December, 2011

Homes for senior citizens and children

Two special integrated homes to house destitute senior citizens and orphan children will be established in each district in Tamil Nadu. This integrated complex will also differently abled persons. A total of 64 such centres will be established throughout the state. The complexes are expected to have schools, medical centres, liberaries and facilities for working out and games. The target is to complete the construction of all the 64 complexes by the end of the current financial year

Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg regions seriously imported by mining, Power projects

The Western Ghats, Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) has called for a “careful cumulative impact analysis of various development activities” in the plains and coastal regions of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra. It has observed that the “entire region has been seriously impacted, both environmentally and socially, by a number of mining, power projects, and polluting industries”. Incidentally, the Ministry had asked the panel to suggest an appropriate course of further development of mining, power production and polluting industries in the two districts.

Lyka signs pact with Turkish firm

Drug firm Lyka Labs has entered into a technology transfer pact with a Turkish pharma firm for adopting a manufacturing process that enables longer storage of medicines, entailing a cost of $2,50,000 and royalty payments for five years. The company has recently entered into a technology transfer agreement with a pharma company based in Republic of Turkey for a consideration of $2,50,000 and Royalty for five years”, Lyka Labs said in a filing to Bombay Stock Exchange.

JNPT gets ISO, OHSAS certifications

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) was awarded ISO 14001 and OHSAS18001 centrification respectively by the Indian Register for Quality Systems (IRQS), conforming its adherance to globally recognised management systems in environmental  responsibility and occupational health and safety. ‘With the addition of these certifications, JNPT has achieved the distinction of becoming the first major port to achieve the three certifications from the  international organisation for standardisation (ISO) and an occupational health and safety management system certification in keeping with its status of a world-class port”, union minister for skipping G.K. Vasan said.

Hindujas to buy majority stake in Optare

Conglomerate Hindujas are likely to take  a majority stake in ailing British bus makes optare, says a media report. “…. it emerged that the AIM-listed British bus maker is to fall under the control of the billionaire Hinduja brothers”. The times  reported – A potential counter-bid for optare from Alexander Dennies evaporated after the litters backers, led by Sir Brian Souter, dropped out, the daily pointed out. Opatre is a specialist maker of easy access single deck buses and has been in a financial trouble for some months as “plunging sales and deepening losses took their toll”, the daily said.

Iron ore exports down 28%

Iron ore exports dipped by over 28 percent to 40 million tonnes in April-November this fiscal following ban on shipments, of the key steel making raw material from Karnataka and subdued output in Goa. Iron ore exports were over 55.5 million tonnes in the year-ago period, according to the data released by industry association Federation of Indian Mineral Industries. India, the third largest global exporter of iron ore, had exported 97.64 million tonnes of iron ore in the last fiscal, down from 117.3 million tonnes in 2009-10.

Foreign banks join NRE deposit rate hike race

City bank became the first foreign lender to hike interest rates on NRE deposits in the make of the Reserve Bank of India deregulating the interest rate offered on deposits by non-resident early this month. City’s rates vary between 5 per cent and 8.75 per cent across maturities, and are lower than the aggressive strategies adopted by domestic lenders, who are offering as high as 10 per cent  annually. A deposit of over 30 lakh but under  50 lakh will earn an interest of 8.75 per cent for a 356-400 days bucket and 8.50 per cent for 401-1,095 days.

Romney on top as caucus season kicks off

As the season of caucuses and primaries for selecting the Republican presidential nominee, kicks into fourth gear in Iowa, Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, has garnered a firm but narrow lead over his rivols in an electric and according to some, weak field of contenders. Through president Barack Obama still enjoys a comfortable lead over Mr. Romney, with a Gallup poll in December placing the former’s approval rating at 47 per cent, Mr. Romney’s 27 per cent still sees him breaking away from his principal challenger of recent weeks, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Nuclear submarine damaged but reactors safe-Russia

A Russian nuclear submarine get badly damaged in a shipyard fire, but its two reactors are safe and there has been no radiation leak, said the military. The fire broke out during welding repairs on the Yekaterinburg submarine in a day dock at the Roslyakovo shipyard of the Russian Northern Fleet in Murmausk Region. From burning wooden scaf-folding the blaze spread to the rubberised coating in the nose section.

Pakistan court orders probe into memo scandal

In a major setback to Pakistan’s embattled govt. the Supreme Court ordered a time bound probe into the memo scandal, a decision that could add more pressure on President Asif Ali Zardari and Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani. “The court has established a commission for the investigation into the memo case. The Chief justice of the Baluchistan High Court will lead this commission”, Attorney General Moulvi Anwar-ul-Haq told reporters outside the Supreme Court building. The scandel had exposed the deep fissures between the Pakistani civilian govt. and the powerful Army.

Supreme Court insulated 2G case from interference

The year 2011 was a watershed for the Supreme Court, and its judges, led by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, left their mark on all walks of life, especially in exposing corruption in high places ensuring filing of three charge sheets in the 2G spectrum allocation case. After ordering a CBI probe in December last into the 2G spectrum case, the Supreme Court started monitoring the investigation to ensure that there was no interference, either political or otherwise, from any quarter. The supreme court enlarged on bail Ramalinga Raju and other accused in the Satyam accounting fraud case only after they spent more than two years in jail.

Jobs don’t come pouring from the heavens

The fromer West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has expressed doubts over the ability of the Mamata Banerjee govt. to create job opportunities, saying “Jobs don’t come pouring down from heavens, you know Agriculture has collapsed, there is hardly any new industry …. where will the jobs come from?”. His comments came on a day when Ms. Banerjee announced  her cabinets decision to raise the minimum age bar for applying for a govt. job, while mentioning that 2.75 lakh govt. jobs and many more private sector jobs had been created in the seven months of her coming to office. Over the next one year 4-5 lakh jobs would be created.

Russia hands over nuclear submarine to India

Nuclear-powered attack submarine Nerpa that was handed over to India on a 10-year lease, is an Akula-II class vessel that had recently finished sea trials. “The signing ceremony happened at the Bolshi Kaman ship building facility in the (Far East) Primarye region, where the Nerpa is now based”, ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a senior Russian navy official as saying. The deal for the submarine, which is being transferred on a 10-year lease, was worth $920 million. All of the Naval tests and performance checks have been completed”, the Russian navy official said.

India to restart hospital in Tajikistan

In keeping with the govt. decision to open afresh a military hospital in Tajikistan, the Army Medical Corps (AMC) is ready to send a team of 70 personnel, include’s 10 officers, within an hour of getting orders. India closed down a hospital run by it there a decade ago. Tajikistan shares border with Afghanistan and the decision to re-open the hospital comes ahead of the proposed drawdown by the U.S. troys for Afghanistan by 2014. The AMC now operates four medical camps in Afghanistan, in Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Herat.

‘Thane’ came from Myanmar

‘Thane’ is an every one’s lips in the city for the past few days. The very severe cyclonic storm, which is likely to bring heavy rainfall over Chennai, was Christaned as per the naming convention of the Indian Meterological Department. ‘Thane’ was suggested by Myanmar. Officials said that the practice of naming tropical cyclones over the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea started in September 2004. The department received a list of names from eight countries – Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka which are world Meterological Organisation Panel members.

No drawback benefit for non-mega power projects

The govt. to prevent misuse of benefits, has abolished the deemed export drawback benefit avoidable for mega power projects of the capacity of 1,000 MW or more. Deemed exports refer to those transaction in which goods supplied do not leave the country and payment for such supplies is received either in Indian rupee or in free foreign exchange. Under the deemed export drawback, an importer gets refund of customs duty paid on imported equipment. “The decision will increase the cost of non-mega power projects, though the withdrawal of the benefit was aimed at preventing misuse of the provision by unscrupulous elements”. Some non-mega power project owners used to claim the drawback benefit in an unscrupulous way, an industry expert said.

AI lenders to set preference shares

A proposal to issue prefessional shares worth  7,500 crore to Air India’s lenders was approved by its board, as the national carrier saw a significant rise in its yield and passenger revenue. The board at its meeting “approved the rearrangment of authorised share capital by the issue of preference shares worth   7,500 crore, which are proposed to be allotted to the landers of the working capital as pact of the Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP).

Notices for 187 amendments in Rajya Sabha

 Notices had been given for as many as 187 amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 including from the Trinamool Congress for deletion of the entire part III of the Bill regarding establishment of the Lokayuktas. The Biju Janata Dal and the Shironmani Akali Dal too had given similar notices.

AV Birla group to invest $500 m in Turkey

The $35 billion Aditya Birla group plans to set up a viscose staple fibre (USF) plant in the Adana Organised Industrial Zone in Turkey. The group, the world’s leading USF manufacturer, plans to invest $500 million in the next five years to set up a 1.80 lakh tonne fully integrated USF plant, with a captive power plant, CS2 plant and sulphuric acid plant. The VSF plant will come up in two phases.

Pakistan lists out reasons for tense ties with U.S.

Pakistan listed Raymond Davis case, American unilateral raid to bill Osama Bin Laden and the recent NATO strike as some of the reasons for the “tense” relations with U.S. this year which Islamabad says it is trying to put back on track. Pakistan Foreign office spokesperson Abdul Basit admitted that its relations with the U.S. remained tense and experienced ups and down during the current year due to some incidents, including the American military’s unilateral raid to kill Osama bin Laden and the last month’s U.S. – led NATO attacks on border posts that killed 24 soldiers.

DMK bigwigs come under scanner

The district administration seems to be determined to take action as per law against people who had allegedly encroached on govt. land assigned for specific purposes. According to reliable sources, following complaints that the Union Minister M.K. Alagiri, the D.M.K. Madurai urban district secretary G. Thalapathi and CSI Bishop Christopher Asir, among others, had either encroached upon govt. land or sold the assigned land for monetary gains, the district administration had summoned them through a notice to appear in person or through representatives on Jan. 4 at 11.00 a.m. The Union Minister’s family has also promoted an Information Technology (IT) Park near Maatuthavani integrated bus stand, wherein too, there were allegations that a portion of land had been encroached upon. Mr. Thalapathi family members have built a Kalyana Mandapam on a land on the GST Road, which too, according to the revenue authorities, was acquired in as early as 1952 for a public park.

Rs. 98 crore for renovation of buses

Chief Minister has sanctioned around 98 crore for the renovation of 1,432 buses of the govt. owned transport corporations in the initial phase, the bodies of those vehicles, whose engines were in good condition, would be replaced with new ones. The Chief Minister has also ordered the release of about  75.4 crore for the purchase of 520 buses for the State Transport Corporation.

Delhi Metro Chief asks State to pursue Chennai Metro Phase-II

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation M.D. E. Sreedharan has urged the State govt. to pursue the Phase-II expansion of the Chennai Metro Rail network. Opening that there has been a “violent shift” a policy ever since the new government came to power in the state, he said the plan to cover the entire city with a monorail system is misguided: DMRC has also submitted a DPR for extending corridor-I from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar, a distance of nine km, at an estimated cost of  2,240 crore on Dec. 20, 2010. It is understood that for want of directive from the state, CMRL has not processed this extension, through badly needed, to the Govt of India for inclusion in Phase-I”, he said.

TVS Motor develops technology to usher in common engine for two-wheelers

Two-wheeler maker TVS Motor Company has developed a new technology, automatic transmission, to deliver a compact engine layout that could be commonly used across product forms such as motorcycles, scooters and step-through bikes. Claimed to be a break-through initiative achieved through five-to-six years of intense research and collaboration with leading institutions within and outside the country, the new technology is expected to drive fuel efficiency by as much as 20 per cent when compared to the conventional technology in place today.

RBI cautions banks on NRE deposit rates

Following the deregulation of interest rates on non-resident (external) rupee (NRE) deposits by the Reserve Bank of India, many banks have queued up to increase the interest rates on NRE and NRO (ordinary non resident) deposits. Some of the banks have gone on to increase the rates of three-fold. This has, predictably  forced the Reserve Bank to advice banks to exercise caution. In a circular, the apex bank has made it clear that the interest rates offered by banks on NRE and NRO deposits cannot be higher than those offered by them on comparable domestic rupee deposits.

R Power Rosa phase II unit goes commercial

Reliance Power Commenced generation from the first 300 MW unit of phase II of its Rosa Project in Uttar Pradesh three months ahead of schedule. The phase II comprises two units of 300 MW each that were scheduled to become operational from March and July 2012, respectively. According to company Chief Executive Officer J.P. Chalasani, “we built the first phase of the Rosa project in 30 months and have beaten our own record by completing the second phase in just 26 months. This 1,200 MW Rosa Project will also add to the Central Govt’s XI plan target for capacity addition and set the foundation for the next phase of growth for the company.” This Rosa project, with total capacity of 1200 MW will meet 15 per cent of U.P’s power requirement and will light up as many as 30 lakh households in the power starved state.

Leader’s request deepens Obama’s Yemen dilamma

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s request to visit the United States presents President Barack Obama with a new dilamma born in the snake pit of fast – shifting Arab politics. U.S. officials say the only reason Mr. Saleh will be admitted, is for “legitimate” medical treatment for wounds sustained in an attack on the presidential compound in Sana’a in June. But such a trip would open the US to charges of harbouring a brutal ruler responsible for the deaths of hundreds of demonstrators, and seem to present a direct contradiction of its push for human rights.

Parliament passes bill to protect co-operatives

Parliament passed the crucial constitution (111th Amendment) Bill to insulate about six lakh co-operative societies from political and govt. interference and to strengthen the co-operative movement. The amendment will grant citizens a fundamental right to form co-operative socieities and allow for voluntary formation autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies. The Bill moved by Agriculture and cooperation Minister Sharad Pawar, was passed in the Rajya Sabha with 154 members voting in favour and 43 opposing it. The Bill has already been approved by the Lok Sabha.

Lokpal law vulnerable to repeat says experts

With the proposed Lokpal law failing to get constitutional status, there is a danger of its being repealed in one stroke by an ordinance if the institution proves inconvenient to any government in future, feel former chief justices of India and other eminent constitutional experts. If the Lokpal law were given constitutional status, it could not be repeated as easily as any other piece of legislation.

Chinese media see “containment strategy”

The Chinese govt. played down a series of commentaries appearing in State-run media which suggested that Japanese Prime Minister Nodo’s on going visit to India was part of a “Containment strategy” aimed at China, saying it was ready to work with both Japan and India to develop ties.

Japan keen on civilion nuclear co-operation with India

Allaying apprehensions regarding nuclear co-operation in the wake of the Fukushima accident, Japan expressed keenness to expand lies in the sector after taking into consideration the safety aspects. Seeking to expand compensation in the 60th year of establishing diplomatic ties, India and Japan decided to expedite work on infracture projects and agreed to enhance the currency swap arrangement from $3 billion to $15 billion. This was finalised during the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his visiting Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda.

Ministry quota derived from Mandol – Khurshid

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid clarified in Parliament that the govt. had used the Mandel formula to arrive at the figure of 4.5 per cent sub quota for minorities within 27 per cent OBC quota. The minister said the govt. had taken into account the recommendations of the Ranganath Misra-headed National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLH) as well as the Rajinder Sachar Committee, both of which acknowledged the pervasive backwardness among Muslims.

Shahid Siddiqui quits RLD

In a setback to the Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance formed a head of the U.P. elections, RLD’s national general secretary Shahid Siddiqui has resigned from the party. Mr. Siddiqui, who is also the Editor of Nai Duniya, told he was deeply disappointed with the 4.5 per cent sub-quota for mimorities announced to the Union govt. The Congress had played a cruel joke on Muslims by seeming to give them reservation when in fact there was nothing to give”. He called a quota a “political froud” and a betrayal of the congress” promise to deliver justice to Muslims. “Since the RLD is in a pact with the Congress, I can not stay the party”, he said.

Demand for merger of Idukki district with state

The Mullaperiyar Padhukappu Iyakkam, a confederation of the MDMK, Dalit Liberation Front and a few other organisations, has demanded that Idukki district should be merged with Tamil Nadu and further asked the centre to dismiss the Kerala govt. for its wrong stance on the Mullaperiyar Dam issue.

Tiger reserve to be sent to Union Ministry for approval

The proposed for the creation of a tiger resume in Sathyamangalam forests has reached an advanced stage and is expected to land in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest for approval by the end of Jan. 2012. The Forest Department has completed identifying the core and buffer zones for the tiger reserve, a significant step before the creation of an exclusive protection zone for the big cats.

Hike in monthly pension of welfare board members

Chief Minister has increased to 1000 the monthly pension of workers, who are members of various welfare boards, weavers and practitioners of traditional medicine. The pension of members of the welfare board has gone up from 500 to 1000, while pension of the members of the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Weavers Society has been hiked from 400 to 1000. Similarly the family pension of the weavers has also been increased from550 to 1000.

Slovenian consulate to encourage two-way trade

Slovenia has opened a consulate office in Chennai as part of its efforts to accelerate two-way trade and investment partnerships in traditional and sunrise sectors. Slovenian Ambassador to India Janez Premoze told a press conference that while the two countries have shared business ties in traditional sectors such as shipping and textile for decades, the growth in the last few years had been extraordinary.

Plastic creates hopes of better roads

Bumpy rides and potholes may soon be things of the past if the Chennai Corporation’s new initiative to re-lay roads with plastics proves successful. The civic body will commence re-laying of plastic roads on all bus routes and interior areas in the city from January. Typically, one km. stretch of a single lane will consume a tonne of plastic waste. The agency plans to have plastic waste collected from residents for use in the bituman mix to be used to re-lay roads. Plastic will amount to about 10 per cent of the mix.

Syamlal sets National record

M. Syamlal set a new National record in clean and jerk as he won the men’s 94 kg. gold in National weightlifting championships at Berhampur. He lifted 338 kg. Syamlal, who lifted 188 kg. in Clean and jerk, battered the record of Sukjinder Singh (187 kg) created at Pune in 2009.

Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar give India the edge

Three of India’s finest batsmen ever-indeed three of the best the world has seen- granted the touring side the edge on the second day of the first Test. Sehwag (67), Rahul Dravid (68 batting), and Sachin (73, bowled during the days last over) helped India finish 214 for three at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a position that may be advanced to one of strength.

SEBI moots new rules for investment advisors

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has proposed new rules for investment advisors that will require them to be registered with a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) before undertaking such a role. The proposed framework intends to regulate investment advisory services in various forms including independent financial advisors, banks, distributors and fund managers. The proposal has been mooted by the market regulator in September. Entities registered with the SRO will provide advice on investments in financial products or products that are traded and settled like financial products. The services will include financial advice, financial planning service and actions which influence an investment decision.

Swedish journalists jailed for 11 years

An Ethiopian court sentenced two Swedish journalists to 11 years in jail for supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally, sparking widespread condemnation. “The sentence should be punishment  of 11 years imprisonment”, Judge Shemsu Sirgaga told the court in the Ambaric language through a translater. “This sentence should satisfy the goal of peace and security”.

More reforms to retail sector in Cuba

Cuba will open up more of the retail services to the private sector next year, allowing  cubans to operate various services such as appliance and watch repair, and blacksmith and carpentry shops, official media reported. The measures are the latest by President Raul Castro in his attempt to reinvigorate economy by reducing the role of the state encourage more private initiative. A resolution pullished in the official gazette said the new reforms would take effect on January 1, Earlier this year, the Cuban govt. turned over some 1,500 state barbershops and beauty parlours to employees. Former state employees now pay a monthly fee for the shop, purchase supplies, pay taxes and charge what the market will bear.

Activists expose security firm’s data

It reads like a list of all the companies that the Occupy Wall Street movement world target. Over the Christmas weekend, a self fashioned Robin Hood-style group of Internet activists called Anonymous hacked into the databases of a Texas-based security firm and posted a list of over 4,000 customers of the firm along with their private information on the Internet.

China win oil deal in Afghanistan

China has struck a major oil deal in Wartorn Afghanistan, gaining potential access to some 87 million barrals in the strategically – located resource-rich country. The Afghan Cabinet has approved the deal to allow China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to develop oil blocks in the Amu Darya Basin, allowing the state-run Chinese conglomerate to become the first foreign firm to produce oil in Afghanistan. Under the deal, CNPC, China’s largest integrated oil and gas company, is allowed to drill and build a refinery in the northern provinces of Sar-e-Pul and Faryab.

Communications failure led to NATO attack-U.K.

Releasing a redacted, unclassified version of an earlier assessment, the US military has conceded that Chain-of command failures led to Pakistani forces enduring 45 minutes of a sustained artillary and air attack from NATO forces near the Afghanistan – Pakistan border on Nov. 26, Partially recasting its earlier assessment that “both sides” shared responsibility for the  clash, in which 34 Pakistani soldiers lost their lives, the report noted that the delay in Communication between a NATO  operations after in Afghanistan and a top allied – forces Commander resulted in the International Security Asst. Force leadership knowing about the PakMil presence in the area only after shooting had already stopped.

Bar members of India and Pakistan seek greater co-operation

A high profile legal delegation consisting of 42 bar leaders of the Pakistan Bar visited the Bar Council of India (BCI) and interacted with Council members and discussed issues of mutual interest. Headed by Muhammad Lehrasib Khan Vice-Chairman, Punjab Bar Council, Pakistan, the delegation included bar leaders of various Bar Associations in Pakistan and the Punjab Bar Council.

Electronic Delivery of Services Bill tabled

The centre tabled a Bill in the Lok Sabha that seeks to provide for electronic delivery of public services by the govt to all persons to ensure transparency officiency, accountability, accessibility and reliability in delivery of such services. The Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2011 was tabled by Information Technology and Communications Minister Kapil Sibal.

India, Thailand to accelerate extradition treaty

After holding talks to step up defence co-operation, Thailand and India are aiming to accelerate pacts to ensure that Bangkok does not remain a magnet for fugitives from Delhi. The two sides also held talks on connecting mega ports being built in Myanmar and Thailand with Indian ports during the ongoing visit of Thailand Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul. With  several Indian gangsters known to have operated out of Bangkok and other cities of Thailand, the visiting Minister said the two sides were keen on accelerating negotiations on transfer of sentenced persons and on extradition treaty.

Sea fisherman better equipped to offer boating

Inland fisherman who have little knowledge of the sea are allowed to operate boats often resulting in mishaps, such as the one on 25 Dec. in which 22 persons drowned after a boat capsized in the Pulicat lake. Ansari, who took the family of an hotelier from Gummidipoondi in the boat, was an inland fisherman.

Manmohan’s concern over decline in quality of maths teachers

Prime Minister favours popularising mathematics as an academic descipline saying the general perception that the subject does not offer attractive career possibilities is no more valid as new opportunities are now available to mathematicians. Dr. Singh was inaugurating the yearlong celebrations of the 125th birth anniversary of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujam by declining Dec. 22, Ramanujam’s birthday” the National Mathematics Day and 2012 the National Mathematics year.

China’s super-speed test train launched

China has launched its first test train that is said to be capable of reaching 500 kmph from the present 300 kmph, a feat if accomplished would be a big leap forward in high speed train technology. China’s largest rail vehicle maker, CSR Corp Ltd., over the weakened launched the train. It has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts, compared with 9,600 kilowatts for the CRH 380 trains in service on the Beijing – Shanghai High Speed Railway which holds the world speed record of 300 kmph.

On 118th anniversary, China debates Mao’s legacy

When a towering statue of Mao Zedong was built in this town more then a decade ago, both the Sun and the Moon rose together, or so goes the local legand. This, and similar stories, have made this small non-descript town in Central Human Province one of China’s biggest – and most unlikely-places of pilgrimage. This year, more than 5 million descended on Shaoshan, to pay homage to its most famous son. On the 118th anniversary of his birth, Mao remains as revered as over in his native province, even as his controversial legacy is being increasingly – examined in the rest of China.

Sony to quit LCD joint venture with Samsung

Sony corp has agreed to sell its nearly 50 per cent stake in an LCD joint venture with Samsung Electronics to the South Korean company for $940 million, as it struggles to reduce huge losses at its TV business. In Nov., Sony the world’s third largest flat panel TV maker, warned of a fourth straight year of net losses for the financial year to next March, with its TV unit alone set to lose $2.2 billion on thumbling demand and a surging yen. The company would review its earning forecast to reflect 66 billion yen in impairment losses from the transaction, as well as expected future cost savings.

Big dip in foreign direct investment

The global slowdown, including the eurozone debt crisis and the poor economic growth in the U.S., has adversely impacted the flow of foreign funds into India with FDI into the country witnessing a dip of over 50 per cent to $1.16 billion in October for the second consecutive month. The country, already reaching under the import of FDI in multi-brand retail being put on hold, received $2.33 billion overseas investment in the same month last year. In September, the inflows were $ 1.76 billion, down by 16.5 per cent year-on-year. However, during April-October, FDI went up by 50.3 per cent to $ 20.8 billion from $13.84 billion in the year-ago period, as inflows were robust in the initial months.

Offices to be built for employment exchanges

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa ordered release of   15 crore for constructing offices for employment exchange in Nagapattinam, Nagercoil, Pudukottai, Virudhunagar, Erode, Ariyalur, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Karur and Namakkal Districts in the first phase. A state govt. press release said each ofice would be constructed at a cost of  1.5 crores. The new buildings would ereate adequate instructure as the number of persons registering with employment exchanges was increasing. There are 37 district employment exchanges in the state. 32 of these exchanges are functioning from rented building.

Christmas gift for Pilgrims to Jerusalem

In a Christmas gift to the faithful among all denominations, the State govt. announced financial assistance ranging from 20,000 to 24,000 to those embarking on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Chief Minister said that in the first phase, 500 persons would be given assistance for the pilgrimage. Taking a cue from the centre’s assistance to Haj Pilgrims, as order issued by the Backward classes and Minorities would be organised through Israel Airlines and Air India. A total   1 crore has been allotted for 500 pilgrims. The pilgrims will be selected by draw of lots after inviting applications from them. The govt. will also set up a pilgrimage committee for christians.

A joy ride turns into tragedy

If there is a lesson to be learnt from Sunday’s Christmas – day boating tragedy at Pulicat, it is that sessons from similar disasters are seldom learnt. In May 1994, 29 school students, who were on an excursion, drowned in the lake after their boat capsized. In 2009, two persons who had come to attend a temple festival near Ennore drowned in the sea when they went boating. Joseph of Nettukuppam, Ennore says that incidants of fisherfolk ferrying tourists on boats only to be same of them drown, are not uncommon. “The man who handle the boat can swim, but most tourists don’t : and these are no safety measures on such boats. Nobody has any life jackets.”

State to lose atleast six lakh tonnes of rice annually

Tamil Nadu stands to lose at least six lakh tonnes of rice from the Central allotment annually if the National Food Security Bill, introduced in Lok Sabha, is adopted in its present form.  On an average, the Central govt. provides the State around 35.6 lakh tonnes of rice annually under three categories – Anlyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL). It fixes a quota for each category and fixes different prices for the three categories.

Tanzifco forms JV in India for waste disposal

Tanzifco, a cleaning co in Kuwait and the Gulf, is entering India by undertaking cleaning and waste management contracts. The company has floated a separate entity-Tanzifco Cleaning and Waste Management Services Pvt. Ltd. in which 70 per cent will be held by Tanzifco and 80 per cent by a few Indian Private players. The company had trained professionals for undertaking cleaning of glass claddings used in high-rise building. It also trades in high quality cleaning agents, he added.

Kochi Refinary expansion on course

Bharat Petroleum Corpn’s Kochi Refinery, set to emerge as the largest refining facility in the country with a capacity of 15.5 million tonnes a year, is expected to complete the process of licensee selection for six process by the middle of January. The expansion programme announced by the Union Petroleum Minister, Jaipal Reddy, in Kochi in October, was on schedule, sources said. They said that the licensee selection process, at an advanced stage now, was expected to be completed by the middle of Journey. BPCL-Kochi Refinery will incur an expanditure of around  300 crore in securing licences for the delayed cracker unit, diesel desulphurisation unit, vacuum gas oil hydro treating unit, petrofluidised catalytic cracking unit, naphtha hydro treater and sulphur recover unit.

NTC takes new avatar

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma unveiled a new corporate logo for the National Textile Corporation (NTC), reflecting the new face of the state owned enterprise as part of the plans to make it a world-class textile company. “The govt. is committed to make NTC a world class eco-friendly integrated textile company and flat bearer of the sector. Ongoing revival-cum-modernisation programme and new corporate and brand identity launch by NTC is aimed at achieving this goal”, Mr. Sharma said.

Court orders summons to Websites

In yet another blow 21 social networking sites including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and You tube, a Delhi court issued summons to them for facing trial for allegedly webcasting objectionable contents. Metropolition Magistrate Sudesh Kumar took cognizance on a private criminal complaint to take “immediate appropriate steps” and also file a report in the court by Jan. 13.”

AIDWA wants Food Security Bill rejected

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has called upon Parliament to reject the National Food Security Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha. The association said the Bill was a “more dangerous and rehashed version” of the current Targetted Public Distribution System, that proved to be an “Uttar failure” in view of the manner in which it eroded the food security of the majority of the poor the dalits, the bribals and women, by excluding them from its ambit.

India, Thailand work on defence co-operation pact

Stopping up its engagement with countries in East Asia, India held the first meeting of defence dialogue with Thailand, taken in line with the agreement between the two countries reached earlier this year. Both sides exchanged views on the regional security issues and reviewed ongoing programmes including joint exercises, training of personnel, displacement sources said adding that work has begun on a possible Memorandum of understanding in the area. The dialogue also assumes significance since India has invited Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to be the Chief guest at next year’s Republic Day Parade. Thailand Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul is scheduled to visit New  Delhi from Dec. 26 to 28 for a meeting of the Joint Commission.

Bundelkhand package hunged says Montek missive

Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections next year, the Congress is trying its hardest to highlight the differencies and corruption in the Mayawati govt. Earlier this week, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia wrote to Chief Minister Mayawati, expressing concern at the tordy progress and wide-speed Data irregularities in the implementation of the Bundelkhand package.

U.K. restructures aid programme to India with eye on market

Britain’s £280 million annual aid to India has been radically re-engineered in response to criticism that as one of the world’s fastest growing economics New Delhi does not “deserve” foreign aid, the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said. He also said that British aid to India was not for ever” and there were no commitments beyond 2015. The restructured programme, which has resemblance to a sovereign wealth fund, is designed to bring returns to the recession but British taxpayers. It will see half the aid budget for India invested in private sector enterprises that are already working with poor people such as Milk Mantra, a doing in Orissa which buys milk from small farmer.

Experts visit Idukki dam

Two technical members of the empowered committee appointed by the Supreme Court on the Mullaperiyar dam issue visited the Idukki arch dam and Cheruthoni in the Idukki reservoir. Earlier, the team led by C.D. Thatta, former Secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources and D.K. Mehta, retired Chief Engineer, Control Water Commission, visited the Pampla dam at Lower Periyar on the downstream of Idukki dam. The visit assumes importance as its report is significant to find a solution to the vexed issue.

24 Bandra-Kurla Complex will be Hazare’s protest venue

After a day of uncertainties over the venue of protest, volunteers of India Against Corruption (IAC) finally started preparations for the agitation at Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex. “We are expecting 40,000 to 1,00,000 people to join Annaji and we are coordinating with the volunteers to ensure that everything happens smoothly.” JAC member Mayank Gandhi said after filing a fresh application with the MMRDA.

TTD plans Balaji temples across country

In a bid to tackle overcrowding at the Tirumala hills as well as the please devotees across the country, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) is planning to build Venkateswara temples at various places. After recently opening on information centre at Amaravati, Maharashtra, the TTD is contemplating  building a temple in Mumbai to cater to the needs of devotees from Maharashtra. The temple may came up at Navi Mumbai, when the state govt. has agreed to provide  land free of cost, or on a private chunk of land at Chembur, which has a good number of South Indian devotees.

Tendulkar greater than Bradman, says researcher

An economics researcher claims to have found an answer to the biggest debates in international cricket by picking Indian icon Sachin as the greatest Test between ever late Australian legend Sir Donald Bradman. “Griffith University researcher Dr. Nicholas Rohde has used economic theory to compare batsman from different eras, and says India’s ‘Little Master’, who will pad up against the Aussies at the MCC on Boxing Day, is history’s premier Willow Wielder”, reported The Australian. The 35 year old  Sachin has a world record 15,183 runs from 184 Tests at an average of 56.02 since making his debut in 1989. Bradman, on the other hand played 52 Test from 1928 to 1948, scoring, 6,996 runs at an astonishing average of 99.94. He died in 2001 aged 92.

Anand interacts with NIIT ambassador

Reigning World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand, who finished fifth in the recently concluded London Chess Classic, said that his dip in form this year is something he wants to leave behind. This is something I want to put behind me. My focus now is on the World Championship in May. Interacting with ‘Ambassadors of NIIT’ – a bunch of 38 college students selected for enterpreneurial grooming – the 42-year old shared how chess had hoved him into becoming a through professional.

Yahoo mulls $18 billion stake sales in China, Japan

Internet giant Yahoo may shed its substantial hidding in China’s Alibaba Group and in its Japanese affiliate in transactions totalling about $18 billions says a media report. “Yahoo is discussing a plan to substantially cut its 40 per cent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and sell its 35 per cent ownership position in Yahoo Japan”. The wall street Journal reported. It said that Yahoo was planning to cut its stake as part of a tax-free transaction worth between $17 billion and $ 18 billion.

Decommissioning of Fukushima plant will take 3-4 decades

Decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will take three or four decades, Japan’s govt. said as it unveiled plans for the next phase of a huge and costly cleanup of the tsunami wrecked complex. The plant 240 km. (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was destroyed on March, 11 by a huge earthquake and a towering tsunami which knocked out its cooling systems, triggering meltdowns radiation leaks and mass evacuation. About 80,000 people were evacuated from within a 20 km. (12 miles) radius of the plant soon after the March disaster but same of them may be allowed to return as early as next spring now the cold shutdown has been declared. Edano said the total cost of the cleanup war unclear “It’s hard to estimate the cost of the plant cleanup at this stage” he said. An official advisory panel has estimated it may cost about 1.15 trillion year ($15 billion) to decommission the plant, though some experts put it at 4 billion year or even more.

Toyota takes a service cell

Toyota Kirloskar Motor has said that it is carryingout a service compaign for one month for its Etios and Liva hatchback cars and will examine them for any fuel leakages. A company official said though they did not expect any such issues with the cars, they were taking “abundant precaution” while these cars came for servicing. This exercise will involve about 41,000 units of Etios and Liva. Toyota engineers will carry out tests to find out whether the inlet pipe to the fuel tank are faulty which could lead to leakage. The company plans to expand capacity from 1.5 lakh units to 3.1 lakh units in two phases with a total outlay of about   1,200 crore.

GST, Direct Taxes Code unlikely in 2012

In a setback to the efforts of the Manmohan Singh Govt. to unleash the next generation reforms, the two major big ticket reforms – Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Direct Taxes Code (DTC) are unlikely to happen during 2012. With the winter session of Parliament visually coming to an end and the standing committee on Finance, looking into the DTC Bill expressing its inability to table the report in the current session, the introduction of DTC in the budget has taken a backseat.

Large Hadran Collider finds new variant of particle

The Large Hadran Collider (LHC), famously engaged in the quest for the Higgs in boson has turned up a heavier variant of a subatomic particle first discovered a quarter-century ago, scientists reported. The newcomer is called Chi-b(3p), which was uncovered in the debris from colliding protons, according to research published in the open …. access online journal arxiv. Like the elusive Higgs and the photon, it is boson, meaning  it is a particle that carries force. But while the Higgs is not believed to be made of smaller particles, the Chi-b(3) comprises two relatively heavy particles, the beauty quark and its outs quark. They are landed by the so called “strong” force which also causes the atomic nucleus to stick together. A massive collaborative effort that brings in physicists fort that brings in physicist from around the world, the LHC has cost more than 6.03 billion Swiss Francs.

Supreme Court hailed for action to tackle corruption

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy hailed the Supreme Court for the speedy trial in the 2G Spectrum corruption case, which was giving hope to the people that corrupt people would be held accountable. Under the leadership of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia there had been a fundamental change in the attitude to corruption. He said that but for the cumulative affect of corruption, such as 2G spectrum, the country could have been growing of a rate of 13-14 per cent annaully. Also he said black money was going to foreign banks thanks to “hawala” via Pakistan. Inflation was often an artificial phenomenon in India due to the operation of black money, he added.

Southern parties stress state federal set-ups

Political parties of the southern states, inside and outside Parliament, have given mixed reactions to the revised Lokpal Bill. Some of them have stressed that the rights of states and their federal set-ups should not be disturbed while others opposed the inclusion of the Prime Minister under the Bill’s ambit. Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy told journalists that the Bill was rediculous” and said the CBI should be an autonomous body. He viewed with doubt the governments intent in bringing out a strong anti-corruption bill. “The opposition is doing the right thing by opposing the Bill. The govt. cannot lie expected to bring out a good Bill because, [for it] it would be tantamount to committing suicide”, Mr. Swamy said.

Food Security Bill tabelled in Lok Sabha

The much-awaited National Food Security Bill, 2011, which makes cheaper foodgrains a legal entitlement to 63.5 per cent of the country’s population, was tabled in the Lok Sabha. The law will also confer legal rights on women, children and other special groups, destitute, the homeless, disaster – and emergency – affected persons and persons living in starvation – to receive meals free or at an affordable price. Every pregnant women and lactating mother will be entitled to meals free of change during pregnancy and six months after childbirth, through the local anganwadi. The Bill provides for a maternity benefit of Rs.1,000 a month for six months.

India Pakistan to review CBMs after four years

After a four-year gap, India and Pakistan will held talks next week in Islamabad on improving and expanding the set of nuclear and conventional confidence – building measures (CRMs), said Foreign office officials. Conventional CBMs will be discussed, with the Indian team led by senior diplomat Yash Sinha. Nuclear CBMs will be the topic the next day with Venkatesh Verma leading the team. The meeting will end two days before the joint convention of the Pakistan India people’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, a mass-based initiative to promote people-to-people contracts. The Forum’s seventh convention will be held in Allahabad.

The Hindu forges ahead again as South India’s No. 1 English Daily

 The Hindu has registered a big increase in its readership, the just released bindings of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS)for the third quarter of 2011 show. Among the top three English dailies in India. The Hindu has registered the highest growth in readership compared with the readership numbers of the last quarter. IRS 2011 Q3 reveals that our flogship newspapers has added 92,000 readers and its current  average issue readership stands at 2,169,000.

Sahitya Akademi Award

Tamil writer Su. Venkatesan gets the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel ‘Kaval Kottam’. Ramachandra Guha and Gopalakrishna Pai among other awardees.

Festival highlights rich Tamil Isai

As aspiring, young musicians, they competed in the same Thevaram contest and won prizes. About 30 years later, the two artists were honoured for their accomplishments in their chosen fields and their contributions to Tamil isai, in particular. The Tamil Isai Sangam, an organisation that has been championing the cause of Tamil Music for nearly seven decades, awarded acclaimed musician Sudha Ragunathan and Pann Isai exponent Tiruttani N. Swaminathan the ‘Isai Perarignar’ and ‘Pann Isai Perarignar’ titles respectively.

Guha wins of for narrative history

Novelist Gopalakrishna Pai (Kannada) and eminent historian Ramachandra Guha (English) are among those who have won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award this year.

Sahitya Akademi award

Tamil writer Su. Venkatesan, who captured 600 years of history of Madurai between 1310 and 1920 in his debut novel Kaaval Kotam, has won the Sahitya Akademi award for the year 2011. This novel is about the security system that prevailed in Madurai Fort. It was unique in the sense that the guards would repay the money or goods if they were not able to prevent the houses from being burgled.

Dravid bats for Ponting

Rahul Dravid has come out in support of Ricky Ponting, who barely made it to the Australian squad, insisting the Indian team fears a resurgence from the struggling batsman in the upcoming Test series, starting on Dec. 26. Dravid’s assessment come close on the heels of former players Ian Choppell and Geoff Lowson’s observations that Ponting should call it quits now.

Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand

Hockey India requested the govt. to confer the Bharat Ratna on Dhyan Chand for his”unparalleled contribution” to the game. Hailing Dhyan chand as the “greatest” hockey player ever, HI argued there was no sportsman more deserving to receive the honour. Dhyan Chand’s birthday (Aug. 29) is celebrated as the National sports Day and the National Stadium, New Delhi was named after him in 2002.

Warne’s statue at MCC

Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) will honour Australian spin legend Shane Warne by unveiling a bronze statue of his on 22 December outside the MCC for his achievements and contribution to the game of cricket. Warne will be immortolised in a bronze statue outside the MCC, joining 10 other Australian sports stars. Warne will join fellow circketers Don Bradman, Keith Miller, Bill Ponsford and Dennis Lillece at the MCC, Herald Sun reported. The 42 year old’s status will be unveiled nearly five years to the day after his last Test at the ground, in which he took his 700th wicket.

Big win for India

India scored an emphatic 4-0 victory over South Africa and jumped to joint second spot after the third round of the World Women’s team chess championship, Mardin, Turkey. Taking it easy, mainstay Koneru Humpy was rested for together battles ahead while D. Harika, Tania Sachdev, Padmini Rout and Sowmya Swaminathan scored fine victories to keep the team in contention for a medal in the premier team event.

Branding natural rubber pays

Export of rubber under the Rubber-Board – owned brand Indian Natural Rubber is making an impact on the international market with 20 per cent of the total exports between April and Nov. this year coming under the category. Figures released by the Rubber Board last week reveal that about 21,000 tonnes of natural rubber was exported between April and November.

SCI JV among 10 Iranian COS under U.S. Sanction

The U.S. has slapped sanctions against ten companies linked to the Iranian shipping industry; with many of them linked to Irano Hind, a joint venture with India’s premier public sector undertaking Shipping Corporation of India. The action was being taken as Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and its subsidiaries have increasingly relied upon multiple front companies and agents to overcome the impact of U.S. and international sanctions and increased, scrutiny of their behaviour, the U.S. Department of Treasury said.

Two Earth-size exoplanets discovered

The Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets over confirmed around a star like our sun. The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. According to NASA, the new planets are thought to be rocky. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring 0.87 times the radius of Earth. Kepler-20f is a bit larger than Earth, measuring 1.03 times its radius. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, nearly 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyna. Kepler-20e orbits its parent star every 6.1 days and Kepler-20f every 19.6 days.

CSTO tightens foreign base norms

Russia has won the right to veto the establishment of new foreign military bases in the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). At their summit in Moscow the leaders of the CSTO agreed that the deployment of foreign bases in their territory is only possible with the approval of all partners of the defence alliance. In order to deploy military bases of a third country in the territory of the CSTO member-states, it is necessary to obtain the official constant of all its members”, said Kazathstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan took over the rotating presidency of the CSTO from Belarus. The defence bloc of former Soviet States also includes Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Manning trial : focus on mental competency

The pre-trial military hearing of Bradley manning, the U.S. Army intelligence officer accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential files to online whistleblower WikiLeaks more than a year ago, will focus on one question : whether he was mentally competent and technically qualified to hold the sensitive role that he did.

Test firing of Prithvi-II missiles put off

Plans to test-fire two nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missiles in a salvo mode within 20 minutes of each other were aborted after technical glitches were detected in both the weapon systems during countdown. The missiles which were picked randomly from the production lot were to be launched from the Interim Test Range at Chandipur in Balasore district of Orissa, by the personnel of the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the armed forces as part of regular user trials.

Lok Sabha passes two bills

The Lok Sabha passed two Bills, while it took up for discussion the constitution (111th) Bill, 2009 enshringing the right to form cooperative societies as a fundamental right along with the right to setup a specialised agency on the lines of the Election Commission to conduct election of the cooperative societies.

Facing space crunch, Anna supporters to move court

Social activist Anna Hazare will fast for three days in Mumbai and return to Delhi to stage a dharna outside the house of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to begin the countrywide jail bharo andolan. Anna and his supporters will fast in Mumbai on December 27, 28 and 29. After that, he will end his fast and go to Delhi. In Mumbai, we will stage a dharna outside MP’s houses and get arrested,” Moyank Gandhi, coordinator of India Against Corruption (IAC).

Harsh punishment inevitable to protect pipelines

Aimed to protecting oil and gas pipelines from sabatage, parliament passed the petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of user in Land) Amendment Bill, 2010, which provides for stringent penal action including the death sentence, for those guilty of terror acts. The Bill already passed by the Lok Sabha, provides for a minimum of 10-year rigorous imprisonment for acts of terrorism. The punishment may extent to imprisonment for life or death” in case the act of sabatage is dangerous and is likely to cause the death of any other person, says the bill. Earlier, the punishment for such acts was a jail term for one to three years.

Moody’s upgrades Indian bonds

In a move that could again attract Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) to the Indian bond market and boost the gloomy economic outlook, the global rating agency Moody’s upgraded the credit rating of the Indian govt’s bonds from the speculative to investment grade. This could help companies raise funds abroad at competitive rates. According to a release issued by the Finance Ministry, Moody’s unified India’s local and foreign currency bond ratings at Baa 3. The credit ratings incorporates the … strengths such as a large, diversified economy, robust medium-term growth prospects and a strong domestic savings pool that facilitates the financing and refinancing of the government’s relatively high debt burden”, the rating agency, Investors services, said in a statement.