June 23, 2005

How a few ketchup splashes, a £4 bill and an e-mail have become the talk of the City

Jon Ashworth & Martin Waller

A CITY lawyer who made an office secretary pay £4 towards a dry-cleaning bill after she accidentally spilt ketchup on his trousers was paying dearly for his actions last night.

Richard Phillips, a senior associate with Baker & McKenzie, the world’s fifth- biggest law firm, sent an e-mail to Jenny Amner, a secretary at the firm’s London office.

Mr Phillips earns a reputed £80,000 a year, while Ms Amner earns about £25,000. The average profit share of a partner, one step up from senior associate, is £364,000.

“Dear Jenny,” he wrote. “I went to the dry-cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost £4 to remove the ketchup stains.” He wrote that it would be “much appreciated” if he could have the money back.

Ms Amner replied: “I must apologise for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother’s sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your £4.” She went on: “I apologise for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers. Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary.”

Ms Amner’s colleagues offered to hold a collection to raise the £4 but she paid the sum herself — while copying her colleagues in on the e-mail exchange. It has since been widely circulated on the internet. A tabloid newspaper was offering to pay £2,000 last night for a photograph of Mr Phillips. Among many unanswered questions is how the ketchup came to arrive on Mr Phillips’s trousers.

Baker & McKenzie failed to see the funny side last night.

A spokesman said: “I can confirm we are aware of the incident. This is a private matter between two members of staff that clearly got out of hand. We are investigating so as to resolve (it) as amicably as possible. As I am sure you understand, we respect the privacy of our staff.”

Others were less guarded. One staff member confided: “She (Ms Amner) copied it to the whole floor and everyone was in stitches. She had come into work this morning to find a Post-it chasing her for the £4 after having the funeral the day before. He’s so tight.”

Mr Phillips’s areas of expertise include IT and media. He now finds himself even more intimately associated with both. As the e-mail exchange circulated last night, comments such as “great advert for lawyers”, “great PR” and “remember to be nice to your secretaries” were added. Another adds: “This chap should emigrate.”Mrs Amner’s husband and neighbours were not surprised to hear of the e-mail exchange. One neighbour said: “That’s just like Jenny.” When shown the e-mail Mrs Amner’s husband Colin laughed and told The Times: “That’s really good. Eleven marks out of 10 to her!” Mrs Amner, a slim bespectacled blonde in her 50s, looked embarrassed and declined to comment, directing all enquiries to Baker & McKenzie.

What happened next..

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May 16, 2005

Gender Equality?! Think Again!

GENEVA: But for participation in politics, India ranks virtually at the bottom of a study of 58 nations to measure the gender gap based on five critical parameters set by the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Only five countries - Korea, Jordan, Pakistan Turkey and Egypt - rank lower than India's 53rd position in the Davos-based World Economic Forum's index, titled "Women's Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap."

Bangladesh, the only other South Asian country featured in the list, is ranked several rungs higher at 39, just below Japan at 38 and Malaysia at 40, says the index released here Monday.

"Large populous nations such as India, Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt hold some of the lowest positions in the rankings. Their rankings reflect large disparities between men and women on all five areas of the index," the forum said.

The five areas are: economic participation in terms of remuneration, economic opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment in decision-making and health and well-being, particularly access to reproductive healthcare.

"The sole exception is India's good score in the area of political empowerment (24), a development that may be taken as a good omen for the future," the forum added.

India is ranked 54 in economic participation, 35 in economic remuneration, 57 in education and 34 in health and well-being.

The Nordic countries hold the top five positions in the rankings, with Sweden leading the way.

"The experience of the Nordic countries provides a useful benchmark for comparison purposes - an excellent example of the fact that concerted efforts over time will yield lasting results," the study says.

Among other countries in the index, Britain ranks eighth, the US 17, China 33, Malaysia 40, and Thailand 44.

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April 08, 2005

Whose Yoga Is It, Anyway?

First neem, and now yoga!

You've heard of the open source software movement, now it's the turn of yoga to fight for 'open source' in the US courts. Copyright and trademarking of yoga practices, something that is likely to shake up the roots of the centuries-old tradition, is now taking centre stage in the US.

While there's still some way to any decision, the California courts are now hearing the case for copyrighting of yoga routines, and lawyers and practitioners say this will have far-reaching implications on yoga practitioners all over the world.

The case comes out of a long-standing legal battle between the popular US-based proponent of Yoga, Bikram Choudhary, and an organisation of yoga-studio owners and teachers called Open Source Yoga Unity (OSYU). Choudhury has written a book, which is duly copyrighted, on a routine of asanas which he calls Bikram Yoga.

Some time back, he sent notices to a series of yoga studios to cease and desist from using this routine, as this constituted a copyright infringement. The studios formed OSYU, and are fighting it out in court. Vanessa Calder, chairperson, OSYU, objects to Bikram Yoga's claims, "One cannot copyright, or own in any manner, an exercise routine."

Traditional proponent of yoga, Prashant Iyengar, son of the legendary BKS Iyengar, rejects the very idea of any form of trademark or ownership over yoga. "We are not teaching a new brand of yoga, though our pupils like to call it Iyengar Yoga. We are following the age-old traditional methods of yoga. We can't claim ownership."

Lawyers beg to differ. Rahul Mathan, a patent expert, says, "US trademark and copyright laws are the broadest in the world, while their application is not global, they create an unhealthy precedent."

K Yatish Rajawat

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April 07, 2005

Stress Kills 6 I.T. Geeks

via SV

Chennai, March 28 

Six   software professionals under the age of 33 have died and two top executives   from renowned software companies have become paralyzed because of   stress-related heart ailments in the last six months in Chennai, says a study   by Mitran Foundation, a Bangalore-based voluntary association of practicing   doctors.
"All the six who died, and the   two who became invalid, had no family history of heart attacks or any   pre-history of heart ailments or paralysis. They were all in their prime,   between 27 and 33 years, and handled challenging project s at work in their   respective companies. They worked long and continuous hours. The end struck   them very suddenly, and it looked as if their hearts refused to take any more   stress," said Dr Dwarakanath, director of Mitran Foundation, who has studied stress components in 40 software companies in Chennai during the last six months.

This study was a follow-up of Mitran Foundation's four-year detailed national   study on stress-related ailments for working professionals. It concludes that   software professionals have pushed doctors to second position in being prone   to stress-related disorders. At present, there are over one lakh software   professionals employed in the information technology sector in and around   Chennai. With the expansions and consolidations planned by IT majors, this   figure is expected to grow by another 50,000 this year. The Tamil Nadu   government has given clearance for 40 more IT parks i n and around Chennai.   This means jobs for another 75,000 professionals. IT investment in the state   has risen from Rs 1,100 crores in 2001 to Rs 6,500 crores today. But the   question of whether there has been a simultaneous improvement in the quality   of life of software professionals remains unanswered.
The study, conducted at a cost of Rs 45 lakhs, covered more than 4,000   software professionals from 80 companies who were in service for a minimum of  three years. The email responses were scientifically tabulated and the   findings were ready in 2002. Dr Dwarakanath, who was the late Dhirubhai   Ambani's personal stress management consultant, said questionnaires   extracting every minute detail were sent to the respondents. The personal   background, family history and personal characteristics of these individuals   were assessed and it was found that the stress in these professionals was   only due to work pressure . All other factors were eliminated.
"Our study confirmed that the number of suicides, divorces, heart   ailments, BP and diabetes patients and mental depression are the highest in   the software industry. The fancy salaries of software professionals are no   longer something to rejoice about," Dr Dwarakanath said.
"We found that the software industry has simply no routine. Deadlines   hang before them and every day they chase new problems. During weekends more   than 60 per cent of the vehicles are found parked in the office complexes.   There is no physical exercise and new food habits favoured by pizza culture   fuel the problem. Cervical spondilitis and wrist problems due to   uncomfortable handling of the computer mouse, eye problems and discomfort in   bowel movements are common. The stress for couples where both are employed in   th e IT industry is the worst. The simple step of taking time off from work   for three months allowed an IT couple wanting a child for years to conceive   one," Dr Dwarakanath said.
M.T.R. Venukopalan, senior training coordinator, Covansys India, acknowledged   that IT professionals were the most stressed individuals. "Even if the   company sponsors a movie or self-care lecture, not many attend them," he   said.
Jyothsana, a travel coordinator for Temenos India Pvt Ltd, expressed concern   for the young employees who complain of back and knee pains. She acknowledged   that IT professionals require a specific eating and physical exercise routine   to ease their stress. "Our lives are becoming mechanical, guided only by   deadlines," she said .

Suchitra Srinivas

So, think again if you are staying late in the office regularly.
Think again about your health.
Think again about your family and your social life.


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April 04, 2005

Arjun Sachin Tendulkar meets Greg Chappell

Arjun Sachin Tendulkar meets Greg Chappell

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March 25, 2005

Girl Raped In Own Home

This is a horrific occurrence and frightened me to the core.

Girl Raped In Own Home

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March 23, 2005

True Bravery

During The Attack on Akshardham temple on 24th September 2002 this Brave man fought the Greatest battle of his life. Yes he was the N.S.G. Commando Late Mr. Surjan Singh,who sacrificed his life for the Nation. Sadly On 19th May 2004 he Lost the. Toughest and Longest battle against Life exactly after 600 Days being in Coma, he lost this life. The Bullet Which hit him in the head, made him Unconcious for almost 600 days. His Family members were hoping that one day their Hero will open his eyes but he didn't.

It was the Longest Wait for the family members of this Brave Man.. When the whole india was busy in Guessing Who will be the Next PM of the Country - Will it be Sonia or will it be Manmohan singh,This man was fighting his Last battle. But it's so sad that in the hype of all the
Political Drama, the News abt his Death was Lost like a needle in a hay stack! Even the Leading News Papers & So Called Best News Channels of India which Works on 24 X 7 basis, failed to highlight  this story of the Brave Man. Unfortunately it was mentioned somewhere on the middle page of some newspaper

.......This was the Reward for the Brave task for which he lost his life. Besides his Family members, Only one thing was there with him During thoseToughest 600 days. It was there near his bed till the last Moment.

Can you Guess what it was ?...............

It was the "Tiranga", Yes our National Flag, which was Saluting him for his Great cause. Absolutely No words can Suffice our Gratitude towards him. If news papers refuse to cover, TV channels refuse to cover, let us do our bit. This is the only way we can Salute his Bravery...

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March 17, 2005

Fairfax County School textbooks

I believe that my religion forms an inherent aspect of my identity. Although the following does not affect me personally (since I am not a resident of America), like SV, I have a major problem with my religion being misconstrued due to incorrect material printed by the uninformed lay person. Please sign the petition at the bottom of this post.

via SV

Petition open to Fairfax County Residents Fairfax County is in the process of selecting social studies textbooks for 5th, 9th, and 10th grades. These textbooks cover world history and culture. India and Hinduism are part of the curriculum in 5th, 9th, and 10th grades.

As you all know that the textbooks give a very negative picture of India and Hinduism. In the textbooks, Hinduism starts with caste system and end with sautee. In between somewhere buried is child marriage. The treatment of Hinduism and India emphasizes clichés, and the textbooks focus on material that is not important or illuminating. The treatment of Hinduism is oversimplified and often lacks context. Hinduism is examined from a cultural and anthropological perspective, often emphasizing the exotic, while other religions are examined from the perspective of followers. The books do not adequately present the fundamental belief systems of the religion or explore the core values of the culture.

This is an effort to get the School Board change the textbooks and adopt only those textbooks which give a balanced portrayal. The final selection of the textbooks will be made on March 31st. Please sign the petition to make your voice heard.

Go to the URL (http://www.indiapetitions.com/) and clicked on our subject "Corrections facts about Hinduism and India in Fairfax county, VA school text books" (http://www.indiapetitions.com/pms/showpetition.php?p_am=141&)

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March 10, 2005

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February 21, 2005

Gujarat comes to The Royal Albert Hall

Gujarat comes to The Royal Albert Hall

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