India Insight

Pricey dollar puts South Africa, Australia on Indian tourists’ maps

When Aparupa Ganguly visited South Africa in 2007, the country’s topography and wildlife made such an impression on the communications professional that she couldn’t wait to come back. Ganguly got her wish six years later – thanks to a stable rand.

Foreign-bound Indian travellers such as Ganguly are realizing that holidaying in countries such as South Africa and Australia offers value for money as their currencies have been largely stable in recent weeks and haven’t appreciated as much against the rupee, when compared to the dollar or the euro.

Data shows the South African rand and the Australian dollar have gained around 10 percent since May, compared to a near 30 percent surge in the U.S. dollar which hit a record high above 68 per rupee on Wednesday.

Ganguly, who accompanied her husband on a business trip to South Africa this month, bought the rand at about 6.2 per rupee and travelled across the Garden Route, a scenic tourist area on the country’s south-eastern coast.

“If the rand would have really gone up, I wouldn’t have accompanied him,” said the 35-year-old  who spent around 230,000 rupees ($3,380) on her trip this month.

Justice delayed for Punjab beating victim

Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza was brutally beaten in April by allegedly drunk youngsters, and left for dead in Jalandhar, a city in Punjab. Nearly three months later, the 23-year-old Nihangaza lies in a vegetative state at a hospital.

His father has asked the Punjab government to allow him to bring his son back to Burundi. He also wants the state to prosecute the suspects and pay for his son’s medical expenses.

Until today, he has had to beg. Local media reports say Nihangaza’s father has written to Punjab’s chief minister and expressed his disappointment at the government having done little to set things right.

from Photographers' Blog:

Clash of two cricketing titans

The second quarter-final of the cricket world cup was a clash between two huge teams. India, the world's no. 1 team with its power batting lineup. Australia, three-time world champions who have reigned supreme over the game for 12 years. Whoever won, it would be a huge story. Whoever lost, it would be a huge story.

Police officers control a crowd of spectators outside Sardar Patel Stadium ahead of the Cricket World Cup 2011 quarter-final match between India and Australia, in Ahmedabad March 24, 2011.        REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

We headed to the stadium at around 10am, well before the 2.30pm start. Traffic was backed up a long way. There was only one road leading to it and we weren't sure if it was fans waving flags and blowing horns, buses and four wheel drives, scooters or the cops that were in charge. Fellow photographer Andrew Caballero-Reynolds got nervous because on his last 3 trips to stadiums, the vehicle he's been in has blown a tire. Lucky we made it in one piece. There were thousands of fans queuing in the searing heat to get into the ground, watched over by the usual stick-wielding police in khaki suits.

I installed a remote camera high on a TV tower above the stands, hooked up by usb cable to a laptop, both powered by a 25m extension cord we rented for 150 rupees (about 4 dollars) from a local shop that usually rents them out for weddings. The remote would capture the action from a different angle and would fire whenever I wanted it to from my field side position. I had the laptop running on a data card so the pictures would automatically be downloaded and transmitted to our editing system live, so that we didn't have to wait for the break inbetween innings to get the disk and edit pictures. It was going to provide some great pictures from the match.

from Left field:

The Sachin Tendulkar jinx

India's Sachin Tendulkar is bowled by Australia's Peter George for 214 runs during the fourth day of the second cricket test match in Bangalore October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

In getting out to debutant Peter George of Australia in the second cricket test at Bangalore, India's Sachin Tendulkar has established another test record.

Of the 251 times he has gotten out in a test match, the little master has been the debut wicket of at least ten bowlers - Hansie Cronje, Mark Ealham, Neil Johnson, Ruwan Kalpage, Jacob Oram, Monty Panesar, Ujesh Ranchod, Peter Siddle, Cameron White and Peter George.

While getting Tendulkar’s scalp might seem like a dream start to a young cricketer’s career, which of these players have gone on to become greats of the game?

from Left field:

Records not enough for little master Tendulkar

CRICKET-AUSTRALIA/INDIABy Adveith Nair and Krishna N. Das

Having dominated international cricket for over 21 years, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar sets a world record practically every time he steps out on a cricket pitch.

The second India-Australia test that begins on Saturday will be no different. Fans will be counting down the 27 runs the little master needs to become the first ever player to chalk up 14,000 test runs. Given his recent prolific form, it is more than likely the little master will reach that milestone in the southern Indian city of Bangalore with ease.

But in a cricket-mad nation of over a billion people, the expectations don’t end there.

Cricket – India vs Australia

Highlights from India’s test cricket and one-day international matches against Australia

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Indians attacked: time for action vs need for calm

Days after accounting graduate Nitin Garg was stabbed to death in Melbourne, the incident has not just triggered anger but also speculation of strained diplomatic ties between India and Australia.

Flowers and candles from a vigil are seen at the park where Nitin Garg was stabbed in the western suburbs of Melbourne January 5, 2010. REUTERS/Mick TsikasAustralian authorities have repeatedly maintained the attacks were not racially motivated, an argument spurned by the Indian press that cited past incidents of a similar nature, targeting mainly Indians on a student visa.

From the point of view of Australian authorities, terming the attacks as racial will have larger ramifications for a country whose economy depends on the international student sector to a great extent.

Kevin Rudd: Re-reassuring Indians?

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, currently in India, is expected to address concerns in India over attacks on Indian students.The issue blew up in May this year after a spate of attacks on Indian students amid allegations of racism.The Australian leaders have been defending the safeguards and measures taken since then, but every time there is a fresh attack the media goes to town with the issue.With over 80,000 students enrolling in Australian every year the attacks, whatever their nature, have hardly dampened the outflow of students.Rudd won’t be the first to offer a reassurance and given the regularity with which incidents are reported it doesn’t look like he would be the last.Indian students continue to be interested in Australian education.Is this because they can sense that the issue is has been blown out of proportion?Or are they voting with their feet on the state of Indian education system?Are we still sold out over the lure of a ‘foreign degree’ and willing to run the risks for it?

Attacks on Indians in Australia: racist or recessionist?

A spate of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney has seen the Indian media accuse Australia of being a racist nation.

Newspaper articles warning of a culture of “curry bashings” in Australia have sparked off debate and people around the world have spoken out against the attacks in online forums.

Some insist the majority of attacks may have been purely criminal.

As an Indian studying in the U.S. for the past three years, I am yet to come across any instance of Indians being targeted on the basis of their race.

“Crikey!” Steve and the Kerala crocodiles

Think Steve Irwin and it’s difficult to take the crocodile off the frame.

That must be the logic behind the Kerala government renaming its crocodile park on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram after the khaki-clad naturalist.

But the government is in a tight spot after it received a notice from Terri, wife of the Australian “Crocodile Hunter”, questioning the commercial use of her husband’s name.

Irwin died in 2006 after a stingray barb pierced his heart while filming off Australia’s coast.

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