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BW Businessworld

Green Signal

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Finally, there is green light at the end of the tunnel. A year after shooting down Hindustan Construction Company's (HCC's) Lavasa project on charges of violation of environmental laws, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has cleared the first phase of the project. However, the clearance of the hill town project near Mumbai comes with several riders to minimise the ecological damage that the construction and digging might cause. The clearance comes close on the heels of the Maharashtra Pollution Control board filing a criminal complaint against Lavasa Corporation for violating the Environment (Protection) Act. HCC halted construction last November when the environment ministry slapped a stop-work notice. HCC challenged the notice in the Bombay High Court, where the case is being heard.

In The Hot Seat
Looks like Greece can bank on him, literally. The debt-ridden country has picked a banker to steer the country out of the economic crisis. Lucas Papademos, former vice-president of the European Central Bank, has replaced George Papandreou as Prime Minister. Papademos will lead an interim government until elections are held in February 2012. The new PM's first job will be to ratify the bailout package agreed to at an EU summit last month. "Greece's problems will be solved with unity, understanding and prudence," Papademos said.

Italy, the other struggling European country, is likely to replace Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with —according to media reports — former European Commissioner Mario Monti.

Angel Funding
Venture capitalists (VC) seem to have renewed their interest in e-commerce. Deals and You, a fledgling e-commerce portal, secured a funding of $17 million (about Rs 84 crore) from a group of investors including Mayfield Fund, Norwest Venture Partners, Nokia Growth Partners and Intel Capital. Valued at $85 million, Deal and You had earlier received a funding of $1.5 million from Group Buying Global.

Forex Blues
Blame it on the rupee. Ranbaxy Laboratories, India's largest drug maker by sales, has reported a net loss after tax and minority interest of Rs 464.58 crore for the quarter ended 30 September 2011, on account of foreign exchange losses. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 307.93 crore in the same period a year ago.

Personal Advantage
This is the best time for the Indian PC industry, according to technology research firm Gartner Inc. The combined desk-based and mobile PC market in India totalled nearly 2.5 million units in the third quarter of 2011, a 13 per cent increase against the same period last year.

Leaders' Dilemma
Call it occupational hazard if you wish. Most Indian CEOs are reeling under stress to meet targets amid ongoing eurozone debt crisis and uncertainty in business, says a survey by industry body Assocham. According to the survey, conducted on 300 senior business executives of public and private sectors, 78 per cent of CEOs are feeling stressed about delivering the desired results.

Gone In A Flash
Adobe Systems is bidding goodbye to Flash on mobile. The software will no longer be available in Web video and games of browsers of mobile devices. In a statement Adobe said it will no longer push its Flash software format for use in the browser programs that come with smartphones and tablet computers. Instead, Adobe will increase its support for HTML5, a collection of technologies backed by Apple and others such as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The move is seen as a win for Apple Inc., which doesn't allow Flash to run on iPads and iPhones.

Food For Doubt
You may not have experienced it, but food inflation has actually come down. According to government data released on Friday, India's food price index eased to 11.81 per cent in the week ended 29 October, lower than the previous week's 12.21 per cent, which was a nine-month high.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 21-11-2011)