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India is reaping the rewards of gold and silver imports

The global recession of the late 2000s has been tough on many countries, including India. Fortunately, Indian residents have recently received a substantial economic boost from their gold and silver imports. 

According to Reuters, India's gold and silver imports rose 138 percent between April 2012 and April 2013. Meanwhile, world gold and silver prices recently fell, which may significantly impact India's economy in the near future. 

"The surge in gold imports in April could have been due to frontloading of demand given the fall in gold prices, but this demand will come off in the next few months," India economist Siddhartha Sanyal told the news source.

Demand for India's gold is increasing around the world
Gold is a hot commodity worldwide, and Indian residents and those who work in the U.S. and send money to family members back home could be affected by its fluctuating value.

In April 2013, India's imports increased 10.9 percent on a year-over-year basis, thanks in part to the high demand for gold. While the price of gold fell in April, it has steadily increased since that time, a trend that may continue as the Indian economy continues to improve. 

Additionally, the demand for gold could create new opportunities for Indian retailers. If more consumers request gold products, more jobs could become available, which may help create new employment opportunities across India. 

Indian online retailers are selling gold and silver
The Indian Express points out that Bullion India recently launched an online platform to sell gold and silver to consumers. This merchant intends to supply large quantities of gold and silver at low prices and is even offering various delivery options to customers around the globe. 

"Bullion India is the best platform through which retail customers can own gold and silver bars in small denominations at the lowest prices," Bullion India executive director Ketan Kothari told the news source. 

With Bullion India, customers can enjoy gold bars that comply with international standards and are safely stored at all times. A professional security agency ensures that gold and silver is protected, and Bullion India also offers full insurance to clients. 

As the global economy improves, more consumers could show interest in India's gold and silver sector. By offering these products to customers, Indian residents may receive significant profits that could help the nation for extended periods of time. 


Veteran Bollywood acting legend receives life achievement award

One of India's most accomplished and successful actors was recently honored for his career in the film industry, bringing entertainment to millions of people for more than half a century.

Pran Krishan Sikand, better known to fans of his and the movie business in general as "Pran," is the 2012 recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. What the lifetime achievement award is to the Oscars, the Saheb Phake is to India and Bollywood.

Anupam Kher, a contemporary of Pran's and Bollywood legend – featured in U.S. films including "Silver Linings Playbook and "Bend It Like Beckham," congratulated the 93-year-old movie icon via Twitter.

"Delighted that Pran Saab is finally given the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award," said Kher, according to the Times of India. "Sir, in my mind I congratulated you 20 years back."

Also offering salutations through the social media provider was director Madhur Bhandarkar.

"Congratulations Pran saab for the Dadasaheb Phalke award – this is much deserved," said Bhandarkar, the newspaper reports. "This award is mainly for the varied kind of roles he played right from menacing to extremely positive characters, which he brought alive on the silver screen."

Those who transfer money to India have likely provided their family members with the ability to see Pran in action at some point over the years. Known for portraying the role of the villain or antagonist, the 93-year-old has been in more than 400 movies, most of which have been shown only in India. He's had a lot of time to pursue these title rolls, entering the movie business in his early 30s.

Routine portrayal of 'bad guy' role came later
Pran wasn't cast in the antagonist's role throughout his career, however. For seven straight years, he mainly served as the hero. But by the time the 1950s rolled around, Bollywood experts say that he truly found his niche, portraying villainous characters with a great deal of authenticity.

The Times of India points out that Pran is best known for five movies in particular, those being "Zaneer," "Don," "Madhumati," "Ziddi," as well as "Ram Aur Shyam."

As talented and well-suited for the film industry Pran may have been, it wasn't the line of work he set out to do. In a recent feature published by The Hindu, Pran didn't want to work in front of the camera, but rather behind the lens as a professional photographer. But by happenstance, at one point in his twenties he was window shopping outside a paan shop when a film writer, Wali Mohammad Wali, approached him. Feeling that he had a knack for acting, Wali had him perform in a movie he was working on the time called "Yamala Jat."

As with many actors, Pran didn't make it to the big time immediately after his first role. His career went through a variety of starts and stops but once he played the lead role in the film "Ziddi" in 1948 he shortly thereafter became a household name and was able to find work on a regular basis.

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is a highly revered distinction that a Bollywood celebrity is given every year by the Government of India. Since 1969, a prominent personality has been bestowed with this honorific as a symbol of the country's appreciation for their life of work bringing entertainment to the Indian public. Last year, actor Soumitra Chatteree was given the award and director K. Balachander received it in 2010. In the 43 years that it's been awarded, it's usually gone to either an actor or director, but there have been singers and lyricists who've been formally recognized by Indian officials.


India officials considering American natural gas exports

Several Indian leaders are evaluating the benefits of U.S. natural gas exports. According to The Economic Times, India invested roughly $4 billion in the American oil and shale gas sectors between 2008 and 2012, and a few Indian administrators are examining U.S. natural gas exports' potential impact on the nation's economy. 

Nirupama Rao, Indian ambassador to the U.S., is one of several Indian leaders who is advocating for U.S. natural gas exports to go to India in the near future. Rao said that a partnership between India and the U.S. could significantly benefit Indian residents and those who hold jobs in the U.S. and send money back to their families in India. 

"As shale gas has become economically viable to produce, the U.S. has emerged as one of the world's most important gas-producing countries," Rao told the news source. 

U.S. Energy Information Administration and Department of Energy estimates show that U.S. natural gas production may exceed domestic consumption by 2020. Rao points out that India's use of U.S. natural gas exports could help her country's residents reduce their electricity expenses and deliver a substantial boost to the local economy. 

"This scenario opens up the possibility of the export of liquefied natural gas cargoes from the U.S. to other energy scarce countries, including India, where there is significant untapped potential for natural gas demand in all end use segments," Rao told the news source. 

A "win-win" opportunity for India and the U.S.
Shale gas production growth over the next few years could benefit India and the U.S. In fact, Rao notes that U.S. natural gas exports to India may provide a "win-win" opportunity for both countries. 

Job creation is a major initiative for Indian officials, and Rao states that a new partnership between India and the U.S. would represent a significant achievement. The Hindustan Times reports that India has already made significant investments in liquefaction terminals, which could help the Indian economy improve. 

Petronet, India's largest natural gas importer, recently signed an agreement that could affect Indian and U.S. citizens. UPI notes that Houston's United LNG agreed to supply 4 million tons of liquefied natural gas to Petronet annually for the next 20 years

Indian leaders said that the nation's demand for liquefied natural gas is growing at an annual rate of 5.6 percent. The recent partnership between Petronet and United LNG could help India keep pace with its liquefied natural gas needs, and Indian officials will continue to explore their options as well. 


Mega cultural event coming to India in May

While it may be several miles away, a major cultural event is being planned in one of the world's largest and most-populous countries that immigrants may want their families to be aware of the next time they send money to them and speak with them online or over the phone.

Between May 20 and May 26, Kolkata will convene a gathering that's sure to be enjoyed by all who attend. As noted by the Times of India, the week-long event – which will take place at the Indian Institute of Management – has the potential to be one of the biggest functions ever to take place in India, as several well-known figures will be in attendance to celebrate India's history and culture.

The chief sponsor of the event is the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Among Youth, more commonly known as SPIC MACAY. The paper points out that among the attractions that visitors will see include major names in the world of classical music, such as classical vocalist Girija Devi santoor player Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma as well as Pandi Ajoy Chakraborty, who is also a classical singer.

So significant is this event, that India's president, Pranab Mukherjee, will be in attendance and will inaugurate the gathering on its opening night. In addition, close to 1,500 delegates from all across the country will gather as well.

Swami Vivekananda's 150 birthday to be celebrated
Not only will the cultural convention pay recognition to contemporary cultures and practices of Indian life but a large focus will be put on historical figures as well who have come to define Indian society, traditions and customs. One of whom is Swami Vivekananda. This would be his 150th birthday were the leader still alive today.

Hinduism is one of the most common religions and philosophies in India and Vivekananda is given credit for introducing the faith to other parts of the world through his teachings and speeches. Nine years before his death, Vivekananda visited Chicago and gave a stirring speech at a global meeting, called the Parliament of the World Religions. This is believed to be the place in which Hinduism became more widely known.

Though Vivekananda may be an unfamiliar name to people who have always lived in the U.S., the Indian leader made an impression on many different aspects of life, not solely in the religious framework. For example, one of the most common types of exercise among both men and women is yoga. Biographers of Vivekananda say that the West's enthusiasm for the mediation-centered form of exercise is largely due to his sphere of influence.

SPIC MACAY has released a program that visitors can download if they plan on attending the event or if they're curious about some of the activities that will be taking place there over the week-long period. They've also provided a framework of what the typical day will be like there. For example, events begin bright and early at 3:45 am and close down at 10:15 pm sharp. Between these hours, activities will include intensives, speeches, dinner, movement time and concerts.

India plays a significant role in today's society in a variety of respects. For example it is the world's tenth-largest economy from a standpoint of gross domestic product and is also the second-largest country in terms of population. It's estimated that more than 1.2 billion people live in the Republic of India – the country's more official name – second only to China.


Indian cuisine strikes a chord with public

In order to get a true taste of Indian cuisine, natives may think that the only way to experience it is if they literally send money to India in return for a delicious home or restaurant-cooked warm meal. But because this usually isn't feasible, Indian food enthusiasts will turn to the U.S. to see what local restaurateurs are offering. And according to The Wall Street Journal, many business owners are entering the Indian food business.

Similar to how many people associate hamburgers and hot dogs with traditional American fare, the same can be said for Kati rolls. More formally known as the Kathi roll, this type of cuisine can be found on food trucks and street vendors in and around India, especially in Kolkata.

What the wrap sandwich is to America, the Kati roll is to India. In other words, no matter what's put inside of the bread – whether it's luncheon meat, vegetables, hummus or streak – anything that's within the Indian flatbread is described as a Kati roll.

These sandwiches have become to popular in the U.S., a business owner based in New York uses it as her company's name. The Wall Street Journal notes that in 2003, former Kolkata resident Payal Saha had the hardest time finding Indian cuisine in one of the country's largest cities. After much time and consideration, though, she decided to launch her own Indian cuisine restaurant, calling it The Kati Roll Company.

"I suppose I had a simplistic conviction that if I loved them so much, then others would too," said Saha. "All I had to do was make it good and make it available."

Her foresight ultimately paid off. Not only is her business thriving in New York City, but it's slowly becoming a franchise. In the 10 years that the company's been in operation, her restaurant now has locations in two other parts of New York City and one in London.

Indian food also popular in Massachusetts, California
But Saha isn't the only native of India who is bullish about Americans' desire for her home country's staple menu items. In Cambridge, Massachusetts – which is a suburb of Boston – a business called Chutneys has served New England area restaurant goers for several years. Many of those who visit the restaurant on a regular basis are college students, as Harvard Square – where Chutneys is located – is teeming with young adults attending the world-famous Harvard University.

Indian cuisine is also popular in the West, specifically within California. Entrepreneurs have been able to establish Indian fare through restaurant establishments as well as food trucks. Business owners who have the ability to move their eateries have the advantage of bringing the food to the people if business in a particular part of a city is slow. The Wall Street Journal points out that the San Francisco-based Indian restaurant Kasa has the best of both worlds – a brick and mortar restaurant as well as two food trucks.

"I personally take deep satisfaction when Kasa converts someone," Kasa founder Anamika Khanna told the newspaper. "Or better when I hear 'I never thought I would like Indian food, but I love your food.'"

According to multinational media company UBM, many people are investing in the Indian food industry. In fact, the country's food culture is growing at an annual rate of 17 percent. Global marketing research firm ACNielsen recently named Indian cuisine as a "hotspot" for food manufacturers, as its offerings combine healthy dishes as well as indulgences that food lovers crave.


France, India come together with art festival

While they may be more than 6,000 miles removed from each other and require a five-day drive to get to either location, France and India may soon share many similar traits at the conclusion of a festival that organizers in each country have established.

The Embassy of France and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations are holding a festival, dubbed "Bonjour India," which was put together to help more Indians appreciate the variety of artistic masterpieces produced by French artisans over the years. Similarly, the event is also meant to benefit people who are native to France who may not have much familiarity with Indian artistic culture.

Having begun on January 20 and lasting through the end of March, there are more than 150 events being held in support of the festival throughout India, including in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Pondicherry, Kolkata, Pune and Goa.

The Hindustan Times notes that this isn't the first time a festival of this type has taken place. The last one was held in 2010, much of which focused on introducing the French to Indian artistic history and artifacts, according to Aruna Adiceam of the Institut Francais en Inde, which helped organize that event as well as this year's.

"The first edition of Bonjour India was a splash into the Indian cultural scene," Adiceam told the newspaper. "This time, we aim to focus on Indo-French collaborations."

France, India well known for producing world's artistic titans
The Indian and French people both have rich artistic histories. One of the more contemporary artists to come out of India is Manjit Bawa. As noted by the online art exhibition website, Bawa's works are quite distinctive, vibrantly colorful and typically involve depictions of landscape.

"Manjit Bawa's canvases are very discernible in their colors especially the yellow color of sunflowers, the green color of the paddy fields, red of the sun and the blue of the mountain sky," the website states. "Bawa opted for more traditional Indian colors like pinks, reds and violet. He was one of the first painters to break out of the cliched grays and browns."

Bawa is now in his 70s and continues to paint from his studio in Himachal Pradesh. Other famous Indian artists, some of whom have passed away, include Ram Kumar, Krishan Khanna, Brota Rameshwar, Amrita Sher-Gil and Tyeb Mehta.

While there are a variety of contemporary French artists as well, muralists from hundreds of  years ago help put France on the map and establish the country as producing some of the world's most well-known creators.

Perhaps no one is more emblematic of the world of art as Claude Monet, who was born in 1840 and died in 1926. Over the course of his career, he produced paintings that are recognized by many people who have little knowledge of art, such as the famous Waterlilies, The Japanese Bridge and Rouen Cathedral at Sunset.

Other well-known French artists, some of whom preceded Monet, include Alexandre Cabanel, Edouard Manet, Pierre-August Renoir, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Camille Pissaro.

Bonjour India isn't entirely made up of art involving canvas and paint, however. Indians who have family back home may want to transfer money to India so that their loved ones can take advantage of the theater, as plays will be held during the 10-week event. Films will also be shown starting on February 15 and lasting through March 10 at the France Film Festival, the Hindustan Times notes.


India, Pakistan close out ODIs with third fixture

The final One Day International between India and Pakistan is set to take place later this week, with the home side looking to make a point in the last fixture.

Pakistan is set to complete its ODI tour against India on January 6, at 1:30 a.m. EST. The two sides will meet at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. This will be the third ODI the Men in Blue will take part in during the Pakistan tour of India.

India is currently ranked third in the International Cricket Council's ODI rankings, while Pakistan sits sixth in the table. This could make for one of the most exciting ODI fixtures in recent memory, pitting two very strong sides against one another.

Want to see India-Pakistan ODI action live, as well as other great cricket fixtures? If you are a first-time Xoom customer who makes a transfer of $150 or more at, you can!! This gives you a free online subscription to, so you can catch all of the great action. Act soon, as you won't want to miss another bowl, six or wicket!!


India hosts Pakistan for first of three ODIs

India is set to begin the first of three One Day Internationals with Pakistan later this week in Chennai.

The match will take place at MA Chidambaram Stadium in the Chepauk section of the city at 10:30 p.m. EST on December 29.

From 1978 to 2012, Pakistan has gotten the better of its rivals in ODIs. The Men in Blue have only won 48 of the 121 matches during this time, while Pakistan took the other 69 matches. With these three coming up, India will look to improve its overall record, as it has the benefit of playing at home for all three fixtures.

The two sides will meet again on January 3 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, while the final ODI will take place on January 6 at 1:30 a.m. EST at Feroz Shah Kotla, in Delhi.

Want to see India-Pakistan ODI action live, as well as other great cricket fixtures? If you are a first-time Xoom customer who makes a transfer of $150 or more at, you can!! This gives you a free online subscription to, so you can catch all of the great action. Act soon, as you won't want to miss another bowl, six or wicket!!