Wednesday, 10 August 2011

What's behind Nayan's change of faith?

Bangalore, Aug 9 (IANS) Top southern actress Nayanthara has converted from Christianity to Hinduism, say sources close to the Arya Samaj, even as she herself maintains a studied silence on the issue.
Nayanthara, born and brought up as Diana Mariam Kurian, was a born Christian. She changed her name because of her foray into films.
She reportedly converted to Hinduism Sunday morning at the Arya Samaj Temple in Chennai, the sources said, adding she has retained her name Nayanthara.
Some see it as a step towards her impending marriage to actor-director Prabhu Deva who divorced his earlier wife, a Muslim and did not change her religion at the time of marriage.
Nayanthara is tightlipped. Asked about her marriage, she says: 'No comments.'
On Sunday morning, the actress reportedly headed straight to the Arya Samaj Temple on Waltax Road.
She went through all the religious processes as per the scriptures. All the procedures of 'Shuddhi Karma', a procedure involving Vedic purification, were meticulously followed, say the sources close to Arya Samaj.




They also added that a 'homan' or fire ritual was held where Nayantara chanted hymns and the Sankeerthan Mantra.
Incidentally, the members of Prabhu Deva's family are devotees of the Suttur Mutt in Mysore. His parents are devotees of Male Mahadeshwara Swamy.
The sources said Nayanthara left soon after the purification ceremony. A certificate of conversion to Hinduism was issued to her. The actress flew back to Kochi by an evening flight.
It is reported that her parents have expressed their opposition to Nayanthara's desire to convert to Hinduism.
Nayanthara's last film 'Ramayana', directed by veteran director Bapu, was completed only a few days ago.
Nayanthara who plays Sita's role in the film became emotional on the last day of her shoot and even lay prostrate before all the elders in the unit, including the octogenarian director Bapu.
Nayanthara says her decision to convert to Hinduism is purely personal.
'Yes, I have become a Hindu and it's my own personal decision. I went through the entire ceremony with passion and conviction,' she is believed to have told a friend.
She sports a tattoo of Prabhu Deva on her body. The couple were also seen in some film related functions together.

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald



Female Celebrities Who Went Bald




Shilpa Shetty got the rare opportunity to go baldand beautiful for her upcoming film, 'The Desire' but chose to let prosthetics do the job instead.
While Shilpa might not have the guts or inclination to shave off her lustrous locks, there are many other celebrities– Indian and international, who have gone ahead with it and sported the bald look.

Shabana Azmi

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald
Shabana Azmi shaved off her locks for Deepa Mehta's film 'Water', which unfortunately got shelved due to protests from certain groups. The film was made but without the original cast. Though she could not be a part of the movie, her going bald was surely not in vain as we think (and so does her husband) that Shabana Azmi looked amazingly sexy sporting the bald look.

Nandita Das

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald
Like Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das too had shaved her head for Deepa Mehta's ambitous project on the plight of widows in the country. Later, when the film was revived by Mehta, Das had reportedly offered to work for free in the the film. Though the project could never materialize for her, effort was well appreciated by all.

Britney Spears

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald
After a failed marriage and slew of controversies surrounded her, Britney shocked the world when she tonsured her head. It was a moment of liberation for Britney who was on an emotional downward spiral and after getting a tattoo and going bald, Britney only looked ahead to a better life than the one she had been living at the moment.

Diandra Soares

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald
Diandra Soares, was the first bald model to walk the ramp in India. She first took the plunge 10 years ago in the midst of a Lakme Fashion Week and the second time was on January 2010. She has been described as the most beautiful bald runway model ever and we do not disagree even a single bit.

Antara Mali

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald
Antara Mali is another actress who went the bald way for a movie. Usually known for her glamorous roles in B-town, she played the role of a monk in the film 'And Once Again', directed by Amol Palekar. The look suited her perfectly well and went very well with the sombre role that she portrayed.

Natalie Portman

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald
Portman is probably the prettiest bald actress that we've ever seen. She too, went bald for a movie role. Playing the role of Evey in 'V for Vendetta', Portman did full justice to her role by actually shaving off her hair and not relying on prosthetics and make-up.

Lisa ray

Female Celebrities Who Went Bald
The controversy-ridden Deepa Mehta film, 'Water' finally fell in the lap of Canadian actress Lisa Ray for which, obviously, she got tonsured. However, a few years later, she parted ways with her locks for an entirely different reason. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and the treatment caused her to go the bald way again. Her fight with the disease has been a source of inspiration for millions and we don't think she has ever looked more beautiful. 

Is it too late to invest in gold?



By Lauren Young
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Is it too late to buy gold? It soared to a record $1,700 an ounce Monday after the United States suffered its first-ever debt downgrade at the hands of Standard & Poor's.
With gold rising 30 percent this year and nearly 400 percent over the past decade, it's reasonable to ask when the fever might break.
In recent days it's gone completely viral as the debt crisis plunged financial markets to the biggest losses in two years.
"People who weren't talking about it even six months ago are heavily interested in gold today," says Frank Trotter, president of EverBank Direct in Jacksonville, Florida, which holds nearly $500 million worth of precious metals in the form of hard assets for clients.
Gold purchases leaped to more than 18 million ounces over the past month -- from 8.4 million for the entire year up to July, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
People are betting gold will come through the present debt crisis shining. In the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, gold dropped by 20 percent -- but the metal was hurt as the U.S. dollar became the safe haven of choice. In the debt showdown this year, the dollar has suffered and gold leaped.
THE BULLISH CASE




Financial adviser Jeffrey Sica of Sica Wealth Management in Morristown, New Jersey, says it's not too late to profit from gold fever -- he sees 20 to 25 percent upside in the glittery stuff.
"What we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the downgrade," says Sica, a self-described stock market bear who forecast Standard & Poor's downgrade in a blog post to clients back in March. He said gold's value has grown due to central banks' inability to contain the debt crisis.

"The fundamentals to invest in gold have not changed," argues William Rhind, managing director of ETF Securities, which manages $4.2 billion in exchange-traded fund assets. "The only thing that has changed is that investment case is stronger - the world's best credit, the U.S. government - has been downgraded. It's no longer as safe as it was."
Nor is gold overvalued at these levels, Rhind said, since it hit $873 in 1980. Adjusted for inflation, the equivalent would be just over $2,391 today. That's about the level JP Morgan Chase told clients the spot gold prices could hit this year. It said in a note $2,500 per ounce is possible.
OTHERS ARE SKEPTICAL
Among doubters, though, are people like Pat Dorsey, Morningstar's former director of equity research and now vice chairman of Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, which has $500 million under management.
"I've never been a fan of gold. I am in the camp of that thinks it generates no income and has no utility (like copper), so the valuation is based on the opinions of other people," Dorsey says.
Others cite its volatility as a negative factor, since the gold price is affected by fast-money traders lured by the leverage of commodities contracts. The price can tumble just as quickly as it rises.
Still, even some conservative managers recommend a small allocation in gold as part of a balanced portfolio. EverBank's Trotter puts his own account at 5 percent to 10 percent.
HOW TO INVEST
Here are three ways to invest in gold:
1. Buy Funds.
If you are looking for a way to invest in gold, one of the easiest ways to do it is to buy an exchange-traded fund, such as SPDR Gold Trust ETF, iShares Gold Trust or Market Vectors ETF Trust, which tracks gold miners. And there are ETFs that are tangentially linked to gold, such as ETFS Physical Platinum Shares along with ETF baskets of precious metals, such as Etfs Physical Precious Metals Basket Shares - which holds gold, silver, platinum and palladium (GLTR).
The advantage that ETFs have over mutual funds is that they are easier to trade and ETF costs are usually lower. But the downside of investing in a gold-related ETF is that the gains are not always direct and can sometimes lag the rise in gold prices. The risk is that prices can rise and fall quickly.
Conventional mutual funds may be more appealing to buy-and-hold investors. The $100 million Midas Fund, which is highly concentrated in mining stocks, saw significant inflows last week, although manager Tom Winmill wasn't specific. "Gold is not a way to maintain capital appreciation, but it's a good way to preserve wealth," he says.
2. Buy Stocks
Another way to play gold is to go straight to the source - gold mines. While prices for physical gold are soaring, gold mining stocks have slumped. Winmill of the Midas Fund likes Freeport Mcmoran Copper and Gold, which is one of the world's largest mining companies. Year-to-date, the stock is up only about 5 percent, "even though revenues and earnings are exploding on the upside," Winmill says.
"A lot of people are thinking the world is going in reverse, but global Gross Domestic Product growth - if you include emerging markets - is 7 percent. And a lot of that emerging markets growth has to do with infrastructure build out which demands copper," he argues.
Winmill also likes Goldcorp and Newmont Mining Corp, which are some of the largest holdings in the Midas Fund. He sees a "Slinky Effect" for mining stocks in the coming months - "They'll bounce back and make up for lost ground as well," he says.
3. Buy Hard Assets
The upside of buying actual gold bars and ingots is that when the price of gold rises, the value of a gold block tracks the gains on an almost one-for-one basis, unlike other assets which only track the value.
"People want to put their money into hard assets, which retain a value when currencies lose value," says Tod Mcelhaney, president of LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago.
But while physical gold has the most direct value, the downside is that it is also more difficult to offload should investors want to let go of the asset.
One way to buy physical gold is Everbank's Pooled Gold and Silver Accounts, which lets you to pool your investment with other investors. The advantage is that you don't have to cough up huge sums - the minimum investment is $5,000 - nor do you have to pay storage, delivery or annual fees to stash your gold. The ideal investor? "Someone who doesn't have an apocalyptic view that they need to have it in back yard," Trotter says.
(Reporting by Beth Pinsker and Ashley Lau in New York and Amanda Cooper in London. Editing by Richard Satran)

Will India survive the US crisis?



The global crisis induced by downgrading of U.S's sovereign rating and Europe debt crisis has once again flared up the discussions of Indian economy's extent and impact of coupling with the global economy. The BSE Sensex' slide on account of adverse developments in the global economy has been a reality check for Indian stock markets. The central bank (RBI) has adopted a cautionary tone. It has suggested that India is not insulated from what is happening around.
Let us take a look at how the Indian economy gets affected by the US crisis. The U.S debt downgrade and the resultant slowdown in global economies have spelt trouble for export oriented domestic companies. More so for the IT sector where 80% of the revenues are dollar denominated. The domestic demand is not promising either, thanks to the continuous rate hikes taken by central bank. The same has rendered domestic borrowings unviable due to which the corporates resorted to cheaper foreign funds. The recent turn of events will take away that advantage as well.
So what will be the fate of Indian economy from here? The fact that Indian economy grew by 6.8% even in the last financial meltdown is testimony to high resilience of Indian economy. Further, those who can read between the lines will be able to see a silver lining in the clouds. The slowdown in the global growth will bring commodity prices to more affordable levels. This will be a breather for central bank that has gone for frequent rate hikes in the past on concerns of high inflation. A break from the tightening cycle will also support growth. However, we need to be especially watchful of global developments and the macroeconomic stability. While some hit is obvious, the recent events may turn out to be an opportunity in the making. What with the Indian economy becoming more attractive with a turn in the macro cycle, affordable prices, attractive valuations and expected policy reforms?
By Equitymaster – India's leading 'independent' equity research initiative. Trusted by over a million members all over the world, Equitymaster is known for its well-researched, unbiased and honest opinions on the Indian stock markets.

Ambanis, Mittals not so rich anymore



The global markets have been spiraling, thanks to the US debt crisis. Not only are we the commoners losing thousands of our hard-earned money, the country's richest aren't any much better off either.
According to this infographic made by our expert, Deepak Shenoy, the Ambani brothers have been the biggest losers with Anil Ambani's kitty getting lighter by a whooping Rs 7.6K crore closely followed by Mukesh Ambani who suffered a Rs 7.3K crore loss. IT big-wig Azim Premji,  chairman of Wipro Ltd, lost almost Rs 6.6 K crore.
The BSE Sensex ended 1.7 per cent lower in trade today, led by losses in software exporter Infosys, after Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. sovereign debt rating triggered a flight from risky assets.
ADAG's Anil Ambani was the highest loser in today's market slide with a loss of Rs 7,630 crore.
India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani with a $27 billion networth, and with a promoter stake of 146.39 crore shares of Reliance Industries, lost a total of Rs 7,349 crore during the market mayhem.
Telecom baron Sunil Mital who owns 36% in Bharti Airtel (the promoter shareholding includes Singtel) lost about Rs 4,531 crore.
The IT sector witnessed the maximum downslide with the sector ending 4.3 per cent. IT bellwether Infosys Technology ended 4.73 per cent lower making its founders poorer by Rs 3,173 crore.
Meanwhile, Wipro's promoter Azim Premji who holds 194.6 cr. shares of Wipro saw his market value fall by Rs 6,626 crore. The shares tanked 2.54 per cent on the BSE.
Others in the list include, HCL promoter Shiv Nadar, who with a total of 44 crore shares in the company lost Rs 2,962 crore, DLF promoter KP Singh, whose market value fell by Rs 4,645 core, and the Jindals who saw their shares tank by Rs 2,608 crore.
Here's a look at how much their market value has changed during the week:
Globally, even the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, lost $8 billion this week (Aug 1-8), while steel magnate and Britain's richest Indian Lakshmi Mittal lost £ 2.16 billion.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, however, have been luckier with their portfolios, Gates's Microsoft Corp. dropped 5.3% this week before Friday, while Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. slid 4.3%.

Why India will never default



On Tuesday 9 August 2011, 8:30 AM
Indian banking system is regulated by stringent norms. The overall credit environment is not akin to the predatory lending practices as witnessed in the west. Strict lending guidelines, higher provisioning norms and stringent reserve requirements ensure that the banks are well equipped to absorb unanticipated credit risk losses. And the credit goes to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which regulates the Indian banking industry.
However, off late some sort of skepticism has crept into the Indian banking industry. With the total loan size trebling since 2005, potential bad debt niggles have started erupting. Higher interest rate environment has further put a strain on borrowers thereby impacting their repayment capacity.
So, has junk credit crept into the system or is higher interest rate environment impacting the capacity of borrowers to repay? We think it's latter.
Strict lending norms have ensured that gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the Indian banking system are well below 3%. Thus, the possibility of junk debt creeping into the system is virtually zero. Although the proportion of unsecured loans increased during the credit boom (2005-2008) the overall ratio of such loans is low.
So, how do banks manage to keep the bad debt problem under control despite increasing their loan books year after year?
While part of the credit goes to stringent lending requirements we have to say that policy guidelines by RBI also have a role to play here.
For instance, banks are allowed to restructure the loans given to risky sectors (real estate & construction) rather than classifying them as NPAs. Restructuring allows reclassification of an NPA into a sub-standard/standard asset. This effectively camouflages the true NPA scenario prevailing in the banking industry. Further, it may be noted that the banks are also allowed to avoid booking losses on loans given to a few state owned air-line companies (e.g Air India).
It would be too premature to say that these provisions could ultimately lead to a systematic bad debt problem across the banking industry. However, it does conceal the true picture of the bad debt risk prevailing in the banking system.
Nonetheless, it may be noted that India is not grossly indebted like western economies. Lending is mostly carried out by banks. Prevalence of shadow banking is negligible. Lending exposure to risky sectors like infrastructure and real estate is highly regulated and not permitted above a stipulated limit either.
Thus, India may not have a structural bad debt problem as witnessed by the western world but it is also true that the current picture is not an accurate reflection of the true problem faced by the country.
By Equitymaster – India's leading 'independent' equity research initiative. Trusted by over a million members all over the world, Equitymaster is known for its well-researched, unbiased and honest opinions on the Indian stock markets.

Indian students' NASA dream comes true



BANGALORE: The ultimate dream for any school student would be to make it to Nasa ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in the US. And win a competition there. Students of Bishop Cotton Boys School did precisely that - win the international prize for designing a settlement on Mars. They were joint winners in the Asian final with a Pakistan school.
Bishop Cotton, along with three other schools - from USA,Romania and UK - all of whom were part of `one company' that designed the settlement of Mars, was declared international winners of the space settlement design competition for 2011 organized by Nasa on July 30, 31 and August 1 at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, USA.

Toyota dethroned as top-selling carmaker


The American automobile major General Motors Co has reportedly outsold The Japanese automobile giant Toyota Motor Corp globally in the first six months to become the world’s largest auto maker after the record March earthquake disrupted production in Japan.
According to reports, GM sales rose 8.9 per cent to 4.5 million units in the half-year ended June 30. It was mentioned that it compares with 4.1 million units at second ranked Volkswagen AGand 3.7 million units for Toyota, including its luxury Lexus marquee and affiliates DaihatsuMotor Co and Hino Motors Ltd. Output at the Toyota City, Japan-based auto maker slumped 23 per cent to 3.4 million units in the half-year after the company halted production following the earthquake and tsunami in March. Toyota expects to enter a production recovery phase in September, one month earlier than previously announced, it said on August 2.
The reports mentioned that GM’s US sales climbed to 669,065 vehicles in the second quarter, according to industry data and the Chevrolet Cruze was the top-selling car in the market in June and the Chevy Silverado full-size pickup remained the second- most popular vehicle, behind only Ford Motor Co.’s F-Series line, it was mentioned.

Petrol prices may be cut by Rs 1.5/litre



NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India, the world's fourth largest oil consumer, may cut petrol prices if global crude oil eases further, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said on Monday.
"If prices globally come down sharply, and in a stable way, naturally the price of petrol will be adjusted downwards," Reddy told reporters. "The softening trend must be stable."
India last year gave oil companies the freedom to fix petrol prices. In June, when the country changed taxes, bringing local petrol prices on par with market rates, Brent crude was trading at about $106 a barrel, almost the same level as Monday's prices.
Reddy said Monday's decline in global oil prices was still not enough for India to implement a cut in domestic pump prices.
Oil dropped more than 3 percent, as worries about an economic slowdown spread after Standard & Poor's cut the United States' top-tier credit rating late on Friday.
"Our (assumption) was that oil prices for the year would be $100 per barrel. That level has not been reached," Reddy said.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)

Pick your favourite sedan of the year


In 2010, we saw a flurry of hatchbacks rush into the Indian market and this year, it’s all about sedans. From Toyota Etios to Nissan Sunny that was previewed recently, five sedans in the C Segment are competing neck-to-neck.

When Toyota Etios is completely made for India and priced aggressively starting from Rs 4.96 lakh, you can’t expect the real character of a Toyota car from it. Hyundai Verna, on the other hand, has been there for a while now as one of the most admired cars in the segment. Now, it’s gone under the knife and come out with a dynamic and futuristic design. With prices starting from Rs 6.99 lakh, Verna is a champion in terms of killer looks and the Hyundai reliability.

Ford, too, is on a complete makeover mode to come out with a desi image in India. The immense success of the Figo hatchback last year was a boon for the company, yet the poor resale value and high maintenance of the sedans forced Ford to phase out the Ikon and introduce the global Fiesta in India. With prices starting from Rs 8.23 lakhs, the Fiesta sports a kinetic design and intuitive, aesthetic interiors.

Just like the Micra plunged into the overcrowded B segment last year, a swarming C segment welcomes the Nissan Sunny, too. In the first look, the Sunny resembles a downsized Teana and that’s great. Although Nissan claims the Sunny is not a Micra sedan, there are many cues on the dashboard to object that claim. The company is confident on the back of Micra’s success, however, they need to price it strategically to win the competition.

Renault is making a new beginning in India as well. The Logan failed to lure customers and got the complete ‘taxi image’ instantly. Logan has given the company a good learning about the Indian market and customers and the resultant product is the Fluence. Priced at Rs12.99 lakh, the Fluence offers a combination of style, practicality and engineering. However, will it be able to compete with the likes of Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic and Toyota Altis? Let’s wait and watch. Meanwhile, pick your favourite sedan and share it with your friends on Facebook!

Blackberry is the weapon for UK rioters



Toronto, Aug 10 (IANS) With rioters in Britain using BlackBerry to direct fellow looters to spread mayhem in cities across the country, Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has promised to cooperate with British authorities.
The riots erupted last week after police shot dead 29-year-old Mark Duggan who in last message to his girlfriend from his BlackBerry said: 'The Feds are following me.''
Since then, rioters have made extensive use of BlackBerry to send encrypted messages to mobs to riot, the Globe and Mail said in a report from London.
'If you're down for making money, we're about to go hard in east London,' read BlackBerry message from one looter, the report said.
Other rioters used the encrypted smart phone to direct looters to stores selling expensive stereo equipment, designer clothes, alcohol and bicycle, the report added.
It said masked or hooded youths could be seen typing messages on their cell phones as rioting engulfed shops, vehicles and buildings in British cities.
BlackBerry's messaging system (BBM), which comes free, is used by over 45 million people worldwide to instantly convey text messages and pictures. Since BBM messages are encrypted, police cannot trace them. .
Blackberry has rejected demand from British lawmaker David Lammy, who represents the riot-hit Tottenham area, for suspending its messaging service, saying that shutting down BBM will hit more than 45 million people who use it globally.
But the BlackBerry company, based at Waterloo near Toronto, has said that it is complying with British legislation on interception of messages and co-operating with Scotland Yard. Hackers reportedly compromised BlackBerry's blog site in retaliation for its promise to co-operate with British police, the report said.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

Why Shahid and Sonam wrote love letters



Hindi film directors are known for quirky stunts to get their cast in sync with the story of the film and get under the skin of their characters. And while traditional workshops and exercises before the shoot begins are swiftly becoming passé, ‘Mausam’ director, Pankaj Kapoor made his lead pair, Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, go through a unique exercise to better understand their character in the film.  

Pankaj Kapoor wanted Shahid and Sonam to stop using the phone, SMS or any similar short format for communication. Instead, he wanted them to write handwritten letters to communicate for two months before they started shooting with each other. Initially they hated it since it seemed tedious and time consuming. Today’s generation is mostly comfortable with SMS as a mode of communication, but that restricts one to just 140 characters but actually writing a note didn’t have any restriction but was cumbersome.

But both didn’t know how to write and protested against this exercise. But Pankaj Kapoor was adamant and actually said that he will not start shooting until this exercise was completed.


Shahid and Sonam write letters to each other


While the initial notes written by Shahid and Sonam to each other were pathetically brief and had director Pankaj Kapoor fuming and baffled, eventually the two began really putting their thoughts down on paper. Infact Shahid and Sonam got so used to this exercise that they continue to write letters to each other even today, after the film has been completed.  

Talking about his theatrical style of filmmaking, Pankaj Kapoor says, “I belong to different school of acting. Everything that my actors do, has to be contextual. I made Shahid and Sonam go through this extensive exercise so that they could start feeling like the characters they play. It took some time, as first we need to break inhibitions, then develop new habits and then fall in love.”

What is a parenting five-a-day?



The think tank 'CentreForum" have created a list of five daily
essentials for child development. The initiative would aim to
overhaul society's attitudes towards parenting in a similar way to
the change in how drink-driving has been seen over the past 50
years. 

Under the proposal, each day parents should be encouraged to do the
following five tasks:

1. Read to their youngsters for 15 minutes 
2. Talk to them for 20 minutes while the television is turned off.

3. Adopt positive attitudes to your children and praise them
frequently. 
4. Play with them on the floor for ten minutes 
5. Provide a nutritious diet to aid their development. 

Companies that make toys, children's books and baby food would be
encouraged to brand their products with an official logo under the
proposed scheme, which is modelled on the successful "five-a-day"
fruit and vegetables dietary campaign. 

Further recommendations of the scheme are that an additional child
benefit supplement is given to the poorest 20 per cent of the
population, as long as they attend parenting classes. This is to
encourage take-up of the parenting classes offered as part of the
scheme.

Research has found that the quality of parenting and educational
influences in the early months and years of a child's life have an
overwhelming influence on their later progress at school and
careers. Typically, children from the poorest families are exposed
to far fewer words, less likely to
read books with their parents and eat poorer diets than their
peers in wealthier homes. The result can be that children from
deprived homes fail to master essential literacy skills and become
mentally and physically unhealthy. 

The children's minister, Sarah Teather, warmly welcomed the
proposals, whilst critics have branded the recommendations from the
CentreForum 'ridiculous' and another example of 'nanny state
meddling'. Tory MP Philip Davies said: 'It's ridiculous. Anyone
would think we have money to burn in this country. It's another
well-meaning, but ill-thought-out, hare-brained scheme.' 

So what do you think about the proposed scheme? And is your child
getting their five-a-day from you? Let us know what you think in
our chat forum

Markets: Sensex extremely volatile



On Tuesday 9 August 2011, 10:07 AM
Bangalore: Panic selling is back in the markets. Globally, US stocks plunged more than 6 percent, its worst ever fall since 2008. Strong words by US President Obama didn't help either. Investors exited stocks and preferred the yellow metal. Gold hit another all time high for a second consecutive session as equity markets dived on growing fears of a global recession after last week's cut in the United States's credit rating.
Asian stock markets nose dived and the Swiss franc held near a record high, as investors dumped riskier assets in a global rout triggered by fears that political leaders are failing to tackle debt crises in Europe and the United States.
Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX-200 index lost 4.5 per cent to 3,806.70. Taiwan's TAIEX dropped 4.9 per cent and New Zealand"s benchmark NZX 50 index shed 3.8 per cent.
Brent crude plunged to a six-month trough below $99 a barrel on Tuesday in a two-session drop of more than $10, after a U.S. credit downgrade echoing a global slowdown.
With such negative sentiment surrounding it,  Sensex continued its bearish trend in the morning. The BSE Sensex opened over 3% lower on Tuesday while the 50-share Nifty index slipped below its psychological level of 5000 in opening trade making it sixth consecutive decline on Dalal Street.
16.00PM: After manic monday it was a terrible Tuesday for the Sensex and Nifty. . Sensex extended its losing streak to the sixth consecutive session on Tuesday, hitting its lowest in more than 14 months, amid a global equities sell off triggered by fears that political leaders are failing to tackle the U.S. and Europe debt crises. Markets continued to fall for most part of the day but recovered by the late afternoon to close 132 down at 16857. Nifty dropped 45 points to close at 5072. Short covering was the major reason behind recovery in today's trade as the market was oversold after substantial fall of 1450 points on the Sensex in six days. IT stocks Infosys and Tata Consultancy were among the biggest losers as the global economic turmoil dented the outlook for the outsourcing business.
15.00PM: Markets haven't recovered much. Global markets are still trading lower by nearly 4 percent. Losses on European bourses widened due to selling in banking and commodity shares. Experts say markets would be keenly following the US Federal Reserve meet on Tuesday. There is some more bad news for the global markets. Buzz is that France's ratings might be downgraded next, after the US. BSE IT index continued to lead the losses, down 4%. Patni Computer was the top loser, down 5%, followed by Wipro and TCS, down over 4% each.

14.00PM: A bad opening to the European markets saw Sensex losing more than 250 points. The benchmark index is currently trading at 16733. Reliance Infra and Tata Steel have lost nearly 7 percent and 6 percent respectively. Largecaps like TCS, Wipro and Infosys were down 3-4%. Reliance Industries and L&T fell 1.5%. About four shares were declining for every one share advancing on the National Stock Exchange.
13.00PM: Looks like market volatility is at all time high. It has erased the gains of the last one hour and is currently down 100 points at 16862. Global markets recovered following a positive opening for the European indices. Shanghai Composite is down marginally at 2,526. Taiwan Weighted was down 0.8% at 7,493. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in a statement said that falling crude prices would help in taming the inflation but he wasn't too optimistic about the current market scenario.
12.20AM: Sensex is gaining some confidence is down just 49 points now and is trading at 16940. Nifty is 22 points lower at 5,096. The rupee is below the Rs 45 level, and is currently trading at 45.17 against the dollar. Auto stocks have been the rulers today with M&M up almost 3%. The IT index is still down 2%. The market mayhem is now forcing the US Fed to take some stern action during its meeting on Tuesday. Experts say that the it won't announce any stimulus. But does US need any stimulus at this point. The critical question is what happened to the bail out packages? Why hasn't the US economy stepped up due to the stimulus that was given to the banks?
11.35AM: Senses has recovered smartly from the days low and is trading 160 points down at 16826. The Finance Ministry in a statement said that there is nothing wrong with the markets. It added that key elements on Indian share market functioning normally. Decline in global crude and commodities prices is likely to benefit Indian economy as it will help in easing stubborn inflation levels.  Benchmarks have shown some resilience by bouncing back. Asian markets have also made some back and the Hong Kong, Shanghai markets have trimmed their losses.Meanwhile was the political move by the US to question the S&P rating unfair? Here is an interesting read for you
10.40AM: Auto stocks are the clear winners for the day. It is actually helping the Sensex revive. Nifty is holding itself at the 5000 levels. Sensex is currently down 266 points and is at 16742. Experts say IT stocks will continue to under perform till there is some more clarity on the US debt situation. Internationally, crude oil (Nymex) prices have slipped below $80 a barrel. No will this encourage the Oil Marketing Companies to reduce the petrol prices? We need to wait and watch. India's gold at the Multi-Commodity Exchange hit record high price of Rs 26,000. So where will the yellow metal go from now? Economists are wondering on this panic selling in global stock markets.
10.00AM: In an interview to television channel Market Guru Rakesh Jhunjhunwala says that sharp rebounds won't be seen till the markets hit the bottom. He added that markets are consolidating but India's growth story will continue in spite of these difficult times. At the Sensex, IT stocks have been battered again today. Front line IT stocks like Wipro and TCS have dropped 5 percent each. Experts believed that Asian markets would be vulnerable to abrupt changes in the global scenario. So technically, it is not the best time to buy and added that Indian markets are expected to fall further. So don't jump into the well yet.

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