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December 2006 - January 2007

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India's 20 Richest

Rank Name Net Worth ($bil) Age City
1 Lakshmi Mittal 20 55 London
2 Azim Premji 11 60 Bangalore
3 Mukesh Ambani 7 48 Mumbai
4 Anil Ambani 5.5 56 Mumbai
5 Kushal Pal Singh 5 74 Delhi
6 Sunil Mittal 4.9 48 Delhi
7 Kumar Birla 4.4 38 Mumbai
8 Tulsi Tanti 3.7 47 Pune
9 Pallonji Mistry 3.3 76 Mumbai
10 Anurag Dikshit 3.1 NA  
11 Shiv Nadar 3 60 Delhi
12 Shashi & Ravi Ruia 2.7 62 Mumbai
13 Adi Godrej 2.3 63 Mumbai
14 Anil Agarwal 2.1 52 London
15 Dilip Shanghvi 2 50 Mumbai
16 Naresh Goyal 1.9 56 Mumbai
17 Indu Jain 1.7 NA Delhi
18 Venugopal Dhoot 1.6 52 Mumbai
19 Malvinder & Shivinder Singh 1.55 NA Delhi
20 Rahul Bajaj 1.5 67 Pune


India’s High Net Worth Population Grows 19.3% to 83,000: Second Highest Rate of growth in the World

BusineOwner and Professional Non Resident Indians are increasingly wealthy

London, October 17, 2006 – There were an estimated 83,000 High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) in India at the end of 2005, up 19.3% from 2004. This growth rate was the second highest among all the countries and markets globally, according to the first Asia-Pacific Wealth Report published by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. HNWIs are people with net financial assets of at least US$1 million, excluding their primary residence and consumables.

Buoyant economic conditions and robust domestic stock market performance during the year contributed to the growth in India’s HNWI population.

Indian HNWIs held US$290 billion in assets at the end of 2005, representing 3.8% of total Asia Pacific HNWI wealth.

"Economic conditions have remained robust in India with an impressive GDP growth rate and strong performances in the industrial and service sectors", said Rahul Malhotra, Head of India for Merrill Lynch Global Private Client. "India’s economic landscape and robust stock markets have been the drivers of wealth creation in the country."


One year after that powerful South Asia earthquake devastated Kashmir, Muslim Aid is implementing a number of projects in the region, spending in exceof £1.7 million on rehabilitation programmes.

The October 8 earthquake killed over 73,000 people in Kashmir and Pakistan, and made millions homele. Located in Kashmir not far from Muzaffarabad, Bagh was one of the areas that was worst-hit by the quake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale. 

Muslim Aid responded to the immediate needs of the communities to the tune of more than £1.2 million, to cover emergency relief and to focus on longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes.  But even though a year has passed since the earthquake made millions homele, there is still work to be done.

As a result, Muslim Aid will be spending an additional half a million pounds on various projects in and around the earthquake-affected areas. Muslim Aid, which has its headquarters at Whitechapel Road, will be building more than 100 permanent houses in Bagh for those made homeleby the earthquake.

In another project, Muslim Aid will be implementing an income generation and skills training project for 300 vulnerable families at Tehsil Bagh. The water supply system in Bagh will also be reconstructed, as a result of a project funded by Muslim Aid.

“In Bagh, between 80 and 90 per cent of the houses were destroyed,” recalled Tanzeem Wasti, secretary of Muslim Aid’s board of trustees, during a visit to the area.  “Teachers were killed, students were killed.  Whole sections of Bagh were destroyed, and for quite some time, many people were unable to remove the bodies from the houses, because of the rubble.”


Christie’s London Jewellery Sale Shines In December, Important Jewellery

Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 11am & 2pm

London – A spectacular Kashmir sapphire and a royal ring from Queen Victoria are amongst the historical jewels highlights of Christie’s King Street sale of Important Jewellery on 6 December 2006. Featuring over 300 lots of stunning diamonds, sapphires and pearls with estimates ranging from £2,000 to £150,000, the sale is estimated to fetch in exceof £4 million.


Sapphires from Kashmir are amongst the most desired stones and many of the finest examples that come on the market today emanate from pieces of antique jewellery. Appearing at auction for the first time is an important antique diamond and pearl pendant and brooch from circa 1890 which is set around an exceptional cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 13.86 carats (estimate: £100,000-150,000). The very finest sapphires originate in Kashmir, the mountainous region between Indian and Pakistan, where the first discoveries in 1881 were made. This small area became a legendary source for sapphires, producing stones of a rich cornflower blue similar to the example offered in Christie’s sale. Since the mines closed in 1925 production has remained non-existent ever since and the appearance of this sapphire, which is thought to have been discovered when the mine first opened, ensures this piece will be highly sought-after.     

An emerald and diamond ring given by Queen Victoria (1819-1901) on her coronation day to her Maid of Honour, Lady Ann McKenzie (estimate: £3,000-4,000) is amongst the selection of historical pieces offered in the sale. Crowned Queen of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey on 28 June 1838, the inside of the ring is engraved with the monogram 'VR' for Victoria Regina and also includes a lock of hair set within the band. The ring has the rare distinction of still being in its original case which is marked on the inside Rundell, Bridge and Co. The Royal Jewellers. The ring was bequeathed to Lady Ann McKenzie’s niece and goddaughter, Lady Alice Wentworth Fitzwilliam, and is being offered by a descendant.


With the market for diamonds stronger than ever, the sale features a glittering selection including a sapphire and diamond suite of jewellery by Harry Winston (estimate: £30,000-40,000) which comprises of a necklace, bracelet and ear clips. Also offered is an antique diamond riviere, circa 1880 (estimate: £40,000-50,000) in original green leather case crown embossed 'E' for ArchducheElisabeth of Austria (1878-1960).

From fancy yellows to soft pinks, coloured diamonds continue to be especially sought-after and the sale includes a number of eye-catching examples including a rectangular-cut fancy intense yellow diamond of 17.17 carats (estimate: £100,000-150,000), an Asscher-cut fancy light pink diamond of 6.57 (estimate £50,000-70,000) and a pair of 0.74 carat fancy intense yellowish green diamonds forming the central part of a pair of Art Deco earrings (estimate: £20,000-25,000)


Always a highlight of the sale, the regular Cartier section features over 40 lots which are led by a Kashmir sapphire ring by Cartier of 8.10 carats made in 1959 which is estimated to fetch between £50,000 to £60,000. The section also includes an Art Deco diamond bracelet made in Paris in the early 1930s (estimate: £35,000-45,000) and a sapphire and diamond necklace from circa 1955 (estimate: £38,000-45,000). Amongst the Cartier objects includes a rare Art Deco lacquer and gem-set cigarette box, circa 1925 (estimate: £25,000-35,000), the lid of which depicts a Chinese nocturnal scene. This style of lacquer work is of Chinese origin and involves dying layers of mother-of-pearl into pink, blue, green and purple tones, so as to create vivid contrasts of colour in extremely detailed scenes.

Public Viewing: 1, 3-5 December 2006

Sale: Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 11.00am and 2.00pm


Lottery awards for specialised and art-house films ensure wider distribution acroUK

The UK Film Council announced today the latest awards from its Prints and Advertising Fund which aims to bring a broader range of films to audiences acrothe UK.

The Prints and Advertising Fund (P&A) provides £2 million a year for the wider release of specialised, art-house and foreign language film adding value to the distributors’ own investment in getting their films to audiences. The P&A support is used to produce extra prints and increase advertising for these specialised films which otherwise would only have a limited release in the UK.  The fund also helps to enhance media exposure and publicity ensuring audiences are aware of the opportunities to see the film.

Natural Scenes Ltd received an initial award of £23,503 for Ed Blum’s Scenes of a Sexual Nature with a commitment to increase that to £103,533 if the film ‘takes off’ with audiences. A lower budget film with a strong British cast, it was written by first-time writer Aschlin Ditta, and stars Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okonedo and Catherine Tate. The award will support additional prints and the digital release of the film in order to reach more cinemas. Scenes of a Sexual Nature is released on 3 November.

Icon was awarded £150,000 for Michele Placido’s Romanzo Criminale, a gangster film, shot in Italian and presented with English subtitles. The award will expand the film’s release from 20 to 60 sites including 40 sites for distribution via the UK Film Council’s Digital Screen Network. Icon was also able to increase its media campaign and university promotions. Romanzo Criminale is released on 3 November.

UIP was awarded £106,380 for Richard Laxton’s Life & Lyrics with rising British star Ashley Walters, which opened in the UK on 29 September. The release of this British film was expanded from 35 to 70 sites, more than doubling the number of screens. Life & Lyrics also benefited from a national outdoor advertising campaign.

Peccadillo Pictures was awarded £20,597 for the release of Eric Khoo’s Be with Me, co-written by him and Wong Kim Hoh inspired by the life story of Theresa Chan. A film from Singapore, it is presented in the English, Mandarin and Cantonese language, and is a triptych of fictional love stories mixed with the true story of Theresa Chan who has been both blind and deaf from an early age. The award enabled Peccadillo to triple the number of sites from 2 to 10, to produce audio description for the visually impaired and increase promotion.  Be with Me is released on October 27.

The ICA received £4,500 to ensure wider distribution for Sophie Fiennes’ documentary feature, The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, co-written with Slavoj Zizek. The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema is out now.

Distributor Optimum Releasing Ltd will receive £158,000 for Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, a fantasy film from the cult director shot in Spanish and presented with English subtitles. The award will expand the release of the film from 40 to 75 sites, and also help to support the digital, advertising and publicity campaign. Pan’s Labyrinth is released on 24 November.

Several classic productions have also recently been supported by the P&A Fund. Park Circus was awarded £ 3,600 for Carol Reed’s thriller Odd Man Out (1947), restored and reissued as part of a Carol Reed celebration, and chosen as the closing night film of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The company was also awarded £4,475 for Fred Zinnemann’s Oklahoma! (1955) to distribute the western on both on 35mm and digital screens and £4,400 for Sir Alan Parker’s musical Bugsy Malone (1976), to be re-released on 8 December.

Continuing to support UK film heritage and culture, the BFI received £4,640 for How to Survive the 1940s, a compilation of public information films from the post-war hat period 1946-1950. As a feature with special interest appeal and obvious educational possibilities, the award enabled the BFI to expand its single 35mm print release of the film via the DSN.

Pathé was awarded £250,000 for Pedro Almodovar’s Volver, starring Penelope Cruz enabling the distributor to double the release of the film so that it could reach in exceof 80 screens, and in particular, audiences UK-wide. The film has been hailed as Almodovar’s most exciting work to date and has broken all records for the director’s film s in the UK.  With £2.57 million taken at cinemas to date, it is only the 11th foreign language film to have broken the £2 million barrier since 1991.

Dogwoof Productions received £2,811 for Ramin Bahrani’s Man Push Cart. The award contributed to an additional 35mm print and digital distribution enabling 22 additional bookings. Man Push Cart is now on release.

Wsyiwyg Distribution was awarded £1,470 to increase distribution for The Plague, a first time feature from writer-director Hal Masonberg, starring James Van der Beek.

Awards made earlier in 2006 for a wide variety of films include  £140,636 to Buena Vista for Jonathan Jakubowicz’s Secuestro Expre; £39,000 to Dogwoof Pictures for Miguel Courtois’ El Lobo; £53,090 to Tartan Distribution for Byambasuren Davaa’s The Cave of the Yellow Dog; and £10,533 to Tartan Distribution for Robert Greenwald’s Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.

A list of the UK Film Council’s National Lottery awards can be found at


A major new exhibition is being launched in Black History Month to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of ethnic minority communities who have served with the UK’s Armed Forces over the last 250 years.

The We Were There exhibition remembers millions of military and civilian personnel from Africa, Asia and the West Indies who have been willing to risk their lives to help the UK. Men and women who, quite literally, helped to change the course of history.

The Under Secretary of State for Defence and Veterans’ Minister, Derek Twigg, said:

"The focus of this new exhibition is very much on people rather than events, about individuals who made extraordinary sacrifices during many major conflicts. Their stories vividly illustrate how millions of people from different races, religions and cultures have come together in the fight for freedom.

"The exhibition will shortly embark on an extensive national tour to teach communities about a military history that belongs to each and every person. The stories it tells provide a powerful lesson about personal commitment and professionalism, regardleof religious or racial background."

The exhibition tells the courageous and moving tales of those who served with UK Forces before, during and after the Two World Wars.

One such person was James Africanus Horton, born in Sierra Leone in 1835 to freed slaves. In 1855, Horton was selected for medical training at King’s College, London and went on to study at Edinburgh University. In 1859 he joined the British Army Medical Service and was appointed assistant staff surgeon. Horton was one of the first Africans to qualify as a medical doctor and to serve as an officer in the British Army. In 1874 he achieved the rank of Surgeon-Major, before retiring in 1880 when he returned home to found the Commercial Bank of Sierra Leone.

Another person who showed extreme bravery in the face of adversity was Noor Inayat Khan, who was born to an Indian father and an American mother in 1914. In 1940 Khan volunteered for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), before she was recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) because she had lived in France and was fluent in French. In June 1943, Khan arrived in France under the codename "Madeleine" and was constantly on the run from the German Gestapo. After being betrayed by an informer, she was captured and interrogated by the Gestapo, however she refused to talk and made several unsuccessful attempts to escape. After being taken to a prison in Germany, where she was tortured and beaten, Khan was sent to Dachau Concentration Camp where she was shot. She was posthumously awarded the George Croin 1949, and a plaque in her memory can still be found today at Dachau.

Today, the Armed Forces are determined to become more representative of our diverse society, harnessing the wealth of talent and skills of individuals from different backgrounds acroall ethnic and religious groups.

Ethnic minority representation in the Armed Forces has risen substantially in recent years from just over 1% in 1999 to around 5.6% today. The Armed Forces aim to reach 8% representation by 2013.


On Tuesday 26th September, Chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown met with senior policy makers, captains of industry and leaders in civic society at a reception organised by Labour Friends of India, on the fringes of the annual Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

He said "I value my contacts with India and want to convey my thanks to Labour Friends of India for the constructive and positive role it plays in Parliament. I am looking forward to visiting India in the next few weeks with a view of understanding how our two countries can work even more closely than they already are."

The Chancellor added, "Our connections with India as a Party go back many years and our relations are deep and so profound. I thank the team associated with Labour Friends of India for ensuring this continuity. Please keep working for the great relations between our two countries."

50 British Parliamentarians attended the annual conference reception: Jack Straw MP – Leader of the House of Commons, Ms Hazel Blears MP – Party Chair, Ms Tessa Jowell MP – Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, Stephen Timms MP – Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Tony McNulty MP – Minister for Policing, Security & Community Safety, Margaret Hodge MP – Minister for Industry & The Regions, Parmjit Dhanda MP – Minister for Children, Young People & Families, Barry Gardiner MP – Minister for Biodiversity, Ed Balls MP – Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Warner – Minister for NHS Reform, Lord Davidson – Advocate General for Scotland, and Mike Gapes MP – Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.


Two new businesses, set up in Newham, were opened by Mayor Sir Robin Wales.

Restaurant Caribbean Scene, in Royal Victoria Dock, held a VIP reception to mark its opening by Sir Robin. Guests included footballer Jermaine Defoe and Tessa Sanderson MBE.

The mayor also performed the official opening of the first European branch of international jeweller Joy Alukkas, in Green Street. Among those who attended was Bollywood actreBoomika Chawla.

Opening of Joy Alukkas - Sir Robin with Boomika Chawla and chairman Joy Alukkas.

Sir Robin said: "It is great to see international enterprise benefiting Newham. Both these businesses are bringing new jobs to the borough and enhancing its reputation as an up-and-coming area for style and innovation."

Caribbean Scene created 30 jobs with the opening of its first branch in Western Gateway, on September 18.

Managing director Patrick Marche said: "We are the first chain of upmarket Caribbean restaurants in the UK.

"This is our flagship branch which will be followed by another branch in Stratford’s cultural quarter and subsequently throughout London.

"It is a very exciting stage for us and I would like to thank our guests and sponsors for their support."

Joy Alukkas was officially opened on September 15.

Vara made Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons  

Shailesh Vara, Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshire, has been made Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons by David Cameron. Mr Vara’s appointment was part of a mini-reshuffle carried out by the Conservative Party Leader earlier today.

The new role means that Mr Vara will be deputy to Theresa May MP, Shadow Leader of the House.

Mr Vara said:

“I was a little surprised when David offered me the job but delighted to have an opportunity to be part of the Conservative Front Bench Team. It will be a steep learning curve and hard work but I am thoroughly looking forward to the challenge.”

BBC honours Nina

Nina Rajarani, who hails from Harrow and runs her dance classes at the Harrow Arts Centre, has walked away with major prize in contemporary dancing.

A renowned choreographer with many hits to her name, she won against stiff competition to win the Bloomberg prize for contemporary dancing. The award has a similar status in dancing as the Booker prize has in literature. Beside prestige of being the best in the country, it also carries prize money of £25,000.

There were over 200 competitors that took part in the competition, with 20 reaching semi finals and five making the finals. The finalists had to perform for 10 days at the Place Theatre in Euston before the judges awarded the prize.

Nina Rajarani’s composition “Quick” won the prestigious place prize rewarding her hard and dedication to Indian dancing.

It involved four classically trained South Indian male dancers in businesuits against the background of city life. She had four musicians playing live music for the accompaniment of the dancers.

Nina Rajarani was ecstatic after winning the award stating that she has now proved to everybody in the field that you do not need to dilute the classical form to make it relevant to the contemporary dance world. Some people think that the Indian classical dance is inaccessible and can only be appreciated by the Asian, but the majority of the audiences who watched the dance during the competition were not Asians.

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