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Winslet on DiCaprio Oscar nod: 'It's going to be Leo's year'

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LONDON Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated five times for an acting Oscar and Kate Winslet, his co-star in the 1997 blockbuster “Titanic”, says he may finally win the golden statuette next month.

DiCaprio got a nod for his lead role in survival drama “The Revenant”, facing competition from Bryan Cranston for “Trumbo”, Matt Damon for “The Martian”, Eddie Redmayne for “The Danish Girl” and Winslet’s “Steve Jobs” co-star Michael Fassbender.

DiCaprio, 41, won a Golden Globe for “The Revenant” and is seen by many pundits as the one who will win the best actor Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 28.

“I do think it probably will be, I think you can sort of feel it. And I think that everyone wants it for him and it would be amazing,” Winslet told Reuters at the Critics’ Circle Film Awards in London on Sunday night.

“But it’s also slightly difficult for me too because Michael Fassbender has been nominated … and I think his performance is so extraordinary. But … I think you can sort of feel the temperature, it’s probably going to be Leo’s year.”

Winslet, 40, who also starred with DiCaprio in “Revolutionary Road” in 2008, is herself Oscar-nominated for “Steve Jobs” in the best supporting actress category.

“They were like the golden tickets this year, they were really very coveted spots I think, particularly in this category and so I am absolutely thrilled,” she said.

On Sunday, Winslet picked up the supporting actress of the year award for her portrayal in “Steve Jobs” of the late Apple co-founder’s colleague Joanna Hoffman.

Other winners at the Critics’ Circle Film Awards included “45 Years” co-stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay who took the actress and actor of the year prizes.

Action adventure “Mad Max: Fury Road” won film of the year with the movie’s George Miller taking the director of the year award.

(Reporting by Edward Baran; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich)


Source: R-HMovies

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NALCO revives $2 billion Iran smelter plan as sanctions end

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NEW DELHI National Aluminium Company NALCO(NALU.NS) will soon send an official team to Iran to explore setting up a smelter complex worth about $2 billion, its boss said, as world powers lift sanctions on Iran that had made negotiations difficult.

NALCO Chairman Tapan Kumar Chand told Reuters on Monday that the ending of sanctions on Iran in return for the country’s curbs on its nuclear programme could help the company finally move ahead with its long-held goal to set up a smelter there to make use of cheap gas resources.

“It’s a major bottleneck which has been cleared,” Chand said. “As far as Iran is concerned they have already informed us that they are ready to receive the team.”

Cash-rich NALCO will also visit Oman and Qatar in the next two months to work out the best place to set up a 500,000-tonnes-per-year smelter and an associated power plant in the Middle East.

Balvinder Kumar, the secretary of the mines ministry that controls NALCO, said the company’s interest was at a preliminary stage though it should invest aggressively to expand wherever possible.

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NALCO is trying to push back on a finance ministry request to buy back 25 percent of its shares from the government, part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s asset sales plan which looks set to fall well short of its goal this fiscal year.

The company has agreed to repurchase 10 percent but says it also needs money for expansion – including the Middle East project – and to diversify into sectors such as nuclear energy.

NALCO is a rare Indian aluminium company managing to make money despite a sharp drop in the metal’s prices and rising imports from China that have badly hurt private competitors such as Vedanta Ltd (VDAN.NS) and Hindalco (HALC.NS).

One factor is its easy access to raw materials such as bauxite, an aluminium ore. As a result, NALCO enjoys total liquid reserves of about 120 billion rupees ($1.77 billion), around half of that in cash, Kumar said.

The finance ministry, which has managed to raise less then a fifth of the roughly $10 billion it had projected in divestments for 2015-2016, now wants NALCO to shell out about 32.5 billion rupees ($481 million) to buy back shares out of the 89 percent holding the government has in the company.

“We’re working on the 10 percent but a call on the rest will be taken by the board,” Chairman Chand said, adding the buyback demand comes amid the fall in aluminium prices, eroding profitability and the need to have funds to grow.

($1 = 67.6850 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Jatindra Dash and Krishna N. Das; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Mark Potter)


Source: R-Business

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WhatsApp to drop subscription fees, no plans to launch ads

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Mobile messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Facebook Inc, said it will no longer charge annual subscription fees and plans to test tools to allow users to communicate directly with businesses and organizations via the app.

WhatsApp, which has 900 million users worldwide and works across different types of phones, said it does not plan to launch third-party advertising to generate revenue.

It only charges an annual subscription fee of 99 U.S. cents or the equivalent, which is waived for the first year, and said it would end its subscription fees over the next several weeks.

It will test tools that allow users to communicate with businesses and organizations on WhatsApp, rather than through text messages and phone calls.

“That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight,” WhatsApp said on its blog on Monday. (bit.ly/1JcbeLX)

WhatsApp was one of the first apps to let people send and receive text messages on smartphones, bypassing network charges, making it increasingly popular among younger users. It is facing growing competition from messaging app services offered by Google among others.

(Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)


Source: R-Business

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