Sony cuts 8000 jobs!

9 12 2008

In what seems like another Japanese company in trouble, citing falling revenues and stronger yen, Sony Corporation plans to cut 8000 jobs. This results in them reducing their investment by 30 % in the electronics business by the fiscal end of 2010.

Sony has about 160,00 employees as of now and aims to save upwards of 100 billion yen (roughly $ 1.1 billion) by such measures which also include shutting down manufacturing plants.

This news comes after the surprise pullout of Honda from F1 citing the same reasons which was unexpected given the reaction of the FIA.

Wipro in India is also cutting costs by recruting engineers for it’s BPO division instead of the engineering division. Although the company says it will ensure that these jobs will count as valid work experience for an engineering role in the future, the situation remain bleak for the company. In a related story on IBN the BPO companies are themselves looking for a bailout from the government. According to NASSCOM the Indian BPO sector employs roughly 700,000 people. Due to the current recession, cuts of about 250,000 jobs starting 2009 is expected. Thats a whopping 35% reduction in number of employees.

Some experts suggest this recession might last for 10 years!

All I can say is that stick on to your job, cause it just got more valuable.

Do let me know how the recession is affecting you..wherever you are.





Formula 1 – A distant Dream..

8 12 2008

The news is abuzz as far F1 is concerned.  Honda pulls out of the sport citing recession and increasing costs. Their spending increased about 30% from last year with a total of approximately $ 300 million. Sad news indeed…but thats the state of the economy now. Even big companies like Honda can’t survive the bad times.

However that’s not why I have written this post. What I wanted to share was this..

The Spa Exit

The Spa Exit

This is probably the closest I will get to a Formula 1 track..

We were on our way to Luxemborg from Netherlands and we passed the Belgian Grandprix Circuit exit on the freeway…and I thought someday Ill be take that exit and watch a race in person.

but right now it remains..but a distant dream..

But all was not lost…Luxemborg is a beautiful place and a must see stop for poeple travelling in Europe. Here is a picture taken by Tilak who was travelling with us.

What a view!

What a view!

It sums up the place quite nicely I think.





Slumdog Millionaire gets Pre Oscar!

8 12 2008

This movie should be a must watch for all.

Director Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was named best film of 2008 by the National Board of Review on Thursday in the first major award of the Oscar season.

Following the likes of indie films like ‘Juno’ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, the board’s picks are usually considered as an indicator to the Academy Awards in February.

Having scooped up ‘Best British Independent Film’, ‘Best Director’ and actor Dev Patel as ‘Most Promising Newcomer of the Year’ at the British Independent Film Awards on 30 November, the film grossed over US$3.7 million in the United States alone.

The strengths of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ lie in its vivid cinematography, upbeat soundtrack and large cast of local talent.

“Slumdog Millionaire, with brilliant direction by Danny Boyle and incredible performances, shares a passionate story about one man’s courage and determination for the woman he loves,” said Annie Schulhof, the board’s president.

Based on the bestselling novel ‘Q&A’ by Vikas Swarup, the film tells the tale of a poor boy in India who gets a shot at winning millions on television game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” as he tried to reunite with his lost love.
Source: ChannelNewsAsia

Here is the IMDB Synopsis for the film:

“The story of Jamal Malik (Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its exuberant storytelling lies the intriguing question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love.”





How Barkha Dutt Helped the Terrorists

8 12 2008

Barkha Dutt who some say was India’s answer to Christiane Amanpour  (although Christiane is way ahead) sadly lost her composure and along with it a sense of ethical journalism. A lot of blogs out there have criticized her for her shoddy reporting. But below is an extract of the India’s Chief Admiral’s public assault on NDTV and more specifically Barkha Dutt. Read on…

“Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Tuesday mounted a frontal assault on the sections of the electronic media for its reckless coverage of the Mumbai attacks. In his annual press conference ahead of Navy Day on December 4, Mehta said the manner in which TV channels reported India’s worst terror strike had “tactical implications” and might have worked to the advantage of the terrorists.

“When operations were taking place, the channels were reporting that commandos were being airdropped. The terrorists were in live contact with their masters, who were keeping them informed. Such minute-by-minute coverage can be detrimental to conduct of operations. We are disturbed by such reporting.” Mehta picked holes in the coverage of the 1999 Kargil war to prove that channels have traditionally not exercised restraint in their coverage of events that have a bearing on national security.

Singling out a lady journalist from the English news channel NDTV, Mehta, who is also the chairman of chiefs of staff committee, said irresponsible coverage of the war had compromised the safety of troops and led to the death of three soldiers. He said this particular journalist had cajoled an army colonel to demonstrate the firing of an artillery gun to capture a great shot on the camera. He said the colonel was later dismissed from service.

Prannoy Roy, president, NDTV, told HT: “What he said is completely untrue and malicious. We have asked for a retraction and a public apology as this amounts to defamation.” New Delhi Television is owned by Radhika Roy who is the sister of CPI-M leader and pro-China voice Brinda Karat. CPI-M party was the only political party that had openly supported China in the 1962 war with India ansd till date has not issued an apology.

General V.P. Malik (retd), who was the army chief during the Kargil war, in his memoirs Kargil — From Surprise to Victory, had written in his book that after the war was over, he mentioned to Barkha Dutt that she had let out classified information in her “professional enthusiasm” by pointing out that the army’s next objective would be Tiger Hill.”

Source: http://www.newspostindia.com/report-61105

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Wikipedia has a controversy section of her which details her exploits during her coverage of Kargil:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barkha_Dutt#Controversies

Here is another take on her bad reporting:

http://openspace.org.in/node/811

Please let us get this woman off the air!!





We the People

8 12 2008

Mukul Kesavan, as many of you may know is a brilliant writer who writes on various issues dealing with India as  whole. I wanted to quote his article in this post on his unique take on the tragedy in Mumbai.  Here Goes:

WE, THE PEOPLE

– The Mumbai tragedy and the English language news media

“Go to the Four Seasons and look down from the top floor at the slums around you. Do you know what flags you will see? Not the Congress’s, not the BJP’s, not the Shiv Sena’s. Pakistan! Pakistani flags fly high!… You know what I think? We should carpet-bomb Pakistan. That’s the only way we can give a clear message.”

Simi Garewal later apologized for this little outburst on the television show, We, the People. She said she had mistaken Muslim flags for Pakistani ones. She had a harder time explaining away her ‘carpet bombing’ prescription. She claimed that she had meant to suggest a covert attack like the below-the-radar missions Americans so often undertake in Pakistan’s borderlands. Carpet-bombing is hard to do discreetly, but we shouldn’t make too much of this because the point isn’t Simi Garewal and her gaffe: it’s the way the English language news media covered the Mumbai tragedy.

The idiom of the coverage of the terror attack on Mumbai was in part shaped by the need to say something, anything, in the face of horror and evil. The need to voice not just their own feelings but the need to be a proxy for the People, to anticipate and echo a public revulsion, seemed to overwhelm reporters and studio anchors.

The wild-eyed animation with which they spoke seemed prompted by the belief that calm, even lucidity, was an inappropriate response to tragedy. Barkha Dutt’s agitation as she reported from sites attacked by the terrorists was so extreme that on occasion she seemed to hyper-ventilate on camera. Further away from the tragedy, in a studio, Arnab Goswami ratcheted up the hectoring self-righteousness that has come to define his manner, as he and Times TV seek to position the channel as India’s answer to Fox News.

Rajdeep Sardesai managed to be composed, compassionate and knowledgeable at Hemant Karkare’s funeral, but CNN IBN made up for that later by framing their reports on the terror strikes in gory graphics that could have been borrowed from the credits of a Ramsay Brothers horror movie. With the reporters, the excitement was understandable: it’s hard to be calm with bombs going off, bullets flying about and a landmark building burning in front of you. But there were aspects of the coverage that didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

During the crisis, the foregrounding of the Taj was inevitable. It was the site of the longest battle and the hideous drama of its near-destruction was bound to be framed by any sensible cameraman. But it’s still worth making the point Shyam Benegal made, that the dozens of people killed in VT (or CST) station and their grieving relatives and friends got very little screen time. When VT figured in the coverage, it was there for CCTV grabs of the T-shirted terrorist.

The Taj, we were told over and over again, is an ‘iconic’ building. I think we can say without controversy that Victoria Terminus is much the greater landmark both architecturally and in terms of the number of people who pass through it. It may not be ‘home’ to them, in the way that the Taj clearly was for the many fluent habitués of South Mumbai who filed past the cameras of the English news channels, but more Mumbaikars have taken trains to and from VT than have sampled the hospitality of the Taj. And yet we didn’t have people on television reminiscing about the station and what it meant to them, that storied building that has been the beginning and the end of a billion journeys. Even the details of the killing, the alertness of the public address system operator who had platforms cleared and thus minimized the carnage, trickled out later, as the platform tragedy that had happened was eclipsed by the hotel tragedy that was still ‘breaking news’.

I can’t remember the last time that social class so clearly defined the coverage of a public event, or one in which people spoke so unselfconsciously from their class positions. The English news channels became mega-churches in which hotel-going Indians found catharsis and communion. Person after person claimed the Taj as home. Memories of courtship, marriage, celebration, friendship, the quick coffee, the saved-up-for snack, the sneaked lavatory visit, came together to frame the burning Taj in a halo of affection.

The novelist, Aravind Adiga, said in an interview with the BBC: “One of the differences between India and other countries is that a lot of our civic space is contained within the five-star hotels. They have a different function here for us, they are places where marriages happen, where people of all economic backgrounds go for a coffee. For the Taj Mahal to be attacked is somewhat like the town hall being attacked in some other place… .” I’d wager that 99 per cent of VT’s commuters haven’t seen the inside of the Sea Lounge. Whatever else they are, five-star establishments in India are not democratic civic spaces. Few Mumbaikars think the Taj Mahal Hotel is their city’s hôtel de ville.

The Trident, being less ‘iconic’, didn’t get quite the same attention as the Taj, but it wasn’t left out. Shekhar Gupta used his column on the edit-page of the Indian Express to write a thousand-word homage to the Trident. This included descriptions of his sleeping preferences, the number of nights he had logged at the Trident and the considerateness of the hotel staff.

This takes us back to that third hotel, the one we began with, back to Simi Garewal on the top floor of the Four Seasons, looking down at the slums below her, aflutter with sinister flags. Forget the fact that she mistook Islamic flags for Pakistani ones; anyone can make a mistake, and she’s apologized for hers. What’s interesting here is the lack of embarrassment with which she pictures herself and people-like-her staring down disapprovingly from a great, air-conditioned height at hovels and squalor.

Usually, privileged English-speaking Indians have the tact to be politically correct in their public statements; but in the middle of terror and tragedy, the sense of social self-preservation that keeps them from crassness, disappears. “Go to the Four Seasons and look down from the top floor at the slums around you.” That ‘you’ is us: Telegraph-reading, hotel-going people, who, in the heat of the moment and because of the death of people we know (or know of), become the world.

English and American papers treated the terror attack as an assault on the West. The terrorists had, after all, specifically looked for American and British citizens to murder. Ironically, even as NDTV, CNN-IBN and Times Now put hotel guests at the heart of the horror and bumped train commuters to its periphery, older English-speaking peoples counted their dead and dimly regretted all Indian casualties as collateral damage. In that residual category, if nowhere else, the Indian dead remained one People.”

Source: Telegraph India