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Eros International announces partnership with Home Cable Network

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd today announced the launch of a partnership between Home Cable Network Private Ltd, one of the largest multiple system operators (MSOs) in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), and ErosNow, its online entertainment service.
 
This subscription-based broadband streaming service will enable Home Cable Network’s customer base to view content from Eros’ library of films and music on multiple devices like smart-TVs, PCs, laptops, tablets and mobiles, a press release from the company said.
 
“ErosNow is the only unique online streaming service in the world to offer both current and classic Bollywood blockbusters, music videos and popular television shows. We are pleased to be partnering with a leading player like Home Cable and make our extensive film content available to their vast subscriber base. With this pairing we continue to extend the reach of ErosNow as a leading digital entertainment brand," Rishika Lulla, CEO, ErosNow said.
 
The release said that, as a dedicated online streaming entertainment service, ErosNow showcases premium Bollywood content through a catalogue of current and classic Bollywood films, TV shows and music. The ErosNow platform currently offers users thousands of new and catalogue movies from Eros as well as other major Bollywood studios, a large selection of premium television content syndicated from major TV studios as well as thousands of music videos and audio tracks.
 
Home Cable delivers high speed 50 Mbps as the default minimum speed to its broadband subscribers.
 
The streaming services will be offered at attractive monthly subscription prices with a base price for unlimited viewing of movies, the release added.
 
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Former Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati passes away in Mumbai

Goolam Vahanvati

Former Attorney General of India Goolam Essaji Vahanvati died at a private hospital here today after suffering a heart attack.
 
He was 65. He is survived by his wife and son.
 
Mr Vahanvati was appointed as the 13th Attorney General, the country's top law officer, on June 8, 2009 soon after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) returned to power for a second term in May that year.
 
The appointment was for a period of three years, but he was given a two-year extension later. He had resigned after the Narendra Modi government assumed office on May 26 this year.
 
He was the Solicitor General from June 2004 during the first term of the UPA government.
 
Prior to that, he had served from December, 1999 for about four and a half years as the Advocate General of Maharashtra. He had represented the State of Maharashtra in the Public Interest Litigation filed in relation to the Telgi fake stamp paper scam.
 
According to sources, Mr Vahanvati was suffering from a lung infection for some time and had been admitted to a city hospital, where he breathed his last today.
 
"Sad to hear of the passing away of Former Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati . Deepest condolences to his family," Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
He was an alumnus of the St. Xavier's College and the Government Law College in Mumbai.
 
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Tendulkar's autobiography "Playing It My Way" to be released on Nov 6

Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who bid adieu to the game after playing his 200th Test match in Mumbai on November 16 last year, is writing the story of his life, titled "Playing It My Way -- My Autobiography" that will be released simultaneously all over the world on November 6.
 
‘I knew that agreeing to write my story would need me to be completely honest, as that’s the way I have always played the game. It would require talking about a number of aspects I have not shared in public before," Tendulkar, 41, said.
 
"So here I am, at the end of my final innings, having taken that last walk back to the pavilion, ready to recount as many incidents as I can remember since first picking up a cricket bat as a child in Mumbai thirty-five years ago," he added.
 
The release noted that, despite his celebrity status, Sachin Tendulkar has always remained a very private man, devoted to his family and his country. 
 
"Now, for the first time, he provides a fascinating insight into his personal life and gives a frank and revealing account of a sporting life like no other," it said.
 
Hodder & Stoughton editor Roddy Bloomfield said, "Over the past twenty-five years Sachin Tendulkar’s colossal batting triumphs for India have singled him out as one of the greatest players in cricket history. He is universally admired and respected and most impressively remains a very modest man.
 
"I can’t over-emphasize the pleasure it gives me to announce that Hodder & Stoughton will be publishing Sachin Tendulkar’s inspirational autobiography in November of this year," he said.
 
The book will be simultaneously released all over the world and in India will be represented by Hachette India.
 
Tendulkar was conferred the nation's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, by the government on the day he announced his retirement from the game. He is also a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India's highest sporting honour.
 
During an amazing career that lasted all of 24 years, since he began playing cricket at the highest level at the age of 16, Tendulkar's outstanding abilities and many achievements made him a living legend and an inspiration for millions across the globe.
 
He is the highest run-scorer in the history of international cricket. In all, he scored 15921 Test runs at an average of 53.78. He hit 51 Test centuries and 68 half-centuries. His highest Test score is 248 not out.
 
In June last year, Tendulkar became a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament, the first active sportsman to serve as one.
 
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Tendulkar is the only cricketer to have scored a hundred centuries in international cricket, including 49 ODI centuries and 51 Test hundreds. He was the first batsman to cross 15,000 runs in Test cricket and has played the highest number of Test and ODI matches.
 
Born on April 24, 1973, the diminutive top-order right-hand batsman has played 463 one-day internationals and scored 18426 runs from 452 innings, for an average of 44.83 and a highest score of 200 not out -- the first double century by anyone in this format of the game.
 
He has also taken 154 wickets in ODIs with an average of 44.48. He played only one T20 International, against South Africa at Johannesburg on December 1, 2006. He has taken 46 wickets in Test matches at an average of 54.17, with best figures of 3 for 10.
 
He made his Test debut against Pakistan when he was only 16 at Karachi on November 15, 1989. He made his ODI debut against Pakistan at Gujranwala on December 18 that year. His last ODI was also against Pakistan at Dhaka on March 18, 2012.
 
Tendulkar, known as the Little Master, had turned his batting into a form of fine art with precise stroke-making, a perfect sense of anticipation and timing and a keen cricket mind.
 
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John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri launch Reebok's first Fitness Studio in Mumbai

Bollywood actors John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri doing the Zumba at the launch of Reebok's first ever Fitness Studio at its Fit-Hub  store at Linking Road in Mumbai on September 2, 2014.
Bollywood actors John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri doing the Zumba at the launch of Reebok's first ever Fitness Studio at its Fit-Hub store at Linking Road in Mumbai on September 2, 2014.
Fitness brand Reebok today announced the launch of its first-ever Reebok Fitness Studio, a format situated within its Fit-Hub store at Linking Road here.
 
The first ‘store and studio’ is aimed at meeting the fitness needs of Indian consumers and will enable them to engage in fitness activities such as dance, aerobics and yoga.
 
The studio was inaugurated by popular Bollywood actors and Reebok brand ambassadors John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri.
 
Erick Haskell, MD Reebok India said, “It gives us immense pleasure to launch the world’s first-ever Reebok Fitness Studio in Mumbai, and empower our customers to embark on their fitness journey. It is all the more exciting that India is the first Reebok market to have developed and implemented this concept. We are hoping to receive a great response to this new addition, and aim to have 10 such ‘store and studio’ formats spread across all parts of the country by the end of 2015, thereby truly spreading the message of fitness and encouraging people to be ‘Fit for Life’.”
 
Somdeb Basu, Brand Director, Reebok India said, “After the great response we have received for our Fit Hub concept stores across the country, we are extremely happy to announce the launch of our first ‘store and studio’ format in Mumbai. The Fit Hub concept is designed to guide customers on their fitness journey and provide a flexible and appealing retail space to meet their fitness needs. With the addition of the new Fitness Studio, these Fit Hub stores aim to truly serve as a one-stop fitness destination helping for our customers, and help them achieve their fitness goals.”
 
Abraham commented, “Being a fitness enthusiast myself, it is exciting to be a part of Reebok’s fitness movement and inspire my fans to inculcate a fit lifestyle. The new store and fitness studio is amazing and will definitely give people a holistic fitness experience.”
 
The face of Reebok India’s Studio collection for women, Fakhri, said: “The whole concept of having a fitness studio attached to a store is completely new and refreshing. Activities such as Zumba, Aerobics and Yoga are really popular with people across all age groups in the country, and it is great that they can now partake in these activities right here at the Reebok Fit Hub store.”
 
A press release from Reebk said each Fit Hub store is designed to give a look and feel of a gym with fixtures that replicate gym equipment such as pull up grids, genuine gym flooring and jump boxes as seating, providing customers a one-of-a-kind retail fitness experience. The stores also have clearly demarcated merchandise sections for different fitness activities such as training, running, and aerobics, dance and yoga.
 
Apart from first-in-class products equipped with advanced technology, consumers can now also indulge in studio fitness activities such as Aerobics, Dance and Yoga conducted by Reebok trainers, led by Reebok Master Trainer Vinata Shetty.
 
Initiated in 2013 in India, Reebok's Fit Hub stores have become popular across important markets such as Delhi, Mumbai Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai, reaching 100 stores in 50 cities.
 
Reebok has 400 exclusive franchise stores and a 1000-member strong instructor alliance.
 
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IRB achieves financial closure for Solapur-Yedeshi road project

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Road developer IRB Infrastructure Developers Limited has announced that Solapur Yedeshi Tollway Pvt. Ltd., the special purpose vehicle for the Solapur-Yedeshi project has tied up project finance of Rs 910 crore.
 
The total cost of the project is Rs 1492 crore, out of which viability gap funding from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will be Rs 189 crore and the remaining will be funded through project finance of Rs 910 crore.
 
The average cost of this project finance is approx. 11.75% per annum, a press release from the company said.
 
A consortium of lenders comprising IDBI Bank Limited, the lead institution, India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd. (IIFCL), Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank and Indian Overseas Bank, have financed this project.
 
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Soundarya Rajinikanth joins Eros International as Director Creative & Strategy

Soundarya Rajinikanth
Soundarya Rajinikanth
Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited has announced the appointment of Soundarya A Rajinikanth as Director Creative & Strategy for Eros and head of the company’s digital initiatives including ErosNow in south India. 
 
In her dual role, Soundarya will be spearheading Eros Digital across all the new media platforms including ErosNow, it’s on demand entertainment portal and lend her creative expertise to the company’s filmed content, a press release from the company said.
 
“We are delighted to welcome Soundarya to the leadership team at Eros. We are in an exciting phase in the company with significant progress in the digital space including ErosNow, mobile, DTH, IPTV and broadband. Soundarya’s experience in the digital domain makes her an ideal candidate to spearhead Eros’ digital strategy and make strategic inroads in South India," Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO - Eros International Media Ltd said.
 
“I am very happy to get involved and be a part of the digital and creative processes at Eros.  Eros is an established global player with the advantage of a large content library and a vision to make quality content for the future. With a fantastic film slate lined up and such exciting digital opportunities, I am looking forward to bringing on board my experience with technology and creative inputs. With the growing south industry, its rich catalogue of content and a captive audience base, we are confident of driving further growth and making our presence felt strongly," Soundarya said.
 
Along with her new role at Eros, Soundarya will continue with her passion of directing films. She is presently scripting her next venture, to be produced by Eros, the release added.
 
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Jaipur Panthers beat UMumba 35-24 to win Star Sports Pro Kabaddi league

Jaipur Pink Panthers, the winners of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, with their owner and film actor Abhishek Bachchan in Mumbai on August 31, 2014.
Jaipur Pink Panthers, the winners of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, with their owner and film actor Abhishek Bachchan in Mumbai on August 31, 2014.
Jaipur Pink Panthers outplayed UMumba 35-24 in the final to win the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League here tonight.
 
The final took place in front o a crowd that was equally divided in its support for both the home team as well as the Jaipur team, with its immense talent and Bollywood backing.
 
Both teams were equally placed for most of the match, but the final five minutes saw the Panthers surging ahead to an 11-point win.
 
The match began with both teams playing on a cautious note, but there was enough drama as the night unfolded.
 
The first ten minutes saw lightning raids and strong tackles that sent raiders flying out of the lobby as neither team was prepared to yield any ground.
 
But the 11th minute saw the scales turn in the Panthers' favour. Two tactical mistakes from the Mumbai team had left them with only Rishank Devadiga, who was hopelessly outnumbered an could not outsmart the Jaipur defence. Thus an all-out put the Panthers ahead 13 – 7. They would fight to maintain this lead with tooth and nail, and their determination would be well rewarded. 
 
An impossible escape from Shabeer Sharfudheen gave UMumba 2 points, as the spectators were treated to Shabeer spinning himself out of a full-faced grab by two Panthers.
 
This was followed by a successful tackle and Mumbai was able to bring the scores to 16 – 12, closing in on the Panthers' lead. But after Jaipur closed the first half by a single handed, wrecking-ball tackle of Anup by Prashant Chavan, Jaipur was prepped to dominate once again. 
 
Exhibiting the same defensive fortitude that had humiliated Patna in the semi-finals, Jaipur gave the Mumbai team nothing, while Maninder and Jasvir took the players apart. Faced with an all-out in the 30th minute, the last man crumbled under the Panther attack, and the lead grew to 27 – 15. As the clock clicked on, Jaipur would not ease up at all.
 
As Jasvir walked the centre line in the final minute, running out the final time, it was with the proud knowledge that his team would go down forever as the first champions of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. His victory would be preserved in history alongside the final score, with the crushing defeat of U Mumba and a score of 35 – 24.
 
Amongst the individual winners, Arjuna Awardee and the vice-captain of the Indian National Kabaddi Team, Anup Kumar one of the most experienced players in the league, was awarded the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi Most Valuable Player Award. Averaging at 5 raids per game, his style has been consistent throughout his career and was reflected in his captaincy of the UMumba team. 
 
Rahul Chaudhari of the Telugu Titans was awarded Best Raider of the tournament, an award in recognition of scoring a record 23 raid points in a single match against UMumba in Vizag, and becoming the first raider to cross the century benchmark. The 21-year-old, always a trump card for the Telugu Titans, at 151 raid points was tonight Rs. 75,000 richer as he was named the top raider of the first Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League.  
 
The Top Defender of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League was chart topper and all-rounder Manjit Chillar, who was one of Bengaluru Bulls’ most effective weapons. Leading the Bulls’ charge, Manjit’s experience provided him with that additional mojo that helped him to oust as many players as possible. An ankle-hold specialist, Manjit Chillar’s grip on the raider’s mind is also what made him formidable.
 
Earlier, in the first match of the night for the third place, Patna Piraes bulldozed Bengaluru Bulls 29-22.
 
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Essar Global Fund Limited exits its telecom investment in Kenya

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Essar Capital, the fund manager of Essar Global Fund Limited (EGFL), which through its portfolio company Essar Telecom Kenya Limited (ETKL), operates the yuMobile telecom service in Kenya, today announced the signing of binding agreements with Safaricom and Airtel for sale of its telecom business in Kenya for approximately $ 120 million. 
 
The divestment will see Safaricom take over ETKL’s Network, IT & Office infrastructure while Airtel will acquire the company’s subscribers, a press release from the company said.
 
The transaction has received approval from the Communication Authority (CA) in Kenya, subject to all parties involved in the transaction meeting certain pre-conditions. 
 
The transaction will now be filed with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) for approval. Essar Capital expects the transaction to conclude during the fourth quarter of 2014. yuMobile will continue to operate and serve customers offering uninterrupted services.
 
yuMobile’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Madhur Taneja said: “We would like to reassure our customers that they will continue enjoying our products and services uninterrupted. We have structured the transaction such that our customers will not need to change their mobile numbers or sim cards, post this transaction. Moreover, we expect that the intended transaction will bring bigger benefits through an expanded product bouquet to the customers.”
 
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Mr Taneja further expressed his delight that as a part of the transaction, close to 90% of the yuMobile’s employees will be absorbed by Safaricom and Airtel.
 
EGFL, together with its partners, invested in ETKL in 2007-2008. The investment led to an upgrade in infrastructure, improved customer service offerings and brought new and innovative marketing strategies to the Kenyan mobile telecommunications market.
 
Mr Firdhose Coovadia, Board Member of Essar Capital, said: “The ETKL transaction is another step towards achieving Essar Capital’s strategy of divesting EGFL’s investments in the global telecommunications sector. We also believe that the transaction with Safaricom and Airtel will provide for much needed consolidation in the Kenyan mobile telecommunications market and provide customers with fewer mobile operators, better equipped to enhance service delivery and provide customers with greater product offerings.”
 
The divestment of ETKL represents EGFL’s second significant portfolio exit in the last few months, following the sale in July of its US-based outsourcing company, Aegis US, to Teleperformance for $ 610 million.
 
Essar Telecom Kenya Limited is the country’s third largest mobile cellular network under the brand yuMobile. It launched its operation in December 2008 and currently has a base of 2.55 million subscribers.
 
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UMumba to face Jaipur in final of inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi

Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Hosts UMumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers will clash in the final of the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League after beating Bengaluru Bulls and Patna Pirates, respectively, in the semi-finals here tonight.
 
While Jaipur stormed into the final by trouncing Patna Pirates 38-18 in the completely one-sided first semi-final, UMumbai managed to get past Bengaluru 27-23 in the second semi-final.
 
U Mumba led through most of the match, with the Bulls managing to get ahead for a few minutes in the first half but surrendering the advantage soon after when their skipper was sent packing by all-rounder Rishank Devadiga.
 
The ouster, which provided the much needed breakthrough for the Mumbai boys, was followed up with Rajesh Mondal’s exit and two points as Rishank escaped Bengaluru’s four-man defence. 
 
Even Ajay Thakur’s heroics could not help the Bulls as they gifted Mumbai the first LONA points of the match in the 12th minute. With a seven-point lead and an insatiable hunger for points, U Mumba scored their thirteenth point, leaving Bengaluru high and dry towards the end of the first half. With seconds to go for the break, Mumbai’s best raider and the top raider amongst the finalists, Anup Kumar did what he did best, taking the score to 15-9 by half-time.
 
The second half began with Rishank walking out, reducing the Mumbai team to three. Despite the stacking odds towards an all out, Bengaluru’s star raider Ajay was captured by Anup Kumar and Mohit Chillar in the 34th minute, allowing them a chance at redemption. 
 
Mohit’s brilliance as a defender shone through as he executed the perfect tackles against Manjit and Ajay Thakur. 
 
Mumbai’s best defender Surender Nada also joined the party by single-handedly sending the Bull’s captain back. Re-introduced for the second time in the 33rd minute, Mumbai’s Pawan Kumar failed yet again, reducing the Orange brigade to four. After denying Bengaluru Bulls LONA points for a long time, Mumbai gave in, conceding their first LONA in the 37th minute. Though it offered two vital points to Bengaluru, it was a little too late as the Bulls were tamed 27-23.
 
Earlier, Jaipur established themselves as the stronger team within the first 15 minutes of the first semi-final and went on to dominate the proceedings for the rest of the match.
 
Both teams began cautiously before Patna began the fireworks when their best raider Ravi Dalal scored an outstanding three-point raid, sending back Rajesh Narwal, Navneet Gautam and Prashant Chavan of the Panthers.
 
The league got its first chance to use a TV referral, as a turbo-charged Maninder Singh slammed into Rakesh Kumar, knocking them both clear out of the lobby. The referees gave both teams points.
 
Moments later, a brave attempt from Sandeep Narwal failed against Jaipur’s impenetrable defence and Patna was left a four-man army by the seventh minute. 
 
After tying at five, Jasvir Singh clawed down Patna’s defence, earning a crucial one-point lead. The lone man standing, Rakesh Kumar, revived his team but gave away the first LONA points of the night, with a hope of a better, stronger comeback. 
 
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Nursing an injury, Rakesh was ousted by an easy tackle from the Panthers immediately after. With an escalating lead and a diminishing team, Patna’s inability to handle pressure showed as Maninder reduced them to two men, prompting Patna’s second all-out in the 17th minute. The Pirates were able to derive some satisfaction before halftime by taking out the juggernaut Maninder Singh, but with the first-half clearly dominated by Jaipur, the score was 20-7 at the break.
 
As the second half began, Patna was denied yet another chance to come back as, one by one, Rakesh, Ravi and Sandeep were sent back, the latter tackled just a few centimetres away from the centre line. As the Panthers continued to race ahead, their lead extended to twenty points as Ravi failed against the strong defence of the Panthers, granting them their third LONA. 
 
With seven minutes to go and a lot of ground to cover, Rakesh’s lack of form put his team on the back foot again, setting them back by 11 points. Playing his first game, Bashimov was able to gain a point which did not help much as Patna conceded their fourth LONA, giving Jaipur an unassailable lead. 
 
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Jaipur Pink Panthers storm into final of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League

Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Jaipur Pink Panthers stormed into the finals of the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League by trouncing Patna Pirates 38-18 in the completely one-sided first semi-final of the tournament here tonight.
 
Jaipur established themselves as the stronger team within the first 15 minutes and went on to dominate the proceedings for the rest of the match.
 
Both teams began cautiously before Patna began the fireworks when their best raider Ravi Dalal scored an outstanding three-point raid, sending back Rajesh Narwal, Navneet Gautam and Prashant Chavan of the Panthers.
 
The league got its first chance to use a TV referral, as a turbo-charged Maninder Singh slammed into Rakesh Kumar, knocking them both clear out of the lobby. The referees gave both teams points.
 
Moments later, a brave attempt from Sandeep Narwal failed against Jaipur’s impenetrable defence and Patna was left a four-man army by the seventh minute. 
 
After tying at five, Jasvir Singh clawed down Patna’s defence, earning a crucial one-point lead. The lone man standing, Rakesh Kumar, revived his team but gave away the first LONA points of the night, with a hope of a better, stronger comeback. 
 
Nursing an injury, Rakesh was ousted by an easy tackle from the Panthers immediately after. With an escalating lead and a diminishing team, Patna’s inability to handle pressure showed as Maninder reduced them to two men, prompting Patna’s second all-out in the 17th minute. The Pirates were able to derive some satisfaction before halftime by taking out the juggernaut Maninder Singh, but with the first-half clearly dominated by Jaipur, the score was 20-7 at the break.
 
As the second half began, Patna was denied yet another chance to come back as, one by one, Rakesh, Ravi and Sandeep were sent back, the latter tackled just a few centimetres away from the centre line. As the Panthers continued to race ahead, their lead extended to twenty points as Ravi failed against the strong defence of the Panthers, granting them their third LONA. 
 
With seven minutes to go and a lot of ground to cover, Rakesh’s lack of form put his team on the back foot again, setting them back by 11 points. Playing his first game, Bashimov was able to gain a point which did not help much as Patna conceded their fourth LONA, giving Jaipur an unassailable lead. 
 
Jaipur Pink Panthers will now play the winners of the second semi-finals between U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls.
 
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Injured opener Rohit Sharma ruled out of ODI series against England

Rohit Sharma. Photo by Sandeep Shetty-IPL-SPORTZPICS
Rohit Sharma. Photo by Sandeep Shetty-IPL-SPORTZPICS
Opening batsman Rohit Sharma has suffered a finger injury and has been ruled out of the one-day international (ODI) and T20 international series against England.
 
"Rohit Sharma has sustained a fracture on the middle finger of his right hand, and has been ruled out of the ongoing ODI and T20 International Series against England, as a result," the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said.
 
BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said its All-India Senior Selection Committee had picked Murali Vijay, whad flown back home after the Test series, as Sharma's replacement. "Vijay will join the squad in England at the earliest," he added.
 
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India’s forex reserves fall by $ 810.7 million to $ 318.58 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 810.7 million to $ 318.58 billion in the week ended August 22, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said today.
 
The reserves had risen by $ 43.3 million to $ 319.39 billion in the previous week after falling for two consecutive weeks.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, fell by $ 783 million to $291.318 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 21.174 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) fell by $ 19.8 million to $ 4.396  billion during the week.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $ 7.9 million to $ 1.691 billion during the period, the bulletin added.
 
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Goods train derails at Karanjadi on Konkan Railway, disrupts services

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Seven wagons of a goods train derailed this moring at Karanjadi railway station, about 205 km from here, on the Konkan Railway, disrupting train services on the section.
 
A press release from the Central Railway said four of the wagons had capsized in the mishap, which occurred at 6.28 am.
 
Accident relief trains from Kurla and the Konkan Railway have left for the site of the derailment for restoration of traffic.
 
The Central Railway said the following trains had been cancelled/short terminated/ diverted and passengers were being transhipped:
 
TRAINS CANCELLED ON 24.8.2014
1. 01003 Dadar-Sawantwadi special
2. 12051 Dadar-Madgaon Janshatabdi Express
3. 02005 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Karmali Double Decker Premium Special
4. 10103 Mumbai-Madgaon Mandvi Express
 
TRAINS SHORT TERMINATED ON 24.8.2014
1. 50105 Diva-Sawantwadi Road Passenger at Roha
 
TRAINS DIVERTED ON 24.8.2014 VIA PANVEL-KARJAT-PUNE-MIRAJ-LONDA
1. 16345 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Thiruvanthapuram Netravati Express
2. 19578 Hapa-Tirunelveli Express
 
TRANSHIPMENT OF PASSENGERS ON KONKAN RAILWAY
1. 12450 Chandigarh-Madgaon Sampark Kranti Express
2. 12618 Hazrat Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Mangala Express
 
The Railways have requested passengers to check the status of the trains on this route on telephone number.139.
 
They can also do so on these websites: enquiry.indianrail.gov.in/ntes and 
 
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Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan transferred to Mizoram

K Sankaranarayanan
K Sankaranarayanan
The President today transferred Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan and appointed him as the Governor of Mizoram for the remainder of his term.
 
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan issued shortly after midnight last night said Mr Om Prakash Kohli, the Governor of Gujarat, would discharge the functions of the Governor of Maharashtra, in addition to his own duties, until a regular arrangement for the office of the Governor of Maharashtra was made.
 
Mr Sankaranarayanan, 81, who was earlier Governor of Jharkhand and Nagaland, took over as the Governor of Maharashtra on January 22, 2010. He was given a fresh term of five years and took oath as the Governor of Maharashtra for the second time on May 7, 2012.
 
The post in Mizoram had fallen vacant on August 6 after the President sacked Governor Kamla Beniwal.
 
Ms Beniwal, who was earlier the Governor of Gujarat, had been transferred to Mizoram only a month before that on July 6 for the remainder of her term.
 
During her tenure in Gujarat, Ms Beniwal had several differences with then Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is now the Prime Minister, on issues like the appointment of a Lokayukta and various Bills.
 
The opposition Congress had accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre of indulging in political vendetta against governors appointed by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, but the Centre denied there were any political considerations in the removal of Ms Beniwal.
 
The Government defended its action and referred to various allegations against Ms Beniwal.
 
Ms Beniwal was among the several governors appointed by the Congress-led UPA regime who had refused to send in their resignations though the new government had made it amply clear that they were overstaying their welcome.
 
Ms Beniwal, 87, a Congress leader from Rajasthan, was due to complete her tenure in two months. 
 
Ms Beniwal was the second Governor to be sacked after the Modi government assumed office on May 26. On July 11, Mr Virendra Kataria had been removed as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
 
Soon after assuming office, the new regime had sent clear signals that it would like Governors appointed by the previous UPA government to step down. Five of them sent in their papers in the days that followed, including Mr B L Joshi in Uttar Pradesh, Mr M K Narayanan in West Bengal, Mr Ashwani Kumar of Nagaland, Mr Shekhar Dutt of Chhattisgarh and Mr Bharat Vir Wanchoo of Goa. 
 
Mr Vakkom Purushothaman, who was shifted from Mizoram to Nagaland after Ms Beniwal was moved from Gujarat to Mizoram, resigned in protest against the manner in which he was transferred without consulting him.
 
While Mr Hans Raj Bhardwaj of Karnataka and Ms Margaret Alva have since completed their tenures, others such as Mr Janaki Ballabh Patnaik of Assam, Mr D Y Patil of Bihar and Mr Jagannath Pahadia of Haryana are due to retire in the coming months.
 
Others like Mr Sankaranarayanan, Mr Shivraj Patil of Punjab and Ms Sheila Dikshit of Kerala have longer tenures remaining. 
 
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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 43.3 million to $ 319.39 billion

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After falling for two consecutive weeks, India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 43.3 million to $ 319.39 billion in the week ended August 15, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.
 
The forex reserves had declined by $ 643.3 million to $ 319.347 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here yesterday, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, rose by $ 54.7 million to $ 292.101 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 21.174 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) fell by $ 8.3 million to $ 4.416 billion during the week.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $ 3.1 million to $ 1.699 billion during the period, the bulletin added.
 
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Jaipur Pink Panthers hold U Mumbai to a draw, continue to lead table

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Home team Jaipur Pink Panthers played out a thrilling 31-31 draw against U Mumbai, who turned the tables in the second half, but the hosts remained at the top of the table with 43 points.
 
Mumbai are placed second in the league at 41 points.
 
Though Jaipur had the home advantage, U Mumba joined in and stepped up to the challenge and decided to make the most of the 40-minute bout, ending it in a tie.
 
The first minute saw the captain of the Panthers out, thanks to a raid by showman Anup Kumar. But the flamboyant Anup Kumar soon left the field, failing to escape a powerful tackle orchestrated by Navneet Gautam. As Surender Nada was captured by the Pink army, the visitors were left with just three players. 
 
By the fifth, the home team earned their first LONA points, taking their lead to 8 points. In a spot of bother with just a single point, young Pawan Kumar stepped up and scored two crucial points for his team. Riding high on the 9-point lead, Maninder Singh got the better of Anup Kumar sending him back during a crucial juncture of the match. 
 
As Pawan’s extraordinary lion’s jump failed, Mumbai was reduced to a four-man army by the home team. Leading by seven points in the 18th minute, Jaipur’s complacence saw them reduced to just two men, and soon after one, as Anup ousted Jaipur captain Navneet Gautam. 
 
As the half-time whistle blew, Jaipur conceded the first LONA Points of the match, taking the points tally to 17-15 in their favour.
 
The second half began with an Anup Kumar classic, a brilliant one-point raid. Again Pawan’s agility failed against the Jaipur defence as they led by 5 points in the 24th minute. A strong, unprecedented tackle by Mohit Chillar saw Maninder Singh out of action, but only for a moment as he was revived in the very next challenge. 
 
Then came an exciting lightning fast raid by Rajesh Narwal which was a highlight of the match as Anup Kumar had to take leave. Jaipur reinstated their dominance as Rajesh Narwal ousted Mohit Chilliar leaving Pawan to fight alone. An encore of sorts, Pawan found himself fighting alone yet again as Suresh Annadorai was taken down. 
 
But U Mumba did not give up easily. Anup Kumar dethroned Rajesh Narwal with a brilliant catch, reviving his army to four players. Fighting tooth and nail, both the teams ended as the top two on the league table, 
 
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RIL expands feedstock supply options from US for its crackers in India

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it was implementing a project to source 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) of ethane from the United States to feed its crackers in India.
 
"The shale gas industry in North America has grown exponentially in the past five years.  As a result, ethane has become the dominant feedstock for crackers replacing liquids," a press release from the company said.
 
"Reliance’s investments in shale gas and its existing crackers portfolio in India are a natural fit for sourcing ethane from North America and shipping it to India to attain long term feedstock competitiveness," it said.
 
The release said RiL had executed storage and capacity agreements for liquefaction and export of ethane with a North American terminal, which is expected to commence operations in the second half of 2016.
 
For the purpose of transporting liquefied ethane to India in a safe and cost efficient manner, Reliance has ordered six state-of-the-art Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLECs) which will be the largest vessels ever built in the world. The ships are expected to be delivered starting last quarter of 2016 in synchronisation with the readiness of the terminal in North America.
 
Reliance is also building a world-scale receiving and storage facility in India for liquefied ethane and pipeline to deliver ethane to its crackers. 
 
The release said RIL would upgrade its crackers to maximize cracking of ethane and to have maximum operational flexibility and capability to optimize feed stocks with complete control of supply chain.
 
"The project will significantly improve the long term competitiveness of our cracker portfolio through dedicated feedstock, enhanced margins, higher capacity and end-to-end integration," the release added.
 
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ErosNow acquires worldwide rights to Zee TV premier TV content

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd has said that its on-demand entertainment portal ErosNow has acquired the worldwide rights of popular Zee TV shows. 
 
With this announcement, content from Zee will be available to ErosNow members with no extra subscription costs, a press release from the company said.
 
With a reach of more than 169 countries and access to more than 670 million viewers globally, Zee TV is the largest media franchise serving the South Asian diaspora.
 
"This partnership allows ErosNow to showcase Zee’s premier television content ranging from top rated serials and soaps to reality shows," the reease said.
 
The titles that will be available to subscribers include: Ek Mutti Aasmaan,         Pavitra Rishta, Fear Files, Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke, Jodha Akbar, Do Bandhe Ek Dori Se, Kumkum Bhagya, Qubool Hai, Aur Pyar Ho Gaya and        Armano ki Doli.
 
This would make ErosNow a one-stop destination for viewing quality Indian content online, the release said.
 
“We aim to provide a robust customer experience with an extensive content offering. We are thrilled to introduce prime television programming from Zee TV into our content mix," Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO, ErosNow said.
 
"Partnering with a leading television player like Zee for compelling content is a natural step to providing the very best of Indian entertainment to our consumers worldwide. We are very excited to bring these shows to the platform and are confident this content will be enjoyed worldwide on ErosNow," she added.
 
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) said, “Zee has always been a leader in the media and entertainment space, having evolved from being a broadcaster to a content creator and aggregator. Our premium television content is enjoyed by a large global audience across diverse platforms, with a definitive surge in younger viewers who are more accustomed to consuming entertainment via digital platforms. It is therefore, a logical extension for us to make our popular programs available on leading online providers such as ErosNow. By partnering with ErosNow, we hope to capture viewers from around the world with the best shows from Zee’s library."
 
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BCCI appoints Ravi Shastri as Director of Cricket for ODI series against England

 
BCCI sidelines Fletcher, appoints Shastri as Director ODI series
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today said it had appointed former Indian all-rounder Ravi Shastri as Director of Cricket to oversee and guide the Indian team for the coming one-day international (ODI) series against England.
 
BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel also announced that, after discussions among all its office bearers over the last couple of weeks, "the Board had also decided that Duncan Fletcher would continue as Head Coach.
 
Shastri will be the overall in-charge of cricket affairs of the Indian team, he said in a press release.
 
In their continuing efforts to re-energise the support to the team, the BCCI has given a break to the bowling coach Mr Joe Dawes and the fielding coach, Mr Trevor Penny for the one-day series and appointed Mr Sanjay Bangar, former Indian all rounder and former India fast bowler Mr Bharat Arun as the assistant coaches of the team.
 
"Mr R.Sridhar will join the support team as the fielding coach for the one-day series," the release added.
 
The announcement comes in the wake of India's poor show in the just concluded Test series against England and means that, while he has got a reprieve, he will function under Shastri.
 
Arun is a former India under-19 coach who has played two Tests for India. He has also served as a coach in the National Cricket Academy.
 
Bangar and Sridhar have been associated with Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
 
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Longest foot overbridge on Indian Railways inaugurated at CST, Mumbai

A newly constructed foot overbridge (FOB), the longest on the Indian Railways, was inaugurated at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) here today.
 
The new bridge connects platform number 1 to 18 (platform number 1 to 7 on the suburban section and platform number 8 to 18 on the main line) at CST.
 
It has a length of 364 metres (a 270 metre new FOB connecting the 94 metre existing FOB) and a width of 5.3 metres. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs 8.5 crore.
 
Passengers coming to and from Sir J.J. Flyover on the west side and P. D'Mello Road on the east side will be benefited immensely by this FOB, a press release from Central Railway added.
 
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PM lays foundation stone of JNPT SEZ, port connectivity road in Navi Mumbai

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that his government had conceived Sagarmala, an ambitious project for maritime states that envisages not only development of ports but port-led development.
 
Speaking at Sheva in Navi Mumbai here after laying the foundation stones for the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and a project for widening of the port connectivity road from JNPT to the national highway, he said Sagarmala would include ports, SEZs, and rail, road, air and waterway connectivity with the hinterland.
 
He said the project would also include linkages of cold storage and warehousing facilities.
 
Mr Modi also symbolically handed over land allotment letters to the project affected persons.
 
He pointed out that two-thirds of all global trade and half of container trade happened through the Indian Ocean and said this highlighted the importance of the ports sector. "Ports can become gateways to India`s prosperity," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the government was concerned about the large number of stalled SEZ projects across the country, and a high-level team had been constituted to review the problems and resolve them at the earliest. 
 
He stressed that export promotion was the need of the hour. "Unless we join manufacturers in export promotion, and unless the States and the Centre work together, we cannot achieve new heights in exports," he said.
 
He said the Centre had recently convened a meeting with States to understand bottlenecks in exports, and States would soon be given the right to form their own Export Promotion Councils. 
 
"Let there be competition among States for exports," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the government had recently done away with the requirement of renewal of shipping licenses every year, and now the license would be granted for a lifetime. He said the government wished to create an environment for ease of business and encouragement for youth.
 
He also said shipbuilding offered big opportunities. He pointed out the big strides that South Kora had taken in this area and said India should also try to do so.
 
Elaborating his theme of "Come, make in India", which he mentioned during his Independence Day address yesterday, the Prime Minister said his government would encourage foreign investment in shipbuilding. Made in India should occupy a place in the global market, he said.
 
Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari told the gathering that the JNPT SEZ would provide employment to 1.5 lakh people. 
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was also present on the occasion.
 
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RBI reduces free transactions at ATMs of other banks in Metros to three

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reduced the number of mandatory free ATM transactions for savings bank account customers at other bank's ATMs from the present five to three per month in the six metro centres of Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
 
This is inclusive of both financial and non-financial transactions, the RBI said in a notification to all banks.
 
Some banks and the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) had approached the RBI seeking changes in the extant instructions.
 
Referring to the growing cost of ATM deployment and maintenance incurred by banks on the one hand as well as the rising interchange out-go due to these free transactions, the IBA had sought the removal of free transactions at other banks’ ATMs at metro centres and other large townships in the country, it said.
 
It said the decision was taken after an analysis of the ATM deployment in the country as well as availability of alternate means of electronic payment infrastructure and access thereto.
 
The central bank said it had taken into account the high density of ATMs, bank branches and alternate modes of payment available to the customers.
 
"Nothing, however, precludes a bank from offering more than three free transactions at other bank ATMs to its account holders if it so desires," it said.
 
This reduction will, however, not apply to small/no frills/Basic Savings Bank Deposit account holders who will continue to enjoy five free transactions, as hitherto.
 
At locations other than the six metro centres, the present facility of five free transactions for savings bank account customers shall remain unchanged.
 
ATM installing banks have been advised to indicate clearly at each ATM location that the ATM is situated in a ‘metro’ or ‘non-metro’ location using appropriate means (message displayed on the ATM / sticker / poster, etc.) to enable the customer to identify the status of the ATM in relation to availability of number of free transactions. 
 
Further, banks have been advised to ensure the “ATM location identifiers” in their ATM database is accurate and kept up-to-date at all times so as to minimise disputes, if any, in the matter.
 
The issuing banks are also advised to put in place proper mechanisms to track such transactions and ensure that no customer inconvenience or complaints arise on this account.
 
The provisions related to levy of charges for use of own-bank ATMs have also been reviewed. Accordingly, banks have been advised that at least five free transactions (inclusive of financial and non financial transactions) per month should be permitted to the savings bank account customers for use of own bank ATMs at all locations. Beyond this, banks may put in place appropriate Board approved policy relating to charges for customers for use of own bank ATMs.
 
The ceiling/cap on customer charges of Rs.20 per transaction (plus service tax, if any) will be applicable.
 
Banks have been advised to put in place suitable mechanism for cautioning / advising / alerting the customers about the number of free transactions (OFF-US as well as ON-US) already utilised during the month by the customer and the possibility that charges may be levied as per the banks’ policy on charges.
 
There were more than 1.6 lakh ATMs across the country at the end of March this year, up from 27,000 at the end of March 2007.
 
During the same period, the Point-of-Sale (POS) infrastructure has increased from 3.2 lakh to 10.65 lakh terminals. The ATMs are being gradually leveraged by banks to deliver other financial and non-financial products to their customers. Meanwhile, White Label ATMs (WLAs) have also been introduced in the country with the objective of increasing the ATM density and also building the rural and semi-urban ATM infrastructure. However, despite this growth, the deployment of both ATMs as well as POS infrastructure in the country is lop-sided with a significantly large presence in metropolitan and urban areas as compared to rural and semi-urban areas, the circular noted.
 
 
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Global gold demand declines 16% to 964 tonnes in Q2 of 2014

Global gold demand touched 964 tonnes (t) in the second quarter (Q2) of 2014 (April-June), 16 per cent lower than the same period last year, as consumers and investors pulled back and consolidated their activity, according to the latest World Gold Council (WGC) Gold Demand Trends report.
 
The report said gold demand continued to demonstrate a return to long-term trends after an exceptional year in 2013. 
 
Global jewellery demand, which represents more than half of total global demand, was unsurprisingly down 30% year-on-year to 510t.
 
In comparison, Q2 2014 was 11% higher than Q2 2012, extending the broad upward trend evident since 2009, it said.
 
The report said India and China remained significant drivers of the global jewellery market, purchasing 154t and 143t, respectively. 
 
"In what is traditionally a quieter quarter for jewellery, consumers continued to digest opportunistic purchases made in 2013 and adopted a more 'needs' based approach to their jewellery buying.  Indian jewellery buying was also affected by high value purchases being restricted in the run up to the election and the continued impact of import restrictions on gold," the report said.
 
Meanwhile, there were continued signs of recovery in some Western markets as jewellery demand in the United States rose by 15% to 26t and the United Kingdom rose 21% to 4t as consumer confidence continued to grow in line with the economy and yellow gold came back into fashion, it said.
 
According to the bank, central banks bought 118t of gold in Q2 2014, a rise of 28% versus the same period last year. It was the 14th consecutive quarter in which central banks were net purchasers of gold driven by a number of factors, including a continued diversification away from the US dollar and the backdrop of ongoing geopolitical tensions in Iraq and Ukraine.
 
Total investment demand (investment in bars and coins combined with exchange-traded funds (ETF) investment) was up 4% to 235t. Investment in bars and coins stood at 275t for Q2 2014, a fall of 56%, following unprecedented levels of buying during the same period last year. 
 
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"In Q2 2014, many investors were uncertain about the direction and momentum of the gold price, while traders in price sensitive markets were far less active due to low volatility. The quarter did see an improvement in investor sentiment towards ETFs compared to last year. Outflows stood at 40t for the quarter, a tenth of the redemptions seen in the same quarter a year ago. The bulk of these outflows occurred at the beginning of the quarter, turning to marginal inflows by the end," it said.
 
Mr Marcus Grubb, Managing Director of Investment Strategy at the World Gold Council said: “In the context of an exceptional year last year where we saw record consumer buying and investor sell-offs, this quarter’s demand continues to demonstrate a return to long-term trends, illustrating the uniquely balanced nature of the gold market. Jewellery consumers continued to digest the exceptional purchases of 2013 and investors also rebalanced, pulling back from the extremes we saw last year. Overall the gold market is stabilising following the extraordinary conditions we saw in 2013.”
In value terms, gold demand in Q2 2014 was US$40bn, down 24% compared to Q2 2013. The average gold price of US$1,288/oz was down 9% on the average Q2 2013 price."
 
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Modi to lay foundation of SEZ at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust on August 16

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of a port-based multi-product Special Economic Zone at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) at Sheva in Navi Mumbai on August 16.
 
The industrial infrastructure project will be established on 277 hectares with a total public and private investment of about Rs 4,000 crore.
 
An official press release said it was being planned as a self-sustainable integrated development project having a potential of generating over 1.5 lakh direct and indirect jobs. 
 
The project, which will be developed through a JNPT-Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode, is scheduled to be completed within three years.
 
The SEZ will develop Free Trade Warehousing Zone, Engineering Goods Sector, Electronics and Hardware Sectors, Non- Conventional Energy Sector, Multi Services (IT and Healthcare) Sectors and Apparel and Textiles Sectors, the release said.
 
Mr Modi is also slated to lay the foundation stone of a port connectivity highway project at JNPT and allot land to JNPT Project Affected Persons (PAPs) under the 12.5% scheme fo the Maharashtra government implemented by the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharastra Ltd (CIDCO).
 
The Port Connectivity Highway Project with a cost of about Rs.1927 crores is to be completed by December 2017. 
 
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India’s forex reserves decline by $ 573.5 million to $ 319.99 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves declined by $ 573.5 million to $ 319.99 billion in the week ended August 1 after rising for the previous eight consecutive weeks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.
 
The forex reserves had grown by $ 2.714 billion to $ 320.564 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here yesterday, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, declined by $ 1.091 billion to $ 292.693 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves grew by $ 538.9 million to $ 21.174 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 15.5 million to $ 4.422 billion during the week.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 5.9 million  to $ 1.701 billion during the period, the bulletin added.
 
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