• 2G losses computed by CAG only presumptive: Sibal

    New Delhi: Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal today said Congress need not be apologetic in the wake of controversy over the 2G spectrum scam as the loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore computed by the CAG was only presumptive.

    During an interaction with Delhi Government ministers and Congress MLAs from the city, he said the party workers should confront the BJP propaganda "aggressively".

    "Basically he educated us on the whole subject and told us to counter the allegations made by the BJP," said an MLA on condition of unanimity.

    The interaction took place at Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's official residence where all the Congress legislators were invited for a lunch by her.

    He told us that the estimate by CAG that the exchequer lost Rs 1.76 lakh crore due to irregularities in allocation of 2G spectrum was presumptive and that ongoing probe will only be able to find out the facts.

    The BJP has been maintaining a sustained campaign against the government, insisting on formation of a JPC to probe the

    Read More »from 2G losses computed by CAG only presumptive: Sibal
  • Rs 100cr fraud unearthed in Gurgaon Citibank branch

    Gurgaon: A manager at the Gurgaon branch of Citibank siphoned off at least Rs.100 crore after luring customers into depositing money in the bank after promising to double the amount, police said Tuesday.

    Shivraj Puri, a relationship manager at the bank, opened three accounts in the branch in the name of his relatives Premnath, Sheela and Deeksha.

    "He asked customers to deposit the money in those accounts in a scheme to double their money. When the money was deposited, Puri transferred it into his account," a police officer said.

    "The bank officials are still not sure of the amount but at least Rs.100 crore was deposited in the three accounts. The amount could be higher," he added.

    A Citibank spokesperson said internal investigations were on.

    "We recently initiated an investigation into a certain set of suspicious transactions based on documents forged by an employee involving a few accounts in our Gurgaon branch. We immediately reported the matter to all the relevant regulatory and law

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  • A tumultuous 2010 for Parliament

    New Delhi: It was a tumultuous year for Parliament rocked as it was by disruptions on scams that led to the longest shutdown of an entire session for the first time in independent India.

    Though disruptions of Parliament had become a routine affair in the last two decades, the just-concluded Winter Session of the House took the cake for its complete washout following opposition-government standoff over the demand for the appointment of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

    The standoff showed no signs of resolution as the year draws to a close with the government not resiling from its position that the Public Accounts Committee was enough to do the job.
    There were full or partial shutdown of Parliament for as many as 38 of the total 83 days, costing the exchequer around Rs 240 crore.

    Ironically, it was the year in which the MPs got a bonanza with their salaries and allowances being raised manifold.

    The year gone by will have the dubious distinction

    Read More »from A tumultuous 2010 for Parliament
  • More US job seekers head to Australia

    Washington: Facing a job crunch at home, more US citizens are heading to Australia where nearly 7,000 Americans are currently working on long-term visas, an 80 per cent jump over the past five years.

    US citizens are now the third-largest group applying for work visas, after British and Indian nationals, the Wall Street Journal said, quoting Australian government data.

    Near-10 per cent unemployment at home drives more Americans to look for jobs Down Under, where China's thirst for iron ore and energy is transforming the Pacific nation into an economic powerhouse, the report said.

    Daniel Davila, a 23-year-old timber floorer from California who has been working at a grocery store, said that on a good day, he makes as much as 50 Australian dollars ($50.21) an hour - about twice the usual rate for the job in the US.

    "I can make what I did in a week in the US in less than a day here," Davila, who lives near the mining boom town of Perth, was quoted as saying.

    Americans with degrees in areas

    Read More »from More US job seekers head to Australia
  • Interest rates turmoil in 2010

    Today banks are keen in identifying new business niches and more customized services to handle the stiff market competitions. On the other hand inflation is continuing to haunt the policy makers.

    In this scenario, RBI is expected to continue putting pressures on banks to increase the interest rates further in the coming year, with the monetary policy review in the end of January 2011.The lending rates has already shown signs of gradual firming up as a response to the regulatory measures put forward by RBI in the second quarter review during the early days of November 2010.

    Although the year 2010 started with a good and smooth outflow in the loan segment, the monetary reviews of RBI has mandated certain regulations, both directly and indirectly to control the flow of liquidity in the system. In this fiscal, the policy rates have been raised six times so far. The Repo Rate has seen an increase by 125 basis points while Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) a 100 basis point's hike till now. To tame

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  • Dense fog hits hard Delhi, north India

    New Delhi: A blinding fog Monday morning hit hard the capital disrupting air, rail and road traffic in a major way and in parts of north India, amid warnings that fog was here to stay for some days.

    Thousands of men, women and children were stranded -- and fuming -- for hours both at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the country's busiest airport, and at Delhi's main railway stations.

    Many passengers complained of official indifference.

    A total of 16 domestic and seven international flights were diverted and 26 axed. The railways said several trains ran late due to poor visibility.

    Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said visibility at the airport dropped to less than 50 meters, affecting even the state-of-the-art ILS CAT-III B landing system.

    Yet, 257 flights were operated under various instrument landing systems, an official said.

    Patel said in Mumbai that the authorities handled the situation well. 'Flights cannot operate if the visibility is less than 50 metres,' he told

    Read More »from Dense fog hits hard Delhi, north India
  • Inflation likely to be 6-7% by March end: Basu

    Kolkata: The government expects inflation to be between 6 and 7 per cent by the end of the current fiscal, slightly higher than predicted earlier, Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu said on Monday.

    He also said the economy may not be 'out of the cloud' yet because of the rising food prices internationally, and the US-China currency war.

    "Earlier, we had predicted that inflation will be 6 per cent or less by the year end, but now, it may be between 6 to 7 per cent," Basu said at the Annual General Meeting of the Merchants Chamber of Commerce.

    Stating that situation was better now, he said that inflation rate based on the WPI (Wholesale Price Index) and the three Consumer Price Indices had fallen below 10 per cent this August, after a gap of 16 months.

    Compared to December and January of the last fiscal, inflation now was in single digit, he added.

    Basu said, however, "we are not yet out of the cloud", mainly because of rising food prices internationally and the Asean countries''

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  • IATA predicts net profit of $15 bn for 2010

    Amman: A senior official of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has predicted net profits of the world's airlines to reach $15 billion for 2010 - up from $8.9 billion in earlier projections.

    Majdi Sabri, IATA's regional vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, attributed the upward revision of earlier estimates to a tangible growth in third quarter earnings in the Far East, the US and Europe.

    "This increase means that the impact of the global economic crisis on air traffic firms is disappearing," Sabri said in an interview.

    He reported a three percent increase in air traffic this year compared with volume before the downturn that hit the world at the end of 2008.

    Sabri also cited the austerity measures being adopted by European countries to come to grips with the sovereign debt crisis as one of the factors that could negatively affect the demand on air traffic services.

    The IATA official expected Arab airlines to post net profits of about $700 million in

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  • Leading Indian businessmen part of Dubai forum

    Dubai, Dec 27 (PTI) Indian businessmen based in he Gulf region have been named part of a forum that has been established here to unite the business community from the country.

    The formation of the Indian Business Leaders Forum was announced yesterday by India Trade & Exhibition Centre Middle East (ITEC me) established in Sharjah with the mandate from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    To be headquartered in Dubai, possibly at the world''s tallest tower Burj Khalifa, the membership of the forum will be given by invitation only. Indian Business Leaders from other the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries shall be invited to the Forum, a statement said.

    GCC is political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

    ITEC ME was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil and Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah

    Read More »from Leading Indian businessmen part of Dubai forum
  • Dubai hotel guests cross 5.5m in nine months: Report

    Dubai, Dec 27 (PTI) Dubai's tourism industry is surging ahead with the hotels registering 5,991,660 guests in the first nine months of 2010, reflecting a 6 per cent increase compared to the 5,640,703 guests during the corresponding period last year.

    Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has said that these figures show progress of Dubai''s tourism sector during the first nine months of 2010. The number of hotel facilities currently active in Dubai reached 565 compared to 533 in the same period last year, marking a 6 per cent increase.

    Meanwhile, DTCM has also launched an international campaign to promote the "Definitely Dubai" initiative, aiming to market the Emirate''s tourist attractions across the world in collaboration with major international tourism companies.

    Statistics also indicate that the number of tourist reservations for the first three quarters of 2010 reached 18,731,478 compared to 16,378,422 during the same period of 2009, marking a 14 per cent

    Read More »from Dubai hotel guests cross 5.5m in nine months: Report


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