NRI deposits in Kerala stands at Rs 62,708 crore at the end of 2012

The bank deposits by non-resident Indians (NRI) in Kerala stood at Rs.62,708 crore till December 2012, bankers said on Tuesday 26.Mar/2013.
There are now around three million Keralites who work in foreign countries, close to 90 per cent of them in the Middle East countries.
The deposits at the end of corresponding period in 2011 totalled Rs.45,937 crore. These figures were made public at the 109th meeting of the State Level Bankers Committee.

Maximum deposits were done in the State Bank group, which attracted 40.58% or Rs.25,445 crore of the total deposits. The private sector banks aggregated a total NRI deposit of Rs.23.395 crore.
The semi-urban areas of Kerala accounted for 62.85% of the deposits followed by 31.34 per cent in the urban areas with the rural diaspora accounting for a mere 5.81% of share in the deposits.
Within the State Bank group, Kerala’s own State Bank of Travancore led with Rs.17,258 crore of NRI deposits.

Kerala headquartered Federal Bank stood first among the private sector banks with Rs.11,032 crore deposits and they accounted for close to 50 per cent of all the NRI deposits in the private sector bank category.

The diaspora through its deposits into Kerala banks has been the mainstay of the state’s economy.

Family of Kate hoax call Indian-origin nurse expecting positive outcome from inquest

The family of India-origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who committed suicide after answering a hoax phone call about the Duchess of Cambridge, remains hopeful that an inquest which resumes on Tuesday will unravel the events that led to her death.

British MP Keith Vaz, who has been representing Saldanha’s family, said that he is astonished that the prestigious King Edward VII hospital had a nurse rather than a trained operator answering calls at reception, the Herald Sun reported.

The Labour MP said in a statement that the family remain hopeful the inquest and investigating will provide the answers they seek.

He said the hospital had told him its own internal inquiry was expected to be completed after the inquest which reopens at Westminster Coroner’s Court this week.

Vaz has also written to Austereo in Australia which he noted remained

“subject to an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority”.

Meanwhile, John Cooper, who will be representing Saldanha’s family at the inquest, told the Independent newspaper that the family believe there are questions to be asked about the hospital protocols that led to Mrs Saldanha being put in that job on that night.

Indian origin R&B artist releases Shah Rukh Khan’s Chaiyya Chaiyya, Nicki Minaj mashup

Indian origin R&B star Arjun has released a mashup of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s famous track Chaiyya Chaiyya with pop star Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass.

Arjun’s reworking of the Dil Se track precedes the UK singer’s debut full single release. The original song was composed by Oscar winner AR Rahman, reported Digital Spy.

“My first official mainstream single is coming out next month. In the meantime I have a brand new Hindi remix coming out tomorrow,” he said.

Arjun has seen widespread YouTube success with his R&B remixes of Indian film tracks Why This Kolaveri Di, Kabhi Kabhi, Chammak Challo and Teri Meri.

The performer recently toured Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Study shows ‘gene flow’ from India to Australia 4000 years ago

Indian people may have arrived on Australian shores about 4000 years before Europeans colonised the continent, scientists report.

Modern humans are thought to have arrived down under about 40,000 years ago, having made their way out of Africa around the coast of the Arabian Peninsula and India to Australia.

Most scientists believed these ancestors of modern Aborigines remained isolated from other populations until Europeans appeared in the late 18th century.

But a genetic analysis of more than 300 Aborigines, Indians and people from Papua New Guinea and islands of south-east Asia has found a “significant gene flow” from India to Australia about 4230 years, or 141 generations, ago.

The study’s lead researcher, Irina Pugach, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said the arrival of these people during the Holocene coincided with many changes in Australia’s archaeological record.

“[There was] a sudden change in plant processing and stone tool technologies, with microliths appearing for the first time, and the first appearance of the dingo in the fossil record,” said Dr Pugach.

“Since we detect inflow of genes from India into Australia at around the same time, it is likely that these changes were related to this migration,” she said.

The researchers said it was possible Indian ancestry came to Australia indirectly, through south-east Asian populations who had trade links with northern Australia and Indonesia.

But the analysis found no evidence of this scenario in the genes of the south-east Asian populations.

The study also found a common origin between Aboriginal Australians, New Guinea populations and the Mamanwa – a Negrito group from the Philippines. The researchers estimate these groups split from each other about 36,000 years ago.

A study co-author, Mark Stoneking, said this finding supported the view that these populations were the descendants of an early “southern route” migration out of Africa.

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

At 53, Indian cardinal is youngest in Vatican conclave

Indian cardinal Cleemis Thottunkal is the youngest cardinal taking part in the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

Also known as Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, the 53-year-old Thottunkal is the archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. He was one of the last cardinals appointed by Benedict in November 2012.

Thottunkal is the first cardinal of the Syro-Malankar rite, a West Syrian Rite Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See, which has a total membership of around 500,000.

Benedict, who abdicated at the end of February, also appointed Thottunkal a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who turned 80 after Benedict abdicated, is the conclave’s oldest cardinal elector. The electors’ average age is 72.

Since 1975, cardinals over 80 have been excluded from voting in papal conclaves.

Italy’s cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, enters as the favourite to be elected pope.

Australia is right partner for India: Austrade CEO

Australia is the right partner for India to meet its energy and food security goals, including upgradation of its infrastructure through infusion of investment, technology and collaborations, Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) CEO Bruce Gosper has said.

Talking to The Hindu , Mr. Gosper said there was a desire to take the economic engagement to a new level.

“Indian companies such as GVK, Gujarat NRE and the Adani group have already made huge long-term investments in energy and resources in Australia. The Gorgon LNG project will start supplying 1.5 million tonnes of LNG to India by 2015. Coal exports to India, which stood at 31 million tonnes last year, are bound to go up in the coming years.

Talks on collaboration in uranium supply between the two countries are already on,” he said.

At present, India is the eighth largest trading partner of Australia , he added. Mr. Gosper said the food security concerns of India could be addressed by Australia. “We have the capacity to supply agricultural products. We (Australia) can chip in the latest technology and forge a professional partnership in giving a modern edge to agriculture in India,’’ he added.

Focussed approach

Building an economic relationship with India would form part of his focussed approach, Mr. Gosper said, adding that both countries could do much better in this regard. “Our companies are already engaged in building infrastructure projects in India. We can have investments in the construction and port sectors through public private parrtnership(PPP) mode. Austrade has 11 offices in India and its effort is directed towards facilitating development of trade and collaboration between companies and governments,’’ he said.

Welcoming the various reforms, including those in the financial sector, Mr. Gosper said India was recognising the bottlenecks in the path of development, and was resolving those issues. “The reforms have been a long standing demand of the Australian government and companies,” he said.

Fifth round

“Negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are progressing well and the fifth round is scheduled to be held in May.

The services sector will be the focus of the negotiations during this round. We are hopeful of a positive outcome from these negotiations which will take the trade relationship to a new level,” he stated.

US mobile video company sees India as major market

Leading US mobile video company Vuclip, founded by an Indian American, has acquired Canadian mobile video streaming firm Jigsee as part of its expansion strategy in India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Vuclip’s vision is to provide mobile video for consumers worldwide, regardless of the device type or network quality, said Nickhil Jakatdar, the India-born CEO and founder of Vuclip headquartered in Milpitas, California.

Vuclip plans to offer new apps to complement its browser strategy, particularly in India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, he told IANS by email, describing India as a significant market.

“India has one of the largest base of mobile-only internet users after South Africa,” he said.

Citing leading software developer Opera, Jakatdar said a mobile phone is the only way to access the internet for 41 percent of Indians.

Highly-targeted content is one of Vuclip’s key offerings for India because of its breadth of cultural diversity, he said, noting that the company has been “growing phenomenally in the country both organically and in terms of our reach among Indian mobile users”.

Vuclip’s commitment to local content supported across the mass market devices has driven unique partnerships with telecom companies like Vodafone for its ‘Vodafone Mobile Box Office,’ Jakatdar said.

Besides Delhi and Mumbai, Vuclip has people based close to regional centres around the country and in terms of content, it already works with about 75 partners and is looking at signing up more, he said.

“Our popularity in India is also a huge opportunity for advertisers looking to reach customers who do not have access to personal computers to extend the reach of their television or print campaigns,” Jakatdar said.

“As for investment plans, we want to develop more innovative ways to enable mobile video experiences that work well, no matter the quality of the network, and to push the abilities of different phone platforms,” he said.

“We want to bridge both browser and apps from a user experience perspective and with our discovery capabilities help consumers find whatever it is they would most enjoy consuming, whether it’s the latest Western viral video or a regional movie trailer or sports clip they are looking for,” he said.

Indian-origin journalist wins inaugural Physics Journalism Prize

Anil Ananthaswamy, a consultant at New Scientist Magazine and author of “The Edge of Physics,” has bagged the inaugural Physics Journalism Prize — a prize designed to inspire the next generation of physicists by encouraging journalists to grapple with often complex topics and help spread excitement about the subject.
He won the prize for his article “Hip Hip Array,” which focuses on the Square Kilometre Array, an international project to design and build the largest radio telescope ever conceived.
The prize is sponsored by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Anil will be congratulated, Thursday 28 February 2013, at an IOP reception in Central London, which follows this year’s Newton Lecture by the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees of Ludlow, entitled “From Mars to the Multiverse.”
“Anil Ananthaswamy is being awarded the prize for writing a feature which brings one of the world’s most exciting astronomical endeavors to life — the Square Kilometre Array,” said Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of IOP.
“I’m delighted that we’re able to honour his writing on this occasion, shortly after we hear from one of the UK’s leading astronomical luminaries,” he stated.
The Physics Journalism Award offers the prize of an expenses paid trip to Japan, to visit world-leading facilities carrying out research at the frontiers of physics.
On winning, Anil said, “Writing about physics, especially about the work being done in remote, difficult and sometimes hostile environments, is a special pleasure. Winning an award for doing what I love to do is just icing on the cake. I truly appreciate the recognition.”
Meanwhile Zeeya Merali, a freelance science journalist based in Canterbury, received a special mention and a 250-pound prize for her Discover article, “Gravity Off the Grid,” an article about Julian Barbour, a British physicist who has spent his life arguing against Einstein’s view of gravity, space and time