Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

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Legendary comic artiste Jerry Lewis, who was known for his brash slapstick humour, has died at the age of 91.Lewis’s agent confirmed that the actor died at his Las Vegas home at around 9.15 am Sunday morning, reported Variety.He was one of Hollywood’s most entertaining comedians, whose career spanned for more than six decades and he went on to become an auteur filmmaker of comedic classics such as “The Nutty Professor” and “The Bellboy”.

Lewis was born as Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926 in New Jersey’s Newark to parents, who were in showbiz. He made his debut at a Borscht Belt hotel singing “Brother, can you spare a dime?” at the age of five.

At 15, he started pantomiming operatic and popular songs and was booked into a burlesque house in Buffalo. In 1942, his comic pantomiming gig at Brown’s Hotel in upstate New York, where he was also working the summer as a bellboy,made him cross paths with comic Irving Kaye.

He met the young singer, Dean Martin at New York nightclub, The Glass Hatt and was first paired with him in 1946. The duo went on to grow strong for 10 years, starting with “My Friend Irma” in 1949 and others such as “The Caddy,” “The Stooge,” “Artists and Models” and “Pardners”.The pair reconciled after the death of Martin’s son in the late 1980s. Martin died in 1995.

Decks cleared: Essar, Rosneft complete $12.9-billion deal


Decks have been cleared for the biggest foreign acquisition ever in India. The completion of the $12.9-billion Essar Oil buyout by Russian government-owned Rosneft and other partners is expected to be announced on Monday. The deal, signed in October 2016, went through a lot of hiccups, with the lenders to the Ruia-controlled Essar group insisting on certain conditions.

Among the last to approve the deal was Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India. The Mumbai-based Essargroup owed over Rs 2,300 crore to LIC, part of which has been repaid. Around Rs 1,200 crore is said to be pending.

The Essar group had in October 2016, signed a deal with Rosneft, United Capital Partners and Trafigura group to sell 98 per cent equity in Essar Oil. The proceeds from the sale were expected to help the group reduce its debt, which stood at around $13.5 billion at the time of signing the deal.

Essar Steel, another group company, is undergoing insolvency proceedings after the Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted an insolvency petition against the firm. The Reserve Bank of India identified the firm among top 12 stressed assets and asked the bankers to file for insolvency against the firm.  The steel firm has about Rs 45,000-crore debt on its books with non-performing assets of Rs 32,000 crore in 2016-17.

Vishal Sikka quits as Infosys CEO: Hits and misses of his 3-year journey

Vishal Sikka resigns

Vishal Sikka on Friday resigned as the chief executive (CEO) and managing director (MD) of Infosys Technologies, India’s second-largest software services company. While the board of Infosys accepted the resignation of Sikka with immediate effect and appointed U B Pravin Rao as the interim CEO & MD, Sikka has been appointed the executive vice-chairman of the company.

In a BSE filing, Infosys said Sikka reiterated his belief in the great potential of Infosys, but cited among his reasons to leave a continuous stream of “distractions and disruptions over the recent months and quarters, increasingly personal and negative as of late, as preventing management’s ability to accelerate the Company’s transformation”.

When Sikka had taken over as the CEO & MD of Infosys three years ago, Sikka was prescient in forecasting that automation would take away jobs and clients would shift their investment dollars to newer digital technologies.

The shift, in fact, has been faster and there is pressure on clients spending on traditional services,which Infosys and its peers such as TCS and Wipro earn four-fifths of their dollar revenue from. To address this,Sikka visualised a software plus services model — using platforms to deliver services to bring in more efficiency and reduce dependency on people.

He had set a goal of more than doubling Infosys’ revenues to $20 billion, with margins of 30 per cent and employee productivity of $80,000.

Modi eyeing 133 mn first-time voters for 2019 polls

Voters showing their inked finger marks after casting vote in a polling station during the second and final phase of Assam State Assembly election 2016 in Guwahati

This year, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his shortest Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, it might have been directed to a generation whose attention span is shorter and lifespan longer than its predecessor. His eye might have been set on those born from 1997 to 2001: They will be exercising their voting rights for the first time in the 2019 general elections.

“January 1, 2018, will not be an ordinary day – those born in this century will start turning 18. For these people, this is a decisive year of their lives. They are going to be the creators of the destiny of our nation in the 21st century. I heartily welcome all these youth, honour them and offer my respects to them. You have an opportunity to shape the destiny of our country,” Modi said.

In many ways, Modi was addressing an important electoral constituency that also has the power to shape his party’s destiny: In the 2019 polls, 133 million young adults will get to cast their vote – 70 million young men and 63 million young women. Of them, 73% live in India’s villages. The number of young women in rural India who will be eligible to exercise their franchise in 2019 alone equals the population of Spain. The number of young men who will cast their vote for the first time in 2019 is higher than the population of Britain.

India’s demographic dividend might have peaked, but for India’s political parties, an electoral dividend is there for the taking if they can play it right. And that might not be hard for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has barely taken a wrong step since storming to power in 2014. An estimated 150 million new voters had become eligible to vote in 2014 – the highest ever reported in the history of free India

Jobs, tourism, housing: Govt turns to start-ups for solution

Narendra Modi

NITI Aayog  — the country’s think-tank that finds solutions to problems ranging from economic issues to how Indian athletes can get more Olympic medals — is now looking towards the start-up community to find answers to India’s woes..

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NITI Aayog will meet 212 entrepreneurs on Thursday to get their views on almost everything under the sun — jobs, ease of doing business, climate change, tourism, health care, skilling.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NITI Aayog will meet 212 entrepreneurs on Thursday to get their views on almost everything under the sun — jobs, ease of doing business, climate change, tourism, health care, skilling.Ahead of this meeting, Modi met the entrepreneurs for a private chat over dinner on Wednesday.

This is the second such event — after Prime Minister’s magnum opus event Startup India in January 2016 — where start-up bosses are being called by the PM en-masse. This would lead to a similar programme on August 21-22, where 180 young CEOs would deliberate on six subjects — New India 2022, Digital India, Emerging a Sustainable Tomorrow, Health and Nutrition, Education and Skill Development, and Soft Power.


Why the US shouldn’t start a trade war with China 

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The U.S. and China seem to be on the verge of a costly trade war.Most recently, the Trump administration announced that Chinese shipments of aluminum foil will now face a hefty import tax, a decision that is intended to offset what the administration believes are unfair Chinese subsidies of its aluminum industry.

What this means in practice is that a handful of Chinese companies will now face “countervailing duties” ranging from 17 percent to 81 percent on their exports of aluminum to the U.S.

And a trade war may also be brewing between the U.S. and several Asian countries in the solar industry.It is not unusual for the U.S. to punish businesses it deems to be “cheating” on global trade rules, and one should not be too quick to judge any specific punitive measure taken. But the fear is that we are now on a slippery slope toward a trade war, as China is certain to respond by taxing U.S. sales of goods in China.

This latest action comes on the heels of a breakdown in talks between the two countries over trade last month. More generally it is consistent with President Donald Trump repeated promises to protect U.S. companies from what he perceives to be unfair competition from China. In addition, there is a strong chance that the administration will soon enact additional policies to limit the entry of Chinese products into U.S.