Green car DIY-ers of the world, unite! In these week’s episode of Green Overdrive we meet up with three green car fanatics that have pimped out their gas-guzzlers into gems of sustainability. The Blackbird plug-in, the biofuel burnin’ Eco-Benz (hemp and solar panel included), and the all-electric eeVee Motors. Just don’t ask ‘em how much these conversions cost (it ain’t cheap!).
Istanbul, June 6 (IANS) ‘Hey, Miss India, you’ve taken my heart!’… ‘You can take my heart and my soul too, it is all yours’ – Turkish men, especially the shopkeepers, sure know how to flatter women customers.
In Istanbul’s dazzling maze of around 4,000 shops at Grand Bazar, flattering endearments by shopkeepers chase you as you trip through the lanes and by-lanes, dumbfounded by the display of artefacts and knick-knacks.
Haggling is a pre-requisite at Grand Bazar, this visiting IANS correspondent is warned by a tour guide as the vehicle pulls up outside one of the four main gates of the bazaar, located right next to a hammam.
Attractive silver jewellery inlaid with turquoise and other gems catches your eye at one of the hundreds of shops. ‘How much?’ you ask, pointing to a thin chain with a pendant.
’60 Lira,’ the young shopkeeper replies. And while your mind is quickly calculating – 60 x 30 (Rs.30 is worth one Lira – that is the exchange rate), you can’t help noticing the young man appreciating your long skirt with Indian motifs and noticing your kohl-lined eyes.
‘What happened?’ he asks, as you politely walk away. ‘Too much, the price is too much,’ you say. ‘You from India?’ he asks, and you nod.
‘Turkey, India friends,’ he says clasping his hands together. ‘You say how much, and I will come down (meaning he will lower his price). But you have already decided against it. ‘Omigosh, Rs.1,800 for that thin necklace, I can get better ones in Delhi,’ you think while shaking your head, showing you are not interested.
‘Miss India, wait…wait, take my heart, but don’t go. Let’s talk, I come down 5 Lira, Ok, Ok? , he says.
‘No, No,’ you say, your mind is already made up. It is far too expensive.
‘Ok, I come down 10 Lira,’ he calls after you. But, you’ve already made your escape into another lane. In India, such sweet nothings would be frowned upon.
Another shop displays wall hangings of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. But Turkish men are gallant by nature and such flattery is accepted.
‘Ah, just the thing I was looking for,’ you think, stopping at a shop selling souvenirs. There is a whole long list of knick-knacks you have to buy for folks back home.
‘How much?’ you ask, pointing to a medium-sized wall hanging of the Blue Mosque with a big ‘nazar boncugu’, or Turkish evil eye, hanging below. ’20 Lira,’ the shopkeeper replies promptly.
‘Too much’, you say and prepare to walk away.
‘Wait, madam,’ he calls, just as you knew he would. ‘Well then, how much?’ you ask, and he replies, ’17 Lira, madam’. ‘I’ll give 10 Lira,’ you say, and he agrees after a while of futile arguing.
‘Wow, what a bargain,’ you are just complimenting yourself, walking away with two of them neatly packed in a plastic packet, when you espy similar wall hangings at another shop in the next lane.
Just for curiosity, you go up and ask, ‘How much?’ and the answer stumps you – ’10 Lira, madam. But I am willing to come down if you want to buy!’
Another shop selling pretty Turkish pottery catches one’s eye. A yellow bowl with blue designs is especially eye-catching. Asked the price, the young man, in his early 20s, says 90 Lira.
Seeing you walk away, he says immediately, ‘How much will you give?’ ‘Not more than 30 Lira,’ you venture brazenly.
He laughingly says, ‘Take my heart, my soul, take me instead..’ and as you embarrassedly walk away, he says, businesslike, ‘See I can give you something else for that money.’ Seeing you walk away, he breaks into song.
By the time you are done shopping in Istanbul, you begin to accept and even expect the sweet nothings as a part of speech.
Grand Bazar has rows and rows of shops selling things ranging from hand-painted ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices and antique shops. And its men are sure to make you smile!
Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Mar 27 (ANI): Coimbatore palaeontology enthusiast Arun Sathya owns a rare collection of fossils.
Forty-five year old Sathya”s mega collection includes rocks, mineral, gems and fossils. His prized and priceless possessions range from 65 to 350 million years.
He has a large collection of 190 million-years-old Amethyst geode and Ammonite, 144 million years old wood fossils as well as Gryphaea and 190 million years old chambered nautilus.
Among the stones, Sathya possesses geodes, ammonites, translucent pebbles and glittering crystals.
This fossil collector says that though he started gathering the fossils for his personal interest, he would like to establish a museum to showcase his precious collection.
“I started for my personal collection just to satisfy my personal interest. I would like to establish a museum that is my dream, I”ll do it” noted Arun Sathya.
He also has an iron nickel meteorite believed to be nearly 4.2 billion years old and reportedly it was found at Texas in 1922. (ANI)
London, Mar 5 (ANI): Demi Moore beat Kevin Bacon in an online contest called ”Pepsi Refresh Celebrity Challenge”, to bag 156,250 pounds for her anti-sex slave charity.
The cash has gone to ”The DNA Foundation”, founded by Moore and husband Ashton Kutcher.
”The Ghost” star received the most public votes in the poll.
Moore”s foundation plans to forward the prize money to the Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), which helps women who have suffered sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.
“I am thrilled that GEMS has gained powerful allies in Demi Moore and The DNA Foundation and honoured to be the beneficiary of a Pepsi Refresh Grant,” the Daily Star quoted GEMS founder/Executive Director Rachel Lloyd, as saying.
He added: “The grant will support us in the important work of transforming survivors of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation into future leaders.”
Meanwhile, Bacon”s charity ”SixDegrees.org”, which is presently helping Haiti earthquake victims, will receive a 62,500-pound grant. (ANI)
New Delhi, Aug 27 (ANI): The Government will unveil its foreign trade policy today for the next five years starting from FY10.
It is expected to eliminate or refund taxes and offer cheaper bank credit to recession-battered exporters, besides encouraging them to look beyond the US and European markets.
The policy will address the problems plaguing the Indian exporters, particularly the labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, gems and jewellery.
India’s exports fell at an annual rate of 27.7 per cent in June to 2.8 billion dollars, its ninth straight monthly fall, as economic downturn in key developed markets continued to hurt demand for local goods. (ANI)
Surat (Gujrat), June 28 (ANI): As the government gears up to present this year’s union budget, the recession-hit diamond cutting industry is looking forward to some sops, which could bail it out from the economical rough waters.
Traders in Surat, nation’s diamond hub, said they are anticipating some tax relief in the budget.
“The interest rate in finance should be reduced and to reduce the diamond manufacturing cost to help competing in international market with Israel and China, all the service and custom taxes and other taxes should be removed and there should be given at least two years of waiver from the income tax,” said Praveen Nanavati, Joint Secretary of Gujarat Heera Bourse.
The Surat diamond industry is worth 800,000 million rupees and accounts for more than half of the total diamond exports from India.
It employs more than 700,000 workers from across the country. Over 2.5 million people are indirectly associated with the trade.
Many workers involved in the diamond cutting industry had committed suicide in the past due to global recession hitting their profession.
“I believe that of all industries in India, gems and jewellery is the most important and the industry does a total export of 22 percent i.e 800 million annually but due to recession this industry has incurred heavy losses and so we hope that the government will make provisions in the budget for us and would ensure that the diamond business remains in India,” observed Chandrakant Singhvi, Chairman of Gujarat State Chapter, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.
The diamonds processed in Surat are sent to various parts of the world including the Middle East from where manufactured jewellery is then sold across the globe.
The United States, one of the largest markets for diamonds and other gemstones, imports 60 percent of diamonds cut and processed in Surat.
But these imports have come down by half due to deep economic crisis that America is currently reeling under. (ANI)
Washington, June 24 (ANI): Singer/actress Cher has been roped in along with Christina Aguilera to star in a musical film named Burlesque.
According to Variety, Aguilera, 28, will play a small-town girl from Iowa who moves to L.A. and lands work at a neo-burlesque club run by Cher.
Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper said he has been lobbying Cher for years to return to films.
“She brings a soulfulness and gravitas to this character that will ground the story,” People magazine quoted Culpepper as saying.
“The only person who was more excited than I am is Christina,” he added. (ANI)
New Delhi, May 26 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the government would present the budget for 2009-10 in the first week of July.
“I would not like to have a second batch of vote on account. The budget will be presented in the first week of July,” he told a news channel.
Dwelling on issues to be addressed in the budget, he said, “There are certain sectors which have been very badly hit by the global financial crisis-external factors. Export sector, particularly — textiles, leather, gems and jewellery. Their problems have to be addressed. We have strength in economy; Indian economy is resilient. Whatever the economy needs will be done.”
Earlier, Mukherjee had expressed hope that the government would be able to present the budget in time to avoid uncertainties.
Mukherjee had presented an interim budget in February. He had sought the approval from the Parliament for withdrawal of money from the consolidated fund only till July 31.
The government is required to get the budget passed by Parliament by July 31 as the vote-on-account (which allows government to withdraw money from Consolidated Fund) sought in the interim budget comes to end on July 31. (ANI)
Jaipur, May 25 (ANI): After a gap of sluggishness due to global meltdown, the gems and jewellery business in Jaipur is slowly picking up.
Of late, the demand has picked up not only across the world but also from within the country.
“By the end of this year, the trade will normalize. We are expecting by end of this financial year as compared to last year. We might do well or remain at the same level,” said Rajeev Jain, Vice Chairman of Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.
He also adds that the exports stood around 21 billion dollars last year.
Meanwhile Jaipur Industry men are also eying domestic market as they believe it has huge potentials.
They are also focussing on the diamond promotion in the domestic market. They have already hold workshops in Mumbai and Kolkata and will further conduct in Delhi.
Jaipur jewellery is highly appreciated all over India. ‘Kundankari’, ‘Meenakumari’ and coloured stones are famous Jaipur jewellery product.
Jaipur’s colour stone market is worth crore rupees and employs around three lakh people alone in this trade. By Lokendra Singh (ANI)
Washington, May 5 (ANI): American pop/R ‘n’ B singer Christina Aguilera is all set to make her screen debut in “Burlesque”, a contemporary musical that Steven Antin will direct.
Aguilera, 28, who has never starred in a film, will be playing an ambitious small-town girl with a big voice who finds love, family, and success in a Los Angeles neo-burlesque club.
“I couldn’t be more excited, as this was a project written with her in mind,” Variety magazine quoted Screen Gems topper Clint Culpepper as saying.
The script has been written by Antin, and revised by “Erin Brockovich” scribe Susannah Grant.
Donald De Line will produce the film, shooting for which is to start later this year. (ANI)
Peshawar, May 4 (ANI): The money earned from mining and selling gemstones in Swat and Shangla district of Pakistan is used by the Taliban for terrorism, according to local entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs in a Gem Bazaar, organised by the Pakistan Gems and Jewellery Development Company at Namak Mandi, said that the Taliban were using the money for terrorist activities in Swat, Buner and Dir districts of Malakand division.
Babu Khan, an entrepreneur from Swat who had displayed emeralds in the bazaar, said that Taliban had started extensive mining through hired labourers and were selling the precious stones in the black market.
He said plunderers had also taken over several mines of high quality gemstones, one of which had earned the government about Rs 90 million in a single auction in the past.
Another entrepreneur from Swat, Muhammad Ali, said that the Taliban had also taken over the Mingora emerald mine.
The Shamozai emeralds mine, and the Gujaro Killay emerald mine in the adjacent district of Shangla, are also under the control of the Swat Taliban, the Daily Times reported.
Stones extracted from these mines are auctioned in the premises of the Mingora mine every Sunday, where dealers from all over Pakistan come to shop, he said.
The federal and provincial governments have not taken any action over “this looting and plunder of state property,” Muhammad Ali said.
Imran Inam, a senior official of the Gems and Jewellery Development Company, said that the US is also concerned over the Taliban occupation of emerald mines in Swat and Shangla and had talked to the Pakistani government. (ANI)
Lahore, Apr 28 (ANI): A campaign is already afoot to boycott the purchase of Swat’s famous emeralds, because the money could be used to buy mortars, roadside bombs and suicide belts for the Taliban.
The “blood emeralds” have joined the Afghan opium as a source of Taliban lucre.
Swat is rich in orchards, timber – and gems. The Taliban have seized two of the emerald mines, declared them a trust and are mining them round the clock.
The profits are split between the Taliban and the miners, making these coveted jobs in an area where fighting has destroyed the tourism industry and much else, the Daily Times reports.
Estimates differ as to the quality of Swat emeralds. Some Pakistanis claim they are magnificent.
Jean Claude Michelou, the emerald dealer who advises the World Bank on developing Pakistan’s gemstone sector, says that most are tiny and used mostly for what jewellers call “baguette accents” to ornament rings or watches.
The smaller they are, the harder it is to trace their origin. But the bottom line is that Swat emeralds can net the Taliban about 2 million pound a year.
There is a proposal now to extending to emeralds the international Kimberley Process of verification, which it is claimed curbed Africa’s diamonds-for-guns trade.
The Responsible Jewellery Council formed by industry leaders in 2006 has also boycotted Burmese rubies and jade and has just finalised a code of practice for gem mining. (ANI)
New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Amid falling overseas demand, India’s export sector is likely to post negative or flat growth in the current fiscal, said an industry lobby Sunday.
According to a survey conducted by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), about 61 percent exporters feel the export sector would not pick up in 2009-10 as the world economy continues to deteriorate.
Engineering goods, gems and jewellery, chemicals, marine products, tyres and leather sectors are expected to post negative or zero growth in exports.
On the other side, the export of processed food and agro-items like oil meals, sports goods and apparels will likely report a modest growth of 1-5 percent.
‘Exports of drugs and pharmaceuticals are likely to rise by over 13 percent in 2009-10, down from 23 percent last year, while handicrafts sector cannot specify the growth prospects because all depends on how the Western economies would cope with the meltdown,’ the survey said.
Nearly 56 percent of respondents found that the depreciation of rupee has had moderate positive effect on exports.
In 2008-09, handicrafts and marine products were estimated to see 25 percent fall in exports, the FICCI said.
Other major sectors that would see export fall are: gems and jewellery, leather, chemicals and allied items, tyres, ores and minerals.
The industry lobby, however, said the engineering sector, which posted 46 percent growth in the first half of last fiscal, was likely to meet the growth target set for the fiscal.
Washington, March 18 (ANI): Sir Sean Connery has won a multi-million pound legal battle over loaned gems to a late friend.
The 78-year-old had lent 4 million dollars to French-Swiss friend Jean-Ren in 1972, and in exchange received shares, diamonds and property as collateral.
The former James Bond star was accused of making a huge profit from selling the assets when Ren failed to repay the money and passed away in 2002.
Ren’s son Christian filed a lawsuit against the Hollywood veteran claiming Connery received far more than his original investment from the sale of the security, which he claimed, now stood at 50 million dollars as compared to 10 million dollars in the past.
Judges in Geneva, Switzerland, however, recently ruled there was no case for the actor to answer.
“I am pleased to announce the Tribunal of First Instance of the Republique and Canton of Geneva has entirely found in favour of Sir Sean and Lady Connery and has declared the demand the petition of the son of Jean-Ren Canela totally inadmissible,” Contactmusic quoted his agent Nancy Seltzer as saying. (ANI)