Female acts tipped for top in 2010 pop polls

A file photo of Singer Taylor Swift performs at the 43rd annual Country Music Association... Enlarge Photo A file photo of Singer Taylor Swift performs at the 43rd annual Country Music Association...

No two lists are the same, but as pop pundits gaze into their crystal balls at the start of a new decade it is single female acts who look destined for the top, at the expense of indie bands.

Emboldened by the success in 2009 of flamboyant Lady Gaga, YouTube sensation Susan Boyle and country star Taylor Swift, and the likes of Amy Winehouse and Duffy before them, women are being backed to eclipse the bands once again in 2010.

"The 'Gaga effect' is going to continue in the next year and you can already see more artistic, edgy female pop acts," said Albert Schilcher, vice president of talent and music at MTV Networks International.

"Indie acts are suffering somewhat," he told Reuters. "That's not to say there can't be another great indie band, but not a lot of them are being signed (by labels) at the moment," said Schilcher, who also predicted a resurgence in dance music.

Paul Rees, editor of Q magazine, agreed.

"If you look at all the things that are being teed up by major labels, most of them are solo female artists," he told the BBC as part of its annual poll of the "next big things" in pop chosen by over 100 industry experts.

"That's what they're betting their money on."

Already on her way to international stardom is LA-based Kesha, whose debut song "TiK ToK" hit number one in the key U.S. market where it shifted 610,000 digital tracks in a single week last month, the highest weekly sum by a female artist on record.

The New York Times described the track as "a zippy and salacious celebration of late nights and mornings-after" and likened the 22-year-old to Lady Gaga, widely considered to be the biggest international breakthrough of 2009.

All eyes are now on her album "Animal" on Sony Music Entertainment's RCA label which hit the shelves in the United States on Tuesday.

Britain's answer to Kesha may be Ellie Goulding, who features in numerous tip lists and has already carried off the 2010 Critics' Choice Award at the BRITs.

With a sound described by BRITs organisers as "electro-folk-acoustic-pop", Goulding's debut album is due to be released in March through Universal Music's Polydor Records.

On Friday, Goulding topped the BBC's Sound of 2010 poll, and in second place was another female singer Marina Diamandis.

Other British female artists seen on the up include teenager Daisy Coburn (Daisy Dares You), Coco Sumner, Sting's daughter and singer in I Blame Coco, and Roxanne Tataei (Rox). Debi Nova of Costa Rica has been likened by some to Shakira.


Few are writing off the bands, however.

The Drums is a New York quartet destined for big things, according to the NME music magazine, which called them "the most talked-about new band on planet Earth".

MTV, which features the group in its shortlist of 10 acts to watch in 2010, said the Drums were "spearheading a curious but undeniable surf-music craze that's currently enveloping the U.S. indie scene."

Across the pond, Manchester trio Delphic, who blend indie with electronica, appear on several tip lists, and seem keen to distance themselves from indie music's tired image.

They came third in the BBC poll, while Hurts, an electro duo also from Manchester, came fourth. The Drums were fifth.

On the urban music scene, both MTV and music retailer HMV are backing London rapper Tinie Tempah, who is expected to follow in the footsteps of Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder.

Other single male acts to watch in 2010 are two teenagers -- Scot Alex Gardner, likened in the press to George Michael, and Canadian teen-pop singer Justin Bieber -- and Owl City, the music project by Adam Young who has already enjoyed chart success in the United States.

TOEFL: Test of English As A Foreign Language


The TOEFL- IBT (Internet Based Test) is taken by students who are interested in furthering their academic careers and want to demonstrate a proficiency in North American English.

  • The TOEFL test covers 4 areas:
    • Speaking
    • Listening
    • Reading, and
    • Writing
  • The key TOEFL testing tips are stated as follows:
    1. Improve your writing skills.
    2. Review reading passages that frequently occur on the TOEFL test.
    3. Improve your vocabulary.
    4. Be familiar with the format of the TOEFL test.
    5. Practice intensely for the listening test on the TOEFL test.
  • The maximum amount of time allowed to take the TOEFL test - 4 hours.
  • Select one answer per question. Do not leave questions blank.
  • Scores are reported online fifteen business days after the test.
  • Books for preparation: Kaplan TOEFL iBT, Cambridge preparation for the TOEFL TEST.
  • Test Fees: US $165.
  • GRE General Exam Overview

    The General GRE Exam consists of 3 sections, the
    • Verbal
    • Quantitative
    • Analytical writing sections.

    Verbal Reasoning : This section contains 30 questions to be attempted in 30 minutes. The verbal section requires a good vocabulary level, and basic skills of grammatically correct English coupled with reasoning and analysis. The questions consist of four types : Antonyms, Analogies, Sentence Completion, and Reading Comprehension. The four types are intermingled, with no fixed number for each type.

    The skills measured include the test taker|s ability to
    • analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it
    • analyze relationships among component parts of sentences
    • recognize relationships between words and concepts

    Quantitative Reasoning : This section contains 28 questions on Mathematics that are to be completed in 45 minutes. This difficulty level of questions is comparable to Class X. Major topics include Number Systems, Percentages, Fractions & Decimals, Algebra (including Quadratic Equations), Geometry (including Basic Coordinate Geometry), Ratio & Proportion, Area & Volume of 2-D and 3-D figures, and Probability.
    The skills measured include the test taker|s ability to

    • understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis
    • reason quantitatively
    • solve problems in a quantitative setting

    Analytical Writing : The writing assessment section requires you to write two short essays. The first is the Issue task, in which you need to analyze the issue presented and explain your views on it. For the Issue task, you will be able to choose 1 of 2 essay topics selected by the computer from the pool of topics. The time allotted is 45 minutes.
    The second essay is Analysis of an Argument, in which a given argument has to be critically analyzed and evaluated. The Argument task does not offer a choice of topics; the computer will present you with a single topic selected from the topic pool. The time allotted is 30 minutes.

    The skills measured include the test taker|s ability to
    • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
    • examine claims and accompanying evidence
    • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
    • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
    • control the elements of standard written English.

    Test Fees: US $160.

    Books: Kaplan GRE, Princeton Review, Barron's GRE.

    GRE Subject Tests Overview:
    The GRE Subject Tests gauge undergraduate achievement in the eight disciplines listed below. Each Subject Test is intended for students who have majored in or have extensive background in that specific area.
    • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Literature in English
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    The Subject Tests are given at paper-based test centers worldwide three times a year in:
    • October
    • November
    • April

    Test Fees: US $170.

    Books: Kaplan GRE, Princeton Review, Barron's GRE

    Career opportunities in Gemology

    Gemology is the science, art and profession of identifying and evaluating gemstones. It is considered as a branch of mineralogy in Geosciences. Gemologists are taught to classify natural gemstones and check for damage to these stones. The splendor, durability and material value of gemstones have always surprised people and have remained a cause of interest for centuries.


    A gemstone or gem (also called a precious or semi-precious stone) is a piece of attractive mineral, which—when cut and polished—is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However certain rocks, (such as lapis-lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.


    Gemstones are basically categorized based on of their crystal structure, specific gravity, refractive index, and other optical properties, such as pleochroism. The physical property of "hardness" is defined by the non-linear Moh's scale of mineral hardness. Gemologists study these factors while valuing or appraising cut and polished gemstones. Gemological microscopic study of the internal structure is used to determine whether a gem is synthetic or natural by revealing natural fluid inclusions, and included partially melted exogenous crystals to demonstrate evidence of heat treatment to enhance colour.


    The spectroscopic analysis of cut gemstones also allows a gemologist to understand the atomic structure and identify its origin as it is a major factor in valuing a gemstone. For example, a ruby from Burma will have definite internal and optical activity variance as compared to a Thai ruby. When the gemstones are in a rough state, the gemologist studies the external structure; the host rock and mineral association; and natural and polished colour. Initially, the stone is identified by its colour, refractive index, optical character, specific gravity, and examination of internal characteristics under magnification


    Career Opportunities:


    Since time immemorial gems have remained "neighbor's envy and owner's pride". The ornaments have been exotic, unequalled and invaluable articles of personal glory. They are considered symbols of wealth, talismans, adornments of gods, kings and the rich. They have also been revered for their magical powers as well. There are very few substances which pack so much value in such little sizes. And, with changing fashion and taste, men and women today, are steadily moving away from conventional styles of adornment and ornamentation and gradually adopting modern patterns better suited to their busy life styles. According to estimates, 60 percent by value, 82 percent by volume and 95 percent of the cut and polished diamonds get processed in India. Also considering the fact that India is the largest consumer of gold in the world and has excellent infrastructure for diamond cutting, Gemology can prove to be a very lucrative and satisfying career.


    To be eligible for admission into a Gemology course, you must have completed 10+2 (any stream) or graduation. The duration of the courses vary but they are of short terms. A good command over English is a must if you want to progress in this field because not only it gives an edge during communication with customers but also, best of the books on the subject are in English.


    Gemology course mainly consists of gem's identification and colouring, metal concepts drawing techniques, metallurgical processes, elements of fashion, design methodology, computer aided designing, ornament designing, ornament making and traditional and modern processes with specialization in jewellery designing. Gemologists identify, sort and grade gemstones in order to advise jewellers/ jewellery designs regarding various properties of gems and the suitability of particular gemstones in different metals and settings. Thus, the functions of a Gemologist include identification, measurement of weights, establishment of size and all other such aspects of various precious stones. You can specialize as a gem grinder, gem polisher, gem assorter, engraver, jewellery setter, researcher and scientist. You can also be involved in teaching and training people with relevant qualification and adequate experience.


    For becoming a successful Gemologist you should have a sense of design and appreciation of quality. Excellent powers of observation, attention to detail, precision, ability to concentrate, initiative, an objective approach and a tremendous sense of responsibility are some of the other qualities, which will make your progress in this area, fast and smooth. Good hand-eye coordination, patience and concentration are required in great measures because the work is precise and delicate in nature. Students are taught on the various aspects of the stones that include:


    • Identification and coloring of stones, i.e. sorting and grading of stones.
    • Occurrence of the stones
    • Physical properties of the stones
    • Optical properties of the stones
    • Identification of naturally occurring gems
    • Design methodology
    • Metal concepts drawing techniques
    • Ornament designing, computer aided designing
    • Metallurgical process
    • Ornament making in both traditional and modern techniques


    It is a fact that Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are respected and held in high regard all over the world. Also, Government's liberalization policy has opened up a whole new world of opportunities in India and abroad. Within India, Jaipur (Rajasthan) is among the world's largest gem cutting centers. Other emerging centers include Delhi, Mumbai, Surat and Ahmedabad. Most of the jewellery export houses and other centers located in these cities offer good positions to those with training in the latest trends and developments in this field. With the entry of branded gems and jewellery as well as the increased interest in newer designs and westernized styles, job opportunities have increased manifolds. If you can satisfy market needs and continue to create new things, you can carve a niche for yourself as a self- employed entrepreneur.


    Job Opportunities:


    Growing demand for precious stone jewelry has created the need for more gemologists. Anybody who has a passion for jewelry and stones and has an eye for detail can become a successful gemologist. In recent times the entry of branded jewelry has infused new impetus in the profession. And when it comes to gems and jewelry exports, India accounts for 70% (approx.) exports worldwide. There is also a demand for traditional gold jewelry in the international market. The Indian Gem & Jewelry industry is poised to enter the new millennium with great confidence. Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are held in high regard the world over. The opening up of the market will help India to acquire a sizeable share of the world market.


    Job openings have shown an increase with entry of branded jewelry and increased interest in newer and westernized styles. Self-employed jewelry designers can carve a niche for themselves provided they could satisfy market needs and continue to be creative at the same time. Within manufacturing, increasing automation will take some time to adversely affect employment of low-skilled occupations, such as assembler and polisher when replacement benefits and costs outweigh the productivity of manpower. Automation will have a lesser impact on more creative, highly skilled positions, such as mould and model maker.


    The demand for jewelry is largely affected by the amount of disposable income people have. Therefore, the increasing number of affluent individuals, workingwomen, double-income households and fashion conscious men are expected to keep jewelry sales strong.

    Related occupations could be of gem-cutters, hand engravers, and watchmakers and repairers


    It is a fact that Indian gem cutters and craftsmen are respected and held in high regard all over the world. Also, Government's liberalization policy has opened up a whole new world of opportunities in India and abroad. Within India, Jaipur (Rajasthan) is among the world's largest gem-cutting centers. Other emerging centers located in these cities offer good positions to those with training in the latest trends and developments in this field. With the entry of branded gems and jewellery as well as the increased interest in newer designs and westernized styles, job opportunities have increased manifolds. If you can satisfy market needs and continue to create new things, you can carve a miche for yourself as a self-employed entrepreneur.


    Though automation has set in this field also, keeping pace with the changing times, it will take time before it adversely affects the employment of lower level skilled workers. But automation will hardly have much impact on the creative and highly skilled positions.  Employment is not at all a problem for skilled workers. The salaries vary depending on the type of the job you are doing. Creative jobs generally fetch you a starting salary of Rs.15,000 per month. People involved in this business can also be retailers, wholesalers of gems and jewellery shop, where income levels vary from one extreme to another.


    Owing to the availability of cheap labour, it is estimated that nine out of every ten diamonds are cut in India. Further, employment opportunities should be excellent as jewellery sales are increasing. Due to the discovery and pilferage of imitations of diamonds and synthetic gems, the field is still evolving. The International Gemological Institute (IGI), the largest independent gem certification and appraisal institute with gemological laboratories in Antwerp (Belgium), New York (US) and Bangkok (Thailand), has set up shop in Mumbai in recognition of India's immense potential in this field. Many other gemological institutes have been eyeing India in the recent past.

    Internet Users in India

    Internet penetration in India has witnessed a dramatic growth in last few years. Now India has an online internet community of 40 million a steady rise from 5 million in 2000. India is in the 5th position worldwide. United States, China, Japan and Germany are in the first four positions respectively. India will soon cross Germany which has a total net population of 50 million. Indian online population is estimated to be 100 million by 2007-08.Indians go online for varies activities like email, search, chatting, blogging, bill payment, read news, net banking, trading, auctions, find jobs, free advertisements and classifieds, online shopping, compare airfares, purchase electronic items, download photos and wallpapers, astrology predictions and matrimonial search. As per Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) now there are 12 million online women users in India. More than 90% of Indian online users belong to 18-45 age group which has high purchase power and high disposable income.
    This steady growth in internet penetration is due to many factors. New broadband policy and other initiatives by IT and Telecom ministry slashed broadband prices and increased availability.  Now in India a broadband connection is available for just Rs199. After major players like BSNL, Tata, Reliance and Airtel entered broadband segment the whole scenario has changed. On the other side decreasing hardware prices, increasing mobile and telephone penetration and availability of more online service providers has helped the Indian middle class families to purchase a PC and go online from their home.
    Now almost all Indian Banks are giving free internet banking facility. ICICI bank alone conducts around 17,000 online transactions per day. Banks also offer many added features like bill payment, fund transfer, online money order, pre-approved online loans, insurance and telephone payment, online check book request and standing instructions, prepaid mobile recharge, account statement via email, demat services, investments etc. Matrimonial and Job search sites also showed a steady growth in last few years. Matrimonial sites have changed the traditional match making methods and now more and more people are adopting online facilities. Boom in the Indian job market helped online job sites to flourish. Online shopping also on the rise with more people are willing to purchase items online including electronics goods.
    Now United States has highest number of internet users in the world with 209 million online users, which is 19.4% of total worldwide internet users and with an internet penetration of 69.9%. In India internet penetration is only 3.6% and has only 3.7% of worldwide internet users.
    Land phone and mobile phone penetration is increasing in a very rapid rate in India and it will further boost internet usage. Now all major Indian portals have mobile services like free ring tones, wallpapers, free sms, mobile blogging, mobile search and other wap enabled services.

    Distance MBA in India

    Management Education in India has been getting tremendous attention in recent years. An MBA is regarded as the most popular business qualification today. Any qualification coupled with an MBA degree will enhance one's job perspectives. Those who cannot pursue an MBA in a regular Management institute can opt for a part-time or distance MBA. There are many institutes offering MBA through distance education in India. Distance MBA from a reputed institute holds significant value.

    The distance education institutes provides good study materials, regular assignments and practice tests. Most of the centers facilitates interactive sessions. A student must make sure that the institute offering MBA is recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

    Correspondence education has opened a new way for professionals, housewives etc to fulfill their unfinished dreams. Professionals can take up the one year Executive MBA offered by many institutes. Major institutes offering Distance MBA in India are:1. ICFAI University
    The ICFAI Centre for Distance Education offers students and working executives to pursue MBA program on distance learning basis. This MBA program is designed as a career oriented professional certification program. Graduates from any discipline are eligible for the program. Duration of the course is two years.

    2. NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies)
    A number of good courses are offered by NMIMS (Mumbai) for MBA like PGDBM, PGDM etc. All the oursesapproved by the DEC (Distance Education Council, New Delhi).7. Tamil Nadu Open University Tamil Nadu Open University offers MBA and MBA Shipping and Logistics Management.

    8. Annamalai University, Directorate of Distance Education Master of Business Administration programs are offered under distance mode in Annamalai University.

    9. Pondicherry University, Directorate of Distance Education
    Pondicherry University offers MBA programs which spans in 4 semesters. A graduate in any stream is eligible for admission to the MBA programs.

    There are many other institutions offering management degree and diploma programs like Karnataka State Open University, Anna University, Indian Institute of Finance, Madhya Pradesh Bhoj (Open) University, Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam, Kurukshetra University, Maharshi Dayanand University, IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute, ASCI (Administrative Staff Colleges of India) etc.

    3. XLRI, Jamshedpur
    XLRI, Jamshedpur has one-year executive programmes  in Management

    4. IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University)
    IGNOU offers Distance education programs in Management like MBA, DIM(Diploma in Management) and PGDIM. A student has to appear for the Management Aptitude test OPENMAT conducted by IGNOU for admission to the management programs. The MBA offered by IGNOU is of 2 years duration and is approved by AICTE.

    5. TASMAC
    TASMAC distance learning programs are a good choice for working professionals. Masters Diploma in Business Administration and Executive Masters Diploma in Business Administration are offered by TASMAC. The program duration is two years.

    6. Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL)
    SCDL offers Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDBA), Post Graduate Diploma in International Business (PGDIB), Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (PGDHRM) and Post Graduate Diploma in Information Technology (PGDIT). SCDL is an autonomous institute. All SCDL programs and courses are autonomous.

    CALENDAR for EXAMINATIONS - 2010 of upsc

    05.10.2009   (MONDAY)

    1 DAY
    C.D.S. EXAM.(I), 2010
    26.10.2009 (MONDAY)

    1 DAY
    N.D.A. & N.A. EXAM.(I), 2010
    16.11.2009 (MONDAY)

    1 DAY
    01.02.2010  (MONDAY)

    1 DAY
    02.03.2010  (TUESDAY)
    26.06.2010 (SATURDAY)
    3 DAYS
    22.03.2010 (MONDAY)
    10.07.2010 (SATURDAY)
    10 DAYS
    N.D.A. & N.A. EXAM.(II), 2010
    19.04.2010  (MONDAY)

    1 DAY
    C.D.S. EXAM.(II), 2010
    17.05.2010  (MONDAY)

    1 DAY
    14.06.2010  (MONDAY)

    1 DAY


    21 DAYS
    I.E.S./I.S.S. EXAM., 2010
    05.07.2010  (MONDAY)
    04.12.2010 (SATURDAY)
    3 DAYS
    12.07.2010  (MONDAY)
    04.12.2010 (SATURDAY)
    3 DAYS
    23.08.2010  (MONDAY)

    4 DAYS