A worker sprays water over piles of coal as a bulldozer shifts coal at Mundra Port Coal Terminal in Gujarat April 2, 2014.    REUTERS/Amit Dave

Coal India trade unions call off strike in victory for Modi

The labour unions of state-run Coal India have called off a strike planned for Monday in protest against a stake sale and opening up of the industry, setting the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press ahead with energy reforms.  Full Article 

Obama widens post-2014 combat role for U.S. forces in Afghanistan 5:15pm IST

WASHINGTON/KABUL - President Barack Obama has approved plans to give U.S. military commanders a wider role to fight the Taliban alongside Afghan forces after the current mission ends next month, a senior administration official said.

A bronze bull sculpture is seen as an employee walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

Ride the bull with a finger on the ejector button

The dream run continued for a fourth week with the Nifty closing at a life-time high of 8,477, supported by the banking sector which rallied 2.7 percent for the week. The markets are driven by sentiment and belief of a better economy going ahead, coupled with “risk on” trades. India looks the most promising among emerging markets, while most other economies are struggling.   Full Article 

Virat Kohli during a one-day international cricket match at Trent Bridge cricket ground, Nottingham, England  August 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Philip Brown/Files

Team mates will determine my captaincy - Kohli

Virat Kohli says his team mates will determine the success or otherwise of his captaincy when he takes charge of India in place of MS Dhoni for the first test against Australia next month.  Full Article 

Sunni tribesmen take part in a military training, as they prepare to fight against militants of the Islamic State, on the outskirt of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, November 16, 2014. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani
Islamic State

U.S. plans to arm Sunni tribesmen against IS

The U.S. plans to buy arms for Sunni tribesmen in Iraq including AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds to help bolster the battle against Islamic State militants in Anbar province, according to a Pentagon document prepared for Congress.  Full Article 

U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi end their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files
India-U.S. Ties

Obama to be Republic Day parade chief guest

U.S. President Barack Obama will attend India's Republic Day celebrations in January as chief guest, a sign of steadily expanding ties between two countries that share concerns about China's growing power in Asia. Modi used a Twitter message to announce Obama as the chief guest on Republic Day, which marks the enactment of India's constitution on Jan. 26, 1950.  Full Article 

A cinema-goer asks for directions at the ticket counter of a multiplex in Mumbai November 10, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

Bollywood finally wants to pay for remakes

Twenty-one films including iconic Hindi movies like Kundan Shah’s “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” and Satyajit Ray’s “Agantuk” will offer remake rights in a first-of-its-kind initiative during this year’s International Film Festival of India in Goa. Films offering remake rights at the festival include the 2003 French comedy “Apres Vous” and several of NFDC’s most prized films including “Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro”.  Full Article 

"Happy Ending" is old wine in an older bottle
Movie Review

"Happy Ending" is old wine in an older bottle

The directors of "Happy Ending" start off by mocking conventional romantic stories, but by the end of the film, they have had the infamous airport proposal, the road trip that helps the bond between two characters, and even the dream sequence songs. The only happy ending here is when you walk out of the theatre, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Review 

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DEFENCE

Bulgari Chief Executive Officer Jean-Christophe Babin points at a photographer during the Bulgari 130th anniversary party in Tokyo May 29, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Files

Bulgari CEO: we shouldn’t have left India so we’re back

Bulgari should never have left India three years ago, so it’s coming back, the chief executive of the Italian luxury jewellery and accessories company said in an interview. According to a survey, India’s luxury market is around $14 bln. Experts say India is the fastest-growing market for luxury goods, expected to grow higher than China in the next four years.  Interview 

How to get India’s exports back on track

How to get India’s exports back on track

The contraction of exports by 5 percent in October will pull down industrial growth and bloat current account deficit. The fall in exports may not be due to a chance fluctuation but a warning of things to come. There are strong reasons to suggest India’s export woes are due to worldwide trends which need to be understood so that the country can benefit from them.  Full Article 

Tribal fighters take part in a military training to prepare for fighting against Islamic State militants, at the Ain al-Assad military base in Anbar province November 15, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

Seven unlikely events in the fight against Islamic State, and their likely outcomes

When assessing events on the ground — particularly in dynamic situations like Iraq and Syria — it is devilishly difficult to determine if and when a game-changing event will occur. We’ve identified five black swans — high-impact but low-probability events that could alter the course of the conflict.   Commentary 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd R) attends a reception with members of German carnival societies at the Chancellery in Berlin February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Files

And the world’s favorite country is … Germany?

Germany, it appears, is the most respected country in the world. According to the Nation Brands Index, Germany deposed the hitherto reigning champion, the Unites States. I’m amazed the U.S. was number one up until now. Anti-Americanism is rampant and I would have guessed that Switzerland or Sweden or some other rich but harmless country would top the list instead.  Commentary