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Hyderabad, Thursday, December 11, 2014

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RNI No: APENG/2010/35309
No: 6
English Daily
Hyderabad, Wednesday, January 21, 2015
CPI raps Centre on “Black
Money”; Suravaram urges Left
parties to reunite
More trouble for
Kejriwal, EC issues
another notice for
bribe speech
Trinamool Congress Supremo and Chief
Minister of WB Mamata Banerjee lights the
lamp at the inauguration of Uttarbango Utsav
in Siliguri on Tuesday. PTI
Tiger population rises
to 2226 in 2014, up from
1706 in 2010
New Delhi: Tiger population in the country is
estimated to be around 2,226, a rise of over 30 per
cent since the last count in 2010, according to the
latest census report released on Tuesday.
The total number of tigers were estimated to
be around 1,706 in 2010. Tiger population had
dipped to an alarming 1,411 in 2006 but has improved since then. Releasing the country wide
tiger assessment report for 2014, Environment
Minister Prakash Javadekar termed it as a “success story” and noted that while the tiger population is falling in the world, it is rising in India.
“Most of the tigers in the world are presently
in India. 70 per cent of the world’s tigers are now
in India. We have the world’s best managed tiger
reserves. When we last counted the tigers, it was
1,706. The latest estimation shows there are 2,226
tigers. We must be proud of our legacy. We have
increased by 30 per cent from the last count. That
is a huge success story,” Javadekar said.
According to the National Tiger Conservation
Authority, India lost 64 tigers in 2014 with Tamil
Nadu topping the chart with the maximum number of deaths.
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public speech made by
Kejriwal that invited the
EC’s ire was: “it’s election
time. When people both
from BJP and Congress
come offering money,
don’t refuse, accept...
some have looted money from 2G, some have
looted money from coal
scam...Take money from
both the parties but vote
for AAP. “We will fool
them this time.
They have been deceiving us for the last 65 years.
Now it’s our turn,” he had
said.The notice said the
poll panel “prima facie”
was of the opinion that by
making the said statement
Kejriwal has “violated the
model code of conduct”
which is in force in the
national capital in view of
the forthcoming Assembly
polls on February 7.
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (INN) Having introduced the
cashless enforcement, the Hyderabad Traffic Police
have decided to send legal notices for several challans
which are pending against the violators.
The legal notices would be sent through speed post
with acknowledgement due. If the respondents do
not turn up then charges will be framed against such
in the court of law for taking necessary action as per
law, the Traffic Police said. On Tuesday, some notices
have been being issued to violators and further notices would be issued in a phased manner.
Price: 3.00
New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI)High drama was witnessed at the BJP office
here as angry supporters of Delhi
unit chief Satish Upadhyay shouted
slogans and staged a sit-in protest
against the top leadership for not
giving a ticket to him. Upadhyay,
on his part, tried to pacify them but
the unrelenting supporters kept on
shouting slogans against the leadership and demanded that he be
fielded from Mehrauli constituency,
considered a stronghold of BJP.
The BJP leader, who had earlier
indicated his willingness to fight the
polls, said he voluntarily opted out
to focus on campaigning in the entire city. “I want to contest on all the
70 seats. I want to focus on entire
Delhi and that is why I am not con-
testing. BJP workers want the party
to win and this is their feeling.”
“These are momentary issues.
We want the party to win under Kiran Bedi’s leadership. We have to
oust Arvind Kejriwal. I am a worker
of the party and it is my responsibility to make BJP victorious,”
Upadhyay told his supporters.
He said he has decided himself
not to contest the elections. “It is
my own decision. The Parliamentary Board asked me and I conveyed them my decision.”
Supporters of another ticket aspirant Sikha Rai, who is Vice President of Delhi BJP, also staged a protest at the Delhi BJP office openly
slamming the senior leaders for
denying tickets to her.
Amit Shah slams Mamata
over Burdwan blast,
Trinamool says flop show
Burdwan, Jan 20 (IANS) Lashing
out at West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee over the Saradha
chit fund scam and the Burdwan
blast, BJP president Amit Shah
Tuesday called for uprooting the
Trinamool Congress for jeopardising national security for the sake of
vote bank.
While Shah blamed the Banerjee
government for the Burdwan blast
in which a Bangladeshi militant
outfit was involved, the Trinamool
the NGO’s account”. The court further
said the inspection in the matter has
already been carried out by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and they
have produced no material on record
against the NGO here and Greenpeace
“So at least at this juncture it is not
good enough to hold back Greenpeace
India from using their account,” it said.
It observed that MHA in its reply had
stated that Greenpeace India Society
(GPIS) can have access to all other foreign funds except those from Greenpeace International as it has been put
on a watch-list.
Traffic Police serve
legal notices to recover
pending challans
Pages 12 + 4 pull out (P16)
New Lankan govt to implement
13th amendment:PM
Unblock foreign funds of
Greenpeace India: HC to govt
New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) Delhi high
court on Tuesday directed the government to “unblock” foreign contributions
to the tune of Rs 1.87 crore received by
controversial NGO ‘Greenpeace’ from
its Amsterdam headquarters, saying the
ministry showed “no material to restrict
access” to the foreign fund.
“According to me, there is no material on record to restrict the petitioner
(Greenpeace India Society) from accessing the bank account with the
IDBI bank in Chennai,” Justice Rajiv
Shakdher said while observing that
the “amount in fixed deposited in the
bank be unblocked and transferred to
Postal Registration Order No HD/1188/2014-16
Satish Upadhyay’s
supporters protest at
BJP office, demand
ticket for leader
Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press conference
in New Delhi. PTI
New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI)
The Election Commission
(EC) on Tuesday issued
a showcause notice, the
second in last three days,
to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
chief Arvind Kejriwal for
“prima facie” violation of
the poll code by allegedly
making a speech where he
asked voters to take bribes
from BJP and Congress
but only vote for his party.
The EC notice said the
statement, made during
a public rally on January
18 in Uttam Nagar here,
amounts to “abetting and
promoting electoral offence of bribery” under
relevant sections of the
Representation of People
Act read with provisions
of the IPC.
Read: Iron lady will run
over I-run man: BJP on
Kejriwal challenge. The
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In memory of Dr Asima Kemal and Prof. Dr. Salim W Kemal
Published from Hyderabad & New Delhi
Issue No: 19
in turn dubbed the BJP rally a “flop
show” and ridiculed its attempt to
uproot the Trinamool from power
through “missed calls”.
Addressing a Bharatiya Janata
Party rally in Burdwan where the
Oct 2 blast last year had killed two
Bangladeshi militants, Shah hit out
at the alleged involvement of Trinamool leaders in the Saradha scam
and charged Banerjee with focusing only on trying to save her scam
‘tainted’ leaders.
Bedi to debate,
BJP declines
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Former Delhi
chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP
Tuesday challenged the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi to a public debate.
But the BJP turned it down.
The Bharatiya Janata Party called it a popularity stunt of Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party,
while Bedi said her focus was on “delivery”
and not on just debate.
Ajay Maken, the Congress’ face in the Delhi polls, meanwhile, agreed to the challenge.
Kejriwal, in a message on Twitter, congratulated Bedi for her nomination and said: “I
invite you for a public debate moderated by
neutral person and telecast by all.”
He also said Bedi has blocked him on
Twitter. Later, talking to reporters, Kejriwal
said: “Ajay Maken, Kiran Bedi and I, all three
should have a debate so that people can
make an informed choice about selecting
their chief minister.”
The BJP, however, turned down the proposal, and Bedi said any debate would take
place only in the Delhi assembly.
“I accept the challenge but I will do it only
in the Delhi assembly. Right now, I am focusing on delivery, while debate is all he (Kejriwal) has been doing,” Bedi told reporters.
Sunanda Pushkar
murder case: Tharoor
may be questioned
again, says police
New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) A
day after Shashi Tharoor was
questioned by Delhi Police in
connection with his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s mysterious
death, Delhi Police Chief B S
Bassi indicated that he could
be examined again.
Bassi also said that the
former Union Minister was
“cooperative” during the
questioning while maintain-
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (PTI)
Seven persons have died due
to swine flu in Telangana this
year and as many as 169 patients are currently undergoing treatment for the H1N1
virus at various hospitals, an
official said on Tuesday.
“From January 1, we have
169 confirmed cases of swine
flu. There have been seven
deaths due to the disease this
month. Last year, there were
11 deaths in Telangana and 5
deaths in Andhra Pradesh,”
Dr K Subhakar, swine flu coordinator of Telangana and
ing that their objective was
to reach to the bottom of the
truth for which they will look
into everything “relevant” to
the case, including the IPL
Police sources said other
than various matters that
could be related to the incident, 58-year-old Tharoor
was also questioned about
the IPL controversy.
169 swine flu
patients in Telangana,
7 deaths this year
pulmonology professor, said.
Subhakar said they have
started carrying out swine flu
test for most of the patients
suffering from flu, even
though it is not necessary
as per Central government
guidelines. The situation appears to be grim in the state
capital Hyderabad.
According to Dr K Narasimhulu, coordinator for swine flu
at Gandhi Hospital here, 27
patients of swine flu are currently undergoing treatment
in the state-run hospital while
35 cases are under investigation for suspected influenza.
The hospital received four
fresh cases of the disease to-
They said that the police
may call the Congress MP for
questioning again in the next
couple of days even as Bassi
noted that some more people
will be called as the process
of investigation is on.
Referring to yesterday’s
questioning which started
at around 8 PM and continued till midnight, the Police
Commissioner said, “We
have spoken to him about the
background. We have spoken to him about what happened on that day and certain
things, which have been said
otherwise in the media. They
raise certain questions and
we sought information on
these issues as well.”
day from various private hospitals, Narasimhulu said.
“Till yesterday we had 23
patients undergoing treatment in our hospital. We received four more cases today.
At the same time, 35 suspected cases, including 10 children, are under observation,”
he said.
Health officials here maintained that swine flu this year
is not as virulent as it was in
2009, but high risk groups
(those suffering from different
serious ailments and low immunity) need to remain alert.
Indian Horizon, Hyderabad
Short Takes
Medak gets 51 tmc
reservoirs; Govt to
spend Rs 9000 crore
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): Telangana Government today sanctioned
51 tmc capacity reservoirs to Medak
district. The project is aimed at catering to the irrigation needs of crops
in 5.5 lakh acres in the district. The
Government has to spend a whopping Rs 9,000 crore for this project to
become functional.
Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao
said the State government will release the funds to begin the works
without further delay. “Our aim is
to supply waters to irrigate 5.5 lakh
acres”, he said. The minister also
said 2,400 villages will get drinking
waters through the prestigious water
grid project. The Government will
spend Rs 4,200 crore on this project,
he added.
CM okays Nakkalagandi
drinking water project
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar
Rao today approved the long-pending Nakkalagandi Project to provide
drinking water to people of Nalgonda district.
The Chief Minister gave green
signal to the project, which was neglected by the previous governments
for quite some time. TRS leaders, including MP B Narsaiah Goud, MLAs
Prabhakar Reddy, Sekhar Reddy,
Parliamentary secretary G Kishore,
Zilla Parishad Chairman Balu Naik
and others called on KCR at Secretariat and appealed to him for okaying the drinking water facility.
On getting nod for the pending
project, the delegation thanked the
Chief Minister. The MP alleged that
the previous governments had failed
to address the drinking water problem in the district. The Chief Minister is resolving the issues on priority
basis, he added.
KCR’s wife admitted
toYashoda for fever
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): Shobha, wife of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, has been admitted to
the Yashoda Hospital at Somajiguda
this morning.
She is reportedly suffering from
fever. The doctors attending on her
said there was nothing to worry
about her health and the fever could
be due to seasonal changes. KCR visited the hospital in the afternoon and
enquired about her health condition.
It may be mentioned here that
KCR’s daughter and Nizamabad
MP K Kavitha too was treated in the
same hospital a few days ago.
Ministers offer pujas
at Nagoba temple
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): Telangana Endowments Minister A Indrakaran Reddy, Tribal Development
Minister Jogu Ramanna today offered special pujas to Nagoba, the
Goddess of Adivasis at Indravelli in
Adilabad district.
MP G Nagesh, MLAs Surkha Naik
and Bapu Rao also offered pujas on
the occasion. The MP felicitated the
ministers in Adivasi tradition on the
Wanted Maoist couple
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (PTI): A Maoist couple allegedly involved in several offences in Chhattisgarh surrendered before police in Telangana’s
Warangal district today, police said.
B Bhikshapathi, a divisional committee member involved in several
offences and carrying a reward of
Rs 5 lakhs on his head, surrendered
along with his wife P Rukmini before
Warangal Urban Superintendent of
Police A K Jha.
Rukmini was carrying reward of Rs
one lakh, Jha said.
Bhikshapathi joined the Naxal
movement in 2001. He was un-
derground in the initial period in
Warangal before being involved in
various offences in different districts
of Chattisgarh, including attack on
police stations, killing of policemen
and CRPF personnel and theft of
weapons, he said.
The surrendered rebel belongs to
Warangal district while his wife is a
native of Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district, the police officer added.
Pocharam leads
sugarcane farmers to
KVK at Baramathi
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas
Reddy, accompanied by Nizamabad
Rural MLA Bajireddy Govardhan,
KorUtla MLA Vidyasagar Rao, Director of Sugars Badru Naik and 200
progressive sugarcane farmers visited Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Baramathi in Maharashtra State today.
They visited different sugarcane
fields and interacted with farmers
and scientists there. The KVK Coordinator explained modern methods
of cultivation and high yielding varieties of sugarcane through a power
point presentation.
The Minister and his team members also visited the fields of Dr
Pramod Bhagath (organic sugarcane
farmer), Rajendra (National Best
Sugarcane Farmer Awardee) and
Madhukar (Progressive Sugarcane
Farmer) at Someshwar. The team
also visited Someshwar Sahakar Sugar Factory.
FTAPCCI team calls on
Iran diplomat in city
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): A delegation led by Anil Reddy Vennam,
Senior Vice President, FTAPCCI
consisting of Chairman & Members
of International Trade Committee,
FTAPCCI called on Hassan Nourian,
Consul General of Islamic Republic
of Iran, here on Tuesday at Consulate Office. Senior officials of the Consulate and business representatives
participated and interacted at the
The purpose of the visit was to create awareness about business opportunities and promoting trade and
investment partnerships between
India and Iran.
OU’s B.Ed (Distance
Mode) entrance test
on Feb 1
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (INN): Osmania University’s Director of Admissions Prof Ch Gopal Reddy on Tuesday informed all those candidates,
who have applied for entrance test
and admission into B.Ed.(Distance
Mode) for the academic year 201415, that the entrance test would be
conducted on February 1 from 11.00
am to 12.30 pm.
The downloadable hall tickets
would be made available in website
“” by January
22. Candidates without hall tickets
would not be allowed to appear for
the entrance test, Prof Gopal Reddy
Recruitment Rally at 1
EME Centre from Feb 2
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (INN): Under the Unit Headquarter Quota,
an Army Recruitment Rally is being conducted at the 1 EME Centre,
Secunderabad from 2nd February to
1st March for the sons of War Widows, Ex-servicemen and Servicemen
and their own brothers including
wards of Territorial Army personnel
from any State/Union Territories.
The vacancies are available for the
posts of Soldier (Technical), Soldier
(General duty), Soldier (Tradesmen
and Soldier (Musician Category) under X class pass standard. Eligible
candidates have been asked to report at the Milkha Singh Stadium of
1 Training Battalion, 1 EME Centre,
Bolarum, Secunderabad at 6:00 am
on 2nd February along with requisite
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
CPI raps Centre on ‘Black Money’;
Suravaram urges Left parties to reunite
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS):
Likening seven-month-old
BJP-led NDA Government
at the Centre to UPA- Rule,
CPI general secretary Suraravam Sudhakar Reddy
today lambasted Prime
Minister Narendra Modi
for encouraging corporate
culture and miserably failing to keep his promise of
bringing back “black money” stashed abroad.
mediapersons at Makhdoom Bhavan
along with CPI leaders Dr K
Narayana and Chada Venkat Reddy here, Suravaram
alleged that the BJP Government has failed on all
fronts leading to discontent
among people. Accusing
the Narendra Modi Government of being unmindful of
communal forces and showing no much difference to
that of UPA-II Government,
the CPI leader said the saffron party has shown its true
colours by roping in former
IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who
joined BJP for the sake of
chief minister post and will
be contesting in Delhi Assembly polls scheduled to
be held on February 7.
Stating that the BJP would
face stiff fight in the elections, he stressed the need
for reunification of the Left
parties across the nation. He
exuded confidence that all
the Left parties will get back
together probably in three
years now and become a
unified force at national level to fight 2019 general elections. Stating that the CPI
central committee has introduced a new political policy,
Sudhakar Reddy said they
would disclose its resolution
on January 24. He also said
the Left parties began to lose
ground ever since CPI split.
“Now reunification of the
Left parties is our agenda to
strengthen the party and we
will become a strong force at
national level in three years
to fight other parties”, Sudhakar Reddy said.
The CPI with CPM and
other Left parties will take
on the “anti-people” policies of the BJP Government
CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat at a media interaction in Hyderabad on
Tuesday. Left Front Chairman Biman Basu is also seen. (PTI Photo)
which is encouraging communal elements, he said.
“Ours is not an outdated
struggle as the Left parties
fight on land reforms and
problems pertaining to oppressed class. We will fight
tooth and nail at all levels
against the anti-people and
anti- farmer policies of the
Government”, he said.
Venkaiah addresses 30,000 CPWD
employees through video-conferencing
(INN): Union Minister for
Urban Development M
Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday reached out to all the
30,000 employees of the
public sector construction major Central Public Works Department
(CPWD), sharing his concerns over the functioning
of the organization and
urging them for a change
over in the public perception about it.
For the first time in the
history of the 160 year
old CPWD, Naidu addressed all its employees at 33 locations in the
country through videoconferencing and live
web streaming.
Venkaiah Naidu insisted that CPWD needs to
achieve a makeover in its
working and public perception through timely
completion of projects,
zero tolerance to corruption, transparency and
the interaction that lasted
over an hour, Naidu directed top brass and all
the employees of CPWD
to ensure that payments
are made from April 2015
to contractors only after
social and third party audit of works costing more
than Rs 5 Crore; Only Online payments by all the
274 divisions from April
Digvijay chides T Congress
leaders for non-performance
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS):
AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh today lambasted
his party’s senior leaders in
the State for not organizing
protests against the people’s
representatives, who had defected from party.
The AICC leader pulled
up the leaders for not performing well in the Assembly
and also for their failure to
strengthen the party in the
State. He was speaking at the
brainstorming session held
with Coordination Committee meeting at Gandhi Bhavan on Tuesday. It was a part
of three-day tour of Digvijay
Singh. Digvijay reportedly
questioned them as to why
they failed to launch agitation in a democratic manner
KTR seeks
50 pc funds for
Water Grid
New Delhi, Jan.20 (NSS):
Telangana Panchayat Raj
Minister K Taraka Ramarao
today urged the Centre to
provide 50 per cent of funds
for the prestigious Telangana Water Grid project. He
also urged the Centre to set
up a mega powerloom, textile clusters and social security to workers. KTR, who is
against the defected MLAs
and MLCs. He suggested to
the party coordination committee members to lodge
complaints against MLAs
and MLCs in the High Court
and fight for justice. He also
lashed out at the leaders for
not cooperating with each
other in fighting with government’s defective politics
and policies.
Expressing his displeasure
over the party affairs, Digvijay asked the senior leaders
to go all with one voice in
order to strengthen the party
in the State. The AICC leader
said, “Except our student organization, all other student
organizations were protesting against the TRS government’s FAST Scheme”.
in the national capital, called
on Union Rural Development and Panchayat Raj
Minister Beerendra Singh
and sought 50 per cent of
funds for the project and
release of pending funds
for employment guarantee
scheme. Speaking to mediapersons later, KTR said the
Union minister asked him to
meet him again during budget preparations. KTR also
called on Union ministers
Bandaru Dattatreya, San-
which is now being done
by half of them; Introduction of Bio-metric attendance markers in all the
circle and field units by
December 2015; All project managers to reside at
the site of work and all cases of pending promotions
to be cleared by February
this year.
The Union Minister noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion
of enhancing ‘Skills, Speed
and Scale’ is most suited
to CPWD given its scale of
operations, skills required
and speedy delivery of services and should be adopted forthwith to survive the
growing competition.
The CPI leader Dr K.
Narayana has opposed
Telangana Chief Minister K
Chandrasekhar Rao’s statement that erstwhile Nizam’s
history will be included
in Telangana curriculum.
“This illogical plan should
immediately be withdrawn
as Nizam’s rule is notorious
for anarchy and torture of
people”, he said. He alleged
that AP Chief Minister N
Chandrababu Naidu was
chanting RSS “manthra” of
many children norm only
to appease the BJP, the ally
of Telugu Desam. However,
Naidu’s ideas will not fructify as the BJP has its own
agenda in 2019 elections,
he added.
Four killed, five hurt as
van hits culvert in Medak
Jan.20 (NSS): Four persons
were killed on the spot and
five others suffered grievous injuries when a Tata
Winger dashed against a
culvert on the Rajiv Rahadari on the outskirts of
Kondapaka mandal headquarters town in the early
hours of Tuesday. The condition of four of the injured
is stated to be critical.
The police personnel were
trying to extricate the driver, who got stuck up in the
vehicle. The injured were
rushed to the regional government hospital at Siddipet
in Karimnagar district. Police identified the deceased
as natives of Godavarikhani
town. The victims were proceeding from Hyderabad to
Two killed, four hurt in
In another accident in
Srikakulam district, two
persons were killed and
four others grievously injured when an Innova car
hit a stationary lorry at
Subhadrapuram junction
on the National Highway
No. 16 in Laveru mandal.
The car speeding from Visakhapatnam towards Srikakulam dashed against
the lorry from behind killing two old persons on
the spot. The injured were
rushed to the RIMS hospital at Srikakulam.
AIIMS to replace Bibinagar
NIMS in 400 acres: KCR
(NSS): Chief Minister K
Chandrasekhar Rao today
announced that an All India Institute of Medical
Sciences (AIIMS) will be
set up replacing NIMS at
Bibinagar in Nalgonda on
the city outskirts.
The Chief Minister
paid a visit to Bibinagar
wherein the NIMS hospital is pending for quite
some time. The Chief
Minister held a review
meeting with the officials
on the occasion and said
Bibinagar will become
Health and smart city in
the days to come.
The CM’s visit assumes
significance as the Centre announced AIIMS to
thosh Gangwar and Sujana
Chowdhary and brought to
their notice the issues and
problems of Telangana State
and sought suitable financial assistance. KTR also said
he has spoken to Santhosh
Gangwar on setting up of
Textile Park and incubator
centers in Warangal district.
He exuded confidence that
Telangana issues and problems will be resolved soon as
ministers promised him of
timely assistance.
Telangana State as per
Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. The Government is responsible for
providing adequate land
for this prestigious project
to come up near Warangal
highway with better connectivity near Outer Ring
Road, he said. As of now,
the government identified
400 acres for the purpose
and efforts were being
made to allocate more
land, if necessary. The
national level hospital of
high standards will get a
medical college, nursing
institute and others, he
added. The place is near to
all districts and will propel
development activity, he
said. There is large scope
for setting up of a township, new companies,
institutions, business and
entertainment, the Chief
Minister said.
Deputy Chief Minister
T. Rajaiah, Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, MP
Boora Narsaiah Goud,
parliamentary secretary
G Kishore, MLAs Shekhar
Reddy, Gongidi Sunitha,
Sudheer Reddy, Prabhakar Reddy, Legislative
Council vice-chairman N.
Vidyasagar, MLCs Karne
Prabhakar, Poola Ravinder, Medical department
Sureshchandra, district Collector, ZP
chairman Balu Naik and
others were present.
Govt to boost new industries: Jupally
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): Minister for industries, Jupally
Krishna Rao today said that the Government is encouraging on large scale to set up new industries and expansion of
new ones. During his visit to Bharath Biotech, MS Pharmasia
Pharma companies at ICICI Knowledge Park in Shamirpet
here he said that the new industrial policy will be made available online soon. Steps will be taken to help many businesses
and companies of national and international level to rope in
with huge investments. The government has decided to offer hassle free regime of providing immediate permissions at
one go and help the companies to start functioning he said.
We will encourage the startups with loan facilities, infrastructure and subsidies he said adding that SC, ST businessmen should dare to set up companies and startups.
Indian Horizon, Hyderabad
Short Takes
Secretary held for
accepting bribe of
Rs 1 lakh
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (PTI): A
Panchayat Secretary was arrested today by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Nellore
district of Andhra Pradesh for
allegedly taking bribe of Rs 1
lakh for returning official favour.
The Panchayat Secretary of
KCN Gunta village in Sullurupeta mandal of Nellore district
was caught red-handed by officials at his residence when he
demanded and accepted the
amount from a complainant,
the ACB said in a release.
It did not specify the identity
of the Secretary.
After recovery of the bribe
amount, the accused officer
was arrested and he will be
produced before a court dealing with ACB cases in Nellore
tomorrow, it said.
3 dead, 6 injured
in cylinder blast
Vijayawada, Jan 20 (PTI):
Three women were killed and
six persons sustained injuries
when a gas cylinder exploded
at a house here leading to fire
in early hours today.
One of the injured persons is
critical, police said.
There was leakage in the
LPG cylinder at a house in
Ambedkarnagar area of the
old city and unaware of it,
a woman turned on the gas
stove leading to an explosion
and spread of the blaze, Kothapet police station inspector
Subba Rao said.
The house’s roof collapsed
under impact of the impact,
he said.
Three women - Ramanamma (80), Nirmalamma (48)
and Ramana (56) - died on the
spot, he said.
Firemen rushed to the place
and doused the flames.
They also rescued the injured persons, who were later
admitted to government hospital.
According to doctors, one
of the injured was critical, he
A case has been registered in
this regard, Rao added.
leaves for Davos
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): As
part of his efforts to attract investments, AP Chief Minister
N Chandrbabu Naidu left for
Davos today.
During his two-day stay
there, the Chief Minister
would meet industrialists and
attend the World economic
summit. He will also present a
power point program explaining opportunities for investing
in the State.
The Chief Minister would
also meet Prime Ministers of
Japan and Malaysia during the
summit, official sources said.
Two Special Trains
between Vijayawada Secunderabad
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS):
In order to clear extra rush
of Passengers, South Central
Railway will run two special
trains between Vijayawada Secunderabad
Train No.07207 Vijayawada
- Secunderabad Special train
will depart Vijayawada at 11:00
pm on January 29 and arrive
Secunderabad at 05:40 am on
the next day.
In the return direction, Train
No. 07208 Secunderabad – Vi-
jayawada Special train will
depart Secunderabad at 11:15
pm on January 30 and arrive
Vijayawada at 05:45 am on the
next day.
Enroute, these special trains
will stop at Mangalagiri, Guntur, Sattenapalli, Piduguralla,
Nadikudi, Miryalaguda and
Nalgonda stations in both the
No nominations
yet for Tirupati
Assembly by-polls
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (INN):
No nominations were received
on Tuesday, the second day of
filing of nominations, for the
by-elections for Tirupati Assembly seat of Chittoor district.
The notification for the
by-polls was issued on Monday although no nominations were filed in the last two
days. The last date for filing
of nomination will be January
27. The nominations will be
scrutinised on January 28 and
the last date for withdrawal of
candidature will be January
The polling will be on February 13 and the counting of
votes will take place on February 16.
By-elections for Tirupati
seat got necessitated due to
the death of sitting MLA M Venakataramana of TDP on December 15.
Sharmila to resume
‘Paramarsa Yatra’ in
Telangana today
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (INN):
YSR Congress Party leader
YS Sharmila will resume here
‘Parmarsa Yatra’ on Wednesday.
During the 600 KM Yatra,
Sharmila proposes to cover
six Assembly constituencies in
Nalgonda district and console
30 families that lost a member due to shock on hearing
the death of her father and
the then Chief Minister YS
Rajasekhara Reddy. “Sharmila
along with party Telangana
President P Srinivas Reddy
and other state leaders will
start from Lotus Pond at 9 AM
and will be accorded a warm
welcome at Mal from where
the Paramarsa Yatra begins,”
party spokesperson Konda
Raghava Reddy told reporters
in Hyderabad on Tuesday. The
next phase of Paramarsa Yatra
will begin in February, he said.
On the first day, she will visit
two thandas and one village
and will halt at Sagar for the
Mahender Reddy
opposes Naidu’s
tour in T
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS):
Telangana Transport Minister P Mahender Reddy today
opposed AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s
proposed plan of touring in
Telangana districts.
Talking to mediapersons
here on Tuesday, Mahendar
Reddy expressed surprise
at Naidu’s plan of touring
Telangana area when Andhra
Pradesh State was facing many
problems. The TRS leaders will
not remain mute spectators at
the tour of Naidu, he said, adding they would stiffly oppose
it. He also wanted to know
why Chandrababu wants to go
on a tour in Telangana when
his own State was reeling under many problems. “We will
see how the AP Chief Minister will embark on a journey
in Telangana districts”, Mahender Reddy warned.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
15 more marine
police stations along
AP coast: Dy CM
20 (PTI): Andhra Pradesh
government will set up 15
more marine police stations along the coast in
the state, Deputy Chief
Minister N Chinna Rajappa said today.
“Fifteen more marine
police stations will be set
up soon in addition to the
existing 21 such police stations in the state,” he told
reporters after launching the I-CLIK (Instant
Complaint Login Internet
Kiosk) and mobile app
‘Abhayam’ for safety of citizens, particularly women.
I-CLIK enables citizens
to log their grievances
through an online kiosk.
It focuses specifically on
women’s problems and
He said the kiosk has
been launched in the
city as a pilot project and
based on its performance,
it will be adopted in other
cities in the state.
Referring to Abhayam,
the Minister said that it
will empower citizens to
have the power to protect themselves. At the
click of the button, the
app will send a notification to the person’s near
and dear ones and nearest police station.
The Home Minister said
that the state government
has effectively controlled
the red sanders’ smuggling
in the state and a task force
has also been established
for the purpose.
The police department
is taking all necessary
steps to prevent ‘ganja’
smuggling in the state,
particularly in agency areas of the district, he said.
The police department
is striving hard to provide efficient, transparent and responsive administration in the state
aided by latest technology and gadgets, he said.
Visakhapatnam is a peaceful city, he said unlawful
elements will be firmly
dealt by the police.
State Director General
of Police J V Rumudu said
people’s cooperation is essential to control crimes.
He appealed to girl students, who were present at
the function, to utilise the
facilities launched by the
police for their safety.
TRS government on the matter
while admitting the petition. The
former minister revealed that
AICC leader Digvijay Singh suggested that the party leaders file
another petition in the HC on
the defected MLAs from the party
to TRS. He said they would file
another petition in two or three
days under anti-defection law.
According to sources, Digvijay
pulled up Danam Nagendar for
not working sincerely for membership drive to help strengthen
the party in view of the ensuing
GHMC elections. Though Danam
is not a member of the Congress
Coordination Committee, Digvijay specifically called him to attend the meeting and sought his
suggestions on the ensuing GHMC
elections. Digvijay asked him to
work along with all party leaders to
strengthen party in City.
Congress, TDP file petitions
in HC over defections
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS): Telangana Congress and Telangana TDP
leaders have separately filed petitions in the High Court against the
defection of their leaders to the ruling TRS. In their petitions, they
stated that the Speaker of Telangana Assembly was not invoking provisions of the Anti-Defection Law against the defectors and the government was trying to shield them.
Congress whip M S Prabhakar Rao filed the petition in the court
seeking disqualification of Congress MLCs, who have defected to the
ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Similarly, TDP senior leaders Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Revanth Reddy and Sandra Venkata Veeraiah also
filed a writ petition stating that there was inordinate delay in dealing
with the defectors of TDP. They faulted the Speaker for not initiating
proceedings against Talasani Srinivas Yadav, Teegala Krishna Reddy
and Dharma Reddy as per the Act concerned in spite of their petition
to the Speaker.
Admitting the petition, the court issued notices to Advocate General to submit reports on what actions have been taken against the
defectors. The court also asked him to submit report by January 27
and adjourned the matter to next week.
The High Court also responded to a petition filed against Legislative Council chairman Swamy Goud. The court served a notice on the
Advocate general to submit an explanation in this regard.
TS Govt allots 3.5
acres of land to
Kaloji Foundation
Hyderabad, Jan 20 (INN): The Telangana
Government on Tuesday sanctioned for allotment of 3.5 acres of land to Kaloji Foundation for the construction of Kaloji Kala Kendram and Kaloji Cultural Centre in Warangal
The allotted land is located in Survey No
1066 situated in between in 33/11 KV SubStation and existing Municipal Vehicle Depot of Warangal Municipal Corporation. The
State Government had earlier sanctioned Rs
17 crore for construction of Kaloji Kala Kendram (Rs 15 Crores) and Kaloji Cultural Centre
(Rs 2 Crores) by Kaloji Foundation.
New Delhi, Jan. 20 (NSS): The
Supreme Court today granted
bail to mining baron and former
Karnataka minister Gali Janardhan Reddy, who is an accused in
the illegal mining case involving
Obulapuram Mining Company
(OMC) owned by him.
The Apex Court granted bail
to Gali after the CBI submitted
that the investigation in the case
involving Reddy is complete and
both the charge-sheet as well as
the supplementary charge-sheet
has been filed. Taking on record
the submission of the agency, a
bench headed by Chief Justice H
L Dattu said, “Since the investigating agency has no objection
in granting bail, we are granting
bail to the petitioner (Reddy).”
The bench also comprising justices A K Sikri and Arun
Mishra noted that the submission of Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh and Reddy’s
counsel Dushyant Dave that
the accused has been in jail for
around four years.
While granting bail, the bench
imposed certain conditions, including that Reddy will be released from jail on furnishing
two sureties of Rs 10 lakh each
and that he shall not leave the
country without the permission
of the court while directing him
to surrender his passport. The
bench further said the accused
should not in any way try to influence the witnesses or tamper
with evidence.
Reddy moved the apex court
in 2013 challenging the High
Court’s decision to reject his
bail petition. He is facing several criminal cases and was
lodged in a jail here. He was
arrested on September 5, 2011
and ever since he was incarcerated in Chenchalguda jail.
Janardhan Reddy may be released from jail in two days. He
and his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy, Managing Director of
OMC, were arrested by the CBI
from Bellary in Karnataka and
brought to Hyderabad.
TS Govt gives new postings
to 21 IFS officers
Danam deplores inaction
against defected legislators
Hyderabad, Jan.20 (NSS):
Congress senior leader and former minister Danam Nagender
on Tuesday accused Telangana
Assembly Speaker and Council
Chairman for not initiating actions against the defected MLAs
and MLCs respectively.
Speaking to mediapersons at
Gandhi Bhavan here, Danam said
there was no other go except filing a petition in High Court on
this matter since Constitutional
authorities failed to take action
against the defected members
even after they received complaints on the issue.
Danam said his party has already filed a petition in the High
Court on the defection of MLCs
two days ago and the HC directed
Advocate General to file a reply
within a week. He said the HC
also strongly reacted against the
At last, Janardhan Reddy
granted bail by SC
(INN): The Telangana
Government on Tuesday
issued orders giving new
posting and transfers to as
many as 21 IFS officers.
The officials along with
their new posting are: A
K Srivastava (1981) - Additional Principal Chief
Conservator of Forests
(Administration); R Sundaravadan (1982) - Conservator of Forests (Environment); DK Pandey
(1982) - Additional Principal Chief Conservator
of Forests (Development);
Dr. K.P. Srivasuki (1982) Additional Principal Chief
Conservator of Forests/Director General; Chandan
Mitra (1982) - Additional
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Extension);
P Madhusudhana Rao
(1982) - Additional Principal Chief Conservator
of Forests (Research);
(1983) - Additional Principal Chief Conservator
of Forests (Production);
Dr Manoranjan Bhanja
(1984) - Additional Principal Chief Conservator of
Forests (Social Forestry);
M Prudhvi Raju (1984) Additional Principal Chief
Conservator of Forests (IT
and Working Plans); Dr.
Chandra B.Malasi (1985) Additional Principal Chief
Conservator of Forests
(JFM&CSS); R.U. Kashappa (1985) - Chief Conservator of Forests/Conservator of Forests (STC); R
Sobha (1986) - Additional
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Y Babu
Rao (1987) - Additional
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (LR); Ashok
Kumar Sinha (1992) - Chief
Conservator of Forests /
Conservator of Forests,
Nizamabad; Vinay Kumar
Netherlands Hunter
Douglas inaugurates its
unit at Sri City SEZ
Sri City, Jan 20 (INN): Hunter Douglas India Pvt Ltd, the wholly owned
Indian subsidiary of Hunter Douglas
N.V. of Netherlands, the world market
leader in window covering products
and a major manufacturer of architectural products, inaugurated its unit at
Sri City on Tuesday.
In a colourful ceremony held at the
factory premises, David H. Sonnenberg,
Co-President & COO, Hunter Douglas
Group, administered the dedication
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The services of G Chandrashekar Reddy (1991)
have been placed at the
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appointment as Member
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Managing Director, Sri City, and a host
of dignitaries.
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Short Takes
7 die as bus falls into
Carcasses found
Erode, Jan 20 (PTI): Carcasses
of four peahens and two peacocks
were found near here today.
Forest officials said an autopsy
would reveal how the birds died
as the carcasses were found near a
water source at Akkaraipalayam village.
Officials are not sure whether the
birds were killed by someone by
administering poison in grains or
if they consumed some poisonous
grass or other eatables.
The officials said the area is noted
for peacock population and hundreds of the birds visit the area to
feed on grains, fruits and other eatables from farm lands.
Dharmapuri (TN), Jan 20 (PTI):
Seven persons died and over 50
were injured when a bus went out
of control and fell into a valley, a senior police official said.
“Seven persons were declared
dead and more than 50 persons,
including the driver and conductor,
have sustained simple injuries. They
are being treated in the government
hospital,” Dharmapuri Superintendent of Police J Loganathan told PTI
over phone.
The government bus was on its
way to Hogenakkal from Pennagaram in Dharmapuri district when
around 10.30 am, it took a sharp
turn near a temple, and fell into the 30 transgenders held
valley some 50 feet below, he said.
Erode, Jan 20 (PTI): Thirty transPolice and rescue personnel genders were today taken into cusrushed to the spot, he said, adding tody for trying to stage a picketing
that a case has been registered.
near Erode Municipal Central Busstand, demanding removal of some
Cuddalore among 100 scenes in the Tamil film ‘I’, which,
they alleged, showed their commudistricts under ‘Beti
Bachao Beti Padhao’ nityThein bad
film stars Vikram and Amy
Chennai, Jan 20 (PTI): The coastal Jackson in lead roles.
district of Cuddalore in northern
Tamil Nadu is among the 100 se- Village nurse relieved of
lected districts across the country, Rs two lakh gold chain
where ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’
scheme would be launched by
Erode, Jan 20 (PTI): A village
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on nurse was relieved of her 10 soverJanuary 22.
eign gold chain worth about Rs two
The scheme, to be kickstarted at lakh by two men on a motorbike at
Sonipat in Haryana on Thursday Ukkaram village today, police said.
and to be joined by all states and
The 40-year-old woman was on
Union territories, aims at prevent- her way to work at the Primary
ing gender-biased sex selective Health Centre in the village when
elimination and ensuring survival, the two men on the bike snatched
protection, education and partici- her chain and sped away, they said.
pation of the girl child, a PIB release
65-yr-old man
This will be put into practice by arrested for sexually
rigorous enforcement of all existing
assaulting minor girl
Legislations and Acts, especially by
strengthening the implementation
Erode (TN) Jan 20 (PTI): A
of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal 65-year-old man has been arrested
Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibi- for allegedly sexually assaulting a
tion of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 with five-year-old girl at Veerappanchastern punishments for violations of tram village in the district, police
the law, it said.
The minor’s parents had gone out
Man dies of swine flu when the man allegedly took the girl
Chennai, Jan 20 (PTI): A 53-year to his house yesterday and sexually
old man died of H1N1 (Swine flu) assaulted her.
The parents returned a short
infection at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, a top of- while later to find heir daughter
missing. The father then went next
ficial said today.
P Srinivasan, a resident of Man- door to the old man’s house, and
nady here was referred to the hospi- raised an alarm after finding the
tal on January 16 from Apollo Hos- man allegedly assaulting his daughter, police said.
pitals with high fever.
The old man fled the spot, but was
The man was treated and various
tests were done done and the pa- arrested late last night.
tient tested positive for H1N1 infecCasual labourer trampled
“He had severe respiratory dis- to death by elephant
tress when he was admitted here.
We provided all the requisite treatErode (TN), Jan 20 (PTI): A
ment as per the protocol. He died 61-year-old casual labourer was
yesterday,” Dean, Madras Medical trampled to death by elephants in
College and RGGGH Dr R Vimala Burgur forest area, police said.
told PTI.
Forest officials said the man from
His body has been handed over to Onnakarai tribal hamlet was tendhis relatives.
ing to some cattle and took them
inside the forest, but did not return
New Air Traffic
till last night.
Relatives launched a search for
Control Tower starts
him and found his dead body at
functioning at MIA
Sadesamyparai area with marks of
Mangaluru,Jan 20 (PTI): The new elephant feet all over the ground,
Air Traffic Control tower at the Man- indicating he had been trampled.
They then informed police about
galuru International Airport has
started functioning on a trial basis, it and the body was recovered.
Airport Director J T Radhakrishna
Students of local govt
has said.
The new ATC installed by the school complain of
Airport Authority of India would
‘severe itching’
be functional round the clock, he
said in a release here. The fully airTuticorin, Jan 20 (PTI): Authorites
conditioned tower with a height of of a local government school went
25 metres was equipped with lift into a tizzy today when some boys
and girls complained of ‘severe itchThe tower would provide air traf- ing’ and started rolling on the floor.
fic services to the arriving and deOfficials of the Government High
parting flights at the MIA upto 60 School at Silanatham said the stunautical miles from the airport, he dents were rushed to the governsaid.
ment hospital here, where doctors
Radhakrishna said that the me- said it was an “allergic condition”.
teorological department would also
They were examining as to what
construct a new technical building caused the condition, doctors said,
at the airport to supplement easier adding, it was curable.
handling of air traffic.
It was not known whether any insect had bitten them.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
CPI(M) seeks clarification
from Jaitley on meeting Jaya
Chennai, Jan 20 (PTI):
CPI(M) today joined the
chorus of political parties
criticising Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s recent
meeting with AIADMK
chief Jayalalithaa and
sought a clarification
from the minister on the
Party’s state unit Secretary G Ramakrishnan said
in a statement that the
meeting was one to “mutually assist each other for
their political gains”.
He said that in the ‘light’
of Jayalalithaa’s conviction in a disproportionate
assets case and her ensuring ‘swift’ bail, besides
withdrawal of prosecu-
tion by tax authorities after allowing a plea by her
to compound offences
relating to non-filing of
IT returns for a particular
period, had raised “suspicion” among people.
He pointed out that
Union IT Minister Ravishankar Prasad had earlier
appeared for the former
Chief Minister in the case
in the Supreme Court.
it cannot be termed as
wrong the suspicion that
has arisen in the minds of
the people that Jaitley had
met Jayalalithaa as part of
a discreet agreement.
“This is a meeting to
mutually assist each other
for political gains and it is
not in the interest of people. Arun Jaitley should
explain to people about
this,” he demanded.
Ramakrishnan said that
his party does not approve of such meetings
with “wrong intentions.”
The meeting described
by AIADMK as “courtesy
call” came in the wake of
Centre’s move to drum
up support for ordinances
including coal block allocation in a likely joint parliamentary session of the
two Houses.
It had drawn flak from
political parties in the
state, including DMK and
ing later after the culmination of the run at nearby
Central Stadium, Tendulkar
wanted people of Kerala to
extend complete support and
solidarity to sportspersons
coming to participate in the
National Games.
“The run is a fantastic initiative by the Kerala government. I hope to see the same
response and enthusiasm in
the coming National Games
also, which the state hosts
after a gap of 28 years,” Tendulkar said. “This kind of energy and support from well
wishers is significant for every sportsperson.I hope you
will extend the same energy
and support, which you gave
to the Kerala Blasters team,
to sportspersons participating in the National Games
also,” he said.
Bengaluru, Jan 20 (PTI):
The then DMK-led government had “erroneously”
over-valued the jewellery
of AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa and they were purchased before she became
chief minister, her counsel
told the Special Bench of
the Karnataka High Court
The gold and diamond
jewellery seized belonged
to Jayalalithaa but she
bought them before she
became Chief Minister in
1991, her counsel L Nageswar Rao told Justice C R
The bench is hearing appeals by the former Tamil
Nadu Chief Minister and
three others challenging
their conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
Bickerings in UDF over bar
bribe scam on
Jan 20 (PTI): As the bar
bribe scam continues to
haunt Kerala’s ruling Congress-led UDF, the front’s
liaison committee is expected to meet soon as the
estranged partners Kerala
Congress (M) and Kerala
Congress (B) kept up mutual wranglings denting
the coalition’s image.
A day after audio tapes
of conversation between
KC(B) leader R Balakrishna
Pillai and hotelier Biju Ramesh were aired by television channels bringing the
front under a cloud, UDF
convener P P Thankachan
had a brief discussion with
Chief Minister Oommen
Chandy and said the UDF
meeting would be convened soon.
AIMS performs
Kerala’s first
small bowel
Kochi, Jan 20 (PTI): In what
is claimed to be the first of its
kind in Kerala, small bowel
transplantation was successfully carried out by doctors at
the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences here.
The transplantation surgery, lasting six hours, was
performed on a 37-year-old
woman, Seena Shojan of
Irinjalakuda on January 5.
The patient had undergone
multiple ‘small bowel resection’ surgeries during the
last six years, doctors said.
The normal length of the
Unruffled by reports
that Kerala Congress (M),
led by Finance Minister
K M Mani, wanted the
KC(B) to be expelled from
UDF, Pillai dared the front
leadership to take action
against his party.
Addressing a press meet
here, Pillai said he would
welcome if he was ousted
from the UDF but asserted
that he would be more
powerful once he was out
of the coalition.
“Let the UDF take action
against me. I only want
to say once I am ousted
from UDF I would become
more powerful,” 79-yearold Pillai, a founder-leader
of the coalition, said.
The bar bribe scam,
which pertains to graft allegation against Mani levelled
Chennai, Jan 20 (PTI): Taking a swipe at ruling AIADMK,
NDA ally PMK today said it would neither contest nor support any other political party for the February 13 Srirangam
assembly bypoll. “In Tamil Nadu a situation has arisen in
which only the ruling party could win and Srirangam is no
exception,” PMK said in a release.
Stating that barring Pennagarm bypoll, the party has
never contested any other byelections, PMK said bypolls
were unnecessary, a waste of money and time. PMK said
it was for amendment to the Representation of People Act
to facilitate unanimous election of a candidate in bypoll
to either the assembly or parliament. The candidate of a
party which represented the constituency in the assembly
or parliament after general elections should be unanimously elected, it argued. Referring to the victory of ruling parties in the successive bypolls in Tamil Nadu, PMK
said such victories were “murders of democracy.” Alleging
that disbursement of gifts and distribution of money were
on the cards for Srirangam, PMK said it had under the circumstances decided to refrain from bypolls. “The administrative committee of the party has unanimously decided
not to contest nor support any other political party for the
Srirangam bypoll,” the PMK headquarters said.
Jaya Case: DMK govt erroneously
over-valued jewellery, counsel
Kerala’s ‘Run Kerala Run’ sets
history; thousands participate
Jan 20 (PTI): Heralding the
arrival of the 35th National
Games to the state after a
gap of 28 years, thousands
of people from all sections
of society today took part in
the historic marathon ‘Run
Kerala Run’ across the state.
Giving a boost to the spirit
of the run, cricket maestro
Sachin Tendulkar, goodwill
ambassador of the Games,
took part and ran for about
200 metres in the state capital as part of the event, which
was officially flagged off by
Governor P Sathasivam.
Chief Minister Oommen
Chandy and his cabinet collegues Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, V S Shivakumar,
P K Kunhalikutty accompanied Sachin in track suits.
Speaking at a public meet-
PMK not to contest
Srirangam bypoll
by a leading hotelier, took a
murkier turn yesterday with
TV channels airing telephone tapes in which Pillai
asked hotelier Biju Ramesh
to go ahead with his graft
charge against Mani.
Pillai later confirmed its
authenticity and claimed
he had already told these
things to Chandy, which
the latter refuted.
Rattling the UDF Ministry, Ramesh had alleged
three months ago that
Mani had been given a
hefty sum on the promise that he would help in
re-opening some of the
closed liquor bars.
Based on the allegation,
the government initially ordered a “quick verification”
and later lodged an FIR for a
detailed investigation.
small bowel is 5-6 metres.
A normal human being requires at least two metres
of small bowel for survival.
Seena had only 96 cm length
of the small bowel.
For the last one month,
she was in critical stage
and the only option for her
was transplantation, the
hospital said.
The patient’s condition
now is stable. Though she
has started taking normal diet, the transplanted small bowel will take
about two months to gain
all its normal functions,
hospital sources said.
During this period she
will be under strict monitoring.
The special bench has
been set up at the direction of the Supreme Court
on December 18 to decide
Jayalalithaa’s plea in three
Rao also argued that the
trial court had overlooked
several judgements and
not considered the binding nature of various income tax orders and decisions of the Income Tax
Appellate Tribunal, which
had accepted the income
and level of expenditure
pleaded by her.
He submitted that Jayalalithaa had acquired the
property, including jewellery, through legal means.
Rao also said the trial
court cited the clean chit
given by Income Tax Tribunal but did not consider
it while giving the verdict,
sentencing Jayalalithaa and
three others to four- year
jail term and imposing a Rs
100 crore fine on her.
A Supreme Court bench,
headed by Chief Justice H
L Dattu, had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa
who was sent to jail by a
trial court on September
27, saying that hearing on
her appeal against conviction in the High Court
should be completed in
three months from December 18.
Jayalalithaa and three
others were held guilty of
corruption and awarded
four years jail term by the
Special Court here, which
had also slapped a fine of
Rs 10 crore each on the
three others.
TN reports first H1N1 death,
govt says no need for panic
Chennai, Jan 20 (PTI):
Tamil Nadu has reported
its first swine flu death this
year with a 53-year-old man
succumbing to the H1N1 virus at a hospital here.
Stepping in to allay fears,
the state government said
there was no need for panic
as it was only a seasonal flu
and not pandemic.
Srinivasan died of H1N1
(Swine flu) infection at the
Rajiv Gandhi Government
General Hospital yesterday
and his body was handed
over to his relatives today.
“It is no more pandemic
even according to the WHO.
It is only a seasonal flu. We
have adequate stocks of Tamiflu (Oseltamivir phosphate),”
Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J
Radhakrishnan told PTI.
On Srinivasan’s death, he
said the patient got himself
admitted to a private hospital only after five days of
high-grade fever. “It was a
case of late reporting. After
getting himself admitted in a
private hospital he got himself discharged suddenly and
came to government hospital,” he added. Also, he had
a travel history to Telangana
which was witnessing swine
flu cases, he said.
“He had severe respiratory distress when he was
admitted here. We provided
all the requisite treatment
as per the protocol. He
died yesterday,” Dean, Madras Medical College and
RGGGH Dr R Vimala said.
The man was treated and
various tests were done and
the patient tested positive
for H1N1.
British Council keen to encourage
greater student mobility
Puducherry, Jan 20 (PTI):
With Indian students forming an important segment
of international students
studying in the UK, Britain
aims to make India the largest recipient of its global
scholarshipsover the next two years, Mei
Key Barker, Director South
India, British Council, today
said. The British Council is
keen to encourage greater
student mobility and exchange of students between
India and the UK to build
deeper relationship, she
said at a press conference.
“The UK welcomes all legitimate international students. More than 2.5 lakh
Indians have studied in
the UK during the last ten
years,” she said.
A seminar, titled ‘the
GREAT UK Education
Seminar’ would be held
here tomorrow by the
British Council to provide
information on student
life and culture for Indian
students aspiring to study
in the UK.
Andrew Soper, the Minister Counsellor (Political
and Press) in the British
High Commission, New
Delhi, said the UK and
India shared “a well established, broad ranging and
expanding partnership on
“With 401 scholarships
this year and more than
750 scholarships during
the last two years the Great
Britain Scholarships-India
2015 is the largest ever
scholarships programme
offered to Indian students,” he said. The scholarships were worth around
1.51 million pounds.
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Woman denied admission in hospital,
delivers a stillborn baby under tree
Bhopal Jan 20 (PTI): A 26-year-old
woman on Tuesday delivered a stillborn child under a tree in the compound of state-government run Sultania hospital, after she was allegedly
not admitted to a ward and refused
medical care.
In his complaint, district’s Gehukheda area resident Ajmer Khan
(30) alleged that his wife Rubina Bi
reached Sultania hospital at around
6 am, but was refused admission.The
Speculation rife
about TMC leader
Dinesh Trivedi
joining BJP
woman later delivered a stillborn boy
at around 10 am in the hospital’s compound, Talaiya police station Sub-Inspector Umesh Singh Chauhan said.
Police have started investigation in
the matter based on the complaint,
Chauhan said.After post-mortem report and investigation, we will register
a case against the guilty, he said.“The
concerned people at the hospital
asked us to shell out Rs 1,000 to admit
Rubina. However, we refused to ac-
Kolkata Jan 20 (PTI): Days
after a Trinamool Congress
minister Manjul Krishna
Thakur joined BJP, speculation is rife about another
TMC leader and former
railway minister Dinesh
Trivedi switching to the saf-
cept it,” Ajmer told reporters.He said
that at around 8 am his wife started
having pains after which she delivered
the stillborn baby under a Neem tree.
Later, a group of locals gathered
and staged a protest against the hospital.
“They took my wife and the child
inside, but by that time it was too late.
Had the hospital helped us in time,
this tragedy could have been averted,”
a distraught Ajmer said.
fron camp even as he evaded questions in this regard.
Asked, Trivedi said “I really
don’t like to predict anything. For me the country
comes first ... At the end of
the day why are we in public life ... The bigger picture
JD(U) meet at Nitish house,
Manjhi meets BJP minister
PATNA Jan 20 (PTI): Amid infighting in JD(U) triggered by power
tussle between chief minister Jitan
Ram Manjhi and senior leader Nitish Kumar, a meeting of party leaders began at Kumar’s residence
here on Tuesday to take stock of
political situation.
Chief minister Manjhi meanwhile had an hour-long meeting
with Union minister of state for
rural development and sanitation Ramkripal Yadav. The CM is
not present in the “training programme” for party district heads
and other leaders at Kumar’s 7 Circular Road residence.
Ramkripal Yadav, MP from Patliputra and who left mentor Lalu
Prasad’s RJD to join BJP, told PTI
that during his talks with CM he
sounded “hurt” over recent controversy within his party triggered by
unwanted comments from some
JD(U) leaders.
Senior Bihar minister Narendra
Singh, one among the three ministers whose resignation was sought
by party spokesman Ajay Alok for
alleged proximity with BJP, met
state president Basistha Narayan
Singh before start of programme
at Kumar’s house and sought strict
enforcement of discipline in the
Besides Singh, two other ministers whose resignation was
sought are Brishen Patel and Nitish Mishra, son of former CM Jagannath Mishra. Narendra Singh
is the country.”“It is not the
question of switching from
one platform to another.
We need to change the DNA
of Indian politics and whatever it takes for doing that, I
think we should do that,” he
told a TV channel.
told reporters that he expressed
his “peera” (pain) over resignation
demand by Alok and allegation of
proximity with BJP.
“I am the person who said BJP is
playing in the hands of corporate
houses and is anti-farmers. So how
come somebody allege I have proximity with BJP,” Singh said. State
party chief Basistha Narayan Singh,
who returned from Delhi on Tuesday, said though there was no talk
of initiating action against anybody
but “people issuing statements
shall ensure it does not encroach
limit.” He exuded confidence that
things would be set right in the
Asked that one minister Jay Kumar Singh and other leaders have
sought early return of Kumar on
chief minister chair, Basistha Narayan Singh said, “first let me go
inside (Kumar’s house) and talk to
Army apprehends attack from Pak
troops, security heightened
Jammu Jan 20 (PTI): Apprehending attack by Pakistan’s
Border Action Team (BAT) on
forward posts and patrol parties in the run up to Republic
Day, Army has sounded an alert
along the boundary with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
Battling thick fog, treacherous
terrain and unpredictable enemy, soldiers armed with thermal imagers and surveillance
equipments are keeping a hawk
eye on any movement along the
Line of Control.
According to officials, there
are intelligence inputs that
BATs, which are small groups
of specialised Pakistani troops
supported at times by terrorists, could strike in the run up
to Republic Day, especially as
US President Barack Obama
will be visiting the country.“As
per Intelligence inputs there is
a possibility of Pakistan Army’s
Border Action Team crossing
over into Indian territory and
targeting posts,” a senior Army
officer told PTI.The BAT could
also target Indian patrol parties
near the LoC, he said, adding
army is keeping a close watch
on LoC and troops are vigilant.
“Any such BAT action by Pakistani with covering fire from its
border posts would be counted
as diplomatic offencive to rake
up Kashmir issue,” the officer
Asked about the possible terror attacks along LoC, Spokesperson of Udhampur based
Northern Command Headquarters, Col S D Goswami told?PTI
that troops are vigilant.The BAT
generally targets patrol teams or
isolated posts across the LoC.
“BAT operations are specialised
military actions conducted in
close vicinity of enemy posts
across the LoC and need detailed planning preparation and
support,” Col Goswami said.
The Line of Control with
Pakistan stretches up to 740 km,
out of which India has fenced
550 km to stop infiltration and
smuggling. The international
border stretches to over 180 km
in Jammu frontier.Major BAT
attacks were carried out in 2013.
Novelist moves HC accusing
‘PK’ makers of plagiarism
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Novelist Kapil Isapuri has approached the Delhi High Court, accusing the makers of
Aamir Khan’s film “PK” of plagiarism.He said certain portions from his Hindi novel “Farishta” published in 2013
were “stolen and copied” and used in the film.
Isapuri has sought punitive damages of Rs.1 crore from
the filmmakers along with credit for his work.The Rajkumar
Hirani directorial, which raises questions about religion
and people’s blind faith in godmen, has been co-produced
by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Hirani. The movie also stars
Anushka Sharma and Sanjay Dutt.
The plea, filed through advocate Jyotika Kalra, alleged
that the makers of the film as well as scriptwriter Abhijat
Joshi stole the characters, expression of ideas and sequences from the novel “Farishta”.“The novel has criticised blind
following of so-called godmen and that profession of religion is not natural but is man-made and artificial and, in a
group of people, nobody can identify their respective religion,” the plea said.
wednesday, January 21, 2015
On August 6 that year, in an audacious and provocative attack,
Pakistani troops had entered
Indian territory along the Line
of Control in the Poonch sector
and ambushed a patrol killing
five Indian soldiers.Pakistani
troops on January 8, 2013 had
crossed into the Indian territory
and ambushed an Army patrol
party beheading two jawans
Lance Naik Hemraj and Sudhakar at Sarla post along LoC in
In May last year, an army
jawan was killed and two of his
colleagues were injured in an
attack by suspected BAT which
set off a mine blast and opened
fired on a patrol party along LoC
near Akhnoor.
The state is already on high
alert with the army saying that
there were inputs about possibility of attacks by Pakistanbased terror outfits on “soft targets” such as schools, religious
places, military convoys and
civilian areas?in Jammu and
Kashmir ahead of Obama’s India visit.
Jharkhand’s ex-CM Koda
summoned in coal block case
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) A court
here Tuesday issued summons to
former Jharkhand chief minister
Madhu Koda and seven others in a
coal block allocation case involving
Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd.
Special Judge Bharat Parashar
took cognizance of the chargesheet
filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last month and issued
summons to Koda and the others in
the case for Feb 18.
The other accused in the case are
ex-coal secretary H.C. Gupta, former
Jharkhand chief secretary A.K. Basu,
Vini Iron and Steel director Vaibhav
Tulsyan, two government officials Basant Kumar Bhatacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh - and alleged middleman Vijay Joshi.The Kolkata-based
Vini Iron and Steel has also been
named as an accused in the case.
The CBI filed the chargesheet
in December last year in the case
against Koda and the others on various charges like cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Prevention
of Corruption Act.
The case involves allocation of
coal blocks to Vini Iron and Steel in
Jharkhand’s Rajhara town, in which
its directors and unknown public
servants of the coal ministry, the
Jharkhand government and others
were named as accused in the first
information report lodged in September 2012.
In its FIR, the CBI alleged that
the firm had applied for allocation
of coal blocks, including Rajhara
North (central and eastern) coal
block in Jharkhand.It said the company was not recommended by either the union steel ministry or the
Jharkhand government.
However, the then Jharkhand
chief secretary, who had attended
the 36th screening committee meeting July 3, 2008, had signed its minutes recommending the allocation to
the firm.
The CBI alleged that the company
had fraudulently claimed an inflated
net worth and its ownership too had
changed hands ahead of the 36th
screening committee meeting.
The court in September had returned the chargesheet filed by the
CBI after it failed to adequately respond to queries raised by the judge.
20 Injured in Bus-Truck Obama’s India visit: UP
Collision in MP
police to hire chopper
many as 20 persons were injured today when
the bus in which they were travelling collided
with a truck in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district,
police said.
The accident took place when the bus
enroute to Betul from Maharashtra’s Paratwada town rammed into a truck head on near
Mahadgaon village on Betul-Indore national
highway, around 10 kms from the district headquarters, Betul Kotwali police station in-charge
Pankaj Tyagi said.All injured passengers were
admitted to the district hospital and the condition of 16 persons is stated to be critical, he
added. Due to strong impact of the collision
almost all seats of the bus uprooted, causing
serious injuries to the occupants, Mr Tyagi said.
Soon after being alerted, senior police officials
reached the spot and pressed 108 ambulance
into service.A case has been registered in this
regard and further probe is on, police added.
Lucknow Jan 20 (PTI): Uttar
Pradesh police is all set to hire a helicopter to secure the air in view of
the likely visit of US president Barack
Obama to Agra later this month.
“The state government has authorised the police to hire Pawan
Hans helicopter for the next 11
days to assist in the air security,”
IG (Law & Order) A Satish Ganesh
“IG, Meerut zone, has been
made the nodal officer to work out
the route and sorties by the helicopeter in view of the inputs with
regard to the security,” he said.
The helicopter would start making sorties soon, he said adding
that an air support unit team is
being developed.Two rounds of
talks at the DGP level were held
to review security arrangements,
and a demand for ten companies
of RAF for Agra and the same number of CRPF for districts adjoning
the NCR region has been made, he
The IG said that work on all dimensions of security for the foreign dignitary was being done.
To questions whether the Yamuna Expressway would be closed
for traffic for security reasons, the
IG said that no decision has been
made but the state would cooperate as per the instructions from
the protocol.
The IG said that in view of the
Republic Day, all the districts have
been issued necessary directives
to implement the security scheme
and take precautions.
Attempt to separate
More interested in bringing back black
money than disclosure of names: SC Mumbai from Maharashtra
New Delhi Jan 20 (PTI): Supreme
Court said on Tuesday that it was
more interested in getting the black
money stashed abroad back to
the country than the disclosure of
names of illegal account holders in
foreign banks.
“We are interested in money
coming back and not on disclosure of names,” a bench headed by
Chief Justice H L Dattu said when
arguments were advanced that the
Government should disclose the
names of those who have admitted
having illegal accounts in foreign
However, the Bench, also comprising Justices M B Lokur and A
K Sikri, accepted the plea of noted
jurist Ram Jethmalani, one of the
petitioners in the matter, that the
apex court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by
its Chairman Justice M B Shah and
Vice Chairman Justice Arijit Pasayat, consider the various suggestions
put forth to bring back illegal black
money stashed abroad.“We permit
all parties including the interveners to bring to the notice of the SIT
their suggestions within two weeks
from today and if such suggestions
are given in time, we only request
the Chairman and Vice Chairman
of the SIT to consider the same in
accordance with law and send a
copy of the report to that aspect to
this court in a sealed cover,” it said.
The bench clarified that it was
not saying anything on the suggestions put forward by Jethmalani in
his fresh application and it was for
the SIT to consider those.
Jethmalani’s counsel and senior
advocate Anil Divan alleged that
“not a single rupee has come to
this country” in last six months and
only some searches and attachment have been conducted.
The apex court also granted
three weeks time to Divan to file
reply to the stand of the Centre,
which has so far shown unwillingness to share documents concerning its correspondence with French
Government on the issue.The Centre has taken a stand in its reply in
this regard that it has submitted all
documents and communications
to the SIT, which has to take a call
for supplying them to the petitioners.
is afoot: Shiv Sena
Mumbai Jan 20 (PTI): Referring to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s proposal of a committee
headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for
Mumbai-related issues, Shiv Sena on Tuesday alleged
that some industrialists and politicians were conspiring to separate the city from Maharashtra.
“In the last one month, discussions have once
again started about Mumbai. Industrialists with deep
pockets and politicians are trying to separate this
city from the state. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke about a committee under the leadership of
Prime Minister Narendra Modi for development of
Mumbai,” Sena leader Sanjay Raut said while speaking to a news-channel. Sena is a partner in the BJP-led
state government.
“There are more than 100 cities that the Centre
wants to convert into smart cities, but people still aspire to take Mumbai away. This city fills the stomach
of Maharashtra. This city must not be taken away if
the Marathi-speaking people are to get the respect
they deserve.
This is what Balasaheb (Thackeray) fought for. People who want to separate Mumbai will not be able to
do so as long as Sena is here,” Raut said.
Raut, who edits the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’,
also announced that ‘Balkadu’, a film produced by
him on the life of the late Bal Thackeray, will release
on Thackeray’s birth anniversary, January 23.“We
want to spread the thoughts of Balasaheb among the
young generation through the film,” he said.
Calcutta High Court Orders CID Probe
Into Alleged Police Torture of Woman
Kolkata Jan 20 (PTI): West
Bengal government today
informed the Calcutta High
Court that it would hand
over to CID the case of alleged torture of a woman by
police personnel in Birbhum
State Additional Advocate
General Lakshmi Gupta informed the court of Chief
Justice Manjula Chellur and
Justice Joymalyo Bagchi
that the state has decided to
hand over the investigation
to CID to ensure free and
fair probe as the allegations
were against district police
personnel.Appearing for the
victim, counsel Firoze Edulji
submitted that the state police was not investigating the
matter and the alleged torture on the woman should
be treated as a case of gangrape under Section 376(D)
of IPC, which was formulated after the Nirbhaya case in
Delhi in December 2012.
The division bench directed the victim’s counsel
to move the appropriate
bench of the court over alleged police inaction while
keeping the matter open
before it.The bench said the
petition cannot be considered as a PIL as the victim
and the de facto complainant in the criminal case had
herself moved the court and
as such the proper bench
entrusted with jurisdiction in such matters should
be approached.A woman,
stated to be the relative of a
BJP activist wanted in connection with a bomb attack
case, had filed charges of being forcibly taken to police
station by policemen after
a raid at her Ilambazar residence in Birbhum district
Devotees taking holy dip in River Ganges on the occasion of “Mauni Amavasya” at Sangam during Magh Mela festival in Allahabad on Tuesday. PTI
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Wednesday january 21, 2015
Bedi is BJP’s trump card but
some leaders are sulking
Wednesday january 21, 2015
Modi`s strategy in recent elections
It must be admitted that the BJP as an organization has several weaknesses. The reason for this wide gap between various wings of the BJP is inherent in the way Mr. Modi had
started his campaign for the Delhi elections. Mr. Modi has
single handedly planned the campaign in direct cooperation
with the head of the RSS, Mohan Bhagwat. We were wondering whether elections in a secular state would be justified, if
they start under the shadow of a communal organization like
the RSS. We had feared that this arrangement did not adhere
or comply with secular credentials for a secular state but, we
were surprised that the Election Commission did not make a
note of this and did not find it objectionable.
The second surprising point was, Mr. Modi had started the
campaign much earlier than it should have been possible for
any national election. Apparently, there have been many surprises in ignoring the requirements of a secular party before
they are in the field of election with a clear manifesto. This is
the first time that unusually non-secular steps have been taken without any fear of objections. When the results were announced, certainly even the BJP and all their associates were
surprised with the type of majority that Mr. Modi won the
election by. It was natural that this was the first election after
a long time with an unusual sweep. We had thought that there
after no one could check Mr. Modi`s march through all other
elections that the BJP was participating in. It became evident,
that Indian political parties all of a sudden tied their girdle for
the other campaigns through a process of reorganization to
prove their credentials and the secular parties strength. Then
onwards, all other elections which Mr. Modi fought, the results were outstandingly surprising. The role that Shiv Sena
played in Maharashtra was a shock to the Maratha community. Since then, every community in India seems to have taken
careful stocks and assesses the efficacy of a secular constitution and more safeguards are needed for the protection of
secularism in the country which should be the top priority.
Every conscious person and community has awakened to the
future danger, to the integrity of Indian unity within the present Indian constitution. We will be able to assess it fully after
the Delhi election, when all the cases under various objections
are finally decided and the efficacy of the secular constitution
and the court’s interpretation become available for critical
study, only then will we be able to draw any conclusions for
the future of the country. How the Indian political parties will
decide, what sort of reforms will be needed to protect Indian
secularism remains to be seen. The reelection is a very minor
but, very important test for the political wisdom of Indian politicians and for the future of the Indian constitution.
he BJP’s projection of India’s first
woman police officer Kiran Bedi
as its face in Delhi has divided the
party, with one section overjoyed and
the other left sulking. Some also feel that
while the decision was right, it may have
come a little too late for the Bharatiya
Janata Party to score its first victory in assembly elections after 1993.
The move took even some leaders in the
BJP in Delhi by surprise but has boosted
the morale of workers who were stunned
by the aggressive campaign of the Aam
Aadmi Party (AAP), party sources said.
“The BJP has definitely found the right
candidate (Bedi) and it will help the party’s
prospects as she has decades of administrative experience and knows how to get
things done,” party spokesman Ashwini
Upadhyay told IANS. “She has worked on
international assignments with the UN
as well as on the streets to help children
through her NGO,” he added.
Another party functionary, however,
said that some leaders were sulking as
their ambitions had been stifled. Arivind
Kejriwal’s AAP finished a surprise close
second in the December 2013 election
winning 28 seats against the BJP’s 31. The
Congress finished a distant third with just
eight seats in the house of 70.
Before Bedi was brought in, opinion
polls were predicting another hung house
in Delhi although with the BJP doing marginally better than in 2013. Many in the
BJP hope that Bedi, 65, will prove a tough
match for Kejriwal, who at age 46 too has
strong anti-corruption credentials.
Bedi has been an anti-corruption activist, a former tennis player and her innings
in Delhi Police is still widely remembered
in the city. Bedi initiated prison reforms in
the Tihar Central Jail.
She has won the Ramon Magsaysay
award, an honour she shares with Kejriwal. Both were part of the anti-corruption
agitation led by Gandhian Anna Hazare.
Since her induction in the BJP, Bedi has
talked about her priorities -- as a likely
candidate to lead the party’s campaign.
BJP leaders say that while the party has
considerable support among the middle
class, it needs to work harder to woo the
poor and the working class. They also said
that the BJP could not have gone without
a local face after the Congress named Ajay
Maken as its campaign chief. “AAP had
Obama visit: India-US ties set to
move to transformative level
ndia-US ties are set to move to the
transformative level during President
Barack Obama's India visit later this
week, building also on the personal rapport developed between him and Prime
Minister Narendra Modi with both sides
keen to have promising outcomes from
the talks on a range of issues, including
defence, energy, education and economic cooperation. Obama, chief guest
at this year's Republic Day parade, has
described Modi as a "man of action".
The two leaders have met thrice already in the recent past - in Washington
during the bilateral in September last
year, in Myanmar during the East Asia
Summit and in Brisbane during the G20
in November. But the Jan 25 bilateral
would be an "important summit" meeting in that it would seek to give a more
concrete shape to many of the agreed
points of the joint statement issued last
year in Washington.
The summit would see a "more broader partnership and more energized" ties
between the two sides.
In the field of defence, both sides are
set to ink a new 10-year defence framework agreement that would take defence
cooperation to a higher level. Talks on
developing the next generation aircraft
carrier are likely to gain steam as well as
on coproduction of defence equipment.
The US is keen to replicate in part the
kind of defence cooperation that India
and Russia share, especially on the lines
of the BrahMos missiles that is jointly developed by the two countries.
The US is also to cooperate with a
planned National Defence University to
be set up by India. The agreement for US
involvement the Smart Cities project for
Ajmer, Allahabad and Vishakhapatnam
is also to get a push during the talks.
Talks have been going on between
relevant authorities to take forward
the project over the past few months.
It would see the US participating in the
three cities as knowledge partner in the
areas of traffic management, solid waste
management, garbage disposal, recycling waste water and in water storage,
said sources. Economic ties are also set
to get a major leg up.
The fact that the US government and
business houses view the Modi government as business-friendly is evident
from the fact that an 80-member team
from the US with 12 CEOs attended the
Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar,
led by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Kerry had met Modi during the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat for talks on
the agenda for Obama's visit. The US
Secretary of State later told reporters that
both sides would strive to make progress on the four main issues of climate
change, defence, civil nuclear cooperation and economic partnership. The
Kejriwal and the Congress named Maken.
We were the only ones left without a
prominent local face. It would have been
better if the decision (about Bedi) had
been taken earlier,” another leader said.
The source added: “The BJP conducted
an internal survey which showed that Kejriwal’s anti-corruption credentials and
the BJP not having a prominent face were
working against the party.”
The BJP continues to bank on Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal but now
Bedi is a new face in the party’s propaganda campaign. “It would be very tough for
AAP to target Bedi. The BJP needed such a
face in Delhi,” another leader said. Delhi
goes to the polls Feb 7. The BJP is keen on
a victory after losing face in 2013 when the
AAP went on to form a minority government and ruled the city for 49 days before
Kejriwal resigned. Delhi has been under
President’s rule for the past 11 months.
The BJP had named Harsh Vardhan as
its chief ministerial candidate in 2013 but
he is now in the Modi cabinet. Pradeep
Kumar Dutta, who teaches at Delhi University, said Bedi was a strong and effective administrator and her joining the party “will beef up support among the middle
class and the government employees who
previously voted for Kejriwal”. Senior
journalist Kuldip Nayar said the BJP “has
got a face” in Delhi with Bedi’s induction
and this will help it to get swing votes.
stalled civil nuclear deal is also expected
to get a major push with the contact
group from both sides having held two
rounds of talks so far. Issues over India's
liability laws are expected to be ironed
over. The US is hoping to build on the
Modi government's bold policy initiatives like Make in India, Smart Cities,
Skilling India and renewable energy.
After Modi's assurance to foreign companies to ensure ease in doing business
in India by cutting away red tape, more
investments have been flowing into India from the US.
More concrete movement on the Modi
government's Digital India initiative as
well as on India's proposal to establish
the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN, or Knowledge) would be
seen during the summit.
As part of cooperation under GIAN,
which is part of the joint statement, India
is to invite and host up to 1,000 American academics each year to teach in centrally-recognized Indian Universities, at
their convenience. While the American
teachers are to be reimbursed by their
parent universities, India would be looking after their stay in the country and also
pay a token amount.
The process of identifying the universities on both sides is underway. The talks
would also see forward movement to cooperation in the health sector, especially
in developing affordable vaccines for
dengue, malaria, and tuberculosis and
also in cancer research. Obama is the
first US president to visit India twice during his tenure and the first to attend the
Republic Day parade as chief guest.
Manufacturing moving to Vietnam, Amarinder for declassifying
Indian cellular industry warns
1962 India-China war report
he Indian cellular industry
has expressed concern that
manufacturing is moving out
of the country to Vietnam and says
the government needs to create
a business-friendly environment
to attract more investors. "Manufacturing has been moving out to
Vietnam due to an investor friendly
and predictable regulatory environment in place and better incentives
available. The big brands are now
buying products for the Indian market from Vietnam," Indian Cellular
Association (ICA) president Pankaj
Mohindroo told IANS.
Mohindroo, along with other industry players, said in a presentation to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: "Vietnam offers a 30-year tax
holiday window at just 10 percent
tax on mobile manufacturing which
further goes down to 100 percent
exemption in the first four years and
reduction of 50 percent in the next
nine years."The presentation was
made ahead of the union budget for
2015-16 due in February. According
to ICA, India's mobile manufacturing industry is only 1/12th of Vietnam and 1/60th of China. "A 10-year
tax holiday in a block of 15 years
should be granted on all profits and
gains from manufacturing or rendering of services in or in relation
to the mobile phone industry for all
fresh investment made in plant and
machinery and other equipment of
a durable nature for all three environments," Mohindroo has recommended to Jaitley. The three en-
vironments are special economic
zones, domestic tariff areas and export-oriented units. The ICA is the
apex body of the mobile industry
comprising manufacturers, brand
value-added service and solution
providers, distributors, retail chains
and eminent consumers of mobile
handsets. It has members like Samsung, LG, Microsoft Devices, HCL
Infosystems and Apple Europe Ltd,
among many others. India's position in mobile phone exports has
fallen from seventh in 2009 to 14th
in 2013. The value of exports was
$3.40 billion in 2009 and fell to $2.28
billion in 2013.
The estimated domestic market
for mobile handsets was Rs.75,000
crore ($12 billion) in 2014, of which
handsets worth Rs.58,550 crore were
imported. For 2015, the estimated
market size is Rs.1 lakh crore, with
imports accounting for Rs.75,500
crore. As of November-end 2014,
there are 964.20 million telephone
subscribers in India, of whom 937.06
million are wireless subscribers. The
ICA, in its budget recommendations,
said: "India achieving a 25 percent
share in global mobile phone manufacturing by 2019 from the current
share of three percent" should be
the aim of the 'Make in India' initiative in the mobile industry. "Mobile
phones, mobile tablets and computers are the same category. We
recommend that they should be
charged the same duty as applicable
for mobiles," he added.
otwithstanding the fact that it apparently
indicts late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for India's military defeat in the 1962
war with China, Congress MP and former army
captain Amarinder Singh has called for the release of the Henderson-Brooks report. "The report should have been out a long time ago. When
reports on Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka or the
1965 war are out, then why are we sitting on
1962?" Amarinder Singh told IANS.
"If you want to protect some politicians or some
army generals, then it is unfortunate. One learns
from experiences and it should be out so that the
people may know what actually happened," he
said during the Kolkata launch of his latest book
"Honour and Fidelity: India's Military Contribution to the Great War 1914-1918".
The former Punjab chief minister said there
was a consensus among political parties to oppose the declassification of the report that has
remained a state secret for the past 50 years.
"There is a consensus among political parties of opposing its release. I have written on the
1962 war and I do not think there is anything that
needs to be covered up. If somebody has made
a mistake at the political level or at the military
level, it should be out for the public to know," he
said. Jointly authored by Lt. Gen. T.B. Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P.S. Bhagat, the report
squarely blames the then Nehru government and
the military leadership for India's crushing defeat. Portions of the classified report, which clinically analysed the military defeat, were uploaded
online by Australian author and journalist Neville
Maxwell who was the India correspondent of the
Times, London, in New Delhi during the war and
had extensively written on it. Incidentally, the
BJP, which had clamoured for its release during
the Lok Sabha poll campaigns, made a volte face
after assuming power.
Readers Response and contribution Welcome
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Wednesday january 21, 2015
EU’s bashing of
Egypt is misguided
The hapless, harmless Palestinian leader?
Where other Arab strongmen nurture an image of power, Abbas relies on being seen as an underdog.
Al Sissi is leading the global fight against
radical ideologies and he is one of the
few voices of wisdom
ast Friday, several small bombs exploded or were discovered in Egypt’s second largest city of Alexandria
and a bus was attacked with petrol bombs. Such despicable incidents do not make global headlines nowadays.
They have become the norm in Cairo and Alexandria over
the past 18 months, so are not considered news-worthy.
Were they to occur in Europe or the US, such murderous
acts would merit rolling media coverage. For the Egyptian
authorities, keeping citizens safe is their number one priority. President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi has declared war on
terrorists and their death-worshipping ideology with the
support of the vast majority of the population. He is facing
an uphill battle, but is determined to succeed because, as
he announced recently, if the state collapses, a million terrorists will be unleashed. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn’t really so when all we have to do is look at
Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen — weak states that have been
unable to contain the terrorist phenomenon that is now
displaying its ugly face in France, Belgium and Australia.
“Honestly, more than a year ago, I had warned that
the region was heading to great danger from extremist
thought,” Al Sissi told Associated Press during a recent
interview. “I repeatedly said the gathering of foreign
fighters from across the world was extremely dangerous.
Why? Because theoretical, radical ideologies have been
turned into a real practice; those foreign fighters have
gathered from across the world. It was no longer just a
joint idea, but rather joint action ... Those individuals will
return to their home countries — England, France, Egypt
and other countries — and will talk and spread that ideology in their home countries. So, we will find that ideology
present and ready for implementation in every country,
including those that have never had such an ideology.
Then we will see terrorism in the whole world and the
world will see no reprieve.”
US and European leaderships have either unwittingly
or wilfully failed to see what the Egyptian president is all
about: In western capitals, he is viewed as a “dictator”
without respect for human rights and civil liberties. In reality, he is leading the global fight against radical ideologies and he is one of the few voices of wisdom.
But, astonishingly, his efforts are wholly unappreciated
beyond his own country’s borders with the exception of
Egypt’s Arab allies. Likewise, the western media has been
generally unsupportive. So I was gratified to read the words
of Piers Akerman writing in Australia’s Daily Telegraph:
“Under President [Barack] Obama, the US cannot even
bring itself to mention the nature of this terrorism, referring only to ‘violent extremists’, even as some remarkable
Muslim leaders such as Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah Al
Sissi urge imams to change their radical rhetoric and lead
a religious revolution that leads to peace.”
George W. Bush fought a war against terrorism and sent
his troops to invade Iraq and Afghanistan in the process
and received material backing from almost all western
governments. The US military picked up terrorist suspects,
many simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, packed
them off into aircraft or ships, chained, handcuffed and
hooded to be thrown into secret detention camps where
they were tortured, humiliated and, in some cases, killed.
Bush was applauded by European heads of state, some of
whom conspired with illegal renditions.
Yet, today, the European Parliament is demanding that
Egypt immediately release all those (read Islamist extremists) currently being detained. Never mind, that the majority has been convicted by the courts for serious crimes
related to terrorism.
The European Union (EU) has further insulted the
Egyptian government by refusing to monitor upcoming parliamentary elections on the grounds that doing
so would erode its credibility! Strange, when that same
body had no such compunctions about monitoring presidential elections during the Hosni Mubarak era, whose
outcomes were always preordained and were known to
be so. Even more odd is the timing of this critical EU
statement when European interior ministers are liaising
on common security measures, intelligence cooperation
and the monitoring of borders.
I think we can all agree on the importance of human
rights and free expression within society, but at the same
time, there needs to be a realisation that a nation under
attack from within has to walk a fine line between liberty
and security. The EU should understand this especially
since it may be en route to facing a similar dilemma as
the one experienced by the Egyptian president. Perhaps
it will take European leaders to walk in his shoes before
they change their tune to one that is more empathetic.
Al Sissi has big dreams. He is out to drag his country out
of poverty and on that score, he is doing well. He is with
the Egyptian people, not with the terrorists and their supporters. And if the suits in Brussels or those in the White
House are shedding crocodile tears for the poor old terrorists locked-up in Egyptian jails, then tough!
anuary 15 marks a decade since Mahmoud Abbas
became the Palestinian president, during which
time the goals he claims to espouse not only remain unrealised, but are more remote than ever. He
is still in office despite his term ending six years ago;
the democratic process that brought him to power no
longer in existence. He speaks of his people’s human
rights while his Palestinian Authority actively curtails
them. He claims to champion their national rights
while collaborating unconditionally with the country
that denies them. Abbas’ image as a hapless, harmless figure deflects from the cunning and ruthlessness
of someone whose primary concern, like the Middle
East’s other autocrats, seems to be his longevity. The
fact that he plays ball with the West and Israel somehow makes this okay. Where other Arab strongmen
nurture an image of power to maintain it, he relies on
being seen as an underdog.
Burden for the people
But this illusion, which has traditionally served Abbas well, no longer extends to his people. Many think
he and the PA serve their own interests and those of
Israel, rather than those of the Palestinians. According to a poll last month, 55 percent believe that the
PA has become “a burden on the Palestinian people”.
Regarding the presidency, Abbas has consistently
lagged in opinion polls behind his Fatah colleague,
Marwan Barghouti. Since Israel’s last Gaza invasion,
he also runs behind Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Is
it mere coincidence, then, that Abbas has been lacklustre in campaigning for Barghouti’s release from
Israeli jail; or in pursuing and implementing national
unity deals with Hamas that call for elections?
Since the signing of the latest reconciliation
agreement in April, Abbas has at various times
threatened to end it, and has been openly adversarial towards Hamas. Elections that were due
within six months never happened, so he remains
unchallenged - this has gone largely unnoticed. The
PA - which is meant to safeguard Palestinian rights
- serially abuses them. Human Rights Watch has
documented “police beatings and arbitrary arrests
of demonstrators”, “excessive force”, “repressing critical news reporting and demonstrations”,
“suppressing dissenting views”, and “serious rights
abuses, including credible allegations of torture”,
for which “no security officials were convicted”.
As such, the PA is not only failing to curb Israeli
abuses, but is busy perpetrating its own, all under
Abbas’ watch. The PA has garnered a reputation
among Palestinians for managing the occupation
rather than striving to end it. One way it does this
is “security coordination” with Israel, which Abbas
described last year as “sacred” despite the vast majority of Palestinians opposing it.
Such coordination serves Israel by enabling it to
subcontract its occupation, and serves the PA by
helping it suppress internal dissent. It certainly does
not benefit the Palestinian people. Abbas and his foreign minister have made grotesque assurances that as
long as he is president, he will not allow an uprising
against Israel. So the PA, which is supposed to be part
of a national liberation struggle, is willing to put down
an uprising by its own people against their subjugation. This is nothing short of betrayal.
For more than 20 years, the PA has participated in
a “peace process” that has greatly entrenched Israeli
control. Abbas himself was an architect of the disastrous Oslo Accords. The occupied territories are now
so colonised and fragmented that a viable Palestinian
state is widely considered impossible. Yet, Abbas still
wants to negotiate, despite Israel being clearly opposed to Palestinian self-determination.
Privileged elites
What, then, is the point of negotiating? Perhaps
to preserve the privileged elites to which the PA and
the “peace process” gave birth. After all, allegations
of corruption and nepotism, including Abbas and his
family, are nothing new. With the help of international aid, the PA is the largest employer of Palestinians,
much like other autocracies that encourage public
dependence on the state to avoid mass unrest. A
power imbalance alone cannot explain Abbas’ policy
choices regarding Israel. He opposes armed resistance, and has gone to great lengths to disarm militants in the West Bank.
However, he also opposes peaceful forms of resistance, including the increasingly effective Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions movement. Furthermore,
it took the PA more than two years since Palestine’s
upgraded UN status to apply to join the International Criminal Court, despite repeated threats to
do so amid constant Israeli provocations. That Abbas finally relented may not only, or necessarily, be
about losing patience with Israel, but about assuaging
mounting Palestinian anger at his procrastination in
applying to the ICC.
Meanwhile, he says he will keep pushing for a UN
Security Council resolution calling for a deadline to
end Israel’s occupation, despite the certainty of repeated failure by US veto.
Abbas seems to be attempting a balancing act. He
wants to prove to Israel, and his western and Arab
backers, that he is their best Palestinian partner, safe
in the knowledge that they will not accept Hamas
rule, but mindful not to suffer the same fate as Yasser Arafat once he was no longer deemed useful or
reliable. However, his recent, uncharacteristic defiance against Israel reflects a need to stop his flagging
domestic popularity turning into an uprising against
him and the PA. Abbas has nothing to show his people after 10 years as president, and at least another
decade as part of the “peace process”. He remains in
office because of, not despite, Israel’s occupation and
Palestinian disunity.
America’s disenchantment with Syrian rebels
Congress’s view of the Free Syrian Army is shared by many officials in the Obama administration,
following the rebels’ losses to the Al Assad regime, Daesh and the Al Nusra Front
s Congress narrowly passed the
bill to fund the government for
the rest of the year, one curious and significant item was left on
the cutting room floor: A request from
the Barack Obama administration for
$300 million (Dh1.1 billion) to expand
the secret CIA programme to arm the
“moderate” Syrian rebels.
The request, which administration
officials had been lobbying for in recent
weeks, was held up by the House Intelligence Committee, which has serious
doubts about the Free Syrian Army
(FSA) and other rebel groups that for
years have been receiving arms secretly
from the US and its allies, two administration officials told me. Without the
money, Syrian opposition leaders say,
the FSA will struggle to hold its remaining positions in northern Syria, much
less make progress against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and
the Bashar Al Assad regime.
“The requested funds are a crucial
indication of the partnership between
the United States and Syrian freedom
fighters. This comes at a particularly
important time,” said Oubai Shahbandar, a senior adviser for the Syrian
National Coalition. Nonetheless, not
everyone in the White House will lament the decision to drop it from the
spending bill: Congress’s disenchantment with the Syrian rebels is shared
by many officials inside the administration, following the rebels’ losses to
Bashar Al Assad, Daesh and the Al Nusra Front in northern Syrian cities such
as Idlib. There is particular frustration
that these setbacks resulted in some
advanced American weaponry falling
into extremist hands.
Reflecting that dissatisfaction, the
Obama administration has taken a series of steps in recent weeks to distance
the US from the moderate rebels in the
north, by cutting off their weapons flow
and refusing to allow them to meet
with US military officials, right at the
time they are struggling to survive in
and around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.
Leaders of the FSA and representatives of the Syrian National Coalition
tell me they have now been almost
completely cut off from what they saw
as already meager support from the
western coalition led by the US. Over
the last month, the flow of weapons
and ammunition to FSA groups in the
north has stopped, these leaders say.
Three FSA-linked groups are still receiving limited financial assistance,
but that’s it. “The Americans are saying they are not cutting us off, that the
Saudis and Qataris are cutting us off,” a
senior FSA official in the northern Syria, who asked to be cited anonymously
for security reasons, told me. “But we
know the Americans are in charge.”
Administration officials confirmed to
me that there has been an intentional
refocusing of lethal assistance away
from the rebel groups in the north,
which are supplied from a coordination
cell in Turkey, to FSA-related groups in
the South, which covertly receive arms
through a separate cell in Jordan. These
officials insist that this is a refocus of the
effort, from north to south, not a drop in
the US commitment to aid the rebels.
The FSA groups no longer getting arms,
however, are not so sure. They see this as
one more sign that the Obama administration doesn’t see them as a reliable
partner. For the FSA, its a problem compounded by they fact they are still seen
inside Syria as allies of the West. “We
got the stigma of being a US supported
group, but without the support. We have
a huge American flag in our back but not
a gun in our hands,” the senior FSA official said. “The Americans say the FSA
is not organised and can’t deal with Al
Nusra, and we say well if you support us
then we will be able to deal with them.”
When confronted with the rebel complaints that they are being cut off from
western support, White House officials
point to the new US-led programme to
train and equip a rebel army in bases
in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. That programme, which is not secret and will be
run by the military rather than the Central Intelligence Agency, is key to the
administration’s plan to fight Daesh
and eventually confront Al Assad. But it
has been hampered by delays and has a
limited mission to produce only about
5,000 trained fighters a year, despite its
planned $500 million annual budget.
What’s more, the moderate Syrian rebels who have been working with the US
Why BJP may want to lose Delhi
The party’s top brass is aware that even if it wins, the state will remain a
headache due to intra-party bickerings and because of impatient voters
here are enough signs to indicate what you
see in Delhi may not be true at all. There is
something going on behind closed doors and
is not known outside a tiny group in the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP). Notice the developments: BJP
inducts three rejects of India Against Corruption
movement and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) into its
fold — Kiran Bedi, Shazia Ilmi and Vinod Kumar
Binni. While the last two are of little consequence,
Bedi is being projected as BJP’s chief ministerial
candidate. In a single stroke, BJP has managed to
divert the attention from party mascot Narendra
Modi to Bedi as far as Delhi polls are concerned.
So if BJP loses or fails to get a majority, you have a
convenient scapegoat.
On the other hand, media has reported an implosion of sorts in the BJP rank and file. That BJP’s
Delhi unit is not a disciplined and united force is
known to all. Evidence for AAP’s expose on Satish
Upadhyay’s dubious businesses came from a BJP
leader. How? Moreover, while AAP and Congress
have declared their candidates for the February 7
polls, BJP is yet to decide on the names. Even the
sitting MLAs are unsure of tickets. Why this delay?
Why? This week, BJP president Amit Shah’s rally
was cancelled because the party could not obtain
police clearance on time!
BJP is a very well-organised outfit with sympathisers in every layer of government, judiciary, media,
commerce and industry. It is unlikely all this is happening due to poor management. Then is all this
‘bad management’ part of a deliberate plan to lose
Delhi? Or to let Arvind Kejriwal win? But what will
BJP gain from losing Delhi? A lot actually. If Kejriwal wins Delhi, it will be projected as a victory of a
mass movement, media will eulogise Kejriwal, hail
him as a hero and will dissect AAP’s campaign for
days. Prime time on television will be reserved for
one man only — Kejriwal. More importantly, Kejriwal’s victory will divert attention of the people who
are getting restless from Modi’s inability to deliver
on his election promises.
Once a government led by Kejriwal is sworn in,
the focus of national media and by extension national discourse will shift to his government and
ministers. Kejriwal will have no honeymoon period, both media and voters will demand immediate results, at least on corruption, power tariffs,
VAT (value added tax), health hotline and WiFi.
for years have been frozen out of the
plans. They say that General Michael
Nagata, the head of the training programme, has never met with representatives of the FSA or the civilian Syrian
National Coalition. Recruiting for the
programme among rebel groups has
not begun. The FSA thinks the White
House is not serious about the effort.
“As of now, there is no interaction between the train and equip programme
and the FSA,” the FSA official I spoke
with said. “We’ve tried several times to
make contact with Nagata, but the administration has been keeping him on
a very short leash. Maybe they are just
keeping the status quo and they are not
interested in making any significant
moves.” A former Pentagon official who
worked on the Middle East also said
that the White House has barred Nagata
from meeting with the rebels, complicating the military’s efforts to set up the
train-and-equip programme and frustrating military leaders, who want to engage more robustly with the FSA groups.
National Security Council (NSC)
Spokesman Alistair Baskey denied flatly that the White House was preventing
military officials from meeting with the
rebels. “General Nagata and his team
are free to meet with members of the
moderate Syria opposition as appropriate in order to advance the train and
equip programme. The NSC has no
involvement in determining who they
meet with,” he said.
A hostile government at the Centre will not help
him either. This spotlight on Kejriwal will come as
a huge relief for Modi. It will shift the focus from
his government at the Centre. Finance Minister
Arun Jaitley is planning a radical budget and several unpleasant decisions are expected this March.
The media spotlight on Kejriwal government will
allow Jaitley to quietly to push through unpopular
reforms — disinvestment of PSUs (public sector
undertakings), budget cuts in health, education —
in his attempt to cut budget deficit.
Secondly, away from media spotlight, the rightwing Sangh Parivar machinery can then unleash its
foot soldiers to polarise voters with low-intensity
disturbances ahead of the two big battles — Uttar
Pradesh (UP) and Bihar. These two states are absolutely essential for BJP’s growth. Victory in Bihar
and UP will complete the Parivar’s dominance in
the cow belt. Moreover, UP and Bihar will shore up
BJP’s strength in Rajya Sabha, an absolute necessity for pushing far more radical and unpopular reforms. Last but not the least, these two states will
make Modi, Shah and Jaitley the most powerful
political coterie in the history of democratic India.
BJP’s top brass is aware that even if the party wins
Delhi, the state will remain a headache — partly
due to intra-party bickerings and partly because of
impatient voters who expect immediate results and
good governance, something the BJP is unsure of
delivering. BJP has controlled the city-state’s civic
bodies for years but has failed miserably. Losing
Delhi won’t be such a bad idea!
The views expressed in these columns are the writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Indian Horizon or its management.-Editor
the two men as Kenji Goto, a
well-known freelance journalist, and Haruna Yukawa, who
reportedly went to Syria to set
up a private military contracting company. Mr Abe is currently in Jerusalem as part of a
six-day tour of the Middle East.
However, he is expected to
cancel the remainder of his trip
and return to Japan to deal with
the hostage crisis.In a press
conference in Jerusalem, Mr
Abe said he was “indignant”
and felt “strong resentment”
at the threats, and demanded
the immediate release of the
hostages.“Extremism and Islam are completely different
things,” he said, adding: “The
international community will
not give in to any form of terrorism and we have to make
sure that we work together.”
Mr Abe added that Japan’s
pledges of non-military support to countries in the Middle
East would continue.On Saturday, while in Cairo, Mr Abe
promised $2.5bn (£1.6bn) in
non-military assistance to the
region, with $200m (£130m)
in non-military aid for countries fighting Islamic State.
Officials said that much of the
$200m fund would be focused
on helping refugees displaced
from Syria and Iraq.As he announced the aid, Mr Abe argued that the world would suffer “immeasurable” damage if
terrorism spread in the region.
Australian police raise terror threat levels
Canberra, Jan 20 (IANS) Australian
police have raised the terror threat levels
from medium to high Tuesday following
recent terror-related incidents in Sydney,
Canada and France.Police in New South
Wales, Western Australia and Queensland
have upgraded their terror warnings, joining Australia’s national alert from medium level to high, Xinhua reported.However, the Australian Federal Police (AFP)
suggested it was not just local incidents
that led to the raising of terror level and
EU lifts ban on import of
Mangoes from India
London, Jan 20 (PTI) The European Union today decided to
lift a ban on the import of mangoes from India after the country made improvements in plant
health controls and certification
system, clearing the way for
them to return to the 28-member bloc.A European Commission committee voted to lift the
ban today. The legislation now
needs to be formally adopted
New Lankan govt
to implement 13th
amendment: PM
Colombo, Jan 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said his government will implement the India-backed 13th amendment to the constitution
within a unitary framework for the devolution of power to
provinces to achieve reconciliation with the minority Tamil
community.“We will implement the 13A within a unitary
framework,” Wickremesinghe told parliament.He was addressing the house convened for the first time since President Maithripala Sirisena succeeded Mahinda Rajapaksa
after the January 8 presidential election.Rajapaksa’s majority Sinhala nationalist regime was opposed to conferring full
powers to the provincial councils.The issue of devolution
of power also featured during Sri Lankan Foreign Minister
Mangala Samaraweera visit to India this week.
India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13th
amendment on devolution of powers in “letter and spirit”
and to fulfil the aspirations of the ethnic Tamils.The 13th
amendment that followed the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of
July 1987 signed between then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
and then Sri Lankan President J R Jayewardene envisaged
the devolution of powers to the provinces in the midst of the
island’s bitter ethnic conflict.TNA, Sri Lanka’s main Tamil
party, had supported Sirisena in this month’s elections after
Rajapaksa failed to implement the 13th amendment.
Elaborating his government’s 100-day programme, Wickremesinghe said introduction of democratic reforms would
form a major part of it.“We were a coalition of different political parties with different objectives. But we got together
to end the dictatorial family rule,” Wickremesinghe said.In
the same spirit, he said the new government welcomes proposals, ideas and criticism from all political parties.
cited attacks on Canadian Parliament in
October last year and the Charlie Hebdo
magazine office in France earlier in the
“As a result of intelligence information
and discussions with our partners, the
terrorism threat level against police is assessed as high, which is commensurate
with the broader threat level for the community,” the AFP said via a statement released Tuesday.
“The factors that led to the elevated terrorism threat level for Australia to high in
September 2014 persist and the security
environment remains increasingly complex and challenging.
EU-India trade relationship and
especially for Indian exporters
and UK consumers.
“The British Government
worked hard to have the ban lifted. This includes sending an expert to provide technical training, prior to the EU inspection
in September. This is great news
for the UK-India and EU-India
trade relationship and especially
AirAsia jet climbed fast
then stalled: minister
Jakarta, Jan 20 (AFP) An AirAsia
plane that crashed into the Java
Sea last month with 162 people
on board climbed at a faster than
normal speed and then stalled, the
Indonesian transport minister said
today.Flight QZ8501 went down
on December 28 in stormy weather, during what was supposed to
be a short trip from the Indonesian
city of Surabaya to Singapore.
agency has said bad weather may
have caused the crash, and investigators are analysing the data
from the jet’s black boxes before
releasing a preliminary report.Just
moments before the plane disappeared off the radar, the pilot had
asked to climb to avoid the storm.
He was not immediately granted
permission due to heavy air traffic.
“In the final minutes, the plane
climbed at a speed which was beyond normal,” Transport Minister
Ignasius Jonan told reporters, citing radar data.“The plane suddenly went up at a speed above
the normal limit that it was able
to climb to. Then it stalled.” Earlier at a parliamentary hearing, he
said radar data showed the Airbus
A320-200 appeared at one point
claimed responsibility for the attack but
roadside bombs have been the Taliban’s
weapon of choice in their war against
foreign and Afghan security forces, now
in its fourteenth year. The bombs also
increasingly kill and wound civilians.
According to a UN report released in
December, civilian casualties hit a record high in 2014, with 3,188 civilians
killed and 6,429 injured by the end of November, a 19 per cent jump compared to
the year before, making 2014 the deadliest year for non-combatants.Last year
also saw a 33 per cent rise in casualties
among children and a 12 per cent increase among women.While ground
fighting between troops and insurgent
groups as well as improvised explosive
devices (IEDs) remained leading causes
of deaths and injuries, the Taliban were
responsible for 75 per cent of all civilian
casualties, according to the UN report.
Nembang announced the house
could go ahead with the voting to
bring out the draft statute, which
led to rampage in the assembly.
Nembang allowed former prime
minister and UCPN-Maoist leader
Baburam Bhattarai to address the
Bhattarai said the “assembly
could turn into Mahabharata”, and
that triggered a conflict. As soon as
he completed his address, Nembang tabled a proposal to allow the
formation of a questionnaire committee to work over the disputed
issues of the new statute before the
voting. The opposition parties rejected Nembang’s proposal.
An unidentified Nepalese politician from the opposition party
Bhattarai said: “Formation of the
lifts a chair to throw, during the Constituent Assembly meeting,
questionnaire panel will split the
in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Opposition parties
staged general strike to shut down Nepal on Tuesday as opposi- Constituent Assembly, paving the
way for its demise.”
tion politicians threw chairs and attacked the parliamentary
The first Constituent Assembly
speaker in a bid to block the government from pushing through
a draft of a new constitution. AP/PTI
was also dissolved in Nepal in 2012,
Congress and Communist Party with voting to bring out the draft following a conflict among parties,
of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist of the new statute. Constituent As- and ended without the promulga(CPN-UML) wanted to go ahead sembly chairman Subash Chandra tion of the constitution.
Kathmandu, Jan 20 (IANS) Over
a dozen Constituent Assembly
members in Nepal, including senior leaders, were injured Tuesday when opposition members
attacked lawmakers of the ruling
parties over issues concerning the
new statute and disrupted the proceedings.
Lawmakers from the opposition
parties led by Unified Communist
Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPNMaoist) vandalised the Nepal Constituent Assembly and attacked the
lawmakers from the ruling coalition during the sitting Tuesday.
A self-imposed deadline set for
Jan 22 over the promulgation of
the new constitution is approaching after repeated failure to reach
a consensus over the intricacies of
the new statute.The ruling Nepali
and published by the European Commission.This will take
around a month, but the positive vote by the Committee gives
certainty to Indian exporters and
UK importers about the position
for the forthcoming mango season.Welcoming the decision,
British High Commissioner in
India James Bevan said: “This is
great news for the UK-India and
Roadside Bomb Kills At Least
8 Afghan Civilians: Officials
GHAZNI Jan 20 (PTI): At least eight
civilians including women and children
were killed when their van struck a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on
Tuesday, officials said.
The incident occurred in the Jaghuri
district of Ghazni province, Deputy Provincial Governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi told AFP.
It comes weeks after the NATO combat mission which began in 2001 was
downgraded to support and training duties to help the Afghan army and police.
”Eight civilians, including one woman
and a child, were killed in this morning roadside blast. One child and one
woman were wounded,” he said, adding
that the injured child and woman were
taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Asadullah Safi, the deputy police chief of
the province told AFP that four of those
killed belonged to one family.No one has
Wednesday , Janauary 21, 2015
Dozen Nepal lawmakers injured
in clash over statute
Japan PM Shinzo Abe in
Islamic State ‘hostages’ vow
Jerusalem Jan 20 (AFP): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe has condemned an apparent threat by the Islamic State
group to kill two Japanese hostages.
A video purportedly from
the group shows a militant
threatening to kill two hostages unless a ransom is paid.
In the video, which has not
been independently verified,
the militant also criticises Japan for pledging aid to countries fighting IS.Mr Abe said
the threat was unacceptable
and vowed to save the hostages.He added that their lives
were his “top priority” and that
Japan would not give in to terrorism.Japan’s foreign ministry said it was working to verify
the video.The video named
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
to be climbing at a rate of 1,800
metres a minute before the crash.
There were several other planes in
the area at the time.
“I think it is rare even for a fighter
jet to be able to climb 6,000 feet per
minute,” he said. “For a commercial flight, climbing around 1,000
to 2,000 (feet) is maybe already
considered extraordinary, because
it is not meant to climb that fast.”
His comments came after Indonesian investigators said they
were focusing on the possibility
of human error or problems with
the plane having caused the crash,
following an initial analysis of the
cockpit voice recorder.“We didn’t
hear any other person, no explosion,” investigator Nurcahyo Utomo told reporters, explaining why
terrorism had been ruled out.
Investigators from the National
Transportation Safety Committee
were now looking at the “possibility of plane damage and human
factors”, he said, without giving
further details.As well as the cockpit voice recorder, the committee
is also examining a wealth of information in the flight data recorder,
which monitors every major part
of the plane.
for Indian exporters and UK
consumers,” Bevan?said.“We
are pleased to have played an
important role in bringing the
ban to an end,” Bevan said.? The
EU accounts for more than 50
per cent of total exports of fruits
and vegetables from India. The
UK is the main destination, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
Armed Swiss police officers stand guard on the roof of a hotel,
the day before the opening of the annual meeting of the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. The
world’s financial and political elite will head this week to the Swiss
Alps for 2015’s gathering of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss
ski resort of Davos. AP/PTI
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Defends
Controversial Remarks on Muslims
Some countries have allowed
Muslims to establish autonomous
neighborhoods in cities where they
govern by a harsh version of Islamic
law, Louisiana Governor Bobby
Jindal said on Monday at a speech
in London.
The Republican, who is considering a presidential campaign in
2016, later defended - and repeated
- the statement after facing reporters’ questions about his claims.In
a speech prepared for delivery at a
British think tank, Jindal said some
immigrants are seeking “to colonize
Western countries, because setting
up your own enclave and demanding recognition of a no-go zone are
exactly that.” He also said Muslim
leaders must condemn the people
who commit terrorism in the name
of faith as “murderers who are going to hell.” The claims on “no-go
zones” are similar to those a Fox
News guest made last week about
places where non-Muslims were
not welcome in parts of the United
Kingdom such as Birmingham, and
“Muslim religious police” enforce
faith-based laws.
Steven Emerson, an American
author who often is asked about
terror networks, told Fox News that
in Britain “there are actual cities like
Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply
don’t go in.”Prime Minister David
Cameron responded by calling Emerson a “complete idiot.”Emerson
later apologized and said his comments “were totally in error.” Fox
News also issued apologies for
broadcasting the comments.Jindal,
however, used similar rhetoric during a speech, warning of “no-go
zones” in London and other Western cities“The huge issue, the big
issue in non-assimilation is the fact
that you have people that want to
come to our country but not adopt
our values, not adopt our language
Shubham, 13, Silicon Valley’s youngest
entrepreneur, develops Braille printer
Guatemalan ex-police
chief gets 90-year jail
for 37 killings
Guatemala City, Jan 20 (IANS/EFE) A
court in Guatemala sentenced a former police chief to 90 years in prison on charges of
murdering 37 people in 1980, media reported Tuesday.
The court Monday found Pedro Garcia Arredondo guilty of murder, attempted murder and crimes against humanity when he
murdered 37 people at the Spanish embassy
in Guatemala in 1980.
Garcia Arredondo, 69, was responsible for
burning the people to death Jan 31, 1980,
found the court after four months of hearings.
Among those who were burnt to death
was the Spanish Consul Jaime Ruiz del Arbol
Soler.The security forces of the then military
regime ruling the country attacked the Spanish embassy after rural workers and students
occupied it to protest the dictatorship.
and in some cases want to set apart
their own enclaves and hold onto
their own values,” said Jindal. “I
think that’s dangerous.”Jindal’s
parents immigrated to the United
States from India. As a young man,
Jindal converted from Hinduism to
Asked for evidence of “no-go
zones,” Jindal pointed to a weekend
article in The Daily Mail, a London
tabloid, that said killings, sexual
abuse of minors and female genital
mutilation are believed to go unreported to local police in some areas.
The article did not give specific religious groups or towns.
Shubham Banerjee, right, world on his Lego robotics braille printer as
his dad Neil watches at home Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in Santa Clara, Calif.
Banerjee launched a company to develop a low-cost machine to print
Braille materials for the blind. It’s based on a prototype he built with his
Lego robotics kit for a school science fair project. Last month, tech giant
Intel Corp. invested in his startup, Braigo Labs, making the 8th grader
the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture capital funding. AP/PTI
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA, machines to print Braille. Tech
Jan 20 (PTI): In Silicon Valley, it’s giant Intel Corp. recently invested
never too early to become an en- in his start-up, Braigo Labs.
Mr. Shubham built a Braille
trepreneur. Just ask 13-year-old
Shubham Banerjee.The Califor- printer with a Lego robotics kit
nia eighth-grader has launched as a school science fair project in
a company to develop low-cost 2014 after he asked his parents a
simple question - How do blind
people read? “Google it,” they told
Mr. Shubham then did some
online research and was shocked
to learn that Braille printers, also
called embossers, cost at least
$2,000 too expensive for most
blind readers, especially in developing countries.
“I just thought that price should
not be there. I know that there is a
simpler way to do this,” said Mr.
Shubham.Mr. Shubham wants
to develop a desktop Braille
printer that costs around $350
and weighs just a few kilograms,
compared with current models
that can weigh more than nine
kilograms. The machine could be
used to print Braille reading materials on paper, using raised dots
instead of ink, from a personal
computer or electronic device.
“My end goal would probably
be having most of the blind people ... using my Braille printer,”
said Mr. Shubham.
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
India’s growth to reach
6.3% in 2016: UN report
Geneva Jan 20 (PTI): India will see
a gradual growth acceleration with
its GDP expected to reach 5.9 percent
this year and 6.3 percent in 2016, the
UN said Monday while partly crediting the recovery to improved market
sentiment after the new government
took office and announced key reforms. “India’s economy expanded
by an estimated 5.4 percent in 2014,
an improvement from growth of 5
percent recorded in 2013, but still
significantly below the 8 percent
pace of the pre-crisis period,” said
the United Nations World Economic
Situation and Prospects 2015 (WESP)
report, launched today.
India is projected to see a gradual
acceleration in growth, with GDP
forecast expanding to 5.9 percent
in 2015 and 6.3 percent in 2016, the
report said. “The recovery is partly
the result of improved market sentiment after the new administration
took office in the second quarter of
2014 and announced plans to reform
the bureaucracy, labour laws and
public subsidies,” it said. The WESP
report is produced at the beginning
of each year by the UN Department
of Economic and Social Affairs, the
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the five UN
regional commissions and the World
Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Economic growth in South Asia is set
to gradually pick up from an estimated 4.9 percent in 2014 to 5.4 percent
in 2015 and 5.7 percent in 2016, the
report said. “While the recovery will
be led by India, which accounts for
about 70 percent of regional output,
other economies such as Bangladesh
and the Islamic Republic of Iran are
also projected to see stronger growth
in the forecast period,” it said.
The global economy is expected
to grow at 3.1 percent in 2015 and
3.3 percent in 2016, compared with
an estimated growth of 2.6 percent
in 2014. The world imports of goods
and services is projected to grow by
4.7 percent in 2015. The tepid growth
of the world economy is a legacy of
the global financial crisis of 2008 that
continues to weigh on growth, while
new challenges have emerged, including geopolitical conflicts such as
in Ukraine and the Ebola epidemic,
the report said.
“Among the developing countries,
Asia will record the fastest growth
which is based on domestic demand,” said Alfredo Calcagno, the
UNCTAD head of macro economic
and development policies branch.
Despite a weak start in 2014, India’s
manufacturing sector registered employment gains in several sectors
such as textiles, metals and information technology, which saw marked
increases in employment levels
through June 2014, the report said.
In general, the job market situation
in South Asian countries appeared to
be relatively stable in 2014, the report
said. Unemployment rates remained
significantly higher for women than
for men including in India, Pakistan,
Iran and Sri Lanka.
The share of vulnerable employment defined as unpaid family
workers and own-account workers
is a high 80 percent in India and 60
percent in Pakistan, which illustrates
the challenges of generating quality
employment in the region, it said.
On a global scale, the unemployment
situation remains dire, the report
warned. “In the developed econo-
Entertaining JSPL plea
to affect coal block
auction: Govt to HC
New Delhi Jan 20 (PTI): Govermment on Tuesday opposed in Delhi High
Court the pleas of JSPL and its promoter Naveen Jindal challenging its order
changing end-use of coal blocks earlier
alloted to them, saying the decision was
taken to ensure optimal use of reserves
of the natural resource. “Entertaining
the plea will result in stunting the entire
process undertaken subsequent to apex
court verdict,” Attorney General Mukul
Rohatgi submitted before a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva.
The AG contended that the Supreme
Court while cancelling the coal blocks
had made it clear that there cannot be
any link with the past. Hence, Jindal Steel
and Power Ltd’s (JSPL) contention, that
change of end-use would affect its Rs
20,000 crore investment in a steel unit, is
“wiped out”, he said.
The Centre was responding to the petition in which JSPL contended that it
was allocated coal blocks in Odisha and
Chhattisgarh for the setting up steel and
sponge iron production units respectively, and changing the end-use has resulted
in making it ineligible to participate in the
ongoing auction process which is expected to culminate on February 14. Rohatgi
made it clear that while cancelling the
coal blocks, the apex court had said not
to look at prior allocation or the investment made on the same as the process
of allocation was “fundamentally flawed,
illegal and arbitrary”. Senior advocate
Kapil Sibal, appearing for the JSPL and
Jindal, opposed the submissions, saying
the aspect of auction of coal blocks was
never contemplated by the apex court.
“Auction was never contemplated by
the apex court as the point was never put
before it. The government had contended that Coal India Ltd (CIL) will fill the
void and take things forward,” Sibal said.
The AG said the decision to change enduse as well as merge some coal blocks, as
was done in the case of Utkal B1 and B2
in Odisha (allotted to JSPL), was taken
on the basis of the recommendations of
a high powered committee. Rohatgi said
one of the members of the panel was
from Central Mines Planning and Design
Institute Ltd (CMPDIL), a premier body
for coal exploration and mining. He also
said that the government’s Coal Ordinance of 2014 was a direct fallout of the
apex court verdict. The AG said the priority to power sector was given to comply
with the ordinance’s mandate to carry
out auction in public interest, in a transparent manner and for optimal utilisation of the coal reserves. “So areas having
over 100 million tonnes of low grade coal
were earmarked for power as this sector
requires low grade coal in huge volumes
while iron and steel requires high grade
coal in low volumes,” he said.
mies, unemployment figures remain
elevated in several countries, especially in the euro area, while wage
levels continue to be affected by the
financial crisis, it said. “In developing economies, despite slower employment growth, unemployment
rates have remained relatively stable
since 2013, partly owing to lower labour force growth, although informality and vulnerable employment
are still highly prevalent,” it added.
UNCTAD head of macro economic and development policies
branch Calcagno said, “Schemes like
MGNREGA have generated employment and have been good for the
economy. Fiscal space of South Asia
could be improved. For instance,
only three per cent of the population
of India pays income tax. Tax collection could be vastly improved.” The
consumer inflation rate in India was
below 7 percent year on year in the
third quarter -- fall of 3.4 percent
from the final quarter of 2013 -- thus
lessening price pressures in Nepal,
which is closely tied to India through
the exchange-rate peg and strong
trade flows.
RCom gets
Rs 650 cr from TIFPL;
promoter group firm
ups stake
Mumbai Jan 20 (PTI): Reliance Communications on
Tuesday said its group entity Telecom Infrastructure
Finance Pvt Ltd has paid it Rs 650 crore, increasing promoters’ holding to 59.7 per cent in the company. “The
Committee of Directors at their meeting held today have
allotted 8,66,66,667 equity shares to TIFPL, against Warrants issued to them. As a result, the Promoter Group?s
holding has gone up to 59.70 per cent from existing 58.25
per cent,” RCom said in a BSE filing. The proceeds from
TIFPL are expected to be utilised by RCom to lower its
debt which was at Rs 36,334 crore in second quarter
ended September 30, 2014. The company’s shareholders
on July 24 had approved issuing of preferential shares
of over 8.6 crore to TIFPL. On August 7, it had paid Rs
650 crore, which was 50 per cent of the issue price of the
warrants. Reliance Communications on Tuesday said its
group entity Telecom Infrastructure Finance Pvt Ltd has
paid it Rs 650 crore, increasing promoters’ holding to
59.7 per cent in the company. The balance Rs 650 crore
was to be paid whenever firm would exercise right to
subscribe equity shares against the warrants on or before
March 31, 2015. RCom said: “Further to our letter dated
August 7, 2014 intimating allotment of 8,66,66,667 Warrants to Telecom Infrastructure Finance Private Limited
(TIFPL), a Promoter Group company, the Company has
now received balance Rs 650 crore from TIFPL and it has
exercised its right to subscribe equity shares against said
Warrants which were issued at an issue price of Rs 150
per Warrant.” TIFPL paid the balance today which also
resulted in the increase of RCom capital from Rs 1,201.16
crore to Rs 1,244.49 crore. The RCom scrip was trading at
Rs 80.30, up 0.82 per cent, on the BSE.
India’s growth rate to
surpass China’s in 2016: IMF
Washington Jan 20 (PTI): India
is expected to grow at 6.3 percent
this year and 6.5 percent in 2016
by when it is likely to cross China’s
projected growth rate, the IMF
said today while terming the new
government’s reforms as “promising” but insisted that their implementation is key. In 2014, India’s
growth rate was 5.8 percent against
China’s 7.4 percent, said the World
Economic Report update released
by the International Monetary
Fund. India’s growth rate in 2013
was five percent as against China’s
7.8 percent.
India is projected to grow at 6.3
percent in 2015 and 6.5 percent
in 2016, when it is likely to cross
China’s projected growth rate of
6.3 percent, the IMF said. “I think
the reform plans of the new Prime
Minister are promising. We are going to have to see the speed of the
implementation,” said Gian Maria
Milesi-Ferretti, Deputy Director in
IMF’s Research Department.
Responding to a question, the
IMF official said the effect of Prime
Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s economic reform would
be difficult to predict as these are
structural reforms and are growing
gradually over the medium term.
“Key is going to be implementation,” Milesi-Ferretti said. According to the latest IMF report, in India, the growth forecast is broadly
unchanged, however, the weaker
external demand is offset by the
boost to the terms of trade from
lower oil prices and a pickup in
industrial and investment activity
after policy reforms.
The report said global growth
will receive a boost from lower
oil prices, which reflect to an important extent higher supply. But
this boost is projected to be more
than offset by negative factors, including investment weakness as
adjustment to diminished expectations about medium-term growth
continues in many advanced and
emerging market economies.
Global growth in 2015?16 is projected at 3.5 and 3.7 percent, a
downward revision of 0.3 percent
relative to the October 2014 World
Economic Outlook (WEO). The
revision reflect a reassessment of
prospects in China, Russia, the euro
area and Japan as well as weaker
activity in some major oil exporters because of the sharp drop in oil
prices. The United States is the only
CII, Alibaba tie up to
provide global platform
to Indian SMEs
major economy for which growth
projections have been raised, the
IMF said. Investment growth in
China declined in the third quarter of 2014, and leading indicators
point to a further slowdown.
The authorities are now expected
to put greater weight on reducing
vulnerabilities from recent rapid
credit and investment growth and
hence the forecast assumes less of
a policy response to the underlying
moderation, the report said. Slower growth in China will also have
important regional effects, which
partly explains the downward revisions to growth in much of emerging Asia, it said. Among major advanced economies, growth in the
United States rebounded ahead of
expectations after the contraction
in the first quarter of 2014.
Beijing Jan 20 (PTI): To facilitate
greater economic engagement between Indian and Chinese SMEs,
Confederation of Indian Industry has
signed an MOU with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba to build business-to-business linkages through
global online platform. Alibaba.Com
and CII will collaborate and develop
various trade opportunities and online promotions to facilitate greater
economic engagement between Indian and Chinese small and medium
enterprises (SMEs).
CII Shanghai has signed an MOU
with Alibaba.Com to build business-to-business linkages between
SMEs from India and the rest of
the world through better utilisation
of digital services for cross border
and domestic trade, Chief Representativen of CII Shanghai Madhav
Sharma, who signed the agreement
at Hangzhou city last week, said
today. CII and Alibaba.Com will
also work jointly towards providing
trainings, promoting Industry clusters for SMEs in some key business
sectors. Alibaba will work with CII to
run their e-certificates programmes
in India, Sharma said. The MoU is a
step forward in forging greater partnerships, engagement between Indian and global business especially
among SMEs, he said.
India’s manufacturing and services sector will be able to achieve
the objectives of building greater
India-China SME engagement by
benefiting with the expertise of Alibaba.Com in the digital space - especially on the B2B area, and CII
through its network of 64 offices
in India - with 8000 direct members and more than a lakh indirect
members through its affiliated sectorial association, he said. It fills
the need to strengthen cooperation
between Indian and global SMEs to
support the integration of Indian
SMEs into the global supply and
value chains of large enterprises
across all markets. The MOU helps
to support the transfer and expansion of knowledge and technology
for forging strategic partnerships,
collaborations, joint ventures, joint
research and development leading
to new innovations and?help Indian
SMEs build brand image at B2B and
business-to-consumer (B2C) levels
leading to increased trust.
Sahara Group close
to $2 billion deal with
Mirach Capital
New Delhi Jan 20 (PTI): Looking
to garner funds to secure bail for its
Chairman Subrata Roy, Sahara Group
is in advanced stages of tying up a financial package worth nearly USD
2 billion (over Rs 12,000 crore) from
US-based Mirach Capital Group. Sahara Group’s Head of Corporate Finance Sandeep Wadhwa told PTI that
documentation process is progressing and the deal with Mirach Capital
is expected to be completed before
February 20.
The deal under progress comprises
investments to the tune of USD 1.1
billion and a senior loan of close to
USD 882 million having a one-year
tenure. The latter amount would be
for replacing money borrowed from
Bank of China related to Sahara
Group’s three overseas hospitality
properties. Mirach Capital would replace loans worth around USD 882
million taken from Bank of China on
the three overseas properties -- Plaza
hotel and Dream hotel in New York
and Grosvenor House hotel in London. “It will also make investments of
USD 650 million in Grosvenor Hotel
and the amount would finally come
to Amby Valley Ltd,” he said.
Further, Mirach Capital would
pump USD 450 million into the hospitality vertical of Sahara Group, he added. The money would be invested in
Sahara Group entities by Mirach Capital through a Special Purpose Vehicle.
When asked whether funds worth
USD 1.1 billion from Mirach Capital
would be enough to add up funds for
securing the bail of Roy, Wadhwa replied in the affirmative. Earlier this
month, the Supreme Court had allowed Sahara Group to go ahead with
its proposed transactions for foreign
loan as part of raising Rs 10,000 crore
to ensure release of Roy from jail.
Roy has been in jail for over nine
months for non-refund of over Rs
20,000 crore with interest to depositors. “This (USD 1.1 billion)
amount will be enough to take care
of the short fall,” he said and added
that the group has already paid Rs
3,600 crore in cash towards bail.
From investment of USD 1.1 billion, about Rs 1,400 crore would be
utilised as cash and Rs 5,000 crore
as bank guarantee towards the bail
amount, Wadhwa said.
ONGC signs pact with IITs to
develop indigenous technology
New Delhi Jan 20 (PTI): India’s
largest oil producer ONGC has
signed an agreement with seven
IITs for developing indigenous technologies to enhance exploration and
production of hydrocarbons and alternate energy sources. The industry-academia collaboration is aimed
at bolstering ‘Make in India’ campaign in energy sector, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Dinesh
K Sarraf said here. ONGC signed
the Memorandum of Collaboration
(MoC) with Pan-IIT, a consortium of
seven premier Indian Indian Institutes of Technology - IIT-Kharagpur,
IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Madras, IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Guwahati and
“Under the MoC, ONGC’s R&D
Institutes and the IITs shall jointly
undertake advanced research and
development projects for the E&P
sector of the country in general and
oilfield specific activities of ONGC
in particular,” he said. The MoC
also ideates promoting internships,
visiting and adjunct faculty pro-
grams, research oriented career programmes through an ONGC Scholar
Programme. Within the ambit of this
collaboration, while ONGC will make
its high-tech laboratories available
to students and research scholars of
IITs, ONGC geoscientists and engineers will also have the opportunity
of working with IITs, he said.
Prof Partha P Chakrabarti, Coordinating Director for the Pan-IIT
Forum, said seven thematic research areas in the domain of geoscience, reservoir characterization,
enhanced production of oil and gas,
exploiting unconventional sources
of hydrocarbons, software development, engineering solutions and alternate energy resources have been
identified. Sarraf said the collaboration was in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Make in
India and develop indigenous technologies. The programme will be
funded by Oil and Natural Gas Corp
(ONGC) and shall take advantage
of the available infrastructure and
manpower of the IITs and ONGC.
Commodity takes
Oil prices down
in Asian trade
Singapore, Jan 20 (AFP) Oil prices
tumbled further in Asia today, with
weak global demand and an oversupply dictating the trend for the commodity, analysts said. US benchmark West
Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery
in February eased USD 1.32 to USD
47.37 in late-morning trade and Brent
crude for March fell 12 cents to USD
48.72. “We see no near-term catalysts
that would change the supply/demand
equation,” credit ratings firm Moody’s
said in a market commentary. It said the
drop in crude prices by more than half
between June last year and this month
reflected an increase in US production, a slow rise in worldwide demand
and oil kingpin Saudi Arabia’s decision
“not to keep acting as OPEC’s -- and
the world’s -- swing producer”. Saudi
Arabia is the major producer among
the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel, which
decided in November to leave crude
output unchanged, further pressuring prices. Moody’s said it has lowered
its price assumptions for Brent crude
to USD 55 a barrel through 2015 and
USD 65 in 2016. It also lowered its price
assumption for WTI to USD 52 a barrel through this year and to USD 62 in
2016. Futher confirming weak demand,
the International Monetary Fund today
sharply cut its 2015-2016 world growth
forecast of only six months ago. The
IMF said poorer prospects in China,
Russia, the euro area and Japan will
hold world growth to just 3.5 per cent
this year and 3.7 per cent in 2016. That
was 0.3 percentage points lower than in
its previous World Economic Outlook
in October, and underscored the steady
deterioration of the economic picture
for many countries.
(10,000), copra Rajapur Mumbai (per
quintal) 20,500 (21,000), copra edible
Mumbai (per quintal) 13,600 (13,500).
Small sugar declines
on subdued demand
Mumbai, Jan 20 (PTI) Small sugar
prices declined modestly at the Vashi
wholesale market here today on subdued demand from stockists and bulk
consumers amid adequate supplies.
Meanwhile, medium sugar ended stable due to lack of any worthwhile buying activity. Small sugar (S-30) eased
by Rs 9 per quintal to Rs 2,700/2,791
from Monday’s closing level of Rs
2,700/2,800. However, Medium sugar
(M-30) was quoted at yesterday’s level
of Rs 2,812/2,952. Following are today’s closing rates for sugar (per quintal) with the previous rates given in
brackets: Small sugar (S-30) quality: Rs
2,700/2,791 (Rs 2,700/2,800). Medium
sugar (M-30) quality: Rs 2,812/2,952
(Rs 2,812/2,952.
Edibles and
non-edible drops on
subdued demand
Mumbai, Jan 20 (PTI) Groundnut
oil prices dropped further at the Vashi
oils and oilseeds wholesale market
here on subdued demand from stockist and retailers on the back of ample
arrivals from producing belts. Refined
palmolein declined further owing to
reduced demand from retailers. While,
linseeds oil ruled steady following absence of any worthwhile buying activity. In the non-edible section, castorseeds bold and castor oil commercial
dipped due to lower demand from
shippers and soap industries. In the
edible segment, groundnutoil eased by
Rs 10 per 10kg to Rs 1,010 from Monday’s closing level of Rs 1,020. and refined palmolein fell by Rs 7 per 10kg to
Rs 505 from Rs 512. Moving to non-edible segment, Castorseeds bold dipped
by Rs 50 per 100kg to Rs 4,250 from Rs
New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) Riding high on 4,300 and castoroil commercial moved
wedding season demand from jewellers down by Rs 10 per 10kg to Rs 880 as
and a firming trend overseas, gold con- against Rs 890 previously.
tinued its upward streak for the fourth
straight session, with prices rising by
another Rs 100 to Rs 28,180 per ten
gram at the bullion market here today.
Silver also rose by Rs 100 to Rs 39,200
Mumbai, Jan 20 (PTI) Tin and nickel
per kg on increased offtake by industrial prices slipped at the non-ferrous metal
units and coin makers. Marketmen said market here today on stockists selling
apart from persistent buying by jewel- amidst reduced demand from alloy
lers and retailers to meet ongoing wed- industries. Elsewhere, select copper,
ding season demand, a firming global aluminium, and zinc also declined foltrend mainly kept the precious metal lowing subdued offtake from industrial
prices higher. Globally, gold rose 0.83 users. At the London Metal Exchange
per cent to USD 1,290.90 an ounce and (LME), copper climbed in early thin
silver was up 0.79 per cent to, USD 17.92 trade ahead of a spate of Chinese ecoan ounce in London in early trade to- nomic reports that were expected to
day. In the national capital, gold of 99.9 show stuttering growth in the world’s
and 99.5 per cent purity added another top metals user, casting a pall on the
Rs 100 each to Rs 28,180 and Rs 27,980 outlook for metals demand. Copper
per ten gram respectively. The precious wire bar slumped by Rs 16 per kg to
metal had gained Rs 760 in the previous Rs 450 from Monday’s closing level of
three sessions. Sovereign, followed suit Rs 466. Copper cable scrap dipped by
and gained Rs 100 to Rs 24,000 per piece Rs 8 per kg to Rs 430 from Rs 438. Tin
of eight gram. .
and nickel fell by Rs 5 per kg each to Rs
1,470 and Rs 1,060 as against Rs 1,475
and Rs 1,065. Copper armiture and
zinc moved down by Rs 2 per kg each
to Rs 413 and Rs 173 from Rs 415 and
Mumbai, Jan 20 (PTI) Copra Rajapur Rs 175. Aluminium utensils scrap softMumbai slipped at the Spices market ened by a Re per kg to Rs 132. However,
here today on subdued demand from brass honey climbed by Rs 3 per kg to
stockists and exporters amidst lower Rs 315 from Rs 312 and Lead moved up
upcountry offtake. Ginger bleached by Rs 2 per kg to Rs 134 from Rs 132.
and unbleached declined on reduced
retail offtake on the back of poor export
enquiries. While, copra edible gained
further due to sustained demand from
stockist and retailers amid good export
New Delhi Jan 20 (PTI): India is conenquiries. Rest of the spices ruled sta- sidering removing price controls on
ble due to absence of any worthwhile urea and scrapping an import duty of 5
buying activity. Copra Rajapur Mum- percent, a daily newspaper reported on
bai climbed by Rs 500 per quintal to Rs Monday, as Prime Minister Narendra
21,000 from last Saturday’s closing lev- Modi moves to check subsidy costs and
el of Rs 20,500. Following are today’s cut wasteful use of the crop nutrient.
closing rates (in Rs) with previous Fertiliser subsidy costs quadrupled over
rates in brackets: Black pepper (per the past decade as the previous governkg) 700/750 (700/750), ginger bleached ment kept urea prices below the cost of
(per kg) 210 (225), ginger unbleached production, fearing a backlash from the
(per kg) 230 (245), copra office Alapu- powerful farm lobby. Urea is the most
zha (per quintal) 10,100 (10,100), copra widely used fertiliser in India. Modi`s
office Kozhikode (per quintal) 10,000 government is now planning.
Gold extend gains
on wedding season
demand; global cues
Tin, nickel slip on
reduced demand
Copra Rajapur slips
on subdued demand
Government explores
deregulating urea
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
11.5 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened;
most of India is banked: FM
New Delhi: As many as 11.5
crore bank accounts have been
opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, exceeding the
enhanced target of 10 crore and
covering 99.74 percent of households, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.
“Most of India today is included
in the banking system,” he said,
adding that more than Rs 9,000
crore has been deposited in the
Jan Dhan accounts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced
the financial inclusion scheme
in his first Independence Day
speech last year. It was launched
in August with a target to open
bank accounts for 7.5 crore poor
persons by January 26, 2015. The
target was later increased to 10
crore accounts. Addressing a
press conference here, Jaitley said
the government would use these
bank accounts to pass on benefits
to individuals under its various
social security schemes.
Financial Services Secretary
Hasmukh Adhia said that even
Guinness Book of World Records
has recognised the achievements
made under PMJDY. In its citation, the Guinness Book said:
“Most bank accounts opened in
one week as part of the Financial
Inclusion Campaign is 18,096,130
and was achieved by the Department of Financial Services, Government of India from August
23 to 29, 2014.” Exclusion of a
large number of people from the
banking network was inhibiting
growth, Jaitley said.
“Financial Inclusion is one
of the top most priorities of the
government. PMJDY is the biggest financial inclusion initiative
in the world.” He said that out of
the accounts opened, 60 percent
are in the rural areas and 40 percent in the urban areas. Share of
female account holders is about
51 percent. Jaitley said that RuPay
cards have been issued to more
Rupee up 2 paise
against dollar at 61.69
Mumbai, Jan 20 (PTI)
The Indian rupee on Tuesday gained 2 paise against
the dollar at 61.69 with
banks and exporters selling the US currency amid
sustained capital inflows in
view of strong equity markets, extending gains for
the forth day in succession.
The rupee resumed
lower at 61.82 per dollar as
against the Monday’s closing level of 61.71 per dollar
at the Interbank Foreign
Exchange (Forex) Market
on initial dollar demand.
The local currency however staged a comeback
with banks and exporters
selling dollar on hopes of
more foreign capital inflows in view of strong equity market. The rupee finally end the day’s trade at
61.69, showing a marginal
gain of two paise from its
previous close.
The rupee has gained by
49 paise or 0.79 per cent in
four days. Meanwhile, the
benchmark BSE Sensex
rose by 522.66 points or
1.85 per cent to all-time
closing high of 28,784.67.
The dollar index was up by
0.19 pct against a basket of
six major global rivals.
The benchmark
sixmonth rupee
June eased to
198-200 paise
on Monday,
while forward
maturing in
December finished stable at
396-398 paise.
The Reserve
Bank of India
fixed the reference rate for
dollar at 61.8475 and for
Euro at 71.5699. The rupee
firmed up further against
the pound to 93.44 from
Monday’s close of 93.53
and also hardened further
to 52.04 per 100 Japanese
yen from 52.60. The rupee
also strengthened further
to 71.44 per euro from
71.53 per euro on Monday. Meanwhile, premia
showed marginal changes
due to uneven demand
and supply transactions.
The benchmark sixmonth premium payable
in June eased to 198-200
paise from 199.5-201.5
paise yesterday while forward contracts maturing in
December finished stable
at 396-398 paise. The Reserve Bank of India fixed
the reference rate for dollar
at 61.8475 and for Euro at
71.5699. The rupee firmed
up further against the
pound to 93.44 from yesterday’s close of 93.53 and
also hardened further to
52.04 per 100 Japanese yen
from 52.60. The rupee also
strengthened further to
71.44 per euro from 71.53
per euro yesterday.
than 10 crore beneficiaries who
will get a benefit of personal accidental insurance of Rs 1 lakh
besides a life insurance cover of
Rs 30,000 for eligible beneficiaries. Describing the scheme as “a
game changer for the economy”,
the minister said that it would
provide the platform for Direct
Benefits Transfer (DBT) and help
in plugging leakages in subsidies.
Overall, public sector banks alone
opened 9.11 crore accounts under PMJDY, followed by regional
rural banks which opened about
2.01 crore accounts. On the other
hand, 13 private sector banks together open just 37.58 lakh.
POSCO CEO calls on
PM Modi, discusses
investment plans
New Delhi Jan 20 (PTI): South Korean steel company POSCO’s CEO Kwon Oh-Joon Tuesday called
on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is believed to
have discussed new investment plans in Gujarat and
Maharashtra besides its much-delayed USD 12-billion Odisha project. “POSCO officials, who called on
the Prime Minister today discussed with him the company’s India investment plans which include big plans
for Maharashtra and Gujarat,” an official privy to the
development.. “They also shared ideas about the Odisha project and discussed the overall developments on
the project so far,” the official added. The Korean company’s proposed 12 million tonne per annum (MTPA)
project at Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha is stalled for
about a decade. POSCO India CMD Gee Woong Sung
and Korean Ambassador Joon-Gyu Lee also met the
Prime Minister. The official said so far there has been
no new development on Odisha project and the state
government is still to renew the pact for setting up the
plant. Assuring the steel giant of allocating a mine to
meet its raw material requirement, the Odisha government has sent a proposal to seek the Centre’s approval
for grant of prospecting licence to POSCO for iron ore
over a notified area of 2082.50 hectares.
However, the Mines ordinance, promulgated recently provides for allocation of all mines through auction route. Caught between Odisha’s assurance and
Centre’s ordinance for auction, POSCO’s wait for getting mines to feed its initial 8 MTPA plant is likely to be
little longer. A POSCO official, however said, “We have
to study the Ordinance. We will take proper action
only after that.” Odisha Steel and Mines Minister yesterday had said that “The nation will be sending a very
wrong signal to the international investor community
by completely ignoring these international commitments for supporting the raw material requirement.
Sensex soars 522 pts to scale new
high;Nifty touches 8700 mark
Mumbai, Jan 20 (PTI) Extending
its winning streak for the fourth
day, benchmark index BSE Sensex
today surged by over 522 points
to record a new closing high of
28,784.67, and NSE Nifty breached
the 8,700-mark for the first time in
its history. The market rally was
driven by strong buying in the
banking space and recovery in
metals and oil & gas counters.
Traders said sustained foreign
capital inflows also boosted investor
sentiment. Earning season guidance
and expectations from upcoming
budget also aided the rally, brokers
said. HDFC at 5.84 per cent was
the biggest Sensex gainer, followed
by SSLT at 5.36 per cent, Tata Steel
4.50 per cent, Axis Bank 4.33 per
cent and Tata Motors 3.78 per cent.
The 30-share BSE index resumed
higher remained in the positive
terrain throughout the day before
ending at at all-time closing high
of 28,784.67, a steep jump of 522.66
points of 1.85 per cent from its previous close. The 50-share NSE Nifty
also rose by 144.90 points or 1.69 per
cent to 8,695.60, its record closing
high, after crossing 8,700-level for
the first time in its history. “Markets
continued the good run and closed
at a fresh high on the back of positive sentiments emanating from the
RBI rate cut, expectations of further
reforms from the Government,
expectations of ECB stimulus and
a slightly netter-than- expected
GDP number from China,” said
Dipen Shah, Head, Private Client
Group Research, Kotak Securities. Asian markets ended higher
after China reported its economy
had not slowed as far as many
had feared. Key indices in China,
Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore,
South Korea and Taiwan finished
higher by 0.80-2.07 per cent.
“Equity markets (in India)
scaled a new high today. There is
no one reason for this, the market is in a bull grip. The IMF?s
optimistic forecast on India?s
expected growth rate till 2016
was another shot in the arm, as
was the prediction that India?s
growth rate may exceed China?s
after a long time,” said Jayant Manglik, President, Retail Distribution,
Religare Securities. Foreign portfolio investors bought shares worth
a net Rs 433.72 crore yesterday,
as per provisional data from stock
exchanges. . “Markets touched all
time high on both global as well
as local investors huge buying.
There is a left out feeling amongst
domestic investors who are hugely
underweight on equity as an asset
class. “There is optimism also due
to Obama?s visit during coming
week,” said Motilal Oswal, CMD,
Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
Metal and mining shares rose after the latest data showed China’s
GDP grew 7.4 per cent in December quarter, its lowest in 24 years
but a tad higher than market expectations “Fall in the GDP growth
of the world?s largest manufacturing hub has spooked the prospects
of recovery in oil prices ever more
and the brent oil prices corrected
by almost 40 cents and was trading around USD 48.46,” said Hiren
Dhakan, Associate Fund Manager,
Bonanza Portfolio. Of 30 Sensex
scrips, 22 ended higher and the
rest lower. ITC (3.57 pct), Hindalco
(3.00 pct), Relinace Ind (2.42 pct),
HDFC bank (1.76 pct), ICICI Bank
(1.70 pct), SBI (1.58 pct), Bharti Airtel (1.36 pct) and Wipro (1.03 pct)
were the other big gainers. Gail
India lost by 1.90 pct. Among BSE
sectoral indices, ,etal rose by 3.03
pct followed by Bankex 1.84 pct,
FMCG 1.69 pct, Oil&gas 1.33 pct
and Realty 1.20 pct.
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Kane Williamson scores
ton as New Zealand beat
Sri Lanka by four wickets
Wellington Jan 20 (PTI): Kane Williamson
hit a century and Luke Ronchi smashed
24 runs off one explosive over when the
match was still in the balance to steer
New Zealand to a four-wicket win over Sri
Lanka in the fourth One Day International
in Nelson on Tuesday. Sri Lanka set New
Zealand a testing victory target of 277 to
win the match at Saxton Oval after being
bowled out for 276 in 49.3 overs and the
Black Caps reached the mark with 11
balls to spare for the loss of six wickets.
Williamson continued his rich run of form
with the bat, scoring 103 off 107 deliveries
to provide the backbone of New Zealand`s
innings. He was well supported by Corey
Anderson, who made a quickfire 47 before
being run in the 46th over with the home
team still needing 32 for victory.
New Zealand required 25 off the last
18 balls when Ronchi tied the scores in
the blink of an eye, blasting three sixes,
a boundary and a two off the 48th over
from Thisara Perera. Daniel Vettori
spanked a boundary off the first ball of
the next over to end the match, leaving
Ronchi unbeaten on 32 from 15 balls.
“Really good effort from the bowlers to
India`s media slams
David Warner
New Delhi Jan 20 (PTI): India`s media
on Tuesday lashed out at David Warner
over his repeated verbal clashes with
Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s touring team,
demanding the aggressive Australian
opener be reined in. “Brakes on
motormouth Warner” and “Talkative
Warner crosses the line” read two
headlines in Indian newspapers after
Warner was fined 50 percent of his match
fee for demanding Rohit Sharma “speak
English” during Sunday`s one-dayer
in Melbourne. “Warner has a knack of
getting into trouble. Despite warnings
in the past he does not seem to learn,”
the Times of India wrote, referring to his
constant run-ins with the Indians during
the preceding Test series. The Hindustan
Times said Indian team managers had
decided to ignore Warner rather than
react to the sledging.
give us a score under par,” New Zealand
captain Brendon McCullum said at the
post-match presentation. “Kane showed
how experienced he is and how he can
formulate a game plan. Also finished off
well by Corey and Ronchi.”
Sri Lanka`s big three batsmen all made
significant contributions to their total but
the tourists did not get enough runs from the
rest of their lineup on a good batting wicket.
Mahela Jayawardene fell just six runs shy
of a century and Kumar Sangakkara made
a swift 76 after Tillikaratne Dilshan gave
the Sri Lankans a solid platform with 44.
“After the start we got, I thought the lower
order batted poorly,” Sri Lanka captain
Angelo Mathews said. “I thought Dilshan,
Sangakkara and Mahela batted beautifully.
It was a very good wicket, didn`t turn as
much or slow up, but it was a good batting
track.” Fast bowler Adam Milne was the
pick of New Zealand`s attack with 2-28
from seven overs, while opening bowler
Tim Southee was expensive but finished
with 3-59. New Zealand lead the best-ofseven series 2-1 after they shared the first
two games and the third match in Auckland
on Saturday was rained out.
Tri-series 3rd ODI: England crush
India by 9 wickets in Brisbane
spineless India suffered their
second consecutive defeat as
England crushed them by nine
wickets with a bonus point,
throwing their cricket tri-series
campaign in jeopardy here on
Tuesday. Electing to bat, India
were bundled out for 153 in 39.3
overs with the top-five batsmen
returning to the dressing room
with just 67 runs on board by the
19th over on a lively Gabba track.
Steven Finn (5/33) and his pace
colleague James Anderson (4/18)
exploited the pacer-friendly deck
to the hilt by extracting extra
bounce as the Indians, barring
Roger Binny (44), struggled to
come to terms. Binny was the
lone Indian batsman to show
some resilience on a day when
the others got out due to poor
shot selection. Opener Ajinkya
Rahane (33), Virat Kohli (4),
Ambati Rayudu (23) and Suresh
Raina (1) were out playing poor
shots, while Shikhar Dhawan (1)
fell to a beauty from Anderson
in the third over of the India
innings. England chased down
the easy target with more than
22 overs to spare to collect five
points, including a bonus point,
from the comprehensive win.
Opener Ian Bell led the England
run chase with a 91-ball unbeaten
88 while James Taylor also scored
an unbeaten half century (56 not
out from 63 balls) to take their
side home. The duo stitched 131
runs for the unconquered second
wicket stand as they negotiated
the Indian bowlers without
much difficulty on a pitch that
seemed to have demons while
the Indians were batting. Taylor
hit the winning runs, a four, as
England reached 156 for one in
27.3 overs to wrap up the match.
The other English opener,
Moeen Ali (8), was dismissed
cheaply off the bowling of Binny,
who opened the Indian bowling
during the first session as
England batted before the break
after India folded early. Australia
are now on top of table with
nine points from two matches
while England have five points
from two games. India will now
have to win both their remaining
matches if they are to qualify
for the final. England started
their chase before the schedule
innings’ break and were placed at
41/1 from six overs with Bell and
Taylor batting on 28 and three
After the resumption of play,
India did not show any urgency
or energy in the field as Bell and
Melbourne Jan 20 (PTI): World
number eight and Liverpool
has lamented the departure of
another number eight, describing
Steven Gerrard`s impending
exit from the Merseyside club as
“sad” as she ponders trips to Los
Angeles to watch him play.
The 34-year-old Liverpool
captain announced earlier this
month he was moving to Major
Soccer League champions Los
Angeles Galaxy after playing his
entire career at Anfield. Gerrard
was quoted by media as saying he
would have stayed at Liverpool
had he been offered a new
contract in the close season and
that coach Brendan Rodgers had
informed him he would not play
every game. “I`m obviously sad.
I think Stevie has done so much
for the team over the years,”
Wozniacki told reporters on
Tuesday after the Dane opened
her Australian Open campaign
with a 7-6 6-2 victory over
American Taylor Townsend.
“He`s a legend. I think if
that`s what he thinks is the right
time, I have to support that.”
The former world number one,
who famously warmed up in a
Liverpool shirt signed by
Gerrard before a match
at the 2011 Qatar Open,
said she wanted the
player to remain at the
Reds. “But at the same
time he had a talk with
the manager and said
that maybe he wasn`t
going to be playing as much,”
she added. “Yeah, I`m a little
sad. I don`t know. I`m going to
have my Stevie G jerseys hanging
somewhere. Unfortunately he
won`t be playing there anymore.
“I`ll have to make a trip probably
to L.A. to have a look again. But,
stole the headlines with his 30th
hat-trick for the club as Barca
eased past Deportivo la Coruna
4-0 on Sunday, but Enrique
praised Suarez’s work rate and
insisted his class will ensure
a return to goalscoring form
sooner rather than later.
“Luis Suarez looks fine to
me,” Enrique said ahead of his
side’s Copa del Rey quarterfinal,
first leg against Atletico Madrid
on Wednesday. “He is working
incredibly hard and helping us
a lot both in attack and defence.
“The goals will come for sure
because he is a goalscorer and
has shown that throughout his
career.” One of Suarez’s two La
Liga goals came against Atletico
just over a week ago when Barca
turned in arguably their best
performance of the campaign to
beat the Spanish champions 3-1.
The pressure had been mounting
on Enrique prior to that game
with reports of Messi leading a
dressing room coup against the
former Barca captain. However,
he shrugged off suggestions
that his position could be back
under the spotlight should the
Catalans fail to produce a repeat
performance against Diego
Simeone’s men. “I don’t have
the feeling that tomorrow my job
is on the line. All we are playing
for is to get through a tie against .
Australian Open, Day 2: Victoria Azarenka, Novak
Djokovic lead proceedings as top seeds progress
Melbourne Jan 20 (PTI): Twotime Australian Open champion
Victoria Azarenka stormed through
her grudge match with American
Sloane Stephens on Tuesday
to reach the second round at
Melbourne Park. Azarenka, ranked
just 44 going into the seasonopening Grand Slam after an injurymarred 2014, showed why she is
regarded as the most dangerous
unseeded player at the tournament
as she downed Stephens 6-3, 6-2.
Azarenka will face 24-year-old
Caroline Wozniacki. The eighth
seed advanced in straight sets
but American teenager Taylor
Townsend made her work hard
for a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory over
92 minutes. World number one
Novak Djokovic got his quest for
a fifth Australian Open title off
to a winning start in straight sets
on Tuesday. The Serb top seed
eliminated Slovenia`s Aljaz Bedene
6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in 1hr 49min on Rod
Laver Arena and will next play
either Russian Andrey Kuznetsov or
Spain`s Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Stan
Wawrinka`s title defence got off to
a flying start at the Australian Open
on Tuesday, the Swiss easing past
Turkish battler Marsel Ilhan 6-1 6-4
6-2 to reach the second round.
Though struggling to land his
first serve, the fourth seed barely
broke a sweat on a steamy day
at Melbourne Park, blasting 34
winners to wrap up the match
in less than one and a half hours
at Rod Laver Arena. Wawrinka
raised a gasp from the crowd
when he took a tumble on the
court stretching for a volley late
Taylor went about accumulating
runs without any worries. They
brought up the 50-mark in the
eighth over as runs flowed easily
enough with the Indian bowlers
not making an impression after
a listless batting performance.
Thereafter, Bell brought up his
32nd ODI fifty off 50 balls as the
100-mark came up in the 19th
over. The duo also celebrated
their 100-run partnership for the
second wicket, off just 111 balls,
in the 22nd over.
Liverpool fan Caroline Wozniacki laments Steven Gerrard departure
Goals will come for Suarez,
insists Barcelona boss
MADRID Jan 20 (PTI):
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique
has backed Luis Suarez to
come good in front of goal
despite the Uruguayan’s paltry
record of two league goals since
becoming the most expensive
signing in the club’s history.
Suarez has only made 15
appearances in all competitions
since his reported £75 million
($114 million, 98 million euros)
move from Liverpool in July
after serving a four-month
ban for biting Italian defender
Giorgio Chiellini at the World
Cup. However, since his return
he has failed to show the same
form that saw him register
31 Premier League goals last
Suarez missed two
glorious chances as Lionel Messi
in the first set, but was untroubled
thereafter and sealed the onesided contest with a cross-court
volley. He will play the winner of
Romanian qualifier Marius Copil
and Spaniard Pablo Andujar in the
next round. Earlier, Azarenka, who
controversially defeated Stephens
in the 2013 semi-final with the
help of a lengthy medical timeout,
admitted before Tuesday`s match
she was uncertain about the
reception that awaited her.
But all was forgiven with the
crowd cheering on a display that
was reminiscent of the former
world number one`s best before a
string of injuries left her battling
with depression. Azarenka left no
doubt she was chasing her third
Grand Slam title at Melbourne
Park after triumphing in 2012
and 2013. “You`ve got to win
seven matches to win a title and
this was a great first round for
me to really test my game,” the
25-year-old said. “I`m happy
with what I did... Sloane`s a tricky
opponent who has big weapons
so I tried to stay aggressive and
take every opportunity and
control the game. I really had
to stay focused and composed.”
The service game of both players
was rusty in the early exchanges
and they exchanged breaks
before Azarenka pulled ahead to
take the first set in 29 minutes.
yeah, 17 seasons, 17 years, it`s
a long time.” Wozniacki has
a tough second round match
against two-time Australian
Azarenka, who has been on the
comeback trail after injury wiped
out most of her 2014 season.
Li Na always
dreamed of being a
stay-home mum
Melbourne Jan 20 (PTI): Pioneering
Chinese tennis star Li Na Tuesday said she
has long wanted a child and to be a stayat-home mum after announcing she was
pregnant at the Australian Open. The twotime Grand Slam winner, hugely popular
at Melbourne Park where she won the title
last year and reached the final in 2011 and
2013, unexpectedly retired in September.
“I think it`s a very tough decision for me to
make, saying goodbye to tennis,” she said.
“But my dream is be a housewife. I think
every child they learn from the family. I
learned from my mum, so I was feeling the
woman has to be like housewife. “I guess I
was not bad at tennis, so I was feeling, okay,
tennis can take care of a lot. But I think now
is the time to turn back.” Li announced her
pregnancy on Monday in front of 15,000
cheering fans on Rod Laver Arena, where
she has been a guest of honour, saying she
was hoping for a daughter. Li, who won
nine titles in her career, is credited with
introducing tennis to the masses in China.
She became a sporting pioneer in her
homeland when she decided to break from
the state sports system in 2008 with a group
of up and coming players, in a move dubbed
by local media “fly alone”. The move meant
she was able to choose her own coaches
and keep most of her winnings rather than
giving them to the government. Despite
her fame and fortune, Li said she would
not be pushing her child onto the tennis
courts. “Tennis is my job, it`s not their job,
you know,” she said. “Everyone has (their
own) personality. I just wish them to be
happy and healthy.”He is still waiting for
his first ATP 500 title and wants to do well
at the Masters 1000s again as well as the
Slams. Stan is looking forward to being
back in India and enjoying his favourite
chicken tikka masala.
Indian Horizon Hyderabad
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Indian Horizon
How Preity gulp down the truth?
History lessons are often
synonymous with being boring, stretched and dull. But
actress-producer Preity Zinta
seems to have come up with
an interesting method to gulp
down all the facts, and that's
through watching "true stories" on screen.
"I love 2watch true stories. It's like a history lesson.
Sadly these people changed
the course of history but still
struggled personally," the actress tweeted.
The actress, who was last
seen in the 2014 release "Happy Ending", also heaped praise
on Hollywood movie "American Sniper", which is based
on the biography of American
army sniper Chris Kyle.
"Loved how 'American Sniper' showed the personal side of
war and how it affects people
emotionally...Eventually there
are NO winners in war," she
further posted.
Starring Bradley Cooper, the
film encapsulates the internal as
well as external turmoil of Chris,
starting from his childhood right
through his marriage and short career span that lasted only four trips
to the strife-torn zone in Iraq.
Varun Dhawan floored by
Badlapur response
Here’s what the actor tweeted to thank his fans
Actor Varun Dhawan is excited by the response
that his dark, intense revenge drama Badlapur has
garnered. The actor feels the appreciation will act
as an impetus for the small budget movie.
Just two songs from the film have been released
— Jee karda and Jeena jeena – but both of them
have taken the audience by storm with their intensity and depth. The film’s teaser also adds to
the dose of intensity with Varun taking over the
big screen in a whole new look accompanied by
anger and a spirit of vengeance. “#badlapur teaser
is at 3m and #jeekarda over 1m views and #JeenaJeena getting the love. Can’t believe this small
film is getting big love TY,” he tweeted. Badlapur,
which also stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma
Qureshi and Divya Dutta, is set to release Feb 20.
Hyderabad Literary Festival
Hyderabad Literary Festival is
all set to begin with a grand inaugural ceremony on Friday
evening at Park Hyatt, Banjarahills. The grand inaugural
program starts off with formal
opening and goes with a literature based program, which is
called ‘Dastan-goi’, a storytelling in Urdu.
“HLF’15 has become one of
the biggest events all over the
world and especially in India.
This year, there are many innovations and additions to the
Festival. Hyderabad Public
School being the venue, the festival is celebrated for four days,
starting from 23rd Evening, and
culminates with a closing ceremony on 26th Evening. The
entry to the festival is free for
everyone. There are special and
innovative seminars and workshops for children, adults and
couples” says T Vijay Kumar,
Professor in Osmaina University who is one of the organizers.
Adding to that, Amita Desai,
Director, Goethe-Zentrum who
is also one among the team of
organizers, said that, “Festival this time is focusing on
Urdu and the guest Nation in
the festival is Poland. HLF’15 invites everyone, who keeps keen
interest in Art, Culture and Literature. The festival is growing
year by year, and is drawing the
attention of not just citizens of
Hyderabad, but citizens of the
World. We have many poets,
authors, artists, experts coming
for the event to
take up various sessions and
panel discussions. Famous personalities like Javed Akthar, Mahesh Butt, Tom Alter and many
more would be attending the
While addressing the media,
in the press conference, one of
the organizers listed the highlights of the festival. HLF’15
highlights are, Javed Akhtar reciting a collection of Urdu poetry, Mahesh Bhatt in a Panel
Discussion with Leela Samson
on “Cultural and creative pluralism in modern day India”,
Artport, an international curatorial practice that aims to raise
awareness and inspire social
change about environmental
issues, with a focus on climate
change, Dastan Goi - a revival
of traditional story-telling, by
Rana Pratap and Rajesh Kumar,
Tom Alter will give a theatre performance based on the works of
Sahir Ludhianvi and Mangala
Bhatt and Jameela Nishat in an
evening of Dance and Qawwalis.
This amalgamation of culture,
art and literature gives out an
opportunity for everyone to
experience the quality and
power of Literature on a wider
sense and also plays a pivotal
role in exchange of culture and
understanding the efforts put
by authors, poets and artists in
making their work perfect for
their audience.
Reported by- Raygalla Kalyan
Srinivas, Special Correspondent
Sachin Tendulkar reminds Aamir
Khan about his prophesy?
It's very rare that someone gets
a chance to say that I had told
you exactly this. Now it is Sachin
Tendulkar who has been saying
this to Aamir Khan.
When Sachin watched the recently released film, PK, he was
the one who said it is Aamir's
best performance ever. And now
everyone has been saying the
same thing to Aamir.
The film is not just garnering
immense accolades and love
from across the globe for the entertainer that it is but everyone
has also been particularly raving
about Aamir's performance in
the film.
Everyone feels his performance is notches higher and
the best that they have seen of
Aamir, which is saying a lot.
He was seen essaying the role
of an alien. It was the first time
an Indian portrayed such a character and successfully so.
The feedback that Aamir has
been receiving is that while he
has delivered such phenomenal
performances, his performance
in PK exceeds them all.
Sachin has been sending messages to Aamir saying I told you
so with a smile every time he
hears someone saying that the
film is Aamir's best performance.
He even called Aamir when
the PK hit 300 cr club (336.53cr
till Sunday) t​alking about how
the film would be his best ever.
To this the humble actor had to
agree to Sachin's judgment.
Aamir Khan's Spokesperson
confirms the news and adds,
"Since Sachin had seen the film
he has been trying to convince
Aamir that PK is his best so far
whereas the actor constantly
kept denying it. Now there is an
easy banter going on between
Sachin and Aamir where Sachin
has been telling Aamir "I told
you so."
Pallavi Sharda eyes
Madhubala biopic
If actress Pallavi Sharda had a chance to
feature in a biopic, she'd like it to be on the
life of late Indian cine icon Madhubala.
"I would like to do a biopic on Madhubala.
I like her story, her life was interesting and
there is romanticism in her life. I think it
would be an interesting story," Pallavi, who's
awaiting the release of "Hawaizaada", told
Madhubala, considered one of the most
beautiful actresses of her times in the country, is remembered for her roles in films like
"Mahal", "Amar", "Mr & Mrs '55", "Chalti Ka
Naam Gaadi" and "Mughal-e-Azam". She
died young at 36 in 1969 due to illness.
Pallavi, who comes from a non-film background, says that to survive in the film industry, one needs talent as well as luck.
"Talent is important. You can't be successful without talent, but luck also matters. My
luck was not that great, if I may say so because I have worked really hard," said the
actress, who has earlier featured in films
like "Love Breakups Zindagi", "Heroine" and
Pallavi's next film "Hawaizaada" is directed by Vibhu Puri.
How Sidharth's popularity
increases footfalls?
Sidharth Malhotra came on board as the
brand ambassador of aquamagica a while
back. The theme park which opened gates
in August was keen to get a brand ambassador who has a broad appeal amongst
audiences at large and especially the
youth. After doing an intricate survey
they zeroed in on Sidharth Malhotra.
The aquamagica team had an active 6
months high on visibility campaign which
they started with a bang. However in the
initial burst itself they witnessed returns
coming in.
The team was also keen to shoot a TVC
with Sidharth but with solely a print outburst they realized the footfalls had increased and hence changed the marketing plan and saved on to the budgets for
The team is now conjuring a bigger
marketing plan and will be shooting a
TVC after Sidharth wraps shooting for his
ongoing film Brothers for which he has
undergone a drastic look change.
Sidharth Malhotra has risen to fame
film after film. He made his debut with
Students of the year where the youth,
especially girls were raving about him
no bounds. After his first film the young
actor has tried to try versatile roles like
the boy next door in Hassee Toh Phasee
and the angry young man in EK Villian.
While both films did well at the box office, the latter crossed the 100 crore and
Sidharth's acting was received very well
by audiences.
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Indian Horizon
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Scientists Discover an Earth-Sized Exoplanet
That Orbits Its Star Every 8.5 Hours
Scientists from MIT have discovered an Earth-sized exoplanet, named Kepler 78b, that orbits
its star every 8.5 hours and has estimated surface temperatures as high as 3,000 degrees Kelvin.
In the time it takes you to
complete a single workday, or get
a full night’s sleep, a small fireball
of a planet 700 light-years away has
already completed an entire year.
Researchers at MIT have discovered an Earth-sized exoplanet
named Kepler 78b that whips
around its host star in a mere 8.5
hours — one of the shortest orbital
periods ever detected. The planet
is extremely close to its star — its
orbital radius is only about three
times the radius of the star — and
the scientists have estimated that
its surface temperatures may be
as high as 3,000 degrees Kelvin, or
more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In such a scorching environment, the top layer of the planet is
likely completely melted, creating a
massive, roiling ocean of lava.
What’s most exciting to scientists is that they were able to detect
light emitted by the planet — the
first time that researchers have been
able to do so for an exoplanet as
small as Kepler 78b. This light, once
analyzed with larger telescopes, may
give scientists detailed information
about the planet’s surface composition and reflective properties.
Kepler 78b is so close to its star
that scientists hope to measure its
gravitational influence on the star.
Such information may be used to
measure the planet’s mass, which
could make Kepler 78b the first
Earth-sized planet outside our
own solar system whose mass is
known. The researchers reported
their discovery of Kepler 78b in The
Astrophysical Journal.
In a separate paper, published
in Astrophysical Journal Letters,
members of that same group, along
with others at MIT and elsewhere,
observed KOI 1843.03, a previously
discovered exoplanet with an even
shorter orbital period: just 4 1/4
hours. The group, led by physics
professor emeritus Saul Rappaport,
determined that in order for the
planet to maintain its extremely
tight orbit around its star, it would
have to be incredibly dense, made
almost entirely of iron — otherwise, the immense tidal forces
from the nearby star would rip the
planet to pieces.
“Just the fact that it’s able to
survive there implies that it’s very
dense,” says Josh Winn, an associate professor of physics at MIT,
and co-author on both papers.
“Whether nature actually makes
planets that are dense enough to
survive even closer in, that’s an
open question, and would be even
more amazing.”
Dips in the data
In their discovery of Kepler 78b,
the team that wrote the Astrophysical Journal paper looked through
more than 150,000 stars that were
monitored by the Kepler Telescope, a NASA space observatory
that surveys a slice of the galaxy.
Scientists are analyzing data from
Kepler in hopes of identifying habitable, Earth-sized planets.
The goal for Winn and his colleagues was to look for Earth-sized
planets with very short orbital
periods. “We’ve gotten used to
planets having orbits of a few days,”
Winn says. “But we wondered, what
about a few hours? Is that even possible? And sure enough, there are
some out there.” To find them, the
team analyzed light data from thousands of stars, looking for telltale
dips indicating that a planet may
periodically pass in front of a star.
Picking out these tiny dips
among tens of thousands of light
curves is typically a time-intensive
ordeal. To speed the process along,
the group devised a more automated approach, applying a basic
mathematical method known as
the Fourier transform to the large
dataset. The method essentially
whittles the field to those light
curves that are periodic, or that
exhibit a repetitive pattern.
Stars that host orbiting planets
may display periodic dips of light
each time a planet crosses, or transits, the star. But there are other periodic stellar phenomena that can
affect light emission, such as a star
eclipsing another star. To pick out
those signals associated with actual
planets, physics graduate student
Roberto Sanchis-Ojeda searched
through the set of periodic light
curves, looking for frequent smaller
dips in the data midway between
the planetary transits.
The group was able to detect
the light given off by the planet by
measuring the amount by which
the overall light dimmed each
time the planet passed behind the
star. The researchers posit that the
Sunbots aim to slash the cost
of solar arrays
planet’s light is possibly a combination of radiation from its heated
surface and light reflected by
surface materials, such as lava and
atmospheric vapor.
“I was just looking by eye, and
all of a sudden I see this extra drop
of light right when it was expected, and it was really beautiful,”
Sanchis-Ojeda recalls. “I thought,
we’re actually seeing the light from
the planet. It was a really exciting
Living on a lava world
From their measurements of
Kepler 78b, the team determined
that the planet is about 40 times
closer to its star than Mercury is
to our sun. The star around which
Kepler 78b orbits is likely relatively
young, as it rotates more than
twice as fast as the sun — a sign
that the star has not had as much
time to slow down.
While it is about the size of
Earth, Kepler 78b is most certainly
not habitable, due to its extreme
proximity to its host star. “You’d
have to really stretch your imagination to imagine living on a lava
world,” Winn says. “We certainly
wouldn’t survive there.”
But this doesn’t entirely rule out
the possibility of other habitable,
short-period planets. Winn’s group
is now looking for exoplanets that
orbit brown dwarfs — cold, almostdead stars that somehow failed
to ignite. “If you’re around one of
those brown dwarfs, then you can
get as close in as just a few days,”
Winn says. “It would still be habitable, at the right temperature.”
Co-authors on the two papers
are Alan Levine of MIT, Leslie
Rogers of the California Institute
of Technology, Michael Kotson of
the University of Hawaii, David
Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and
Lars Buchhave of the University
of Copenhagen. This research was
supported by grants from NASA.
12 Billion Year Old Explosion Illuminates
a Galaxy from the Dark Ages
NEXT to the Santa Rita jail
in sunny Dublin, California, a robot tends a field
of solar panels. It quietly
makes its way along a rail
underneath them, stopping at each to adjust its
tilt to face the sun.
This is SolBot, one of a handful of robots on the leading edge
of a movement to use automated
construction, operation and maintenance to slash the cost of solar
power – critical if it is ever to compete with fossil fuels.
Solar power is booming, more
than doubling to some 100 gigawatts of capacity worldwide between 2010 and 2012. Roboticists
are getting in on the act, seeing opportunities to boost efficiencies in
a young industry. The SolBot tending the Santa Rita field is made by
QBotix, in nearby Menlo Park.
“The clever part comes in realising that the sun moves slowly across
the sky, taking 40 minutes to move
10 degrees,” says Wasiq Bokhari,
founder and CEO of QBotix. “For a
flat photovoltaic plate, you can adjust it once every 45 minutes and
keep maximum efficiency.”
This means one robot can tend
about 1200 solar panels – roughly
300 kilowatts – on its own. SolBot’s
sensors pinpoint the sun’s position
to within 1 degree and it adjusts
each panel accordingly. Having a
robot do this avoids the need for expensive tracking structures to keep
the panels moving throughout the
Matthew Muniz, who is the energy programme manager for Alameda County, says the presence
of the robots makes the solar field
about 20 per cent more efficient
than the roof-mounted solar panels
that also supply the jail’s microgrid.
Meanwhile, Alion Energy, based
in Richmond, California, uses robotics to bring down the cost of
building and maintaining solar arrays.
The company uses concrete as
the base for its set-up, as well as the
guide rail for an automated cleaning robot. Once the base has been
laid, a custom-built robot called
Rover trundles over it, gluing rows
of panels in place. At the end of the
row, a human worker loads the robot with the next set of panels, and
it crawls to the next concrete baseline. Once the panels are installed,
a cleaning robot called Spot keeps
them in working order.
Alion is due to start building
its first commercial solar plant – a
3-megawatt array in California – by
the end of the year, says spokesman
Jesse Atkinson.
Spot could be especially useful in the Middle East and western
China, Atkinson says, as most of
the proposed solar farms there are
in desert areas where dust can rob
panels of as much as 40 per cent of
their energy potential, if they are
not cleaned frequently. The company is working on a pilot plant at
the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal,
Saudi Arabia, as well as with the
country’s national energy company
Aramco. “We can do it at a quarter
of the cost [of hiring cleaners], and
with a 90-per-cent reduction in water use,” says Atkinson.
More than 12 billion years ago
a star exploded, ripping itself apart
and blasting its remains outward
in twin jets at nearly the speed
of light. At its death it glowed so
brightly that it outshone its entire
galaxy by a million times. This brilliant flash traveled across space for
12.7 billion years to a planet that
hadn’t even existed at the time
of the explosion – our Earth. By
analyzing this light, astronomers
learned about a galaxy that was
otherwise too small, faint and far
away for even the Hubble Space
Telescope to see.
“This star lived at a very interesting time, the so-called dark ages
just a billion years after the Big
Bang,” says lead author Ryan Chornock of the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics (CfA).
“In a sense, we’re forensic scientists investigating the death of a star
and the life of a galaxy in the earliest
phases of cosmic time,” he adds.
The star announced its death
with a flash of gamma rays, an
event known as a gamma-ray burst
(GRB). GRB 130606A was classified
as a long GRB since the burst lasted
for more than four minutes. It was
detected by NASA’s Swift spacecraft on June 6th. Chornock and
his team quickly organized followup observations by the MMT Telescope in Arizona and the Gemini
North telescope in Hawaii.
“We were able to get right on target in a matter of hours,” Chornock
says. “That speed was crucial in detecting and studying the afterglow.”
A GRB afterglow occurs when
jets from the burst slam into surrounding gas, sweeping that material up like a snowplow, heating
it, and causing it to glow. As the afterglow’s light travels through the
dead star’s host galaxy, it passes
through clouds of interstellar gas.
Chemical elements within those
clouds absorb light at certain wavelengths, leaving “fingerprints.” By
splitting the light into a rainbow
spectrum, astronomers can study
those fingerprints and learn what
gases the distant galaxy contained.
All chemical elements heavier
than hydrogen, helium, and lithium had to be created by stars. As a
result those heavy elements, which
astronomers collectively call “metals,” took time to accumulate. Life
could not have existed in the early
universe because the elements of
life, including carbon and oxygen,
did not exist.
Chornock and his colleagues
found that the GRB galaxy contained only about one-tenth of the
metals in our solar system. Theory
suggests that although rocky planets might have been able to form,
life probably could not thrive yet.
Indian Horizon
Rapid Changes in the Arctic Ecosystem
During Ice Minimum
Huge quantities of algae
are growing on the underside
of sea ice in the Central Arctic:
in 2012 the ice algae Melosira
arctica was responsible for almost half the primary production in this area.
When the ice melts, as was
the case during the ice minimum in 2012, these algae sink
rapidly to the bottom of the
sea at a depth of several thousands of metres. Deep sea animals such as sea cucumbers
and brittle stars feed on the
algae, and bacteria metabolise what’s left, consuming the
oxygen in the sea bed.
This short-term reaction
of the deep sea ecosystem to
changes in sea ice cover and
ocean productivity has now
been published in the scientific journal Science by a multidisciplinary team of researchers around Prof. Dr. Antje
Boetius from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and
Marine Research and from the
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen.
Scientists and technicians
from twelve nations travelled
the Central Arctic on the research icebreaker Polarstern
in the late summer of 2012. In
and under the ice they used a
large number of ultra-modern
research devices and methods
such as camera-guided sampling devices and an underice remotely operating vehicle
(ROV). Prof. Antje Boetius,
who leads the Helmholtz-Max
Planck Research Group on
Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology has a first answer to
the all-important question
of how the Arctic is changing
due to warming: “Far quicker
than has so far been expected! The seabed at a depth of
more than 400 metres was littered with clumps of ice algae
which had attracted lots of sea
cucumbers and brittle stars,”
explains the microbiologist.
The algal deposits with diameters of up to 50 centimetres covered up to ten per cent
of the seabed. The researchers
were able to count them using
an Ocean Floor Observation
System (OFOS). Also for the
first time in the ice-covered
Arctic, the Helmholtz-Max
Planck researcher Dr. Frank
Wenzhöfer was able to measure the bacterial and faunal
oxygen consumption directly
in the deep sea using microsensors. And life was thriving
under the algae cover: bacteria
had started to decompose the
algae as evident from a greatly
reduced oxygen content in the
sediment. By contrast, the sea
bed in the adjacent algae-free
areas was aerated down to a
depth of 80 centimetres and
had virtually no algal residues.
But where do the large
quantities of algae on the
deep-sea floor come from?
Plants cannot grow in 4000 m
Research team investigating sea ice habitat at ice station
water depth because there is
no light. Using an ROV, the
researchers found lots of remains of ice algae everywhere
under the sea ice. “It has been
known for some time that
diatoms of the type Melosira
arctica can form long chains
under the ice. However, such a
massive occurrence has so far
only been described for coastal
regions and old, thick sea ice ,”
explains Boetius. When planning the expedition three years
ago the researchers proposed
the hypothesis that ice algae
Scientists Put A Working
Eyeball On A Tadpole’s Tail
could grow faster under the
thinning sea ice of the Central
Arctic. And the observations
now published in the scientific
journal Science support their
hypothesis: at 45 per cent, the
ice algae were responsible for
almost half of the primary production in the Central Arctic
Basin. The remaining primary
production was attributable to
other diatoms and nanoplankton which live in the upper layers of the water column.
Normally, the small phytoplankton cell sinks only very
slowly through the water column and is largely consumed
already within the ocean surface layer. By contrast, the
long chains of algae formed by
Melosira arctica are heavy and
can quickly sink to the bottom
of the sea. In this way they exported more than 85 per cent
of the carbon fixed by primary
production from the water
surface to the deep sea in
summer 2012, just before the
expedition. The researchers
suppose that the algae had actually grown recently because
they found only one-year old
ice in the Central Arctic, and
because the algae extracted
from the guts of sea cucumbers were still able to photosynthesise upon return to the
ship’s laboratory. The good
nutritional state of the sea cucumbers was also evidence of
the massive food supply: the
zoologist Dr. Antonina Rogacheva of the P.P. Shirshov
Institute of Oceanology found
that the animals were larger
than normal and with highly
developed reproductive organs -- an indication that they
had been eating abundantly
for some two months.
The sea ice physicists on
board investigated why ice algae are able to thrive beneath
the thinning Arctic sea ice,
and how they may also lose
their habitat quickly due to
the increasing ice melt. They
determined the ice thickness with an electromagnetic
probe dragged by a helicopter
and by ice drillings. They also
used an underwater robot
(ROV) to view the ice from below and to measure how much
light penetrates through the
ice. Dr. Marcel Nicolaus from
the Alfred Wegener Institute
explains: “At the end of the
summer we still found a lot of
ice algae remains, and could
quantify them by using an under-ice ROV. The increasing
cover by melt ponds permits
more light to permeate the
ice, and makes the algae grow
faster.” However, since the ice
has become so much thinner
in recent years, and the Arctic
so much warmer, the ice algae will melt out more quickly
from the ice and sink.
“We were able to demonstrate for the first time that the
warming and the associated
physical changes in the Central Arctic cause fast reactions
in the entire ecosystem down
to the deep sea,” summarises
lead author Boetius.
The deep sea has so far
been seen as a relatively inert system affected by global
warming only with a considerable temporal delay. The
fact that microbial decomposition processes fueled by
the algal deposits can generate anoxic spots in the deep
sea floor within one season
alarms the researcher: “We
do not know yet whether we
have observed a one-time
phenomenon or whether this
high algal export will continue
in the coming years.” Current
predictions by climate models
assume that an ice-free summer could occur in the Arctic
in the next decades. Boetius
and her team warn: “We still
understand far too little about
the function of the Arctic ecosystem and its biodiversity
and productivity, to be able to
estimate the consequences of
the rapid sea-ice decline.”
What Makes Sleep Paralysis Scary
Imagine waking up to find you can’t move a muscle. It’s dark, but you’re sure you feel a presence in
the room, hovering near your bed — or perhaps sitting on your chest, crushing the breath out of you.
It’s hard to say what’s crazier: the
fact that Tufts University researchers
spent a year cutting out the tiny eyeballs
of tadpole embryos and sticking them
back on to the tadpoles’ tails, or: the fact
that, when they hatched, a few of the
As you know, this is not the way vision is supposed to work--your eyeballs
are supposed to be connected to a big
fat nerve that carries incoming signals
back to your brain, which combines the
information from both your eyes into a
3D picture of the world in front of you.
Without that direct link to the brain,
your eyeballs are useless.
At least, that’s the way scientists
have thought about it for the last several
centuries. But over the past few decades,
experiments in animals and humans
have repeatedly shown that the central
nervous system--including the brain
and spinal cord--is a lot more flexible
and adaptable than people used to think
it was. If one part of the brain gets damaged, for instance, the information that
used to flow to the damaged sector is
often re-routed, and another part of the
brain takes on the job of processing it.
So these newer findings got the Tufts
University researchers wondering: could
the optic nerve really be the only route
for incoming visual signals? And could
a different part of the nervous system,
like the nerves further down the spinal
cord, process those signals on their own,
without help from the brain?
Tadpoles, they realized, would be
a good way to test this question: they
would perform surgery at a time when
the tadpoles were still developing, so
that the transplanted eyes would have
time to put down nerve roots that could
potentially hook up to the rest of the
tadpoles’ nervous systems.
The surgeries were painstaking, but
the researchers were able to successfully
graft eyeballs onto the tails of over 200
tadpole embryos:
But in the other quarter of the subjects--31 tadpoles in total--the nerves
extended all the way to the animals’
spinal cords; six of the seven seeing
tadpoles belonged to this group:
The researchers’ findings seem to
indicate that the neurons in the spinal
cord are capable of doing at least some
of the tasks as the brain. If that’s true,
scientists could someday exploit the
spinal cord’s smarts for a number of
medical treatments, like restoring movement to paralyzed limbs.
This weird phenomenon is
known as sleep paralysis, and
a new study finds that understanding why it happens helps
people feel less distressed after
an episode. Believing that sleep
paralysis is brought on by the
supernatural, on the other hand,
makes people feel more unnerved.
Sleep paralysis occurs when
the brain and body aren’t quite
on the same page when it comes
to sleep. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, dreaming is
frequent, but the body’s muscles
are relaxed to the point of paralysis, perhaps to keep people
from acting out their dreams.
Researchers have found that
two brain chemicals, glycine and
GABA, are responsible for this
muscle paralysis.
Estimates of how many people experience sleep paralysis
vary from 5 percent to 60 percent, likely because of differences in survey methods. Some peo-
ple find themselves experiencing
sleep paralysis frequently, while
others wake up paralyzed only
once or twice in their lifetimes.
The good news is that sleep paralysis is ultimately considered
Night terror
Becoming mentally aware
before the body “wakes up” from
its paralyzed state can be a terrifying experience, as people realize they can’t move or speak.
Frequently, these episodes are
accompanied by hallucinations
and the sensation of breathlessness. Such hallucinations likely
gave rise to the myths of the
incubus and the succubus, demons that pin people down in
their sleep (and sometimes have
sex with them).
People may also sense a malevolent presence nearby or believe they are about to die. Some
sleep paralysis episodes come
with feelings of falling, floating
or dissociating from the body.
These sensory experiences
are more likely to distress people
than mere paralysis alone, according to the study published
online in February in the journal
Clinical Psychological Science.
Researchers James Cheyne
and Gordon Pennycook of the
University of Waterloo in Canada surveyed 293 people, mostly
women, on their experiences
with sleep paralysis. They found
that people were most distressed
after an episode when hallucinations felt threatening and when
they held supernatural beliefs
regarding the cause of the paralysis.
Thinking away fear
People with analytical thinking styles were less likely to hold
such supernatural beliefs, and
were less likely to be distressed
after experiencing sleep paralysis, the study found. Though
the study couldn’t pin down the
causal relationship, analytical
thinkers may be more likely to
seek out and believe naturalistic
or scientific explanations for the
condition, the researchers wrote,
while intuitive thinkers might be
drawn to supernatural explanations.
“These results suggest that it
is not only important for clinicians to be aware of the implications of supernatural beliefs on
SP [sleep paralysis] distress but
also sensitive to the likelihood
that not everyone will accept
or experience relief from naturalistic interpretations,” the researchers wrote.
The online survey drew from
a self-selected, rather than random, sample and relied on selfreport, the researchers wrote.
But allowing respondents to tell
their stories can be important,
they wrote, because patients
complain that their doctors often dismiss the very real fear
they feel when they wake up
Indian Horizon
Bats Build Mental Maps Of Their
Surroundings And Remember
Them For Future Flights
NASA’s Van Allen Probes Reveal a New
Radiation Belt Around Earth
Like people choosing which path to take from the grocery
store, bats develop preferred routes and remember them.
Many species of bats use echolocation to orient themselves and to hunt
their insect prey, but they also rely on
a pretty detailed memory to find their
way around, a new study suggests. Their
seemingly erratic flight patterns are not
erratic after all--they’re following detailed internal maps. Let’s call it batnav.
Jonathan Barchi and colleagues at
Brown University wanted to figure out
how bats seemingly remember complex
flight patterns that take them through
obstacles, dense clouds of other bats, and
to feeding grounds far away from their
cave dwellings. They send and receive
calls at superfast speeds, but they also fly
pretty quickly, so they don’t have much
time to orient themselves in a given location. Figuring they must be relying on
prior knowledge of their surroundings,
Barchi and fellow researchers set up a bat
obstacle course and set some bats loose.
They worked with big brown bats, Eptesicus fuscus, a common species that live
in caves and forage for insects. The team
hung chains from the ceiling in a dark
room, and embedded sensitive microphones in the walls to record the animals’
ultrasonic calls. Then they released bats
from specific locations, and reconstructed their paths using the microphone data.
After a couple of days of flights, the
bats figured out preferred paths through
the obstacles, the researchers found.
Each bat found its own way--some looped
in tight figure eight patterns, while others
made wide lasso-like shapes, each according to its own preference. Then the
team moved the bats’ release spots, and
found the bats would soon re-establish
their preferred flight paths.
To test how well they could recall
these patterns, the team put the bats on a
month-long hiatus. The bats remembered
the room and followed the same paths.
“We postulate that the development
of stable flight paths allows bats to depend on their accumulated internal representation of a space, as well as on moment-to-moment echolocation, and to
navigate within the space as a whole,” the
team writes in their new research paper.
These findings could have implications for the neural basis of spatial
memory. Unlike rats, which can stop
in unfamiliar surroundings and orient
themselves, bats are constantly on the
wing, moving away from any given location all of the time. Somehow their brains
are able to keep up with their ever-changing surroundings, the Brown team says.
Sleeping Children Learn
Better Than Adults
While you’re asleep, your brain
is busy updating and rebooting. It
takes the information you’ve gathered
throughout the day subconsciously
and processes it into explicit, conscious
knowledge. Children usually perform
worse than adults at cognitive tasks, but
a new study shows that they are significantly better at this process of implicit
to explicit conversion than adults.
As a child, you sleep more deeply
than an adult, and experience three
times more slow-wave sleep and higher
electrical activity in the brain during
that sleep. This may help turn the large
amount of information you accumulate
during the day into knowledge you can
recall intentionally.
The study, published in Nature
Neuroscience this week, looked at 35
children between 8 and 11 years old,
as well as 37 adults between 18 and 35.
They were each asked to quickly press
a sequence of buttons after they lit up.
Half of them performed the activity before sleep, and half after. They were then
asked to recall the sequence of the eight
lights 10 to 12 hours later.
After sleeping, almost all of the
children turned the implicit knowledge
into explicitly and could remember the
sequence they had pressed perfectly,
while adults experienced smaller gains.
Both groups remembered the sequence
better after sleep than those who were
asked to recall it right after their training.
This result seems to be unique to the
transfer of implicit to explicit memories.
Other studies have found that children
benefit from sleep at or below the
level of adults when it comes to other
memory tasks.
NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission has
discovered a previously unknown third
radiation belt around Earth, revealing the
existence of unexpected structures and
processes within these hazardous regions of
Previous observations of Earth’s Van Allen belts have long documented two distinct
regions of trapped radiation surrounding
our planet. Particle detection instruments
aboard the twin Van Allen Probes, launched
Aug. 30, quickly revealed to scientists the
existence of this new, transient, third radiation belt.
The belts, named for their discoverer,
James Van Allen, are critical regions for
modern society, which is dependent on
many space-based technologies. The Van
Allen belts are affected by solar storms and
space weather and can swell dramatically.
When this occurs, they can pose dangers to
communications and GPS satellites, as well
as humans in space.
“The fantastic new capabilities and
advances in technology in the Van Allen
Probes have allowed scientists to see in unprecedented detail how the radiation belts
are populated with charged particles and
will provide insight on what causes them to
change, and how these processes affect the
upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere,” said
John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington.
This discovery shows the dynamic and
variable nature of the radiation belts and
improves our understanding of how they
respond to solar activity. The findings, published February 28 in the journal Science,
are the result of data gathered by the first
dual-spacecraft mission to fly through our
planet’s radiation belts.
The new high-resolution observations by
the Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope
(REPT) instrument, part of the Energetic
Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma
Suite (ECT) aboard the Van Allen Probes,
revealed there can be three distinct, longlasting belt structures with the emergence
of a second empty slot region, or space, in
“This is the first time we have had such
high-resolution instruments look at time,
space and energy together in the outer belt,”
said Daniel Baker, lead author of the study
and REPT instrument lead at the Laboratory
for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)
at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
“Previous observations of the outer radiation belt only resolved it as a single blurry
element. When we turned REPT on just
two days after launch, a powerful electron
acceleration event was already in progress,
and we clearly saw the new belt and new slot
between it and the outer belt.”
Scientists observed the third belt for
four weeks before a powerful interplanetary shock wave from the sun annihilated
it. Observations were made by scientists
from institutions including LASP; NASA’s
Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
Md.; Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los
Alamos, N.M.; and the Institute for the Study
of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
Each Van Allen Probe carries an identical set of five instrument suites that allow
scientists to gather data on the belts in unprecedented detail. The data are important
for the study of the effect of space weather
on Earth, as well as fundamental physical
processes observed around other objects,
such as planets in our solar system and
distant nebulae.
“Even 55 years after their discovery,
the Earth’s radiation belts still are capable
of surprising us and still have mysteries to
discover and explain,” said Nicky Fox, Van
Allen Probes deputy project scientist at the
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory in Laurel, Md. “We thought we
knew the radiation belts, but we don’t. The
advances in technology and detection made
by NASA in this mission already have had an
almost immediate impact on basic science.”
The Van Allen Probes are the second
mission in NASA’s Living With a Star Program to explore aspects of the connected
sun-Earth system that directly affect life and
society. Goddard manages the program. The
Applied Physics Laboratory built the spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA.
Beating Heart Cells in a Lab Dish: Creating New
Tissue Instead of Transplanting Hearts
Embryonic stem cells can
develop into any kind of
tissue. Adult stem cells can
still turn into different kinds
of cells, but their differentiation potential is significantly
reduced. “The mechanisms
influencing the differentiation of stem cells into tissues
are still far from being
understood,” says Professor
Marko Mihovilovic (Vienna
University of Technology).
However, his research group
has now managed to synthesize substances which control
the differentiation process.
Progenitor cells can be
turned into heart cells, which
eventually start beating in the
petri dish.
“Various substances are
known to influence the development of heart tissue. We have
systematically synthesized and
tested substances with cardiogenic potential,” says Thomas
Lindner, PhD-student at the Vienna University of Technology.
The tailored chemicals are then
tested on the progenitor cells of
mice at the Medical University of
“The new triazine derivatives
we are using are much more efficient at turning the stem cells
into heart cells then any other
substances ever tested before,”
says Marko Mihovilovic. The
team at the Vienna University
of Technology has already patented the new method.
Construction Kit for Molecules
The key advantage of the
method developed at the Vienna University of Technology
is its flexibility. “Our modular
synthetic strategies are a bit like
playing with LEGO bricks. A very
high degree of complexity can
be achieved by assembling very
simple building blocks,” says
Marko Mihovilovic. Many different variations of the substances
can be produced without having
to develop new synthetic methods for each substance.
On the Verge of New Medicine
Now the goal is to turn this
pharmacological tool into a
pharmaceutical drug for humans. “It is crucial to unveil the
exact mode of action. We want to
know on a molecular level, how
our triazine derivatives influence the cell development,” says
“We want to open the door to
a completely new kind of regenerative medicine,” Marko Mihovilovic hopes.
“At the moment, transplant
medicine dominates, but it
would be much better to create tissue in the lab, with the
patient’s own DNA, so that the
danger of tissue rejection is completely eliminated.”
Not only the differentiation
of stem cells to tissues can be
influenced by chemical signals.
It is also possible to go the opposite way and turn differentiated
cells back into pluripotent cells,
which can turn into different
kinds of tissues.
“Our vision is to take cells
which are easy to extract, such as
skin cells, and to treat them with
a cocktail of different chemicals,
creating new tissue,” says Mihovilovic. Synthetic chemistry will
help to overcome the problem
that heart tissue regenerates so
poorly. If the therapy can used
for humans, the patients’ quality of life could be increased dramatically, and health care cost
could be reduced.
Indian Horizon
Novel Wireless Brain Sensor Unveiled: Wireless,
Broadband, Rechargeable, Fully Implantable
In a significant advance for brain-machine interfaces, engineers at Brown University have developed a novel wireless, broadband, rechargeable, fully implantable brain sensor that has performed well in animal models for more than a year. They describe the result in the Journal of
Neural Engineering and at a conference this week.
A team of neuroengineers
based at Brown University has
developed a fully implantable
and rechargeable wireless
brain sensor capable of relaying real-time broadband signals from up to 100 neurons
in freely moving subjects.
Several copies of the novel
low-power device, described
in the Journal of Neural Engineering, have been performing well in animal models
for more than year, a first in
the brain-computer interface field. Brain-computer
interfaces coud help people
with severe paralysis control
devces with their thoughts.
Arto Nurmikko, professor
of engineering at Brown University who oversaw the device’s invention, is presenting
it this week at the 2013 International Workshop on Clinical Brain-Machine Interface
Systems in Houston.
“This has features that
are somewhat akin to a cell
phone, except the conversation that is being sent out is
the brain talking wirelessly,”
Nurmikko said.
Neuroscientists can use
such a device to observe, record, and analyze the signals
emitted by scores of neurons
in particular parts of the animal model’s brain.
Meanwhile, wired systems
using similar implantable
sensing electrodes are being
investigated in brain-computer interface research to assess
the feasibility of people with
severe paralysis moving assistive devices like robotic arms
or computer cursors by thinking about moving their arms
and hands.
This wireless system addresses a major need for
the next step in providing a
practical brain-computer interface,” said neuroscientist
John Donoghue, the Wriston
Professor of Neuroscience at
Brown University and direc-
tor of the Brown Institute for
Brain Science.
Tightly packed technology
In the device, a pill-sized
chip of electrodes implanted
on the cortex sends signals
through uniquely designed
electrical connections into
the device’s laser-welded,
hermetically sealed titanium
“can.” The can measures 2.2
inches (56 mm) long, 1.65
inches (42 mm) wide, and
0.35 inches (9 mm) thick. That
small volume houses an entire
signal processing system: a
lithium ion battery, ultralowpower integrated circuits
designed at Brown for signal
processing and conversion,
wireless radio and infrared
transmitters, and a copper
coil for recharging -- a “brain
radio.” All the wireless and
charging signals pass through
an electromagnetically transparent sapphire window.
In all, the device looks like
a miniature sardine can with a
But what the team has
packed inside makes it a major advance among brainmachine interfaces, said lead
author David Borton, a former
Brown graduate student and
postdoctoral research associate who is now at Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne
in Switzerland.
“What makes the achievement discussed in this paper
unique is how it integrated
many individual innovations
into a complete system with
potential for neuroscientific
gain greater than the sum of
its parts,” Borton said. “Most
importantly, we show the first
fully implanted microsystem
operated wirelessly for more
than 12 months in large animal models -- a milestone for
potential [human] clinical
The device transmits data
at 24 Mbps via 3.2 and 3.8 Ghz
microwave frequencies to an
external receiver. After a twohour charge, delivered wirelessly through the scalp via
induction, it can operate for
more than six hours.
“The device uses less than
100 milliwatts of power, a key
figure of merit,” Nurmikko
Co-author Ming Yin, a
Brown postdoctoral scholar
and electrical engineer, said
one of the major challenges
that the team overcame in
building the device was optimizing its performance given
the requirements that the
implant device be small, lowpower and leak-proof, potentially for decades.
“We tried to make the best
tradeoff between the critical
specifications of the device,
such as power consumption,
noise performance, wireless
bandwidth and operational
range,” Yin said. “Another
major challenge we encountered was to integrate and
assemble all the electronics
of the device into a miniaturized package that provides
long-term hermeticity (waterproofing) and biocompatibility as well as transparency to
the wireless data, power, and
on-off switch signals.”
With early contributions
by electrical engineer William Patterson at Brown, Yin
helped to design the custom
chips for converting neural
signals into digital data. The
conversion has to be done
within the device, because
brain signals are not produced in the ones and zeros of
computer data.
Ample applications
The team worked closely
with neurosurgeons to implant the device in three pigs
and three rhesus macaque
monkeys. The research in
these six animals has been
helping scientists better observe complex neural signals
for as long as 16 months so far.
In the new paper, the team
shows some of the rich neural
signals they have been able to
record in the lab. Ultimately
this could translate to significant advances that can also
inform human neuroscience.
Current wired systems
constrain the actions of research subjects, Nurmikko
said. The value of wireless
transmission is that it frees
subjects to move however they
intend, allowing them to produce a wider variety of more
realistic behaviors. If neuroscientists want to observe the
brain signals produced during some running or foraging
behaviors, for instance, they
can’t use a cabled sensor to
study how neural circuits
would form those plans for
action and execution or strategize in decision making.
Scientists Teleport Photonic Qubits with Extreme Reliability
By means of the quantum-mechanical entanglement of spatially separated light fields, researchers in Tokyo and
Mainz have managed to teleport photonic qubits with extreme reliability. This means that a decisive breakthrough has
been achieved some 15 years after the first experiments in the field of optical teleportation.
The success of the experiment conducted in Tokyo is attributable to the
use of a hybrid technique in which two
conceptually different and previously
incompatible approaches were combined. “Discrete digital optical quantum information can now be transmitted continuously – at the touch of a
button, if you will,” explained Professor
Peter van Loock of Johannes Gutenberg
University Mainz (JGU).
As a theoretical physicist, van Loock
advised the experimental physicists in
the research team headed by Professor
Akira Furusawa of the University of Tokyo on how they could most efficiently
perform the teleportation experiment
to ultimately verify the success of quantum teleportation.
Their findings have now been
published in the prestigious specialist
journal Nature.
Quantum teleportation involves
the transfer of arbitrary quantum states
from a sender, dubbed Alice, to a spatially distant receiver, named Bob. This
requires that Alice and Bob initially
share an entangled quantum state
across the space in question, e.g., in the
form of entangled photons.
Quantum teleportation is of fundamental importance to the processing
of quantum information (quantum
computing) and quantum communication. Photons are especially valued as
ideal information carriers for quantum
communication since they can be used
to transmit signals at the speed of light.
A photon can represent a quantum
bit or qubit analogous to a binary digit
(bit) in standard classical information
processing. Such photons are known as
‘flying quantum bits’.
The first attempts to teleport single
photons or light particles were made by
the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger.
Various other related experiments have
been performed in the meantime. However, teleportation of photonic quantum bits using conventional methods
proved to have its limitations because
of experimental deficiencies and difficulties with fundamental principles.
What makes the experiment in
Tokyo so different is the use of a hybrid
technique. With its help, a completely
deterministic and highly reliable quantum teleportation of photonic qubits
has been achieved.
The accuracy of the transfer was 79
to 82 percent for four different qubits.
In addition, the qubits were teleported
much more efficiently than in previous
experiments, even at a low degree of
The concept of entanglement was
first formulated by Erwin Schrödinger
and involves a situation in which two
quantum systems, such as two light
particles for example, are in a joint
state, so that their behavior is mutually
dependent to a greater extent than is
normally (classically) possible.
In the Tokyo experiment, continuous entanglement was achieved by
means of entangling many photons
with many other photons.
This meant that the complete amplitudes and phases of two light fields
were quantum correlated. Previous
experiments only had a single photon
entangled with another single photon –
a less efficient solution. “The entangle-
ment of photons functioned very well
in the Tokyo experiment – practically
at the press of a button, as soon as the
laser was switched on,” said van Loock,
Professor for Theory of Quantum
Optics and Quantum Information at
Mainz University.
This continuous entanglement was
accomplished with the aid of so-called
‘squeezed light’, which takes the form
of an ellipse in the phase space of the
light field. Once entanglement has been
achieved, a third light field can be attached to the transmitter.
From there, in principle, any state
and any number of states can be
transmitted to the receiver. “In our
experiment, there were precisely four
sufficiently representative test states
that were transferred from Alice to
Bob using entanglement. Thanks to
continuous entanglement, it was possible to transmit the photonic qubits in
a deterministic fashion to Bob, in other
words, in each run,” added van Loock.
Earlier attempts to achieve optical
teleportation were performed differently and, before now, the concepts
used have proved to be incompatible.
Although in theory it had already been
assumed that the two different strategies, from the discrete and the continuous world, needed to be combined,
it represents a technological breakthrough that this has actually now been
experimentally demonstrated with the
help of the hybrid technique.
“The two separate worlds, the discrete and the continuous, are starting
to converge,” concluded van Loock.
In the experiments in the
new paper, the device is connected to one array of 100
cortical electrodes, the microscale individual neural
listening posts, but the new
device design allows for multiple arrays to be connected,
Nurmikko said. That would
allow scientists to observe
ensembles of neurons in multiple related areas of a brain
The new wireless device
is not approved for use in humans and is not used in clinical trials of brain-computer
interfaces. It was designed,
however, with that translational motivation. “This was
conceived very much in concert with the larger BrainGate* team, including neurosurgeons and neurologists
giving us advice as to what
were appropriate strategies
for eventual clinical applications,” said Nurmikko, who is
also affiliated with the Brown
Institute for Brain Science.
Borton is now spearheading the development of a collaboration between EPFL and
Brown to use a version of the
device to study the role of the
motor cortex in an animal
model of Parkinson’s disease.
Meanwhile the Brown
team is continuing work on
advancing the device for even
larger amounts of neural data
transmission, reducing its size
even further, and improving
other aspects of the device’s
safety and reliability so that
it can someday be considered
for clinical application in peop0le with movement disabilities. In addition to Nurmikko,
Borton and Yin, the paper was
also co-authored by Juan Aceros, an expert in mechanical
Astronomers Think They’ve
Captured The Birth Of The
Youngest Planet Ever
Astronomers have likely caught one of
the first glimpses of a planet being born.
Over the past few years, other astronomy teams
have found evidence of other still-forming baby
planets, but this object may be the youngest yet.
“The other planets are a little older,” says Sascha
Quanz, an astronomer at ETH Zurich in Switzerland
who led the discovery, in a phone interview.
Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very
Large Telescope in Chile, Quanz directly observed a
planet still in the midst of a disk of gas and dust that
surrounds its central star, HD 100546, located 335
light-years away from Earth. The planet hasn’t had the
time to gather enough mass to clear the dust around
it. The other probable protoplanets, discovered in
2011 and 2012, are a step ahead. “They have already
cleared a big gap in the disk of their host stars,” Quanz
says. The newfound object is very bright, which Quanz
thinks is because gas is actively falling on the forming
planet. Right now, the planet is about as massive as Jupiter, Quanz says. Like Jupiter, it is also gas giant.
Quanz will still have to confirm that the data
he and his team gathered really point to a forming planet. Another possible explanation for what
they’re seeing is that the object is actually being
ejected from its solar system, he says. There are
data, although not direct observations, that suggest
HD 100546 has another planet orbiting closer to it.
Interactions between two planets closer to the star
could shoot one of the planets out into the dust ring.
Observations made about five years from now
should help astronomers differentiate between the
two scenarios. Why five years? From its location, astonomers expect the new object to make a full orbit
every 360 years. So after five years, the planet should
move five degrees, if it’s truly in orbit as forming
planet. Quanz and his team will make some observations far before that, however. In April, they’ll get another turn at the Very Large Telescope, during which
they’ll make measurements that will help them determine the object’s temperature. If they’re lucky,
Quanz says, they may be able to observe the object
accreting gas--growing like any healthy baby would.
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