Google rolled out an update to its Social Search feature, which highlights content that has been either created or shared by those in your social network. Google +1 draws from the same Social Circle,
but adds the recommendation layer. Google's +1 feature resembles Facebook's "Like" button. And +1 also brings the social layer to ads-something Facebook already implements, and somewhere the two companies draw massive revenue from. Advertisers will not be able to turn them off, though they will be able to see the statistics Google compiles. To enable +1, users need to create a Google profile, or upgrade an existing profile. This account compiles your history of +1s and lets you delete them at will. Though not everyone will see +1 at first, users can opt-in early at Google's experimental site.
Google touts the "relevance" of the +1 system, which uses information from people you know, at the moment you are actively searching for specific content. Unlike, Google's targeted ads, +1 results are directly tied to the queries you search, rather than directed at you in the hope that you may be interested.
By Carl Jaison
THE TOSS THAT CAUSED CHAOS Every World Cup Final has had its share of history but this one takes the cake. The toss debacle featuring Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara and his doppelganger MSD will go down in history as a sporting absurdity and has evoked extensive appraisal on the former, being tagged as a skulduggery. And that it’s an incident in a world cup final makes it an even more soughtafter episode for a bunch of noloss, no-gain speculators .
If this one involved confusion, then the 2007 WC Final succumbed to sorrowful memories with a blackout at the stadium where the final had been taking place. The only connecting-link between both these finals was the involvement of the match referee, Jeff Crowe. His folly has been played down by India which is basking in glory, but if Lankans were to go home content, then Crowe would have ended up in an Indian potpourri. Crowe’s blind eye leads him to call for a re-toss after reports that he failed to hear Sanga’s tossing decision. The coin came down with heads facing up and Sangakkara claimed to have called heads but his Indian counterpart MS Dhoni seemed to believe that he had
not. With Crowe uncertain, he decided to toss again and Sangakkara correctly called heads and elected to bat first. It seems Crowe didn’t comprehend the Lankan skipper’s call because of the crowd-noise and suggests that he wasn’t audible enough. The sheer element of a world cup finale played down between two hugely-favoured, powerful outfits may have got the better of Jeff Crowe.
Sanga meant that the Indian team wasn’t too jubilant about the debacle and Sanga was mentally targeted. He had that conscience of guilt printed on his face and that apparently cost the Lankans the match. He resembled a Judas Iscariot for his palpable act of treachery to the game of cricket. On Saturday, Sanga pictured himself more like a goose that was to be butchered than a skipper of the Lankan Lions.
However, Sanga will be pinpointed only because of his audacious but shameful act that meant Lanka won the toss and possibly the match. In spite of his blankness about the incident, Sangakkara looked a tensed and strangulated figure amongst the 22 players. Glimpses of Harbhajan taunting
The witty, confident Sangakkara we know of was portrayed as a piece of shattered glass that couldn’t be assembled and helplessness was written all over his face once he realized the match was slowly slipping out of hands. More so a captain, Sanga largely depicted a wicket-keeper doing his job
Host broadcasters ESPN-Star insisted afterwards that Sangakkara had audibly called heads the first time, but Sky and BBC begged to differ. Michael Vaughan, covering the match for Test Match Special, tweeted: “Sangakarra has stuffed Dhoni. He shouted Tail in the 1st toss and lost it. You can hear it in on air.”
But what the heck was Dhoni doing? Smiling gleefully as if he had won the world cup, little knowing that he has just been outwitted. If Dhoni wanted to win the toss badly, he should have raised an issue when referee calls for a redo. Ravi Shastri was rehearsing on the verses he would be saying once the toss is made. But, he too must have opened his ears to what was taking place onfield. Perhaps the only one who can escape blame would be Stumpy, the elephant mascot for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, who couldn’t even eavesdrop on the happenings. It was like a slapstick comedy, only that the whole scene was a serious one.
Host broadcasters ESPN-Star insisted afterwards that Sangakkara had audibly called heads the first time, but Sky and BBC begged to differ. Michael Vaughan, covering the match for Test Match Special, tweeted: “Sangakarra has stuffed Dhoni. He shouted Tail in the 1st toss and lost it. You can hear it in on air.” It's possible that only Sangakkara will ever know for sure, but the scale of the controversy has died down with India scripting a historic win. Now, we understand how winning the toss can backfire on a team and India profited from this transgression of cricketing stupidity.
behind the sticks rather than marshalling his force at each interval. Certainly, the toss had taken a toll on him and India capitalized on this and from then on Sri Lanka had no hopes of a comeback.
If it had been Ponting in Dhoni’s place, the match-referree would have taken a beating. And if it had been Ganguly , the match might would have been called off. His dumb luck going into tosses prompted experts to say Dhoni has missed a trick by agreeing to a second spin of the coin. But, one won’t question him now as he has provided a fitting reply by ensuring the toss had little impact on his team’s performance.
Who is the Mightiest of Them All? Baadshah Khan proved once again who is the real King of tinsel town by hijacking what was meant to be Akshayâ€™s day. The King Khan has done it once again. Shah Rukh Khan has just proved who the real Baadshah of Bollywood is by snatching away all the media attention on a day which should rightfully have been Akshay Kumar's.
On Thursday, Akshay along with Suniel Shetty was promoting their film Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo in a bus on Bandstand. Slowly word spread about it. And the bus, which was to give couples free ride at the place to promote the film, had the entire media
surrounding it and chanting the names of the two stars inside it. Now, when we talk of Bandstand, we cannot forget Mannat. And incidentally, the only parking space available for the bus was right outside Shah Rukh's famous home. The crowd drew the actor himself along with his wife Gauri and a few others out of their rooms into the balcony. And then the fun started! Within five minutes, King Khan, who saw the media outside, came out of the balcony on to the now familiar terrace from where he waved out to the crowd below. And magic! The entire media gathered to cover the event with Akshay and Suniel immediately moved to get
a glimpse of Khan. Explaining the events, a source ruminated, "We don't know what made SRK do that. Was it deliberate? Maybe, he wanted to take the limelight away from Akshay. In the past there have been news about a rivalry between them but later they met and hit it off. However, with yesterday evening's event it seems that SRK didn't like the presence of another star getting all the attention and that too just outside his house. His instant reaction was to come out and show the world the attention he can get." Well, superhero or not, SRK still can create some magic, that has yet again been proved!
Explaining the events, a source ruminated, "We don't know what made SRK do that. Was it deliberate? Maybe, he wanted to take the limelight away from Akshay.
Cars You Waited For, Cars Still Worth Waiting For
SAFER, GREENER, CHEAPER CARS FOR 2011 in Luxury, Mid-Range, & Economy
ou will find here the cars you waited for. And you will find here the cars you are still waiting for. Many of them are game-changers in their segments. And their innovation is not only about being cheaper, but about being safer, and greener. You will still find here the costlier propositions like CBU and CKD units, but you will also find here Made in India and Made for India concepts. You will find here lots of surprises like Honda trying
Volvo S60 Interior
a Diesel engine, or Volvo delivering S-Class safety at C-Class prices. Other surprises include Maruti Suzuki trying their luck in midrange luxury, and the first mainstream electric car in India, by a traditional player like GM. Reflecting the emerging importance on being greener and being cheaper, you will find here even luxury models touting better mileages. The greatest action is sure to be witnessed in the 5-10 lakh range, where Etios is soon to be followed by equally competitive offerings by at least 80% of all car manufacturers in India. So, here are the cars of 2011. You will agree with us that waiting was not bad after all. In fact, in car market it never is!
S60 is delivering S-Class safety at C-Class prices
Volvo S60 The new Volvo S60 that hit Indian roads just recently is a gamechanger in more ways than one, and also in more price-ranges than one. Priced between 27 to 34 lakhs, the feature-packed S60 easily takes on lower-priced sedans like Toyota Camr y or Honda Accord; peers like Mercedes Benz C Class or BMW 3 Series; or even costlier sedans like Mercedes E Class or BMW 5 Series. Between cars from the Mercedes and BMW stables, S60 is more of a BMW, looking at the kind of thoughts that has gone to
make this a driver’s car. Starting from superior power (200 to 300 bhp) than others in its price range, and with driver-friendly features like superior road hugging, and even the whole of the cabin and console designed more with the driver’s comfort in mind, S60 is thoroughly a driver’s car. But these are not at all the features for which S60 is going to be famous. Continuing Volvo’s legacy in superior safety standards, the S60 brings in to India, pioneering safety features that guards against slow-speed rear end collisions as well as front-end pedestrian collisions.
Volvo XC 70
BMW 6-Series Convertible Expected in March 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 94 lakh. BMW will launch the new 2011 6-Series Convertible soon. This second generation of the 6-Series looks lower and flatter than the outgoing model. The engine is also likely to get porkier than the current one. Most likely the 6 will be launched in the 650i trim, the car will boast of a 4.8 litre V8 petrol engine that churns out 360bhp with 490Nm of torque. The existing 6-Series Convertible comes with a price tag of Rs. 91 lakhs so one can expect the new one to be pricier.
Mercedes G-Wagen Audi R8 4.2 FSI Leading the luxury car charge this year is Audi with the new R8 5.2 FSI sports car priced at a jawdropping Rs 1.32 crore. The R8 is available in two transmission options: a 6-speed manual and Audi’s R-tronic gearbox, which allows for precise and quick gear changes. Under the hood of the Audi R8 lies a powerful 4.2L FSI petrol engine, which pumps out a maximum power of 420 bhp @ 7800 rpm and maximum torque of 317 Nm @ 4500-6000 rpm. The car accelerates from rest to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds and is claimed to deliver a top speed of 301 km/h.
The Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG G-Wagen was launched in India on February 14. At Rs 1.10 crore, this is one helluva expensive offroader but that doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for the super-rich. Apparently, 12 of these have already been lapped up. But what’s so special about the G55 AMG? After all, isn’t it just a glorified big box on wheels? Yes and no. The G55 AMG is one of the most powerful 4x4s, with a supercharged 5.5-litre, V8 engine that produces 507 hp and 700 Nm of torque! So even though it has very little to boast of in terms of aerodynamics, the G-55 manages a 0-100 km/hr in just 5.5 seconds, and a top speed of 210 km/hr. Other noteworthy features in the G-55 AMG include huge 19-inch light alloy wheels, electronic stability program (ESP), hill start assist, ‘low-range’ gearbox and three selectable differential locks.
Costlier propositions like CBU and CKD units are still there, while innovations are
Cars You Waited For, Cars Still Worth Waiting For Touareg is more pronounced and gets LED taillamps as well. Volkswagen's new RNS850 touch screen entertainment and navigation system features an 8-inch screen, a 60GB hard drive with 18GB of space available to upload audio, video, and more, and a DVD/ CD player with MP3 playback and Satellite/FM/AM stereo. The Volkswagen Touareg will be available with the same 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine, with 4-MOTION, which is Volkswagen’s term for all-wheel drive system. This new 2011 Volkswagen Touareg will be a great buying option considering all the bells and whistles it comes loaded with. The newer SUV has more road presence than the older one and should have better sales figures if compared to the current Touareg. This will come true only if Volkswagen price it well.
Volkswagen Touareg 2011 Audi A8L Audi has launched the A8L at its Delhi outlet, the largest luxury car showroom in India. While the Audi A8 L 4.2 FSI is priced upward of Rs 89 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the company is also planning to offer a 3.0 TDI variant sometime in March 2011. The A8 L is only available with a petrol engine – a 4.2-litre V8 FSI unit that puts out 378PS of maximum power at 6,800rpm and 445Nm of torque at 3,500rpm. Audi claims the A8L can achieve a top speed of 250 kmph, which we agree is quite possible! The interiors of the Audi A8 L use
premium materials such as seats with Valcona leather and brushed aluminum or fine woods in the optional inlays. The seats also feature a pneumatic massage function to soothe and pamper its occupants. Among the plethora of features include LED headlights and taillights, 10-inch LCD touch screen and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
more about being safer and greener.
Expected in mid-2011 with an estimated price of Rs 55 lakh. Volkswagen had unveiled the second-generation of the Touareg at 2010 New York International Auto Show. With the Volkswagen Touareg being a CBU, even India will get the 2011 Touareg once its launched in the European market. The 2011 Touareg gets the new Volkswagen face and styling created by Walter de’Silva, Volkswagen’s chief of design. The front grille is now narrow if compared to the outgoing model and the trapezoidal headlamps even get the LED surrounds. The silhouette of the Touareg remains almost similar, with not so arched wheel flares. The new 2011 Touareg gets a crown hood with a step at its sides giving it a more muscular look. The SUV gets chrome garnish with chrome surrounds around the greenhouse and a strip running on the rocker. The rear of the new
Cars You Waited For, Cars Still Worth Waiting For
Maruti Suzuki Kizashi
Maruti Suzuki is trying their luck in mid-range luxury
Early this month, Maruti launched the much-anticipated Kizashi sports sedan in two variants: an automatic CVT and a six-speed manual priced at an introductory Rs. 17.5 lakh and Rs. 16.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) respectively. The Kizashi is only available with a petrol engine – a DOHC, 16-valve, 2,393 cc unit that produces 176 bhp of power at 6,000 rpm and 23 Kgm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Maruti claims an overall mileage of 12.53 kmpl for the CVT and 12.45 kmpl for the six-speed manual version. The Kizashi is being brought in as a CBU, which explains its high pricing, but Maruti may consider building it in India in case there is enough demand.
Nissan Murano Expected in late 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 35-40 lakh. The name ‘Murano’ originates from the region of Venice, Italy which is known for hand blown glass production. The Murano was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2003 and even named the best premium mid-size SUV by AutoPacific. The Murano, when launched, will be one of the most unique crossover designs ever sold in India. The Murano has a powerful 3.5litre V6 engine that produces a potent 245bhp. The car is a front wheel drive (FWD) vehicle and is available with all wheel drive as an option. The Murano is the largest vehicle to have a CVT (Continuously variable transmission).
Honda Civic (with sunroof)
This really cannot be classified as a new car and looks more like a ploy by Honda to keep its Civic sedan in the news by launching one with a sunroof. Apparently, Honda decided to plonk in a sunroof following customer feedback on what would be the most desirable feature in the Civic. The Honda Civic with sunroof is priced at Rs 13.53 lakh for the 1.8V manual transmission as against Rs 13.08 lakh for the regular version. The sunroof is also available in the 1.8 V automatic Civic for Rs 14.27 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which is Rs 45,000 more than the regular version.
Honda is springing a surprise by trying a Diesel engine
Honda CR-V Diesel Expected in late 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 22.5 - 25 lakh. With the current diesel engines being quick, silent and efficient; they are giving the petrol engines a run for their money. After manufacturing only petrol engines for decades, Honda has produced its first diesel engine to boost its sales. Honda Siel will use this engine in its CR-V to boost its sales and com-
pete in the current Indian market. Honda has developed a common-rail diesel engine, its all four cylinder displacing a total of 2200 cubic centrimetres. The engineâ€™s 134 horses pull the SUV and produce a maximum of 347Nm of torque. The Honda CR-V diesel looks no different from its petrol sibling. The only difference between the two is the powerplant running them. The Honda CR-V Dieselâ€™s main rivals are the Chevrolet Captiva, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan X-Trail.
Skoda India launched a cheaper variant of its Laura TSi sedan dubbed the Laura TSi Classic at a price of Rs 11.99 lakh. The Skoda Laura Classic slots in as the base variant of the Laura and, hence, doesnâ€™t feature some of the more premium elements such as front fog lamps, rear parking sensors, lumbar support adjustment for driver and front passenger seats, automatic climate control, rear-A/ C vents, etc, available in the topend variants. It also features steel wheels instead of alloys and a single-DIN CD player instead a central infotainment system.
Skoda Laura Classic
New Tata Manza Let’s face it. The “new” Manza is not exactly a new car and is more of a cosmetic upgrade. But with the Toyota Etios threat looming large coupled with the Manza’s weak sales Tata Motors has done just the right thing to take its sedan to the green room. The company has also brought down the price, with the Manza now costing Rs. 5.14 lakh for the petrol version and Rs.
Cars You Waited For, Cars Still Worth Waiting For
5.91 lakh for the diesel spec. The top-end Tata Manza is packed to the hilt with creature comforts such as lumbar support, height adjustable driver’s seat, integrated stereo with Bluetooth system for making/receiving calls, steeringmounted audio controls, Aux-in and USB support. However, Tata has made no changes to the engines: a 90PS, 1.4-litre Safire petrol unit and an identically powered 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel mill.
Mahindra Logan (with CNG kit) To combat the Etios threat, Mahindra & Mahindra launched a Logan with a factory-fitted CNG kit in Mumbai and NCR region. The CNG kit comes at an additional price of Rs. 56,000, which pushes the Logan’s overall cost to Rs 5,22,700. The CNG variant may also be a hit with taxi operators who are looking to drive down the cost per km figures. Mahindra claims the Logan CNG gives a mileage of 16-20 km/kg without compromising on performance. This translates to a running cost of Rs.1.25 per km as against Rs. 3.93-6.11/km for the petrol Logan. The Mahindra Logan comes with a large boot which ensures there is enough space for luggage even after installing the CNG kit.
Mahindra & Mahindra launched the Genio – a 1.2 ton pickup truck based on the Xylo platform. But it looks nothing like the Xylo. Actually, it looks better…and sober…and is cheaper, too! At Rs 4.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), for the BS3 variant and Rs 15,000 extra for the BS4 model, the Genio is quite a steal! Available in a single-cab design, with a redesigned front end, the Genio borrows several of its parts from other
The greatest action is sure to be “ witnessed in the Rs. 5-10 lakh range ” Tata Venture MPV Tata Motors launched its Venture van priced between Rs.4 lakh-Rs.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Thane). The van come with 5, 7 and 8-seater options in 3 rows facing front configuration in a range of 5 colors and 3 trim levels CX, EX and GX. Tata offers the Venture with two years warranty or 75,000 km and is available across 24 dealerships in the first phase across Maharashtra. The Tata Venture is powered by a 1.4-litre turbo diesel engine delivering 71 PS of power. The mileage as claimed by ARAI is 15.42 km/l. Venture is less than 4 meter long and attracts only 10% tax (of a small car) unlike other MPVs which are bigger attracting 22% tax.
Chevrolet Beat LPG The newly launched Chevrolet Beat LPG has several pluses. First, the Beat’s LPG kit is claimed to overcome the performance and mileage limitations of the regular Venturi kit used widely today. Besides, the kit’s placement in the engine compartment instead of the boot helps save space. It is also the first vehicle to use high-pressure LPG pipes made of high-strength Nylon. The car comes with a ‘push to change fuel mode’ button that allows the driver to easily switch from LPG to petrol and vice versa. ARAI says the Beat LPG delivers a mileage of 13.29 km/litre. Assuming the LPG price to be Rs 19.80/kg, the car’s running cost will be around Rs. 1.50/km. GM has not yet announced the price of the Beat LPG, which is being offered with 3 years/45,000 km cashless ownership besides the standard 3 years/1,00,000 km warranty.
Mahindra cars. The headlamp, for instance, comes from the Logan. The Genio does not offer much by means of creature comforts sans the adjustable power steering, reclining semi-bucket seats and tubeless radials (a first in the segment). But it promises a low cost of ownership (the oil change interval is only once in every 20,000 km) and the 2.5-litre CRDe diesel engine develops an adequate 75 bhp of power and 220 Nm of torque.
Cars You Waited For, Cars Still Worth Waiting For Spark Electric is set to be the first mainstream electric car in India
Chevrolet Spark Electric
Toyota Etios Liva Expected in mid 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 3-5 lakh. Toyota launched the sedan version of the Etios on the 1st of December, 2010. At present the sedan comes with only one engine option which is the 1.5-litre petrol engine. Toyota will now launch the hatchback version of the Etios, called as the Etios Liva. The Etios Liva will get the 1.2-litre petrol engine which will help Toyota to get the duty cut. The Etios Liva is expected to be launched some-
where around in the third quarter of 2011. The production version of Etios Liva will resemble the concept model. Toyota Etios has been developed on a new platform and has a completely new engine which is not present in any Toyota car so far. The hatch will offer a 1.2l DOHC petrol engine and will come with lower excise duties. Both, the models, the sedan and the hatch, will sport new engines which have been specially designed for Indian conditions, where high mileage was an important factor in the designing of the engine.
Expected in late 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 3.5-5 lakh. GM India is ready to make public the electric version of its entry level small car, the Chevrolet Spark. The Spark will feature two electric versions, one with a conventional lead acid battery and another with more expensive lithium ion batteries. The electric motor has been developed by GM India in association with the Indian electric car pioneer, Reva Limited. With this model, GM India hopes to compete with the other electric cars that will be unveiled by manufacturers like Tata, Maruti and Hyundai, who themselves are very serious about electric cars.
Etios will be followed by competitive offerings from almost all car-makers
Luxury Segment Maybach 57S and 62 Mercedes-Benz also re-launched the Maybach 57S and 62 luxury cars in India at a staggering Rs 4.85 crore and Rs 5.1 crore respectively. Both models are powered by 6-litre, 12-cylinder engines though at 1,000 Nm, the 57 S has more power and torque. The 550 bhp Maybach 62 claims to do a 0-100 kph in 5.4 seconds while the 630 bhp Maybach 57S can do the same task at a riproaring 4.9 seconds! But the Maybachs are not race cars and are meant purely for transporting its well-heeled occupants in comfort and luxury.
Jaguar India launched the new XJ-L 3.0 diesel variant priced at Rs.77 lakh (exshowroom, Delhi) and XJ-L 5.0 V8 SuperSport variant at Rs. 1.11 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi). The XJ-L 3.0 diesel variant also comes with an optional rear seat entertainment package for an additional Rs. 8 lakh. The XJ-L 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine churns out 275 PS of maximum power and 600 Nm of maximum torque. Thatâ€™s enough for the sedan to accelerate from 0-100 km/hr in 6.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of 249 km/hr. The more powerful super-charged 5.0 litre V8 petrol motor, on the other hand, belts out a mind-numbing 510 PS of power and 515 Nm of torque. All this adds up to a spectacular 0-100 km/hr in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 249 km/hr. Both the engines are mated to 6-speed automatic transmission.
Mid-Range Segment Volkswagen Passat 2011 Expected in April 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 20-25 lakh. Volkswagen had recently updated its Jetta and Passat on the engine considering the BS IV norms and the German manufacturer based in Chakan, even revised its pricing. Soon, Volkswagen will launch an all new Passat, which will get the new VW family look with the new grille and headlamps. Volkswagen plans to launch the new 2011 Passat sometime in April
Renault Fluence Expected in mid 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 12 lakh. The Renault Fluence is a compact midsized sedan produced by the French automaker Renault and built at the Oyak-Renault plant in Bursa, Turkey. Revealed in August 2009, Fluence is based on the Renault/ Nissan C platform platform but it is sized between the compact family saloon C-segment and the upper-
2011. The new Passat is expected to be larger than the current generation and should be powered by a 140 bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine with a six-speed DSG. So, all those who missed the diesel engine and the DSG in the Passat, will be pleased not just with the powertrain but even overall styling and features. medium segment. It is essentially a notchback version of the MĂŠgane III (already developed as Renault Samsung New SM3), and went on sale in November 2009. Renault has big plans for India. At the Expo, earlier this year, the French manufacturer unveiled its 18-24 month road map which will see the Fluence being launched by mid 2011. The Fluence is a D-segment sedan that will be manufactured at the new Renault Nissan greenfield manufacturing facility in Chennai. The car displayed was a Euro spec model. Standard equipment includes rear air-conditioner vents and dual zone climate control in the front. From launch, and depending on market, Renault Fluence will be available with a wide range of thrifty engines which are all a pleasure to drive. The car will come with two petrol engines, a 1.6 16V 110hp and a 2.0 16v 140 hp.
Skoda Laura RS Expected in September 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 15-17 lakh. Skoda plans to get their super performer the Laura RS (known as the Octavia RS in international markets). The Laura RS has a 2.0TSI engine which produces a whooping power of 200bhp and was seen in India at the performance show November 2009 in Mumbai and even at the Auto Expo'10 in New Delhi. The Laura RS will be car for performance enthusiasts. The Laura RS might come with six-speed manual or sixspeed auto DSG box. the car also sports alloy pedals and light weight Neptune alloy wheels.
Hyundai Elantra Expected in late 2011 with an estimated price of Rs 11-14 lakh. The 2011 Elantra a.k.a the Avante was unveiled at the Busan Auto Show in South Korea and now will be soon seen in India. We spotted the car during its test runs and we expect the all new sedan to hit the Indian roads in the later half of 2011. We did not get a chance to see the interiors of the car but by the looks of it the one which was tested was a left-hand drive. We suspect that the Hyundai Elantra Avante will boast of a 2.0 litre CRDi engine. The sedan will be priced between Rs 11-14 lakh, thereby stiffening the competition in that segment. The Elantra, if priced in that range, will compete with the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic and the Corolla Altis.
First National Level Beauty Contest by Manappuram Attracts Eyeballs Mumbai based Pooja Bhamrah is the Manappuram Miss Queen of India 2011, while Aishwarya Muraleedharan from Kerala is the first runner-up.
Denzilina Brown from Southern Region, Aakrithi Goyal, Rupa Khurana, Mahima Bhakshi and Romika Bhatt from Northern Region, Saba Khan, Sneha Chattopadhyay, Sriya Smitha Chootray and Ranjana Mishra from Eastern Region and Bhawna Ahuja, Pooja Bhamrah, Surabhi Rao and Abhiruchi Sharma from Western Region. Miss World 1st Runner-up and actress Parvathy Omanakuttan, model and actress Simer Mottiani, Kochi IPL coowner Vivek Venugopal, media personality Vijay Babu, fashion designer Sajimon Parayil, and media personality Thoshma Biju judged the event. The winners were given a gold plated crown
designed by Mrs. & Mr. Prakashan Parakkat. The title winner, Pooja Bhamrah, was awarded Rs. 2,00,000 sponsored by the title sponsors, Manappuram; and the first runnerup, Aishwarya Muraleedharan, was awarded Rs. 50,000 by Amrita Builders; and second runner-up, Saba Khan, was gifted Rs. 35,000 by Middle East Energy Traders. The jingle for the event was written by Mr. Ajit Ravi Pegasus, and sung by Renjini Haridas, and directed by Mr. Sam Shiva. Ajith Ravi Pegasus is Founder and Chairman of PEGASUS, the event-management company behind Manappuram Miss Queen of India 2011.
Manappuram Miss Queen of India 2011 was held recently at the Golden Palms Resorts, Bengaluru, Karnataka. The sixteen contestants from four regions of India participated in the final. The auditions were held at Mumbai for Western Region, at Delhi for Northern Region and at Kolkata for Eastern Region. Main Title Sponsor of the event was Manappuram Group of companies - a group with nearly 2000 branches in 20 states of India and whose flagship company, Manappuram General Finance & Leasing Ltd, is the largest listed and highest credited rated gold loan company in our country. The sixteen participants who contested in the finals were Nikitha Narayan, Aishwarya Muraleedharan, Divya MS and
Musli Power X-Tra Gets Clean Chit from Singapore.. Seasonal Magazine caught up with Dr. KC Abraham of Kunnath Pharmaceuticals to find out the latest developments regarding their blockbuster drug, Musli Power X-Tra: ecently you had launched a discountscheme for senior citizens. What made you go for such a strategy? A good percentage of Musli Power X-Tra users have been senior citizens. Some of them were finding it difficult to afford the medicine on a regular basis, according to the feedback we were receiving directly at our offices as well as from the over one lakh medical shops across the country where the product is available. Now, most services are
being offered to seniors at a discount, like railways or financial services, reflecting their relatively challenging earnings situation. So, we were working on a solution, and recently we launched it by offering 90s pack at Rs. 1200 against MRP of Rs. 2000, and 60s pack at Rs. 900 instead of Rs. 1400. This is perhaps the first time that any medicine belonging to any medical system has been made available at a discount to senior citizens. And the discount is quite good at 35-40%. If they bring in our ad coupon provided in several dailies, the discount can go up to 50% of MRP.
How does the discount-scheme work or how can senior citizens avail of this offer? The offer is available directly from our offices. Senior citizens can either visit or order it through mail. We require full address and age proof. Those ordering through mail should enclose a DD or Cheque at par in favour of Kunnath Pharmaceuticals, payable at Ernakulam. We will deliver the packs directly to the customer via courier. A maximum of four packs can be ordered by a senior citizen at a time. This has been kept so as this is a time-limited offer for one month during which we expect to deliver only one lakh packs under discount. How has been the response to this offer?
The response has been surprisingly strong, much above our expectations. We think we will run out of packs even before March ends.
Dr. KC Abraham, MD, Kunnath Pharmaceuticals
How have you been responding to allegations that Musli Power X-Tra contains Tadalafil, the active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis? There has been only one allegation,
So, you are not paying anyone the Rs. 5 crore reward for proving Tadalafil’s presence? Why should we? In fact, we should be suing this Delhi pharmacy setup for making such an irresponsible statement, even while they were perfectly aware that they simply don’t have the facility to make such a claim, that is Mass Spectrum Analysis. But we don’t pursue such things, as we know who is behind these small setups. MNC pharma giants whose sales have been affected by our popularity is behind all these. Recently, you have strengthened your anti-imitation strategy for
..Launches Discount Scheme for Senior Citizens Our product underwent a more detailed study by a top-notch laboratory in Singapore, and this study not only confirmed the absence of tadalafil, but the absence of around 200 active allopathic molecules.
Musli Power X-Tra. Has imitative products become a real threat? Yes, definitely this is a threat, but not only for us, but for our customers. You see, we have this good thing going for us, due to a
superior formulation and wide publicity. Some manufacturers of spurious medicines are trying to piggyback on - or downright exploit - our efforts by making similar packs with similar names. Now the latest strategy is offering medical shops a profit margin of over 70% to push such products. That is why we have started placing ‘Beware of Imitators’ warning prominently in all our publicity materials. You will be surprised at the kind of nifty designs and names used to feel and sound like our product. We have a collection of them, sent in by our customers and executives. Many customers only check the pack and bottle in detail, only on realizing that the (duplicate) medicine is not effective. So, now we are publicising the different ways in which the original Musli Power XTra can be identified and confidently bought. Apart from the over one lakh medical shops, the product is available directly from our offices, through mail order, and from our website as well as other e-commerce sites approved by us.
which was made by a Delhi based pharmacy institute. Their study was totally unfounded, as they don’t have facilities for Mass Spectrum Analysis, which as you might know, is the gold standard to accurately find out all the ingredients in a formulation. So, even though numerous studies by drug administration agencies of various state governments had repeatedly proven that Musli Power X-Tra doesn’t contain tadalafil, vardenafil, sildenafil, or any synthetic steroids, we decided to go in for Mass Spectrum Analysis at Bangalore’s Sequent Research Ltd, which is one of a handful of Indian labs doing this quite expensive study. Now their study has also come out which totally disproves the claim that Musli Power X-Tra contains Tadalafil or any other similar allopathic compounds. Even more recently, our product underwent a more detailed study by a top-notch laboratory in Singapore, and this study not only confirmed the absence of tadalafil, but the absence of around 200 active allopathic molecules. In other words, no allopathic or synthetic active ingredient either invented or likely to be introduced are there in Musli Power Extra.