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BUSINESS | News Briefs

LUFTHANSA: The Number One European Carrier to India | Mastercard CEO | Draconian Law | Stunning Growth

The Number One European Carrier to India

Sanjna Grover

German airline Lufthansa is not only a top international airline, it’s also the top European carrier to India, according to Lufthansa’s Sanjna Grover.

“Lufthansa is the gold standard for international travel, flying to over 400 destinations in more than 100 countries,” Grover said. “But did you also know that Lufthansa is the number one European carrier to India? Since its first flight to India more than 50 years ago, Lufthansa has significantly expanded its offer to the region.”

With over 50 flights per week from Frankfurt and Munich, Lufthansa offers connections to seven destinations in India – Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.

For  Indians living in the U.S., Lufthansa should be the first choice, she said.

“Lufthansa has a strong commitment to making our Indian customers feel at home, ,” she added. “On select Lufthansa flights, dedicated Indian attendants who speak Hindi. Lufthansa’s in-flight entertainment offers latest Indian movies as well as Indian music. In consideration of religious and dietary restrictions, Lufthansa offers special meals that are prepared and spiced Indian style.” Additionally, Lufthansa’s Guide and Family service is available to Indian passengers in need of language and transfer assistance at the airline’s Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

Lufthansa was voted “Best International Airline in India” at the CNBC Awaaz Travel Awards 2009.

Lufthansa has proven its commitment to the Indian American community by featuring aspects of the Indian way of life in its different promotions, she said.

“In celebration of the ‘Festival of Lights’ and the love of Bollywood, we offered the ‘Lufthansa Movie Nights Promotion,’” she said.

“In 2009, we partnered with Manish Malhotra, the designer to stars and showcased the Wedding Campaign. This season’s promotion was the ‘Lufthansa Cricket Craze.’”


Mastercard CEO

Ajit Banga

MasterCard Inc. has named Pune-born, Delhi-educated, IIM-Ahmedabad alum Ajay Banga its CEO.

Banga will take over the top position from current CEO Robert Selander on July 1, only ten months after being hired from CitiGroup as a potential successor.

Banga joined MasterCard as president and chief operating officer from Citigroup Inc. last August, and was given a $4.2 million signing bonus he could keep if he wasn’t named CEO by June 30, 2010.

Banga was born in Khadki outside Pune, where his father, an army officer, was posted. He grew up and schooled across India, successively in Secunderabad, Jalandhar, Delhi, Hyderabad and in Shimla, where he finished his schooling.

He rejected an army career his father was keen he pursue and instead later took a BA in economics from Delhi University and later an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Banga started his career at Nestle and joined Citigroup in 1996 as head of marketing in India for the consumer business.

In 2000, Ajay Banga was promoted to head CitiFinancial and the U.S. consumer assets division. In 2002 he took over the retail bank in North America – his first stint in the U.S -- and in 2005 he was named to head Citigroup’s international consumer-banking and finance businesses.

He moved to Hong Kong in early 2008 after being named to oversee all of the bank’s businesses in Asia, including credit cards and consumer banking, institutional banking, wealth management and alternative investments, before returning to US last year to join MasterCard.


Draconian Law

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center  and Asian American Justice Center, members of THE Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, jointly filed a federal lawsuit with other civil rights groups to challenge SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law that requires police to demand "papers" from people they stop that they “reasonably suspect” are undocumented. 

“Arizona’s actions not only interfere with federal law, but will invite widespread racial profiling in violation of the U.S. Constitution,” said Ronald Lee, staff attorney at AAJC. “The precedent it sets — numerous states have already introduced similar legislation — just underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform at the national level.”  

The coalition of civil rights lawyers represents more than 20 plaintiffs, including Arizona South Asians for Safe Families, Asian Chamber of Commerce, Japanese American Citizens League, Muslim American Society, and individuals such as Jim Shee, a 70-year-old American-born citizen of Chinese and Spanish descent who has already been stopped twice by Arizona law enforcement for his “papers.” 

“Arizona’s new law echoes one of the worst chapters in U.S. immigration history,” said Julie Su, litigation director at APALC. “In the 19th century, the U.S. banned Chinese immigrants entirely and required them to carry ‘residency certificates’ at all times or risk deportation. As was true a century ago, the criminalization of an entire race and fear driven by economic insecurity make for bad public policy.” 


Stunning Growth

Ram Guru came to the U.S. from Chennai to earn a master’s degree in computer science but failed to make a mark in his preferred profession.

However, it did not stop him from establishing one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., a firm that trades in scrap metal and is tipped to earn as much as $80 million in revenue this year.

Milestone Metals, the 44-year-old entrepreneur’s company, could rake in $80 million in revenue this year and is ranked by Inc magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., The Washington Post reported.

It was a chance entry into this business, when a friend back home asked him to help him in get some high- quality scrap for business.

Initially reluctant, Guru quickly figured out how to obtain aluminum and had it shipped to India.

"He barely broke even, but saw potential and Milestone Metals was born soon after in June 2003," the daily said.

Growing demand for highways, homes, offices, factories and other parts of infrastructure in the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- was creating a big boom in the metals market. And Guru got into the business.

"My friend from India was doing well, and he wanted me to buy from various scrap yards and sell to him," Guru was quoted as saying.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

Cricket Tamasha:
The IPL Scandal

Hype, big money and now scandal — the Indian Premier League has it all, but purists lament that cricket has gotten lost in the shuffle. Priyanka Bhardwaj reports.

Undue Hardship:
New Visa Rules

A retroactive Indian visa rule regarding the surrender of Indian passports upon acquisition of U.S. citizenship puts undue burden on Indian Americans, writes Inder Singh.

Don’t Give it Currency:
The Yuan Debate

India should not become a party to the China-U.S. dispute over China’s under-valuation of its currency, writes Arvind Panagariya.

PROFILE: Minister Jairam Ramesh
SUBCONTINENT: Carbon Credit: Green India
IMMIGRATION: Hi-tech Green Card
THEATER: Naatak Presents Tughlaq
HERITAGE: Know India Program
ENVIRONMENT: Sustainable Mining
RECIPE: Sweet & Sour Stir Fry Veg
REAL ESTATE: Cause for Optimism? The Housing Market
TRAVEL: A Trip to Britain
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Ford Fiesta
BOLLYWOOD: Hindi Film Review: Kites
TAMIL FILM: Kanagavel Kaakka
CINEMA: Bicycle Bride
COMMUNITY: News in Brief
BUSINESS: News Briefs
COMMUNITY: May Day Dance

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