- Oldest temple of the country to be captured in a film
- Good Listener men are better at sex say Scientists
- Women dress up to impress each other not men
- Pill to keep you young forever very soon
- Gear up for a tough battle-Laxman to England
- IPL improved Indo-Aussies relationship says Clarke
- Sequel of Bheja Fry, better than the first
- The black side of White Money
- Man who discovered unleaded Petrol dies at 80
- How Yoga can improve our robotic lifestyle
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 07:17 PM PDT
PATNA: The ‘oldest’ surviving temple site in the recorded history of the country, Mundeshwari Bhawani temple, located in Kaimur district is all set to be captured into a film. Bihar State Religious Trust Board has decided to make a film on the history of Mundeshwari Mandir, built in the Gupta period (343 AD).
According to administrator, BSRTB Acharya Kishore Kunal the film will depict the historical characters of Sher Shah, the afghan ruler of Bihar, Mahakavi Banabhatta, Mahasamanta Udayasena, Kulapati Bhagudalan, Dandanayaka Gomibhatta, generals of that time and other characters who were witness to the developments at this temple, known for its divine powers.
The film on this 1,652 year old temple will beautifully depict its architectural features specially its octagonal construction on shree yantra which is unparalleled and is not found elsewhere in India or abroad, said the administrator Kunal.
The proposal for a rope way is also pending with the ASI, he said adding BSRTB has been repeatedly requesting for its sanction to reinstate the ancient structure and make the journey easy for pilgrims. “Once ropeway is built it will be one of the most attractive pilgrim centres to visit in the country,” Kunal said.
The board is ready to bear the entire cost of the project, Kunal said while expressing helplessness at the mandir’s mismanagement under the Kani Ram Dharmshala Trust. Kunal has also discussed the entire plan for temple development and its upkeep with the DM Kaimur (trustee of the temple).
Recently a 185-page book ‘Mundeshwari Mandir: The oldest recorded temple in the country’ was also released on the occasion of 99th year of Bihar’s foundation Day in March this year.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 12:11 PM PDT
London, June 10 (ANI): A study has revealed that an understanding male partner, who can communicate and listen well, is more likely to give his female partner an orgasm.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 12:06 PM PDT
London, June 11 (ANI): A survey has found that the myth that women spend hours in front of a mirror to impress their men is nowhere true, as most dress up to impress their peers.
A poll of 2,000 by Simple skincare found two thirds dress up to encourage compliments from other women, and six out of ten, aged between 18 and 30, said they had their girlfriends in mind when they chose what to wear.
More than a quarter said the most genuine compliments they received came from women they don’t know – not men.
“There is an assumption that women go all out to impress the opposite sex, but this research has revealed this isn’t always the case,” the Daily Mail quoted a spokesman for Simple skincare as saying.
“The fact that so many women care about what their peers think of their appearance is only natural.
“On the whole, women are much more in the know when it comes to clothes, make-up and style, so it’s not a surprise that girls go out to impress other women as opposed to men,” the spokesman said.
In the survey, more than half of women say they have never got themselves “dolled up” purely to snare a man and 22 percent claim a man’s opinion doesn’t matter to them at all.
And 48 percent of women polled actually prefer to get a compliment from a female stranger as opposed to a man.
“Appearance is obviously important to women – they want to look good at all times. It’s nice to know that girls are out to impress their peers and it’s not all about the opposite sex,” the Simple spokesman added. (ANI)
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 12:03 PM PDT
London, June 12 (ANI): A leading scientist has announced that a ‘forever young’ drug that allows people to grow old gracefully could be available in just ten years.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 11:19 AM PDT
London, June 12 (ANI): India batting star V V S Laxman reckons England should prepare for an all mighty battle in this summer’s series.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 02:46 AM PDT
Sydney, June 11 (ANI): Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke believes that the interaction between Indian and Australian cricketers in the Indian Premier League has helped to reduce the bitterness of the 2007-08 “Monkey Gate” series Down Under.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 01:37 AM PDT
New Delhi, Jun 12 (PTI) The sequel to ”Bheja Fry” is all set to entertain audiences later this week and actor Kay Kay Menon, who stars as the parallel lead with Vinay Pathak, said the film is better than the original.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 01:27 AM PDT
We complain about black money. For most of us, black money is money in suitcases, printed notes of currency. We imagine that there are huge stashes of currency in politicians’ houses, that industrialists are, quite literally, rolling in the stuff. Our new-age yoga enhanced civil society members even demand that we should stop the use of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes because they help corruption.
And I say that at a macro level, we should be more worried about white money.
Because RBI’s statistics — they release this every week — say that the total amount of rupees in notes printed is about Rs. 10 lakh crores. Our GDP is about 80 lakh crores. Even if 30% of the total money printed was being hoarded as black money, it’s about 4% of GDP. This is not small; but I argue that this is not big enough. I mean there is much more illegal money out there than 4% of GDP. And that also means the black money is being laundered into white money quite easily.
From doctors to lawyers to small hotels to vegetable vendors, there is a large amount of cash exchanged. Some of these merchants keep the money in cash, and refuse to declare them, thus creating black money. Many buy property, transferring money to the uber-rich, who can now launder the money.
At the really big money level, laundering money isn’t very difficult. First, the cash generated is sent out of the country through hawala, which involves calling someone who says give cash to person X and we’ll deliver dollars to person Y. Once it’s offshore, it’s brought back in, in various ways. Since Switzerland, till recently, didn’t ask too many questions, a lot of money went into Swiss banks (and banks in Dubai and other not-so-cooperative countries).
Then some of it was channeled back to India as “FII” —a foreign institutional investor – money, back into the Indian equity markets. There are then numerous ways to use that money to pump up the stock price or otherwise distribute the money in the “white” channel. In 2007, when SEBI and the RBI expressed their desire to curb such investments by demanding more details of the eventual source, the markets tanked 10% and hit the lower circuit the next day. SEBI clarified that the restrictions would apply only after 18 months and everything went back on track.
Why does equity investing become attractive? Equity investing is tax free if you hold the money for over a year. Also, for short term money, FIIs also use the Mauritius route to come into India, and because of a Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty, India doesn’t tax such entities — and it turns out that Mauritius doesn’t either. No tax means a great opportunity to launder money; the only problem with black money is that no tax is paid on it.
(If a minister is paid the highest ever rental for any commercial property at the time, that seems to be ok. Because he’ll pay tax on it. Or so it seems.)
Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for instance, pay no tax. So all one has to do is set up an SEZ in India, and then send money in from abroad against an invoice. When software exports were tax-free, money was laundered there. Now with the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) reaching 20%, this avenue is less useful.
Agricultural income is tax free, so within some limits, there is “income” generated there. You can’t really question a farmer about why he ended up selling SO many coconuts, can you? But this avenue is not open to most of us anymore, especially not to film-stars.
The answer isn’t to ban high denomination notes. The answer is to take serious action against the laundering of black money. We need to question the source of any money coming to India, especially FII money — if they’re not willing to reveal details, tell them to go away.
We also need to remove all tax-free concepts, including agricultural income, SEZs and Equity investing (the last one is going away next year). NGOs that get income tax exemptions need to be monitored very closely; they are another way to turn taxable income into “tax-free” money.
Since this will inconvenience actual users or farmers, introduce an upper limit — say 10 lakhs a year of profit — below which the tax-free rules continue to apply. There is absolutely no need to keep things tax-free after you’ve crossed a certain profit limit, even if you wanted to encourage industry. (Stop when it’s encouraged!)
We must absolutely bring back the illegal wealth stashed abroad; but it’s complicated to figure out how. Does Swiss bank money of people who are now abroad not be brought back? Does a person of Italian origin, who can move money to family in Italy, then qualify as not having black money? Does one give legitimate income — from investing in India through FIIs — thumbs up, simply because we aren’t able to prove that the original money, years back, was really black money? Or do we go to the other extreme, and say that all money is black unless proved to be white? The “proof” will take years of court process to prove, no one will get access to the money, except the people in power.
But we don’t have an alternative right now — set up a mechanism to query every single account that has money owned by Indian residents, and question their sources. In fact, find out who have recently transferred OUT their money out of fear of such an investigation, and question them even more.
We need to pick up enforcement of laws against the conversion of black money to white. I have no doubt that we are generating far more than 4% of our GDP in black money — but the figures show that the money doesn’t stay black; there is an efficient, functioning system that helps launder the money. We can get to that system and arrest the kingpins — it’s an open secret now — but we simply choose not to. Our fight against corruption must open this can of worms.
Banning the Rs. 500 note will only create problem for small businesses like vegetable vendors who have to carry cash around to buy things. It will create no problems for corruption — because the corrupt will still use cash and quickly convert that cash to white money. Banning such notes is the equivalent of the security theater we see in malls, where it seems the terrorist code of conduct is that you hide your bombs only in the boot or under the car’s hood, nowhere else. Effectively a Rs. 500 note ban does nothing to deter corruption, but inconveniences normal people. In fact, it’s better to probe every real estate sale in the last three years — there is surely more cash exchanged illegally there than in any other transaction. The money trail will reveal, in double-quick time, that the money gets whitened very fast.
We’re enraged about the colour of money, but the area is, in the most unfortunate pun ever intended, grey.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 01:20 AM PDT
John H. Sinfelt, a chemical engineer whose research for an oil company helped lead to the introduction of unleaded gasoline and significant reductions in air pollution, died on May 28 in Morristown, N.J. He was 80.
The cause was complications of congestive heart failure, his son, Klaus, said.
In the late 1960s and '70s, the petroleum industry was under intense pressure to produce gasoline without lead, which contributed to air pollution and posed substantial health risks, particularly to children. Lead was added to gasoline to raise octane levels, which helped keep engines from knocking.
The Environmental Protection Agency issued regulations calling for a gradual reduction in the lead content of gasoline in 1973.
Dr. Sinfelt was working for the Standard Oil Development Company (now Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering), where he specialized in developing techniques to speed up chemical reactions. While the entire industry was pursuing the goal, said Stuart Soled, distinguished research associate at Exxon Mobil, it was Dr. Sinfelt who came up with a catalytic process using a combination of two metals — platinum and iridium —allowing refiners to inexpensively produce high-octane gasoline without adding lead.
He patented that method, and his ideas became important in further research into chemical reactions, said Enrique Iglesia, who worked with Dr. Sinfelt and who is now a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
"He was a fairly deep scientist, almost academic in his nature, who made contributions that other people could follow," Professor Iglesia said.
For Dr. Sinfelt's breakthrough, President Jimmy Carter presented him with the President's National Medal of Science at a White House ceremony in 1980. The citation recognized his work "leading to the development of new catalyst systems for the production of low-lead gasoline.”
Dr. Sinfelt received more than 40 patents, and he was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
John Henry Sinfelt was born on Feb. 18, 1931, in Munson, Pa. He graduated from Penn State and completed his master's and Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois. In the mid-1950s he joined the Standard Oil Development Company.
Besides his son, he is survived by his wife, Muriel, and a brother, Frederick Seinfelt.
Dr. Sinfelt was pleased that he had helped improve the nation's air quality. "I can't say he was an environmentalist, but he was very proud that the work he did helped the environment," his son said.
Posted: 12 Jun 2011 12:51 AM PDT
Practitioners of yoga have been much in the news these days — sadly, not because of the practice of yoga. Such a practice, as we should all know by now, has been firmly established as a discipline that’s Good For You. Another such activity, clearly, is reading. (Remember reading? Making sense of a page filled with letters organized into words and sentences?)
Given our frantic urban lifestyle — with little room for life, leave alone style — finding the time to pursue both disciplines for a sustained period has always been difficult. No longer. It’s time to take heart: in a dazzling breakthrough, this column presents a series of poses that combines yoga with reading.
Each one has been tried and tested by your faithful, fatigued columnist. Fasting is optional, but make sure your tongue is firmly in cheek before commencing.
The Upside-down Turtle: A good pose for the beginner. Lie on your back on any firm surface with your hands by your sides, palms facing upward. Slide one of your palms towards a book near you, and take firm hold of it. Slowly raise both your hands and bring them up to your chest, along with the said book. Open to the desired page and commence reading. Caution: Not to be practiced for long periods, as there have been reported instances of practitioners falling asleep, with the book slipping from nerveless fingers.
The Flitting Dragonfly: A more advanced posture. For best results, this is to be practiced in an office where deadlines loom. Sit at your table with back upright, and open any official-looking document on your computer. Place book in front of computer and start to read. Every few minutes, move your head from side to side to ascertain if a supervisor is approaching to question you about your current assignment. If so, snap book shut and stare at computer screen. This pose tests reflexes and is excellent for the neck muscles.
The Reading Mantis: As the former pose illustrates, one of the advantages of this form of yoga is that it doesn’t have to be practiced only at home. This one, for example, is perfect within the confines of overcrowded public transport. Upon entering a bus or train, hunch your back and stretch out your neck. With feet planted firmly on the ground, raise one arm and hold on to a strap to prevent swaying. Clutch the book with the other hand and commence reading. The challenge here is to maintain the pose while others around you jostle and complain loudly about vegetable prices.
The Greta Garbo Crouch: In a heartening indication of adaptability to changing times, this pose borrows from the West, being suited to those who can’t read unless they’re left alone. Find an appropriate, secluded spot such as under the bed or behind the curtains. Even pulling the bed-covers over oneself will do, for those in dire need. Draw in your limbs until you occupy the smallest area possible. Then, extend your fingers, gingerly pick up the book and commence practice. Note: A small flashlight may be required for this pose.
The Aggravated Lion: Strictly speaking not a pose that combines yoga and reading, but an essential aid in continuing one’s practice unabated. In this case, should there be distractions such as blaring TV sets, taps on the shoulder or tugs on sleeves while reading, one lays the book down, and calmly turn towards the source of distraction. Then, splaying the fingers and opening the mouth wide, the practitioner emits a loud roaring sound, accompanied by the protrusion of the tongue and widening of the eyes. If performed with vigour, this is normally enough to make all distractions cease. If they don’t, see the Greta Garbo Crouch, above.
Happy mental and physical stretching, and don’t forget to breathe.
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