Connecting Music

Connecting Music HD Videos

Thursday, December 31, 2009

RBI to review rates only on Jan 29 ?

Thu Dec 31, 2009

HYDERABAD, India, Dec 31 (Reuters) - The Indian central bank will review interest rates at its next policy review scheduled for Jan. 29 and not before, a deputy central bank governor said on Thursday.

"Wait for 29th. It can't be speculated. If it has to happen, it will happen on 29th. You will have to wait for that," said K.C. Chakrabarty, a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, when asked whether and when the central bank would adjust rates.

India and South Korea are widely expected to be among the first Group of 20 nations to follow Australia and raise interest rates as they recover from the global slowdown.

Some economists expect inflation in India to reach 8 percent by the end of the fiscal year in March, above the RBI's comfort level.

Indian Stocks Set for Biggest Annual Gain in 18 Years

December 31, 2009

Dec. 31 -- India’s stocks are set for their biggest annual gain in 18 years, led by NTPC Ltd. after the Economic Times reported the government may relax a rule to allow power producers to sell at market prices.

NTPC, the nation’s biggest power utility, surged to a two- year high. Economic Times reported that NTPC and other energy suppliers may get approval to sell about 10 percent of their power at market-determined prices, boosting profits. Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd., the No. 1 copper and zinc producer, climbed to a four-week high after metal prices rallied.

The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, gained 135.63, or 0.8 percent, to 17,479.45 at 10:08 a.m. in Mumbai. The gauge has risen 80 percent this year, sparked by a rally after the election victory of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ruling coalition in May, on expectations he will introduce measures to boost economic growth.

“The government is serious about reforms,” said Kishor Ostwal, managing director of CNI Research (India) Ltd. in Mumbai. “The spectacular gains this year has been due to the market- friendly policies of the Manmohan Singh government.”

The Sensex has more than tripled in the past decade, compared with a 5 percent drop in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange rose 0.7 percent to 5,207.20. The BSE 200 Index increased 0.8 percent to 2,185.60. The markets are closed tomorrow for a public holiday.

The National Stock Exchange and rival Bombay Stock Exchange, Asia’s oldest, plan to start trading 55 minutes earlier at 9 a.m. from Jan. 4.

NTPC added 2.9 percent to 239.75 rupees, the highest since Jan. 17, 2008. Eighty-five percent of the output from power producers such as NTPC is currently sold to state government utilities on long-term contracts.

The government may allow NTPC to sell a part of the remaining power to bulk buyers such as sugar mills and steel factories, the report said. Power Secretary H. S. Brahma declined to comment on the report when contacted on his mobile phone.

Reliance Infrastructure Ltd., the nation’s third-largest utility, climbed 0.8 percent to 1,160 rupees, its sixth day of gains.

Sterlite advanced 0.6 percent to 86.5 rupees. Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange gained as much as 1.2 percent to $7,415 a metric ton, the highest price since Sept. 4, 2008.

Hindalco Industries Ltd., the biggest aluminum producer, rose 0.8 percent to 161.1 rupees. Aluminum rose 0.8 percent to $2,260 a ton on the London exchange.

Overseas funds bought a net 3.85 billion rupees ($82.4 million) of Indian equities on Dec. 29, taking their investments in stocks this year to 830.7 billion rupees, the nation’s market regulator said yesterday.

Purchases by global investors have reached $17.4 billion this year, poised to surpass the record $17.65 billion of net inflow into stocks in 2007.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

GV Krishna Reddy entrepreneur of the year

29 Dec 2009, ET Bureau

At the age of 76, most others prefer to sit back and savour the sepia-tinted moments of their life, but not GV Krishna Reddy, the GVK Group’s patriarch. He won his first construction contract when he was barely 22 and more than five decades later, his infrastructure flagship has an asset base of over $5.24 billion.

But his penchant for taking risks hasn’t diminished a bit. The entrepreneur now has ambitions to scale up his conglomerate to $10 billion over the next five years. His agility can only be matched with his razor-sharp memory as he recalls his early days.

“I was just 22 years old when I began my career in the construction business. We bagged the contract to build the Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam canal works, the largest masonry dam. It was one of the toughest jobs, but I gained enormous confidence to take risks. I tend to work harder and try to achieve targets wherever there are problems,” says GVK.

It isn’t easy to meet tough deadlines, hectic schedules and take up punishing site visits year after year and still be hailed as a people’s person by your colleagues and peers. GVK’s style of functioning has been described as “democratic”.

He brings to the table five decades of experience that stands taller than his 6-feet-3-inch frame. His early morning meetings with the senior management help him stay connected with the business. The Osmania University graduate follows a hands-off approach regarding day-to-day operations, but is hands-on when it comes to issues relating to strategy.

He believes in visiting project sites himself. In fact, he is quite ready to attend meetings soon after an 18-hour flight from the US. “I am completely in awe of the way he works. Last week, he travelled to Delhi from Hyderabad, then flew to Dehradun by a chopper and returned to Hyderabad the same day after attending a host of meetings.

At his age, I wonder if I’d be able to do anything like this. The reason for GVK to achieve such growth is perhaps his passion. Also, the company has had the first-mover advantage in hotels and power plants in Andhra,” says E Sudhir Reddy, chairman and managing director, IVRCL Infra.

A true entrepreneur that he is, he didn’t limit himself to construction. He was the first player in the prelaminated particle board business; the first to build a five-star hotel in hometown Hyderabad and the first fast-track independent power producer.

From cash contracts to owner-developer, it has been an eventful and productive journey for the infrastructure flagship, GVK Power and Infrastructure (GVKPIL). Today, it has an asset base of over $5.24 billion (Rs 25,000 crore). It underwent consolidation in 2007, bringing all its power, airport and road assets under one roof — GVKPIL.

The list includes such trophy assets as the Mumbai International Airport, which operates the country’s busiest airport and the Jaipur Expressway. The consolidation was meant to create a comprehensive infrastructure company, a large balance sheet and better positioning in terms of unlocking operating asset value.

GVK reckons that the Mumbai International Airport is the most difficult airport to build, as it has only 2,000 acres of land unlike the newer airports which are much bigger in area. But this has not deterred the group from looking at a larger role in India’s airport business.

India Inc's top guns may post 45% rise in Q3 net

29 Dec 2009, ET Bureau

India’s top companies could see an over 45% jump in aggregate profit for the three months ending December.

The 30 firms, which constitute the benchmark Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), could post a 25-30% increase in standalone net profit from a year ago period, according to an ETIG study.

The key to an improved show would be the low-base effect, the gains in December would be spectacular compared to the poor numbers a year ago. The October-December period last year, the quarter that followed the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers, was a disaster for most BSE-500 companies (excluding oil marketers and banks).

Their aggregate net profit (adjusted for extraordinary items) had shrunk more than a quarter to Rs 35,618 crore from a year ago. Lehman’s bankruptcy sowed a panic that pushed financial markets to the brink and felled global economic activity from industrial production to foreign trade.

Indian companies, too, were caught in that downturn, but have since made a comeback with a revival in demand, helped by the government’s stimulus package, moderation in input prices and softening credit costs.

The same set of 450-odd companies posted a total net profit of Rs 51,777 crore in the September quarter, after successive quarterly earnings growth. If these companies were to maintain the same profit levels in the current quarter, their net profit would jump 45%, as per the study.

Government data on industrial performance, as measured by the index of industrial production (IIP), which rose 10.3% in October from a year earlier, indicates that the expectations from this quarter are not misplaced. Noting the IIP numbers and exports, which grew 18.2% in November, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee last week said the economy may “resume the spectacular growth rate of 9% experienced during the pre-downturn period” in the next 2-3 years.

“Going by the GDP and IIP numbers, Indian companies, in general, should perform well and results should be in line or exceed expectations,” said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, equity head at Delhi-based broking firm SMC Capitals.

Advance tax collections, another pointer to the approaching results season, have also risen over 22% in the October-December quarter on a sharp jump in payments from automobiles, consumer goods and metal firms. Domestic bourses, too, seemed to have taken note of a possible improved show. Last Thursday, the Sensex rose 129 points to close at 17,360, just short of the one-year high recorded in mid-October.

“The stock prices of top 200 companies have already factored in the expected result performance in Q309. So, nothing big is expected out of them unless there is a big surprise in their results,” said DD Sharma, retail research vice-president, Anand Rathi Financial Services. But mid-cap companies, which closely track the results season, might react to the results, he added.

The December quarter could also see revenues turning around to touch double digits, though their growth would be modest compared to the improved bottomline. “We expect industries such as metals, automobiles, infrastructure, real estate and pharmaceuticals to report a year-on-year topline growth,” said DR Dogra, managing director & CEO of credit rating agency Credit Analysis & Research (CARE).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Change in copyright law mooted

Press Trust Of India, Thu, Dec 24, 2009

Musicians to have greater say over their works, according to amendment.

New Delhi: Musicians, writers and cinematographers are a step closer to getting royalty for their works used commercially.

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved amendments to the Copyright Act of 1957 for introduction in Parliament. One amendment will give "independent rights to authors of literary and musical works in cinematograph films, which were hitherto denied and wrongfully exploited by producers and music companies," said Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

Another amendment ensures that the authors of works, particularly songs included in the cinematograph films or sound recordings, receive royalty for commercial exploitation of such work, Soni said.

"It has been proposed to introduce a system of statutory licensing to ensure that the public has access to musical works over the FM radio and TV networks and at the same time the owners of copyright works are also not subject to any disadvantages," she said.

The News Broadcasters Association had been apprehensive about the amendments and asked the government to ensure that nothing was done to hurt the "well-established and understood rights of broadcasters to fair use of material, including broadcast reproduction rights."

Earlier, only the film's producer had the copyright of the product. After the amendment in the Act, however, the term of copyright for cinematograph films has been extended by making the producers and principal director as joint authors (of the film).

Soni said the amendments were proposed by the HRD Ministry to gain clarity, remove operational difficulties and address newer issues that have emerged in the context of digital technology and Internet.

The newly introduced copyright term will be for 70 years and can be extended by another 10 years provided the producer enters into an agreement with the director.

Amendments are being made to bring the Act in conformity with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Internet Treaties, namely WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) which have set the international standards in these spheres.

WCT deals with the protection for the authors of literary and artistic works such as writings, computer programmes, original databases, musical works, and works of fine art and photographs.

WPPT protects certain related rights of the performers and producers of the phonograms. "While India has not yet signed these treaties it is necessary to amend domestic legislation to extend the copyright protection in the digital environment," Soni said.

The amendments are in conformity with WCT and WPPT, wherein through a new section in the Act, it is proposed to ensure protection to the right holders against circumvention of effective technological measures for protection of his rights like breaking of passwords.

Other amendments made in the music and film industry include provision of statutory licence for version recordings and authorship to ensure that while making a sound recording of any literary, dramatic or musical work the interest of the copyright holder is duly protected.

A clause for addressing the concerns of the physically challenged has been introduced, which aims at giving a fair deal to such people by allowing the production of copies of copyright material in formats specially designed for the physically challenged.

The physically challenged need access to copyright material in specialised formats like Braille text, talking text, electronic text and large print for the visually challenged, and sign language for the aurally challenged.

Currently the cost of production of materials in such formats is very high. With additional requirement of royalty payments the price of such materials to the target groups would be even higher.

Maruti Eeco MPV to be launched at 2010 Auto Expo

Maruti Suzuki, which already dominates the Indian small car market with their massive range of compact cars, is now gearing up to launch yet another model named ‘Eeco’ at the upcoming Auto Expo 2010. The company, which will replace its already-bombed ‘Versa’, next month, will be launching the aforesaid compact multi purpose vehicle on 7th January’10. India’s leading carmaker claims that the new MPV is likely to find takers in the rural markets; where such vehicles are used as a means of transport. Pegged as a family car with dual usage (cargo plus passengers), it has been built on the Versa platform and Maruti expects to sell about 40,000 Eecos in the first year. It is BS IV compliant and comes strapped with a 1200 cc petrol engine {and returns 15.1Km to a litre of petrol (as per ARAI). To be sold in three variants: 5-seater standard, 5-seater AC and a 7 seater, the car will be under C segment and is likely to be priced below Rs. 4 lakh.

Shashank Srivastava, chief GM for Maruti Suzuki, said, “The Versa was perhaps positioned incorrectly. Its initial positioning was two luxury cars in one - but customers did not view the Versa as a luxury car. We have learnt from customer feedback and the Eeco is not being positioned as a luxury vehicle at all. In fact, it will be priced lower than the Versa". Srivastava also asserted that the Omni van was selling well and, together with the Eeco, Maruti would aim for a larger slice of the 'C' segment that accounts for 8,000-10,000 unit sales per month. Depending on demand, the Eeco may also be launched in the cargo version.

The 1196ccc engine of Eeco generates 73bhp of raw power at 6000rpm and a high torque of 101Nm@3000rpm. The Eeco uses the 5 speed manual transmission system with the Diagonal Shift Assistance (DSA) technology which allows for a gear change without any break in continuity of the action, thereby improving the gear shift feeling. It will be available in six colours – Metallic Glistening grey, metallic silky silver, Metallic Midnight Black, Metallic Blue Blaze, Bright Red and Superior White. Furthermore, the Eeco is ELV (End of Life for Vehicles) compliant which means it uses Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Chromium within permissible limits.

According to Maruti’s official note, “Eeco is India’s answer to the big fat Indian family car. Functional in nature, Eeco has balanced design proportions. While the 155/R13LT sized tubeless tyres add to the smooth, yet powerful drive with a good grip on the road, the dual tone interiors in shades of beige and grey provide a rich and spacious feeling. Since its passenger-orieneted, the seats have been especially designed with integrated head-rest to make for a comfortable ride. Sliding doors eases entry and exit for passengers even in congested road conditions and the digital meter cluster adds to the driver convenience.”

Maruti Suzuki managing executive officer (engineering) I.V. Rao said, “The new car represents the growing expertise of our engineers to conceive, design and produce vehicles here. This is also in line with parent Suzuki Corp’s vision of turning India into a global hub for small car research and development.”

KCR dares Centre to delay Telangana

NEW DELHI: Incidents of violence, resignations from elected Telangana leaders, and dire threats to the Central government to immediately begin the creation of the new state took centrestage on Thursday in response to the Centre’s statement on Wednesday mooting “wide-ranging consultations” before proceeding on the Telangana commitment.

This forced the Centre to seriously mull a second states reorganization commission but TRS’ K Chandrasekhara Rao was quick to shoot down the proposal. Congress’ Telangana MPs demanded a time-frame for the creation of the new state.

Mr Rao made an impassioned speech to the Joint Action Committee formed by Telangana leaders from his party, the Congress, TDP and PRP, warning the Centre that dithering on its Telangana promise would spark a fire "which even the military will not be able to control". He spoke of Telangana as having a “history of sacrifices” and said “the people...would not be afraid of laying down their lives".

Backing up his words, the leader sent in his resignation as MP along with another TRS MP, while 11 Congress MPs and two from TDP also sent in their resignations. Though TRS and TDP leaders sent in their resignation to the Speakers of the Lok Sabha and state assembly, Congress MPs and several Congress MLAs faxed their resignations to party chief Sonia Gandhi. A total of 82 out of the Telangana 119 MLAs sent in their resignations to the Speaker or Ms Gandhi, as the case may be.

The violence in the protest against the Centre’s move to put the Telangana decision on hold began on Wednesday night itself near the Osmania University Campus in Hyderabad. By Thursday, it swelled further on the first day of the bandh called by the TRS. The shutdown has been called off on Christmas day but is unlikely to put an end to the on-going protests. TDP MLAs Nagam Janardhana Reddy and E Dayakar Rao who went to express solidarity with the Telangana cause were attacked on the Osmania University Campus and students damaged and upturned their vehicles.

Violent protests were also reported from other regions of Telangana with state transport and private buses being burnt, government offices being set on fire and protesters blocking rail and vehicular traffic.
Mr Rao’s appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ms Gandhi was backed by Congress’ own Telangana MLAs. “There is some confusion after the Centre’s statement on Wednesday night. There is no retraction on the formation of the state but there is nothing to suggest that it will take any further steps either. We just want to the Centre to spell out the time-frame for the new state. We are not against consultations,” Mr Ponnam Prabhakar, who was among the 11 MPs who faxed their resignations to Ms Gandhi said. The Congress leaders have sought time to meet Ms Gandhi but were unsuccessful and instead met her political secretary Ahmed Patel on Thursday. Nizamabad MP Madhu Yaskhi Goud said that Mr Patel had promised them that the Congress would not go back on its Telangana promise.

Thirteen state ministers of the Congress, who hail from Telangana also wanted to quit but were stopped by chief minister K Rosaiah who made a strong appeal for clam and peace in the state on Thursday morning as the agitation appeared to be getting out of hand.

ET Bureau

UN: Climate Deal Depends on India, China, Brazil, South Africa

23 December 2009

Copenhagen Climate Summit Ends with Meaningful First Step Deal

The head of a United Nations panel on climate change says several developing nations have emerged as key players for any future deal on global warming.

Speaking in New Delhi on Wednesday, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the emergence of India, China, Brazil and South Africa as a grouping was the most significant outcome of the climate talks in Copenhagen.

The four countries form what is called the BASIC group. Pachauri says developed nations will not be able to craft an agreement on climate change without them.

But he also had a warning for India, which says it safeguarded its interests by not signing a legally binding carbon emission cut.

Pachauri said India cannot allow its "words or actions to be interpreted as being only in India's national interest."

The next global meeting on climate change is scheduled for next year in Mexico.

On Tuesday, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi by phone to discuss continued cooperation on climate change.

Also Tuesday, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh hailed efforts by the BASIC group in thwarting what he called "relentless efforts" by rich countries to impose legally binding targets for carbon emission cuts.

He also said India is satisfied with the outcome of the Copenhagen summit, partly because the gathering failed to reach a legally binding agreement on specific targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eight Indian-origin CEOs at big US cos: Forbes

New York, Dec 22 (PTI) People with Indian roots are fast climbing up the American corporate ladder and today there are as many as eight such CEOs including the likes of Indra Nooyi and Vikram Pandit, who run big US corporations, according to a Forbes list titled, 'Eight Indian CEOs At Big US Companies.'

PepsiCo's Madras-born Indra Nooyi tops the list Indian-origin CEOs in the US.

"The chief executive of PepsiCo would be prominent no matter what. The fact that the current one--Indra Nooyi--is an Indian immigrant makes her all the more noteworthy," Forbes said.

The Nagpur-born Vikram Pandit, the embattled CEO of the ailing Wall Street giant Citigroup, is the other prominent native Indian in the corner office.

US, UK protest as India gets tough on visas

TNN 23 December 2009,

NEW DELHI: The tightening of visa norms following the unearthing of terror missions of Lashkar jihadi David Coleman Headley has raised a storm of protests from countries such as UK and US.

The new rules, to be notified next week, will apply to anyone needing a visa to come to India, even those of Indian origin. Essentially, they will stop the current system where an Indian tourist visa doubled up as a business visa.

The new rules say that if you are in India on a tourist visa and have stayed for over 90 days, you need to take a two-month "time-out" before returning.

This will hit hard thousands of foreign nationals living in India on long-term tourist visas. They prefer tourist visas to avoid the cumbersome process involved in securing a visa that can give them the right to residency.

There is another category which will be affected by the change in visa regime -- foreigners who arrive in India on tourist visas and use the country as the base for travel to nearby nations.

The change, prompted by the discovery of how Headley moved in and out of the country while plotting terror strikes against India, has caught many foreign tourists unawares, provoking howls of protest. The MEA too has asked the home ministry to reconsider these provisions, which are seen as drastic by many.

Headley was in India on a multiple-entry long-term visa when he charted out terror targets for Laskhar-e-Toiba. The videos prepared by him during his reccee of Mumbai were used by Lashkar terrorists in the 26/11 attack.

The protests have already led the home ministry to introduce a "rider" to make things easier, but this has not abated calls for a review of the decision.

British business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson, who is in India, met home minister P Chidambaram to request that the government rethink the visa policy. He said it would hurt British tourists who make India a base while travelling in the region.

The British High Commission confirmed to TOI that a letter had been sent to the Indian government over the last two days, asking for a review of the proposed visa guidelines.

Officials later indicated they would be "flexible" if, at the time of applying for a visa, the applicant tells the Indian visa officer that he will also be travelling to other countries in the region, using India as a hub. The visa will reflect the itinerary of the tourist, affording him more flexibility.

But it will entail, just like in any other country with multiple-entry visa norms, considerable paperwork. Here too, the discretion will lie with the visa officer concerned, which is always ground for irregularities.

Some government departments have questioned whether there is enough manpower to deal with the increased paperwork.

The issue represents the tussle between competing objectives of effective counter-terrorism and boosting tourism. While government feels that easier visa norms make it possible for terrorists like Headley and, early on, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammad Maulana Masood Azhar, to seek to target India, a tighter visa regime is fraught with the risk of putting off tourists.

Business visa norms have already been tightened after the government decided to clamp down on their misuse to bring in Chinese workers. Now, these workers will be required to take employment visas.

For Pakistan origin people from third countries, coming to India now will become a story of long waits because their visas will have to be processed by the home ministry in Delhi, which is not known for its efficiency or fast pace. This means Indian families with kin in Pakistan or other countries will find it difficult to have family events without going through interminable waits at the visa offices.

This would apply to people with third country passports but who have a Pakistani parent or even grandparent.

You may have to wait till April 2010 for mobile number portability

Dec 2009

NEW DELHI: The mobile users in India may now have to wait till April 2010 to be able to enjoy mobile number portability (MNP) services, a facility Facts on Indians mobile connections
Are touch-screen cellphones user-unfriendly?

that allows users to change their operator while retaining the number.

MNP was earlier scheduled to be implemented from January 1, 2010, in metros and large circles, while the rest of the country was slated to have access to this from April. At a review meeting on Friday to evaluate MNP preparedness between operators, DoT and Trai officials agreed to extend the deadline for metros to April 2010.

Both private operators and state-run telecom firms - BSNL and MTNL - during the meet said that while equipment for MNP was already in place, they can be tested and commission only by March next year.

In another move that could derail the implementation of MNP in the country, the home ministry has also pointed out that minority shareholders of US-based Telcordia Technologies were only a front, and had no experience in running telecom operations.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nifty ends below 5000 Mark

Friday, December 18, 2009

Indian markets ended lower today amid losses in Asian markets and a decline in realty and oil & gas counters. The Sensex fell 174 points to end at 16,719.

On the NSE, Nifty ended at 4,987, down 54 points.

Realty, oil & gas and banking stocks led the broad based decline in the markets. The BSE realty lost 2 per cent. Sobha Developers, Orbit Corp and Unitech shed over 3 per cent each.

The oil & gas index on the BSE fell 1.7 per cent. RIL and Gail India were down more than 2 per cent each.

Bank stocks also ended lower today. IDBI fell 3.2 per cent and Bank of India dropped 2.4 per cent. ICICI Bank also slipped 2 per cent to Rs 808.

In the Sensex pack, Reliance Industries was the top loser. The stock ended 2.3 per cent lower at Rs 1,010. Sterlite Ind and ICICI Bank shed more than 2 per cent each.

Tata Motors, however, was the biggest gainer. The stock closed up 3 per cent at Rs 732.

Asian stock markets retreated on Friday as worries — from weak job figures in the U.S. to the prospect of more stringent capital requirements for banks — checked appetite for riskier assets. European indexes rose.

Most Asian markets, fatigued after a massive rally since March, were down about 1 percent or less while the dollar fell from a three-month high against the euro but rose versus the yen.

Negotiations back on track; India says pressure paid off

Copenhagen, Dec 17 (PTI) India today said "sustained pressure" applied by the developing countries had led to the resumption of the two-track climate negotiations here, hours after the process appeared floundering as a group of developed nations worked on a secret document.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the negotiations had resumed on the two track process, even as he hailed the US announcement on a USD 100 billion annual financing fund as a "very important step".

"I think one good thing happened today, the negotiations have resumed on the two track process. I think the sustained pressure brought to bear by the developing countries has paid off," he said later.

He said India has a 75 per cent agreement with the US on "transparency" while 25 per cent disagreement (rpt) disagreement on "Monitoring, Reporting and Verification".

Monday, December 14, 2009

No solution in sight for political crisis in Andhra

Hyderabad December 14, 2009

The political crisis in Andhra Pradesh, triggered by the Telangana issue, showed no signs of easing on Sunday. It was not clear from the ministers, who had yesterday decided to quit opposing the formation of Telangana, if they would press for acceptance of their resignations or withdraw them. The ministers, all hailing from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, are likely to spell out their stand soon.

Andhra Pradesh Congress committee president D Srinivas hoped that no minister would step down and appealed to the legislators to withdraw resignations. The developments in the state have been conveyed to the Congress high command and the latter would take a decision on the matter. Ministers from the Telangana region are expected to meet shortly to chalk out their future strategy.

Congress senior legislator JC Diwakar Reddy, who was the first to submit his resignation, asked the Centre to depute an emissary to clarify doubts that arose after the central party issued statements on the Telangana issue.

Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) president K Chiranjeevi today met chief minister K Rosaiah at the latter’s residence and submitted a memorandum urging him to take steps for maintenance of law and order in the state. Chiranjeevi later told reporters that his party MLAs had submitted resignations in deference to the wishes of people of their respective constituencies.

Telugu Desam (TDP) MLAs Devineni Umamaheswara Rao (Mylavaram) and Chinnam Ramakotaiah (Nuzividu), former mayor of Vijayawada city P Anuradha and party leader B Umamaheswara Rao sat on an indefinite hunger strike in Vijayawada, the epicentre of the anti-Telangana protests.

Andhra MP Rajagopal arrested at Hyderabad airport

14 Dec 2009,

HYDERABAD: Congress MP from Vijayawada L. Rajagopal was arrested Monday at the airport here soon after he landed to launch an indefinite fast to oppose the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh, police said.

Tension prevailed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad on the city outskirts as Rajagopal's supporters tried to resist the arrest.

Police have taken Rajagopal to an undisclosed location in view of threats by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), student bodies and Congress leaders from Telangana region to stop him from launching any protest here.

The industrialist, whose Lanco Group of companies has huge business interests in Hyderabad, is against the central government's decision to give separate statehood to Telangana region, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad.

As tension was mounting in the city following TRS' allegations that Rajagopal was bringing hired goons from Vijayawada to create trouble in Hyderabad, police Sunday night raided several hotels and lodges in the city and arrested several supporters of the MP.

Andhra and Rayalseema regions of the state are witnessing protests for the last four days against the government's decision to initiate the process for granting separate statehood to Telangana

Volkswagen rolled out its first made-in-India car 'Polo'

The German Auto major Volkswagen rolled out its first made-in-India car ‘Polo’ at its plant at Chakan, near here in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

Chavan who welcomed the company's decision to set up Rs 3,800 crore plant at Pune with an annual capacity of manufacturing 110,000 cars, said the state government would extend support to it to achieve its full capacity utilization at the earliest.

"We have promised our voters that we will solve the energy problem in Maharashtra and put stop to load shedding in next three years," he said, adding that the government was committed to remove all difficulties relating to development of infrastructure for industrial growth.

The Chief Minister said the government was looking out for more employment generation opportunities and appealed to foreign investors to consider opening their new plants in backward regions of the state such as Vidarbha, Konkan and Marathwada.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tremors felt in Mumbai and western Maharashtra

Mumbai, Dec 12 (PTI)

Mumbai and parts of western Maharashtra experienced mild tremors this evening.

Tremors were felt in Sangli, Osmanabad, Ratnagiri and Satara districts and minor shocks were felt in Mumbai suburbs.

There were no immediate reports of any damage to life or property due to the quake, sources said.

The intensity of the tremors on the Richter scale was being ascertained, they said.

In Mumbai, a number of people felt mild tremors, and the police control room received several calls.

Volkswagen rolled out its first made-in-India car 'Polo'

Saturday , Dec 12, 2009

The German Auto major Volkswagen rolled out its first made-in-India car ‘Polo’ at its plant at Chakan, near here in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

Chavan who welcomed the company's decision to set up Rs 3,800 crore plant at Pune with an annual capacity of manufacturing 110,000 cars, said the state government would extend support to it to achieve its full capacity utilization at the earliest.

"We have promised our voters that we will solve the energy problem in Maharashtra and put stop to load shedding in next three years," he said, adding that the government was committed to remove all difficulties relating to development of infrastructure for industrial growth.

The Chief Minister said the government was looking out for more employment generation opportunities and appealed to foreign investors to consider opening their new plants in backward regions of the state such as Vidarbha, Konkan and Marathwada.

Violence mars bandh on united AP

December 12th, 2009
Bandh in support of unified state was successful amid tensions in Anantapur, Kadapa and Kurnool districts on Friday. In some places, windowpanes of buses and lorries were broken.

In Anantapur district, protesters stalled traffic on all highways, including National Highway No. 7. As thousands of RTC and private buses were stopped, organisations suffered loss to the tune of lakhs of rupees. Protesters torched the jeep of panchayat raj at Gooty. Activists of all parties and organisations took out a huge rally in Anantapur. Rail rokos were organised in Anantapur, Guntakal, Dharmavaram, Chennekothapalli, Penugonda and Hindupur.

Bees stung students, who tried to climb water tank in the Sri Krishnadevaraya University, to commit suicide. Among the six students injured, three were shifted to the Anantapur government hospital. All offices and business establishments were closed.

In Kadapa district, effigies of the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and the TRS president, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao, were set on fire at various places.

Councillors of Badvel and Rajampet municipalities and local body members resigned en masse. Lawyers boycotted courts and took out rallies. Several youth tried to commit suicide by climbing cellphone towers, water tanks and high rising buildings at various places.

The police prevented CK Dinne sarpanch Nagendraprasad Reddy, former Utukur MPTC member Satyanarayana Reddy from torching themselves.

Some persons destroyed Yerraguntla bus stand on Thursday night. Four RTC buses and 10 lorries were destroyed in Kadapa, Rayachoti and Pulivendula. Protesters damaged RTC inquiry office in Pulivendula RTC depot.

The police prevented protesters from damaging RTC buses of Telangana districts in Kadapa RTC garage. Congress Sevadal leader Nityananda Reddy and some others were taken into custody. Lorries of Telangana districts were destroyed at various places. Several trains were stopped. As heavy trees were felled, traffic was hit on Mydukur-Proddutur highway.

In Kurnool district, students broke windowpanes of two buses and two students attempted suicide in Nandyal area. Protesters damaged head post office, railway station and two private banks in Nandyal town.

Protesters also attacked ticket counter in Adoni railway station and MPDO office at Tuggali. Pilgrims were hit as bandh was total at Mantralayam.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Volks Wagon, Suzuki could create auto powerhouse in India

Mumbai, Dec. 9

Volkswagen and Suzuki could end up becoming an automobile powerhouse in India in the coming years following their decision to go in for a global cross-holding of equity.

VW will buy 19.9-per cent stake in Suzuki for ¥222.5 billion or $2.5 billion by January and the latter would invest half the amount to pick up a stake in the German carmaker. The companies said they had reached a common understanding to establish a close long-term strategic partnership. The goal is to establish a cooperative relationship while respecting each other's independence. Both VW and Suzuki also plan a joint approach to the growing worldwide demand for more environmentally friendly vehicles.

Suzuki is one of the biggest car brands in India thanks to the Maruti association for over 25 years now. In contrast, VW is a new entrant and due to launch its first locally made car, the Polo, early next year. VW's arm, Skoda, has been here for some time and carved a niche for itself as a premium brand.

Till not so long ago, General Motors had a 20 per cent stake in Suzuki and was tipped to use this as a plank to grow its India business. However, GM decided to buy out the ailing Daewoo business in South Korea and exited Suzuki.

How will the Suzuki-VW script pan out in India? For the Japanese carmaker, the biggest plus is access to VW's diesel engine technology. It now uses the GM-Fiat 1.3-litre diesel powertrain but will be inclined to moving to VW in the medium term.

Asked about the implications of the deal, Mr R. C. Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki, said: “The partnership would help in R&D areas and for entering new markets for both companies, where one may not have had presence before.”

For VW, the partnership will mean a foothold in Suzuki's cost-competitive foundation carefully built over the years. Localisation is the biggest challenge and VW may not have to worry much on this score now thanks to Suzuki and its robust in-house base of critical parts.

Sources say VW could even consider sourcing Suzuki's petrol engines till it reaches the kind of volumes that justify local manufacture of its own range. In fact, the possibilities of a Fiat sourcing arrangement for diesel engines cannot be ruled out, they add.

Both companies will, however, continue with their individual branding strategies in India. Synergies will help in keeping costs in check or sharing common platforms but the retail efforts will be exclusive.

VW buys $2.5 bn stake in Suzuki, a foothold in India

Dec 10, 2009

Europe’s Volkswagen will buy 19.9 per cent stake in Indian carmaker Maruti’s Japanese parent Suzuki for about $2.5 billion, a move aimed at enhancing its presence in small car segment in Asia.

Maruti Suzuki accounts for over half the cars on Indian roads, giving Volkswagen the volumes it needs to topple Toyota as the world’s largest carmaker with an estimated sales of seven million units this year. In return, Suzuki would benefit from the European company’s expertise in hybrid cars. “The automobile industry is going through a fundamental shift. Alliances are at the top of the agenda and they are indispensable for competition,” Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was quoted by Bloomberg as having told reporters in Japan.

While Volkswagen would pay $2.5 billion (over Rs 11,500 crore) for the partnership that will focus on making cars for emerging markets, Suzuki would use half of this amount to buy Volkswagen shares.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

MiG-29Ks for Gorshkov aircraft carrier reach India

New Delhi, Dec 5 (PTI) Ending a year-long wait, the first batch of MiG-29K naval fighter jets, purchased from Russia for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, arrived in Goa last evening, three years ahead of the warship.

These MiG-29Ks are part of the 16 ordered for USD 526 million in 2004 along with Gorshkov, which is expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy only by 2012-end.

"The first batch of the MiG-29K fighters' parts have landed in INS Hansa, the naval air station in Goa, last evening," Navy spokesperson Commander P V S Satish said here today.

The aircraft parts, packed in containers in a knocked down condition, landed here by an AN-124 cargo aircraft, considered to be the biggest operational military aircraft of Russian-Ukrainian origin.

Major cities at risk from rising sea level threat

December 2009
The predicted rise in sea levels would engulf island nations such as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and Tuvalu in the Pacific, devastate coastal cities such as Calcutta and Dhaka and force London, New York and Shanghai to spend billions on flood defences

Sea levels will rise by twice as much as previously predicted as a result of global warming, an important international study has concluded.

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) calculated that if temperatures continued to increase at the present rate, by 2100 the sea level would rise by up to 1.4 metres — twice that predicted two years ago.

Such a rise in sea levels would engulf island nations such as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and Tuvalu in the Pacific, devastate coastal cities such as Calcutta and Dhaka and force London, New York and Shanghai to spend billions on flood defences.

Even if the average global temperature increases by only 2C — the target set for next week’s Copenhagen summit — sea levels could still rise by 50cm, double previous forecasts, according to the report.

SCAR, a partnership of 35 of the world’s leading climate research institutions, made the prediction in the report Antarctic Climate Change and Climate. It far exceeds the 0.59 metre rise by the end of the century quoted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007. This was based on a “business as usual” approach by governments that allowed temperatures to rise by 4 degrees. It will underpin the negotiations in Copenhagen.

SCAR scientists said that the IPCC underestimated grossly how much the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets would contribute to total sea-level rises.

One of the world’s leading experts on climate science has called for the world to intensify efforts to control global warming by actively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

In an interview with The Times, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, said that geo-engineering, where carbon is stripped from the atmosphere using specialist technologies, would be necessary to control runaway damage to the climate. “At some point we will have to cross over and start sucking some of those gases out of the atmosphere.”

He added that world leaders meeting in Copenhagen should aim for a tighter target of no more than a 1.5C rise in global temperatures.

The IPCC report predicted that the melting of ice sheets would contribute about 20 per cent of the total rise in sea levels, with the majority coming from the melting of glaciers and the expansion of the water as it warms. It said that it was not able to predict the impact of melting ice sheets, but suggested this could add 10-20cm.

The SCAR report uses detailed climate observations over the past century linking temperature to sea levels to produce a more sophisticated estimate. It puts the likely contribution from ice sheets at more than 50 per cent.

The calculations were carried out by Stefan Rahmstorf, Professor of Physics of the Oceans at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Sceptics seized upon his figures as further evidence of the unreliability of climate change predictions.

“It’s 50cm, 60cm, 100cm — 60m if you ask James Hansen from Nasa,” said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation . “The predictions come in thick and fast, but we take them all with a pinch of salt. We look out of the window and it’s very cold, it doesn’t seem to be warming. We’re very concerned that 100-year policies are being made on the basis of these predictions”

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cricket-India on top rankings

Sun Dec 6, 2009

India won the final test against Sri Lanka by an innings and 24 runs on Sunday to clinch the three-match series 2-0 and secure their place at the top of the test rankings for the first time.

Sri Lanka may have thwarted India through the fourth day, but Zaheer Khan sliced through the remaining four wickets to take India to a 2-0 series win and the No. 1 spot in the ICC rankings. Zaheer started with a ripper in the first over to get rid of Kumar Sangakkar and finished his best performance of the series with his eighth five-wicket haul. This was the third time in the last four years that India had won two matches in a row; two of those braces came against Sri Lanka.

In comparison with day four, the end came swift. Sangakkara was yet to get his eye in again when Zaheer bowled the perfect left-armer's outswinger that took the edge. After that it was all a matter of time: both Rangana Herath and Nuwan Kulasekara succumbed to sharp short deliveries from Zaheer. Muttiah Muralitharan scored a quick 14 but edged Harbhajan Singh to MS Dhoni to kick off India's celebrations.

India wrapped up the tail in 7.4 overs to seal a 2-0 series victory that saw them displace South Africa at the top of the test rankings.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sehwag at 293 short of 7 for a world record third triple-century -India 726-9

Sehwag's 293, a robust 100 not out from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a string of half-centuries by the middle order fired the hosts to their highest ever total of 726-9 declared in reply to Sri Lanka's 393.

The tourists, trailing by 333 runs on the first innings, were 11-0 in their second knock at stumps on the third day on a wearing track at the Brabourne stadium.

Tharanga Paranavitana and Tillakaratne Dilshan survived three overs of spin before close, but Sri Lanka face a daunting task to avoid defeat over the next two days.

India's total surpassed their previous best of 705-7 declared against Australia at the Sydney cricket ground in January, 2004.

Sehwag had moved from his overnight score of 284 to 293 when he tapped a flighted ball from Muttiah Muralitharan back to the bowler who took the catch on second attempt.

A hush descended at the stadium where some 15,000 home fans had packed the stands anticipating a world record by the swashbuckling opener.

Sehwag returned to a warm applause for his 254-ball effort which was studded with 40 boundaries and seven sixes.

Off-spinner Muralitharan's first success after 21 overs costing 124 runs broke a second-wicket stand of 237 between Sehwag and Rahul Dravid that had lifted India to 458-2.

Sehwag's two triple centuries, matching Australian legend Don Bradman and West Indian great Brian Lara, were 309 against Pakistan in Multan in 2004 and 319 versus South Africa in Chennai last year.

Dravid fell soon after for 74, edging a wild drive off seamer Chanka Welegedara to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene to make it 487-3.

Dravid, who survived a confident appeal for a catch at the wicket off Rangana Herath earlier in the morning, hit five boundaries and a six.

But Sri Lanka's misery under the hot sun did not end as the famed Indian middle order flexed its muscle to lead a run-riot.

Sachin Tendulkar hit 53, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 71 with Venkatsai Laxman, when he was bowled by seamer Nuwan Kulasekara soon after lunch.

Laxman chipped in with 62 and Yuvraj Singh made 23, before both were dismissed before tea on a dusty pitch that provided turn to the slow bowlers.

Dhoni dominated the last session with a sparkling century that was achieved with a six off Herath over the mid-wicket boundary.

The Indian captain, who was on 50 when the ninth wicket fell, hit 50 off the last 56 runs in the company of number 11 Pragyan Ojha, who made just five.

Dhoni finished with six sixes and three boundaries, closing the innings as soon as he reached his hundred.

All the four specialist Sri Lankan bowlers conceded over 100 runs with Herath being the most expensive with 3-240 from 53.3 overs. Muralitharan finished with 4-195 from 51 overs.

India lead the three-match series 1-0 after an innings and 144-run victory in the second Test in Kanpur last week

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

India could be a new pole of global growth: World Bank president

Dec 01

Change is the great constant of the world economy. India was still a colony when the allied powers shaped the international architecture at the end of World War Two. Today, India is a rising economic power that is contributing to world growth in new and powerful ways.

With India’s strong human capital and cutting-edge innovation, it is clear the knowledge and technology content — the real competitive smart-edge of India’s exports — is going to rise.Economic reforms in India and China, and the export-driven growth strategies of East Asia all contributed in the last 20 years to a world market economy that surged from about 1 billion to 4 or 5 billion people. This shift offers enormous opportunities. But it has also shaken an international economic system forged in the middle of the 20th Century.

The international architecture needs to accommodate India and other powers whose growth rates far exceed those of developed countries. We must recognise this reality and anticipate the future — shape it or be shaped by it.

India is already an indispensable part of the global conversation. Its voice at the G-20 table is an important force for designing a future global architecture, not least because it has well-managed the impact of the economic crisis and is helping support the world’s recovery.

Shifting influence is also reflected in the numbers. As India’s $1.2 trillion economy returns to growth rates of eight to nine per cent, we can expect it to grow not only as a market but as a supplier of a range of services and increasingly knowledge-intensive goods.

With India’s strong human capital and cutting-edge innovation, it is clear the knowledge and technology content — the real competitive smart-edge of India’s exports — is going to rise. India’s increasing globalisation will be driven by the country becoming a source for some of these specialised products. As it further integrates with global production chains, it will do so not by making more of the same, but by making products of new value.

Of course, India still faces enormous challenges as a developing country yet if it can remove bottlenecks that slow its economy, then India is well positioned to become one of the new poles of global growth.

India will need innovative financing to move on its massive infrastructure agenda. I hope the World Bank Group can help to attract global partnerships for knowledge and funding. Access to finance is another area where changes will mean a difference to the lives of millions of citizens, that difference being a share in the opportunity of India’s growth.

There are also huge technology advances that India can put to work to make government more efficient, to make service delivery easier to monitor and track, and public financial flows more visible. Half a billion Indians now have cell phones.

This translates into a powerful information flow to — and critically from — some of the remotest and poorest areas.
A sustainable globalisation means an India that shares some of its remarkable achievements more widely. Call it South-South cooperation or good global citizenship, India has much to offer the world: lessons from its model of economic development; cooperation between private and public sectors to generate microeconomic efficiency and macroeconomic stability; working on global financial regulation as part of the G-20 task forces; and considering ways forward on migration and cross-border labour mobility.

Everyone cites India’s Green Revolution. But I’m even more intrigued by what is known as SRI, or system of rice intensification, and I know this is also an area of interest for PM Manmohan Singh. Using smart water management and planting practices, farmers in Tamil Nadu have increased rice yields between 30 and 80 per cent, reduced water use by 30 per cent, and now require significantly less fertilizer. This emerging technology not only addresses food security but also the water scarcity challenge that climate change is making all the more dangerous. These are all lessons for our world.

India’s status as a rising economic power is closely connected with how it can create opportunity and inclusion. It’s not an option to exclude hundreds of millions of Indians from the country’s growing prosperity. One in three of the world’s poor are in India and the country has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, with 44 per cent of children born underweight. Actions to address poverty widely — and education, health, rural roads and livelihoods more specifically —have a renewed urgency.

The World Bank Group can support India through assistance with urban development, transport and power infrastructure; elementary and secondary education; and agricultural and rural development. India is now the biggest client for IFC, the group’s private sector arm, with $1 billion a year invested over the last three years. IFC is improving access to infrastructure and finance, and addressing climate change as central to its work. Working together, India and the World Bank Group can become even stronger partners as India rises both at home and abroad.

Dubai tourism already pressured by the global economic downturn

Nov. 30, 2009,

With its massive residential, commercial and leisure developments built on oil revenue (and, as it turns out, a foundation of shaky debt), Dubai has been steadily modeling itself for more than a decade into an upscale tourist destination and a regional entrepot for those people and companies looking to do business in the Persian Gulf region.

Already pressured by the global economic downturn, its success could be in further danger as Dubai World, the emirate's investment and holding arm, teeters on the edge of defaulting on $60 billion worth of debt. Those IOUs piled up during its relentless expansion of domestic and foreign investments, largely in real estate.

Dubai Will Hang Over Market SentimentDubai's debt problem may be small in the greater scale of things but it could still have ramifications for how other sovereign-related debt is treated and cap any recovery in global risk appetite.
In addition to major projects on its home turf, Dubai World owns about 6% of the outstanding shares of casino giant MGM Mirage and a half stake in that company's CityCenter project -- an $8 billion-plus mixed-use development on the Las Vegas Strip. At one point earlier this year, the partners were busily suing each other over Dubai's World financial obligations to get the project finished, an early sign of the country's troubles.

All was eventually settled amicably with CityCenter being fully funded and on track to open its first phase next month. On Monday, Jim Murren, chief executive of MGM Mirage, acknowledged the company has "no financial exposure" to Dubai World's troubles and noted the partners negotiated a cross-default provision as part of the agreement.

Global aspirations
Long an island of peace and prosperity in a volatile region, the relatively laid-back emirate has had considerable success attracting visitors drawn by everything from its world-class horse races (sans gambling) and an indoor ski slope to the chance to buy into "the World" -- a development of 300 man-made islands arranged roughly in the shape of the seven continents.

Its government takes a far more relaxed approach to recreation than most of its neighbors, with alcohol freely available and beach attire common. There are no cane-wielding clerics patrolling the streets, and while it is far from say, New Orleans when it comes to atmosphere, it is practically Gomorrah compared with other nations in the region, like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

That has attracted both homegrown and international chains to build out thousands of rooms, with Hilton Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. , Hyatt Hotels Corp. , Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC and Marriott International Inc among the companies boasting branded properties there.

By some measures, things have held together relatively well during the recession. Tourist arrivals to Dubai were up 5% through the first half of 2009, largely on the back of slashed hotel rates and an aggressive marketing campaign. Its Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said 3.85 million visitors came in the first half of the year. In contrast, 10 years ago Dubai had about 3 million visitors annually; 20 years ago, it was barely 600,000.

Dubai World

However, while the total number of guests staying at hotels is up so far this year, a glut of new supply has dragged down average occupancy to less than 70% from the more than 87% experienced between January and June last year, according to a survey by STR Global.

Dubai ended the first half with about 58,000 hotel rooms, an increase of 17%, and thousands more are due to enter the pipeline in the next few years. (Las Vegas, which also is suffering in the downturn, has just more than twice as many hotel rooms but about five times as many annual visitors.)

Worse, revenue per available room, a key industry metric known as RevPAR, fell by 36% just last month, STR said, as rates were slashed. A cursory check of online-travel sites will turn up four- and even five-star hotel properties offering accommodations for as little as $100 a night.

Those drops are taking a toll even as oil prices stay near the $80 mark. Unlike some of the other emirates like Abu Dhabi, Dubai gets just 6% of its revenue from oil and gas. Production peaked in the early 1990s, the same time it began marketing itself as a commercial center and began a building boom that continued until the bottom fell out of the global real-estate markets last year.

"There was lot of development, a lot of high-end hotels and retailers moving in, trying to make Dubai a luxury destination," said Michelle Chang, an analyst with Morningstar. "The downturn put a damper on that."

Longer term, the prospects for a rebound "are hard to say, but in the near term, the added capacity is likely to put added pressures on all the operators," she elaborated.

Globally, with capacity growth slowing down, Chang added that "generally speaking for 2010, we are expecting occupancy to stabilize but room rates to remain fairly depressed."

Market watch Reports