Companies & Sectors
Reliance Group, Samsung asset management firms in strategic pact

Both Samsung Asset Management Co and its counterpart in the Reliance Group will explore areas for developing, managing, marketing and distributing each other's products in India and Korea, while also pursuing their interests in the global markets, the two companies said in a statement

 

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group on Friday said it has signed a pact for a strategic alliance with Samsung, which runs Korea's largest asset management company with a corpus of $165.8 billion, to leverage the strengths in their respective domains and domicile.
 
Both Samsung Asset Management Co and its counterpart in the Reliance Group will explore areas for developing, managing, marketing and distributing each other's products in India and Korea, while also pursuing their interests in the global markets, the two companies said in a statement.
 
"The Indian asset management market has grown by around 12 percent per annum since 2008 to $190 billion and offers tremendous potential to overseas investors," said Sundeep Sikka, the chief executive of Reliance Capital Asset Management.
 
"Samsung's leadership experience in Korea, with over 51 percent market share in ETFs (exchange traded funds), and our complementary expertise in investment strategies will help us expand the market for Indian funds globally," Sikka added. 
 
As per information provided in the statement, Samsung managed assets of over $165.8 billion as of February this year across an array of investment products, that ranged from domestic and overseas equities, fixed income, alternative investments, hedge funds and exchange traded funds.
 
This is sought to be leveraged with the Reliance Group company's portfolio of $40 billion as on March 31 this year, across mutual funds, government-sponsored public funds, managed accounts, alternative investment funds and offshore funds. 
 

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'Avengers: Age of Ultron' - Secret mission gone awry

The superheroes from Marvel comics have their own set of followers, thus making the films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe cult movies. For the uninitiated, these films would make little or no sense at all

 

Film: "Avengers: Age of Ultron"; Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Don Cheadle, Samuel L Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Thomas Kretschmann, Andy Serkis, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Linda Cardellini, Stellan Skarsgard, Claudia Kim, Julie Delpy and Stan Lee; Voices of: James Spader and Lou Ferrigno; Director: Joss Whedon; Rating: ***
 
The superheroes from Marvel comics have their own set of followers, thus making the films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe cult movies. For the uninitiated, these films would make little or no sense at all.
 
With most of the superheroes featuring in this film, the much awaited eleventh film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- "Avengers: Age of Ultron", is a sequel to the 2012 released "Avengers". It is a fan's delight and a layman's nightmare; trying to figure out these characters and relating to them.
 
Showcased on a vast canvas, it is an epic tale of a secret mission going awry.
 
The lengthy prologue reveals that the earth is purported to be under attack.
 
In order to safeguard the planet, Stark aka Iron Man, secretly creates, "the global peace keeping program to help Avengers to succeed" - a robotic 'Iron Legion' - Ultron.
 
It is after he chances upon Hydra Chief, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's Artificial Intelligence and a scepter which contains a powerful "Infinity" gemstone that belonged to Thor's half brother Loki, he uses it on Ultron, who becomes a mighty powerful entity.
 
It is Ultron's warped logic - that mankind is the enemy of the planet - which eggs him on to bring about its extinction. Avengers - Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye along with Strucker's experiments - The Maximoff twins; Pietro who has superhuman speed and Wanda, who can manipulate minds and throw energy blasts, all join in to stop Ultron from causing mass destruction, forms the crux of the story.
 
Though this is an action thriller, there is drama and humour in equal measure. The performances of every character are typical and everyone has a decent amount of screen time to shine. But it is the line-up of new individuals who add to the novelty factor of the film.
 
Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the super powered Maximoff twins - both struggle with their Eastern-European accents, but Olsen comes off better with more graph to her tale and more interesting powers. But it is James Spader, who steals the show. He lends his voice to Ultron and with his tone, both chilling and affable; he turns out to be a formidable foe.
 
Writer-director Joss Whedon plunges directly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and unravels the complex plot with dexterity. There are numerous sub-plots and back stories that tie up loose ends. Apart from the action adventure, the director delves into the soul of the characters, thereby portraying their weak points.
 
While the narrative is racy, with nothing constructive happening in the first half, the pace drags. The narration only picks up momentum in the second half.
 
What keeps you glued to the screen are the visuals of the fast-paced, well-choreographed action sequences. The mega setting of the destruction is breathtaking and the effect is amazingly enthralling.
 
The razor-sharp edits too are flawless as they seamlessly blend motion capture frames with the computer generated images. The 3D effects are an add on, but they do not boost the viewing experience.
 
Unfortunately, the flaw with the film is that, it shares a familiar premise and the consequences pale in comparison to earlier Marvel films.
 
Overall, this is a spectacular film, which fans will thoroughly enjoy.
 

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Learning dog logic enables understanding our pets

Dog ownership, once seen as a western tradition, is spreading fast throughout Asia. Here's how to understand them

 

My dog spends hours visualising her dinner, licking her lips in anticipation of it and walking in and out of the kitchen to catch the precise moment when it is served. And then she inhales it in one nanosecond. Slurrrp! Gone.
 
"At least savour the thing" I shout, but she pretends not to understand English. Besides, she follows dog logic, which ain't human logic. Here's how dogs deal with problems. 1) Face whatever it is. 2) Slowly tilt your head and look at it from a 45 degree angle. 3) If it remains puzzling, go off to the kitchen to see if any food has magically materialised in your dog bowl.
 
Dog ownership, once seen as a western tradition, is spreading fast throughout Asia. Here's how to understand them. My dog and I communicate well now. I've learned dog logic. For example, when she scratches at my door, she is giving me a message: "Let me in, so I can go back out again." The gap between wanting to come in and wanting to go out can be as little as ten seconds, and she sometimes stops half way for a head-tilt.
 
Top five pieces of dog logic: 1) When someone passes within 20 metres of our door: "Everybody in the outside world wants to kill us! Brace for attack!" 2) When visitors enter our home: "Please line up for security inspection. This will involve the temporary insertion of my snout into your nether regions. Remove laptops and put them into the trays provided." 3) When I take her out for walkies: "Wow, here's another beautiful new spot to add to my list of sacred territories. And now I will urinate all over it." 4) When it's time to clean the house: "I fear nothing. I will give my life to protect this household from danger of any shape or size. A vacuum cleaner! RUN!" 5) When you buy a different brand of pet food: "Sorry, I am an extremely discriminating diner and will eat only the finest haute cuisine. Oh look! One of my old poops! Yum."
 
But there is one oddity about my dog. When I try to play "fetch", she won't cooperate. She just looks at the other dogs as if to say: "My human spent five minutes looking for that stick. And now he's thrown it away. See what I have to put up with?" But dogs are nice people. If I have an accident, she rushes to my aid. "You just fell off a ladder! Will a face-licking help?"
 
Yet, be warned. You will never have any privacy again, thanks to the most annoying bit of dog logic of all: "Hmm, the children are out and mum and dad have gone to the bedroom for a cuddle. There's nothing they'll like better than for me to add to the fun by jumping on the bed and barking!"
 
Now I think I am going to have to stop here. I did check earlier, but I want to look again to see if anything new has materialised in the fridge. Not that I am picking up bad habits or anything.
 

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