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    April 29th, 2012adminSports

    FOCUSED: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan came back strongly after losing the first set to clinch the title at Madurai on Saturday. Photo: S. James / The Hindu

    Fourth-seeded Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of India scored a hard fought 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) win over second seed Marc Giner of Spain and clinched the title in the TVS $10,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the Madurai Union Club here on Saturday.

    The first set went on serve till 3-3. The Spaniard started hitting some powerful winners from the baseline and went up 40-0 on Jeevan’s serve in the seventh game. The Indian saved three break points before Giner won the next two to go 4-3 up.

    Missed opportunity

    Jeevan had a chance to break back in the 10th game, when Giner was serving 5-4, 30-40. But the second seed staved off the break point with a big serve and followed it up with a couple of forehand winners to take the set 6-4.

    Jeevan came back strongly in the second set and broke his opponent in the fourth and sixth games and closed out the set at 6-1. Both the players used their big serves to good effect in the third set.

    With no break of serves till the 12th game, the decider moved to the tiebreaker, which the Indian won 7-4.

    Jeevan won a cash award of $1300 and 18 ATP points, while the runner-up received $900 and 10 points.

    Meanwhile in the doubles final, N. Sriram Balaji and P.C. Vignesh of India defeated Andre Gaspar Murta of Portugal and Matthieu Vierin of Italy 7-6(4), 7-6(5).

    Madurai Kamaraj University Vice-Chancellor Kalyani Mathivanan gave away the prizes.

    The results (Indians unless mentioned):

    Singles: Final: Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Marc Giner (ESP) 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4).Semifinals: Jeevan bt Vijayant Malik 6-2, 6-3; Giner bt Yannick Vandenbulcke (Bel) 7-6(3), 6-3

    Doubles: Final: N. Sriram Balaji & P.C. Vignesh bt Andre Gaspar Murta (Por) & Matthieu Vierin (Ita) 7-6(4), 7-6(5). Semifinals: Sriram & Vignesh bt Rupesh Roy & Vivek Shokeen 6-4, 6-3; Murta & Vierin bt Elwin Antony & Mohammed Fariz 7-5, 6-3.

    source: / Home> Sports> Tennis / by Principal Correspondent / Madurai, April 29th, 2012

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    April 27th, 2012adminGreen Initiatives/ Environment, Nature

    A picture of a vulture’s nest at Siriyur in the Nilgiris North forest division. Photo: Special Arrangement

    Study in the wild to create awareness of conservation

    The last significant vulture population in the Western and Eastern Ghats are threatened by the indiscriminate use of pesticides, say researchers watching vulture habitats.

    A team of researchers from CareEarth Arulagam has taken up a detailed study in the wild and creating awareness of conservation of these forest scavengers. The organisation has its field station located within the vulture habitat at Bhavanisagar in Erode district.

    Patrick David, Project Co-ordinator, CareEarth Arulagam, said he, along with his team members, were studying the landscape for nearly three years.

    The vulture project was taken up in December last year.

    A 180-sqkm area is being monitored under this programme. Semmanatham, Avaralla and Siriyur in the Nilgiris North Forest Division are some of the places where vulture nests were sighted by the team. Apart from this, the scavengers were sighted all along the Moyar valley, Mr. Patrick said.

    Talking about the study, he said it had two components: ecology and conservation. In the ecology part, the team is identifying nesting sites of vultures and studying their site characteristics.

    Under the conservation component, the team is educating Forest Department staff and villagers in the vicinity of the vulture habitat about different species of vultures, as most of them are unaware of the number of vulture species in existence or about how to identify them. And few were aware that vultures are found only in these parts in Tamil Nadu.

    Mr. Patrick said: “We are also working with veterinary doctors, pharmacists, and Animal Husbandry Department officials to phase out the banned drug, diclofenac. We have also requested the Forest Department to ensure that dead animals are not buried as it will deny food for these scavengers.”

    Diclofenac is the main reason for the decline in vulture population. It is an anti-inflammatory veterinary drug and if the vultures eat the carcass of any animal which the drug had been administered to, it would affect the kidney of vultures, leading to their death. Another threat is a pesticide used by farmers, he said.

    Mr. Patrick said if these threats were addressed, the present population of vultures in the Western and Eastern Ghats could be sustained. A good habitat — open areas with sparse trees to locate dead animals and substantial wild herbivore population — is essential for their survival, he said.

    Four species of vultures are found in Tamil Nadu — white-backed vulture, long-billed vulture, Egyptian vulture and red-headed vulture.

    Apart from that, the research team is also working with the youth of this region to develop vulture brigades. The youth would be custodians of the bird in the region. They will report vulture sightings and nest sites and also help in preventing carcass poisoning, Mr. Patrick said

    source: / Home> News> States> TamilNadu / by P. Oppili / Chennai, April 27thy, 2012

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    April 24th, 2012adminBusiness & Economy

    Chennai/Kolkata, APRIL 24:

    India’s black tea exports have begun scaling the Great Wall. Shipments of black tea to China have increased 10-fold since the 2008-09 fiscal.

    “Black tea exports to China have recorded the highest rate of growth. There is a great potential for it,” said Ms Roshni Sen, Deputy Chairperson of the Tea Board.

    According to Tea Board data, shipments of black tea increased to 1.27 million kg (mkg) during 2010-11 from 0.10 mkg during 2008-09.

    According to trade sources, exports during the last fiscal crossed 2 mkg.

    “China is basically a green tea consumer. But what I have also seen is black tea is getting imported for the ready-to-drink or instant tea for the younger population,” said Mr Aditya Khaitan, Managing Director of McLeod Russell.

    “It is mainly tea from North India that is being exported to China. The younger generation there needs a stronger cup of tea,” said Mr N. Sriram, Director of Coonoor-based Contemporary Tea Brokers.

    Though China is the largest producer of tea, production of black tea there is declining. India, on the other hand, is the largest producer of black tea in the world. Production in 2011 is estimated at a record 988.33 million kg. Exports are hovering around 200 mkg during the last couple of years.

    Pakistan and China are seen as sources that can help perk up black tea shipments.

    The rise in Chinese black tea consumption is likely to put pressure on prices, according to Mr Khaitan.

    source: / Home> Markets> Commodities / by Hindu Bureau / April 24th, 2012

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    If Chennaiites have a Marina beach to chill out, people of Trichy have the banks of the Cauvery at Ammamandapam in Srirangam. For the first time in the history of the Fort city, a km length of the stretch on the banks of the Cauvery between what is known as Karudamandapam Padithurai (stone steps) and the famous Cauvery bridge (linking Srirangam island to mainland Trichy) has been converted into a ‘beach’ for the convenience of the public and tourists.

    “I had not the faintest idea that the concept would click into a huge hit with the people,” corporation commissioner K R Selvaraj told TOI. Just as the summer holidays are beginning, the tourist attraction was thrown open to the public on Sunday evening by minister N R Sivapathy.

    Selvaraj recalled that Sivapathy had told him about converting the dry Cauvery in the upstream of Cauvery bridge up to Karudamandpam Padithurai into a tourist attraction. However, the corporation did not pay much heed to the idea as it was right in the middle of the stream. That the Cauvery had become completely dry made the officials rethink the matter. Meanwhile, the minister asked the Commissioner again as to what arrangements had been made on Friday last. “It was at this point that I realized that Sivapathy was very determined about it,” Selvaraj said. Furthermore, the Minister visited the site twice on Saturday, and on Sunday evening, he officially threw the ‘beach’ open to the public, much to the jubilation of children and womenfolk.

    “We were indeed moved by the sight of the people, both youngsters and the elderly, standing right on the platform of the Cauvery bridge in the late evenings to chill out. They were risking their lives sometimes in the poor visibility, and had to be given some alternative site for recreation,” Trichy (East) MLA R Manoharan, in whose jurisdiction the beach falls, told TOI. In fact, the traffic department had taken strong exception to a large number of people flooding the bridge after dusk, and the scenario increased the likelihood of road accidents on the bridge. “Unless we give them some alternative, it will not be proper to chase them away from the bridge,” said Manoharan. And, the idea was hurriedly given a final shape on Sunday without any official invitation. “Let the people recreate at least for a month, now that the board examination is over today,” Manoharan added.

    Selvaraj, however, said the beach phenomenon would not last beyond the first week of June, when water would be released from the Mettur dam.

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / by Dennis Selvan / TNN, April 24th, 2012

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    April 21st, 2012adminBusiness & Economy, Leaders, Uncategorized

    New Delhi:

    As India tries to increase its share in the world tourism market, the tourism ministry is looking for a brand ambassador for its flagship logo Incredible India. The ministry is in talks with India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan for the job.

    Though Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has been the face of Incredible India spreading the social message of cleanliness and Atithi Devo Bhava in India, the ministry needs a global brand ambassador.

    After seriously considering Bollywood actors, the ministry has zeroed in on sportspersons to do the job. Speaking to ET, tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai said: “India needs a brand ambassador to promote Incredible India in the overseas market. A world-renowned sportsperson would be the ideal choice for this.”

    According to highly-placed sources, Karthikeyan met Sahai earlier this week and gave a presentation on how he could promote Brand India globally. This includes plans of sporting Incredible India logo with visuals of  Taj Mahal on his racing car and making appearances at India roadshows abroad.

    The ministry is showing keen interest as Formula One racing has the second-largest viewership after FIFA World Cup. The ministry had also considered cricketers like MS Dhoni but realised that cricket is not followed in Europe and United States and it could mean leaving out big international tourist markets.

    source: / News> News by Industry> Services / by Nidhi Sharma, ET Bureau / April 21st, 2012

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    April 20th, 2012adminBusiness & Economy


    Coromandel International, the flagship company of the Chennai-based Murugappa Group, has upped its stake in agrochemical manufacturer Sabero Organics by over 5 percentage points to just below 75% in the March quarter.

    Coromandel bought about 18.53 lakh shares or 5.47% stake from the existing promoters, said a Sabero footnote to its Q4 earnings.

    The Murugappa Group company acquired Sabero last year and after an open offer it held a 69.1% stake. The company spent over Rs 400 crore on the acquisition.

    Sabero posted a Q4 standalone net loss of just over Rs 11 crore, compared to a loss of Rs 7.52 crore in the same quarter the year before. This is its sixth straight quarterly loss. Sales, however, rose to Rs 94 crore from Rs 88 crore.

    In the company’s third quarter conference call, Kapil Mehan, managing director of Coromandel, had said he expects Sabero to return to normalcy and healthy growth in the next two to three quarters.

    source: / ET Home> Markets> Stocks> Stocks in News / ET Bureau / April 19th, 2012

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                               R.Badri Narayanan.   Photo: G. Moorthy / The Hindu 

    Determination to succeed drives this man to raise the bar each time he wins a medal either in India or abroad. This time, R. Badri Narayanan, son of a temple priest in suburban Othakadai, has returned home with a bronze medal in the men’s singles at the Second France International Para Badminton Tournament, held in Rodez, France. This is not just one more addition to his kitty, but a reminder that he should scale new heights.

    The left-handed Badri, who cannot use his right hand due to a congenital deformity, now wants to win more medals in the upcoming Asia Cup tournament. “I know I have to improve my skills. That is why I practise with normal players. My practice helps me react quickly while taking on the disabled players,” says Badri. He took to sports to overcome his predicament.

    As an athlete, initially, he won several medals in State and national events. When he broke into badminton, it has been a shower of medals. His success stories were scripted in several tournaments, including in England, Israel and Malaysia. But every time he embarks on a medal mission he experiences starting trouble. He is not in a position to undertake a foreign trip on his own. Badri has to depend on sponsors for participation in any tournament. There have been many local sponsors who have lent a helping hand to Badri. He has recently written to the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, seeking her good wishes and support. At present, his aim is to win the Asia Cup tournament, wherever it is held.

    source: / News> Cities> Madurai / by S. Annamalai / April 17th, 2012


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                                                                    Professor Gerard Parr
    A University of Ulster academic is spearheading the latest phase of a multi-million pound joint UK and Indian research project to boost India’s Internet capabilities.Professor Gerard Parr, who is Chair in Telecommunications Engineering on the University’s Coleraine campus, is the UK’s principal investigator for a £10 million India-UK ICT research consortium of nine research-leading UK universities.The £10 million project – the largest between the two countries and which will employ 200 scientists – will help improve the quality of millions of lives in India and the UK.UK’s Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts announced the £10 million funding boost for the project during a meeting with Indian Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in London today (Wednesday April 18).

    The £10 million investment will support the second phase of research into next generation Telecommunications networks – the development of state-of-the-art platforms and applications that will carry voice, video and data in the future on the Internet.

    The research is a key part of the work of the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre (IU-ATC), a collaborative programme funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Government of India’s Department of Science & Technology (DST) and industrial partners in both countries.

    The funding announcement came after months of hard work leading up to a joint panel meeting of UK and Indian scientific experts, co-ordinated by Research Councils UK (RCUK) India, a representative office for EPSRC in India.

    On behalf of EPSRC, RCUK India has been working with DST, since the start of the first phase of this collaborative project in 2009. This latest funding will allow the Centre to focus its efforts on developing low-cost solutions for rural access to broadband, improved use of available spectrum as well as applications for rural health monitoring, emergency and disaster communications, social TV-Virtual Classrooms and other services.

    Professor Parr, who is based in the School of Computing and Information Engineering in the Faculty of Computing and Engineering at Ulster’s Coleraine campus and Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras are the UK and Indian principal investigators for this major joint research initiative, the ultimate aim of which is to develop solutions that will benefit the lives of millions of users in the future Digital Economy.

    Welcoming the funding success Professor Parr said: “I am delighted that EPSRC and DST have given our team the opportunity to further develop our plans and focus our efforts in order to derive maximum impact and benefit from our research activities.

    “This is a very significan initiative representing over £20 million of investment from government, industry and academic partners in both countries for both phases.  We intend to work closely with our funders and industry to ensure we fully exploit the promise of technological advances in Next Generation Networks.  The IU-ATC represents an internationally renowned research and innovation eco-system which we intend to grow over the coming years.”

    Ulster is the lead UK institution in a consortium of nine research-leading UK universities including the University of Surrey, Lancaster University, Queen Mary, University of London, Southampton University, University of St Andrews, University College London, University of Bristol, and the University of Cambridge.

    They are joined by seven top Institutes of Technology (IITs) in India: IIT Madras (Lead), IIT Delhi, IIT Mumbai, IIT Mandi, IIT Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, and IISc Bangalore.

    In recent years, Ulster academics have responded to the growing global demand for affordable and energy efficient broadband applications and services by researching new technologies to meet the needs of the emerging digital economy in the UK and India. Such solutions will also apply to other countries such as Brazil, China and the Middle East, said Professor Parr.

    Announcing details of the funding boost at the high-level  India-UK Ministerial Science and Innovation Council, David Willetts said: “This £10 million investment will build on the UK’s excellent record of research collaboration with India. It will bring together leading universities and institutes from both countries to develop technological solutions to a range of important issues, from rural health to disaster response.”

    Dr Liam Blackwell, Head of EPSRC’s ICT Theme said: “This next phase of the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre project is expected to contribute to leading edge international collaboration in ICT research which will benefit both countries and develop their capabilities.” The three high level research activity areas within the IU-ATC are:-

    • Applications and Services;
    • Core Network Systems and Protocols;
    • Heterogeneous Wireless Access Networks;

    Each research area has a UK-India Chief Monitor that reports to an Executive Board. Additionally, a group of major ICT companies in both countries will collaborate with the consortium on the research agenda.

    Lead UK industrial partner, BT Innovate and Design, is joined by Toshiba Research Laboratories Europe. In India there is direct engagement from companies such as Infosys, Wipro and Sasken together with SMEs.

    The first phase of the joint research initiative started in June 2009 with £5 million funding from EPSRC-DST and £4.2 million co-funding from industry and academic partners in both countries.

    During this phase methods and templates for collaboration, governance agreements and Intellectual Property Rights management frameworks have been adopted by EPSRC, the British Council and the Intellectual Property Office of the UK Government. Significant outputs have already been generated by the team in terms of scientific publications, technology demonstrators and patents.

    For further information, please contact:

    Patti Holly
    Telephone: 028 71675511
    Email: Patti Holly

    source: / University of Ulster / April 18th, 2012

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    April 19th, 2012adminBusiness & Economy

    German auto maker Daimler AG has decided to consolidate its truck manufacturing operations in India. As part of the plan, it will shift the production of Actros from Pune to Oragadam in Tamil Nadu.

    The company launched the facility in Oragadam on Wednesday. It will manufacture the BharatBenz trucks and all commercial vehicles there.

    The Rs 4,400-crore facility will have an initial capacity of 36,000 units, including 24,000 units for heavy duty trucks and 12,000 for light duty trucks under the BharatBenz brand.

    The capacity could be raised to 70,000 units per annum, said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz cars. The facility is spread over 400 acres.

    Zetsche said India was not just emerging, but thriving. The exceptional role of the economy was a matter of fact — not next decade, not next year, but today. “If India’s economy were in Mercedes, it would have to be an SLS AMG super sports car.

    “If you don’t make it here, you won’t make it at all. Because a strong position in the global market requires a strong position in India and at Daimler, we always go for the leading position in our industry. That’s why India will play an increasingly important role in our business”.

    The company said it could join hands with the Renault-Nissan alliance for commercial vehicles in India, although there was no immediate plan.

    Zetsche said, “Though we don’t have any plan now, we don’t rule out the possibility. Our partnership is not restricted to any region. It is possible to do something together in India as well”.

    Daimler and Renault-Nissan build commercial vehicles together in Europe.

    The Oragadam facility can roll out one heavy duty vehicle every 11 minutes and one light duty vehicle every 22 minutes. The new plant will make light and heavy duty trucks in the 7-49-tonne range and is meant for both domestic and international markets, including Asean and Africa.

    “Our priority is the domestic market, once we address the domestic market, we will look at exports,” said Andres Renschler, member of the board of management at Daimler AG and head of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses.

    The first of these trucks, used in construction, mining and on highways, will be rolled out in September, he added.

    According to compay sources, the vehicles will have 85 per cent localisation. Besides assembling, the facility will also have a power train facility to cater to heavy duty trucks, with a capacity of 24,000 engines. For light duty vehciles, the engines will be manufactured at Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh.

    A separate facility, within the Oragdam plant, will be created to manufacture the Actros trucks, which are high-end heavy duty trucks and the largest-selling truck model worldwide.

    According to a Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) official, the company wants to have all truck manufacturing in one location while cars will be rolled out of the Pune plant.

    DICV will also shift its research and development (R&D) team to the plant site though from a different location in Oragadam. Currently, the auto major employees around 1,000 people in its R&D unit.

    The official said 85 per cent of the components were locally sourced.

    source: / Home> Companies & Industry / by BS Reporter / Chennai, April 19th, 2012

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    Two years ago, 23-year-old E. Ramu worked as an office assistant in the Mayajal movie complex in Chennai. Now he is the top-scoring II B.Sc. Maths student in Swami Dayananda College of Arts and Science at Manjakudi village in Kumbakonam.

    Little, R. Janani, talks about her experience of being on a TV talk show. — DC

    His parents, farm coolies in Tiruvannamalai, couldn’t dream of sending Ramu to college. But with the help of the Swami Dayananda education and charitable trust, which runs the college, Ramu is able to continue his studies. This college has opened its doors for learning to scores of other students like Ramu– majority of them first generation learners.

    “I paid only Rs 2,000 to join the college. Though my course fee was Rs 6,000, the management accepted what I gave for the seat, understanding my financial background. I will complete my B.Ed. and work as a teacher, helping other poor children like me,” said Ramu.

    His juniors R. Priyadharshini and B. Suganya, residing in the hostel managed by the trust, are proud of their institution. “Our college provides seats to underprivileged students. Actually, those with fewer marks are accommodated first because poverty could have debilitated their performance. But with the coaching here, we improve fast and score big”, they said.

    Correspondent G. Ramachandran said many students found jobs in big firms such as WIPRO, which runs a rural BPO within the campus. “Rajagopal, who completed his schooling here and even worked in our college, is now heading the BPO. We are proud that half of the employees in the BPO, who belong to downtrodden families and studied in our college, have got good jobs”, he said.

    R. Janani and her sister Suveetha, students of Swami Dayananda government-aided school are popular; one is an orator and the other a sportsperson. “We teach not just textbook lessons but also values to be followed right from childhood,” said K. Muthulakhsmi, school principal.

    “What we like to give the children is a life, not just education. We look after their health as well as their personality when they are in our chatralayas and other institutions and hope they will become very good citizens,” says Sheila Balaji, trustee, AIM for Seva that is central to Swami Dayananda organizations.

    source: / Home> Channels> Cities> Chennai / by Pramila Krishnan / DC, Chennai / April 15th, 2012

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