Saturday, March 26, 2005

Kungumam, Natkeeran, Netri Kann, Vanna Thirai, Bommai, Vaaranthari Raani & Devi

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Friday, March 25, 2005

`Sun is not in TV, but communications'

The Hindu Business Line : `Sun is not in TV, but communications': "After dominating the Southern market for at least a decade with a variety of television channels like Sun, Gemini and Udaya, Kalanithi Maran, Chairman & Managing Director of the Sun Network, plans to get into the print media with the launch of a newspaper later this year � what language to begin with, he's not telling as yet. In a free-wheeling interview to Catalyst at the Sun TV headquarters on Chennai's Anna Salai, Maran spoke on a variety of subjects; the juicy bits were off the record and will need to be told only when he's ready to lift the lid on it."

Sania out of Nasdaq-100

MSN: "In the Nasdaq-100 event which has 18 of the top 20 women players, wild card entries Sania Mirza and US-based Neha Uberoi have been dumped out in the first round.

The 18-year-old Indian went down to Spaniard Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 2-6 5-7 yesterday in one hour and 13 minutes in the Tier 1 tournament, which belongs to the level next only to the Grand Slams.

Playing as a wildcard in what was only her second event at this level, Sania struggled with her serves – making eight doubles faults as against just one ace – and had as many as 10 break points against her out of which Lorenzo converted seven.

In fact, the 77th-ranked Indian failed to hold on to her serve in the first set and the two games she won were by breaking her opponent, 11 places below her in world ranking.

Meanwhile, Neha Uberoi, a player of Indian origin playing for USA, went down to Galina Voskoboeva of Russia 4-6 2-6.

Neha, younger sister of India's Fed Cup team member Shikha Uberoi, has also earned her entry through a wild card awarded to the reigning Luxillon Cup champion.

Meanwhile, world number one Kim Clijsters has advanced to the second round, defeating German qualifier Sandra Kloesel 6-0 6-1 in just 46 minutes.

In the men's event, defending champion and second seed Andy Roddick of the United States, and third-seeded Australian Open champion Marat Safin were scheduled to launch their campaigns with second-round matches.

Also slated for action were women's eighth seed Venus Williams and No. 9 Vera Zvonareva, men's fifth seed Carlos Moya of Spain, No. 11 Guillermo Canas of Argentina and Croatian Davis Cup hero Ivan Ljubicic, the 13th seed."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Deccan Chronicle @ Re 1 to enter Chennai on March 28

agencyfaqs! > news & features > Deccan Chronicle @ Re 1 to enter Chennai on March 28: "The Chennai market is white hot. Deccan Chronicle is all geared up to launch its Chennai edition on March 28. Apart from this, the Hyderabad-based English daily has also offered annual subscriptions at Rs 99 for ICICI Bank's card holders in the city. In comparison, The Hindu sells for for Rs 3.25 on weekdays and Rs 4.50 on Sundays.

Industry sources confirm that Deccan Chronicle will start with an initial circulation of 1.75 lakh to 2 lakh. In comparison, the average net paid circulation of The Hindu's Chennai edition is 3.44 lakh (as per Audit Bureau of Circulations, July to December, 2004).

Meanwhile, The Times of India, which was initially planning to launch its Chennai edition by May-end, has apparently decidedly to delay its entry by a couple of months. It seems the Chennai edition is now scheduled for the later part of calendar year 2005. An interesting aside: Before joining Deccan Chronicle this month, Venkatraman was director-corporate, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL), publishers of The Times of India. He was in charge of TOI's Chennai project.

Prasun Kumar, media group head, Madison, Delhi. He says, “The Chennai market is more matured. It's similar to Kolkata, where lower price couldn't remove the market leader from its position. The differentiating factor will be the content and marketing activities. Only invitational price of Re 1 cannot help Deccan Chronicle to be a strong number two in the Chennai market.”

Kumar adds, “However, I feel that Deccan Chronicle will try to carve out a niche for itself, and cater to a new set of readers. And as a matter of fact, the entire Tamil Nadu print market will further expand with the entry of more players.” As per IRS 2005, Round 1, the total readership for any English daily in Tamil Nadu is 7.38 lakh. Of this, The Hindu's readership is 6.89 lakh."

Who says Gemini is dead?

Who says Gemini is dead?: "When Appa was lying in state just before he was to take the final trip into the electric crematorium, he was given a 30-gun salute by the Tamil Nadu police. My only thought at that moment was, Boy, would he love this! That was Appa through and through: He simply loved fuss and celebration. Even during the last few days when he was bedridden and critical, he would clasp my hand tightly and say weakly: 'Scratch my head!' He had to be the centre of attraction.

An elderly man shed tears at Appa's funeral.

I asked him who he was and he said that 30 years ago, Appa found him pumping air in cycles on the road and helped him set up a cycle repair shop of his own.

Gemini Ganesan's contribution to Indian cinema is a very small part of what he gave with great enthusiasm to thousands of people in little affectionate gestures, in compassion, in love, and in friendship.

His reach went far, far beyond the silver screen. He was incorrigible, but was also so child-like and lovable. I tell my mother, I'm sure he is already working his charms on people up there in Heaven! "

Bad Day Studio

Bad Day Studio: "Gravity Lens: The Bad Day Weblog

The Evil Bastards' Rationalization Guild Making the World Safe for Evil

Motivation Inspirational Messages for Comic Fans

The Bad Day Holiday Card Archive

The Complete Run of Illustrated Tales for the Season

Velvet Telemetry Raw Fiction

Inkhouse Online Comics

Visions of Xenolympus Journey to the Planet of the Gods

Cities in Shadow A Tour of Hidden Places

Sketchbook A Whole Mess o' Aliens
The Amazing Colossal Links Page Go Play in the Web

EMail Bad Day"

JoAnn Rothschild Biography

JoAnn Rothschild: "Painting keeps being interesting to me, even though the language I use may be the same language I began to define and discover thirty years ago. It is a language of grids, interrupted by marks and lines. Expectations set up and deceived. Regularity disrupted by touch. Rhythms established and changed. It's not that I make the same paintings over and over again. If problems did not continue to present themselves, I hope I would do something more immediately practical."

Is your diet genetically modified? Most Americans haven't a clue / Business / Technology / Biotechnology / Is your diet genetically modified? Most Americans haven't a clue: "Can animal genes be jammed into plants? Would tomatoes with catfish genes taste fishy? Have you ever eaten a genetically modified food?

The answers are: yes, no, and almost definitely. According to a survey, most Americans couldn't answer correctly even though they've been eating genetically modified foods -- unlabeled -- for nearly a decade.

Today, roughly 75 percent of US processed foods -- boxed cereals, frozen dinners, cooking oils, and more -- contain some genetically modified ingredients, said Stephanie Childs of the Grocery Manufacturers of America. Despite warnings about ''Frankenfoods," there have been no reports of illness from these products of biotechnology. Critics note there's no system for reporting allergies or other reactions to genetically modified foods. Nearly every product with a corn or soy ingredient, and some containing canola or cottonseed oil, has a genetically modified element, according to the grocery manufacturers group.

In the Rutgers survey, fewer than half the people interviewed were aware genetically modified foods are sold in supermarkets. And more than half wrongly believed supermarket chicken has been genetically modified. Genetically modified food first hit supermarkets in 1994, with the highly touted Flavr Savr tomato, altered to give it a longer shelf life and better flavor. It flopped, in part due to disappointing taste, and disappeared in 1997, said Childs. Genetic modification of crops involves transferring genes from a plant or animal into a plant. Nearly all genetically modified changes so far are to boost yields and deter insects and viruses, cutting the use of pesticides, thus making farming more productive and affordable.

More than 80 percent of the soy and 40 percent of the corn raised in this country is a genetically modified variety. Global plantings of biotech crops -- mostly corn and soybeans and much of it for animal feed -- grew to about 200 million acres last year, about two-thirds of it in the United States. Experts say within several years there will be new genetically modified foods with taste and nutrition improvements: cooking oils with less trans fat, tastier potatoes, and peanuts that don't trigger allergies."

Google founders, CEO are denied '04 bonus / Business / Technology / Google founders, CEO are denied '04 bonus: "Google Inc. pampers its employees with free food and many other perks, but the online search engine leader is more stingy when it comes to rewarding the trio of billionaires who run the company. In a meeting held this month, Google's board decided not to give 2004 bonuses to the company's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, or its cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, according to documents filed yesterday by the Mountain View, Calif., company.

The men, who consult on most of Google's key decisions, each received a $1,566 holiday bonus besides their salaries, which are modest compared with most high-profile companies. Schmidt collects a $250,000 salary while Brin and Page each receive $150,000 annually, according to disclosure made as part of Google's closely watched initial public offering of stock. All three men rank among the world's richest men. Brin and Page each are worth $7.2 billion, while Schmidt is worth $2.8 billion, according to Forbes magazine's most recent wealth survey.

The executives are cashing out a small portion of their Google stock by selling a combined 16.6 million shares under an 18-month divestiture plan adopted last year. Even after those sales, Brin and Page will each own about 31 million shares of Google stock. Schmidt will own 12.2 million shares after the sales are complete. Google hasn't always withheld bonuses from its top three executives. The company gave Schmidt a $301,556 bonus in 2003 and doled out $206,556 apiece to Brin and Page.

The company performed far better last year, with its profit rising to $399 million, nearly quadrupling 2003's earnings. Page and Schmidt shouldn't need bonuses to be motivated to drive the stock higher because their fortunes are already tied to Google's shares, said Paul Hodgson, who studies executive compensation for the Corporate Library, a watchdog group."

Miniature paintings convey great power / A&E / Theater/Arts: "For all the painstaking work it takes Ambreen Butt to make one painting, she sure is prodigious. The Pakistani-born Butt has followed up her major exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum last spring with a show of new work at the Bernard Toale Gallery, this one smaller but no less bracing than the Worcester show. Specializing in the centuries-old technique of Mughal miniature painting, Butt uses a brush made from a pigeon quill and hairs from a squirrel's tail to paint over layers of mylar, which she then sews together. The top layer presents a female protagonist engaged in an allegory. Pictures and patterns on the layers beneath whisper through the veils of mylar like memories, feelings, and knowledge supporting the protagonist on her journey.

Jo Ann Rothschild has been painting for more than three decades. The winner in 1993 of the Museum of Fine Arts' first Maud Morgan prize, given to women artists in midcareer, Rothschild is one of Boston's finest painters of large abstract canvases. She has a small retrospective up at MPG Contemporary; it amounts to a show of recent work with a handful of older paintings and prints for context.

The oldest work, a tiny 1974 etching called "Deer Rhythms," features spare, fluid lines that describe a deer's movement. There's a greater kinship between that early work and what she's doing now. In between came bold abstract expressionism, on a large scale, like 1983's "Execution in Queretaro," after a Manet painting. A lunging central form moves against a back wall: It's all strong lines and sharp tones, a reveling in gesture and in the materiality of paint.

Rothschild still works large, but there's more delicacy both to her gestures and to her paint application. "Rocio's Gift" (2002) features a yellow ground across a grid. Black splatters trace a treasure-map path over the surface; occasional squares step out of the grid's frame in different colors. There's less bravado in "Rocio's Gift" than in the earlier work and more sensitivity to the interplay of surface and depth. Other new paintings, like "XIV" (2003) bristle with brushwork; they're dense with small gestures but light with tone. Although this is an ample show, with more than 20 works, it feels like just a taste of where Rothschild has been and where she's going."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

blog and adsense stats

ninetyninezeros: blog and adsense stats - Mark Jen's Life After Google: "well, here's the updated traffic info from my blog. you can see a very slight traffic spike a few weeks ago when news that i joined plaxo hit the press. in general, things are settling down - which is quite nice! now, i can use this blog for its original purpose: keeping friends and family up to date on what i'm up to and my thoughts and feelings in general. looks like there might be a few thousand extra readers, but i'??ll just count you guys as a few thousand extra friends ;)

in related news, since google has done some revision of their adsense rules, i can finally increase transparency of the advertising i've been running on this site.

i put adsense up on my blog on 2/9 and for the month of february, i made $194.21. at the time, the ads were only running on the right hand side so it was getting really crappy exposure."

In Tamil -- sometimes, they are digits; other times, just numbers

Michael Kaplan's random stuff of dubious value

0 (not available) 0 (not available) 0be6
1 ௧ ௧ 0be7 0be7
2 ௨ ௨ 0be8 0be8
3 ௩ ௩ 0be9 0be9
4 ௪ ௪ 0bea 0bea
5 ௫ ௫ 0beb 0beb
6 ௬ ௬ 0bec 0bec
7 ௭ ௭ 0bed 0bed
8 ௮ ௮ 0bee 0bee
9 ௯ ௯ 0bef 0bef
10 ௰ ௧0 0bf0 0be7 0be6
11 ௰௧ ௧௧ 0bf0 0be7 0be7 0be7
12 ௰௨ ௧௨ 0bf0 0be8 0be7 0be8
13 ௰௩ ௧௩ 0bf0 0be9 0be7 0be9
14 ௰௪ ௧௪ 0bf0 0bea 0be7 0bea
15 ௰௫ ௧௫ 0bf0 0beb 0be7 0beb
16 ௰௬ ௧௬ 0bf0 0bec 0be7 0bec
17 ௰௭ ௧௭ 0bf0 0bed 0be7 0bed
18 ௰௮ ௧௮ 0bf0 0bee 0be7 0bee
19 ௰௯ ௧௯ 0bf0 0bef 0be7 0bef
100 ௱ ௧00 0bf1 0be7 0be6 0be6

Tamil Numerals and Fractions

Tamil Numerals and Fractions: "The following is a short extract on the symbolic representation of Tamil Numerals and fractions, taken from the book "Iniyia Thamizh Ilakkanam" by Yogisri Cuddhanantha Bharathiyar, Kavitha Publications, 15 Masilamani Stareet, TNagar, Chennai-600 017, p. 201-204. "

Bose – The Forgotten Hero -

Music India:

Actors : Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Rajit Kapur, Sachin Khedekar
Director : Shyam Benegal
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Music Director : Rahman A R
Producer : Sahara One Motion Pictures
Year : 2005

RAAGA - Bose - The Forgotten Hero - Hindi Movie Songs:

Aazadi AR. Rehman
Kadam Kadam Vijay Prakash
Ekla Chalo Nachiketa Chakraborty , Sonu Nigam
Hum Dilli Dilli Jayenge Instrumental
Desh Ki Mitti Anuradha Sriram , Sonu Nigam
Zikr AR. Rehman , Rafi , Rakeeb , Shaukar Ali
Ghoomparani Sapna Mukherjee , Satyanarayan Mishra
Durga Pooja - Rhythm Instrumental
Netaji Theme 1 Instrumental
Afghanistan Theme 1 Instrumental
Hitler Theme (Germany) Instrumental
Emilie Theme 1 Instrumental
Afghanistan Theme 2 Instrumental
War Themes Instrumental
Emilie Theme 2 Instrumental
Kadam Kadam Barhayae Ja ( Orchestral Version) Instrumental
Desh Ki Mitti (Orchestral Version) Instrumental
U Boat Theme (Underwater Battle) Instrumental
Netaji Theme 2 Instrumental

Blogger blocked by US immigration

Blogger blocked by US immigration - Breaking - 'A Canadian blogger who tried to enter the US for a meeting with a media company was turned back at immigration in New York, apparently because the immigration staff did not believe that someone could be earning a living by blogging.

Jeremy Wright of, who has gained a measure of fame among bloggers for selling his blog for profit and auctioning his services on eBay, was strip-searched and then banned from entering the US after he tried to visit New York last week.

Wright had detailed his ordeal on his blog but has now removed these pages, explaining, "I've pulled my posts on the immigration issue, on the friendly (if stern) advice of friends that this kind of thing won’t help my case if someone does find it."

In another post, Wright wrote: "I'm still not 100 percent sure what happened at Customs at the airport. Really, totally unsure. However at the very least I was denied entry and flagged for follow-up any other time I try to enter. As far as I can tell, I am not 'banned' from entering. I'm not sure why the border guard said I was, threatened to throw me and jail and seize my assets, etc."

T extends elevator and escalator pact despite complaints about contractor / News / Local / Mass.:: "The MBTA board of directors reluctantly approved a five-month, $3.5 million contract extension yesterday with the company responsible for maintaining the T's elevators and escalators, less than a day after a Watertown woman was injured after being trapped on an MBTA escalator at Harvard Square and several weeks after a man was choked to death on an escalator at Porter Square. Though T officials said there were no defects on the escalators, the transit agency has had a series of major malfunctions of its elevators and escalators, all of which are maintained by Kone Inc., whose headquarters are in Illinois."

T Watch - Mar 12, 05 | 10:40 am

BadTransit monitors several MBTA information sources.
We have it all. MBTA scandal, death, delay, or lawsuit... all in one convenient compilation
:: Just one day after a woman was injured and had to be extracted from a "safe" MBTA escalator by the Cambridge Fire Department, the T's Board of Directors pushed through a contract renewal for the company that supposedly maintains them.

The T's Board of Directors, sitting comfortably, cranked through a 5 month, $3.5 Million, contract extension to Kone, Inc. the contractor supposedly responsible for keeping the T's escalators and elevators working and safe. Kone will likely win a new 5 year contract bid as well, but the $32 Million they proposed was deemed too expensive.

The death of of an ElSalvadorian man at Porter Square last week tops the list. The victim was strangled by a "safe" escalator in the well-monitored facility (sarcasm intended) after a garment became tangled in the works. The T managed to supress reports of the tragedy but it eventually leaked out.

Then, just a day before the T's Board warmed their seats and spent more cash, a young woman was entrapped for almost an hour by another "safe" escalator at Harvard Station. The Cambridge Fire Department had to carefully remove her from the jaws of the device.

And then there's the news, just coming out, of a man in a wheelchair who was nearly killed when boarding an elevator. Apparently, with the doors still open, the device began to ascend. To avoid being crushed, the victim had to throw himself on the elevator's floor. He was discovered there, with the elevator partially raised and his wheelchair smashed. No explanation why this event was never publicized.

''We're faced with a difficult challenge," said Anne Herzenberg, chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. ''I would not say performance has been good at this time. . . . I would have to blame the contractor, mostly. . . . We clearly need to push harder to get them to perform."

Herzenberg said the T has fined Kone $567,000 for failures to perform routine maintenance. She said Kone officials have told her that because of the fines, the company was not making any profit on its current five-year contract with the T. The contract increased from $12 million to $17 million after new elevators and escalators were added to the transit system.

''We're not pleased," said Transportation Secretary Daniel A. Grabauskas, who chairs the MBTA board. ''Maybe they can make a little less." {Boston Globe}

Women Behind Bars

Women Behind Bars - Hosting free web pages for ladies in prison. These female prisoners are looking for love, marriage, penpals, and a good solid relationship with men and women in the free world : Women Behind Bars (WBB) is a professional service which provides personal pages, pictures and profiles for women who are incarcerated in prisons all over America The ladies featured on this site are looking for relationships. Many of them have been abandoned by their friends, and families and they desire contact with the outside world.
Women Behind Bars host free web pages for ladies!

These female prisoners are looking for love, marriage, penpals, and a good solid relationship with men and women in the free world. We have had several marriages and countless relationships. These ladies do not have access to the internet and their only point of contact with the outside world is by postal mail.

Our mission is to bring men and women together with an opportunity to enhance the lives of both. WBB makes available the postal addresses of all its ladies for a small fee, to the gentleman.

Prison inmates are in desperate need of friends on the outside., Women prisoners need the good words of both men and women in the free world, just to keep them going on a daily bases.

WBB shows pictures of female prisoners who are looking for penpals. We feature ladies from all walks of life, Black, Hispanic, and White, women. Many of these girls, have sent their personals, with the hopes of becoming brides, but would love to just have a few pen pals.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Job Title: Program Manager

Job Details - Microsoft Careers: "Program Manager: Are you a techno-minded visionary with a passion for seeing possibilities and making it happen? Come join the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group in the space between the possible and the future, influencing platform decisions and architectural adoption with the largest Independent Software Vendors. You will articulate the benefits of Microsoft .NET enabled products, such as Windows client/server families, Smart Client, Office, and .NET Enterprise Server product lines, to high profile ISV developers and customers. You’ll lead technical meetings between executives at the highest levels, work very closely with super-talented product groups, and have the satisfaction of having helped ISVs deliver superior products built with Microsoft .NET technology. Your responsibilities include leveraging your strong understanding of ISVs to deliver product strategy, architecture assessments and mutual technology partnerships. Leveraging this knowledge and your extensive application development experience, you will orchestrate teams in both companies to build better products. You’ll develop strategy and execute tactics to align the product offerings of both companies resulting in measurable development initiatives. The results of your efforts should be shipping products which exploit and differentiate the .NET platform, nurture educated developers and grow healthy industry vertical segment partnerships.

Qualifications include:

Application Architecture - Strong .NET/Windows based architecture and development skills. Candidate for this position must have an excellent understanding of Microsoft Platform and Development Tools. The person should have a good working knowledge of enterprise application architectures in areas such as COM/COM+,, Web Services, SQL, XML, and Smart Clients or equivalent competitive stack;

Software Development Experience - Strong understanding of software development lifecycle and methodology. Experience in the development and shipping commercial ISV applications will be a strong consideration. Strong Project Management experience preferred

General requirements - Candidate should have excellent oral and written communication skills with demonstrated public speaking experience. Candidate should exhibit experience and poise required to work effectively with CXOs. Experience working with Public Sector and/or Education ISVs a plus. 8 years of professional work experience with at least 4 years experience developing commercial applications required. MCSD certification or equivalent knowledge desired. Must be able to travel 25% and work independently. "

Modi, the U.S., and visa power

The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : By Siddharth Varadarajan: "If the BJP believes it is a victim of U.S. double standards, it has also benefited from the same duplicity in the past.

THE DENIAL of a U.S. visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has evoked a predictably strong reaction from the Bharatiya Janata Party, less strident objections from the Congress party and a formal, diplomatically correct protest from the government of India, whose note verbale requesting a visa went unheeded.

For Mr. Modi, who identified closely with many of the policies of the Bush administration, the visa denial is a particularly cruel blow. After all, the United States was perhaps the only major (or minor) country in the `West' not to express its concerns about the Gujarat violence while it was going on. Even tiny Finland saw fit to raise its voice, inviting a stinging rebuke from the External Affairs Ministry, but not Washington.

The BJP says the visa rejection has hurt India's national pride but this does not appear to be a perception that is shared widely by Indians, who see the saffron party's appeals to swabhimaan (self-respect) and constitutionalism as largely self-serving. There is no Constitution in the world that requires a country to grant foreign nationals a visa to enter its territory; on the other hand, every Constitution, India's included, obliges governments to investigate and punish individuals involved in large-scale violence against its citizens.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has started rejecting visas on the grounds of involvement in corruption, torture and human rights abuses, and violations of religious freedom. These restrictions have developed in tandem with the growing tendency to consider gross violations of human rights as transgressions of international law and international humanitarian law. However, unlike the attempt to prosecute offenders in jurisdictions other than that of their own countries — for example the well-known case against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in a Spanish court — the denial of visas per se does not represent the extra-territoriality of law enforcement.

Prominent U.S. visa rejects in recent years include Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto, the son-in-law of former Indonesian President Suharto, who was denied a visa in 2000 on the grounds of being suspected of involvement in torture, former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, who was denied a U.S. visa for medical treatment ostensibly because Washington said it could not "guarantee his security," and two senior Yugoslav parliamentary officials — Srdja Bozovic, who was president of the Chamber of Republics, and Ljubisa Ristic, president of parliament's foreign policy committee — because their names figured on a list of "regime associates" of Slobodan Milosevic.

For many years, the U.S. has informally used the existence of corruption charges against public officials as a reason to deny a visa. Last year, for example, Gregory Surkis, a Ukrainian MP and close ally of then Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, was denied a U.S. visa for allegedly interfering with his country's electoral process. The then Ukrainian Interior Minister Mykola Bilokon was put on a visa watch list with the presumption of denial in case he ever applied. In 1996, Ernesto Samper's U.S. visa was revoked when he was Colombia's President.

When the human rights of Muslim Gujaratis were being violated on a large-scale in 2002, for example, the U.S. preferred to keep its counsel. Had 2,000 Bahais been killed in Iran or Christians in Indonesia or Malaysia, there would have been howls of protest from Washington.

But those were the days of great bonhomie between the BJP leadership and the Bush administration and Washington perhaps did not want to bring up an issue that might come in the way of the strategic realignment it was trying to engineer in Indian foreign policy. L.K. Advani, who travelled to the U.S. as Deputy Prime Minister in June 2003 and promised Indian soldiers as cannon fodder for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, had no trouble getting a visa despite being formally charge-sheeted in a major case involving religious discrimination — the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Today, BJP leaders are referring to the Iraq invasion and Abu Ghraib. If they are serious, let them declare that senior U.S. officials whose memos created the legal cover under which Iraqi prisoners were tortured (including the Attorney-General and Defence Secretary) should not be given visas to visit India. I don't think any right-thinking Indian would oppose such a demand.

It is a well-established principle in international law that sovereignty does not provide an inviolable shield behind which gross violations of human rights can be committed. Countries that are powerful (such as Israel or indeed the U.S. itself) can get away with murder, but others cannot. Smaller states can buy impunity by aligning themselves with the U.S. but as and when contradictions emerge, that impunity can rapidly melt away. For India, a fitting answer to the insult Mr. Modi has brought upon the country in having his U.S. visa revoked is to put in place legal systems that deliver quick and impartial justice in all instances of mass violence like Delhi 1984 and Gujarat 2002. That is the only way to guarantee we never again find ourselves in the embarrassing position of having high officials and functionaries accused of abetting mass murder."

Exclusive Interview with Will Eisner

## BadAzz MoFo ##: "There are two important things to remember when talking to Will Eisner. First, don't call him a living legend (even though he is). He doesn't really like being called a living legend. But most important, don't tell Will Eisner that comic books are for kids; because even though he's in his 80s, you're likely to have a fight on your hands.

Just in case some of you don't know who he is, let me give you a brief introduction. Will Eisner is to the comic book industry what Orson Welles was to the film industry � a maverick artist that pushed the bounds of his chosen form of expression and helped to reshape the medium. In the case of Eisner, his choice of expression is comics, or as he prefers, sequential. The prestigious Eisner Award, the comic industry equivalent to the Oscar, was named after him."

Comic creator

Comic creator: Will Eisner: "Will Eisner was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917, as the son of Jewish immigrants. He went to school at De Witt Clinton High School in the Bronx, and his first drawings were published in the school's newspaper. He made his debut in comics in 1936, when WOW What a Magazine! published his first work, 'Karry' and 'The Flame'. The magazine folded, but Eisner teamed up with his friend Jerry Iger and founded the Eisner-Iger Studio. They produced a tremendous amount of comics in all genres and styles, and recruited young artists such as Bob Kane, Lou Fine, and Jack Kirby. A memorable title Eisner made in this period is 'Hawk of the Seas', which originally started as 'The Flame'.

In 1939, Will Eisner left the studio to join the Quality Comics Group, where he worked on a syndicated 16-page newspaper supplement for which he created his most famous comic, 'The Spirit'. This innovative strip about a masked detective soon became the most popular feature of the comics section (for which Eisner also drew three other titles) and it was renamed The Spirit Section. Eisner's style stood out for the use of so-called "splash-pages" - one picture filling the page like a movie poster with the lettering fully integrated into the image - and his unmatched capacity for rendering atmospheres: mist, nighttime skies, fuming sewers, and the like.

In 1942, Will Eisner was drafted into the Army and served his country by producing posters, illustrations and strips for the education and entertainment of the troops. When he returned, he resumed 'The Spirit' (which had been drawn by others in his absence) and started cooperation with young artists like Jules Feiffer and Wally Wood.

Will Eisner founded the American Visuals Corporation, which created comics, cartoons and illustrations for educational and commercial purposes. One title Eisner revived was 'Joe Dope', a strip about a soldier he created during the war. The work for his corporation proved so lucrative, that Eisner abandoned 'The Spirit'. Dutch editor Olaf Stoop of The Real Free Press reprinted 'The Spirit' in the early 1970s and revived the interest in Eisner's work. This prompted Eisner to create 'A Contract With God' in 1978, four short stories about life in the Bronx slums in the 1930s, told with such literary agility and graphic accomplishment, that a new comics form was born: the graphic novel.

Kitchen Sink Press published Eisner's following graphic novels, like 'The Building', 'The Dreamer' (in which he describes his Spirit days, telling the tales of the time when comic artists were more like conveyor belt workers - obliged to work on pages with pre-printed panels) 'A Family Matter' and the semi-autobiographical 'To the Heart of the Storm'. Besides these, Eisner also started out in the field of comics theory. His 'Comics and Sequential Art' is a classic in its own right, and would later inspire Scott McCloud in the making of his monumental work, 'Understanding Comics'.

For the celebration of its 15 year existence in 1983, Lambiek proudly produced a Yiddish edition of the lead story of 'A Contract With God', both in Latin and in Hebrew lettering.

Will Eisner can rightly be considered as the godfather of American comics, not only for adding 'The Spirit' to the long list of brilliant American comic strips, but especially for proving that comics can match literature and are not just a dubious means of entertainment for children (as people thought in the 1950s). Eisner was a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York and wrote two standard works on the creative process of making comics, 'Comics and Sequential Art' and 'Graphic Storytelling'. In 1988, the Eisner Awards were established, coveted comics prizes which Eisner presided over at the yearly Comic-Con in San Diego.

Sadly, Will Eisner passed away on 3 January 2005 at the age of 87, following quadruple bypass heart surgery. He will be greatly missed, but his wonderful comics will live on forever. "

Will Eisner - Condolence

Welcome to Will "Will Eisner passed away on January 3rd, 2005 at the age of 87 following quadruple bypass heart surgery. Our condolences to Will's wife, Ann, and his family, friends and colleagues. A true giant in comics, he will be missed, personally and professionally."

Eisner-related sites

Wes Tumulka's The Spirit Database
Jerry Stratton's The Annotated Dreamer
Buy original Will Eisner art at the Denis Kitchen Art Agency

Eisner Publisher sites

DC Comics
Dark Horse Comics

Other Comics-related sites

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Ohio State Cartoon Research Library

Will Eisner newsletters

The Will Eisner Mailing List
Will Eisner: A Spirited Life, Authorized Biography by Bob Andelman

The No-Sari Zone: South Asian Women at Work

HBS Working Knowledge: HBS Conference Coverage: "Smart but passive. Good technicians, but not likely managers. Like many others, women from India and Pakistan seem doomed to stereotypes about how they function at work. But they should resist labels and pursue the careers of their dreams, said panelists at the Conference on India and Its Neighbors at Harvard Business School.

Like women everywhere, they ask themselves, How should I get ahead? Find job satisfaction? Assert myself? Manage my home life with my career? Deal with family expectations?"

The second annual Conference on India and Its Neighbors was held at Harvard Business School on February 27, 2005. This student-run conference was organized by the Harvard Business School South Asian Business Association.

What's the most important factor in your choice of soft drink?

Wall Street Journal #3455.1:

What's the most important factor in your choice of soft drink?
Taste 480 votes (42%)
Calories 325 votes (29%)
Caffeine 68 votes (6%)
I don't drink soft drinks. 263 votes (23%)


roast of jeff foxworthy: "From 'Tater Salad' to 'Git-R-Done,' read all about Jeff and the comedians who roasted him"

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

$150,000 pa at IIM-A

Day zero hero: $150,000 pa at IIM-A- The Economic Times: "The celebrations have already begun. More than 45 IIM-Ahmedabad management graduates picked up big-ticket jobs on Day Zero, with the highest salary for a foreign job touching $150,000 a year. Sources said that the highest offer was made by management consultancy firm Booze Allen Hamilton which came to the Vastrapur campus for the first time.

The biggest foreign offer made at IIM-B was $120,000 as compared to $1,00,000 last year. An IIM-Calcutta student has bagged a $1,00,000 a year job.

IIM sources could not comment on the number of offers made by companies such as Mckinsey, AT Kearney, Boston Consultancy Group, Amex, Lehman Brothers, Deutshe Bank and Goldman Sachs, and first timers such as Barckley Capital, BNP Paribas, International Finance Corp (IFC) and the Sun Group. Usually, Day Zero offers are made by foreign investment banks and consultancy firms.

The numbers of acceptances on Day Zero at IIM-A last year was 36, excluding pre-placement offers. The highest offer was $96,000 for an overseas placement. The highest salary offered for a placement within India was Rs 12 lakh.

IIM B the total number of offers made to the students on Day zero was 45 and the acceptances were 40. The acceptance include pre-placement offers made to around 4 students. At IIM-C, on Day Zero, the total number of offers made were in the range of 50's while the acceptance stood at 42.

In terms of salary both at IIM-B and IIM-C saw a jump in their highest pay package in domestic and similar offers in foreign offers this year as against last year. Both at IIM-B and IIM-C the highest salary offered was by a consultancy company and was more than Rs 16 lakh per annum, a clear hike of around Rs 2.5 lakh offered during the last final placement season."

Actor Vijaykanth to float political party

Indo-Asian News Service : "Tamil actor Vijaykanth Tuesday said he would float a political party to fight for the rights of the people. The actor, who announced his decision to join politics at the silver jubilee celebrations of his fan club here, said he would float the party at a conference in Madurai in September.

Citing the apathy of politicians towards the people, he said: "I am donating 75 percent of my income for the poor. Is that not proof of my sincerity?"

Vijaykanth cited the examples of other movie stars like M.G. Ramachandran, N.T. Rama Rao and Ronald Regan - who also made a mark as politicians. "

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Affirmative Parenting Guide

Welcome to Rosemond: "You can't teach a child how to act without also teaching the child what you want him to think. It's called passing on your values, which you cannot do by mincing either words or action. "

Dunkin' Donuts -- A more perfect pastry.

Dunkin' Donuts - The Great One. By Bryan Curtis (slate): "Something is amiss at Dunkin' Donuts. The store's loyal constituents—cops, firemen, construction workers—report disturbing sightings of soy milk. The Boston Globe says that the doughnut titan has hired a professional chef—trained in Europe—to perfect its new steak, egg, and cheese sandwich, which features "a higher-quality piece of meat and scrambled eggs instead of a fried egg." Some Chicago-area Dunkin' outlets are dabbling with wireless Internet, which had previously been the domain of high-end joints like Starbucks. One could be forgiven for thinking that Dunkin' Donuts, home of the blue-collar masses, purveyor of some of the most frightening fast-food on the planet, was angling for middlebrow respectability.

Dunkin' Donuts still boasts some gruesome pleasures: "The Great One," a 24-ounce coffee chalice, and the Double Chocolate Cake Donut, which carries 310 calories and has the texture and density of igneous rock. But over the past five years the chain has sought to burnish its pastries with a glaze of class: Dunkin' Donuts is reinventing itself as an upstairs-downstairs coffee house. It wants to lure more white-collar customers while tending to its loyal base of proles.

Rosenberg brought fire and entrepreneurship to Dunkin' Donuts, which he founded in Quincy, Mass., in 1950. Having peddled snacks to factory workers during World War II, he knew how to draw in the proletariat. His coffee was hot, cheap, and served in seconds; he offered 52 varieties of doughnuts, dozens more than his competitors. An early storefront was situated across the street from a Ford assembly plant in Somerville, Mass., guaranteeing him hundreds of loyal rivet-heads. When Rosenberg began granting franchise licenses a few years later, he hewed to the blue-collar wards of New England and the mid-Atlantic, which had built-in constituencies; even in early 2005, only 70 of the chain's more than 4,000 American outlets were west of the Mississippi.

Like all corporate behemoths, Dunkin' Donuts is a clever thief. The chain waits for other restaurants to innovate, a company vice president told Business Week Online, and then "Dunkinizes" their products. Rosenberg pinched the idea for his "52 flavors of donuts" from Howard Johnson's 28 flavors of ice cream. When Einstein's and other bagel houses surged in the mid-1990s, Dunkin' Donuts put bagels in its glass cases; within a year, it was the No. 1 bagel-seller in America.

But the looming specter of Starbucks—and Rosenberg's retirement in 1988—heralded a new era for the doughnut house. Piece by piece, Dunkin' Donuts shed its blue-collar trappings.

Dunkin' Donuts hasn't tried to battle Starbucks on the Seattle chain's upscale turf. It peddles a more engaging, populist tone: high-quality coffees without the cultural pretension. A 1998 Dunkin' Donuts commercial featured a prissy Starbucks-style barista, clad in green apron, mocking customers; the ad said that Dunkin' Donuts peddled "a rich, bold blend without all the bitterness." Dunkin' Donuts fended off a challenge to its other flank from Krispy Kreme, the North Carolina-based chain, which was trying to out-duel it by offering shameful pleasures to the middle class. Dunkin' responded by emphasizing its healthier items and beefing up its espresso menu. Krispy Kreme, once a hot Wall Street stock, was bleeding money by 2004.

In the age of the Atkins diet and Super Size Me, fast food has become a dicey business. If the late-1990s were about indulgence—Krispy Kreme, the Triple Whopper—then the new century requires a novel approach.

Even as Dunkin' Donuts tinkers with its menu, it still has a nagging problem: atmosphere. Whereas Starbucks channels the ambiance of the European coffee bar and Krispy Kreme the sleekness of the '50s diner, Dunkin' Donuts stores have all the warmth of a sanitarium—and an unsanitary one, at that. The color scheme is often exceedingly magenta. (A grand remodeling plan succeeded only in changing the name of the magenta to "ripe raisin.") Starbucks and Krispy Kreme invite customers to buy something and stay a while; Dunkin' Donuts chases them out the door, as if clinging to the '50s blue-collar ethos of "Back to the plant!"

This approach has made Dunkin' Donuts America's most aloof fast-food franchise. One could argue that doughnuts are meant to be a solitary pleasure, consumed silently and with great speed. But is there any chain where one is more likely to see people sitting alone staring blankly into the industrial lighting? I camped out in the crowded Times Square hub in Manhattan for nearly 30 minutes one afternoon before I heard a grunt that approximated human speech: a man asking another if he could share his table. The seated man replied, "You gotta give me half the stuff on your tray." That just won't do. Dunkin' Donuts can't hope to fend off Starbucks without appropriating some of its one-on-ones and cell-phone banter. It's time to make the doughnuts. But first, it's time to make conversation."

Monday, March 14, 2005

Pirelli - 2005 Calendar

Must See Photos: "I agree not to copy, reproduce, transfer, publish or distribute the images or film shown on this website, except that I may store copies on my own computer for my personal use.
I understand that any breach of this undertaking will make me liable in damages, and that the Pirelli Group will be entitled to take legal action against me to prevent any unauthorized use."

Will You Pee My Valentine

WeeklyDig : > Emily Pepper: "Valentine's Day is coming, and what says "I love you" better than a hearty blast of urine to the face?

Urine has a fascinating history. Romans bleached their clothes with it; Aztecs cleaned their wounds with it; and Siberian Koryaks ate hallucinogenic mushrooms and then let other people drink their pee to get in on the trip (reindeer would also show up and lap up spilled hallucinogenic urine.) Alchemists tried to turn it into gold for ages, as the color made them think there must be some kind of link between the two; they got phosphorus and urea, but nothing coinable. Urine as currency didn't happen. But urine as sexual currency is a different story altogether.

Hoping to gauge just how valued a sexual currency pee is in staid Boston, I hit the streets last week to ask around.

As it turns out, shockingly, my randomized sample suggested that most Bostonians stopped in the street in the middle of the day have no interest in discussing watersports. Hamilton, a very chill 33-year-old video store clerk, told me, "I think it's a fairly sick practice myself" and added, "I'm from New England" as a possible disclaimer. A few others were more open-minded. David, who I caught in Cambridge, argued, "A little yellow is always appropriate"; but of all the folks I accosted, he was the only one who didn't start giggling at my first mention of the topic. All in all, it doesn't seem to be something that we as a city are very comfortable talking about.

Why piss on your partner? Who said this is a good idea? Well, it's not for everyone, but for some, it provides a level of intimacy you don’t get through more conventional sex acts. Pissers claim that if you love someone, you should love every part of them, including the parts they normally flush. Urinating in front of a partner can be extremely liberating and make for a new kind of closeness. And on the physical tip, watersports can create pleasure either by pressure (think peeing hard on someone's cock or clit) or by heat (nice warm bath … kind of).

For girls, there can be an additional bonus to letting it loose in the bedroom. Female ejaculation frequently feels like an urge to piss brought on and intensified by g-spot stimulation. If you get comfortable with this sensation and let your body respond to it, you’re one step closer to squirting girlie-cum halfway across the room.

A good number of people out there will tell you this sort of thing is dirty, but that’s a misconception, considering urine is sterile when it comes out of your body. If you clean up the way you would any spilled bodily fluid, pissing on someone is actually a fairly clean affair. Of course, like any exchange of fluids, there’s a risk of picking up something nasty, the chances of which really fly when you take a mouthful, as opposed to a faceful. As with any intense fluid sharing, it’s best practiced by partners in a monogamous relationship, or by the rare gem of a person who can present a doctor's note on demand—who, now that I mention it, probably shouldn’t be trusted to begin with.

Watersports aren’t something everyone is comfortable with, or even interested in—especially around here, if my highly unscientific survey can be trusted. But if you're curious, there's nothing wrong with giving it a go. Make sure you've got a Valentine who's ready and willing to avoid any potentially awkward situations, and, obviously, drink lots of fluids in advance—though pissing on someone after drinking a barrelful of coffee might not be for novices."

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Ek Rishtaa was composed overnight!, Movies: Nadeem Shravan Interview: "Have you been keeping in touch with other composers' work in your absence?

Yes. But I don't think there is anything worth talking about!

None at all?

Well, just one or two scores. I liked the music of Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

What about A R Rahman in Taal?

Rahman is at his worst now! As for Taal, I would give it 70 out of 100.

Our film Pardes would get a 100 on 100!

What went wrong with Aa Ab Laut Chalen? Sameer tells me there was a lack of mental tuning as also the fact that Rishi Kapoor and you were never quite on the same wavelength?

No, no, our tuning has always been excellent. I still consider it to be one of our finest scores. The RK flavour was there, too.

The only problem was that four of the eight songs were recorded after I left. And I wasn't there to personally supervise my singers. I could not even work from here. Both Shravan and I were disturbed about it...

On the personal front, now that you are exonerated, why don't you fight it out in India so that you are vindicated and free once and for all?

I am not foolish. I know that a select coterie of politicians and policemen are out to trap me. I will not walk into the trap.

I trust our judiciary and the police force is not corrupt as a whole. But there are vested interests out to frame me. I can name the six or seven people who want to nail me on record. But will you print their names?

If you do, will the publication print them? What kind of free press is this that everyone can damn me in print and I can't retaliate against them nor make people aware of the facts?

Look, I am an honorable man. I have fought honorably through the courts.

The British machinery has no vested interests. And if they exonerated me after over three years of minutely examining every angle and evidence, including handwriting reports, it means something.

The far-reaching judgment clearly says that the 'Evidence is so tainted so as to render a fair trial impossible'.

I could have run away from here and moved from one place to another, but I fought in the courts of London. The Indian government should realise this.

You even brought in the communal angle two years ago by stating that you were harassed because you were a Muslim. Even your partner Shravan did not like it.

Well, I spoke from the heart; I felt strongly about it. Though I never generalised and said that every Hindu was against Muslims.

It is painful, but can you rewind to the time it began? What was your first reaction?

You see, I had come down here for a holiday. My wife was undergoing some medical problems -- she was in an advanced stage of pregnancy and miscarried.

When I first heard the news that I was the prime accused, I was shocked. My first reaction was to laugh it off as a joke. But when I realised the gravity of the situation, I began to sob helplessly.

People called up; I swore on my child's grave I was innocent. How could they write a complete pack of lies?

Gulshanji was the man who made our career with Aashiqui. Bhushan Kumar was, and is, like a kid brother.

How long did it take to get out of that mood?

I did finally come out of the ordeal. Only a man of steel could have survived the trauma I went through. My family and friends refused to believe I was guilty -- they know me too well. Everyone rallied around me.

I hope Bhushan and Krishen Kumar realise and see the light, too.

But Bollywood initially did not really stand by you. It was only after some years that they came back to you...

Not true. I must mention the complete and consistent moral support of Mahesh Bhatt and Shatrughan Sinha. Indians in London believed in me, too.

Also, I was the one who cut down on my work. "

Profile of Nadeem-Shravan Music - Profile of Nadeem-Shravan: "Theirs has easily been the most tumultuous courtship in the Hindi film industry. They have seen it all - fame, fortune, mud-slinging, and finally a phoenix-like triumph. Yet, Nadeem and Shravan have remained a force to reckon with, and their compositions have retained the essence of quality music.

The two got together to compose for small-time films, but hit the big league with the Mithun Chakraborthy starrer Ilaaka. This did not bring them much recognition, and after insipid fare like Hisaab Khoon Ka, their moment of reckoning came when Mahesh Bhatt picked them for Aashiqui. The challenge was daunting - Bhatt was dealing with a new starcast, and the demand was for a fresh score to complement the demands of a love story. The duo had an ace up their sleeve, and came up with a winner of a score. Numbers like Jaane jigar jaane mann and Main duniya bhula doonga redefined film music.

Nadeem-Shravan's flirtation with fame continued, when they encountered double success with Saajan and Sadak. Saajan became a sort of monument in the duo's career, and Sadak reinforced the fact that the two were here to stay. Deewana, Phool Aur Kaante (1992), Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke (1993) and Barsaat (1995) ensured that they kept the flag of their career flying high.

The unique feature of Nadeem-Shravan's music is that is reflects a firm grounding in the basics, but also reflects a penchant for experimentation. Two of their most memorable scores were for Raja Hindustani and Pardes. In fact, it seems like Subhash Ghai extracted the best from the duo for his Pardes, for their brilliance in this film remains truly matchless.

But fame comes with a price attached, and controversy reared its ugly head when Nadeem was suspected in the Gulshan Kumar murder case. This ebbed the flow of productivity a little. But the two were never deterred. In fact, news of Nadeem and Shravan corresponding through the Internet and keeping the flag of their career flying high gained them some new-found respect, and prestigious offers."

Nadeem Shravan - Murder of Gulshan Kumar - T Series

Nadeem Shravan - Fan Page: "Out of the number of films currently in your hands, are there any projects involving Bhushan Kumar?

Unfortunately not! Bhushan is like a brother to me and I want to tell him that I haven�t done anything against Gulshanji or T-Series. I want him to make a new beginning with me and I am waiting for the day when he offers me a film again. I hope that day comes soon."

Bhushan Kumar marries Divya Khosla "Gulshan Kumar's son marries actress Divya Khosla

Late music baron and owner of T-Series Audio Cassettes Gulshan Kumar's son Bhushan Kumar tied the nuptial knot with actress Divya Khosla on Sunday at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in the first wedding held here. At the foothills of the Trikuta Range, the town of Katra accustomed to seeing pilgrims, was transformed into a base camp for the festive event.

The couple was married on a "lagan mandap" temporarily constructed for the wedding ritual at the Ram Temple in the shrine's vicinity. The couple got formally engaged on December 13. The event got a go-ahead from state governor Lt. Gen. (retired) SK Sinha, also an ex-officio chairman of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

Divya turns homemaker
Gulshan Kumar had donated considerable sum of money to the shrine during his lifetime. The Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board members now see a revamp in the offing and perceive this as an ideal wedding location. The rituals, they say, will be conducted according to vedic rites for which a mandap will be set up.

Unlike expensive Bollywood marriage extravaganzas, the Kumar-Khosla wedding was a private affair. Divya, who made her debut in the industry in Anil Sharma's film Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyon, will not work in films, said family sources."

Bhushan Kumar to wed Divya

IndiaFM - India Info: "Just a day after the Valentine's day the T-Series head honcho Bhushan Kumar will tie the nuptial knot with the gorgeous model-turned-actress Divya Khosla. The wedding reception will be held at Sun City Farms, New Delhi on February 15, 2005.

The duo got engaged in a very private ceremony at Vaishno Devi on December 13, 2004. The couple has been going around for a while now and it's a love-cum-arranged marriage for them with both their families consenting. "

Floyd Norris: Watching the bubbles bounce

The International Herald Tribune: "Five years later, the great bubble of 2000 does not look nearly so bad as it did in 2002. The conventional wisdom now is that it was not all that important, certainly nothing like the great bubbles of 20th-century stock market history, those of the United States in 1929 and Japan in 1989.

But there are similarities to those bubbles, and those resemblances could indicate it will be a very long time before technology stocks as a group become good long-term investments again.

First, look at the differences. In 1929, the world economy entered the Great Depression. In 1990, Japan began a long period of poor economic performance. It was not a depression, but there has yet to be a period of sustained growth in that country since the end of the bubble.

The U.S. bubble in 2000 was different both in its breadth and in its economic impact. That bubble did not infect the entire stock market, but instead was concentrated in technology stocks, with a lesser bubble in the largest stocks in the country, the ones that dominated the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. The economic aftermath included only a relatively mild recession and a recovery that took a long time to build up steam.

When the bubble was at its peak, Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, turned aside advice, some of it from this column, that he should do something to restrain the speculation. He offered a confident forecast that if and when the bubble did burst, he would know what to do to minimize the damage. And he seems to have been right.

The story is not yet over, of course. Some argue that the decisions of central bankers in both the United States and Europe to pursue super-low interest rates helped to prevent disaster but created imbalances that may yet explode. Stephen Roach, the Morgan Stanley economist, calls Alan Greenspan a "serial bubble blower" and points to housing prices as the bubble du jour. But economic disaster has been averted so far.

While many American stocks are higher than they were in 2000, the area where the frenzy was greatest remains low. Adjusted for inflation, the Nasdaq 100 is down about 70 percent. That performance is quite similar to the one turned in by the Dow industrials in the first five years after 1929, and worse than the performance of the Nikkei 225 after 1989.

But while the Dow hit bottom in its first five years after the crash, even if there would be a long period before the lost ground was regained, the Nikkei had not. Now, 15 years after its peak, it is worth about half what it was a decade ago, after adjusting for inflation.

When the stock market fell to its post-bubble low in late 2002, there was much talk that the lesson was that even if a technology is revolutionizing the world, the profits are more likely to go to those who use the technology than to those who develop it. Now investors are back buying hot technology stocks, and that lesson is forgotten.

That is perfectly consistent with the history of previous bubbles. The second five years after a historic high can produce some big gains, but they also can produce losses that wipe out most if not all of those gains. Technology investing in the next five years may be more exciting than profitable."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Citizen's Rent

Citizen's Rent: The Blogosphere: "Friday Random 10"

Oscar Winning Documentary - Born Into Brothels

Film Review - LokVani- Chitra Parayath : "In the Oscar winning documentary, 'Born into Brothels', filmmakers Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman use art as a liberating force. Equipping children of sex workers from a brothel in Calcutta with cameras, Briski teaches them how to use photography to record the world around them and their own lives.

These children of pimps and prostitutes live in absolute squalor; the Calcutta red light district is as dismal a place as one could find anywhere. The film is miraculously uplifting, largely due to the spirited, bright children who, though accepting of their fate, display remarkably deep artistic talent and a zest for life that is inspirational.

The Oscar winning documentary is not without flaws; the sleekly produced images somehow succeed in undermining the true reality of the life the children lead in the brothels. While one appreciates the filmmakers’ commitment to leveraging the children’s photographs for their own welfare, the film suffers from a simulataneously voyeuristic and self-congratulatory attitude.

The film has also attracted criticism from some media watch dogs in India and abroad who wonder why the film does not acknowledge the many Indian groups that are active in rehabilitation of prostitutes and their children. The premise of ‘Born into Brothels’ is about disadvantaged kids using art to better their lives; it dwells a little too long on their western saviors and the battles fought by them to help these kids, and not enough of the battles the kids fight every day of their lives.

Related website –

By teaching the art and skills of photography, Kids with Cameras empowers children growing up in difficult circumstances and allows them to appreciate the beauty and dignity of their own expression. We send exceptional photographers to communities around the world to lead the workshops, which emphasize artistic excellence and individualized attention, and which encourage a holistic approach to art and education. We present the kids' photos to the world through exhibits, books and film. Kids with Cameras works beyond photography to strengthen the children's general education as well as their communities, linking with other organizations to work most effectively. Armed with self-respect, discipline and creativity, Kids with Cameras joins our kids to a global community that values them as artists, individuals and citizens."

Serving Crazy With Curry By Amulya Malladi

Book Review - LokVani - Hanneke van Walsem: "Amulya Malladi packs a punch, in Serving crazy with curry, her third novel. Attempted suicide, betrayal, sex, secrets, lies, lovers, marriage and family, are fused together by the innovative South Indian cooking of our heroine Devi Veturi.

Maladi’s previous two novels are A Breath of Fresh Air and The Mango season.

Serving crazy with curry, by Amulya Maladi is available everywhere, at a cover price of $12.95

Amalya Malladi was born September 21, 1974. She worked as online editor for a publishing house in San Francisco, CA, and as a marketing manager for a California software company. She is currently living in Denmark.

(Hanneke is a Lokvani subscriber, Artist, and Ex-Math teacher, living in Acton with her husband and two sons. When not drawing, painting, or reviewing a book, you can find her devouring her friends' Indian cooking. )"

50th Filmfare Awards Night

LokVani-Chitra Parayath: "The 50th Filmfare Awards at the Bandra-Kurla onFebruary 26th, saw Bollywood bigwigsattend the event in all their finery. To commemorate their Golden Jubilee, the Awards committee decided to present the winners with Golden trophies instead of the customary black ones.

‘Indian Idol’ finalists Abhijeet Sawant and Amit Sana opened the evening's proceedings with songs.. During the first interlude ‘Kisna’ actress Isha Sharvani performed her ever popular rope dance and unveiled the magnificent new gold Filmfare trophy.

Saif Ali Khan, the compere for the evening entered on a crane and lit the ‘50 years’ drape fireworks display, that had the ‘50th YEAR’ sign glowing in the background.

‘Veer Zara’, ‘Dhoom’ and ‘Hum Tum’ were big winners that vening.
Director Kunal Kohli won for ‘Hum Tum’ while the best picture award went to ‘Veer Zara’. Shah Rukh Khan picked up the ‘Best Actor Award’ with Rani Mukherji winning two, both ‘ Best Actress fior ‘Hum Tum’ and Best Supporting Actress for ‘Yuva’.

Abhishek’s Lallan Singh portrayal in ‘Yuva’ fetched him the award for ‘ Best Supporting Actor’ (beating his own father, the big Bachachn in the same category.) At the event, Abhishek dragged his father on stage and gave his award to his father saying: "As I believe there can be no actor better than my father, this award belongs to him." The Big B, not one to be outdone, returned the Trophy to his son saying that it was a tradition to give the son whatever the father earns in life.

The Peter Pan of Bollywood, Dev Anand won the viewer’s award, in the category, ‘Best Actor in Five Decades’, while Rekha was voted the most beautiful and talented.
Ramesh Sippy's blockbuster film of 70s 'Sholay' was adjudged as best film in 50 years

Saif Ali Khan got an award for best actor in a comic role for 'Hum Tum'. The critics’ award for best actress went to Kareena Kapoor for 'Dev' while the critics’ award for best actor was bagged by Pankaj Kapoor for his role in 'Maqbool'.
Shahrukh Khan was given the ‘ Power Award’. Priyanka Chopra won best villainous role for her film ‘Aitraaz’. And the award for Best Debut went to Ayesha Takia for ‘Taarzan – The Wonder Car’.
Aditya Chopra won the ‘Best story award for ‘Veer Zara’ as Mani Ratnam won the’ Best Screenplay’ nod for ‘Yuva’.
Javed Akhtar who created a record of sorts by being nominated for five films in the best lyricist category, won for his lines in the song 'Tere Liye' from the film 'Veer Zara'.

Kunal Ganjawala was the winner for 'Best Male Playback' for the song ‘ Bheegey Honth tere’ from the film ‘Murder’ and Alka Yagnik got the nod for ‘Sanson Ko Sanson Mein’ from ‘Humtum’
Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Naushad (the recipients of the first Filmfare award) were honored at the golden jubilee celebration by Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The other notable awards presented were,
Rajesh Khanna

Kunal Ganjawala

Hum Tum

Prabhu Deva (Main Aisa Kyon ... - Lakshay

Mani Ratnam (Yuva) & Govind Nihalani (Dev)

Aditya Chopra (Veer-Zaara)

Yash Raj (Dhoom)

Sabu Cyril (Yuva)

Vikram Dharma (Yuva)

Christopher Popp (Lakshya)

BEST Background Score
A.R. Rahman (Swades)"

Lokvani Talks To Dr. Leonard Van Der Kuijp

LokVani- Ranjani Saigal: "Professor van der Kuijp is Chairman of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies and Professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at Harvard University. He worked at the Nepal Research Center, Universität Berlin, and University of Washington before joining the Harvard Faculty in July 1995.

His research focuses primarily on Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhist intellectual history, and Tibetan-Mongol and Tibetan-Chinese relations. His books include Still in Search of Dharma: Indian and Ceylonese Travellers in Fifteenth Century Tibet, Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism and contributions to the Development of Tibetan Buddhist Epistemology from the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Centuries. He has been instrumental in restoring Tibetan manuscripts and making efforts to create a socio-cultural history of the Himalayan area including India, Nepal and Tibet.

Professor van der Kuijp received his M.A. from University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, and his PhD from the Universität Hamburg, Germany. In 1993, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

The Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies has an outreach program which hosts lectures of academic and cultural interest to the extended Harvard community. The outreach effort is convened by Dr. Bijoy Misra, and is held on the second Saturday afternoons at Harvard Science Center. The lectures began in the Spring of 1995 and an Annual India Poetry reading was added in 1997. As part of the outreach effort, Dr. Kuijp will be speaking at Harvard University Science Center(Hall A), located at 1 Oxford Street in Cambridge.on March 12th at 3:00 pm."

In Conversation With Meenakshi Verma

LokVani - Nirmala Garimella: "Meenakshi Verma is a volunteer for AVSAR, a non profit that was founded in late 2003 through the initiatives of Dr. Ashish Goyal. Inspired by the service experience he had in the slums of Mumbai in December 2002, Dr. Goyal made a bold journey back to Mumbai by taking a year off after medical school to start his own NGO in India. Through his perseverance and drive, AVSAR India was established to help community-based non-profits working to improve the healthcare of the underprivileged, especially children. In its primary programming, AVSAR brings 4-6 highly skilled students and young professionals to partner with an NGO that has identified a specific skill gap in their services. Since the launch of the program in February 2004, AVSAR has recruited over 30 volunteers who have completed over 3 years of free service work for their partner NGOs. New Englandvolunteers include Gunjan Kamdar, Alexander Kay and Anand Dholakia.

As a Program Director, Meenakshi Verma is currently in working in the slums of Mumbai. In an email to Lokvani she outlined AVSAR�s mission and her experience in working in the slums. "

Bank hopes its blog helps find next big thing

IHT: "Blogging has transformed political commentary, rattled the media business and inundated the Internet. Does it have a place on Wall Street?

ThinkEquity Partners, a boutique investment bank in San Francisco, was going to find out on Thursday by introducing a Web log. The firm, which specializes in technology and health care, is seeking to make its investment research department - an albatross at most Wall Street firms - relevant. ThinkEquity is betting that the blog will attract analysts, bankers, investors, venture capitalists and anyone else interested in talking about growth investing, helping the company generate ideas.

The firm's research is available to all and, once registered, anyone can post feedback on the site. The blog can be found at

Michael Moe, co-founder of ThinkEquity and former director of global growth-stock research at Merrill Lynch, compared the idea to the Zagat Surveys of restaurants.

Moe said he got the idea from Tony Perkins, a founder and former editor of the magazine Red Herring, who has started AlwaysOn, a media company that is using blogs to discuss business and technology issues. The blog format can transform research from a document into a discussion.

Regulation FD, or fair disclosure, requires companies in the United States to disclose material information to all investors at once rather than a select few. That rule stripped analysts of one of their chief assets: access to management and, ideally, information that management would give to them first. At the same time, regulators are working hard to find violations.

In mid-January, the NASD, formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers, fined an analyst at Fulcrum Partners, a boutique institutional research firm, $75,000 for perpetuating a rumor. Moe said his firm's compliance officer had vetted the blog and found that it did not present any regulatory obstacles.

An official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, who asked not to be identified, said the blog did not appear to violate any rules but would probably require more disclosures."

Chand Bujh Gaya sees the daylight

NDTV: "After a three-year long battle with controversies, the Censor Board and the court, Chand Bujh Gaya, a film on the Gujarat riots, is finally ready to be released next week. First it started getting threats from the saffron brigade. Then the Censor Board wanted to ban it because the film uses a lookalike of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, instigating riots.

However, the Bombay High Court ruled in its favour and directed the Censor Board to certify the film without cuts. 'The honourable judges Chandrachud and Bhandari said it did not matter if the man looked like Narendra Modi or anyone else,' says Faaiz Anwaar, producer.

But in these three years much has changed. Various reports into the riots and the ongoing court cases, have thrown up an untold body of facts that don't match with those picturised in the film. 'I am putting a band across the scene saying that the film was based on reports available when I was making the movie,' adds the producer.

But already movies and documentaries on Gujarat like Final Solution and Dev have been released, making Chand Bujh Gaya, somewhat of a late entry."

Patent theft and China: All relative?

IHT: "Each shift, 200 workers, most of them women in smocks and bibs, labor in a factory tucked away in hilly farmland outside this city assembling a single product: one-inch hard drives.

As China's emerging industrial centers go, Guiyang is an obscure outpost, bearing little resemblance to the booming factory towns of the east coast. And yet this hard-drive assembly may be at the front line of an intense global struggle to dominate high-tech manufacturing.

The tiny storage device this factory churns out is the heart of one of the world's hottest consumer electronics items, the miniature version of Apple Computer's iPod. Sales to Apple represent a huge triumph for GS Magic Stor, an offshoot of a struggling state-owned carmaker that is so obscure that even in China few are familiar with the name. The problem with this ringing success story, according to a better-established rival, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which has factories in China and also supplies miniaturized drives to Apple, is that the Chinese company stole crucial elements of the design.

GS Magic Stor denies this charge, which Hitachi has made in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California. In a recent online forum, the company's president ridiculed Hitachi's claim, likening it to someone's asking carmakers to pay design rights to the inventors of the horse and buggy. A Hitachi official, who refused to comment further, said GS Magic Stor could characterize the Hitachi patents however it wished, "but the plain and simple matter is they haven't expired." Hitachi's highly technical complaint specifies several areas where it says its designs were infringed by Magic Stor.

Apple, which was not named in Hitachi's suit, would not comment.

Even if Hitachi wins the suit, that would do nothing to stop Magic Stor from continuing to produce its miniature hard drives in China, although some analysts say Apple would be forced for image reasons, if nothing else, to drop Magic Stor as a supplier.

For Western companies competing with China as well as those doing business here, the issue goes well beyond the fate of one obscure company or of a single technology, however valuable. In one sector after another, companies warn that China's swift industrial rise is being greased by brazen and increasingly sophisticated theft of intellectual property.

The issue of intellectual property theft has been a fixture on the trade agenda between the United States and China for years, with visiting American officials routinely stopping at the Silk Market in Beijing to highlight the sale there, like all over China, of cheap knockoffs of toys, clothing, software and DVDs.

The Chinese government has recently razed the market, but the counterfeit activity has been moving relentlessly upscale, with companies like General Motors, Cisco, Sony and Pfizer complaining that their designs or formulas for everything from cars and PlayStations to routers and Viagra have been violated.

Like many people involved with this issue here, Zhang denied that China was a leading violator of intellectual property rights, which she acknowledged was still a relatively new concept in China. She also said the country's efforts at improving enforcement, though steady, would require more time to reach the standards of intellectual property rights in many advanced industrialized countries.

One of the most problematic areas, experts say, are joint ventures between foreign and Chinese companies, which are legion. When the joint venture dissolves, or sometimes even while it remains active, the Chinese party makes use of the technology or manufacturing processes illegally. A perennially told war story in business circles here involves the foreign factory owner who makes a wrong turn while driving to his plant only to discover an exact copy of his factory on the other side of the mountain."

EBay's Joy Ride: Going Once ...

The New York Times > Business > Your Money: "THE open revolt began almost instantly among eBay's sellers - a hodgepodge of hobbyists, slick entrepreneurs and quirky collectors who conduct daily virtual auctions of everything from samurai swords and refrigerator magnets to an unread copy of an 'Archie and Veronica' comic book (Volume 55). In January, eBay announced steep fee increases, which took effect two weeks ago, prompting sellers to post caustic comments on community bulletin boards both on and off the company's Web site. Petitions have been circulated, sellers have debated an eBay boycott and those unhappy with the company seem evenly split over whether 'FeeBay' or 'GreedBay' is the most apt epithet for it.

Five times in five years, the company has raised the price of doing business on its site, and each increase - whether a bump in the charge for listing an auction item or a jump in the commission the company collects on a completed sale - has provoked strident outbursts. The practiced nonchalance with which eBay executives greet even these harshest of pronouncements starts with the chief executive, Meg Whitman, possibly the most powerful woman in corporate America today. Speaking at the company headquarters here last week, she sounded almost nostalgic when talking about past protests, like the "Million Auction March," hatched in 2000 by those who were upset when eBay announced that it would be selling banner advertisements on its site.

SINCE the end of January, more than 24,000 people have added their names to an online petition protesting the new fees. A according to, a site run by a fed-up former eBay seller, more than 7,000 eBay stores have shut down in the five weeks since the company announced the fee increase. EBay said it had 161,000 stores on its North American site at the end of 2004.

Ms. Whitman likes to reminisce about the early days of eBay, when skeptics dismissed the company as a niche player that would have roughly the same impact on Internet commerce as a flea market on a town's economy. EBay went public in September 1998, during the madness of the dot-com bubble, but as Ms. Whitman recalls it, as many as half the prospective investors who attended the road show preceding its stock offering declined to buy shares. Back then, and Yahoo, not eBay, were the darlings of those interested in becoming rich from the consumer Internet.

Now eBay reigns as one of the kings of Internet commerce. has twice eBay's revenue, but it operates warehouses around the world and carries inventory, while eBay basically sells nothing other than a spot in its worldwide bazaar. As a result, eBay is nearly three times more profitable than Amazon, and its market capitalization, at $56 billion, is nearly four times as great. And though Google's market cap is almost as large, eBay posted twice the profits last year.

Yahoo is eBay's competitor for the crown. Yahoo booked slightly more revenue and profit than eBay did in 2004, but eBay's market cap is 25 percent larger than Yahoo's. EBay boasts that it is "the most valuable e-commerce franchise in the world," and it may be just that.

EBay has 66 million registered users in the United States and 135 million worldwide, and its revenue has grown 70 percent a year, annualized, since going public in 1998. And the company's share price has moved accordingly, increasing 21-fold since the initial public offering. The company went public at a split-adjusted $1.97 a share and now trades at $41.75.

First there is the monthly $15.95 that eBay charges to be a host of a store on its site - compared with $9.95 a month until the most recent fee increase. Ms. Ramsey paid an additional $10 a month to show pictures of her inventory, largely children's clothes costing 99 cents to $3.99 an item.

Listing each item for sale costs only 2 cents but that's only the start, she said. The eBay search engine typically points shoppers only to auction items, not to fixed-price items sold in its stores. So Ms. Ramsey put a dozen or more items on auction each month to drive traffic to her site, and the listing fees on those, she said, ranged from 55 cents to $1.25 an item. Often, she ended up selling those items for less than cost - an advertising expense, as she saw it.

She typically racked up several more charges on a sale, beyond the commission. Virtually all her customers used an eBay payment service called PayPal that serves as a middleman between seller and shopper and charges the seller a fee, as a credit card company would. For the typical seller, that runs 2.9 percent of the total charged, including shipping and handling. Ms. Ramsey also used eBay's shipping features, which meant paying an additional 20 cents for every label printed.

Where will they go? Some sellers will do what he did, Mr. Garriss said: realize that it is much more economical to operate your own online store and to buy keywords from search companies like Google and Yahoo to point potential buyers to your site. He maintains a presence on eBay, he said, but outside the confines of eBay, where hard-to-believe deals are the coin of the realm, he can charge more for the same shoes.

Others will do as R. J. Moore did. Mr. Moore, who started doing business on eBay in 1999, was selling $2 million to $3 million in jewelry a year. But increased competition, he said, cut into profits, and last June he left eBay altogether. He now sells his jewelry at a smaller eBay rival, Bid4Assets.

PayPal is the default method of payment on the American site, and it is slowly gaining momentum as eBay struggles, country by country, to translate the service into a foreign language while seeking approval from local regulators to operate within their borders. Already, it accounts for one-quarter of eBay's revenue, which the company expects to reach roughly $4.3 billion this year.

But the company's deepest hope for PayPal, which eBay bought for $1.5 billion in 2002, is that more and more Web sites not related to eBay will adopt it as a preferred payment method. According to data provided by eBay, only about 2 percent of the Web's small- and medium-size outposts - which the company defines as sites doing less than $5 million in e-commerce a year - offer buyers the PayPal option.

EBay now operates independent auction sites in 32 countries. The company's footprint is especially wide in Europe, where it has had phenomenal annual growth rates, reaching triple digits in some countries.

That overseas success has been largely factored into the company's stock price. The battle now is over Asia. On the upside, eBay is strong in South Korea and has first-mover advantage in China. On the downside, it has conceded e-commerce in Japan to Yahoo, which is trying to parlay its strength in Hong Kong and Taiwan to pursue the nascent Chinese e-commerce market.

Earlier this year, eBay announced that its international arm would spend an additional $100 million on the Chinese market, which Ms. Whitman has declared "critical" to eBay's continued success."

Bloggers or reporters: Lawsuit's can of worms

NY Times: "In the physical world, being labeled a journalist may confer little prestige and may even evoke some contempt. But being a journalist can also confer certain privileges, like the right to keep sources confidential. And for that reason many bloggers, a scrappy legion of online commentators and pundits, would like to be considered reporters, too.

A lawsuit filed in California by Apple Computer is drawing the courts into that question: Who should be considered a journalist?

The case, which involves company secrets that Apple says were disclosed on several Web sites, is being closely followed in the world of online commentators, but it could have broad implications for journalists working for traditional news organizations as well. If the court, in Santa Clara County, rules that bloggers are journalists, the privilege of keeping news sources confidential will be applied to a large new group of people.

Apple has long had a devoted following, and leaked information about new Apple products has appeared on Web sites for years. To combat this, the company filed the suit late last year against the sources of these leaks, people the company assumes are employees or contractors.

Apple has asked the court to compel the Web sites that displayed the product information to disclose their identities. Bloggers are fighting Apple's efforts, which it has focused on three Web sites -, and

Not all blogs are equally influential and not all blogs even try to report, Balkin added. "There are millions and millions of blogs, and most of them are for gossip," he said."

Germany's lead in technology spending falters

IHT: "This year, German companies are forecast to spend €67.8 billion on information technology and communications, 3.7 percent less than last year and 7.8 percent less than in 2003, according to the market researcher Gartner. While Gartner sees growth returning in 2006, it expects German technology spending to rise just 0.4 percent a year through 2008, barely half of the 0.7 percent increase for all of Europe.

According to International Data Corp., using a slightly different calculation of spending, Germany has already lost its position as Europe's technology spending leader. Excluding telecommunications and measuring just computer hardware and software spending, Britain last year for the first time surpassed Germany as Europe's leader, buying €58.3 billion in goods compared with Germany's €57.2 billion, IDC said.

The reluctance to spend is starkest among small and midsize businesses. About 2.5 million German companies with fewer than 500 employees this year will spend €33.9 billion on technology, according to IDC, more than anywhere else in Europe. But fewer than half that number of companies in Britain - 1.1 million - will spend almost the same amount, €32 billion.

Experts blame Germany's weak domestic economy. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the German economy will grow no more than 1.5 percent this year, after expanding 1.4 percent last year and an anemic 0.8 percent combined for the three years from 2001-2003. In February, the number of jobless hit 5.22 million, the most since 1945, and the adjusted jobless rate reached a seven-year high of 11.7 percent.

Based on a quarterly membership survey, demand for the products and services of Bitkom members from businesses, consumers and government agencies rose 2.6 percent in 2004 to €130.8 billion, exceeding the record €127.9 billion set in 2000. This year, Rohleder said demand is expected to rise 3.4 percent to €135.2 billion.

According to Rohleder, 75 percent of Bitkom's members expect to increase sales this year. They include Epson Deutschland, the German unit of the Nagano, Japan-based maker of color printers and digital video projectors. Henning Ohlsson, Epson Deutschland's country manager, said demand from Germany's largest companies was flat - and many were cutting spending. Last week, Kai-Uwe Ricke, the chief executive of Deutsche Telekom, hailed a "save for growth" program that has led Telekom to cut about 10,000 jobs a year since 1995.

It will be demand from small and midsize businesses, Ohlsson said, that will help Epson Deutschland increase sales this year by 3 percent to 4 percent. Epson made $2.84 billion in sales last year in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 22 percent of its global sales. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Eastern Europe and the Benelux accounted for about $625 million in sales, Ohlsson said. "We're seeing strong demand for color laser printers and digital video projectors," Ohlsson said.

In Bavaria, there are even signs that large companies may be beginning to spend again. Bardenheuer Software, a maker of communications software for Siemens, Motorola, T-Mobile and others, is expecting to increase its own sales by 20 percent this year to €6.4 million."

Rejected applicants deny hacking school sites

IHT: " Instructions on a Web site promised business school applicants an early online peek at whether they had been accepted. Intrigued, some gave it a try. One man accessed the Harvard Business School's admission site, though all he saw was a blank page. Still, that split-second decision cost the 28-year-old New Yorker a chance to attend the school this year. Many others also were turned down for using a method detailed in a BusinessWeek online forum to try to get an early glimpse at admissions decisions in top business schools.

In a blanket rejection issued Monday, Harvard dashed the hopes of 119 applicants. MIT followed suit Tuesday, rejecting 32 applicants. Carnegie Mellon was the first to act, delivering the bad news to its 'hacker' applicants last week. Some of the Harvard applicants took issue with the university Tuesday, saying the blanket rejection was an overreaction. They disputed that accessing a public Web page with their own identification numbers was either a 'hack' or 'unethical,' as the dean of Harvard Business School, Kim Clark, put it.

Admissions sites of at least six schools were accessed by applicants for about 10 hours March 2 after a hacker posted instructions on the online forum. Some applicants saw blank pages and others viewed rejection letters before access was denied. The dean of the Sloan School of Management at MIT, Richard Schmalensee, likened the hacking to an applicant using the keys to the admissions office to enter at night.

One applicant questioned how it was unethical to view information that was intended only for you, if you have no intent or ability to change it. He argued that Harvard and ApplyYourself, a Fairfax, Virginia-based online application and notification program company used by all the schools, are also responsible because they did not adequately protect the information.

"What better way to protect themselves then shift the blame to someone else?" he asked."

Singapore tops list for technology usage

IHT: "Singapore is the world's most efficient user of information technology, the World Economic Forum found in a study published Wednesday, just beating three of the Nordic countries to the top spot in a ranking of 104 nations. The United States, which had topped the poll since it began three years ago, fell to fifth place.

The Global Information Technology Report assigned countries scores by looking at how well positioned they were to take advantage of information technology to develop their economies. Singapore, a Southeast Asian island state with a population of four million, ranked first in a number of categories, including quality of math and science education, affordability of telephones, and the government's efforts to promote information technology.

Singapore came in second over all last year. Singapore, whose tightly controlled government offered tax concessions in the 1970s to attract investment in high-technology industries, is viewed as a model by many developing nations.

Iceland, Finland, and Denmark followed closely behind Singapore, underlining the Nordic countries' strong tradition of innovation in technology, the study said. The region, home to mobile telephone giants like Nokia and Ericsson, often beats larger European nations in terms of number of U.S. patents filed per million of population, which is a barometer of innovation, it added.

Germany, the largest European economy, placed 14th in the study, underlining a need for improvement ahead of the CeBIT technology trade fair, which began Wednesday in Hannover. Of the non-Nordic European countries, Germany was beaten by Britain and Switzerland. Estonia was the top Eastern European country, in 25th place.

Other Asian jurisdictions also did well: Hong Kong, a rival to Singapore in the financial, shipping, and technology sectors, moved up to seventh position from 18th last year. Japan was ranked eighth, and Taiwan, which is the base for some of the world's largest technology manufacturers, was 15th.

China, which is the world's fastest-growing economy, jumped 10 places to 41st, just behind India, at 39. Latin American and African countries filled most of the bottom positions, with Chad in last place.

The number of patents filed under an accord that lets companies apply simultaneously in as many as 126 countries reached a new record last year, with sharp increases from Japan, South Korea and China, a senior UN official said Wednesday, The Associated Press reported from Geneva.

Some 120,100 patents were filed last year under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, said Francis Gurry, deputy director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Patent filings through the organization, known as WIPO, have been rising steadily since the treaty system began in 1978, with a total of one million applications since then. In 2003, there were 115,142 filings. The United States consistently dominates the applications.

Last year, U.S. firms filed for 41,870 patents, up 1.9 percent from 2003. Japan held its second place with 19,982, a rise of 15 percent, followed by Germany, France and Britain. South Korean firms posted a 19.3 percent increase, filing a total of 3,521 patents.

The most impressive growth, however, came from China, where patent filings rose 37.8 percent to 1,782, Gurry said. Although this represents a tiny slice of total global applications - and of the 250,000 domestic patents filed in China last year - it is a clear sign that Chinese companies are going global, he said."