Obama to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations

WASHINGTON - 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.

China rate cut, European stimulus hints lift markets 3:33am IST

NEW YORK - World stock markets and oil prices rallied on Friday, fuelled by hopes for global growth after China rolled out a surprise interest rate cut and the European Central Bank indicated it would step up asset purchases to boost the euro zone economy.

An employee shows gold bangles to a customer at  jewellery showroom on the occasion of Dhanteras, a Hindu festival associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, at a market in Mumbai November 1, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

RBI cautious on response to gold import surge

The Reserve Bank of India, grabbling with a surge in gold imports last month, could support some restrictions for trading houses but two senior policymakers involved in the bank's decision-making said officials were also wary of overreacting. India, the world's second-largest gold consumer over the past year, is wrestling with its response to a fourfold jump in gold imports in October.  Full Article 

A worker uses a loader to assemble the coal at a yard in Ahmedabad November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave
Pending Reforms

Long "to do" list for Modi as clock ticks on

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a long list of pro-growth measures to implement over the next four months, but time may have already run out to breathe enough life into the economy to meet the tough 2014/15 fiscal deficit target without cuts.  Full Article 

A girl waits for a cycle rickshaw to take her to school during morning in the old quarters of Delhi, October 17, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood/Files

Fears grow about "Modi-fication" of education

Indians were flying aeroplanes and may even have been using cosmic weapons 5,000 years ago, according to Y. Sudershan Rao, the chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research. The BJP appointed Rao to the academic post soon after winning the general election, fuelling concerns of a push to teach the superiority of Hindu values and mythology at the cost of academic rigour.  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. Old wine in an even older bottle. The only happy ending here is when you walk out of the theatre, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Review | More from Bollywood 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R), Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (L) and EU envoy Catherine Ashton pose for photographers before a meeting in Vienna November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

U.S., Iran discussing nuclear impasse - sources

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are discussing new ideas aimed at breaking the deadlock in nuclear talks between Tehran and six world powers, sources said on Friday.  Full Article 

Shot putter Valerie Adams of New Zealand (R) reacts as she poses with World-record pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie of France (L) after receiving their 2014 IAAF Athletes of the Year trophies during the IAAF Gala in Monte Carlo November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Lavillenie, Kiwi Adams are Athletes of Year

Pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie and Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams were named World Athletes of the Year at an IAAF gala in Monaco on Friday.  Full Article 

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Films "Available For Remake"

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