Aishwarya Rai to go Indian at Cannes red carpet

New Delhi, May 17 (PTI) She has often been criticised for favouring western couture over Indian ensembles during her much publicised stints on the French Riviera but Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will be seen in a traditional outfit for Raavan''s launch at Cannes. The Bollywood actress, who is one of the best known Indian faces across the globe, has shied away from wearing ethnic outfits ever since her debut at Cannes in 2003, when she was criticised for wearing a green sari.

"Aishwarya is in Cannes for L''Oreal every year as part of the International Dream Team of L''Oreal where on instruction she must wear international western designer wear," the actress'' spokesperson told PTI. But the superstar is all set to don an Indian outfit for the launch of Mani Ratnam''s film ''Raavan'' at Cannes. Aishwarya stars with husband Abhishek Bachchan in the film.

"This time since the ''Raavan'' red carpet is also an occasion, Aishwarya will be wearing an Indian outfit for that which she had already planned," added the spokesperson. The 36-year-old will wear a creation by designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

She had earlier chosen a sari by the same designer for her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. "I have given her many outfits for her stint at Cannes this year because she wanted to wear something Indian this time but I am not sure which dress will she be wearing," Sabyasachi told PTI. The actress, who has become a permanent fixture at the Cannes red carpet over the years, has wowed the snappers with her choice of gowns.

She wore a violet tulle and mousseline gown from Elie Saab for the festival opening and for her second outing on the red carpet with fellow L''Oreal spokesmodel Eva Longoria, Aishwarya opted for a black Armani Prive strapless number, which hugged her curves in all the right places. The third day saw her on the red carpet in a pink Gucci gown accompanied by her mother who chose to wear a cream and gold sari.

So far Deepika Padukone is the only Indian celebrity to take the six yard route to style at this year''s festival. She stepped out on the red carpet for the premiere of the film ''The Tournee'' in a cream and gold Rohit Bal creation which she teamed with Kundan jewelery and a stone studded clutch.

Meanwhile Mallika Sherawat has kept a relatively low profile this year with demure fashion choices. She had grabbed headlines with her first appearance at Cannes, when she opted for a plunging golden blouse paired with a slashed skirt as she posed with Jackie Chan for the photocall of their film ''The Myth''.

Her fashion choices again caused a stir when she turned up at the premiere of ''Inglorious Basterds'' in Los Angeles wearing a sheer black gown with her underwear visible.

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Arjun Munda all set to be new Jharkhand Chief Minister

Ranchi, May 16 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arjun Munda is all set to be the new Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

Munda's name has been cleared by the BJP central leadership to lead the coalition Government in the State along with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the All Jharkhand Student's Union (AJSU).

The BJP has put off the official announcement because of the death of former Vice Presdient Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

Munda has been asked by the central leadership to ensure support of all JMM lagislators, especially the disgruntled ones for a smooth floor test.

Both the BJP and the JMM have agreed to share Chief Ministership for 28 months each on rotation basis.

The JMM has also accepted the BJP demand to have the first shot at power under the power sharing deal.

Interacting with media here, Munda said: "The coalition between the BJP, the JMM and the AJSU would ensure good governance and find different ways in which a strong government in Jharkhand would work. All formalities regarding this would be completed very soon."

"Our focus would be to fulfil people's wishes and work for their welfare with a common vision, common policy and common programme. All the coalition partners would stay united in purpose," he added.

For Munda it would be the third time to lead the state. He is currently representing Jamshedpur Constituency in the Lok Sabha.

Though Chief Minister Shibu Soren has offered to resign as soon as the BJP finalises its candidate, nothing could be predicted about his intentions.

Even the Congress leadership in Delhi was surprised as to why Soren dumped the BJP to favour Congress on cut motion which led to the turmoil.

The tribal dominated state has seen seven Chief Ministers in nine years with the eighth to take over in a few days time and no one knows when the ninth one will take over. (ANI)


Twitter poses security threat to Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar may have endeared himself to his countless fans by joining the social networking site Twitter. But in doing so, the cricketer may have exposed himself to a security risk.

Tendulkar has been using the Uber Twitter application to post his tweets via his Blackberry phone. It may not be known to the cricketer yet, but Uber Twitter has started displaying his exact coordinates --- down to the sixth decimal --- on his Twitter profile.

At 11.30 pm on Thursday, Tendulkar's location was being broadcast to his 169,000 followers as "19.048336, 72.827674" on his Twitter page,

This is to be read as latitude 19.048336 and longitude 72.827674. With a GPS device or even a web-based tool like Google Maps, these coordinates can reveal that Tendulkar, or at least his Blackberry, was at a location near KC Road in Bandra, Mumbai.

Around 2.30 am on Friday, his Twitter location changed, indicating he was heading towards the Bandra-Worli sea link.

In August, Tendulkar along with other Indian cricketers had junked a controversial anti-doping rule from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which required them to disclose their whereabouts for out-of-competition testing.

They said the code was a breach of their privacy and also posed a security threat.

BCCI's Ratnakar Shetty had said last year: "(India's cricketers) are under security cover so I don't think they can disclose their whereabouts on a daily basis."

Leading sports-persons in the world like Usain Bolt and Rafael Nadal had grudgingly accepted the WADA code, as did the other cricketing nations. But India's cricketers remained the only ones opposed to it.

In the past, there have been threats to the lives of leading Indian cricketers, Tendulkar being the most prominent of them.

India captain MS Dhoni, too, had faced security troubles last year when he received an extortion call in December.

Two years back, Sourav Ganguly said he'd received threat mails saying his daughter would be kidnapped.

Tendulkar can fix this predicament by simply using a Twitter application which doesn't disclose his location.

But should he choose to go off Twitter, it would truly sadden his fans.

Tendulkar joined Twitter on May 4 and within just three days has 184,656 followers and increasing.

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Bajaj car to be world's cheapest

Bajaj's ultra-low cost car being manufactured jointly with Renault and Nissan promises to give hot chase to the Tata Nano. On Monday, Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto confirmed the $2,500 (Rs 1.1 lakh) price tag for the car, announced first by Renault chairman & CEO Carlos Ghosn at the company's shareholders' meet late last week. The Renault announcement comes a few days after it pulled out of its loss-making Logan venture with Mahindra & Mahindra.

The Bajaj car will be cheaper than the Nano, which comes at Rs 1.23 lakh-1.72 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi ). After the launch of Tata Nano, the race for the No.2 position in the ultra-low cost car segment is under way in India , which as emerged as the Mecca of this segment. However, other automakers' plans to enter this segment are still on the drawing board.

At Renault meeting, Ghosn said: "In India , Renault and Nissan are developing an ultra-low-cost vehicle with the Bajaj group, benefiting from its expertise in light vehicles and knowledge of the Indian market." He reiterated the affordability of the vehicle for the Indian market by citing the targeted low price tag.

"We are combining our strengths with Nissan, notably in India , Russia , Brazil and Mexico ," Ghosn said. "The alliance product strategy has been finalised in India and Russia , and Renault and Nissan will pool their production capacities and platforms there to fully deliver on these developments," he added.

The car was initially scheduled to hit the market this year, but has been postponed to 2012. Bajaj Auto displayed the prototype of the small car at the 2008 Auto Expo. However, the three partners were stuck at various levels of branding and engineering the car till last year. According to industry observers, the project also got delayed as partners were stuck on pricing issues as well. While Renault wanted a low-cost car, Bajaj was keen on a car that would sport high mileage and low maintenance.

It was during his India visit that Ghosn finally announced the finalisation of the project. "As per the agreement, the design, engineering, sourcing and manufacturing will be handled by Bajaj Auto, while marketing and selling will be (done) by Renault-Nissan Alliance," he said. But he had declined to comment on the pricing of the car.

Officials from the alliance have said the car will be smaller than Maruti Suzuki's Alto, which is the biggest selling model in India .

In March, Collin Dodge, executive vice-president, Nissan Motor had said: "It is over two years that Bajaj is trying to produce the car. The physics of it is very difficult. We have not yet found a solution as there are a lot of engineering solutions required." Nissan is also in talks with Hinduja group company Ashok Leyland to develop a small car for the global market that could be priced around $4,500-5,000.

"We have a formal agreement with Ashok Leyland for making light commercial vehicles in India . In addition, we also use Ashok Leyland's engineering services for various purposes. At the moment, we are talking to them and many other partners in China , Indonesia ...for a price centric vehicle," Nissan Motor Co executive vice-president Collin Dodge had said at the Geneva Motor Show in March.


Kasab verdict a message to Pak: Chidambaram

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said that the conviction of Ajmal Kasab and acquittal of two local accomplices in Mumbai attack case shows India is governed by rule of law but sends a message to Pakistan that it should not export terror.

"The court has convicted certain accused. It also acquitted two accused. That shows the independence, fearlessness and integrity of the court," he told reporters reacting to the judgement of a Mumbai special court.

He said that it was an open trial in accordance with law and full opportunities were given to the accused to defend themselves.

"I am satisfied that within a year we have been able to bring a verdict of conviction of a large number of accused in perhaps a very complex trial.

"The trial undermines the fact that India is a country governed by rule of law. A criminal trial can only proceed step by step and within a year, the prosecution has been able to get conviction," he said.

Asked what was the message for Pakistan, the Home Minister said the judgement "is a message to Pakistan that they should not export terror to India. If they do and if the terrorists are apprehended, we will be able to bring them to justice and give them exemplary punishment".

Happy over the trial ending in conviction, Chidambaram complimented the investigating agencies and prosecution for marshalling evidence that proved beyond doubt the horrific crimes Kasab and his associates were charged with.

Despite demands swayed by anger and emotions, he said, government decided that Kasab and associates should be tried in accordance with law, given all the rights available to any accused.

Asked if Kasab's case would meet the same fate as Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, whose mercy petition against death sentence is pending, Chidambaram expressed surprise why the media was obsessed with the issue like the Opposition.

"The Opposition may be obsessed with Afzal Guru. I have explained so many times and I am surprised that you in the media repeating the question.

"We will take up each case according to the order in which the case is pending before the Ministry of Home Affairs and before the President of India. So, the cases will be taken up one by one," he said.

The Home Minister said his Ministry already has sent four cases after reconsideration.

"Please remember that all these cases have been sent to President once. After reconsideration, we have sent four cases to President. We will continue to send one case to the President. No one can speak what the President will do. I think we should respect the office of the President.


Azim Premji is India's Bill Gates: Forbes

Washington, May 1 (IANS) India's software tycoon Azim Premji plans to set up a world-class university to train teachers who will fan out to the teacher training institutes in India's 600 districts.

'It will be a world-class university with a large endowment,' 64-year-old Premji told Forbes magazine noting, 'Most of these institutes are a complete mess with the teachers leading the classes worse than the teachers that come to get trained.'

The proposed university to upgrade teaching methods will be the latest venture of Azim Premji Foundation that focuses on education, improving standards in India by training teachers and, among other things, funding model schools.

Started nine years ago and funded solely by Premji, the foundation was given stock valued at 'much more than' Rs 450 crore or roughly $101 million estimated by a newspaper.

Much like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Premji also plans to give away most of his money during his lifetime, the US business magazine revealed.

'Even if I was to give my children a small part of my wealth, it would be more than they can digest in many lifetimes,' he said by way of explaining.

For Premji, Forbes said philanthropy boils down to a simple philosophy: 'To those to whom much is given, much has to be given back.'

If the Indian software billionaire, who ranks No. 28 among the richest people in the world with $17 billion to his name, winds up giving away most of his money to charity, he would be a rare breed among Asian entrepreneurs who have tended to pass their wealth onto their children rather than putting it to philanthropic use, it said.

The efforts of Premji's foundation are separate from the philanthropic initiatives Wipro pursues, Forbes noted.

Some of these initiatives, such as Mission 10X, which is focused on making India's engineering students more employable in the information technology industry, clearly dovetail with Wipro's business interests.

Others, such as Wipro Cares, match contributions from employees and provide disaster relief, lending a hand after the earthquake in Gujarat or the floods in Orissa, for instance.

Both the foundation's and Wipro's philanthropic efforts, according to the US business magazine, share a common philosophy: They seek to offer the recipients of aid an ownership stake by often requiring them to pick up some of the tab.