Ambanis Brothers Now Under Pressure

Mumbai, June 19: War-weary family members and well-wishers are seeing the adverse Bombay High Court judgement on the KG basin natural gas as an opportunity to settle the decade’s hottest business feuds and are exerting pressure on the Reliance Industries management to explore an amicable out-of-court settlement with the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL).

Securing Lalgarh could take time: Chidambaram

New Delhi, June 19: Security operations to free West Bengal’s Lalgarh from Maoist control are on track but could take “considerably more time” than anticipated, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday.

“The operation will take time In fact, it will take considerably more time than had been expected,” he said after briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Telecom subscriber base growth dips in May

New Delhi, June 19: Over 11 million telephone connections were added in May, though the increase was slightly less than that registered in the previous month, India’s telecom regulator said Friday.

“A total of 11.44 million telephone connections (wireline and wireless) have been added during May as compared to 11.75 million connections a month before,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in a statement.

The cellphone goes to Asian classrooms

Penang (Malaysia), June 19: Can the cellphone replace the blackboard? Not quite, but it is finding new uses in the classroom in pockets of Asia, says a new report.

The latest and seventh volume of the “Digital Review of Asia Pacific’, released at a function here, highlights the power of new communication technologies in the field of education.

Vodafone to cash in on the ‘Zoozoo’ wave

Kochi, June 19: Cashing in on the popularity of its ‘Zoozoo’ advertisement, Vodafone Essar, one of India’s leading cellular services providers, has announced an offer of free special Zoozoo DVDs, containing 29 Zoozoo ads, for those availing new postpaid connections.

The customers can get the free Zoozoo DVD through the purhcase of new postpaid connection, while prepaid customers can get the same through a recharge of Rs 300 or more, Vodafone said in a press release here.

Airtel, IFFCO form JV

Vuyyuru, June 18: Bharti Airtel Ltd, the country’s leading mobile operator, has entered into a strategic tie-up with Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) and formed a new joint venture company–IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd (IKSL)–to reach the farmers directly.

Explaining details about the new initiative to newspersons here last evening, Andhra Pradesh Bharti Airtel Ltd Chief Executive Officer (Mobile Services) Sharlin Thayil said the initiative marks Airtel’s strategic intent of making mobile telephony more accessible and affordable among rural consumers.

Inflation Rate In India Decreases -1.61%

Mumbai, June 18: For the first time since the new Wholesale Price Index (WPI) series started in 1995, India’s annual rate of inflation turned negative, falling to minus 1.61 percent for the week ended June 6, official data showed Thursday.

The inflation rate, which was 0.13 percent in the previous week, had last turned negative in 1977.

With this, India is possibly the only country now that is recording deflation though the European region is nearing the zero rate of inflation on account of recession.

Top Tax-payer In India Is SBI pips PNGC

New Delhi, June 18: When the world was reeling under a severe financial crunch, India went out to prove another point — its banking business was not
only profitable but had outperformed all other sectors.

The icing on the cake was the first quarter advance (direct) tax results when for the first time in the history of corporate India, a bank became the country’s highest tax-payer, leaving behind numero uno Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

Work for free, airline tells staff

London, June 18: British Airways (BA), which reported a record annual loss last month, has asked its staff to work for free as part of the company’s battle for “survival” in

The appeal to its British-based employees is to volunteer for between a week and a month in unpaid leave or unpaid work.

Chief executive Willie Walsh, who along with chief financial officer Keith Williams has promised to work for nothing in July, said the idea was part of BA’s across-the-board cost-cutting measures.

“Many of you from across the airline are stepping up to help the company,” Walsh said.

BA asks staff to work for nothing for a month

Washington, June 17: British Airways, which registered a record annual loss in May, is asking its staff to work for nothing for up to one month in order to reduce costs.

The request was made in a letter to staff through the British Airways News.

BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh, who himself has promised to work for nothing in July, said the proposal was part of measures to reduce the company’s operating expenses.

“I am looking for every single part of the company to take part in some way in this cash-effective way of helping the company’s survival. It really counts,” Walsh said.

India biggest market for trafficked Nepali women

Kathmandu, June 17: Despite efforts by the Nepal government and rights organisations to prevent human trafficking, India still remains the biggest foreign destination for victims, with an estimated 10,000-15,000 Nepali women and girls being sold there annually.

The assessment is part of the 8th annual Trafficking in Persons Report released by the US Department of State in Washington late Tuesday.

The number could be higher in the absence of reliable statistics. NGOs working on trafficking issues have reported an increase in both transnational and domestic trafficking.

Doha trade “impasse” broken: Anand Sharma

New Delhi, June 16: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Monday that “the impasse has been broken” over the World Trade Organisation’s long-running Doha round of world trade talks.

While Sharma did not give a timeline for the talks to conclude, he said both the United States and India had emerged from elections with new governments ready to reach an agreement.

Big four emerging economies meet for first summit

Yekaterinburg, Russia, June 16: Leaders from emerging giants Brazil, Russia, India and China are set to meet for the first summit of their informal BRIC grouping in a show of unity in the face of a sharp global slowdown.

The idea for the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) grouping was spawned after research by a US investment bank suggested the four economies were developing at such pace they could be amongst the world’s strongest by 2050.

Losing jobs, Satyam staff weigh legal options

Hyderabad, June 16: With their internet connections snapped, their office access cards to be taken away and all entitlements and reimbursement of expenses discontinued, Satyam employees who have been moved to the virtual pool are now considering moving the court to challenge the company’s decision to force a huge chunk of the workforce to sit at home.

Employees who spoke to this newspaper said that some of them had already approached lawyers to consider their legal options that they could use against the firm.

Court asks Ambanis to frame new gas accord

Mumbai, June 16: The Bombay High Court ordered that Reliance Industries honour a 2005 family agreement to supply 28 million cubic meters per day of gas from its Krishna-Godavari basin fields at USD 2.34 per mmBtu for 17 years to Reliance Natural Resources Ltd.

The final price would reduce the outgo for Anil’s group firm by about 11.8 billion dollars during the period of the contract. As per USD 2.34 mBtu, the outgo for 17 years would work out to 14.79 billion dollars compared to 26.55 billion dollars on the basis of government-approved USD 4.2 mmBtu.

Petrol, diesel prices may go up

New Delhi, June 15: Concerned at the rise in international crude oil prices, the Government is looking at solutions to tackle the widening revenue deficit and one of the options on the table could be raising petrol and diesel prices.

“We are seriously concerned about the rise in crude oil prices … We have to look for solutions,” Petroleum Minister Murli Deora told reporters after meeting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with his Budget wishlist.

RIL, global cues pull down Sensex

Mumbai, June 15: Dismal global cues and a court ruling against heavyweight Reliance Industries Monday pulled down a key index of the Indian equities markets by more than 362 points.

Investors also sought to book profits in metal stocks, that contributed to the sharp fall in the Sensex, the benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The Sensex, which opened lower than its Friday closing figure, dipped about 362.42 points or 2.38 percent to end at 14,875.52 points.

The Sensex had fallen to an intra-day low of 14,807.26 points and touched a high of 15,195.83 points.

Satyam back in top 100 m-cap club; grows 13-times since nadir

New Delhi, June 14: Scam-hit Satyam Computer has entered again the elite club of the top 100 companies in terms of market valuation — a status it had lost after being hit by the country’s biggest corporate fraud.

Following a sharp rally seen in its share price last week on the back of disclosure about its profits, Satyam’s market capitalisation has grown to about Rs 7,800 crore, placing it among the 100 most-valued firms in the country.

BSNL drops plan to bid for Tunisia license

New Delhi, June 14: BSNL has dropped its plans to bid for telecom licence in Tunisia as the PSU finds the returns not enough to enter that market through bidding of licence.

“We did not bid for Tunisia… we did not find returns on our investment,” a senior BSNL official told PTI.

Earlier the PSU’s CMD Kuldeep Goyal had said BSNL was planning to bid for telecom licence in Tunisia and get a footprint in the African market, which has immense potential.

Satyam granted one-year extension to complete SEZs

New Delhi, June 14: The government has granted one-year extension to Satyam Computer Services for completion of three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Andhra Pradesh, giving elbow room to the new management of the IT firm.

The Commerce Ministry has granted extension of time to Satyam’s two IT/ITeS SEZs in Hyderabad and the one at Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam up to June 2010.

All the three tax-free enclaves were given formal approval, which would have lapsed by end of this month.

Gold remains weak on lower global cues

New Delhi, June 14: Gold prices extended losses for the third straight day in the bullion market on Saturday falling by Rs60 to close at Rs14,700 per ten grams as selling pressure picked up on the back of weakening global trend.

Silver also dropped by Rs 200 to Rs 22,800 per kg due to reduced offtake by industrial units. Selling pressure gathered momentum as the metal prices continued to slide in the international market as stronger dollar reduced demand as an alternative investment.

Airlines to offer heavy discounts during this monsoon

Mumbai, June 12: If quick to decide the destination, one can strike a deal which will save him 40 to 50 per cent of the regular air fare this July-September. A Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai trip, for instance, comes for an attractive Rs 2,600, just about Rs 900 more than the bus fare.

The no-frills airline Spicejet, for example, is offering a flight from Pune to Chennai for Rs 1,380, Pune-Delhi for Rs 1,730 and Pune-Bengaluru for just Rs 1,230! Similarly, GoAir is offering flights that would cost approximately Rs 1,350 and Jet Airways has a menu card of fares ranging from Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,100.

Satyam floats ‘pool’ plan to cut staff cost

Hyderabad, June 12: The board of Satyam which met on Thursday has announced that to address the issue of excess employees, it is launching a Virtual Pool Program (VPP), an one-time programme, effective June 2009, which is aimed at addressing staff costs while retaining talent within the company.

Vedanta arm to buy Dempo’s biz

Mumbai, June 12: Anil Agarwal’s shopping spree continues. Even as the pursuit for Arizona-based copper firm Asarco is on, Agarwal has sealed a deal back home.

Sesa Goa, a subsidiary of Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources, is buying the Dempo group’s oldest and most priced asset its mining business in Goa for Rs 1,750 crore in an all-cash deal. A few months ago, the Dempos separated the mining business and investment portfolio from the holding company, V S Dempo & Co (VSD), to make way for a new investor.

Fed lost $5.3bn on Bear Stearns, AIG holdings in Q1

Washinggton, June 11: The Federal Reserve lost $5.25 billion in the first quarter on the securities it acquired with last year’s bailouts of Bear Stearns and insurer American International Group Inc., according to a report issued Wednesday.

The loss on the holdings, which include mortgage-backed securities, reflected a decline in their value as the recession stretched into the first three months of this year. The cumulative loss on the Bear and AIG holdings comes to $16.46 billion since they were taken over last year. Of that total, a loss of $9.18 billion went to the New York Fed.