Indian American charged in biggest US insider-trading case

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, January 10, 2011

WASHINGTON - US Federal regulators have charged the co-founder of a New York hedge fund and three others including an Indian American executive in what has been called the biggest insider-trading case in US history.

Sunil Bhalla, a former senior Indian American executive of tech company Polycom, was charged Monday with hedge fund Trivium Capital Management, its co-founder Robert Feinblatt, analyst Jeffrey Yokuty, and Shammara Hussain, an employee at a consulting firm that did work for Google.

In a civil case filed in a New York court, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Bhalla and Hussain provided confidential information to Feinblatt and Yokuty that enabled them to make about $15 million from trading on the information. So far the SEC has charged 27 people in the case.

“Today’s action reveals disturbingly corrupt arrangements - faithless company executives who secretly pass corporate information to hedge fund managers willing to violate the law for profit,” Robert D. Khuzami, the SEC’s director of enforcement, said in a statement.

Galleon’s Sri Lankan American founder, Raj Rajaratnam, has pleaded not guilty and has mounted an aggressive defence. Last year, his lawyers attacked the SEC’s case, notably its reliance on wiretaps obtained from federal criminal investigators.

The SEC said Feinblatt and Yokuty received material nonpublic information from Roomy Khan, a former Intel Corp. executive who pleaded guilty in the Galleon Group criminal case and is cooperating in the government’s continuing investigation.

In about 2003, the SEC said, Khan befriended Bhalla, a producer of networking applications for voice, video and data networking based in Pleasanton, California.

Bhalla in 2005 obtained advance information about sales and revenues for Polycom’s fourth quarter and passed that information to Khan, the SEC said. Khan earned about $330,000 in illicit profits, it said.

Khan later also gave information provided by Bhalla to Feinblatt and Yokuty about Polycom’s 2006 first-quarter earnings and to Rajaratnam, the SEC alleged.

Khan also passed on tips from Deep Shah, a former Moody’s Corp. analyst who was a friend and roommate of her cousin, the SEC alleged. At the time Moody’s was evaluating Hilton’s debt. Shah who was named as a defendant in the criminal case, is a fugitive, prosecutors said.

The SEC seeks to bar Bhalla permanently from acting as an officer or director of a registered public company.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

–Indo-Asian News Service


Put on top of TR




Vivekananda movement grows in Nepal on 148th anniversary

By Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu, Jan 11 (IANS) More than a century after his death, the electrifying ideology of 19th century Indian philosopher and social reformer Swami Vivekananda is gathering momentum in neighbouring Nepal with people as diverse as police officers, the president of the national boxers’ association, and top bankers and businessmen coming together to spread the thoughts of the man often revered as a saint.

On Wednesday, the 148th birth anniversary of the monk who preached one would be closer to heaven by playing football than ritualistic divine worship, the newly found Swami Vivekananda Vedanta Kendra in Kathmandu kicks off its campaign to take his words to the masses in Nepal, especially the youth.

For the first time, the Advaita Ashram in Kolkata, the publishing wing of the monastic order founded by Vivekananda to serve society - the Ramakrishna Mission - is publishing the Nepali translation of three books on the saffron-robed monk who wowed the west with his charisma, the mystic who inspired him - Ramakrishna - and the latter’s wife, Sharada Devi.

“Many people in Nepal are aware of Swami Vivekanda and his humanistic philosophy,” Dr Jagadish Ghosh, chief of the National Insurance Company in Nepal and advisor to the Kendra, told IANS. “In the 1980s, Swami Kripamayananda, a Nepali follower from Dang in western Nepal, joined the order and is now chief of the Vedanta Society in Toronto. More than a century after his death, Vivekananda’s message that there should be no caste barriers in society and harmony and brotherhood should prevail throughout the world, still remain highly relevant.”

The Ramakrishna Mission founded by Vivekananda in 1897 for education, medical and relief work has branches throughout the world. But strangely, there’s none in India’s immediate neighbour Nepal.

Legal complexities, like the ban on acquisition of land by foreigners and difficulties in registering an NGO, has held the Ramakrishna Mission back so far. However, with Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary coming up two years later, there is hope that a new branch could be started in Nepal.

“I don’t believe in god,” says Gopal Bhattarai, a deputy superintendent of police in Kathmandu. “I don’t like self-styled godmen who claim to be able to perform miracles. But I was moved by Vivekananda’s philosophy that ‘jeev’ was Shiv - meaning all beings are divine and you worship god best by serving mankind.”

The 34-year-old police officer is now the proud author of nearly a dozen songs, based on the life and teachings of Vivekananda, that were released as a musical album last year - Awake, Arise.

The Kendra, which has begun functioning from two rooms in his own residence in Kirtipur town donated by a follower, Homlal Shrestha, who is also its chairman, now has its own web site and funding from unexpected sources.

The first sponsorship of the year for the three books came through a social networking site.

The Kendra’s members came across a businessman in Mumbai, Bharat Churiwal, who described himself as a disciple of Vivekananda, and approached him for help. To their joy, he agreed immediately.

Vivekananda, born Narendra Nath Dutta in Kolkata, had never been able to fulfil his dream of visiting Nepal. Though he planned twice, they had to be postponed due to emergencies in India, like the great plague.

But 148 years after his birth, his dream has come true with his spirit visiting Nepal.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at

–Indo-Asian News Service


after 12



British royals may sue if designers make ‘Kate Middleton’ dresses

London, Jan 11 (IANS) British fashion houses are reportedly poring over every cut, hem and button of the clothes of royal bride Kate Middleton, knowing shoppers are desperate to recreate her elegant style. But they may be sued by the royal family if her name is used for selling merchandise.

When it comes to fashion, everything Kate Middleton wears benefits a huge boost in sales and copycat designs.

But using the “Kate Middleton brand” to sell replica dresses could now lead to retailers being sued for thousands of pounds, royal aides and industry experts have warned.

Kate will wed Prince William April 29.

Though there are no written rules, officials said firms would be warned that they risk falling into trademark and copyright law if they use her full name on merchandise, according to the Daily Mail.

But if designers want to cash in by copying her outfits and adding an explicit “Kate Middleton” label, they could face the wrath of the royals.

“Her name is now controlled by the royal family. She has a reputation to uphold and because of that she is, to all intents and purposes, akin to a brand or marque,” an official said.

While William and his fiancee agreed to relax rules on the use of official pictures for wedding memorabilia, the royal household has made clear it could enforce rules on the use of Kate’s name in association with non-wedding paraphernalia.

“It is highly unlikely that we would have any objection if a company wanted to call a dress ‘the Kate dress’. ‘Kate’ isn’t specific to Catherine Middleton. It may, however, be a different scenario if it was called the “Catherine or Kate Middleton” dress as that impacts on personal copyright. Or indeed if a company was suggesting a dress was officially endorsed by Catherine,” another official said.

Leading trademark lawyer Eric Ramage said: “If Kate Middleton could prove that the purchasing public assumed she had endorsed the dress… the firm could pay costs and damages in the region of tens of thousands of pounds in court.”

A 399-pound royal blue dress she wore to announce her engagement sold out within a day. Replica versions of the 159-pound white gown she chose for the engagement portraits were put up for sale on eBay for 370 pounds the next day.

–Indo-Asian News Service


after 11



India to set energy efficiency targets for industries

By Richa Sharma

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) India will for the first time release energy efficiency targets for eight industrial sectors in April in a move that is expected to save 10 million tonnes of energy by 2013-14.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has prepared energy efficiency targets for 580 industrial units in the eight sectors - thermal power stations, steel, fertiliser, cement, aluminum, chloralkali, paper and textiles. Violators will be penalised, a power ministry official said.

“India’s total energy use is about 450 million tonnes oil equivalent. These 580 units - public and private - together use about 200 million tonnes of energy. The overall savings we have to achieve is about 10 million tonnes and so every sector has to reduce five percent of consumption,” BEE Director General Ajay Mathur told IANS.

Oil equivalent is the amount of oil and gas consumed for producing energy.

The targets will be made public in April this year and industries will have to achieve them in a period of three years (2013-14).

The targets are set by BEE, a statutory body under the power ministry. Each unit in a particular sector has to reduce its specific energy consumption and the percentage reduction for most efficient plant is less when compared to that for a less efficient plant, he said.

“The total sector-wise savings has to be equal to five percent of the current energy use. If any unit finds the target expensive, BEE will allow it to buy an energy saving certificate from those who exceeded their target,” he pointed out.

BEE has prepared operational guidelines after discussions with the industries.

According to Mathur, all the concerns on the part of the industries have been allayed and they are now satisfied about the programme.

Non-compliance of set targets will call for penalty, which will be equal to the price of the target shortfall, he said.

All the penalty collected from the target violators will be deposited in the respective state treasury.

“Each state has a designated agency, which will ensure the compliance of the industrial units. The details of violators will be reported to the electricity regulatory commission,” Mathur said.

The penalised company can appeal to the electricity appellate authority, the official noted.

(Richa Sharma can be contacted at

–Indo-Asian News Service




Long or colourful, Delhi re-discovers the overcoat!

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) As the capital goes through one of its coldest winters, many are discovering the charms of the overcoat, an accessory once consigned to the bottom of cupboards and pulled out only for hilly holidays or snowcapped destinations abroad.

Men are flaunting it with formal suits, women are wearing them with trousers, suits and even saris and young women are readily teaming them up with dresses, long sweaters, jeans and slacks too.

Knee-length and even longer overcoats are selling like hot cakes in the market, with people demanding not just neutral colours like black, beige, grey and brown, but also those in varied bright colours, styles and patterns.

Fashion designer Leena Singh of designer duo Ashima-Leena fame points out that “long overcoats make for a classic silhouette”.

“They were quite popular in the British era and were worn a lot by Queen Elizabeth. But over time the trend has come to India too and people aren’t shying away from it any more,” Leena told IANS.

Kartik Mehra, 55, says he bought an overcoat for an official trip to Europe over 10 years ago and for a long time, he only wore it when he went abroad.

“I used to find it very uncomfortable to walk on Delhi streets in an overcoat. For one, there was no strict, formal corporate dressing concept, and, secondly, it wasn’t as cold as it is now. But now I don’t think twice before taking it out as you can see everyone wearing them,” said Mehra.

The cold waves continued its relentless onslaught in the north. People shivered as temperatures nosedived in all major cities. For Delhi, Sunday was the coldest day in five years, with the maximum temperature at 11 degrees Celsius.

According to sales managers at clothing stores, the demand for overcoats has increased by almost double over the past two years.

“Winters in Delhi have become much colder now, so customers want cosier clothes that save them from the chill. There is a definite growth in the offtake over a period of two years. You can conveniently say it has doubled,” said Amit Nagpal, store manager at BG’s, an apparel store for girls.

Over time the trend of wearing long garments with slim fit trousers and leggings has also grown manifold - fuelling the concept of overcoats. And one is no longer enough for fashion fanatics.

“Overall the market for overcoats has increased by almost 20-30 percent since the past year as long pullovers are also in these days. Also, people want to have all colours - blue, red, black and others. In patterns, they are going for checks and some even like them with faux fur,” Anuj Maini, store manager at one of Van Heusen’s outlets, told IANS.

Among the colours, one can see stores offering a melange of pink, blue, rust, yellow, purple, red, and green.

College student Namita Tiwari, 19, feels the more the colours, the better it is.

“Being a college student, I have to go out every day and considering how cold it is, it will be really bad for my image if I wear the same coat every day even if it is with different sweaters and t-shirts. But if I have three to four different colours and styles, I can experiment and sport a different look every day,” said Tiwari, who was spotted trying on a lime green, woollen overcoat.

For middle-aged working women too, overcoats come in very handy.

“I wear only saris to work and it becomes very tacky and inconvenient to wear a woollen blouse, a sweater and a shawl to keep snug. But one turns out looking neat and formal in an overcoat, it keeps you warm enough and the best part is that it has pockets, the luxury of which is not there in a sari at all! ” quipped Renuka Tandon, a school teacher.

Today, overcoats are available across most local markets as well as stores of homegrown and international brands. They are priced at anything between Rs.2,000 and 15,000.

–Indo-Asian News Service


after 11

—– Original Message —–

From: stories


Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:57 AM

Subject: BlackBerry tablet will be a winner: Analysts




BlackBerry tablet will be a winner: Market analysts

By Gurmukh Singh

Toronto, Jan 11 (IANS) With its monopoly in the business handset market under onslaught from Google’s Android devices and Apple’s iPhone, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) is now shifted its focus entirely to its tablet Playbook.

In the projected 55-million tablet market this year with iPad in the clear lead, RIM is trying “everything right first time” before it launches the tablet in March, according to market analysts.

Accordingly, at the just concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the top Canadian technology company went out its way to show how PlayBook stacks against the pack of tablets - many yet to be unveiled.

Through hands-on demonstrations, RIM took pot shots at rivals by showing how PlayBook will be unbeatable in terms of the multitasking capabilities and versatility of its Web browser vis-a-vis Apple and Android tablets.

The demonstrations tried to highlight how PlayBook browser is built on open Web standards and thus supports Flash which Apple’s iPad does not, and how PlayBook is capable of simultaneously running Flash browsing, desktop applications, 1080p video games, mobile desktop, 3D games and apps.

While almost all tablets from major players run Android operating system - barring Apple’s iPad which runs on Apple’s own operating system, BlackBerry maker’s PlayBook uses a new powerful QNX operating system which RIM specifically bought only for its tablet.

Technology analysts say these features give unique advantages to PlayBook against the rival tablets.

To target its BlackBerry-totting business and corporate subscribers, RIM has also integrated PlayBook with its smart phone through BlackBerry Bridge.

At 7-inch compared to the iPad which measures 11 inches, PlayBook will a lot more easy carry around on business trips. RIM has also not ruled out with bigger versions later on.

While the PlayBook Wi-Fi version hits the market in March, the 3G/4G wireless version will come in the summer.

With RIM’s future so much hinging on its tablet, Mike Abramsky of Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets in Toronto says multi-tasking, power and apps will definitely make PlayBook a winner in the fast crowding tablet market.

“Some aspects of PlayBook ( such as apps) are being polished; however, RIM appears determined to get PlayBook right out of the gate, including competitive battery life (via power management from its QNX-based OS,” he was quoted as saying in the local media.

With iPad selling more than seven million units since April, RIM has priced Playbook at $500 to cut into Apple sales.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

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