News in brief
A $30-million commitment from Yale University and $5 million from Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani
has funded the "Yale India Initiative" that will be used to create faculty positions, curricular and scholarly
programmes and research leading to an increased engagement with India.
Wipro Technologies and Oracle have announced the launch of the innovative solutions lab (OZONE) that
will be used to co-develop solutions across specific industry processes in human capital and customer
relationship management and supply chain management.
Intel has launched Intel® Core™ i7 processor, which it said was 'the fastest desktop processor on Earth'.
World's first electronic auction of tea was organised by the Calcutta Tea Traders Association in
partnership with the Tea Board, in Kolkata recently. The buyers were Bajaj Enterprise, Gujarat Tea
Processors & Packers, Duncans Tea, Asia Tea & Exports Ltd and M.K. Corporation.
The Delhi headquartered Bharat Hotels is to call all its hotels 'Lalit' instead of the name The Grand by
which they are known at present.
DQ Entertainment has signed an agreement with Turner Networks to produce animation series Balkand
and Ravan, based on the mythology Ramayana.
Chennai-based CaratLane, a Web site to sell certified and high-quality diamonds as well as readymade and
custom-made diamond jewellery was launched recently.
Comedian Jerry Lewis will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards
ceremony in February. The 82-year-old actor has raised over $2 billion (£1.3bn) for the Muscular Dystrophy
Association through his annual Labor Day telethon.
Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will promote Kentucky Fried Chicken's (KFC) 'Zinger'
Burger. The campaign uses Murali's unique bowling action to drive home KFC's 'Finger Lickin' Good' brand
The fourth and final phase of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) campaign launched in
association with the BBC World Service Trust (BBCWST) aims at promoting condoms and India's HIV/AIDS
control efforts centers on a puppy called 'Condom'. The film summarises this in the tagline, 'Jo Samjha
Wohi Sikander' (The One Who Understands is the Winner).
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In its first phase, the Condom campaign featured a Jo Bola Wohi Sikander contest, which ran from 1
December to 20 December 2007. Phase 2 was a national campaign, with a TV and radio ad featuring a
'kabaddi' match. Phase 3 featured condom ringtone ads in August and September 2008.
Sweden's AB Electrolux, which had shut its Indian operations and sold assets and brand rights to Videocon
three years ago, is moving back to India and is planning to launch built-in kitchen appliances under the
Electrolux brand. Xcite, a multi-brand electronics retail chain will sell Electrolux's Frigidaire in India.
Frigidaire, which has a range of products, including refrigerators, water filters, washing machines and airconditioners,
was earlier owned by General Motors. It has been with Electrolux since mid-80s. Electrolux
products are now manufactured, marketed and distributed by Videocon Industries. Videocon owns the
brand rights for Electrolux for five years which expires in 2010.
Swimwear and beachwear company Banana Moon, set up in 1986 by Daniel Flachaire, Véronique
Flachaire, Bernard Donati and Nat Maori, has made its debut in India.
Arvind Limited, the textile and apparel company, will be demerging its branded apparel and retail business
which operates under the MegaMart brand into wholly owned subsidiaries from 1 April 2009.
The branded apparel business which markets Arrow, Flying Machine, Newport, Excalibur will be demerged
into Arvind Lifestyle Brands. The retail business which operates under the banner of MegaMart will be
demerged into Arvind Retail. Under the MegaMart banner, Arvind presently has about 150 stores across
the country along with the license for world's largest value brand Cherokee.
Tata Indicom has appointed two brothers from cricket – Yusuf Pathan and Irfaan Pathan as brand
ambassadors in its ad whose punchline is 'Suno Dil ki Awaaz'.
Femina magazine has launched a new monthly 'What to Wear' targeted at 25+ SEC A women which is
complimentary with Femina.
Titan Industries has unveiled Braille watches designed for the visually impaired, branded Titan Braille.
The India Today Group is planning to launch Harper's Bazaar and Robb Report in the Indian market.
Harper's Bazaar is an American fashion magazine that was launched by Harper Brothers in 1867 as a
weekly in New York. It became a monthly later and was re-launched as Harper's Bazaar by William
Randolph Hearst in 1913. Harper's Bazaar considers itself to be the style resource for 'the well-dressed
woman and the well-dressed mind'.
The Robb Report is a luxury lifestyle magazine, featuring products such as cars, watches, and real estate
for affluent connoisseurs. It was originally started by Robert White as a magazine to complement the
purchase of a Rolls-Royce automobile.
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Wadhawan Food Retail launched its 50th Smart Store in Karnataka recently.
Wadhawan Food Retail operates multiple food and grocery brands including Spinach in Maharashtra and
Kolkata, Sabka Bazaar in Delhi NCR and Smart in Karnataka, launched its 50th Smart Store recently.
Wadhawan Food Retail also has a home décor and utility lifestyle store called 'The Home Store' in Delhi
NCR, Jaipur and Bangalore.
The Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the tourism arm of Indian Railways, is tying
up with travel company Cox and Kings to launch the largest-ever luxury rail service in India.
Tata Tea has launched its Tata Tea Jaago Re Soccer Stars campaign targeted at schoolchildren through
which the company plans to promote football among school children and provide them an opportunity to
participate in the Arsenal International Soccer Festival.
Medical care provider Apollo Health and Lifestyle plans to expand its presence across the country under
the formats 'Reach Hospitals' and maternity hospital chain, Cradle.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched India's first 3G mobile services of Mahanagar Telephone
Nigam Limited (MTNL) in Delhi.
The Rajasthan Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chose the former Chief Minister and Congress general
secretary, Ashok Gehlot as the new Chief Minister of the state.
Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari received the U.N. prize in the field of
human rights on behalf of his mother and slain Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on the
occasion of 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Sonal Shah, the Indian-origin member of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, whose
links with VHP sparked criticism, has renounced her affiliation with the Hindu outfit.
The Asian Forum on CSR, Singapore, awarded Hindustan Zinc (a company of Vedanta Group in zinc
business) the Asian CSR Excellence Award 2008 under the Poverty Alleviation Category for the "Zinc
Integrated Poverty Alleviation Programme (ZIPAP)".
The Sino-Indian Joint Military Exercise "Ex Hand-in-Hand 2008," aimed at developing combat strategies
to counter terrorism, was organised in India recently.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed an
agreement to supply nearly 2,000 tonnes of uranium to India.
India has struck a deal with France to provide 300 tonnes of uranium for two proposed 1000-MW light
water reactors by Areva of France at Jaitpur in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district.
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The U.K. has signalled an end to the policy which gave immigrants the "automatic" right to citizenship if
they had stayed for a minimum of five years. Under the proposed rules, immigrants will have to "earn"
British citizenship by demonstrating their commitment to Britain that would include having a good grasp of
English and knowledge of British history and its institutions.
Angelina Jolie is the highest paid actress in Hollywood according to an annual report by the Hollywood
Reporter thanks to her prized earning of $23 million for the action film "Wanted". Julia Roberts followed
second with $23 million for her film "Duplicity", while third was Reese Witherspoon, who pocketed $14
million for her new romantic comedy "Four Christmases".
The Reserve Bank of India has reduced the short-term indicative rates — the repo rate and the reverse
report rate by 100 basis points each to 6.5 per cent and 5 per cent — with effect from December 8.
Actor Shahrukh Khan received the honour 'Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka' from the government of Malaysia's
Malacca State. He will now be referred to as Datuk Shahrukh Khan and addressed as Datuk. Malacca
authorities said Khan was given the title because six of his movies were shot in the historical State, giving a
boost to tourism.
The Governor of West Bengal, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, laid the foundation stone for the Currency and Coins
Museum at the Old Mint Complex, declared a prime heritage structure by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
The European Union is launching Operation Atalanta–a British-led anti-piracy armada off the Horn of Africa
in Europe's first joint naval operation.
Odissi dancer Pritika Kalra Gandhi received the National Women Excellence Award 2008 of the
foundation for religious Harmony and Universal Peace recently.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, who presided over a massive post-Soviet revival of the church,
passed away at the age of 79. Alexy II, elected to head the church in 1990, took advantage of the lifting of
Communist restrictions on religious freedom to dramatically rebuild the power and influence of the Orthodox
Church in Russia and other former Soviet states.
Scopus Young Indian Scientists Awards
Nine young scientists from different research institutions have won the prestigious Scopus Young Indian
Scientists Awards for 2008. The awards are instituted by Elsevier, the Netherlands based research publisher of
scientific information. The winners are: Govindasamy Bala of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (for
Earth Sciences category), Siva Athreya of the Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore (Mathematics), B.V.S.
Reddy of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad (Chemistry), Bhanuprakash Reddy of the
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad (Medicine), R. Raman of the International Centre for Genetic
Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi (Agriculture), S. Ganesh of IIT, Kanpur (Agriculture Biological
Sciences), Suman Chakraborthy of IIT, Kharagpur, (Engineering) and Satyabrata Patnaik of JNU, Delhi, and
Moulik Parikh of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune (Physics).
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Rajiv Mathur was appointed as the new Chief of the Intelligence Bureau from January 1, 2009. He took
over from P.C. Halder, who retired on Dec 31, 2008 after serving as IB chief for two years.
The European Union will ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs from 2009 and replace the market by
fluorescent energy-saving bulbs.
The world-famous mangoes of Malihabadi in Uttar Pradesh have got Geographical Indicators (GI)
Historian Romila Thapar has been honoured with the $1 million Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in
the Study of Humanity, along with Peter Brown, a historian of the post-Roman world.
Honda has decided to pull out its team comprising drivers Jenson Button & Reubens Barrichello from F1.
The Union government has approved a hefty hike in the salaries of executives and non-unionised
supervisors of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). Only profit-making CPSEs would be eligible for
implementing the revised pay scales.
Bharatanatyam danseuse and director of the Ahmedabad-based Darpana Academy Mallika Sarabhai has
been selected for the "Crystal award for 2009," given by the World Economic Forum, for her two decades
of work in the fields of women empowerment and social justice as well as arts and culture.
Nobel laureate and Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei has
been chosen to receive the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2008.
Editor-in-Chief of the IBN Network Rajdeep Sardesai has been unanimously elected president of the
Editors Guild of India. He succeeds the Chief Editor of Nai Duniya, Alok Mehta, who served for two terms.
Resident Editor of Malayala Manorama and The Week K.S. Sachidananada Murthy was re-elected
The Supreme Court collegium, headed by the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, has refused to
reconsider its decision on elevation of three High Court Chief Justices as apex court judges. Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh expressed his reservations about the elevation of these three judges on the ground that
seniority had been overlooked and certain States were not represented in the apex court.
Leather technologist T. Ramasami was selected for the prestigious Dr. Y. Nayudamma Memorial Award
for the year 2008.
Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo unveiled his lavish, $23 million ceiling painting at the United Nations
building in Geneva, a project that has evoked controversy over its hefty price tag.
Ashutosh Kaushik who hails from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh won the 'Bigg Boss 2' title and a whopping
Rs.1 crore in cash. Model-actor Zulfi Syed was declared the second runner-up, while Raja Chaudhry
became the first runner-up.