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Cooling therapy 'cuts infant brain damage risk'

London: Brain damage caused by lack of oxygen at birth can be averted by applying a hi-tech version of an ice pack to the head, major research suggests.

Cooling the brains of newborn babies deprived of oxygen dramatically improves the proportion who survive unharmed, two decades of research has shown.

In the study, boffins found full-term babies who suffered oxygen loss at birth were 57 percent more likely to survive without brain damage if their bodies were cooled, reports The BBC.

The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The babies' body temperature was brought down by about 4C using a fluid-filled mat under their sheet.

Dr Denis Azzopardi, from Imperial College London and who led the trial, said: "The study builds on a 20-year body of research but gives, for the first time, irrefutable proof that cooling can be effective in reducing brain damage after birth asphyxia.

"Although unfortunately it doesn't work in every case, our study showed the proportion of babies that survived without signs of brain damage went from 28 percent to 44 percent with cooling treatments - that's a 57 percent increase."

To reach the conclusion, researchers studied 325 full-term babies who had been starved of oxygen at birth.

Half of the newborn babies had their body temperature reduced to 33-34C (91-93F) for 72 hours followed by gradual re-warming in intensive care. Normal body temperature is around 37C (98F).

Radon gas the second leading cause of lung cancer

Washington: A new study has shown that radon gas, generated by the decay of uranium, is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.

The odourless and tasteless gas is generated by decay of uranium-238 (a natural radioactive element present in all rocks and soil in varying degrees).

The radon gas is emitted by the subsoil and seeps into houses - to a greater or lesser degree depending upon the permeability of the ground - through the pores and cracks in garages and basements.

The researchers from the University of Cantabria and the Romanian Babes-Bolyai University studied the exposure to this element in a uranium mining area in Transylvania and in an area of granite in Torrelodones, Madrid.

The authors estimated the death rate due to lung cancer attributable to radon and smoking in the areas between 1994 and 2006.

The result was double that which would have been expected based on a relative risk report produced in 2006 for the whole of Europe on cancer incidence and mortality.

"The study shows that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, as has also been shown by many other studies carried out over the years in various parts of the world", Carlos Sainz, co-author of the study and a researcher for the Ionizing Radiation Group at the University of Cantabria, told SINC.

"It is much more abundant in granite areas, such as Torrelodones and other areas in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, such as parts of Galicia, Salamanca and Cáceres", he added.

The study conducted in Transylvania, Romania, where there are old uranium mines, showed higher incidence of lung cancer, almost 116.82pct higher than estimates.

The researchers suggest regular checking of gas levels along with ventilating cellars and basements with extractor fans (opening windows alone may not be sufficient, depending on the levels of the gas).

The construction of architectural barriers that are impermeable to radon is also recommended, above all in newly-built houses.

The study appears in journal Science of the Total Environment.

Children, adolescents 'most vulnerable to malaria'

Washington: Children as young as five and teenagers are at an increased risk of developing life-threatening malaria, says a new study.

Lead researcher Abdisalan M Noor, from the Kenyan Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and the University of Oxford, said as an unintended consequence of attempting to achieve the targets of the Abuja declaration and Millennium Development Goals, children and adolescents over five are being put at risk.

"5-19 years olds are a particularly important group for two reasons", said Noor.

"Firstly, they represent a large fraction of the population in most developing African communities.

"Secondly, while they may have developed a functional immune response against clinical disease before their fifth birthday, they will not have developed an immunity to the Malaria parasite and continue to contribute transmission in the community," Noor added.

The researchers said that an estimated 80pct of human-mosquito transmission comes from over-fives, with young adolescents and older children the peak age group.

Noor concludes, "Where school attendance is high, the delivery of nets through schools should be considered an approach to reach universal coverage and improve the likelihood of impacting upon parasite transmission".

The research is published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

World's biggest online zoo opened

London: In an awesome combination of dream, planning and technology, the BBC has opened the world's biggest online zoo featuring hundreds of animals.

The zoo has none of the disappointments – lion staying in their dens, snakes preferring to remain away from the public's glare - that a visitor has to encounter in a traditional zoo.

The zoo has 370 animals for the start and the databank of clips and still pictures will be reinforced daily. The BBC staff is exploring several wildlife programmes to enhance their collection.

Darwin's frog, found in Chile forests and which gives birth through the mouth of the male. The birth process is repeated in slow motion.

The website is classified into animal kingdom's main categories, such as mammals, fish and birds, and is further sub-divided in tiers through subspecies. Long-standing favourites such as meerkats are in the launch selection but the spotlight also shines on the nocturnal and hardly-ever-seen Sundar Flying Lemur, or Malay Colugo. A rat-like rodent, this opens itself out into a sort of aerial handbag to glide silently through the forests of Borneo in the dark. Equally shy are the Dumbo octopi, the only wild species to be named after a Disney character.

Nearly 25 percent of the animals have more than one clip each.

Google offer: USD 10 mn for ideas that can change world

New Delhi: Building a real time, user-reported news service might sound utopian but the idea is one among the 16 that could end up getting millions of dollars from internet major Google.

The company has shortlisted 16 ideas that has the potential to help the most number of people and up to five of them, would receive funds worth USD 10 million.

According to information available on its website, the project is a "call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible".

The 16 ideas such as building a real time, user-reported news service and making educational content free online, were shortlisted from thousands of ideas submitted by people from different parts of the world.

Going by the website, the firm would give USD 10 million to fund the implementation of as many as five ideas.

As per descriptions available on the website, the user-reported news service would help people find and report timely, important local information.

"Implementation of this idea would involve creating a system that enables ordinary citizens to easily report news that's happening around them, from meaningful local events to important global stories," the website said.

Other ideas include creating genocide monitoring and alert system, promoting health monitoring and data analysis and building better banking tools for everyone.

The public can vote on these ideas till October 8.

Bureau Report
US 'to loosen control' over the Internet

New York: As Internet use expands worldwide, the United States said Wednesday it will give other governments and the private sector a greater oversight role in an organization whose decisions affect how computers relay traffic such as e-mail and Twitter posts.

The move comes after European regulators and other critics have said the U.S. government could wield too much influence over a system used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those critics have complained, among other things, about the slow rollout of Internet addresses in languages other than English.

However, the U.S. government stopped short Wednesday of cutting its ties completely with the Internet organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. The government agreed instead to establish advisory panels made up of government and private-sector representatives around the world.

The panels will review how well ICANN decisions are made openly, reflect the public interest, ensure stability and promote competition for domain names, which are the monikers ending in ".com" and other suffixes. ICANN decisions could influence what domain names are available, what languages they are in and how much they cost.

"The Internet is on a long-term arch from being 100 percent American to being 100 percent global," said Rod Beckstrom, the former U.S. cybersecurity chief who joined ICANN as chief executive in July. "This is a significant step along that arch to becoming more global."

The U.S. Commerce Department has a guaranteed seat on only one of those panels, with the remaining representatives to be picked by leaders from ICANN and its advisory committee of government officials.

But the panels' recommendations won't be binding on ICANN. And Commerce retains oversight through a separate contract for ICANN to handle the nuts-and-bolts of domain name administration. That contract runs through 2011; the new one taking effect Thursday covers ICANN's broader role in setting guidelines and policies.

ICANN also agreed to remain a nonprofit headquartered in the United States — it's based in Marina del Rey, Calif. — with offices around the world.

Beckstrom said some critics abroad might take that to mean Internet governance still isn't truly global, but the arrangement should ultimately bolster ICANN's standing internationally.

"The U.S. government is saying, 'OK, you have become a multistakeholder body. Congratulations. Now on to the next set of challenges,'" Beckstrom said.

Although the United States will be sharing oversight on these review panels, Commerce officials expect to be more active than before. In the past, the U.S. rarely exercised its veto power over ICANN decisions, and it didn't conduct the formal, public reviews envisioned by the new agreement.

Billionaire clown boards capsule for space flight

Baikonur, Kazakhstan: Billionaire entertainer Guy Laliberte has been greeted by a raucous crowds of friends and family during preparations for his Soyuz rocket trip to the International Space Station.

The Cirque du Soleil founder and two fellow astronauts were cheered by supporters wearing red clown noses during pre-launch preparations Wednesday at Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

As Canadian Laliberte, U.S. Astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russian Cosmonaut Maxim Surayev climbed into their capsule on the launch pad, they sang the pop song, "Mammy Blue."

Among those cheering were Laliberte's wife, former model Claudia Barilla, and Quebec singing star Garou.

The three were expected to blast off later Wednesday morning for a two-day trip to the orbiting laboratory.

Bureau Report
World's most sensitive astronomical camera developed

Washington: A team of scientists has developed the world's most sensitive astronomical camera.

The camera was developed by a team of Universite de Montreal researchers In Canada, led by physics PhD student Olivier Daigle.

Marketed by Photon etc., a young Quebec firm, the camera will be used by the Mont-Megantic Observatory and NASA, which purchased the first unit.

The camera is made up of a CCD controller for counting photons; a digital imagery device that amplifies photons observed by astronomical cameras or by other instruments used in situations of very low luminosity.

The controller produces 25 gigabytes of data per second.

Electric signals used to pilot the imagery chip are 500 times more precise than those of a conventional controller.

This increased precision helps reduce noise that interferes with the weak signals coming from astronomical objects in the night sky.

The controller allows to substantially increase the sensitivity of detectors, which can be compared to the mirror of the Mont-Mégantic telescope doubling its diameter.

"The first astronomical results are astounding and highlight the increased sensitivity acquired by the new controller," said Daigle.

"The clarity of the images brings us so much closer to the stars that we are attempting to understand," he added.

A thriving Quebec company Photon etc. developed a commercial version of the controller devised by Daigle and his team and integrated it in complete cameras.

NASA was first to place an order for one of these cameras and was soon followed by a research group from the University of Sao Paulo, and by a European-Canadian consortium equipping a telescope in Chili. (ANI)

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ISRO develops tech to boost satellite life by five years

Bangalore: For the first time, India's space scientists have developed electric propulsion technology that is expected to boost the life of geostationary satellites by upto five years.

In other words, the satellites which today have a lifespan of ten years, could last upto 15 years.

The system -- plasma thrusters - would be tested in GSAT-4 spacecraft slated to be launched on board GSLV later this year, ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair said.

"Electric propulsion is going to be a unique thing. It will be used in GSAT-4. This is a concept we are going to prove in this (GSAT-4). Once proven, it can be adopted as standard for future geostationary orbits", he said.

So far, ISRO had been using chemical propulsion for station-keeping, altitude control, precision spacecraft control, stabilisation and orientation.

With the use of electric propulsion, the life of the spacecraft can be enhanced, Nair, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said.

Bureau Report
Flight of the bumblebee recreated by scientists

London: Scientists armed with modern software and high-tech cameras say they have created a computer model that shows how bumblebees manage to defy the laws of aerodynamics.

A team of scientists from England and Australia used computer software written for aircraft designers to prove that the airflow and thrust generated by the complex flapping movement of insect wings is enough to keep bumblebees and locusts in the air.

The debate over a bumblebee's ability to fly dates back about 100 years when various scientists and engineers argued that a pollen-laden bumblebee should be incapable of flying as it did not have enough lift to get airborne.

Professor Adrian Thomas of the Animal Flight Group at Oxford University's Department of Zoology said the the so-called 'bumblebee paradox' now really is dead, backing various previous studies showing that a bumblebee's flight is aided by air flow.

"Nowadays, a computer model that you can buy off-the-shelf can accurately predict how an insect flies," Thomas told Reuters Television.

The researchers used high-speed digital video cameras to film locusts in action in a wind tunnel, capturing how the shape of a locust's wing changes in flight.

They used that information to create a computer model which recreates the airflow and thrust generated by the complex flapping movement.

"We have now got a computer model of animal flight that we have checked against the real world," said Thomas.

Thomas said this system could help in the design of miniature robot aircraft for use in situations such as search and rescue, military operations and inspecting hazardous environments.

However he was the first to admit that the efficiency of human engineering lags far behind natural evolution.

"Insects have been around for 300 million and that is a long time to be under selection pressure that is trying to perfect your design," said Thomas.

Bureau Report
Climate change to cause malnourishment in children

Mumbai: Twenty five million more children will be malnourished in 2050 due to effects of climate change and India will be one of the worst affected in the Asian countries, a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said today.

However, our study finds that this scenario of lower yields, higher prices, and increased child malnutrition can be averted with USD seven billion additional annual investments in rural development especially in developing countries, the report said.

Seven billion U.S. dollars per year of additional investments in agricultural productivity is to help farmers to adapt to the effects of climate change. Investments are needed in agricultural research, improved irrigation, and rural roads to increase market access for poor farmers, Gerald Nelson, IFPRI senior research fellow and a lead author told media in a teleconference last night from Washington..

Developing countries will be hit hardest by climate change and will face bigger declines in crop yields and production than industrialised countries.

The negative effects of climate change are especially pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Compared to the average biophysical effects of climate change on yields in the industrialised world, the developing countries fare worse for almost all crops, he said.

Bureau Report
SC allows parties to pay & regularise use of Mumbai forest

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed residents, builders and developers to regularise use of forest area in Mumbai by depositing an amount equal to 20 times the prevailing Net Present Value with Maharashtra government.

The apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) recommended that the areas declared as private forests be allowed for non-forestry use, de-reservation and private ownership on payment of different NPV rates applicable to the adjoining forest areas.

The Bombay High Court had held approximately 9,193 acre and 37 gunthas of land situated within the municipal limits of Greater Mumbai as private forests.

Leading developers Godrej and Boyce, Nanabhai Jeejeebhoy, Atithi Builders, Normal Lifestyle and Nirmal Developers and residents had challenged the Bombay High Court judgement.

An apex court Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said those who want to deposit NPV should do so with the state government which would consider the category under which the affected parties fell. However, it said this would be without any prejudice to the parties.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked Maharashtra government to maintain status quo with regard to huge tracts of land that were declared as 'private forests.'

Bureau Report
Air pollutants can travel miles to harm atmosphere

Washington: A new study has determined that plumes of harmful air pollutants can be transported across oceans and continents and have a negative impact on air quality far from their original sources.

The study was done by researchers from the National Research Council, US.

Although degraded air quality is nearly always dominated by local emissions, the influence of non-domestic pollution sources may grow as emissions from developing countries increase and become relatively more important as a result of tightening environmental protection standards in industrialized countries.

"Air pollution does not recognize national borders; the atmosphere connects distant regions of our planet," said Charles Kolb, chair of the committee that wrote the report and president and chief executive officer of Aerodyne Research Inc.

"Emissions within any one country can affect human and ecosystem health in countries far downwind. While it is difficult to quantify these influences, in some cases the impacts are significant from regulatory and public health perspectives," he added.

The report examines four types of air pollutants: ozone; particulate matter such as dust, sulfates, or soot; mercury; and persistent organic pollutants such as DDT.

The committee found evidence, including satellite observations, that these four types of pollutants can be transported aloft across the Northern Hemisphere, delivering significant concentrations to downwind continents.

Ultimately, most pollutants' impacts depend on how they filter down to the surface.

The health impacts of long-range transport vary by pollutant. For ozone and particulate matter -- which cause respiratory problems and other health effects -- the main concern is direct inhalation.

While the amount of ozone and particulate matter transported on international scales is generally quite small compared with domestic sources, neither of these pollutants has a known "threshold," or concentration below which exposure poses no risk for health impacts.

Therefore, even small incremental increases in atmospheric concentrations can have negative impacts, according to the committee.

For instance, modeling studies have estimated that about 500 premature cardiopulmonary deaths could be avoided annually in North America by reducing ozone precursor emissions by 20 percent in the other major industrial regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

To enhance understanding of long-range transport of pollution and its impacts, the committee recommended a variety of research initiatives, such as advancing "fingerprinting" techniques to better identify source-specific pollutant characteristics, and examining how emissions from ships and aircraft affect atmospheric composition and complicate the detection of pollution from land-based sources.
Saudi Arabia not to allow use of its airspace against Iran

Jerusalem: Saudi Arabia has refuted the report that the Israeli and British intelligence heads met with its officials, who agreed to allow the Jewish state to use their airspace to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

British newspaper Sunday Express had reported that Saudi officials had recently met British Intelligence chief and Israel's Mossad chief Meir Dagan in London and given consent to Israeli Air Force jets for using their airspace in such an event.

As per the report, it was also agreed that Saudi Arabia would turn a 'blind eye' to Israel's use of its airspace during a strike.

The Saudi Press Agency today quoted a source from royal family as saying that the report is untrue and asked the Iranian media to refrain from publishing such stories for the sake of journalistic credibility, Israel Radio reported.

Israel, which has dubbed the Iranian nuclear programme an "existential threat", has been emphasising that Tehran's nuclear ambitions not only bothers the Jewish state but several Arab states are equally worried, though not willing to publicly admit it.

Meanwhile, the head of Iran's nuclear energy agency yesterday said that his country would not discuss issues related to its nuclear "rights" at its meeting with six world powers scheduled to take place tomorrow.

Bureau Report
National Wrestling Championship to start from Oct 11 in Bhopal

Bhopal: The 54th Senior National Men's Wrestling and 12th Women's National Wrestling Championship will begin from October 11 at Motilal Nehru stadium here.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will inaugurate the four-day event, Madhya Pradesh Amateurs Wrestling Association Patron and State Industries Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya told reporters today.

"Around 750 men and women, including many renowned wrestlers, drawn from 28 states are expected to take part in the championship. It is the first time that such a mega wrestling event would be held in Madhya Pradesh," he said.

The minister said the government was making efforts to promote sports in the state. Many playgrounds are coming up at the panchayat level in Madhya Pradesh, he added.

Vijayvargiya said the state government has increased funds by six times for sports activity in this year's budget.

Bureau Report
IOC members agonize over 2016 Olympic host city

Copenhagen: International Olympic Committee members were agonizing Wednesday over how to choose the host of the 2016 Games, with many said to be undecided just two days before the vote.

IOC members settling into their hotel in Copenhagen told The Associated Press that Tokyo, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago are all capable of hosting the games and there is no clear favorite.

Samih Moudallal, an IOC member since 1998, said Friday's vote, when cities will be eliminated in successive rounds of secret balloting, will be like choosing between "four sons or your brothers."

"How do you choose between your brothers?" Moudallal told the AP, adding that he has yet to make his choice. "You have to use your mind and your heart together.

"It's a very difficult choice."

And one Michelle Obama wants to help them with. The U.S. first lady jetted into Copenhagen on Wednesday and was getting almost straight to work on meeting with IOC members before her husband, President Barack Obama, arrives Friday to give a final push to Chicago's bid.

With the contest so close, such personal VIP appeals could help sway the vote, although IOC members said they would likely not be decisive.

Spain's King Juan Carlos and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were also arriving as last-minute lobbying shifted to high gear. Japan's new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, was expected to arrive Thursday.

As tension mounted, so did tempers. Despite fresh IOC warnings that the four candidate cities should avoid criticizing their rivals, the Spanish Olympic Committee's vice president, Jose Maria Odriozola, told the national Efe news agency that "Rio is the worst bid."

Contrary to bookmakers' predictions, he said Madrid and Tokyo are the favorites.

IOC votes can be highly unpredictable. Aside from the paramount questions of whether bidding cities' Olympic plans are technically and financially feasible, emotion, sentiment, geography, politics, self-interest and other factors also play a role.

IOC vice president Chiharu Igaya said "many" IOC members are undecided and will choose only after the cities' final presentations Friday. "The four cities are now neck-to-neck," he told the AP.

"That final presentation, yes, it's going to be crucial," said Willi Kaltschmitt, an IOC member since 1988. He said he believes that half or more of his 105 colleagues remain undecided.

Added British IOC member Craig Reedie: "This is really close. The closer it gets the more people will say, let me think about it. We all want to see the presentations. It's what people see that will count. Decided? No, I haven't actually. I'm getting close."

Last-minute and high-powered lobbying can be important — as then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, proved when London was vying for the 2012 Olympics. Blair traveled to Singapore ahead of the vote and spent two days lobbying IOC members, inviting them to his hotel suite
for one-on-one meetings.
King, First Lady and President woo Olympic votes

Copenhagen: A Spanish King, an American First Lady and a Brazilian President metaphorically rolled up their sleeves and got down to work on Wednesday, using charm and prestige to woo votes towards their ultimate Olympic prize.

Copenhagen airport's red carpet was rapidly furled and unfurled as King Juan Carlos, Michelle Obama and Luis Inacio Lula da Silva breezed in and got straight down to earnest meetings with International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who vote on Friday to decide the venue of the 2016 Summer Games.

Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo are the four candidates for the 2016 Olympics. The winner will be announced by IOC president Jacques Rogge shortly after 1630 GMT on Friday after a day of presentations and voting by more than 100 IOC members.

London bookmakers made Chicago the favourites after Monday's announcement that US President Barack Obama would fly in on Friday to join his wife in making the Chicago presentation.

Chicago were quoted at 8/11 on by William Hill with Rio next on 9/4, Tokyo at 8/1 and Madrid the outsider at 16/1.

The First Lady lined up a daunting schedule of one-on-one meetings with IOC members in the 48 hours leading up to the vote and was at their hotel shortly after arrival.

"I'm so happy to be here. I'm so excited," she told a media throng awaiting her at the hotel. "We have got a lot of work to do. We are not taking anything for granted. So I am going to go and talk to some voters."

Several IOC members were also waiting for her in the hotel lobby as the smiling First Lady waved to supporters.

King Juan Carlos also wasted little time in making an appearance at the hotel where he was promoting the merits of Madrid and President Lula held meetings to push the joy and spontaneity of Rio's campaign.

Japan's newly elected prime minister Yukio Hatoyama was due in the Danish capital on Thursday to back the Tokyo bid.

Not everyone was impressed with the favourites, however.

"We cannot afford the games in the city. The city is broke," said Martin Macias Jr. of the No Games Chicago group, standing in the lobby of the official IOC hotel as bid leaders, including Chicago's Patrick Ryan, mingled with IOC members only a few metres away.

The group has attended several IOC meetings in the past year to express opposition to the bid.

Former IOC vice-president Dick Pound of Canada also pondered whether President Obama, who is taking a huge political gamble by associating himself so closely with the Chicago bid, was doing the right thing.

"That's a risk," he said. "You have the leader of the free world flying halfway across the world (to support Chicago's bid). Is it a good use of his time?"

"It is a little too soon (to predict a winner). I don't think there is a favourite. Certainly you could have three winners. Four is a stretch," he said, declining to name the outsider.

Bureau Report
London raises Olympic sponsorship target as UPS delivers deal

London: London 2012 Olympic organisers are set to defy the economic downturn and raise their sponsorship target to 700 million pounds (USD 1.13 billion), but the extra cash will not be used to cut the cost of tickets.

The London organising committee (LOCOG), which unveiled its 22nd sponsor on Wednesday, American delivery company UPS, said it expects its current target of 650 million pounds to rise as businesses become more excited the nearer the Games get.

UPS warned London motorists, used to traffic-clogged streets, that sacrifices would have to be made to help the smooth delivery of items, ranging from athletes' kit to tons of broadcasting equipment.

The tier 2 sponsorship deal, worth about 20 million pounds, boosts Locog's current total to about 550 million pounds.

"I have always from the beginning talked about 600 to 700 million pounds, the midpoint is 650. The success of the programme so far has encouraged us to shift to the right hand of the range," said LOCOG Chief Executive Paul Deighton.

The bulk of the remaining sponsorship will come from tier 2 and tier 3 deals, worth between 20 and 10 million pounds each.

Deighton last year said he feared the global recession could hamper Locog's ability to secure sponsorship.

In July LOCOG was forced to move quickly to sign up Cisco as its official network infrastructure partner after its original partner Nortel Networks, the Canadian telecoms firm, filed for bankruptcy protection.

But Deighton said he was confident of securing the extra sponsors.

"From the perspective of the overall economic environment people are... planning for recovery now rather than managing through the worst of it," he said.

"But frankly, the momentum of our sponsorship programme and the excitement as we get closer to the Games is probably a stronger positive pull than the general economic background."

Deighton predicted there would be no problem with British confectioner Cadbury, continuing to be a tier 2 partner, if it is taken over by North American confectionery group Kraft Foods.

The remainder of LOCOG's 2 billion pound budget will come from International Olympic Committee (IOC) global sponsorship deals, broadcasting rights, tickets and merchandising.

Deighton said it was unlikely the anticipated extra income would result in cheaper tickets.

"Our intention already was to make sure we have a very significant number of highly affordable tickets and we are already at that point so that probably would not be my first choice, I think there are other things to spend the money on," he said.

UPS, which has been involved in previous Games, including Beijing 2008, said dealing with London's transport network would be a challenge.

Daniel Brutto, UPS international president, said: "You cannot have a regular London business traffic day, and think you are going to deliver the Games as business as usual. That is not going to physically be able to happen."

Bureau Report
Tokyo target passionate finale in Olympic campaign race

Tokyo: Tokyo must communicate the city's passion for the Olympics in the final two days of the campaign for 2016, bid chief Ichiro Kono said on Wednesday.

"We have two days to go and the most important thing left is the presentation on Friday," Kono said at a media briefing in the Danish capital on Wednesday.

"With the spirit and heartfelt soul of Japan we can communicate our passion to the IOC. That is the key to our lobbying."

Tokyo is up against Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid in a tight race that will be decided in a vote of more than 100 IOC members after the four candidate cities make final presentations on Friday.

Japan's newly elected prime minister Yukio Hatoyama is due to fly into Copenhagen to push the Tokyo bid.

"Our mood is excellent," Kono said. "We have superb athletes here to support us and our new prime minister is coming as well. We are very confident."

Portugal's former Olympic champion Rosa Mota joined an array of Japanese athletes on stage at the event to add her support.

Mota, who won the marathon gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, talked up Tokyo's safety after being introduced as the surprise guest at an athletes' presentation.

"The first time I came to Tokyo to train and compete was in 1986," she said. "I was preparing for the Tokyo marathon and I took off my tracksuit and left it in the park as I went for a run. When I got back, the suit was still there. I was quite surprised."

"In Tokyo, I can walk at night and I always feel safe. You can't say that about every city."

Bureau Report

'No security guarantee for CWG athletes'

Sydney: Australia's Commonwealth Games chief said Thursday he cannot guarantee the safety of his country's athletes at next year's games in New Delhi, and will let them decide whether they want to compete.

Following last November's terror attacks in Mumbai that left 172 dead and more than 300 injured, organisers have put in place extra resources to secure the October 3-14 Games.

Yet the event is being clouded by a perception abroad that India is unsafe.

Australia pulled out of a Davis Cup tennis tie in the southern city of Chennai in May while England withdrew from the world badminton championships in Hyderabad in August, despite no specific terror threats against either event.

Australia and England are expected to be the main draws at next year's Games in the Indian capital.

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) has met with representatives from each of the 18 competing sports, and none have yet said they plan to skip New Delhi, association chief Perry Crosswhite said.

Some of Australian sport's biggest names -- including swimmers Stephanie Rice and Leisel Jones, track and field stars Steve Hooker and Jana Rawlinson, cyclists Cadel Evans and Anna Meares and tennis players Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur - are in line to compete at the Games.

"We have said to all the sports that the decision on whether athletes go or not is their decision," Crosswhite said.

"If some of them think it's not secure enough, they're going to make that decision."

"We can't guarantee anyone's safety."

"All we can say is we've checked it out and we think it's as safe and secure as it can be."

Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell has recently expressed concern about delays in preparing for the Games. Crosswhite said it would become clearer how the Indians reacted to that criticism at a CGF Assembly in New Delhi in early October.

"They'll probably get some more people on board, throw some more resources at it, get the security right, get the venues finished," he said.

"It will be a fantastic opening ceremony, while behind the scenes there will be a lot things that happen at the last minute.

"The sports will go ahead, the technical officials will make sure that works, the broadcasters will muddle through and somehow technology will catch up."

"Everybody will go to it and have a pretty good time and go away and say they did it the Indian way and it was a success," he added.

"But overall maybe it won't be as good as Manchester (2002) or Melbourne (2006)."
ICICI Bank sells 4.41% stake in 3i Infotech for Rs 46 crore

Private sector lender ICICI Bank on Wednesday sold 4.41% stake in software services provider 3i Infotech for Rs 46.17 crore
in open market transactions at both the major bourses in the country. ICICI Bank, a promoter group firm of 3i Infotech, on Wednesday sold 28.42 lakh equity shares of the IT firm at a price of Rs 79.79 per piece aggregating to Rs 22.67 crore, according to bulk deal data available on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

In addition, the bank also sold 29.35 lakh shares of 3i Infotech in another bulk deal on the National Stock Exchange at a price of Rs 80.05 per piece totalling Rs 23.49 crore. As per the shareholding information for the quarter ended June, ICICI Bank held 9.62% stake in 3i Infotech. In separate deals, state-run insurance major LIC bought 32 lakh shares in 3i Infotech for a total of Rs 25.27 crore in bulk deals at the NSE and the BSE.

For the quarter ended June, Life Insurance Corporation of India Ltd held 7.45% stake in 3i Infotech. Shares of 3i Infotech closed up 5.95% at Rs 88.20 on the BSE.
Bharti, MTN call off merger talks

NEW DELHI: After several months of frenzied negotiations, the proposed $23-billion deal between Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel and South
Africa-based MTN was called off on Wednesday, as the South African government rejected the deal in its current form.

Ultimately, the South African government's insistence on dual listing of both companies in India and South Africa proved a deal-breaker, as this would have amounted to capital account convertibility.

A Bharti Airtel statement said, ``This structure needed an approval from the government of South Africa, which has expressed its inability to accept it in the current form. In view of this, both companies have taken the decision to disengage from discussion. However, Bharti will continue to explore international expansion opportunities that are consistent with its vision and bring value to its shareholders.''

The South African government said, ``MTN advised the (finance) minister that the two companies have mutually decided to terminate further discussions on the proposed merger, as they were not able to conclude all outstanding matters to enable the transaction to proceed.''

The scrapping of talks led to a crash in MTN's share price on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. On Wednesday, MTN's share price fell by 5.5% from its day's high of 126 rand to around 122 rand, which prompted a halt to trading in the scrip.

Since the announcement of the proposed deal on May 25, the share price of MTN went up by around 7%. Not only this, the value of the South African currency, rand, has also fallen sharply. A source said the deal would have led to a huge inflow of FDI in South Africa. In fact, this would have been the largest ever foreign direct investment in the country. But now, as the deal has been called off the foreign fund inflow would be affected.

However, on the other side, Indian investors feel that the calling off of the deal would make Bharti's share price go up. Since the announcement of the deal, Bharti's share price remained listless despite the fact that during the period, the sensex jumped by 23%. In fact, compared to the share price prevailing a couple of days before the announcement of the start of the negotiations, Bharti's share price fell.

Under the deal, Bharti would have acquired 49% stake in MTN and MTN 25% in Bharti. Besides this, the net cash outflow from Bharti would have $ 4.1 billion.

This is the second time in just over a year when Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel has been forced to abandon talks for amalgamation of the two organisations.

The statement issued by Bharti said that the broad structure being discussed by the two sides had taken into account the sensibilities and sensitivities of both companies and both their countries. It said that the deal would have been a significant step in promoting South-South cooperation - a vision of the two countries.

Despite failure in the two round of discussion, Bharti has not left the hope. It said, ``We hope the South African government will review its position in the future and allow both companies an opportunity to re-engage.
Microsoft CEO's salary falls 6%

SEATTLE: The value of the compensation package granted to Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer fell about 6 percent in fiscal 2009, a year in which
weak computer sales cut into the software maker's profits.

Ballmer received a pay package valued at $1.28 million for the year that ended in June, according to an Associated Press calculation of figures disclosed in a regulatory filing Tuesday.

Ballmer's salary, which is set at the beginning of the year, increased by 4 percent to $665,833. The CEO's bonus was cut by 14 percent to $600,000 from $700,000 in 2008, according to the company's annual proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the filing, the company's compensation committee evaluates Ballmer's performance in the fiscal year, looks at what other Microsoft executives will be paid and ``exercises its judgment'' in recommending his bonus.
Ballmer could have received up to 200 percent of his base salary, or about $1.3 million.

The balance of Ballmer's pay came in the form of $7,350 in company matches to his retirement savings account and $3,444 in imputed income from life insurance, disability insurance and athletic club membership, or payments in place of an athletic club membership.

Ballmer did not receive stock or stock options in 2009. He currently holds 4.6 percent of Microsoft's shares. Bill Gates, Microsoft's founder and current board chairman, owns 8 percent of the company's stock.

Microsoft's fiscal year ended on a down note in June as the economic crisis continued to hammer technology sales. The Redmond, Washington-based company's revenue fell 3 percent from 2008, the first such decline since Microsoft went public in 1986. Earnings sank to $14.6 billion from $17.7 billion in 2008.

Microsoft's biggest businesses, Windows and Office, are tied to the health of the PC industry. Since the economic meltdown, consumers and businesses have both cut back on buying computers. The last three months of 2008 marked the PC industry's worst holiday season in six years.

For 2009, market research firms IDC and Gartner have both predicted a year-over-year decline in PC shipments, which would be the first such drop since 2001.

The company said that as a whole, executive officers' incentive compensation was 29 percent lower than in 2008. The company said it would not give Ballmer or other executive officers merit-based salary increases in fiscal 2010.

Microsoft reported Ballmer's higher salary, but not his bonus cut, in a draft filing with the SEC on Sept. 19.

The company had also previously announced that shareholders will have a chance to vote on a ``say-on-pay'' measure proposed by the board at its annual meeting on Nov. 19. The proposal would give shareholders a chance to weigh in, in a non-binding fashion, every three years on executive compensation.

The board is also proposing changes to company bylaws that would give groups of shareholders representing 25 percent or more of outstanding shares the right to call special shareholder meetings _ a right Microsoft said in the SEC filing is "increasingly considered an important aspect of good corporate governance.''

Shareholders also will have the opportunity to vote on two proposals from their peers. One, from the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund, asks Microsoft to adopt principles for health care that include support for universal, continuous, affordable coverage for individuals and families.

The second, from a shareholder in Ohio, suggests Microsoft list recipients of company charitable gifts over $5,000 on the company's Web site.

Microsoft's board is recommending votes against both proposals.
Converting trash into biofuel may cut CO2 emissions by 80%

WASHINGTON: Scientists in Singapore and Switzerland have suggested that converting the trash that fills the world's landfills into biofuel could
cut global carbon emissions by 80 per cent.

Biofuels produced from crops have proven controversial because they require an increase in crop production that has its own severe environmental costs.

However, second-generation biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol derived from processed urban waste, may offer dramatic emissions savings without the environmental catch.

"Our results suggest that fuel from processed waste biomass, such as paper and cardboard, is a promising clean energy solution," said study author Associate Professor Hugh Tan of the National University of Singapore.

"If developed fully this biofuel could simultaneously meet part of the world's energy needs, while also combating carbon emissions and fossil fuel dependency," he added.

The team used the United Nation's Human Development Index to estimate the generation of waste in 173 countries.

This data was then coupled to the Earthtrends database to estimate the amount of gasoline consumed in those same countries.

The team found that 82.93 billion litres of cellulosic ethanol could be produced from the world's landfill waste and that by substituting gasoline with the resulting biofuel, global carbon emissions could be cut by figures ranging from 29.2 percent to 86.1 per cent for every unit of energy produced.

"If this technology continues to improve and mature these numbers are certain to increase," concluded co-author Dr. Lian Pin Koh from ETH Zürich. "This could make cellulosic ethanol an important component of our renewable energy future," he added.
Crude oil futures strengthen on sustained buying

New Delhi, Oct 1 (PTI) Crude oil futures prices extended gains for the second straight day by rising 0.45 per cent today on sustained buying by speculators influenced by pick up in demand in spot markets. Crude oil for October contract rose by 0.45 per cent to Rs 3,352 per barrel with an open interest in 20,844 lots.

It had gained 0.87 per cent in yesterday''s trading. Similarly, crude oil for delivery in November contract traded higher by the same margin at Rs 3,376 per barrel with an open interest in 2,122 lots.

Market experts said sustained buying by speculators due to pick up in demand in spot market mainly led to rise in crude oil prices.
India's Jurassic nest dug up in Tamil Nadu

COIMBATORE: Geologists in Tamil Nadu have stumbled upon a Jurassic treasure trove buried in the sands of a river bed. Sheer luck led them to
hundreds of fossilized dinosaur eggs, perhaps 65 million years old, underneath a stream in a tiny village in Ariyalur district.

Researchers from the Salem-based Periyar University found clusters of eggs of what they believe to be the most aggressive Carnosaur and the docile, leaf-eating Sauropod at Sendurai village.

While Carnosaurs were large predatory dinasaurs, Sauropods were long-necked, herbivores which grew to enormous heights and sizes.

That dinosaurs once roamed the area was known from the fossils found there on earlier expeditions. But this is the first time that hundreds of nests embedded with hundreds of clusters of dinosaur eggs have been unearthed in the district.

Located on the highway between Chennai and Tiruchi, the Ariyalur and the neighbouring Perambalur geological sites nestle in the northern plains of the Cauvery river. The place is a veritable museum of ancient organisms, dating back to 140 million years. Ever since a British couple -- the Wines -- collected 32 boxes of "strange stone objects" in 1843, the Ariyalur region has drawn geologists from across the world for its rich fossil presence and diversity.

Scientists have found the tiniest marine algae or the nano fossils besides the rare shell-like bivalve, gastropoda, telecypoda and brachiopoda in the geological sites spread across 950sqkm in Ariyalur and Perambalur districts.

"We found clusters and clusters of spherical eggs of dinosaurs. And each cluster contained eight eggs," says Dr M U Ramkumar, geology lecturer of the Periyar University. Each egg was about 13 to 20 cm in diameter and they were lying in sandy nests which were of the size of 1.25 metres.

In the 1860s, a British geologist first recorded the presence of bone remains of dinosaurs in Ariyalur. Over a century and a half later, the egg of a dinosaur was found in a cement factory of the state-owned Tamil Nadu Cements Ltd in 1990s. But officials realized that it was a dinosaur egg only 10 years later.

On a sultry afternoon on September 12 this year, Ramkumar and his research students went to Ariyalur to scour the rocks and sediments as part of a study funded by Indian and German scientific institutions. As they paused by a stream on a grazing land at Sendurai, they found spherical-shaped fossils peeping out of the sand beds. "We got really excited. As I have seen a dinosaur egg, I was sure these were dinosaur eggs," said Ramkumar.

A quick digging revealed clusters of eggs beneath seven layers of sand spread over two sqkm. The eggs may not have hatched due to the Deccan volcanic eruptions or seasonal flooding, surmise the team. "We suspect the extinction of dinosaurs was triggered by the Deccan volcano. Volcanic ashes cap the eggs," said one researcher.

"This is a very significant finding as never before have we found so many dinosaur eggs in the country. Besides the spherical size of the eggs covered with sand and volcanic ash provide significant insight into the possible reasons for extinction of the species," says Dr Jyotsana Rai, senior scientist, Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany in Lucknow. Her team will collect samples of these eggs to determine its exact age.

Because a similar discovery in Jabalpur led to a plunder of the fossilized treasure, the researchers have requested the Ariyalur district administration to cordon off the site. Samples of the eggs will travel to Germany for further research. The vicinity of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh is considered the richest dinosaur field in the country.

China using Nepal study centres for spying?

NEW DELHI: Incursions by the Chinese army into Indian territory may have dominated news space in the past few months but India's external
intelligence agency RAW has warned that a more serious issue at hand is the mushrooming of rather innocuously named Nepal-China study centres in Nepal which are being used by the Chinese to spy on India.

Highly placed officials in the government revealed that RAW has conveyed to the government that these study centres, which are located all along the Indo-Nepal border, are being used to clandestinely gather information on Indian activities. Sources said the agency has identified 24 such centres, most of which are located in close proximity to Nepal's border with India.

It is not just these study centres in Nepal which have left Indian agencies racking their brains. Sources revealed that RAW is monitoring around 30 Chinese firms which have set up base in Nepal and may be involved in spying on India.

Sources said most of these firms were headed by former PLA officers making it almost mandatory for India to keep an eye on their activities. They cited example of some construction and telecom companies which are active in Nepal and their operations are headed by retired Chinese army officers.

According to Indian officials, the speed at which the study centres have come up in the past few years is a manifestation of the way in which China has tried to increase its influence in Nepal. Beijing has been offering military and financial assistance to Nepal and its envoy in Nepal Quo Guohang said last month that if Nepal faces threats to its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, China would help it not only militarily but also financially and diplomatically.

"RAW is aware of the situation. These centres are mostly located close to Nepal's open border with India. There is an understanding developing within the government that if this continues, the issue will have to be taken up diplomatically with Nepal," said a senior security official. These study centres are mostly headed by Chinese and are supposed to provide an insight into Chinese customs, language and economic development.

China has gone out of its way to present itself before Nepal as an alternative to India in the past two years and has promoted multi-level interactions with Nepal and its people. Beijing is constructing a highway connecting Lhasa to Kathmandu at a cost of over $100 million. The two countries are seeing enhanced military cooperation. In September 2008, China announced a $1.3 million military aid package for Nepal and three months later PLA promised another $2.6 million for the same purpose.
Gene that could lead to new therapies for bone marrow disease identified

WASHINGTON: Scientists from Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) have identified a gene that helps in progression of Myelodysplastic Syndrome
(MDS), a bone marrow disease.

They believe that the new gene called RhoB could prove to be a therapeutic target for late-stage MDS.

"Using our genetic models, we've been able to provide a better understanding of underlying molecular defects that drive the malignant progression of MDS," said VARI Distinguished Scientific Investigator Dr Art Alberts.

"The genes that we've focused on in this study might have a role not only in leukemia, but in solid tumours as well," said Alberts.

The researchers had previously found that the Drf1 gene is crucial to the development of MDS.

In the new study, the lab found that the RhoB gene is important as well, lack of the proteins that are the product of the gene accelerates the disease's progression.

The researchers believe examining RhoB levels in samples from patients with advanced MDS could help direct them to better treatment options.

"Our goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets and develop new drugs that affect their activity, but also to find ways to improve upon existing therapeutic strategies that are often associated with deleterious side effects," said Alberts.
TCS bags multi-million dollar deal

MUMBAI: Indian IT major Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), today announced that it has entered into a a multi-million dollar deal with a Singa
pore's People's Association, a statutory board under Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, to provide annual Application Management Services for two years.

Under the agreement, TCS would develop and maintain People's Association's business and citizen centric applications including mission critical applications. It involves consolidating its multiple vendor environment allowing for reduced maintenance costs and simplified system administration, said a press release.

This system would enable higher process efficiency and staff productivity across the organization. All these would contribute towards lower costs spent on application maintenance, while improving end user satisfaction and enhancing citizen experience with the agency.

Girija Pande, EVP and head, TCS Asia Pacific, said, "Our expertise in AMS, combined with our ability to deliver certainty of results would provide sustained value to People's Association."

He added that they installed strict quality control procedures and continued to drive more value for their Singaporean clients through increased service quality provided by their team of highly qualified people with local knowledge of culture and processes.
6 reasons why 25% BPOs will perish

NEW DELHI: At least one-quarter of the top business process outsourcing (BPO) firms worldwide will not exist as separate entities by 2012, accor
ding to IT market research firm Gartner.

Predicting a market exit for a number of players, Gartner said acquisitions and the ascent of new vendors will rearrange the BPO provider landscape in the coming years. Enterprises should thus look for warning signs when evaluating BPO vendors to mitigate risk, warned Gartner.

"As providers are exposed to the economic crisis, loss-making contracts, and an inability to adapt to standardized delivery models, many will struggle to survive in their current form," said Robert H. Brown, research vice president at Gartner. "Some will be acquired and some will exit the market completely to be replaced by dynamic new players delivering BPO as automated, utility services."

Gartner has identified six key signposts to watch for that might herald the predicted market shakeout and identified which BPO vendors might be candidates for acquisition or outright market exit.

The research is part of the Special Report "Assess and Manage Vendor Risks to Protect Your Business." The collection of research helps CIOs and vendor managers to develop, implement, and manage a comprehensive programme to assess and mitigate vendor risks that can help enterprises to minimize business disruption.

Here are six reasons according to Gartner that will deeply impact the BPO players in the years to come. Read on...

Chronically unprofitable portfolio deals
Some BPO providers are carrying unprofitable contract portfolios, largely stemming from 'too-much, too-soon' pursuit of deals, without much thought as to how to transition them to a standardized, rationalized, profitable state of ongoing operations. Buyers' vendor selection teams should gain insight into prospective providers' deals to understand how profitable the vendor is.

While most vendors will be reluctant to share this information, those that stand the best chance of longevity will realize that BPO is a partnership and being open about profitability can limit long-term risk to both parties, said Gartner.

Inability to win significant new business or drive growth/profitability
It is important to gain insight into the vendor's track record of winning new business, particularly over a sustained period of two to three years. Handling multiple deals at once is a necessity in outsourcing, and buyers need to know that a vendor can successfully cater to the needs of more than one customer. A lack of recent new business activity can indicate that a vendor is choking on a backlog of business.

Loss of deals to competitors
Because of 'Recompetes' at the end of a contract life, for some exposed vendors, the loss of a major,
or 'marquee', customer can be a leading indicator of trouble, especially if the remaining portfolio of business is small. It will always be prudent due diligence to seek and gain a reference from any current anchor clients to understand how committed they are to the vendor and their experiences in dealing with them.

Capitalization prevents funding for new deals
Some heavily leveraged - or risk adverse - vendors may be unable to obtain the necessary investment needed to bid on a business opportunity, however attractive the proposition. In addition to the costs of the bid and proposal, large BPO deals usually require significant amounts of upfront cash investment on the part of the vendor.

For this reason, more providers are making investments in platform-intensive approaches to BPO that require buyers to adopt their standard platform and service-level agreements, as opposed to the "lift-and-shift" strategy. Heavily leveraged vendors still invested in the lift-and-shift approach are the most likely to run into problems acquiring funding.

Exposure to banking and finance
The financial services sector accounts for about one-third of the total BPO market globally. Providers with significant amounts of BPO revenue from the banking sector were the first exposed to the credit crunch and ensuing financial meltdown.

Subsequent mergers and acquisitions saw both current and prospective buyers of BPO "taken out of play" and this exposure could still leave many BPO providers vulnerable in the longer term. While exposure to the banking sector is by no means an absolute harbinger of doom, sourcing executives should be aware of the potential impact if their provider has a significant amount of revenue (more than 85 per cent) as a financial services pure play BPO vendor.

Levels of cancellation & re-insourcing rising
Cancellation rates among Gartner's annual BPO buyer survey in 2008 rose sharply from the 2007 data. Therefore, Gartner advises buyers to build exit strategies into contracts and develop contingencies for contract termination, especially before signing the deal. BPO switching costs can be steep, so it's important to understand contractual issue escalation procedures to ensure that all rational options are exhausted before initiating legal and/or termination discussions, according to Gartner.
World War II camp in Britain up for sale

LONDON: A former World War II prisoner-of-war camp in Britain has been advertised for sale on eBay as a "unique leisure attraction" at 900,000
pounds ($1.4 million).

The Harperley Prisoner of War Camp near Crook, in County Durham in northeast Britain, housed German and Italian prisoners during the 1939-1945 conflict.

The complex of rows of grey huts was turned into a tourist attraction in 2004, but its present owners, James and Lisa McLeod, said their plans for further restoration had run out of cash.

"A unique opportunity to buy a piece of history," says the classified ad placed Tuesday on the e-Bay site, which is usually reserved for auctions.

It specifies the project as a "unique leisure attraction", which includes planning permission for 13 holiday homes.

"The camp consists of 49 purpose-built huts which include two exceptional buildings, the first is a theatre which has the remains of decorated interior panels still surviving," the advert says.

"The second building is a canteen, a building set aside for showing typical German scenes, the Rhine Valley, animals, woodland and lakeland scenes."

The site boasts a garden centre, restaurant, farm shop and a museum. The theatre was built by inmates who also did the wall paintings.

"Strictly no viewing without an appointment," ends the advert.

"We have put the camp up for sale because we have run out of money," McLeod said. "It is a great business opportunity but needs a cash injection."

He had decided to advertise the camp on eBay in order to reach an international market, as no estate agent could have provided the same level of publicity.
Guarseed futures jump on speculative buying

New Delhi, Oct 1 (PTI) Guarseed futures prices jumped 2.48 per cent today on speculative buying guided by firm trend in spot markets. At NCDEX counter, guarseed price for far month January contract shot up 2.48 per cent or Rs 57 to Rs 2,357 per quintal, with an open interest in 1,090 lots.

Similarly, delivery for current October month gained 0.67 per cent or Rs 15 at Rs 2,242 per quintal, in an open interest of 83,870 lots. Marketmen said heavy buying by speculators, driven by strong demand from guargum and cattle-feed makers in the market largely pushed up prices in futures market.

They said restricted supply from growing areas further fuelled the uptrend.
2 Indian American scribes win 2009 Knowledge@Wharton awards

NEW YORK: Two Indian American journalists are among the four winners of the prestigious 2009 Knowledge@Wharton Awards for Business Journalism,
sponsored by the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA), the Wharton School and the Knowledge@Wharton online business journal.

The Indian origin winners are Sonia Narang, a journalist with NBC News in New York, and Sanjay Bhatt, an enterprise reporter for The Seattle Times.

The awards provide journalists with a scholarship to attend the prestigious Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in October.

Knowledge@Wharton and SAJA launched the award in 1999 and later expanded it to include the four organisations in UNITY: Journalists of Colour.

"A mortgage crisis, global market turmoil, federal, state and local government budget cuts and tracking federal stimulus money. It's clear that economic and business coverage is important no matter what beat a journalist covers," said SAJA president Sandeep Junnarkar.

"The Wharton seminar is an immensely valuable opportunity for journalists to learn about intricacies of business coverage. We're grateful to the Wharton School for the 10th year of continued support."

"Knowledge@Wharton seeks to disseminate the knowledge behind the news, and the continuing support of the Knowledge@Wharton Awards for SAJA and the UNITY organisations fits in well with this mission," said Mukul Pandya, executive director and editor-in-chief of Knowledge@Wharton. "We are delighted to welcome this year's winners to the Wharton seminars."
More than 18,000 H-1B United States visas yet to be grabbed, says USCIS

WASHINGTON: Reflecting the dire straits of the job market and strict regulations imposed by the US Congress, more than one-fourth of the H-1B,
once the most sought after visas, is yet to be grabbed.

According to the latest figure update by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), approximately 46,700 of the H-1B visas in the general category were filled up by September 25; against a Congressional mandated figure of 65,000.

Thus, more than 18,000 H-1B visas are still to be filled up, even as the financial year began today.

Primarily meant for professionals from computers and information technology sectors, the H-1B visas have been one of the most sought after visas for foreign professionals in previous years. The US Citizenship and immigration Service (USCIS) have been receiving several times the number of the allocated quota.

However, this is for the first time in several years that thousands of H-1B visas are still to be filled up even at the start of the financial year.

This is unlike the previous years when the entire 65,000 visas were grabbed on day one. Many a times, the USCIS had to resort to a computerised lottery to determine the successful candidates.

In fact, USCIS figures reveal that in the last one month, it received just 1,600 petitions for H-1B visas, which officials said reflects the poor job market.

It is also attributable partly to the Congressional provision in the 'American Recovery Act', which prevents companies receiving stimulus money from the federal government from hiring a foreign national.

The USCIS said it would continue to accept the petitions till the allocated quota is filled up. Further, even though it has received some 20,000 H-1B petitions in the high-education category, it would continue to receive application in this category too.

"USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn," it said.

Meanwhile, USCIS underlined that it will deny or revoke all petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker if more than one filing is discovered.

If multiple petitions are discovered, whether one or more such petitions are approved, USCIS will data enter all those duplicative petitions, retain all fees, and either deny the petitions or, if a petition was approved, revoke the petition, it said.
Moody blues... A story of buts and if onlys

Johannesburg, Oct. 1 -- The most astonishing match of the Champions Trophy, with all results possible till the last ball, saw India knocked out of the tournament and Australia confirmed as toppers of Group A, from which Pakistan also qualified.

While India were busy skittling West Indies out at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, their fate was sealed when Australia held their nerve to win a last-ball thriller against Pakistan. Indian fans at the Wanderers used every possible means - television, radio, mobile phones - to keep track of the action at Centurion.

Even India's players, out on the dressing-room balcony, while the openers began the chase of 130, were glued to the television and cheered as Rana Naved-ul-Hasan bowled a 47th over maiden. When the last over began, with Nathan Hauritz and Brett Lee at the crease, and four runs needed, the game was slipping out of Pakistan's grasp, and the exit door beckoned India.

When Lee drove Umar Gul past mid-on for a penultimate ball single, the scores were tied and India were out. With the pressure of qualifying off them, Australia scampered a leg-bye off the last ball, winning by two wickets.

Until Australia began their chase on what was a tricky pitch to bat on, several questions were raised about why Pakistan batted as they did, with abundant caution, to reach 205/6 from 50 overs. Despite having wickets, Pakistan's batsmen barely accelerated, even failing to make use of the powerplay.

When Australia batted, and themselves struggled, as Pakistan put in a typically fighting performance with the ball, it became clear that cynicism about Pakistan's motives was unwarranted.
Obama's healing touch: $5bn for health research

WASHINGTON: US president Barack Obama announced a plan on Wednesday to spend $5 billion to create new jobs for medical and scientific research,
medical supplies and improved laboratory capacity.

The funds, to come from the $787 billion economic stimulus package, will pay for "cutting-edge medical research in every state across the US," the White House said.

"The more than 12,000 grant awards are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs over the next two years and are part of an overall $100 billion Recovery Act investment in science and technology to lay the foundation for the innovation economy of the future," the statement said. The awards will take the form of grants, meaning that institutions and researchers will have to apply for them.

More than $1 billion of the money will go to genomic research - studying the DNA map to find causes of diseases and potential new treatments for them, especially cancer.
Strong earthquakes may weaken distant fault lines

Powerful earthquakes may be a trigger for weakening geologic faults a half a world away, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday in a study that points to new ways to predict earthquakes.

"Earthquakes are caused when a fault fails, either because of the build-up of stress or because of a weakening of the fault," said earthquake researcher Taka'aki Taira, formerly of the Carnegie Institution in Washington and now of the University of California Berkeley.

Taira's team analyzed 20 years of seismic data from the Parkfield area of California's San Andreas fault.

They noticed areas of fluid-filled cracks along the fault appeared to shift from time to time -- often after large, far-away earthquakes, such as the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake.

"We speculate that changes we see at Parkfield could be happening in many places in the world," Taira said in a telephone interview.

He said his team plans to gather data from other fault zones to see if they detect the same pattern of changes.

The researchers will also for changes at Parkfield to see if they can detect a significant impact from recent powerful earthquakes this week in Samoa and on Indonesia's Sumatra island.


For the study, Taira's team used motion-sensing equipment called seismometers bored into the Earth's crust to detect subtle changes in earthquake waves.

They noticed that when fluid levels changed in cracks along the fault, repeating earthquakes that occur in the fault zone got smaller, but more frequent -- a sign the fault was getting weaker.

"The total displacement of the fluids is only about 10 meters (30 feet) at a depth of about three kilometers (1.8 miles), so it takes very sensitive seismometers to detect the changes," Fenglin Niu of Rice University in Texas, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

He said that movement of the fluid in these cracks appears to lubricate the fault zone, weakening the fault.

Taira and colleagues think that by monitoring changes in fluids that fill up cracks near fault lines, they may be able to predict when faults are growing weaker, offering a way to predict earthquakes.

Changes in fault strength are much harder to measure than changes in stress, especially for faults deep in the Earth's crust, he said.

"Our result opens up exciting possibilities for monitoring seismic risk and understanding the causes of earthquakes," Taira said
Large quakes can weaken fault zones worldwide

Washington, October 1 (ANI): US seismologists have found evidence that the massive 2004 earthquake that triggered killer tsunamis throughout the Indian Ocean weakened at least a portion of California's famed San Andreas Fault, which suggests that large quakes can weaken fault zones worldwide.

The results suggest that the Earth's largest earthquakes can weaken fault zones worldwide and may trigger periods of increased global seismic activity.

"An unusually high number of magnitude 8 earthquakes occurred worldwide in 2005 and 2006," said study co-author Fenglin Niu, associate professor of Earth science at Rice University.

"There has been speculation that these were somehow triggered by the Sumatran-Andaman earthquake that occurred on Dec. 26, 2004, but this is the first direct evidence that the quake could change fault strength of a fault remotely," he added.

Earthquakes are caused when a fault fails, either because of the buildup of stress or because of the weakening of the fault. The latter is more difficult to measure.

The magnitude 9 earthquake in 2004 occurred beneath the ocean west of Sumatra and was the second-largest quake ever measured by seismograph.

The temblor spawned tsunamis as large as 100 feet that killed an estimated 230,000, mostly in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

In the new study, Niu and co-authors Taka'aki Taira and Paul Silver, both of the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, D.C., and Robert Nadeau of the University of California, Berkeley, examined more than 20 years of seismic records from Parkfield, California, which sits astride the San Andreas Fault.

The team zeroed in on a set of repeating microearthquakes that occurred near Parkfield over two decades.

Each of these tiny quakes originated in almost exactly the same location.

By closely comparing seismic readings from these quakes, the team was able to determine the "fault strength" - the shear stress level required to cause the fault to slip - at Parkfield between 1987 and 2008.

The team found fault strength changed markedly at three times during the 20-year period.

Eventually, they were able to narrow the onset of the third shift to a five-day window in late December 2004, during which the Sumatran quake occurred.

"The long-range influence of the 2004 Sumatran-Andaman earthquake on this patch of the San Andreas suggests that the quake may have affected other faults, bringing a significant fraction of them closer to failure," said Taira.

"This hypothesis appears to be borne out by the unusually high number of large earthquakes that occurred in the three years after the Sumatran-Andaman quake," Taira added. (ANI)
It's raining pebbles on recently discovered exoplanet

Washington, October 1 (ANI): A simulation developed by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis has suggested that the atmosphere of COROT-7b, an exoplanet discovered last February by the COROT space telescope, is made up of the ingredients of rocks, which results in a rain of pebbles on the surface of the planet.

Theoretical models suggest the planet has an atmosphere of the components of rock in gaseous form and lava or boiling oceans on its surface.

According to models by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, COROT-7b's atmosphere is made up of the ingredients of rocks and when "a front moves in," pebbles condense out of the air and rain into lakes of molten lava below.

The model was developed by Laura Schaefer, research assistant in the Planetary Chemistry Laboratory, and Bruce Fegley Jr., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts and Sciences.

COROT-7b is less than twice the size of Earth and only five times its mass.

In August 2009 a consortium of European observatories led by the Swiss reported the discovery of COROT-7c, a second planet orbiting COROT-7.

Using the data from both planets, they were able to calculate that COROT-7b has an average density about the same as Earth's.

"This means it is almost certainly a rocky planet made up of silicate rocks like those in Earth's crust," said Fegley.

COROT-7b's atmosphere has none of the volatile elements or compounds that make up Earth's atmosphere, such as water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

"The only atmosphere this object has is produced from vapor arising from hot molten silicates in a lava lake or lava ocean," Fegley said.

To find out what might that atmosphere be like, Schaefer and Fegley have used thermochemical equilibrium calculations to model COROT-7b's atmosphere.

"Sodium, potassium, silicon monoxide and then oxygen - either atomic or molecular oxygen - make up most of the atmosphere," said Fegley.

But there are also smaller amounts of the other elements found in silicate rock, such as magnesium, aluminum, calcium and iron.

The peculiar atmosphere has its own singular weather.

"As you go higher the atmosphere gets cooler and eventually you get saturated with different types of 'rock' the way you get saturated with water in the atmosphere of Earth," explained Fegley.

"But instead of a water cloud forming and then raining water droplets, you get a 'rock cloud' forming and it starts raining out little pebbles of different types of rock," he added. (ANI)
University of Hyderabad ranked No 1 in India

HYDERABAD: University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been ranked as the number one varsity in India on the basis of indicators like publication quality
and also overall performance in the rankings given by a reputed agency.

"University of Hyderabad has been ranked as the number one university in the country based on multi-disciplinary bibliographic database on the basis of many indicators including publication quality, citation, impact and overall performance," UoH vice-chancellor Seyed E Hasnain told reporters here tonight.

The UoH stands first among top 25 universities in the ranking given by SCOPUS, a not-for-profit international body, he said.

The ranking has been given by SCOPUS taking into consideration the papers published during 1999-2008, he said.

SCOPUS gives the ranking once in three years. The ranking is a recognition to the overall good performance of the UoH in various spheres. Delhi University is second in the list of 25 varsities, Hasnain said.

Highlighting various achievements of the UoH, he said the University has also got highest rank (A Grade, 97%) by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
Haj flights from October 23

HYDERABAD: Special jumbo flights to carry Haj pilgrims from the state would commence from October 23. In all 15 Saudi Airlines flights with a
capacity of 417 each will take off to Madina Munnawara in Saudi Arabia from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, according to state minority welfare minister Mohammad Ahmadullah.

At a press conference on Wednesday after holding a meeting with officials of Saudi airlines, GMR airport authority, customs, wakf board, GHMC and roads and buildings department, the minister said the last flight will take off on November 6. The flights will leave from the airport at 9.45 pm everyday. A special bus will be arranged to transport the Haj pilgrims to the airport from Haj house. Everyday 10 buses will ply between Haj house and the airport, he said.

Stating that 6540 pilgrims would to Haj for pilgrimage from the state this year, Ahmadullah said foreign exchange counter will also be set up at Haj house for the convenience of the pilgrims.

As part of precautionary measures in the wake of swine flu, medical tests will be conducted for the pilgrims who were suffering from fever and the suspects will not be permitted to board the flight until the state health department issues a health certificate as per the guidelines of the Union health ministry.

Accommodation is being provided to all pilgrims who come from districts at Haj house. Every pilgrim should report to the Haj committee along with their luggage, bags and passport 48 hours before they board the flight. Each member is permitted to carry 55 kg luggage.

Age of nanomedicine: microchip to detect cancers, other diseases

In a major breakthrough in the detection of cancers and other deadly diseases, Canadian researchers have developed an inexpensive microchip that is sensitive enough to detect the type and severity of the illness.

The microchip has been successfully tested on prostate cancer, and head and neck cancer models. It can also be used to diagnose other cancers, as well as infectious diseases such as HIV and the H1N1 flu.

Researchers at the University of Toronto here used nanomaterials for the first time to build the sensitive microchip. In their work reported in Nature Nanotechnology this week, the researchers say the new device will make sophisticated molecular diagnostics easily available soon.

'The remarkable innovation is an indication that the age of nanomedicine is dawning,' David Naylor, who is president of the University of Toronto and professor of medicine, was quoted as saying in a university statement.

The device quickly picks up the 'biomarkers' that hint at the presence of cancer at the cellular level, even though these biomolecules - genes that indicate aggressive or benign forms of the disease - are generally present at low levels in biological samples, the statement said.

Analysis can be completed in 30 minutes, compared to days taken by the current diagnostic procedures.

'Today, it takes a room filled with computers to evaluate a clinically relevant sample of cancer biomarkers and the results aren't quickly available,' said research leader and medicine professor Shana Kelley.

'Our team was able to measure biomolecules on an electronic chip the size of your fingertip and analyse the sample within half an hour. The instrumentation required for this analysis can be contained within a unit the size of a BlackBerry,' she said.

Since the current conventional, flat metal electrical sensors are inadequate to sense cancer's particular biomarkers, the Toronto team fabricated a chip and decorated it with nanometre-sized wires and molecular 'bait' to make it more sensitive.

'Uniting DNA with speedy, miniaturised electronic chips is an example of cross-disciplinary convergence,' said co-researcher Ted Sargent.

'By working with outstanding researchers in nanomaterials, pharmaceutical sciences, and electrical engineering, we were able to demonstrate that controlled integration of nanomaterials provides a major advantage in disease detection and analysis,' he said.
Now, a novel filtering system to protect computer networks from zombies

Washington, October 1 (ANI): Auburn University experts in Alabama say that security on government, commercial, and educational systems can be significantly improved by using a novel system to filter out denial of service attacks on computer networks, including cloud computing systems.

Reporting about such a filter in the Int. J. Information and Computer Security, the researchers have pointed out that denial of Service (DoS) and distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks involve an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users.

This may simply be for malicious purposes as is often the case when big commercial or famous web sites undergo a DDoS attack, they say.

However, according to the researchers, it is also possible to exploit the system's response to such an attack to break system firewalls, access virtual private networks, and to access other private resources.

They say that a DoS attack can also be used to affect a complete network or even a whole section of the Internet.

The existing methods for configuring a network to filter out known DoS attack software, and to recognize some of the traffic patterns associated with a mounting DoS attack usually rely on the computer being attacked to check whether or not incoming information requests are legitimate or not.

This consumes its resources, and can compound the problem in the case of a massive DDoS.

Now, computer engineers John Wu, Tong Liu, Andy Huang, and David Irwin have devised a filter to protect systems against DoS attacks that circumvents this problem by developing a new passive protocol that must be in place at each end of the connection: user and resource.

Dubbed Identity-Based Privacy-Protected Access Control Filter (IPACF), the new technology blocks threats to the gatekeeping computers, the Authentication Servers (AS), and so allows legitimate users with valid passwords to access private resources.

The user's computer has to present a filter value for the server to do a quick check. The filter value is a one-time secret that needs to be presented with the pseudo ID. The pseudo ID is also one-time use. Attackers cannot forge either of these values correctly and so attack packets are filtered out.

Testing how well IPACF copes in the face of a massive DDoS attacks simulated on a network consisting of 1000 nodes with 10 gigabits per second bandwidth, the researchers have found that the server suffers little degradation, negligible added information transfer delay (latency) and minimal extra processor usage even when the 10 Gbps pipe to the authentication server is filled with DoS packets.

Indeed, the IPACF takes just 6 nanoseconds to reject a non-legitimate information packet associated with the DoS attack. (ANI)
Michelle Obama to promote gardening, healthy eating on Sesame Street

London, Oct 1 (ANI): US First Lady Michelle Obama is to appear in the first episode of the 40th anniversary series of Sesame Street with a segment encouraging kids to plant gardens.

The First Lady will appear in the November 10 season debut of the educational show for kids.

The show's producers said that Mrs Obama will teach the furry "residents" of Sesame Street about the benefits of growing a garden and healthy living, reports The Telegraph.

"All these seeds need to grow are sun, soil and water. If you eat these healthy foods, you're going to grow up to be big and strong, like me," Mrs Obama says on the show.

"I know you're going to like these vegetables, because in addition to being healthy, they really taste great!" she adds. (ANI)
Manga 'Mein Kampf' gives Hitler a wider audience in Japan

London, Oct 1 (ANI): Comic version of Adolf Hitler's notorious political tract Mein Kampf has become a hit in Japan.

The manga book is a part autobiography and part Hitler's fascist manifesto. It describes the two sections in the unlikely form of easy-to-read comic pictures and captions, reports The Telegraph.

Since it was published in Japan last November, its popularity has soared, with sales of more than 45,000.

The manga version of "Mein Kampf" tells the story of Hitler's upbringing, his decision to create the Nazi Party and his motivation for writing the book. It also includes depictions of his infamous anti-Semitic pronouncements.

The release, however, has fuelled concerns in Germany, where the book remains banned more than 60 years after Hitler (1889-1945) led the country to catastrophic defeat in World War II.

But Manga enjoys a soaring popularity in Japan, with its most high-profile fans including the former prime minister Taro Aso. (ANI)
From Mao to missiles: China marks 60 years

Beijing, Oct. 1 -- On Thursday, the People's Republic of China turns 60 with a show of military might including 108 upgraded missiles, female pilots manning fighter jets and soldiers marching 116 steps per minute and blinking in 40-second gaps.

Oh yes, and if Beijingers living on the parade route, the Avenue of Eternal Peace, try to peek out of their windows or balconies to see all this, they may mistakenly be shot - as a potential terror threat. Former soldier He Ping (92) remembers a gentler but tougher time on October 1, 1949, when he watched from a spartan Tiananmen Square as Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed China a republic.

"The days of one gun and a bowl of rice gruel are gone," remembers He Ping, whose name means 'peace'. Sixty years later, there will be no mass camaraderie as the Square is sealed for the 14th parade since 1949.

Beijing's sprawling 120-gate airport will shut for three hours. Compared to India at 60 in 2007, the mood in China is more nationalistic.

Beijingers have silently accepted the unprecedented security orders, including hints to stock food because miles of roads and subway lines will be temporarily sealed. "We have military satellites, advanced jets, new battle tanks, sophisticated warships and subs," defence minister Liang Guanglie recently announced, emphasising that some weapons top world standards.

New Delhi will observe the parade for signs of China's latest defence strategy, but Beiji-ng is more worried about keeping its grip on domestic peace. China's Cabinet has again called for 'public order and stability'.

The tension is so high that several supermarkets have stopped selling knives since recent stabbing attacks. He Ping remembers China, the world's second-largest luxury market, minus the malls.

"The government gave us clothes, socks, shoes and a toothbrush," he told HT in Beijing's version of New York's Central Park. He and wife Li (74) sat watching stalls selling hot dogs and toy Fords, and brides posing in strapless white gowns instead of buttoned-up silk.

The couple brought a flask of hot water, a throwback to the frugal days of Mao when tea was luxury. "This year, China is expected to overtake Japan's economy," said political scientist Wang Zhengxu at a recent lecture.

"After 1949, there was a big change. We could eat noodles, tomatoes and cabbage," He Ping said, describing his impression of China's transformation from mass poverty to the world's third-largest economy.

Li proclaimed: "China has an awkward history, but now no country can invade us." In the 1950s, Li's neighbourhood shared one phone.

Now they have a cellphone. "We were too poor to visit the Great Wall," Li said.

Now they live in an apartment in Beijing's Silicon Valley, a village till the early '90s. "A new open attitude is the biggest change," said Guo (42), at the park with her six-year-old son.

A collegian studying English walked past, in a sweatshirt declaring 'open the window of your mind'. Attitudes are opening, but Beijing's streets were eerily empty by Wednesday.

Police have advised residents to watch the parade and 3-D fireworks display on TV. Five-star hotels on the parade route are closed till Friday or reserved for official guests. Some subway lines on the parade route will stand still when the secretive military that makes India so nervous marches past Mao's photograph at Tiananmen Square.
Hindustan Times

Obama to host first state dinner for PM

Washington, Oct. 1 -- The honour of being the guest at the first state dinner hosted by United States President Barack Obama would go to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and it will be held during his upcoming state visit scheduled for November 24. Obama, who has been a great admirer of Manmohan Singh for his visionary role in steering India from a developing country to a major economic power, has invited the prime minister for the first State visit of his administration. Incidentally, Manmohan Singh had the distinction of being the first State guest of the second term of the Bush administration. As such the prime minister would be the guest at the Blair House, across the White House, one more time. It is apparently in recognition of importance of India as a merging world power as well as New Delhi being perceived as a new close and stable ally by the US, the sources said. As the Obama administration endeavours to 'deepen' its strategic ties with India, a lot of effort is being given in making this State visit an important milestone in the Indo-US relationship.

Early this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held an inter-agency meeting to review the preparation of the up-coming visit of the prime minister.

A formal invitation for the State visit was extended by Clinton during her visit to India in July. State visits are the highest form of diplomatic contact between two nations and are marked by ceremonial pomp and diplomatic protocol.

Hindustan Times
FEATURE - Xmas orders bring labour shortages in China export hubs

After a crisis that sparked mass layoffs in China's export hubs, factories in manufacturing heartlands such as the Pearl River Delta are on the hunt for migrant workers again as orders revive for Christmas.

In recent visits to three Pearl River Delta towns, a fragmented though consistent picture of labour shortages has emerged, with big job recruitment centres such as CHTONE in Changan experiencing a surge in activity.

"We're seeing more of that now," said Zhang Mingming, a bespectacled young manager at the job centre where a large red banner over the main entrance advertised 400 new jobs at an electronics factory.

Only a few months ago, such factories were laying off staff by the thousands and a mass reverse migration was taking place as millions of out-of-work workers streamed back to their villages in rural China to wait for the economy to pick up.

Now, with factories in China's Pearl River Delta ratcheting up production to meet Christmas orders for everything from Barbie dolls to iPhones, Plasma TV's and designer jeans, workers are in high demand in a region that produces around one third of China's total exports.

Yet finding those workers is another thing entirely as many of the millions of migrant workers who returned home have stayed there, unwilling to make a rash return to the fickle job market in China's "world factory", as the Pearl River Delta is known.

"For every ten people we look for, we can only find two or three," said Huang Zhilian, a manager at Vmart electronics, a firm that exports calculators, watches and DVD players to emerging markets such as Romania and Pakistan.

Slumped behind a recruitment booth at a job centre in Shenzhen's Longgang town, Huang said he'd only managed to hire six people in the past three days.

"We come here every day now, there's no choice," said Huang.

Jobs have become more plentiful and better paid in China's interior thanks to Beijing's 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package which included major spending in underdeveloped parts of the country so the country's job market would be less dependent on export hubs.

It's not just the Pearl River Delta that is scrambling to find workers. Other industrial belts are also facing labour shortages such as Zhejiang, in the eastern Yangtze River Delta, where state media says there is a shortage of 250,000 workers.

"We've had millions of pieces of reorders in the last two months. (In the) last two years there was nothing," Bruce Rockowitz, the president of export powerhouse Li & Fung that sources consumer goods extensively for the likes of Walmart, the world's biggest retailer, told Reuters.

The demand for workers is putting upward pressure on wages, potentially eating into the already wafer-thin factory margins.

"Wages had come way down and now they're starting to inch up again because a lot of the labor had migrated away," he added.


While it remains to be seen whether China's migrant workers will stream back to the Delta, the recent labour strains underscore a growing need for the region to upgrade so as to reduce its reliance on low-end labour-intensive industries.

And while labour supply shortages aren't a new phenomenon, a demographic shift among China's 150 million migrant worker population, suggests more and more are now content to stay home, rather than provide the muscle to power coastal export hubs.

"During the financial crisis many people returned home and once home, they don't want to come out again," said Lu Kewang, a young migrant worker from Guizhou province working at the Group Sense electronics factory in Dongguan's Changan town.

While job centres are often teeming, workers are becoming more picky, preferring work at bigger factories and holding off for better pay, leading to creeping wage inflation in some parts.

Of the 20 million migrant workers out of work early this year, some 14 million or so across China had found work by June, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics.

While the report didn't give a regional breakdown, it said 66.7 percent of migrant workers took jobs in eastern coastal areas, while 32.9 percent found work in central and western China, suggesting a significant number were now staying in the interior, dissuaded from uprooting again.

"Before, China was poor, so this region was very attractive," said Liu Hong, the head of the Longguan job market in Shenzhen's Longgang district.

"Wages and benefits were many times higher than the inland but because of China's economic development, the difference is getting less and less, so fewer people are coming out here."


The improved situation on the ground accords with recent purchasing managers' index data suggesting orders are on the rise, but overall trade numbers remain weak suggesting the uptick isn't yet across the board, with Chinese exports in August falling a steep 23.4 percent year-on-year.

"The orders have become smaller, less frequent and with a shorter period of delivery .. the orders are not continuous like before," said Yifan Hu, the chief economist for Citic Securities.

"The recovery of exports will stabilize but not be very strong going forward," she added.

China's export sector now makes up roughly a third of its GDP and exports are vital in providing long-term employment for China's masses.

While the labour supply crunch has been a headache, some experts say it may only have a limited impact, with larger, better capitalised firms able to adapt and engage in stop-gap outsourcing of production to smaller factories.

"For capable suppliers, who are responsive to buyers and can adjust as requirements change -- whether its payment terms or order quantity -- things are looking very good indeed and can even improve year on year," said Craig Pepples, the Chief Operating Officer of trade intermediary Global Sources.

With Western demand still frail however, the stream of orders could naturally subside after the Christmas peak.

"There won't be any serious labour problem over the short and medium term," said Daniel Poon, a senior economist for Hong Kong's Trade Development Council.

Meanwhile, many of the Delta's masses of small factories are still scrambling from one order to the next. Instead large firms seem to be gleaning the lion's share of business and mopping up most surplus labour.

For minnows like the Yuang Kang toy factory in Dongguan which makes stuffed dolls including podgy Santa Clauses and grinning snowmen, there's not much to cheer about this Christmas.

"Things are just ok," said Zhang Guopin, a sales manager for the firm. "We haven't seen much improvement in our business."
Zooming into the spotlight

Mumbai, Oct. 1 -- It's no multiplex, but it has had to try.

On the outside, Shri Shivaji Talkies in Talegaon, 135 km south-east of Mumbai, looks no better than a grimy grindhouse theatre. About two years ago, though, the cinema's interiors were refurbished with reclining seats, air coolers and a satellite feed system that allows Talegaon to watch the latest Bollywood releases on the same day as Pune and Mumbai.

"We have some of the world's leading automobile and auto component manufacturers in our backyard. A sophisticated theatre was the least of our expectations from Talegaon," says Jinal Visharia (21), a student of the Maharashtra Institute of Medical Education and Research.

Visharia has lived here three years and is not familiar with Talegaon's former 'pensioners' town' image. Her newfound Talegaon has upstaged Lonavla as the state's coveted luxury home destination.

It's where she rents a furnished 2-BHK apartment for Rs 5,000 a month. The tale of 'Shivnox' (Shivaji Talkies, as re-christened by Talegaon's youth) embracing change is only an excerpt from a larger narrative of Talegaon's accelerated development.

A narrative that began to unravel about two years ago, when General Motors set up its Rs 1,300-crore plant here. A move followed by Mercedes Benz, JCB, Audi and Volkswagen, auto giants that set up plants in Chakan, about 15 km away.

"The spotlight on Pune as Maharashtra's auto hub has been slightly refracted and part of that attention is now on Talegaon," says estate agent Shrikant Kulkarni. "In 1982, property rates were at Rs 150 per square foot and Rs 650 in 1997.

This year, they have soared to Rs 1,850 per square foot." This emerging hub for small car manufacturing has not only increased the demand for commercial space but also generated interest in residential properties.

"When I relocated here from Pune five years ago, an apartment was available at a throwaway price of Rs 6 lakh. The same now costs up to Rs 18 lakh," says Ritu Dubey (43), principal of The Heritage School, one of two CBSE schools in Talegaon.

"It's not such a surprise. We expected this to happen once GM set up shop here.

" Price hikes notwithstanding, Talegaon is cluttered with billboards advertising luxury housing complexes that offer independent bungalows and modern amenities such as clubhouses and 24-hour security systems. Kulkarni's building firm is working on the simultaneous completion of 60 housing projects in the area.

"Talegaon has a lot working in its favour. To draw corporations here, the state has worked on improving infrastructure, widening roads.

Its proximity to Pune, Lonavla and Mumbai is a big draw. And weather is perhaps the other most compelling factor.

it's the Switzerland of Maharashtra," he says. There is some truth to Kulkarni's sales pitch.

Talegaon has for a fringe the lush Sahyadri range and enjoys perennially congenial weather. It is thus a popular holiday-home destination for Mumbai and Pune's middle-class and also the preferred residential retreat for workers employed in Pimpri and Pune.

Soon after the multinationals set foot in Talegaon, the town became more self-sustained. "Earlier, one had to visit Pune thrice a week to stock up on simple resources like oats and cereals or even to watch films.

Now Talegaon has supermarkets and a revamped cinema hall. I don't travel to Pune as often," says Dubey.

Talegaon's property boom is still gaining momentum - prices are expected to soar further. But the residents aren't complaining.

Hindustan Times
Suppandi comes to life in India's first 3D animation film

Mumbai, Oct. 1 -- Get ready to see India's first three-dimensional animation movie starring Suppandi, the village simpleton whose adventures in Tinkle comics have made readers laugh for more than two decades. ACK Media, the creator of Tinkle comics, on Wednesday announced plans to take its relationship with Tinkle fans a step ahead by coming up with a stereoscopic, animated, action-comedy revolving around the misadventures of one of its most-loved comic characters. Tinkle comics first featured Suppandi way back in 1983, the illustrations then done by cartoonist Ram Waeerkar. Assisting ACK Media with the three-dimensional (3D) technology is Fable Farms Studio, headed by animator Biju D. The budget for the yet-to-be-named movie, to be released in November 2010, starts at Rs 10 crore. "The movie is an attempt at making Tinkle characters larger than life. While the story will be the heart of any of our films, our focus is simultaneously on 3D and VFX technology-driven projects in both live-action and animation genres," said Samir Patil, chief executive officer, ACK Media. A short 10-minute preview, shown at a south Mumbai theatre, starts with Suppandi in a room, niggling with just about anything that he sets his eyes on, including a remote control and a football. The character is even shown dancing to a Bipasha Basu number Beedi jalai le from Omkara.

Those, who'd prefer to listen to Suppandi, will have to wait till next year.

Hindustan Times
You can change your power supplier next week

Mumbai, Oct. 1 -- Next week onwards, residents of Mumbai's suburbs can switch their electricity supplier from Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) to Tata Power, without either companies creating problems. To address issues that might crop up during the switchover, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) will draft an interim order by October 8, clarifying these issues. Tata Power, RInfra and consumers activists tabled some of the problems before MERC on Wednesday. "We will try to reduce the asymmetry of information available to consumers and try to make this entire process as transparent as possible," said V P Raja, Chairman, MERC. Both firms have sought clarity on process of the changeover. The issues under consideration were concerning meter reading on existing meters, installation of new meters, billing process and collection of tariffs, once Tata Power and RInfra share the distribution network. "We have spent more than Rs 350 crore in replacing old meters over the years. So it will be advisable if our meters aren't discarded once the changeover takes place," said Advocate J J Bhatt representing RInfra. Tata Power proposed that as an interim arrangement it will place its own meters, while both the companies can jointly read existing meters of consumers to maintain transparency.

Yet there was some disagreement between RInfra and Tata Power on minute points and they have asked MERC to clear it in the interim order.
Hindustan Times
Everyone wants to be an MLA

Mumbai, Oct. 1 -- One constituency with 26 candidates, another with 24.

As delimitation - the redrawing of constituency borders on the basis of the latest (2001) census - merges constituencies in the more thinly populated island city, the result is a glut of candidates vying for the reduced seats. The Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar Assembly constituency, home to a mammoth slum area, has a record number of 26 candidates in the fray this time around.

Malabar Hill, the formerly plush segment that has now been expanded to include Opera House and Girgaum, has 24 people in the fray. "We had 30 nominations in Mankhurd on Friday," said returning officer for the constituency Jeevan Galande.

"Four of them withdrew, but we still have the highest number of candidates in the city." In Malabar Hill, just one nominee withdrew, though the fight will be largely between sitting MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha (54, BJP), Rajkumar Bafna (47, Congress) and Archit Jaykar (27, MNS).

In Mankhurd, the fight will be between Shahid Raza Baig, son-in-law of Shiv Sena leader Suresh Gambhir and the saffron combine's official candidate, the Samajwadi Party's Abu Azmi and Syed Ahmed of the Congress. Analysts put the large number of contenders down to the spending power in these areas, and the fact that more people here are willing to risk big bucks for the instant power that comes with a political post.

"In Mumbai's case, delimitation has seen several constituencies merge," said political commentator Surendra Jondhale. "So aspirants from various segments want to test their political muscle.

The number of votes that they, especially the Independents, garner in these elections will decide their future course of action." Meanwhile, across the city, 36 seats, there is a total of 423 candidates for 36 seats - a total of 501 nominations were filed, but some were withdrawn.
Indian women peacekeepers have set an example: Hillary Clinton

Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) In preventing violence against women and girls in Liberia, Indian women peacekeepers have set an example that must be emulated in UN peacekeeping missions across the world, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

'I recently met with an all women police unit from India in Liberia who provide an excellent example of the steps a UN mission can take in cooperation with the host government to prevent violence against women and girls,' Clinton told the Security Council Wednesday.

'The Indian unit has helped to motivate more Liberian women to participate in a campaign against rape, launched jointly by UN and the Liberian government,' she said, adding the women peacekeepers have 'set an example that must be repeated in UN peacekeeping missions all over the world'.

Asking member states to include women in designing and implementing national and international peace building programmes, she said: 'More bodies like the Indian unit in Liberia were needed to combat sexual violence in the conflict zones.'

'We must seek to ensure that our respective military and police forces especially those that will participate in peacekeeping missions develop the expertise to prevent and respond to violence against women and children,' Clinton said.

'This will be helped by increasing the number of women who serve in UN peacekeeping missions,' she said, adding 'Let us not forget that women lead the call for peace in communities shattered by violence.'

During its 15-year-long civil war Liberia suffered from rampant rape and other forms of sexual violence and India has recently offered to help train the police force of the west African nation in an coordinated effort with the UN.

The peacekeeping unit, comprising of Indian women, is the first all female UN police unit which has been stationed in the west African nation since 2007 and will return in 2010.
Tsunamis turn South Pacific paradise into deadly hell

Rescuers pulled bodies from the mud and twisted rubble and fished bloated corpses from the South Pacifc's blue sea off Samoa on Thursday as the death toll from a series of tsunamis continued to rise.

"We've seen pick-up trucks carrying the dead ... back to town," said New Zealand tourist Fotu Becerra. "We were shocked when we saw the first one but after three hours, it seemed normal."

Four powerful tsunamis generated by a huge undersea quake crashed into Samoa and neighbouring American Samoa on Wednesday, destroying in minutes what was a South Pacific paradise of palm trees, resorts and pristine beaches.

"After the earthquake happened, after about five minutes all you could hear was screaming," an unnamed Australian holidaymaker told local media.

The waves which reached at least 6 metres (20 feet) high ripped buildings apart and washed people out to sea, some still sleeping in their beds, say survivors.

The death toll stands at more than 100, but officials said it was rising, with hundreds missing and some 20 Polynesian villages in Samoa destroyed and scores more flattened in American Samoa.

U.S. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa and ordered federal aid to help the recovery.

"We have more bodies that are being found in the wreckage and being excavated and being brought to the hospital so we expect that the death toll will rise," said Dr David Bouslough at the main hospital in Pago Pago, capital of American Samoa.

Pago Pago resident Joey Cummings said buildings were not just destroyed but had vanished, washed away completely by the waves.

"The harbour area where the radio station was looks like a bomb went off," Cummings told American TV. "If your building was not made of concrete it doesn't exist any more. I'm not saying there are damaged buildings, these buildings aren't there any more."

Reuters photographer Hugh Gentry said Pago Pago looked "like a war zone". "The most tragic (scene) was the discovery of a small girl found floating in the harbour," he said.


The waves hit early in the morning, almost without warning, leaving many villagers little chance to outrun the ocean which surged 200 metres (656 feet) inland.

"Some, they have no place (to run), especially kids and the oldest, they lost their lives," Tua Taleu, who fled to higher ground as waves swallowed his village, told Australian radio.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said it was fortunate that the tsunami struck in daylight. "If it had come in the dark and the tide was high, the number of people who died would be much higher," he told Reuters.

The Samoan undersea 8 magnitude quake was so powerful it also created small tsunamis which reached Hawaii, the west coast of California and Japan within hours.

Along the southern coast of Samoa's main island Upolu, which bore the brunt of the tsunamis, palm trees which had withstood powerful cyclones were snapped like twigs by the force of the ocean -- barely a tree has been left standing.

A layer of mud and sand covers many of the splintered buildings, boats and cars hang from trees, as survivors scavenge the debris. Survivors said people were collecting dead fish, washed ashore by the waves, to feed their families.

Radio New Zealand, quoting disaster authorities, said 32,000 people have been affected by the tsunami, with 3,000 homeless.

Officials in the neighbouring island nation of Tonga confirmed seven people killed there and three missing. The two Samoas and Tonga have a combined population of about 400,000 people and rely on subsistence agriculture, fishing and tourism.

Australian, New Zealand and U.S. military aircraft carrying medical staff and emergency supplies started landing in the two Samoas on Thursday.

An Indian Ocean tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004 -- which killed about 230,000 people in 11 countries -- is the worst on record.
9 from Delhi killed in Kerala boat capsize; one missing

New Delhi, Oct 1 (PTI) Nine Delhiites including seven women were among 35 people killed in a boat capsize in Kerala, officials said today. Shruti whose parents --Pradeep Kumar Jain and Sandhya Jain-- died in the incident, is missing.

Shruti''s husband Bala Dut survived the mishap, they said. Officials had yesterday said that Shruti and Bala Dut had died in the incident.

The other deceased from the national capital include Partha Sharma, Harinder Singh Rawat, Arun Kaur and her daughter, Saliha, Sangeeta Sharma and Alka. Saliha''s husband Amit, who was also onboard the ill-fated boat, did not figure either in the list of dead or that of the survivours.

Out of the 32 deceased identified, nine each are from Tamil Nadu and Delhi, six from Bengal, four from Andhra Pradesh, three from Karnataka and one from Punjab. Thirty five bodies have so far been recovered after the boat capsized in Thekkady Lake in Kerala''s Idukki district officials said, adding, 40 others were rescued.

The boat, with about 80 passengers on board, mostly tourists from outside Kerala, sank after cruising five km from the boarding point from where it had set out around 4 pm yesterday. Helpline numbers set for further enquiry are -- 09446052361 and 04869222620 -- and Kerala House (Delhi) 011 23342320/30411500.
Indonesia quake death toll may be thousands-minister

Rescue teams struggled in heavy rain on Thursday to find people trapped under debris after a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian city of Padang, possibly killing thousands.

The 7.6 magnitude quake struck the bustling port city of 900,000 people on Wednesday, toppling hundreds of buildings. Telephone connections were largely severed, making it hard for officials to work out the extent of destruction and loss of life.

"We need aid as soon as possible. We need food and medicine. Our houses have collapsed," said Siti, a resident of Padang, capital of West Sumatra province.

"There are people still trapped inside after their houses collapsed."

Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told reporters at an airport in Jakarta before leaving for Padang that the number of victims "could be more (than hundreds or thousands). I think it's more than thousands, if we look at how widespread the damage is. But we don't really know yet".

The national disaster agency put the confirmed death toll at 220. Officials said 500 houses had collapsed.

A second quake, of magnitude 6.8, hit another part of Sumatra island on Thursday, causing fresh panic, according to television reports. The second quake's epicentre -- inland and further to the southeast -- was 154 km (96 miles) northwest of Bengkulu, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The area could not immediately be contacted.

A Reuters reporter at the partially collapsed Jamil hospital in Padang said there were at least 40 corpses on the ground. Many patients had been evacuated to the hospital's yard.

The reporter, whose own house collapsed, said some medical tents had been set up nearby but that many people who had gathered were still waiting for treatment.

A woman holding her dead baby cried for help: "My son is dead. My son is dead." TV footage showed troops carrying a woman on a stretcher, blood seeping from wounds on her legs and her body covered in dust.

Heavy rain hampered rescue efforts and officials said power had been cut in Padang, which lies on a coastal plain and is surrounded by steep mountains that stretch far inland.

Sumatra is one of the most seismically active parts of Asia.

A 9.15 magnitude quake, its epicentre 600 km (375 miles) northwest of Padang, caused the 2004 tsunami that killed 230,000 people in Indonesia and other Indian Ocean nations.


Australian businesswoman Jane Liddon told Australian radio from Padang that the city centre was devastated.

"The big buildings are down. The concrete buildings are all down, the hospitals, the main markets, down and burned. A lot of people died in there. A lot of places are burning."

"Most of the damage is in the town centre in the big buildings."

TV footage showed piles of debris, collapsed houses and multi-storey buildings, with scores of crushed cars, after the earthquake.

The main hospital had collapsed, roads were cut by landslides and Metro Television said the roof of the airport had caved in.

Damage to roads had affected transport of rubber in West Sumatra province, the fifth-largest producing province for rubber in Indonesia.

Officials said heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators and concrete cutters were badly needed.

The disaster is the latest in a spate of natural and man-made calamities to hit Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 226 million people.

Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie said on Wednesday the damage could be similar to that caused by a 2006 quake in the central Java city of Yogyakarta that killed 5,000 people and damaged 150,000 homes.

Sumatra is home to some of the country's largest oil fields as well as its oldest liquefied natural gas terminal, although there were no immediate reports of damage.

Padang sits on one of the world's most active fault lines along the "Ring of Fire" where the Indo-Australia plate grinds against the Eurasia plate to create regular tremors and sometimes quakes. Geologists have long warned Padang may one day be destroyed by a huge earthquake because of its location.

(Additional reporting by Telly Nathalia, Muklis Ali and Fitri Wulandari in Jakarta, and Rob Taylor in Canberra; Writing by Sara Webb/Ed Davies, Editing by Dean Yates)
Alpine climate campaign enlists iPhone

In less than three months, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to try to reach an agreement on tackling climate change.

Environmental scientists say only a far-reaching deal to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions will prevent major environmental degradation, in the form of melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.

But in many parts of the world, the effects of global warming are already very apparent, and they are forcing local communities to adapt, often at great expense.

The Alps, climatologists agree, are especially sensitive to global warming. Alpine glaciers have retreated faster in the last 20 years, losing around 25% of their surface area.

Now the Swiss region of the Jungfrau, which is classed as a Unesco Heritage Site, is hoping to show the world exactly what global warming looks like, in the form of a graphic interactive guide along its hiking trails.

Graphic guide

The guide has been developed by the University of Berne's Institute for Climate Change, and uses the latest in modern technology - an iPhone complete with GPS.

Taking the iPhones, which are available from local tourist offices, along any one of seven Climate Change Hiking Trails, allows hikers to compare, for example, pictures of the glaciers 100 years ago with their condition now.

They can also see interviews with climatologists explaining how glaciers normally advance and retreat, and the devices can be used to identify rare alpine flowers, many of which are now growing in areas once covered by ice.

"We wanted to show people that climate change is already happening," said Kaspar Meuli of the Climate Change Institute.

"You can see the consequences already, it's happening now and here. We want to make people feel more concerned about this whole problem."

Crumbling mountains

Walking with Mr Meuli up the trail towards the lower Grindelwald glacier provided a stark illustration of the problem.

"This area is of particular interest because there are many natural hazards due to climate change that can be witnessed here," he explained.

And sure enough, just as the climate guide instructs hikers to stop and examine a particular rock formation, the rock begins to crumble, and boulders roll down the mountainside.

The rock slide is the result of thawing permafrost, which once held the rock in place.

"This kind of thing is happening basically all the time now," said Mr Meuli.

"Just two kilometres from here they had to build a special tunnel to protect the path from rock falls."

Disappearing restaurants

Closer to the glacier, or rather, closer to where the glacier used to be, there is another graphic example.

A brand new mountain restaurant welcomes hikers, but just a few hundred metres on, visitors can see where the old restaurant stood until three years ago.

Now the spot is a collapsed wall of earth and rock. As the glacier retreated, the ice stopped supporting the earth beneath the restaurant, the ground crumbled away, and the restaurant fell.

Such examples are not only stark evidence of the fact that global warming is already damaging the planet, they are also forcing local communities into costly and complicated protection measures.

A particular danger caused by the melting glaciers is the excess water.

As the lower Grindelwald glacier melts, the levels of the glacial lake are rising, threatening to flood the villages in the valley hundreds of metres below.

Now the local community is spending almost $15m (£9.4) to build a complicated series of run-off tunnels, drilling through the mountain and up to the lake, in a bid to give the water a safe route down.

"This is a good example of the consequences of global warming," explained tunnel engineer Nils Haehlen.

"With the melting of the glacier this lake becomes bigger and bigger and so does the danger. So we are building these tunnels to try to lower the level of the lake."

New foundations

Right across the Alps, similar measures are under way.

Many cable car stations are built into permafrost; now that the permafrost is thawing, the stations have to have new foundations.

It's not the kind of information you would expect tourist boards to want to spread around too much - after all, the Alpine economy depends on tourists enjoying themselves, not worrying about rock falls or floods.

Nevertheless Sammy Salm, of the Jungfrau tourist office, believes the new interactive climate guide is a way to show visitors the reality of what's happening to the mountains.

"First of all it's a cool tool, and our visitors like it," he said.

But more importantly, he pointed out, it is a way to confront the public with the consequences of climate change, and perhaps spur them to action.

"Up here you can really see what climate change does to nature, what it does to our mountains," he explained.

"I think with this we can really raise the awareness of each individual person about what's actually happening, and then also maybe make them more sensitive to their own daily behaviour about how they use resources."
Two more swine flu deaths in Delhi, toll 13

At least two people succumbed to influenza A (H1N1) in Delhi Wednesday, taking the death toll in the capital to 13, health authorities said.

While one person died in a private hospital, a 22-year-old man died at the Safdarjung hospital. Though the details of the first person were unavailable, the second patient was suffering from pneumonia and respiratory distress and was under ventilation.

Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said the 'situation is under control' and there is 'no need to panic'. She advised people to consult a doctor at the earliest if they have any symptom of swine flu.

The capital also reported 58 new cases of swine flu including those of 29 children.

Walia said that till date 2,739 cases have been detected with the contagious virus. 'More than 90 percent patients have been successfully treated and discharged.'

Delhi stands second only to Maharashtra (2,827 people) in the number of swine flu cases. Across the country, over 10,230 people have contracted the disease and at least 315 have died.

Samoa quake exposes tsunami warning limitations

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Successive tsunamis which pounded South Pacific islands, killing more than 100 people, have exposed the limitations of early alert systems set up since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, an expert said on Thursday.

Across the Asia Pacific, early warning systems ranging from beach loudspeaker sirens to deep ocean monitor buoys have been set up over the past four years to alert people of tsunamis and prompt them to seek safety on higher ground.

But the magnitude 8 quake struck too close to the islands of Western Samoa and American Samoa to give much warning, with the resulting tsunami approaching shore at the speed of jet aircraft.

"Tsunami warning systems are useless in most of the countries like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, because the lead time is too short," said Kevin McCue, president of the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society.

"Far better to educate people to make for high ground immediately after they feel shaking that lasts more than about 30 seconds," McCue said.

The Indian Ocean tsunami raced across almost 5,000 km (3,100 miles) to Africa, Thailand and the Indian subcontinent, arriving with enough power to smash communities, change shorelines and kill as many as 225,000 people.

Tsunamis cross open ocean at speeds up to 800 km (500 miles) an hour, eventually slamming ashore at heights of up to 30 meters (100 feet).

The education of people in the Pacific, the world's most active tsunami region, needs to start in schools, where they should be taught to flee automatically, McCue said.

Samoa had begun that process, with people learning the lessons of 2004 and running tsunami evacuation drills, as well as running a mobile phone system of texted alerts and relying on more basic methods.

"There were police cars going up the road just telling residents to go up to higher ground in a very orderly fashion," tourism official David Vaeafe told Sky News.

"In the mountains, young men were banging gas cylinders as church bells, like they were calling people to church," he said.

The death toll still climbed well above 100.

McCue said Australia and New Zealand should help Pacific nations improve building codes and earthquake monitoring.
China celebrates National Day extravaganza

BEIJING — China on Thursday celebrated 60 years of communist rule with a military parade and lavish ceremonies on Beijing's Tiananmen Square showcasing the nation's revival as a global power.

Thousands of troops marched in tight formations, fighter jets overflew the city and the world's largest military unveiled its most sophisticated weaponry including new intercontinental ballistic missiles in a patriotic show of force.

President Hu Jintao extolled the Communist Party-led rebirth in a speech to the invitation-only crowd from Tiananmen gate, where Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic on October 1, 1949. Related article: How Mao rewrote Chinese history

"The development and progress of the new China over the past 60 years fully proved that only socialism can save China, and only reform and opening up can ensure the development of China, socialism and Marxism," Hu told the crowd. Chronology: China's communist history

China typically holds grand celebrations every 10 years to commemorate Mao's announcement, but authorities promised that this year's festivities would top those staged in the past -- and outdo last year's Olympic opening ceremony.

The government wants to send a clear message: that China, the world's third-largest economy, has re-emerged as a proud and undeniable global force. Facts about China

Hu, in a high-collared Mao-style tunic, underlined this confidence in his speech before a Tiananmen Square festooned in the nation's red and yellow.

"Today a socialist China that faces the future is standing tall and firm in the East," he declared.

An estimated 200,000 people took part in the lavish morning festivities, which unfolded under clear blue skies.

Flexing its growing muscle, China paraded long-range nuclear missiles capable of striking the heart of the United States and other homegrown weaponry signaling that a nation once bullied by foreign powers is a pushover no more.

The military show was followed by a colourful parade, with tens of thousands of people marching and singing in unison in a display of China's ability to harness its vast manpower on a massive scale.

Besides goose-stepping troops, squads of pink-clad women "volunteers" dubbed the "iron roses" marched in go-go boots, while thousands of other participants marched while waving flowing fans, pom-poms and bouquets of flowers.

National sports heroes such as hurdler Liu Xiang and former Olympic gymnastics champion Li Ning rode on one of dozens of brightly decorated floats.

Giant portraits of China's leaders from Mao to Hu were paraded past the square, which was filled with 80,000 children flipping hand-held cards spelling out messages such as "Socialism is Good" and "Long Live China."

These include seething tensions in ethnic minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet, and widespread social discontent over a widening wealth gap, official corruption and environmental degradation.

As a result, most of Beijing's 17 million citizens were relegated to watching the pageant in their hometown on television like the rest of China.

Lu Haishi, 23, travelled all the way from Shanghai to watch the festivities with friends -- on TV.

"I came to Beijing for the National Day from Shanghai for the atmosphere. We've rented a room to see the parade on television in a hotel near the route, to get the atmosphere," he said.

Police have for weeks stepped up security checks, cleared out beggars and the homeless, and ordered residents along the parade route not to open windows during the parade.

Even the city's airport shut for three hours during the parade and knife sales were banned in some stores after two recent stabbings near Tiananmen Square.

The Mao-led 1949 communist takeover ended years of foreign domination and war, while three decades of economic reforms initiated by late leader Deng Xiaoping enriched China and propelled it back into the ranks of world powers.

State media had said aircraft could release cloud-dispersal chemicals to prevent rain spoiling the festivities -- and skies were clear for the parade after light rain the night before.

It was not immediately clear if the fine weather was man-made, but state media reported last year that authorities induced rain to wring out the clouds in the run-up to the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics.
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தென்னாப்ரிக்கா ஏர்வேஸ் உடன் ஏர் இந்தியா ஒப்பந்தம்

மும்பை: ஏர் இந்தியா மற்றும் தென்னாப்ரிக்கா ஏர்வேஸ் விமான நிறுவனங்கள் இடையே பயணிகள் எளிதாக டிக்கெட் பெற்று, இரு நாடுகளிடையே பயண வாய்ப்புகளை அதிகரிக்கும் விசேஷ நடைமுறை ஒப்பந்தம் கையெழுத்தானது. இதனால், இவ்விரு நாடுகளுக்கும் இடையே போக்குவரத்து வாய்ப்புகளில் முன்னேற்றம் அதிகரிக்கும் . இதுகுறித்து வெளியிடப்பட்ட அறிக்கை: இந்த ஒப்பந்தத்தின் மூலம் தென்னாப்ரிக்காவின் வழித்தடங்களான ஜோகன்னஸ்பர்கில் இருந்து டர்பன், கேப் டவுன் மற்றும் மும்பை ஆகியவற்றிற்கு, ஏர் இந்தியா பயணிகள் எளிதாக டிக்கெட் பெறலாம். அதே போல், தென்னாப்ரிக்கா ஏர்வேஸ் பயணிகள், இந்தியாவின் உள்நாட்டு போக்குவரத்து வழித்தடங்களான மும்பை - டில்லி மற்றும் பெங்களூரு, சென்னை, திருவனந்தபுரம், ஐதராபாத் ஆகியவற்றில் இருந்து மும்பை இடையேயான வழித்தடங்களுக்கான டிக்கெட்களை எளிதாகப் பெறலாம் எனத் தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதுகுறித்து ஏர் இந்தியாவின் தலைவர் மற்றும் மேலாண்மை இயக்குனர் அரவிந்த் ஜாதவ் கூறியதாவது: தென்னாப்ரிக்கா ஏர்வேஸ் நிறுவனத்துடன் செய்துள்ள ஒப்பந்தத்தால், ஏர் இந்தியாவிற்கு தென்னாப்ரிக்கா சந்தையில் நல்ல வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்துள்ளது. ஏர் இந்தியா நிறுவனம், ஆப்ரிக்காவில் தற்போது நைரோபிக்கு மட்டும் வாரத்திற்கு மூன்று நாள் என்ற அடிப்படையில் சேவையாற்றி வருகிறது' என்றார்.

இதுகுறித்து தென்னாப்ரிக்கா ஏர்வேஸ் நிறுவன வர்த்தக மேம்பாட்டுத் துறை தலைவர் ஜாசன் க்ரவுஸ் கூறியதாவது: எங்களுடன் ஒப்பந்தம் செய்துள்ள ஏர் இந்தியா, எங்கள் பயணிகளுக்கு, இந்தியாவில் சிறப்பான கூடுதல் வசதிகளை வழங்கும். தற்போது தென்னாப்ரிக்கா ஏர்வேஸ், ஜோகன்னஸ்பர்க் - மும்பை இடையே வாரத்திற்கு நான்கு முறை பயணிக்கிறது என்றார்.
இந்தியா வந்துள்ள கிளின்டனுக்கு வரலாறு காணாத பாதுகாப்பு

புதுடில்லி : தலைநகர் புதுடில்லிக்கு இரு நாள் பயணமாக வரும் அமெரிக்க வெளியுறவு அமைச்சர் கிளாரி கிளின்டனுக்கு, ஒரு அதிபருக்கு அளிக்கும் பாதுகாப்பை போன்ற அதிகப்படியான பாதுகாப்பு அளிக்க இருப்பதாக டில்லி போலீஸ் வட்டார தகவல்கள் தெரிவிக்கின்றன. மும்பையில் கிளாரி தங்கும் தாஜ் ஹோட்டல் ஒரு கோட்டையை போல் மாறி <<உள்ளது. அமெரிக்காவில் உள்ள கிளின்டனின் தனி பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரிகள் சுமார் 15 பேர் ஏற்கனவே இங்கு வந்து தாஜ் ஹோட்டலை முழுவதுமாக சோதனையிட்டு விட்டனர். மேலும் அங்கு எடுக்கப்பட்டு வரும் பாதுகாப்பு நடவடிக்கைகளையும் தீவிரமாக கண்காணித்து வருகிறார்கள். நேற்று வெள்ளி இரவு மும்பை தாஜ் ஹோட்டலுக்கு வந்த கிளாரி கிளின்டன், நாளை மதியம், அமெரிக்காவில் இருந்து பிரத்யேகமாக வந்திருக்கும் அமெரிக்க விமானப்படையின் விஷேச விமானம் மூலம் புதுடில்லி செல்கிறார். கிளாரி கிளின்டனின் பாதுகாப்புக்காக, சுமார் 1,500 பாதுகாப்பு அதிகாரிகள், தாஜ் பேலஸ் ஹோட்டல் மற்றும் அவர் கலந்து கொள்ளும் நிகழ்ச்சி கள் நடக்கும் இடங்களில் நிறுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளதாக சொல்லப்படுகிறது. புதுடில்லி வரும் அவர், அரசியல் தலைவர்கள் சந்திப்பிற்குப்பின், குர்காவ்னில் <உள்ள ஐடிசி கிரீன் பில்டிங்கில் நடக்கும் கிளைமேட் சேஞ்ச் கருத்தரங்கு, மத்திய டில்லியில் உள்ள புசா இன்ஸ்டிடியூட்டில் நடக்கும் விவசாயம் குறித்த நிகழ்ச்சி, டில்லி பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் நடக்கும் நிகழ்ச்சி ஆகியவைகளிலும் கலந்து கொள்கிறார். ஜூலை 21 ம் தேதி அவர் தாய்லாந்து புறப்பட்டு செல்கிறார்.
ஸ்பின்னிங் மில்களுக்கு பயன்படும் புதிய ரக இயந்திரங்கள் அறிமுகம்

திண்டுக்கல்: ஸ்பின்னிங் மில்களுக்கு பயன்படும் மார்ஸோலி கம்பெனியின் புதிய ரக இயந்திரத்தை திண்டுக்கல்லில் அறிமுகம் செய்தனர். ஸ்பின்னிங் மில்களுக்கு தேவையான உபகரணங்களை தயாரிக்கும் இத்தாலி நாட்டு மார்ஸோலி கம்பெனியின் சார்பில் திண்டுக்கல்லில் கருத்தரங்கம் நடந்தது.

கம்பெனியின் விற்பனை மேலாளர்கள் அலெக்சாண்ட்ரோ ஓண்டாய், டாரியோ ஓமா, இக்கம்பெனி தயாரிப்புகளை இந்தியாவில் விற்பனை செய்யும் எர்கோ ஜி 2 கம்பெனியின் நிர்வாக இயக்குனர் நரேஷ், விற்பனை மேலாளர் கார்த்திகேயன், தேனி, திண்டுக்கல் மாவட்ட ஸ்பின்னிங் மில் மேலாளர்கள், தொழில்நுட்ப அலுவலர்கள் பங்கேற்றனர். திண்டுக்கல், தேனி மாவட்ட ஸ்பின்னிங் மில்களில் தயாராகும் நூல்களின் மாடல்களுக்கு ஏற்ற ஹோம்பர், ரிங்பிரேம் ஆகிய புதிய இயந்திரங்கள் அறிமுகம் செய்யப்பட்டன. இவற்றை பயன்படுத்துவதன் மூலம் நூல்களின் தரம், உற்பத்தி அளவு அதிகரிக்க முடியும். குறைந்த பணியாளர்கள் மூலம் இயந்திரங்களை இயக்க முடியும். பராமரிப்பு செலவுகளும் குறைவு என தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டது.
எம்.பி.ஏ., தேர்வு முடிவுகள் வெளியீடு

காரைக்குடி: காரைக்குடி அழகப்பா பல்கலை தொலைதூர கல்வி மையம் மூலம் மே 2009ல் தேர்வு எழுதிய எம்.பி.ஏ.,(பொதுபருவமுறை) தேர்வு முடிவுகள் வெளியிடப்பட்டுள்ளன. தேர்வு முடிவுகளை WWW.KALVIMALAR.COM, http://WWW.ALGAPPA UNIVERSITY.AC.IN   ஆகிய இணையதளங்களில் பார்க்கலாம்.

எம்.பில்., பாடங்களுக்கு மறுமதிப்பீடு செய்ய இயலாது. பிற பாடங்களுக்கான தேர்வு முடிவுகளை மறுமதிப்பீடு செய்ய விரும்பினால், பூர்த்தி செய்த விண்ணப்பங்களுடன் ரூ.400க்கான டி.டி., யை,""பதிவாளர், அழகப்பா பல்கலை காரைக்குடி'' என்ற முகவரிக்கு எடுத்து, ஆக.,5 ம் தேதிக்குள் தேர்வாணையர் அலுவலகத்தில் ஒப்படைக்க வேண்டும் என பல்கலை தேர்வாணையர் மாணிக்கவாசம் தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.
ஒரு கோடி பேருக்கு சிகிச்சை: புதிய திட்டம் 23ல் ஆரம்பம்

சென்னை: ஒரு கோடி ஏழைக் குடும்பங்களுக்கு உயிர்காக்கும் உயர் சிகிச்சைக்கான கலைஞர் காப்பீட்டுத் திட்டத்தை வரும் 23ம் தேதி சென்னையில் மத்திய சுகாதாரத்துறை அமைச்சர் குலாம்நபி ஆசாத் தொடங்கி வைக்கிறார். தொடக்க விழா வரும் 23ம் தேதி சென்னைப் பல்கலைக்கழக நூற்றாண்டு விழா அரங்கில் நடைபெற உள்ளது.

முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி தலைமையில் நடைபெறும் விழாவில், மத்திய சுகாதாரத்துறை அமைச்சர் குலாம் நபி ஆசாத் திட்டத்தை துவக்கி வைக்க உள்ளார். பல்வேறு வாரியங்களில் உறுப்பினர்களாக உள்ளோரின் குடும்பங்கள் மற்றும் 72 ஆயிரம் ரூபாய்க்கு குறைவாக வருமானமுள்ளோர் இத்திட்டம் மூலம் பயன்பெறுவர். காப்பீட்டு நிறுவனம் மூலம் உறுப்பினர்களுக்கு புகைப்படத்துடன் கூடிய அடையாள அட்டை வழங்கப்படும். அதை பயன்படுத்தி அரசு மருத்துவமனைகள் தவிர, ஒவ்வொரு மாவட்டத்திலும் குறைந்தது ஆறு தனியார் மருத்துவமனைகளிலும் சிகிச்சை பெறலாம். இத்திட்டத்தின் கீழ் ஒரு கோடி ஏழைக் குடும்பங்களுக்கு காப்பீட்டுத் தவணைத் தொகையாக ஆண்டொன்றுக்கு 517.30 கோடி ரூபாயை தமிழக அரசு காப்பீட்டு நிறுவனத்திற்கு வழங்குகிறது. இதுகுறித்து சுகாதாரத்துறை அமைச்சர் எம்.ஆர்.கே.பன்னீர்செல்வம் வெளியிட்டுள்ள அறிவிப்பில்," உயிர் காக்கும் உயர்சிகிச்சைக்கான கலைஞர் காப்பீட் டுத் திட்டத்திற்கு, நடப்பு ஆண்டில் காப்பீட்டுத் தொகையாக 520 கோடியை தமிழக அரசு வழங்குகிறது. இத்திட்டம் ஸ்டார் ஹெல்த் இன்சூரன்ஸ் நிறுவனம் மூலம் செயல்படுத்தப்படுகிறது,' என தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.
முதல்கட்ட மருத்துவ கவுன்சிலிங் முடிந்தது

சென்னை: முதற்கட்ட மருத்துவக் கவுன்சிலிங்கின் முடிவில், 14 அரசு மருத்துவக் கல்லூரிகளில் அனைத்து இடங்களும் நிரம்பிவிட்டன. காலியிடங்களுக்கு இரண்டாம் கட்ட கவுன்சிலிங் நடக்கவுள்ளது. முதற்கட்ட மருத்துவக் கவுன்சிலிங் சென்னை கீழ்ப்பாக்கம் மருத்துவக் கல்லூரியில் கடந்த 6ம் தேதி முதல் நடந்து வந்தது. நேற்று தரவரிசை பட்டியலில் எஸ்.டி., பிரிவில் சி.ஆர்., 2 முதல் சி.ஆர்., 40 வரை "ரேங்க்' பெற்றவர்கள் கவுன்சிலிங்கிற்கு அழைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தனர். 17 மாணவர்களுக்கு நேற்று இடங்கள் ஒதுக்கப்பட்டன. நேற்றுடன் முதற்கட்ட மருத்துவக் கவுன்சிலிங் முடிவடைந்தது.

முதற்கட்ட மருத்துவக் கவுன்சிலிங்கின் முடிவில், 14 அரசு மருத்துவக் கல்லூரிகளில் அனைத்து இடங்களும் நிரம்பிவிட்டன. சென்னை அரசு பல் மருத்துவக் கல்லூரியில் எஸ்.சி., பிரிவில் ஐந்து இடங்கள் காலியாக உள்ளன. ஸ்ரீமூகாம்பிகை மருத்துவக் கல்லூரியில் எம்.பி.சி., பிரிவில் ஒரு இடம் காலியாக உள்ளது. 17 தனியார் பல் மருத்துவக் கல்லூரிகளில் 850 இடங்கள் காலியாக உள்ளன. இந்த இடங்களுக்கும், முதற்கட்ட கவுன்சிலிங்கில் இடம் கிடைத்து கல்லூரியில் சேராத மாணவர்களால் ஏற்படும் காலியிடங்களுக்கும் இரண்டாம் கட்ட கவுன்சிலிங் நடத்தப்படும். முதற்கட்ட மருத்துவ கவுன்சிலிங்கின் முடிவில் காலியிட விவரம்:

பிரிவு ஓ.சி., பி.சி., பி.சி.எம்., எம்.பி.சி., எஸ்.சி., எஸ்.சி.ஏ., எஸ்.டி., மொத்தம்

14 அரசு மருத்துவக் கல்லூரிகள் 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
ஒரு அரசு பல் மருத்துவக் கல்லூரி 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 5
4 தனியார் மருத்துவக் கல்லூரிகள் 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
17 தனியார் பல் மருத்துவக் கல்லூரிகள் 250 236 19 176 134 26 9 850
72 அடி உயர உயர் மின்னழுத்த 'டவர்' விழுந்தது: கிராம மக்கள் அலறியடித்து ஓட்டம்

உடுமலை: உடுமலை அருகே உயர் மின்னழுத்த மின்சாரம் செல்ல அமைக்கப்பட்ட 72 அடி உயர "டவர்' அடியோடு சாய்ந்ததால், கிராம மக்கள்பீதியில் அலறியடித்து ஓட்டம் பிடித்தனர். உடுமலை அருகேயுள்ள மைவாடி துணை மின் நிலையத்தில் இருந்து கோவை மாவட்டம் ஒத்தகால் மண்டபம் மின் நிலையத்திற்கு, கிராமங்களின் வழியாக உயர் மின்னழுத்த "டவர்'கள் அமைக்கப்படுகின்றன.

இத்திட்டத்தில் 217 உயர் மின்னழுத்த "டவர்'கள் அமைக்கும் பணி சில மாதங்களாக நடக்கிறது. இதேபோல், உடுமலை அருகேயுள்ள லிங்கமநாயக்கன்புதூர் விளைநிலங்கள் வழியாக 15க்கும் மேற்பட்ட "டவர்'கள் அமைக்கும் பணி சில மாதங்களாக நடக்கிறது. இந்நிலையில், நேற்று முன்தினம் இரவு லிங்கமநாயக்கன்புதூர் விவசாயி மாரிமுத்து தோட்டத்தில் இருந்த "டவர்' திடீரென அடியோடு சாய்ந்தது. "டவரை' தாங்க அமைக்கப்பட்டிருந்த கம்பிகள் மண்ணோடு பெயர்ந்ததுடன், பிற பாகங்களும் கீழே விழுந்து நொறுங்கின. 72 அடி உயரமுள்ள டவர் பலத்த சத்தத்துடன் கீழே விழுந்ததால், அப்பகுதி மக்களிடையே பீதி ஏற்பட்டது. சம்பவ இடத்தில் நூற்றுக்கணக்கான விவசாயிகள் கூடினர். திட்டப் பணிகள் முழுமையாக முடிக்கப்பட்டு மின்சாரம் சார்ஜ் செய்யப்படாததால் பெரிய விபத்து தவிர்க்கப்பட்டது. உயர் மின்னழுத்த "டவரின்' மின்கம்பிகள், அருகிலிருந்த பிற மின் கம்பங்கள் மீது விழுந்ததில் மின்சாரம் துண்டிக்கப்பட்டது. லிங்கமநாயக்கன்புதூர் கிராமம் இருளில் மூழ்கியது.

தகவல் அறிந்த மின்வாரிய உயர் அதிகாரிகள் சம்பவ இடத்திற்கு ஆய்வு மேற்கொள்ள வந்தனர். அப்போது, "டவரை' சீரமைக்கும் பணிகளைத் துவக்க விவசாயிகள் எதிர்ப்பு தெரிவித்தனர். "டவர்' தரமில்லாமல் அமைக்கப்படுவதால் ஏற்படும் பிரச்னைகளுக்கு அதிகாரிகள் உரிய விளக்கம் அளிக்க வேண்டும்; பாதிக்கப்பட்ட விளைநிலத்திற்கு உரிய நிவாரணம் வழங்க வேண்டும்; பணிகளை மேற்கொள்ளும் ஒப்பந்ததாரரை கைது செய்ய வேண்டும் என வலியுறுத்தி விவசாயிகள் போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட்டனர். இதனால், மின் வாரியத்தினர் சீரமைப்புப் பணிகளை மேற்கொள்வதில் சிக்கல் ஏற்பட்டது. இதையடுத்து, மின்வாரிய உயர் அதிகாரிகள், குடிமங்கலம் போலீசார், விவசாயிகளிடம் பேச்சுவார்த்தையில் ஈடுபட்டனர். இதில், டவர் விழுந்ததால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட மாரிமுத்து என்ற விவசாயிக்கு உரிய நிவாரணம் வழங்கப்படும். டவர் செல்லும் பாதைகளில் உள்ள விளைநிலங்களுக்கு பாதிப்பிற்கு ஏற்ப நிவாரணம் வழங்கப்படுமென உறுதியளித்தனர். இதையடுத்து, விவசாயிகள் தங்கள் போராட்டத்தைக் கைவிட்டனர். கீழே விழுந்த டவர் மற்றும் மின்கம்பிகள் விழுந்ததால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட பிற மின்கம்பங்களை சீரமைக்கும் பணியில் மின்வாரிய ஊழியர்கள் ஈடுபட்டனர்.
20-year-old man tests positive for swine flu

Panaji, Jul 18 (PTI) A 20-year-old man has tested positive for swine flu, taking the total number of people suffering from the virus in the state to three.

"The reports of the throat swab samples received from National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi are positive," Dr Rajendra Tamba, State Nodal Officer for Swine Flu, told PTI today.

The 20-year-old man had arrived in the state on July 14. "He came to India on July 12 from USA. He tested negative for Swine Flu in America," Tamba said.

"He was quarantined in a facility at Chicalim and is now admitted in Goa Medical College's special facility," Tamba said.

The state is also awaiting test reports of throat swabs samples of three more patients sent to New Delhi.

Tamba said that all the three patients including a woman and 65-year-old male are quarantined at a facility in Chicalim.
Updates to Google Voice

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Google Voice. To refresh your memory, I quote myself:

"Google Voice began life in 2005 as something called GrandCentral. It was intended to solve the headaches of having more than one phone number (home, work, cellphone and so on). GrandCentral's grand solution was to offer you a new, single, unified phone number, in an area code of your choice. Whenever somebody dialed your new uni-number, all of your phones rang at once.

"No longer did people have to track you down by dialing multiple numbers; no matter where you were, your uni-number found you. As a bonus, all voicemail messages landed in a single voicemail box, on the Web.

"GrandCentral also let you record a different voicemail greeting for each person in your address book. You could also specify which phones would ring when certain people called. (For the really annoying people in your life, you could even tell GrandCentral to answer with the classic, three-tone 'The number you have dialed is no longer in service' message.)

"For people with complicated lives, GrandCentral was a breath of fresh air. It felt like a secret power that nobody else had."

Then, after Google bought GrandCentral and unveiled an improved version a year later, I wrote: "Google Voice maintains all of the original GrandCentral features -- but introduces game-changing new ones."

The new features included free transcriptions of your voicemail (the text of those messages gets sent to you by e-mail and text message); free conference calling; dirt-cheap international calls (2 cents a minute to France or China, for example); and, perhaps most profoundly, Web-based sending and storing of all your text messages. That's a first in cellphone history; for most people, text messages scroll away off the phone after 20 of them or so, with no way to capture them.

Anyway: today, some updates.

First, Google has *finally* taken Voice out of its private beta-testing stage. It's been pouring out invitations to everybody who's been on its waiting list--a long, long list. Already, everyone who ever asked to sign up for GrandCentral has been granted a full, free Google Voice account, and the company is almost finished inviting people who've requested an account more recently. Once that's complete, the company plans to give every member a couple of invitations to give away to friends or family.

Second, yesterday, Google announced its attempt to eliminate one of the most annoying features of Google Voice. When I, a Google Voice member, call you from one of my phones, you see, on your Caller ID screen, my phone number.

The problem is, of course, that I don't want you to use that number anymore. I want everyone to call me on my unified Google Voice number; otherwise, we're defeating the purpose of the service.

So now there's a free dialer program, available for the BlackBerry and Android phones (an iPhone version is in the works). If I call you from this little free app, then you see my Google Voice number on your Caller ID, not my phone's birth number.

On the BlackBerry, this is a slight hassle, since you can't use the built-in dialing methods (like dialing from your address book). You have to open the Google Voice app first.

On the Android version, life is much better. Your Google Voice number is transmitted no matter how you place a call. (No wonder it's so much better integrated: Google is also the creator of the Android cellphone software.)

This technology poses some interesting questions. For example: These new Google Voice dialers work by contacting a local Google Voice access number, which relays your dialed number from there. In fact, you see the local access number ("now calling") on your screen when you place a call.

So if you're a T-Mobile member, couldn't you add designate that local Google Voice number as one of your Five Faves, and thereby get free calls forever?

Answer: Yes, for awhile (although you're almost certain to incur the wrath of T-Mobile, or worse). Unfortunately, Google plans to expand the assortment of local access numbers as it grows, and you can't count on reaching the same one forever.

Another question: If the dialer is actually reaching a Google Voice access number, doesn't that mean that my in-network calls (for example, from my Verizon phone to another Verizon phone) are no longer free?

Answer: Yes. That's a big caveat, worth taking seriously. Using the dialer to place your calls means that none of your in-network calls are free.

Still, even if you use the dialer only for evening calls, or out-of-network calls, or no calls at all, it's worth downloading. That's because the app also offers nicely designed access to everything you'll find at your voicemail transcriptions, call logs, all your text messages going back forever, the ability to reply to them, and so on. Best of all, these dialers give you direct access to those 2- and 3-cent international calls, simply and cheaply.

So for Google Voice members, these apps are definitely worth the free download. It's great that Google is continuing to refine the service--and I happen to know that even cooler features are in the pipeline. Viva Google Voice!
Chandrayaan falters as 'star sensors' fail

Bangalore: Less than nine months after India's first lunar satellite Chandrayaan-I was launched in the glare of media flash bulbs, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation announced that the satellite's 'star sensors' – vital in determining the orientation – had failed.

Describing the failure a "handicap," Madhavan Nair told journalists at the ISRO headquarters on Friday, that Chandrayaan's orientation had been set right by activating contingency "gyroscopes" on board.

Being an electro-mechanical device, however, the life-span of the gyroscopes cannot be predicted, said S. Satish, ISRO spokesperson. He added that on May 19 Chandrayaan's orbit was raised from 100 km to 200 km from the lunar surface to "save fuel" after the gyroscopes were activated.

According to an ISRO press release, one of Chandrayaan's bus management units, which performs crucial control functions on the spacecraft, has failed. This would imply that the spacecraft is running on the backup unit.

The technical snag, which occurred on April 26, was detected on May 16, according to ISRO sources. Mr. Nair attributed it to "excessive radiation from the sun" that "can degrade devices in the star sensors." The sensors cannot be recovered at this stage and the remaining part of the two-year mission would be completed in the "gyro mode," he said, adding that "the orientation accuracy has been quite satisfactory."

Asked if the sensors' failure would compromise the expected two-year life-span of the satellite, the ISRO chairman said: "The life [of the spacecraft] is not dependent on this instrument. This instrument is used only for orientation of the spacecraft." A large number of other factors including fuel and telemetry would also contribute to a successful mission, he said.

He added that "90 to 95 per cent" of the objectives of the lunar mission had been accomplished, including reaching the satellite to a 3.84 lakh km orbit around the moon; capturing images of its terrain and ascertaining its mineral content; and placing the Indian tri-colour on its surface.
Now in Cyberspace, Apollo 11 Flies Again

Many Americans alive today are too young to remember when Apollo 11 landed on the moon 40 years ago on Monday. But for the next several days a remarkable replay of the audio is allowing Internet users to experience the momentous 1969 space mission as it happened.

The original audio feed between mission control and the Apollo 11 spacecraft is being streamed on, a presentation of AOL and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston.

The NASA Web site,, is also streaming a simulcast of the mission. On both sites, the 109 hours of audio started on Thursday and will continue until Monday night. Officials say it is the first such audio stream of a previous space mission, enabled in part by the continuing digitization of NASA's audio records.

The virtual museum exhibition is a wrinkle of the Web; now we can live (if we weren't alive) or relive (if we were) moments in time.

"It's a modern way to experience some of the greatest moments in history," said Bill Wilson, the president of AOL's content division. He said he expected that the service would try to simulcast similar events in the future, although he did not name specific ones.

For the Kennedy library, the Web site started as a project by the Martin Agency, which provides pro bono advertising services for the library, to spotlight the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, a goal that Kennedy championed while in office. The resulting Web site showcases photos and animations of the mission, but its defining feature may be the simulcast.

The faint hum from space is occasionally punctuated by the voices of the crew and the command center. Listeners hear about spacecraft maneuvers, sightings of Earth and even coffee and lunch breaks.

"Three times during the day on Thursday I found myself shushing people because I wanted to hear how the astronauts were doing," Tom McNaught, the deputy director of the library's foundation, said.

In 1969, Mr. McNaught noted, radio listeners and television viewers generally were not able to follow the mission in real time. "All we saw back then," he said, was the spacecraft launch and "the fuzzy footage that Walter Cronkite showed that night of the walk on the moon."

Brian Williams, the senior art director at the Martin Agency, added, "It's all the in-between that fills in the gaps that is the most compelling."

The conversations between the astronauts and the ground commanders were transferred from tape to digital form just last March. "There are thousands and thousands of hours of historical audio that we have on tape that we are digitizing," said James Hartsfield, a NASA spokesman.

The audio conversations are now part of an exhibit at the Kennedy library. But they are likely to reach more listeners online; some Web users said they played the audio in the background on Thursday and Friday as they worked.

"The long periods of silence, the static, the times when the crew and Houston can't actually hear each other, brings home how just how much of a step into the unknown this all was," Max Brockbank, a resident of London, wrote in an e-mail message.

AOL said had nearly half a million visits on Thursday.

The real-time audio may resonate most with listeners who weren't old enough to remember the actual mission. Mr. Hartsfield, who was 8 at the time of the moon landing, said the simulcast was "bringing it alive for me."
Shuttle arrives at space station for 11-day stay

U.S. space shuttle Endeavour slipped into a berthing port at the International Space Station on Friday, ferrying the last piece of Japan's research laboratory, tons of supplies and a new crewmember to the orbital outpost.

NASA began looking at its remaining shuttle fuel tanks, meanwhile, in hopes of learning why Endeavour's tank shed insulating foam during its climb to orbit on Wednesday.

The agency said the problem, which has been a key safety issue since the 2003 Columbia accident, needs to be resolved before the next shuttle is cleared for launch.

NASA has seven flights remaining to complete construction of the space station.

"We've got a team together to start working the issue," said NASA spokesman Steve Roy of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which oversees shuttle external fuel tank production.

After a two-day voyage, the shuttle reached the station at 1:47 p.m. EDT (1747 GMT) in a rendezvous 220 miles (350 km) over the Gulf of Carpentaria, north of Australia.

Before slipping the shuttle into its berthing port, Endeavour commander Mark Polansky slowly backflipped his ship so astronauts aboard the station could photograph the black heat-resistant ceramic tiles on Endeavour's belly. The tiles are part of the heat shield needed to protect the shuttle and its crew during the fiery supersonic glide back to Earth.

The photographs, which will be transmitted to engineers on the ground for analysis, are part of the routine safety inspections NASA implemented after the Columbia accident.

Video and photographs taken during the shuttle's launch showed about a dozen pieces of debris flying off the tank, and though a few struck the orbiter, they are believed to have caused only minor cosmetic damage, shuttle program manager John Shannon told reporters Thursday.

Some of the foam loss came from a part of the tank that hadn't previously been a problem and NASA said that makes it a potentially more serious issue and one that must be dealt with before future shuttle flights.

Shannon told Reuters he believes the problem likely is due to some kind of processing oversight or change that left the foam improperly bonded to the tank's metal skin.

He said he is optimistic the issue can be resolved in time to support the planned Aug. 18 liftoff of shuttle Discovery.

Among the Endeavour crew's first tasks is the transfer of astronaut Timothy Kopra to the station crew. He replaces Japan's Koichi Wakata, who has been serving as a station flight engineer since March.

The shuttle is due back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 31.
Space station crew swells to 13 with shuttle team

Shuttle Endeavour astronauts floated aboard the International Space Station on Friday, swelling its crew to a record 13 and marking the start of an ambitious 11-day construction mission.

After parking Endeavour and checking for leaks, the seven shuttle astronauts clambered through hatches shortly before 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) and were embraced by station commander Gennady Padalka and his five crewmates.

It was the first time representatives from all five of the primary station partners -- the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada -- were together in orbit.

"We're extremely happy to be here," said Endeavour commander Mark Polansky. "Thirteen is a pretty big number."

The crew's main job is to install the last part of Japan's research laboratory, an open platform to house science experiments outside the station. During five spacewalks, the first scheduled for Saturday, they also plan to replace batteries in the station's solar power system and position spare parts to prepare the orbital outpost for operations after the shuttles are retired next year.

As the astronauts gathered in orbit, NASA began looking at its remaining shuttle fuel tanks in hopes of learning why Endeavour's tank shed insulating foam during its climb to orbit on Wednesday.

The agency said the problem, which has been a safety issue since space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry in 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard, needs to be resolved before the next shuttle is cleared for launch.

NASA has seven flights remaining to complete construction of the space station.

"We've got a team together to start working the issue," said NASA spokesman Steve Roy of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which oversees shuttle external fuel tank production.


After a two-day voyage, the shuttle reached the station at 1:47 p.m. EDT (1747 GMT) in a rendezvous 220 miles (350 km) over the Gulf of Carpentaria, north of Australia.

Before slipping the shuttle into its berthing port, Polansky backflipped his ship so astronauts aboard the station could photograph the black heat-resistant ceramic tiles on Endeavour's belly. The tiles are part of the heat shield needed to protect the shuttle and its crew during the fiery supersonic glide back to Earth.

The photographs, which will be transmitted to engineers on the ground for analysis, have been part of safety inspections since the Columbia accident.

Video and photographs taken during the shuttle's launch showed about a dozen pieces of debris flying off the tank, and although a few struck the orbiter, they are believed to have caused only cosmetic damage.

Some of the foam loss came from a part of the tank that had not previously been a problem and NASA said that made it a potentially more serious issue that must be dealt with before future shuttle flights.

Shuttle program manager John Shannon told Reuters the problem was likely due to some kind of processing oversight or change that left the foam improperly bonded to the tank's metal skin.

He said he was optimistic the issue could be resolved in time to support the planned Aug. 18 liftoff of shuttle Discovery.

Among the Endeavour crew's first tasks is the transfer of astronaut Timothy Kopra to the station crew. He replaces Japan's Koichi Wakata, who has been serving as a station flight engineer since March.

The shuttle is due back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 31.
Computer games pump up elders' mental strength

Washington, July 18 (ANI): Computer games can help boost mental strength and flexibility of older adults, say researchers.

They have encouraged older adults to engage in physical movement, thereby building coordination and agility, while playing virtual tennis, bowling, or darts on a Nintendo Wii.

Case Western Reserve University psychologist T.J. McCallum and founder of The Brain Emporium has also designed a regimen of computer games and programs for older adults' needs and wants.

These computerized programs engage and stimulate different areas of cognition, including memory, visual-spatial abilities, flexibility, processing speed, language and planning and boosts mental health.

However, McCallum claims that The Brain Emporium programs aren't yet proven to slow diseases such as Alzheimer's, but do engage elders and sharpen their minds.

"If you don't use your body, it atrophies and the same is true for the brain," he said.

One Mickey Lewin, 71 insists that the computerised programs have been helpful.

"People can tell me numbers and I don't have to have them repeat them. I don't reverse numbers like I used to. I remember more things now," she said.
NASA aircraft studies receding Arctic sea ice to improve understanding of its life cycle

Washington, July 18 (ANI): A small NASA aircraft has completed its first successful science flight in partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder as part of an expedition to study the receding Arctic sea ice and improve understanding of its life cycle and the long-term stability of the Arctic ice cover.

NASA's Characterization of Arctic Sea Ice Experiment, known as CASIE, began a series of unmanned aircraft system flights in coordination with satellites.

Working with CU-Boulder and its research partners, NASA is using the remotely piloted aircraft to image thick, old slabs of ice as they drift from the Arctic Ocean south through the Fram Strait - which lies between Greenland and Svalbard, Norway - and into the North Atlantic Ocean.

NASA's Science Instrumentation Evaluation Remote Research Aircraft, or SIERRA, will weave a pattern over open ocean and sea ice to map and measure ice conditions below cloud cover to as low as 300 feet.

"Our project is attempting to answer some of the most basic questions regarding the most fundamental changes in sea-ice cover in recent years," said CU-Boulder Research Professor James Maslanik of the aerospace engineering sciences department and principal investigator for the NASA mission.

"Our analysis of satellite data shows that in 2009 the amount of older ice is just 12 percent of what it was in 1988 - a decline of 74 percent. The oldest ice types now cover only 2 percent of the Arctic Ocean as compared to 20 percent in the 1980s," he added.

SIERRA, laden with scientific instruments, travels long distances at low altitudes, flying below the clouds. The aircraft has high maneuverability and slow flight speed.

SIERRA's relatively large payload, approximately 100 pounds, combined with a significant range of 500 miles and a small, 20-foot wingspan makes it the ideal aircraft for the expedition.

The aircraft observations will be complemented by NASA satellite large-scale views of many different features of the Arctic ice.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA's Aqua satellite will be used to identify the ice edge location, ice features of interest and cloud cover.

Other sensors such as the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-Earth Observing System on Aqua and the Quick Scatterometer satellite can penetrate cloud cover and analyze the physical properties of ice.

By using multiple types of satellite data, in conjunction with high-resolution aircraft products, more can be learned about ice conditions than is possible by using one or two data analysis methods. (ANI)
Solar activity has big impact on earth's climate

Washington, July 18 (IANS) A high in solar activity impacts the earth in a way that resembles the devastating El Nino, releasing more energy than a million Hiroshima bombs, according to a new study.

The study shows that as the sun reaches maximum activity, it heats cloud-free parts of the Pacific Ocean enough to increase evaporation, intensify tropical rainfall and the trade winds, and cool the eastern tropical Pacific.

The giant El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) of 1997-98, rising out of the tropical Pacific Ocean, 'deranged weather patterns around the world, killed an estimated 2,100 people, and caused at least $33 billion in property damage,' wrote Curt Suplee in the National Geographic magazine.

The study may pave the way toward predictions of temperature and rainfall patterns at certain times during the approximately 11-year solar cycle.

'These results point to a scientifically feasible series of events that link the 11-year solar cycle with ENSO, the tropical Pacific phenomenon that so strongly influences climate variability around the world,' says Jay Fein, programme director in National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Atmospheric Sciences.

'The next step is to confirm or dispute these intriguing model results with observational data analyses and targeted new observations,' he adds.

The total energy reaching us from the sun varies by only 0.1 percent across the solar cycle. Scientists have sought for decades to link these ups and downs to climate variations and distinguish their subtle effects from the larger pattern of human-caused global warming.

Building on previous work, National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) researchers used computer models of global climate and more than a century of ocean temperature data to answer longstanding questions about the connection between solar activity and global climate.

'We have fleshed out the effects of a new mechanism to understand what happens in the tropical Pacific when there is a maximum of solar activity,' says NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl, the study's co-author.

'When the sun's output peaks, it has far-ranging and often subtle impacts on tropical precipitation and on weather systems around much of the world,' he added, according to an NSF release.

The research was published in July in the Journal of Climate.

Indo Asian News Service
Scientists assess flooding and damage that cyclone Nargis inflicted upon Myanmar

Washington, July 18 (ANI): A team of scientists has assessed flooding and damage that cyclone Nargis inflicted upon Myanmar in 2008.

Tropical cyclone Nargis made landfall in the Asian nation of Myanmar on May 2, 2008, causing the worst natural disaster in the country's recorded history - with a death toll that may have exceeded 138,000.

Now, a study found that the cyclone created a storm surge as much as five meters high - topped by two-meter storm waves - that together inundated areas as much as 50 kilometers inland.

Fatality rates reached 80 percent in the hardest-hit villages, and an estimated 2.5 million people in the area lived in flood-prone homes less than 10 feet above sea level.

"The aim of our project was to document the extent of the flooding and associated damage in the delta," explained Hermann M. Fritz, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"Field surveys in the immediate aftermath of major disasters focus on perishable data, which would otherwise be lost forever - such as infrastructure damage prior to repair and reconstruction," he said.

In the flood zone, for instance, the researchers searched for evidence of water marks on buildings, scars on trees and rafted debris as indicators of the maximum water height.

"Nargis washed away entire settlements, often without leaving a single structure standing, which forced us to focus on evidence left on large trees," said Fritz.

The survey team documented soil erosion of as much as one meter vertically and more than 100 meters horizontally.

Cyclone Nargis also scoured several drinking water wells, leaving them in the beach surf zone - and depriving survivors of safe water supplies.

While the storm surge and waves weren't unusually high, the impact may have been worsened by the lack of nearby high ground for evacuation and loss of coastal mangrove forests that could have slowed the storm waves, according to Fritz.

Structures in the area were not built to survive cyclones, and there was no evacuation plan for the area - where people had no previous experience with such storms.

"Those finding point to recommendations, including implementation of a cyclone education program, development of flood and vulnerability maps, construction of cyclone-safe buildings to serve as shelters, implementation of an improved warning system, and planning for evacuation," Fritz said.

Partial reconstruction of the mangroves that had been removed for agriculture and fuel could also help protect the coastline. (ANI)
Moon rocks still yielding secrets 40 years later

Washington, July 18 (IANS) There are still many secrets waiting to be gleaned from moon rocks collected by Apollo 11 astronauts on their historic moonwalk 40 years ago.

Randy L Korotev, research professor in the department of earth and planetary sciences Washington University-St Louis (WUSTL), has studied lunar samples and their chemical compositions since he was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin.

He 'was in the right place at the right time' in 1969 to be a part of a team to study some of the first lunar samples. 'We know even more now and can ask smarter questions as we research these samples,' says Korotev.

He is mainly interested in studying the impact history of the moon, how the moon's surface has been affected by meteorite impacts and the nature of the early lunar crust.

'There are still some answers, we believe, in the Apollo 11 mission. It's only been fairly recently that we decided that we should look closer at these Apollo 11 samples.'

Korotev credits the late Robert M. Walker, Washington University's physics professor and a handful of other scientists for the fact that there are even moon samples to study.

'Bringing samples back from the moon wasn't the point of the mission,' says Korotev. 'It was really about politics. It took scientists like Bob Walker to bring these samples back -- to show the value of them for research.

'Bob convinced them to build a receiving lab for the samples and advised them on the handling and storage of them. We didn't' go to the moon to collect rocks, so we scientists are really lucky that we have this collection.'

Korotev points out that by the last Apollo mission -- Apollo 17 -- one of the astronauts on board was a geologist, Harrison H. Schmitt, said a WUSTL release.

Walker was recruited to serve on the scientific team that advised NASA on the handling and distribution of moon rocks and soil samples from the first Apollo missions. That team distributed Apollo 11 samples to some 150 laboratories worldwide, including WUSTL.

The Apollo 11 samples -- and samples from almost every Apollo mission until the last one in December 1972 -- have been securely housed on the fourth floor of the physics department's Compton Lab and used by numerous WUSTL researchers.

Indo Asian News Service
Daily dose of baking soda can save kidney

London, July 18 (IANS) A daily dose baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, used in baking, cleaning, acid indigestion, sunburn and more slows the decline of kidney function in some patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), a new study has found.

'This cheap and simple strategy also improves patients' nutritional status, and has the potential of translating into significant economic, quality of life, and clinical outcome benefits,' comments Magdi Yaqoob, of the Royal London Hospital (RLH), who led the study.

Researchers studied 134 patients with advanced CKD and low bicarbonate levels, also called metabolic acidosis. One group received a small daily dose of sodium bicarbonate in tablet form, in addition to their usual care.

For this group, the rate of decline in kidney function was greatly reduced -- about two-thirds slower than in patients. 'In fact, in patients taking sodium bicarbonate, the rate of decline in kidney function was similar to the normal age-related decline,' says Yaqoob.

Rapid progression of kidney disease occurred in just nine percent of patients taking sodium bicarbonate, compared to 45 percent of the other group. Patients taking sodium bicarbonate were also less likely to develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis.

Patients taking sodium bicarbonate also had improvement in several measures of nutrition. Although their sodium levels went up, this didn't lead to any problems with increased blood pressure.

Low bicarbonate levels are common in patients with CKD and can lead to a wide range of other problems. 'This is the first randomised controlled study of its kind,' says Yaqoob.

'A simple remedy like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), when used appropriately, can be very effective,' he adds, according to an RLH release.

These findings were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Indo Asian News Service
Air in bones allows this lizard to glide

London, July 18 (IANS) Most lizards are content scurrying in and out of nooks and crannies in walls and between rocks. But neon blue tailed tree lizards (Holaspis guentheri) leap from branch to branch as they scamper through trees in the African forest. A new study has found their bones are full of air to enable them to glide.

Bieke Vanhooydonck from the University of Antwerp and her colleagues, Anthony Herrel and Peter Aerts, decided to find out whether neon blue tailed tree lizards really glide.

they began filming dainty neon blue tailed tree lizards, gliding geckos (Ptychozoon kuhli) and the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) as the animals leapt from a two metre high platform to see if the neon blue tailed tree lizards really could glide.

Filming the lizards was extremely difficult. Having startled the small animals into leaping off the platform, the team had little control over the animal's direction, and couldn't guarantee that it was parallel to their camera.

But after weeks of persistence the team finally collected enough film, as the lizards leapt, to compare their performances.

At first, it didn't look as if the African lizard was gliding any better than the common wall lizard. Both animals were able to cover horizontal distances of half a metre after leaping from the platform, while the gliding gecko covered distances greater than one metre, aided by its webbed feet and skin flaps.

But when the team compared the lizards' sizes, they noticed that there was a big difference between the common wall lizard and the tree lizard.

The tiny tree lizard only weighed 1.5 grams, almost a third of the larger common wall lizard's weight and a tenth of the gliding gecko's mass, so Aerts calculated how far each lizard would travel horizontally if they fell like a stone.

This time it was clear that the tiny tree lizard was travelling 20 cm further than Aerts would have expected if it were simply jumping off the platform.

The tree lizard was definitely delaying its descent and landing more slowly than the common wall lizard; the tree lizard was gliding.

But how was the tiny tree lizard able to remain airborne for so long? The team realised that instead of increasing its surface area to generate lift, the tree lizard is able to glide because it is so light.

Curious to find out why the tree lizard is so light, Herrel contacted Renaud Boistel, Paul Tafforeau and Vincent Fernandez at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility to scan all three lizards' bodies, said an Antwerp release.

Visualising the animals' skeletons with X-rays, it was clear that the tree lizard's bones were packed full of air spaces, making the lizard's skeleton feather light for gliding.

These findings were published in the Thursday edition of the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Indo Asian News Service
Archaeologists discover 13th century monastery in Bulgaria

Washington, July 18 (ANI): A team of archaeologists in Bulgaria has discovered a 13th century monastery, as well as a 30-gram silver ring from medieval France.

According to a report by Sofia News Agency, the team of archaeologists, led by Professor Nikolay Ovcharov, discovered the part of a wall and medieval coins within it that are dated from 1210 to 1240, in the yard of the St Peter and St. Paul Church in the medieval Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo.

Ovcharov believes that this was part of the Monastery of the Bulgarian Patriarch in the 13th century.

This was the time of the Bulgarian Tsars Kaloyan (1197-1207), Boril (1207-1218), and Ivan Asen II (1218-1241).

The monastery is believed to have been the center of the Tarnovo Patriarchate at the time of the Union of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church with the Catholic Church in the Vatican that latest from 1204, when Pope Innocent III declared Kaloyan "Emperors of Wallachians and Bulgarians" until 1246.

The monastery was reconstructed after Veliko Tarnovo's conquest by the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1393, later hosted the Tarnovo Bishop. Its remains were fully destroyed in 1913 by an earthquake.

The team of archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov also found a 30-gram silver ring with a figure of lilies (fleur-de-lis) during their excavations in the church yard.

Ovcharov is 100 percent sure that the ring originated in medieval France since its decoration with enamel is typical of the French goldsmiths, and the fleur-de-lis (lilies) were the sign of the French rulers.

"I don't claim that the ring began to a king but it certainly was worn by a notable. Whether the notable buried there was a French or a Bulgarian notable, we cannot say for sure but we are certain that at that time the Bulgarian high-life was already influenced by French "fashion" and style of clothing and jewelry that was brought by the Crusades", Professor Ovcharov said.

His team has also discovered a number of other items that include two more rings, one of which has an inscription dated back to the beginning of the 15th century with the name "Simonis" or "Simeonis", and a silver gold-coated earring from the beginning of the 13th century, and a female belt. (ANI)
Why do dogs 'love' barking

Washington, July 18 (ANI): Why do dogs bark so much? Well, the answer to the question dates back to 10,000 years ago, when they used to hang around human food refuse dumps, say researchers.

Many animals besides dogs bark, according evolutionary biologist Kathryn Lord from University of Massachusetts Amherst, but domestic dogs vocalize in this way much more than birds, deer, monkeys and other wild animals that use barks.

Most of the pet owners believe that barking is a special form of communication between dogs and humans.

However, Lord says, barking is the auditory signal associated with an evolved behaviour known as mobbing, a cooperative anti-predator response usually initiated by one individual who notices an approaching intruder.

A dog barks because she feels an internal conflict?an urge to run plus a strong urge to stand her ground and defend pups, for example. When the group joins in, the barks intimidate the intruder, who often flees.

"We think dogs bark due to this internal conflict and mobbing behaviour, but domestic dogs bark more because they are put, and put themselves into, conflicting situations more often," Lord said.

The reason traces back to the first dogs that started hanging around human food dumps about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.

They would have experienced a serious disadvantage if they had run a mile away every time a human or other animal approached.

As Lord explains, "In evolutionary terms, dogs self-selected the behaviour of sticking around, overcoming their fear and being rewarded by getting to eat that meal before some other dog got it. The scared ones die while those less scared stay, eat, survive and reproduce. So they inherit the tendency."

During the study, the researchers identified eight different parameters in three categories, which must be met in order to classify a given vocalization as a bark.

These included tonality, noise, pitch, volume or amplitude, abrupt onset and pulse duration.

In researchers' view, barking is not self-referential communication to convey a message, but a short, loud sound characterized by combining both noise and tonal sounds, which is unusual in animal calls.

This definition widens the bark's usefulness as a functional behaviour seen in many animals, though domesticated dogs display it more often.

"Using this definition, even birds bark, and certainly many mammals besides canines, including baboons and monkeys, rodents and deer also bark," Lord said.

"In a whole bunch of mammals and birds, what they do in such conflicted situations is bark," she added.

The findings appear in journal Behavioural Processes. (ANI)
Ratan Tata presents Nano to first three customers

Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata presented the first Tata Nanos, the world's cheapest car, to three customers at a dealership in the Prabhadevi area in central Mumbai on Friday.

The keys of the three cars were delivered to Ashok Vichare, Ashish Balakrishnan and A. Chandrashekaran. One of them said that he would be driving his historic car to Mumbai's Siddhivinayaka Temple.

Analysts said the delivery was a positive step, after a land dispute forced the firm off the site of a factory in Singur, West Bengal, that it was building to produce the cars, fuelling concerns about its ability to meet demand on time.

Some 100,000 people were selected from a ballot to be the first recipients of the Nano, which reviewers have compared to the European Smart car and the classic Volkswagen Beetle.

They include a roadside cobbler from Mumbai, who had been saving for seven years to buy a two-wheeler, but decided to wait and upgrade to four wheels on hearing that the vehicle would sell for just 100,000 rupees.

Others among the 203,000 people who placed orders included an 82-year-old former assistant commissioner of Mumbai police who used to ride a scooter and a market trader looking for an investment for his 12-year-old son.

Ratan Tata launched the Nano in March, predicting the no-frills vehicle would revolutionise travel for millions of Indians, getting the growing middle-class, urban population off motorcycles and into safer, affordable cars.

Three versions of the sporty, jellybean-shaped Nano went on sale in April: the basic model and more expensive CX and LX versions, which have extra features like air-conditioning, automatic windows and central locking.

The standard model sells for 140,000 rupees including tax in the showroom. The deluxe models cost up to 185,000 rupees.

Tata Motors' Pantnagar factory in Gujarat can produce up to 50,000 Nanos every year. (ANI)
Precious metals recovers on higher global cues

Mumbai, July 18 (PTI) Prices of silver recovered smartly on the bullion market here today on fresh stockists buying amid firming trend in overseas markets. The yellow metal also moved up due to good local buying interest.

Gold prices rose in New York on Friday, as a fresh increase in commodities prices rekindled investor interest in the metal as a hedge against inflation. August gold futures firmed up by USD 2.10 to USD 937.50 an ounce on the Comex Division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It touched a high of USD 939.80 during the session. September silver also gained by 16.8 cents to USD 13.403 an ounce.

Turning to the domestic market, silver ready (.999 fineness) hardened by Rs 130 to Rs 22,315 per kilo from yesterday''s closing level of Rs 22,185.

Standard gold (99.5 purity) moved up by 20 per ten grams to Rs 14,815 from Rs 14,795. Pure gold (99.9 purity) also looked up by Rs 25 to Rs 14,890 from Rs 14,865 previously.
Clinton salutes Mumbai's 'brave men and women'

Mumbai, July 18 (IANS) 'Let us rid the world of hatred and extremism that produces such nihilistic violence,' US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in memory of the Mumbai terror victims while hailing the 'brave men and women' of India's financial capital.

Paying homage to those killed and wounded in the November 2008 savagery,

Clinton penned her thoughts in a register at the Taj Palace and Tower Hotel where she is staying and which was one of the landmarks which was stormed by terrorists from Pakistan.

'Americans share a solidarity with this city and nation. Both our people have experienced the senseless and searing effects of violent extremism,' wrote Clinton, after she was given a tour of the hotel where the gunmen opened indiscriminate fire, killing everyone at sight, before being killed by Indian commandos.

Explaining the savagery to Clinton he was a witness to was Taj Hotel general manager Krimbir Kang, whose wife and two children were among those murdered by the terrorists.

Clinton looked sombre as she wrote: 'And both (people) can be grateful and proud of the heroism of brave men and women whose courage saved lives and prevented greater harm on 26/11 and 9/11.

'Now it is up to all nations and people who seek peace and progress to work together. Let us rid the world of hatred and extremism that produces such nihilistic violence. Our future deserves no less.

'With profound sympathy and resolve. Hillary Rodham Clinton.'

Some 170 people were killed and many more wounded when 10 terrorists sneaked into Mumbai by the sea after sailing from Pakistan. They attacked several targets. Nine of them were killed and one is in prison here.

Indo Asian News Service
Workers of labour department call off strike

Kanpur, July 18 (PTI) The three-day strike by workers of the labour department in the city was today called off following intervention by senior officials. UP Labour Officers Association President Pradeep Srivastava said the employees resumed work after an assurance that the matter of alleged misbehaviour by the workers of a private company with the Labour Commissioner will be taken up with the state government.

Almost 4,000 officers and workers of the department had gone on strike on July 16 after Labour Commissioner Sitaram Meena was allegedly beaten up by LML workers during a protest outside his office. The association said the employees will sport a black band for an hour before work to register their protest till the government gives a written assurance about their security.
Hillary Clinton meets Indian business leaders

Mumbai, July 18 (ANI): The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday had a breakfast meeting with top honchos of India Inc at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. Amongst those present at the meeting included Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Group and Reliance Industries' Mukesh Ambani.

Others present were the chiefs of India's two largest banks, O P Bhatt of State Bank and Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, Infosys Founder N R Narayana Murthy.
Maoists abducts and kills a sub inspector in Orissa

Orrisa, July 18 (ANI): The Maoists have yet again targeted the police brass of India-this time abducting and later, killing a police sub-inspector in Rourkela in Orissa. The Maoists abducted sub inspector Ajit Bardhan, when he got stuck in jam on his way to Koira police station.

Bardhan's body was recovered during a combing operation in the dense forest of Chandiposh.
Crew of China bound sinking ship rescued off Mangalore

Mangalore, July 18 (ANI): Indian Coast Guard rescued 18 crew members of a China bound ship off southern Mangalore on Friday. The cargo ship, 'Asian Forest', carrying 13,600 tons of iron ore, lay tilted 20 degrees about 15 nautical miles in the Arabian Sea soon after it had left Mangalore port.

The ship, with an all Chinese crew, sent distress signals after it developed technical snag in choppy waters.
U.S. urges India to back Pakistan against militants

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged India on Friday to join Washington in supporting Pakistan's fight against terrorism, but Delhi demanded results before it resumes formal peace talks with its rival.

Clinton arrived in Mumbai late on Friday at the start of a five-day visit designed to cement ties and dispel any doubts about U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to India's role as a rising global power.

After landing in India's financial capital at the height of monsoon season, Indian officials bearing black umbrellas and bouquets of red roses greeted Clinton as she stepped off the plane and into a steady rain.

Although her trip has a wide agenda, including securing a deal to ensure U.S. arms technology does not leak to third countries, Clinton is expected to push for a smoothing of Indo-Pakistani ties frayed by last year's Mumbai attacks.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani agreed on Thursday to fight terrorism jointly but Singh insisted Pakistan must punish those responsible for the Mumbai attacks if it wants formal talks.

Clinton is staying at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, the luxury landmark that was one of the primary targets of Islamist gunmen who went on a Nov. 26-29 rampage in Mumbai in which 166 people died.

On Saturday, she will attend a commemoration of the attacks before meeting Indian executives, visiting a group that helps poor women sell handicrafts and joining forces with Bollywood star Aamir Khan to promote education.

In an opinion piece published in the Times of India newspaper on Friday before her arrival, Clinton wrote that both India and the United States had "experienced searing terrorist attacks".

"We both seek a more secure world for our citizens. We should intensify our defence and law enforcement cooperation to that end. And we should encourage Pakistan as that nation confronts the challenge of violent extremism," she wrote.

Singh said the agreement with Gilani had not diluted India's view that Pakistan must stop militant groups using its territory to carry out attacks on Indian soil as a precondition for resuming peace talks, known as the composite dialogue.

India paused the talks after the Mumbai attacks last year.


"It only strengthens our stand that we wouldn't like Pakistan to wait for the resumption of the composite dialogue ... but take action against terrorist elements regardless of these processes that may lead to resumption," Singh told parliament on Friday.

Singh was answering an opposition accusation that the agreement with Gilani was a reversal since it removed the link between the five-year peace talks and fighting terrorism.

"Action on terrorism ... cannot await other developments," Singh said.

Since the attacks, Washington has sought to cool tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours so it can keep Pakistan's army focused on fighting Taliban militants on its western border with Afghanistan, and not on its eastern frontier with India.

The two countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

That enduring dispute spawned militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which India blames for the attack on Mumbai, and others backed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy arm as proxies against India.

Islamabad denies state agencies had any role and says it will prosecute those accused of involvement in the attacks.

Talat Masood, a former Pakistani army general based in Islamabad, said Pakistan would have to work hard to curb the influence of militant groups if it wanted better India ties.

"There will be no genuine or real talks ... until such time that the Indians are satisfied ... that the perpetrators of the crime of Mumbai are brought to justice," Masood told Reuters.

India was infuriated in June when a Pakistani court freed LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, wanted over the Mumbai attack along with 21 other Pakistanis named in Indian arrest warrants. Earlier this month, Pakistan appealed the court's decision.
Seven foreigners killed in Jakarta hotel bombs - media

Seven foreigners were among those killed in the bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Indonesia's capital, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Saturday, citing a police official.

Suicide bombers struck the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, two luxury hotels popular with businessmen and diplomats, in Jakarta's main business district during breakfast.

Police on Friday said eight people died, revising down an earlier count of nine, and over 60 were injured. On Saturday it seemed the toll had been raised again to nine, including two suicide bombers.

The blasts are a severe blow for Southeast Asia's biggest economy and for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was re-elected earlier this month in a landslide victory on the back of restoring peace and strong growth to a country with the world's largest Muslim population.

Police won't be drawn on who may be responsible for the blasts, but suspicion has fallen on remnants of Jemaah Islamiah, the militant Islamist group responsible for a string of attacks in Indonesia in the first half of the decade.

East Jakarta Police Chief Hasanudin told the English language Jakarta Post that forensic experts were identifying the bodies of seven foreign nationals.

"All were foreigners," Hasanudin told the Post, adding that all were male.

Police have not yet released the names of any of the victims.

Tim Mackay, chief executive of cement maker Holcim Indonesia and a New Zealand national, was one of several executives attending a CastleAsia Group breakfast at one of the hotels, and was killed in the blast, Holcim said on Friday.

Australian media reported three Australians, Garth McEvoy, Craig Senger and Nathan Verity, died in the attacks.


Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation before leaving for Indonesia on Saturday that the two hotels were regularly used by foreign government personnel.

He said there was "no intelligence" in advance of Friday's bombings warning of any attack, adding that Australia would offer whatever assistance it could to Indonesia.

Police said on Friday the bombers had checked in to the Marriott as paying guests on Wednesday and had assembled the bombs in their room. A third bomb was found and defused in a laptop computer bag on the 18th floor.

International reaction to the bombings was swift.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who spent four years living in Jakarta as a child after his mother married an Indonesian, called the attacks "outrageous".

"These attacks make it clear that extremists remain committed to murdering innocent men, women and children of any faith in all countries," the White House said in a statement.

Jemaah Islamiah or a splinter, blamed for a previous Marriott attack as well as bombings on the island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, are widely suspected to be responsible for Friday's blasts as the attacks bear the group's hallmarks -- the choice of high-profile Western targets where the victims are likely to be foreigners.

The group, which wants to create an Islamic super-state across parts of Southeast Asia, was blamed for a string of attacks until 2005, but many militants have since been arrested.

According to police, the casualties included citizens of Indonesia, the United States, Australia, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, Britain, Canada, Norway, Japan and India.
Clinton optimistic on signing India defence pact

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday said she expected to finalise a defence agreement essential to allowing U.S. companies to sell sophisticated arms to India.

"We are working very hard to finalise a number of agreements. I am optimistic that we will get such agreements resolved and announced," Clinton told reporters in Mumbai in response to a question about an arms "end-user monitoring" pact.

Under U.S. law, such a pact is necessary for U.S. firms to bid on India's plan to buy 126 multi-role fighters, which would be one of the largest arms deals in the world and could be a boon to Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co.

That deal is worth an estimated $10.4 billion, part of India's $30 billion plan to modernise its military over the next five years.

Lockheed and Boeing are competing with Russia's MiG-35, France's Dassault Rafale, Sweden's Saab KAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish firms, for the contract.

Clinton is also expected to work on finalising agreements around a civilian nuclear pact signed last year, and U.S. officials hope she will announce two sites where U.S. firms would have the exclusive right to build nuclear power plants.

The State Department has estimated that could be worth up to $10 billion for U.S. companies. The two major U.S. nuclear reactor builders are General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp.
TCS says aims $3 bln back office revenue in 5 yrs

Tata Consultancy Services, India's top software services firm by sales, on Saturday said it was aiming to grow its back office services revenue to $3 billion in five years.

The company's revenue from the segment, also known as business process outsourcing, was $615 million in the last fiscal year that ended March 31.

"We have an ambitious goal ... the market opportunity is clearly there," N. Chandrasekaran, chief operating officer, told reporters. Back office services contributed about 11 percent to TCS's total revenue in the June quarter.

But Chandrasekaran declined to forecast how much the segment would contribute to TCS's overall revenue in five years.

TCS plans to recruit 1,500-2,000 employees, primarily in India, to ramp up its back office services business over the next 12 months, he said. Chandrasekaran said margins in back office services were a little lower than information technology services.

TCS, which published its June quarter results on Friday, beat forecasts with a 22 percent rise in quarterly profit and said the business environment remained weak and there was pressure on fees due to the global economic downturn.

Asked whether the company faced pricing pressures in the back office segment as well, Chandrasekaran said: "It's a common thing."
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சென்னை, ஜூலை 17- நாளை காலை முதல்வர் கருணாநிதியை பயிற்சி மருத்துவர்கள் சந்தித்துப் பேசுகின்றனர்.

பயிற்சி மருத்துவர்களுக்கான உதவித் தொகை 6000 ரூபாயிலிருந்து 7000 ரூபாயாக மீண்டும் உயர்த்தப்படுவதாக சுகாதாரத்துறை அமைச்சர் எம்.ஆர்.கே. பன்னீர்செல்வம் இன்று சட்டப்பேரவையில் தெரிவித்தார்.

இந்த அறிவிப்பு தங்களுக்கு மகிழ்ச்சி அளிப்பதாக தெரிவித்துள்ள பயிற்சி மருத்துவர்கள், நாளை முதல்வர் கருணாநிதியை நேரில் சந்தித்துப் பேசுகின்றனர்.

உதவித் தொகையை உயர்த்தக் கோரி போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட்டு வந்த பயிற்சி மருத்துவர்கள் வியாழக்கிழமை தங்களின் போராட்டத்தை விலக்கிக்கொள்வதாக தெரிவித்தனர். இந்நிலையில், தற்போது அவர்களின் உதவித்தொகை இன்று மேலும் உயர்த்தப்பட்டுள்ளது.
சாம்சங் அறிமுகப்படுத்தியது தானியங்கி வாஷிங் மெஷின்கள்

சென்னை:''புதிய தொழில் நுட்பத்தில் உருவாக்கப்பட்டுள்ள தானியங்கி வாஷிங் மெஷின்கள், 79 சதவீத துணி பாதிப் பைக் குறைக்கும் வகையில் செயல்படும்,'' என சாம்சங் இந்தியா நிறுவனத்தின் மேலாண்மை இயக்குனர் ஜுட்ஷி கூறினார்.சென்னை ஆழ்வார்பேட்டையில் நடந்த புதிய வாஷிங் மெஷின்கள் அறிமுக விழாவில், பிரபல பாலிவுட் நடிகை நேஹா துபியா விளம்பர மாடலாக பங்கேற்று, அறிமுகம் செய்தார்.இது குறித்து, ஜுட்ஷி கூறியதாவது:டிஜிட்டல் தொழில் நுட்பத்தில் முன்னிலை வகிக்கும் சாம்சங் இந்தியா நிறுவனம், புதிய தானியங்கி வாஷிங் மெஷின்களை அறிமுகப்படுத்தி உள்ளது. புதிய தொழில் நுட்பத்தில் உருவாக்கப் பட்டுள்ள இது, 79 சதவீத துணி பாதிப்பை குறைக் கிறது.தானியங்கி வாஷிங் மெஷின் 165 வோல்ட் முதல் 400 வோல்ட்கள் வரையிலான மின் திறனில் பணியாற்றக் கூடிய 'வோல்ட் கண்ட்ரோல்' எனும் தொழில் நுட்ப வசதியை கொண்டுள்ளது.இதில், தற்போது செமி ஆட்டோமேட்டிக் உட்பட 30 வாஷிங் மெஷின் மாடல்கள் உள்ளன. இதன் தரத்திற்கு ஏற்ப, 20 ஆயிரத்து 490 ரூபாய் முதல் 37 ஆயிரத்து 900 ரூபாய் வரை விலை நிர்ணயிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.இவ்வாறு ஜுட்ஷி கூறினார்.
முதல் வாடிக்கையாளருக்கு இன்று நானோ கார் சப்ளை செய்யப்படுகிறது

மும்பை : இந்தியாவின் மிகப்பெரிய வாகன தயாரிப்பாளரான டாடா மோட்டார்ஸ், அது தயாரித்த உலகின் மிக மலிவு விலை காரான நானோவை, அதன் முதல் வாடிக்கையாளருக்கு இன்று சப்ளை செய்கிறது. கடந்த வருடம் ஜனவரி மாதத்திலேயே புதுடில்லியில் நடந்த விழாவில் நானோ காரை டாடாவின் சேர்மன் ரத்தன் டாடா அறிமுகப்படுத்தி விட்டாலும், அதற்கான புக்கிங் இந்த வருடம் ஏப்ரல் மாதத்தில் தான் துவங்கியது. மேற்கு வங்கத்தில் உள்ள சிங்கூரில் தொழிற்சாலை அமைப்பதற்காக டாடா மோட்டார்ஸ் கையகப்படுத்தியிருந்த விவசாய நிலத்தை, விவசாயிகளிடமே திருப்பி கொடுக்க வேண்டும் என்று திரிணாமுல் காங்கிரஸ் கட்சியினர் போராட்டம் நடத்தி, அதன் மூலம் தொழிற்சாலையை இயங்க விடாமல் தடுத்ததால் கார் தயாரிப்பு நின்றது. பின்னர் அங்குள்ள தொழிற்சாலை குஜராத்துக்கு மாற்றப்பட்டது. இருந்தா<லும் அங்கு தயாரிப்பை துவக்கி, காரை வெளியே கொண்டு வர காலதாமதம் ஆகும் என்பதால், டாடா மோட்டார்ஸூக்கு உத்தரகான்ட் மாநிலத்தில் உள்ள பான்ட்நகரில் இருக்கும் தொழிற்சாலையில் இருந்து நானோ காரை தயாரித்து இப்போது சப்ளை செய்கிறது. நானோ காரை புக் செய்த முதல் ஒரு லட்சம் வாடிக்கையாளர்களுக்கு மட்டும் நானோ கார் ரூ.ஒரு லட்சம் விலையில் ( வரிகள் தனி ) கொடுக்கப்படுகிறது.
எல் அண்ட் டி,யின் முதல் காலாண்டு நிகர லாபம் மூன்று மடங்கு உயர்வு

மும்பை : இந்த நிதி ஆண்டின் முதல் காலாண்டில், இந்தியாவின் மிகப்பெரிய இஞ்சினியரிங் கம்பெனியான லார்சன் அண்ட் டியூப்ரோ பெற்ற நிகர லாபம், கடந்த ஆண்டு இதே காலாண்டில் பெற்ற நிகர லாபத்தை விட மூன்று மடங்கு உயர்ந்திருக்கிறது. ஆதித்யா குரூப்பை சேர்ந்த யூனிடெக் சிமென்ட் நிறுவனத்தில் லார்சன் அண்ட் டியூப்ரோவுக்கு இருந்த 11.5 சதவீத பங்குகள் முழுவதையும் அது விற்று விட்டதால் தான் இந்த அளவுக்கு லாபம் சம்பாதிக்க முடிந்திருக்கிறது. கடந்த வருடம் முதல் காலாண்டில் எல் அண்ட் டி பெற்ற நிகர லாபம் ரூ.502 கோடி தான். அது இந்த ஆண்டில் ரூ.1,598 கோடியாக உயர்ந்ததற்கு முக்கிய காரணம், யூனிடெக்கின் பங்குகளை விற்றதன் மூலம் கிடைத்த ரூ.1,020 கோடி தான் என்கிறார்கள். இந்த அதிகப்படியான வருமானம் இல்லாமல்,ற அதன் நிகர லாபம் 15 சதவீதம் மட்டுமே அதிகரித்திருக்கிறது. அதற்கு காரணம் சர்வதேச அளவில் இருக்கும் பொருளாதார மந்த நிலையால் எல் அண்ட் டி க்கு வரவேண்டிய ஆர்டர்களில் 22 சதவீதம் குறைந்து போனதுதான்.
விமான எரிபொருள் விலை 6% குறைக்கப்பட்டது

மும்பை : இந்தியாவில் பெட்ரோலிய பொருட்களை விற்பனை செய்யும் பொதுத் துறை நிறுவனங்கள், புதன்கிழமை அன்று விமான எரிபொருள் விலையை 5.7 சதவீதம் குறைத்தன. சர்வதேச சந்தையில் கச்சா எண்ணெய் விலை உயர்ந்ததையடுத்து, அண்மைக் காலமாக விமான எரிபொருளின் விலை நான்கு முறை உயர்த்தப்பட்டது. இந்த நிலையில், தற்பொழுது சர்வதேச சந்தையில் ஒரு பேரல் கச்சா எண்ணெய் விலை, சராசரியாக 63.42 டாலராக குறைந்துள்ளதையடுத்து விமான எரிபொருளின் விலை குறைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. புதுடெல்லியில், ஒரு கிலோ லிட்டர் விமான எரிபொருளின் விலை ரூ.2,221 குறைக்கப்பட்டு ரூ.36,338-க்கு விற்பனை செய்யப்படுகிறது என இந்தியன் ஆயில் கார்ப்பரேஷன் நிறுவனம் தெரிவித்துள்ளது. மும்பையில் ஒரு கிலோ லிட்டர் விமான எரிபொருள் விலை ரூ.39,789 என்ற அளவிலிருந்து ரு.37,475-ஆக குறைக்கப் பட்டுள்ளது. இந்தியா வாங்கும் ஒரு பீப்பாய் பேஸ்கட் குரூட் ஆயில் விலை அண்மையில் சராசரியாக 69.57 டாலராக அதிகரித்ததையடுத்து இந்தியன் ஆயில் கார்பரேஷன், இந்துஸ்தான் பெட்ரோலியம் மற்றும் பாரத் பெட்ரோலியம் ஆகிய நிறுவனங்கள் விமான எரிபொருளின் விலையை உயர்த்தின
பங்கு சந்தையில் நல்ல முன்னேற்றம்

மும்பை : கடந்த மே மாதத்திற்கு பிறகு இப்போதுதான் இந்திய பங்கு சந்தை மிகப்பெரிய வாராந்திர வளர்ச்சியை பெற்றிருக்கிறது. ஐக்கிய முற்போக்கு கூட்டணி தாக்கல் செய்த பட்ஜெட்டால் ஏற்பட்ட அதிருப்தியால் பங்கு சந்தையில் பெரும் சரிவு ஏற்பட்டிருந்தது. அந்த சரிவு இந்த வாரத்தில் சரி செய்யப்பட்டு விட்டது. மேலும் பொதுத்துறை நிறுவனங்களில் மத்திய அரசுக்கு இருக்கும் பங்கின் அளவை அது குறைக்க முடிவு செய்து, அதற்கான ஏற்பாட்டை செய்து வருவதையடுத்தும் பங்கு சந்தை வளர்கிறது என்கிறார்கள். என்எம்டிசி யில் மத்திய அரசுக்கு இருக்கும் பங்குகளை அது விற்று, ரூ.10,000 கோடியை திரட்ட முடிவு செய்திருப்பதாக நேற்று மத்திய அரசு அறிவித்தது. என்எம்டிசி, எம்எம்டிசி, ஹிந்துஸ்தான் காப்பர், இஞ்சினியர்ஸ் இந்தியா மற்றும் என்டிபிசி ஆகிய பொதுத்துறை நிறுவனங்களில் மத்திய அரசுக்கு இருக்கும் பங்குகளில் 5 முதல் 10 சதவீத பங்குகளை விற்க மத்திய அரசு முடிவு செய்திருப்பதாக நிதி அமைச்சகம் நேற்று அறிவித்திருக்கிறது. சர்வதேச பங்கு சந்தைகளின் வளர்ச்சியும் இந்திய முதலீட்டாளர்களுக்கு நம்பிக்கையை ஏற்படுத்தியிருக்கிறது. இந்த வாரத்தில் எஸ் அண்டி பி 500 இன்டக்ஸ் 7 சதவீதம் உயர்ந்திருக்கிறது. ஆசிய பங்கு சந்தைகளும் நல்ல வளர்ச்சி அடைந்திருக்கின்றன. மாலை வர்த்தக முடிவில் மும்பை பங்கு சந்தையில் சென்செக்ஸ் 494.67 புள்ளிகள் ( 3.47 சதவீதம் ) உயர்ந்து 14,744.92 புள்ளிகளில் முடிந்திருக்கிறது. தேசிய பங்கு சந்தையில் நிப்டி 143.55 புள்ளிகள் ( 3.39 சதவீதம் ) உயர்ந்து 4,374.95 புள்ளிகளில் முடிந்திருக்கிறது. நேற்று வியாழன் அன்று ரூ.95,168.90 கோடிக்கு நடந்திருந்த வர்த்தகம், இன்று ரூ.98,973.84 கோடியாக உயர்ந்திருக்கிறது.
ஈரான் விமான கறுப்பு பெட்டி கண்டுபிடிப்பு

டெஹ்ரான்: ஈரானில் விபத்துக்குள்ளான விமானத்தின் கறுப்புப் பெட்டி கண்டு பிடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதையடுத்து, விபத்துக்கான காரணம் விரைவில் தெரிய வருமென அதிகாரிகள் தெரிவித்துள்ளனர். ஈரான் நாட்டின் காஸ்பியன் ஏர்லைன்ஸ் நிறுவனத்துக்கு சொந்தமான பயணிகள் விமானம் நேற்று முன்தினம் விபத்துக்குள்ளானது. டெஹ்ரான் அருகே உள்ள காஜ்வின் என்ற இடத்தில் தரையில் மோதி விமானம் விபத்தில் சிக்கியது. இதில், விமானத்தில் பயணம் செய்த 168 பேர் பரிதாபமாக பலியாயினர். விமானம், தூள் தூளாக உடைந்து சிதறியது; ஒருவரது உடல் கூட முழுமையாக மீட்கப்படவில்லை.

விபத்து நடந்த இடம் முழுவதும், பலியானோரின் உடல்கள் எலும்பும், சதையுமாக சிதறிக் கிடந்தன. இவை அனைத்தையும் மீட்புக் குழுவினர் சேகரித்தனர். இந்நிலையில், விபத்துகுள்ளான விமானத்தின் கறுப்புப் பெட்டியை அதிகாரிகள் நேற்று கண்டுபிடித்தனர். அந்த பெட்டியை ஆய்வுக்காக டெஹ்ரான் கொண்டு சென்றுள்ளனர். இதையடுத்து, விமானம் விபத்துக்குள்ளான உண்மையான காரணம் தெரிய வருமென எதிர்பார்க்கப்படுகிறது. ஆனால், அமெரிக்க தடையை அனுபவிக்கும் ஈரான், போயிங் தயாரிப்பு விமானங்களை வாங்க முடியாது. அதேபோல, மேலை நாடுகளிடம் இருந்தும் விமான உதிரி பாகங்களை வாங்க முடியாது. ஆகவே, ரஷ்ய விமானங்களை குத்தகைக்கு வாங்கிப் பயன்படுத்துகிறது. கடந்த சில ஆண்டுகளில் மிக மோசமான விமான விபத்துகள் ஈரானில் நடந்திருக்கின்றன. விமானப் பாதுகாப்பில் ஈரான் அக்கறை எடுப்பதில்லை என்ற கருத்தும் உள்ளது.
முதுநிலை பட்டப்படிப்பு தேர்வு முடிவு வெளியீடு

மதுரை: மதுரை காமராஜ் பல்கலையில் கடந்த ஏப்ரலில் நடந்த முதுநிலை பட்டப்படிப்பு (சி.பி.சி.எஸ்., நீங்கலாக) செமஸ்டர் தேர்வு முடிவுகள் வெளியிடப் பட்டுள்ளன. எம்.காம்., (சி.ஏ.,), மாஸ்டர் ஆப் சோசியல் ஒர்க், எம்.பி.ஏ., எம்.பி.ஏ., பகுதிநேரம், எம்.பி.ஏ., ஆஸ்பத்திரி நிர்வாகம் போன்ற படிப்புகளின் முடிவுகள் வெளியிடப்பட்டுள்ளன.

தேர்வு முடிவை, ", www.mkuniversity org ,என்ற இணையதள முகவரியில் அறியலாம். இப்பாடங்களுக்கு மறுமதிப்பீட்டுக்கு விண்ணப்பிக்க விரும்புவோர் மதிப் பெண் பட்டியல் வரும் வரை காத்திராமல், அதற்கான விண்ணப் பங்களை இணையதளம் (www.mkuniversity org)  மூலமாக பெற்று ஜூலை 25க்குள் விண்ணப் பிக்கலாம் என தேர்வாணையர் ச.சண்முகையா தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.
முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி பெயரில் கல்வி உதவித்தொகை: சென்னை பல்கலையில் அறிமுகம்

சென்னை: ""சென்னை பல்கலைக் கழக பிஎச்.டி., மாணவர்களுக்கு, இரண்டு கோடியே 50 லட்சம் ரூபாய் பொதுநிதியில் கல்வி உதவித்தொகை உருவாக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது,'' என துணைவேந்தர் ராமச்சந்திரன் தெரிவித்தார். சென்னை பல்கலைக் கழக துணைவேந்தர் ராமச்சந்திரன் கூறியதாவது:

பல்கலைக் கழக திராவிட கல்வி மையத்தில், அண்ணாதுரை பெயரில் ஓர் இருக்கை உருவாக்கப்படுகிறது. தமிழ் மொழி மற்றும் சமூக, அரசியல் சிந்தனை மேம்பாட்டுப் பணியில் இந்த இருக்கை செயல்படும். இளைஞர் மற்றும் தொடர்கல்வித் துறையில், போக்குவரத்து மற்றும் சுற்றுலா மேலாண்மை டிப்ளமோ படிப்பும், பிளக்கிங், "டிவி' செய்தி வாசிப்பு, வெப் டிசைனிங், மழலையர் கல்வி, என்.ஜி.ஓ., மேலாண்மை ஆகிய ஐந்து சான்றிதழ் படிப்புகளும் புதிதாக வழங்கப்படுகின்றன. பிளஸ் 2 முடித்தவர்கள் இப்படிப்புகளில் சேரலாம்.

எத்திராஜ் கல்லூரியில் சத்துள்ள உணவு சேவை மேலாண்மை, பெண்கள் கிறிஸ்தவக் கல்லூரி மற்றும் முகமது சதக் கல்லூரியில் பயோ டெக்னாலஜி ஆராய்ச்சி மையத்திற்கு அனுமதி அளிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இங்கு முதற்கட்டமாக எம்.பில்., படிப்பு வழங்கப்படும். தட்பவெப்பநிலை மாற்றம் குறித்த சர்வதேச கருத்தரங்கத்தை நடத்த கனடா அரசு ஆறு லட்சத்து 50 ஆயிரம் ரூபாய் வழங்கியுள்ளது. சென்னை பல்கலைக் கழக பிஎச்.டி., மாணவர்களுக்கு, இரண்டு கோடியே 50 லட்சம் ரூபாய் பொதுநிதியில் கல்வி உதவித்தொகை உருவாக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இந்நிதியிலிருந்து வரும் வருமானத்தைக் கொண்டு, மொழி பாடத்திற்கு திருவள்ளுவர் பெயரிலும், கலை பாடத்திற்கு ஈ.வெ.ரா., பெயரிலும், சமூக அறிவியல் பாடத்திற்கு அண்ணாதுரை பெயரிலும், அறிவியல் பாடத்திற்கு கருணாநிதி பெயரிலும் தலா பத்து பிஎச்.டி., மாணவர்கள் என மொத்தம் 40 மாணவர்களுக்கு மாதம் 4,000 ரூபாய் உதவித்தொகை வழங்கப்படும்.

அக்டோபர் 1ம் தேதி முதல், வகுப்பெடுக்கும் ஆராய்ச்சி மாணவர்களுக்கான ஊதியம் 10 ஆயிரம் ரூபாயாகவும், முழுநேர கவுரவ விரிவுரையாளர்களுக்கான ஊதியம் 15 ஆயிரம் ரூபாயாகவும் உயர்த்தப்படுகிறது. தொலைதூரக் கல்வி மாணவர்கள், அடுத்த மாதத்திலிருந்து ஸ்டேட் பாங்க் ஆப் இந்தியா மற்றும் இந்தியன் வங்கி ஏ.டி.எம்.,கள் மூலமாக தங்களது கல்வி மற்றும் தேர்வுக் கட்டணத்தை செலுத்தலாம். தொலைதூரக் கல்வி மையத்தில் எம்.பி.ஏ., - எம்.சி.ஏ., படிப்பில் மாணவர்களுக்கான பாடப் புத்தகம், "சிடி' மற்றும் "மெமரி ஸ்டிக்' வடிவில் வழங்கப்படவுள்ளது. டிசம்பருக்குள் மற்ற படிப்புகளுக்கும் "சிடி', "மெமரி ஸ்டிக்'கில் பாடப்புத்தகம் தயாராகிவிடும். ஒரு ஆண்டிற்குரிய "சிடி', "மெமரி ஸ்டிக்' வடிவிலான பாடப் புத்தகத்திற்கு 500 ரூபாய் கட்டணம் வசூலிக்கப்படும். இதனால் காகிதச் செலவு வெகுவாகக் குறையும். சென்னை சேத்துப்பட்டில் உள்ள விளையாட்டு வளாகத்தில், மூன்று கோடி ரூபாயில் உள்கட்டமைப்பு வசதிகள் அமைக்கப்படுகின்றன. தினத்தந்தி அதிபர் சிவந்தி ஆதித்தன், 21ம் தேதி இதற்கு அடிக்கல் நாட்டுகிறார். இவ்வாறு ராமச்சந்திரன் கூறினார்.

அடுத்த வாரம் தேர்வு முடிவு: சென்னை பல்கலைக் கழக இளநிலை மாணவர்களுக்கான தேர்வு ஏப்ரல், மே மாதங்களில் நடந்தது. "இத்தேர்வு முடிவுகள் அடுத்த வாரம் வெளியிடப்படும். வரும் 21ம் தேதி அல்லது அதற்கு முன்பாக தேர்வு முடிவுகள் வெளியிடப்படும்' என, துணைவேந்தர் ராமச்சந்திரன் கூறினார்.
பயிற்சி டாக்டர்கள் போராட்டம் வாபஸ்

சென்னை: முதல்வரின் மேல் நம்பிக்கை வைத்து மருத்துவ பயிற்சி மாணவர்கள் தங்களது போராட்டத்தை நிபந்தனையின்றி வாபஸ் பெற்றிருப்பதாக, சுகாதாரத் துறை அமைச்சர் பன்னீர் செல்வம் தெரிவித்தார்.

மருத்துவ பயிற்சி மற்றும் முதுகலை பட்டப்படிப்பு மாணவர்கள் தங்களது போராட்டத்தை கைவிட்டு, சுகாதாரத் துறை அமைச்சர் பன்னீர்செல்வத்தை நேற்று சந்தித்துப் பேசினர். அப்போது, சுகாதாரத் துறை செயலர் சுப்புராஜ், சென்னை மருத்துவக் கல்லூரி டீன் மோகனசுந்தரம் மற்றும் அதிகாரிகள் உடனிருந்தனர். மாணவர்கள் சில கோரிக்கைகளை அமைச்சரிடம் முன்வைத்தனர். இவற்றை பரிசீலிப்பதாகவும், முதல்வரை நேரில் சந்தித்துப் பேச நேரம் பெற்றுத் தருவதாகவும் அமைச்சர் பன்னீர்செல்வம் தெரிவித்தார். இதன்பின் நிருபர்களிடம் அமைச்சர் கூறியதாவது: மருத்துவ பயிற்சி மாணவர்கள், முதுகலை மருத்துவ மாணவர்கள் பல்வேறு கோரிக்கைகளை முன்வைத்து, தங்களுக்கான உதவித் தொகையை உயர்த்துவது தொடர்பாக போராட்டங்கள் நடத்தினர்.

போராட்டத்தைத் துவக்கியதுமே, இம்மாதம் 3ம் தேதி, உதவித் தொகையை உயர்த்தி முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி உத்தரவிட்டார். அதன் பின்பும், தொடர் போராட்டம் நடத்தினர். போராட்டத்தைக் கைவிடும்படி சட்டசபையில் முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி வேண்டுகோள் விடுத்தார். இதையடுத்து, தங்களது போராட்டத்தை கைவிடுவதாக, எழுத்துபூர்வமாக நேரில் வந்து மாணவர்கள் அளித்தனர். எவ்வித நிபந்தனையும் இன்றி போராட்டத்தைக் கைவிடுவதாக தெரிவித்தள்ளனர். உடனடியாக பணிக்கும் திரும்பியுள்ளனர். சில கோரிக்கைகளை அவர்கள் முன்வைத்துள்ளனர். முதல்வரை சந்திக்க வேண்டுமென்றும் தேதி கேட்டனர். அவர்களது கோரிக்கைகள் குறித்து முதல்வர் முடிவு செய்வார். இந்த அரசு மற்றும் முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி மீது நம்பிக்கை வைத்து போராட்டத்தை கைவிட்டுள்ளனர். முதல்வர் நல்லது செய்வார் என்று நம்பி போராட்டத்தை கைவிட்ட மாணவர்களுக்கு நன்றி. இவ்வாறு அமைச்சர் தெரிவித்தார்.

இது குறித்து, பயிற்சி டாக்டர்கள் கூறியதாவது: எங்களது நியாயமான கோரிக்கைகளை ஏற்று பேச்சுவார்த்தைக்கு அழைக்காததால், போராட்டத்தைதை தீவிரப்படுத்தும் நிலை ஏற்பட்டது. அரசிடம் சில கோரிக்கைகளை வலியுறுத்தி, போராடுபவர்களும், அரசும் பேசி ஒரு சுமூகத் தீர்வை எட்டியப் பிறகு, போராட்டத்தைத் திரும்ப பெறுவது தான் நடைமுறை. இருப்பினும் எங்களின் நியாயமான கோரிக்கைகளை ஏற்று முதல்வர், பேச்சுவார்த்தைக்கு அழைப்பார் என நம்பி, நேற்று சுகாதாரத் துறை அமைச்சரைச் சந்தித்தோம். எங்கள் நம்பிக்கையை உறுதிப்படுத்தும் வகையில்,முதல்வர் இன்று பேச்சுவார்த்தைக்கு அழைத்துள்ளார் என அமைச்சர் தெரிவித்தார். எனவே, முதல்வர் மீது நம்பிக்கை வைத்து எங்கள் போராட்டங்களை வாபஸ் பெற்றுள்ளோம். பேச்சுவார்த்தைக்கு அழைத்துள்ள முதல்வருக்கு எங்கள் நன்றிகளைத் தெரிவித்துக்கொள்கிறோம். இன்று நடக்கும் பேச்சுவார்த்தையில் சுமூகத் தீர்வு கிடைக்கும் என நம்புகிறோம். இவ்வாறு பயிற்சி டாக்டர்கள் சங்கத்தினர் தெரிவித்தனர்.
இன்டர்நெட் பயன்பாடு: மூன்றாம் இடத்தில் தமிழகம்

சென்னை: மகாராஷ்டிரா மற்றும் டில்லிக்கு அடுத்தபடியாக தமிழகத்தில் இன்டர் நெட் அதிகம் பயன்படுத்தப்படுகிறது. தமிழகத்தில் கல்லூரிகள் அதிகம் உள்ளன. ஆந்திராவுக்கு அடுத்த படியாக இன்ஜினியரிங் கல்லூரிகள் தமிழகத்தில் அதிகம். கலை மற்றும் அறிவியல் கல்லூரிகளும் இந்த மாநிலத்தில் அதிகம் என்பதால் மாணவர்கள் அதிக அளவில் இன்டர்நெட்டை பயன்படுத்துகின்றனர்.

மாணவர்கள் மட்டுமல்ல குடும்ப தலைவிகள், வயதானோர் போன்றவர்களும் வெளிநாட் டில் உள்ள தங்கள் பிள்ளைகளுடன் இன்டர்நெட் மூலம் தொடர்பு கொண்டு உரையாடுவது அதிகரித் துள்ளது. இதன் காரணமாக, தமிழகத்தில் கடந்த மார்ச் மாதம் 31ம் தேதி வரையிலான கால கட்டத்தில் 14 லட்சம் பேர் இன்டர்நெட்டை பயன்படுத்தி வந்ததாக பார்லிமென்டில் தெரிவிக்கப் பட்டுள்ளது. மகாராஷ்டிரா மற்றும் கோவா மாநிலங்களில், 29 லட்சம் பேரும், டில்லியில், 15 லட்சத்து 76 ஆயிரம் பேரும், கர்நாடகாவில் 11 லட்சம் பேரும் ஆந்திராவில் ஒன்பது லட்சத்து 75 ஆயிரம் பேரும் இன்டர்நெட்டை பயன்படுத்துகின்றனர். "தமிழகத்தில் அரசு துறை அலுவலகங்களும் மாவட்ட மற்றும் வட்டார அளவில் கம்ப்யூட்டர் மயமாக்கப் பட்டு தகவல் தொழில் நுட்ப முறையில் இணைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. இன்டர்நெட் என்றாலே என்னவென்று தெரியாமல் இருந்த வயதான மக்களும் தற்போது இதை பயன்படுத்தி பலன் பெற்று வருகின்றனர்' என தகவல் தொழில் நுட்பத்துறை செயலர் தேவிதார் தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.
Scientists devise cyber security 'neighborhood watch'

Washington, July 17 (ANI): Scientists at US DOE's (Department of Energy's) Argonne National Laboratory have devised a program that allows for Cyber Security defense systems to communicate when attacked and transmit that information to cyber systems at other institutions in the hopes of strengthening the overall cyber security posture of the complex.

"The Federated Model for Cyber Security acts as a virtual neighborhood watch program. If one institution is attacked; secure and timely communication to others in the Federation will aide in protecting them from that same attack through active response," cyber security officer Michael Skwarek said.

Prior to the development of the Federated Model for Cyber Security, the exchange of hostile activity was solely on the shoulders of the human element.

In cyber attacks, every second counts and the quicker that such information can be securely shared, will assist in strengthening others against similar attacks.

With millions of cyber security probes a day, the human element will not be successful alone.

"This program addresses the need for the exchange of hostile activity information, with the goal of reducing the time to react across the complex. History has shown, hostile activity is often targeted at more than one location, and having our defenses ready and armed will assist greatly," Skwarek said.

Currently, the program is capable of transmitting information regarding hostile IP addresses and domain names, and will soon be able to share hostile email address and web URLs to others in the Federation.

The development of this program led to Skwarek along with Argonne's cyber security team members Matt Kwiatkowski, Tami Martin, Scott Pinkerton, Chris Poetzel, Gene Rackow and Conrad Zadlo winning the DOE's 2009 Cyber Security Innovation and Technology Achievement Award. (ANI)
Sky around Eagle Nebula revealed in stunning new image

Munich, July 17 (ANI): The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released a new and stunning image of the sky around the Eagle Nebula, a stellar nursery where infant star clusters carve out monster columns of dust and gas.

Located 7000 light-years away, towards the constellation of Serpens (the Snake), the Eagle Nebula is a dazzling stellar nursery, a region of gas and dust where young stars are currently being formed and where a cluster of massive, hot stars, NGC 6611, has just been born.

The powerful light and strong winds from these massive new arrivals are shaping light-year long pillars.

The nebula itself has a shape vaguely reminiscent of an eagle, with the central pillars being the "talons".

The star cluster was discovered by the Swiss astronomer, Jean Philippe Loys de Cheseaux, in 1745-46.

The Eagle Nebula achieved iconic status in 1995, when its central pillars were depicted in a famous image obtained with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

In 2001, ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) captured another breathtaking image of the nebula in the near infrared, giving astronomers a penetrating view through the obscuring dust, and clearly showing stars being formed in the pillars.

The newly released image, obtained with the Wide-Field Imager camera attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at La Silla, Chile, covers an area on the sky as large as the full Moon, and is about 15 times more extensive than the previous VLT image, and more than 200 times more extensive than the iconic Hubble visible-light image.

The whole region around the pillars can now be seen in exquisite detail.

The "Pillars of Creation" are in the middle of the image, with the cluster of young stars, NGC 6611, lying above and to the right.

The "Spire" - another pillar captured by Hubble - is at the centre left of the image.

Finger-like features protrude from the vast cloud wall of cold gas and dust, not unlike stalagmites rising from the floor of a cave.

Inside the pillars, the gas is dense enough to collapse under its own weight, forming young stars.

These light-year long columns of gas and dust are being simultaneously sculpted, illuminated and destroyed by the intense ultraviolet light from massive stars in NGC 6611, the adjacent young stellar cluster. (ANI)
U.S. video game sales post largest decline since 2000

U.S. sales of video game equipment and software fell 31 percent to $1.17 billion in June, research group NPD said on Thursday, the largest decline since 2000.

Sales of game software fell 29 percent to $625.8 million, while hardware sales dropped 38 percent to $382.6 million. Sales of accessories declined 22 percent.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter blamed the decline in part on the high cost of video game consoles.

"The consumer is just not buying hardware at these prices ... clearly the consumer is just waiting for price cuts," said Pachter, who expects industry sales to pick up in September with the release of new high-profile titles.

Overall video game sales are down 12 percent year-to-date, NPD said.

Nintendo's Wii was once again the top-selling home console in June with 362,000 units, although sales were down about 45 percent from the same month last year. The Wii has been the top home console in the United States for 21 consecutive months, Nintendo said.

NPD analyst Anita Frazier said the economy is definitely hurting the gaming industry, which was once thought to be relatively insulated from the downturn.

"This is one of the first months where I think the impact of the economy is clearly reflected in the sales numbers," Frazier said in a statement.

"The size of the decline could also point to consumers deferring limited discretionary spending until a big event (must-have new title, hardware price cut) compels them to spend," the statement added.

Microsoft's XBox 360 was the No. 2 home console in the month -- and the only one to see a year-over-year unit increase -- followed by Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2.

Sales of the Nintendo DS family of handheld consoles totaled 767,000, NPD said, well above the 164,000 recorded by the Sony PSP.

Denise Kaigler, vice president of corporate affairs for Nintendo of America, said she had higher expectations for the second half, given the company's release schedule.

"Last year the focus was on the first half when you look at the strong launches ... this year our strong titles are coming out in the second half of the year."

The top-selling game title in June was Activision Blizzard's "Prototype," which sold about 600,000 units across two platforms.
Buzz Aldrin: To the moon and beyond

Washington, July 17 (DPA) Even after his trip to the moon, Buzz Aldrin has led a pretty exciting life.

A scientist, engineer, space exploration historian and science-fiction writer, Aldrin guest-starred as himself on 'The Simpsons' in 1994, and recorded a rap song with Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones earlier this year.

Aldrin became the second man to walk on the moon's surface July 20, 1969, just after his mission commander, Neil Armstrong, had taken the historic first step.

Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr was born in New Jersey in 1930, and earned his famous nickname as a child when his younger sister mispronounced 'brother' as 'buzzer'. He made 'Buzz' his legal first name in 1988.

Aldrin graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1951 and joined the US Air Force, flying 66 combat missions during the Korean War.

Aldrin got his doctorate in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963 and was selected to be a NASA astronaut later that year.

He helped develop docking techniques for orbiting spacecraft that are still used today, and in 1966 he performed the world's first successful spacewalk.

Some credit Aldrin with the very first words spoken on the lunar surface. His statement, 'Contact light ... okay, engine stop' was beamed into homes all over the world moments before Armstrong's famous declaration, 'The Eagle has landed'.

Aldrin, along with fellow Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong and Michael Collins, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Richard Nixon in 1969.

In his recent autobiography, Aldrin writes that after he retired from active duty in 1972 he struggled with alcoholism and depression for several years, finally checking himself into rehab in 1975.

Aldrin continues to advocate human space exploration and devised a plan for missions to Mars in 1985. He said in a recent interview that NASA explorers could learn more from going to Mars than from going back to the moon. He also owns three patents for rocket and spacecraft designs.

Perhaps more than any other astronaut, Aldrin has become a fixture in popular culture. The popular Disney character Buzz Lightyear was named for Aldrin, and he served as the model for MTV's Moonman mascot and award.
Scientists save India's moon mission from failure, AS

NEW DELHI (AP) India's only satellite orbiting the moon came close to overheating and failure but scientists improvised to save it, officials said Friday The launch of Chandrayaan-1 last fall put India in an elite group to have lunar missions along with the U.S., Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China. But last month the satellite lost a critical instrument called the star sensor, said S. Satish, the spokesman of the Indian Space Research Organization.

The sensor helps the $80 million satellite stay oriented so its cameras and other recording equipment are constantly aimed at the lunar surface. Without the sensor, the mission is useless, Satish said.

ISRO chief Madhavan Nair told the NDTV television network that the satellite came close to overheating and failing after it was put into orbit 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the moon. "The entire spacecraft would have baked and would have been simply lost," Nair said.

Many power systems and instruments failed. The ISRO team then resorted to using other systems such as an antenna mechanism and gyroscope to make sure the satellite was "looking at the moon," Satish told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The orbit was raised to 120 miles (200 kilometers). "As a result, the mission is safe and all the systems are working," he said.

As India's economy has boomed, it has sought to convert its newfound wealth built on the nation's high-tech sector into political and military clout. Scientists hope the Chandrayaan project will boost India's capacity to build more efficient rockets and satellites, especially through miniaturization, and open research avenues for young Indian scientists.

Chandrayaan, which means "moon craft" in Sanskrit, is scheduled to last two years. "We hope we will be able to complete two years in this mode.

It may or may not last that long," said Satish. "But there is no need for a major concern.

We already have got substantial data from the moon," he said. India plans to follow the mission by landing a rover on the moon in 2011.
Indian researchers convert textile waste into rich manure

Hissar (Haryana), July 17 (IANS) Earthworms and some animal manure could convert waste from the textile industry into a rich compost for agriculture, researchers here have found.

Most gardeners will tell you earthworm is their best friend as it aerates the soil and helps break down the soil materials, releasing nutrients for improved plant growth.

A particular species of earthworm, known as Eisenia foetida, thrives in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. This species is grown commercially for composting because of its skills at converting organic waste into rich compost.

Vinod Garg, Renuka Gupta and Priya Kaushik of Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology here say the red earthworms could be used to produce compost from the huge volumes of solid sludge produced by the textile industry.

Sludge from the textile industry is usually difficult to dispose of. Landfill and incineration are not viable options given environmental concerns and expense. The industry is under pressure to find a green, sustainable and cost-effective disposal method.

Garg and colleagues have now tested vermicomposting of solid textile mill sludge that has been spiked with urine-free cow and horse dung, collected from local farms, in a six-month pilot-scale experiment using E. foetida.

The composting process changes the physical and chemical properties of the test mixtures significantly, the team found. The vermicomposts are much darker than the original materials and form a compost-like, homogeneous mixture after 180 days.

The team also found that the earthworms grow well in this manure-enhanced sludge, said a release of the university.

These findings were published in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution.

Indo Asian News Service
Now, Harry Potter iPhone app to hone your magic skills

Washington, July 17 (ANI): Harry Potter fans can now practice their magic wand skills on their iPhones, all thanks to a new application called 'Magic Wars'.

The free iPhone app trains Hogwarts' newest students in the art of casting spells and prepares them for duels with other wizards.

Launched three weeks ago by pocketfungames, the game, trains players for wizard battles by making them practice motions with an iPhone while reciting an incantation.

After boot up, the application asks aspiring wizards and witches to flick their wrist to find a matching wand and are asked a series of questions to determine the house in which they will reside.

One can even give themselves a wizard name and upload a photo before getting on to studying spells and proposing duels with other players.

Using the iPhone as a stand-in for a magical wand, players study and practice movements in a virtual classroom while reciting incantations such as "Flabilis" to cast the spell for levitation, for example.

After casting a spell, each player's magic wand ability is scored by a percentage, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

Later, one can even cast spells outside the classroom and find another nearby wizard by using the iPhone's GPS capabilities to challenge another player to a duel.

Players then take turns reciting incantations and moving their wrists in semi-circles and other patterns to conduct various spells on each other.

And when the duel gets over, the players' scores are calculated to see who had the most effective spells.

Sara Lewis, who created the app, told TechCrunch that the game receives around 2,000 downloads per day. (ANI)
Facebook now has 250 million users

London, July 17 (ANI): Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that the online social networking site now has 250 million users.

"The rapid pace of our growth is humbling and exciting for us," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

"As of today, 250 million people are using Facebook to stay updated on what's happening around them and share with the people in their lives," Zuckerberg said in the Wednesday blog post.

"As we celebrate our 250 millionth user, we are also continuing to develop Facebook to serve as many people in the world in the most effective way possible. This means reaching out to everyone across the world," he added.

Founded in California in 2004, Facebook has become the most popular online social networking service, eclipsing News Corporation-owned MySpace. (ANI)
Indian students on solar eclipse 'odyssey' to China

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) A group of 10 students from various schools of the country are among the lucky few chosen to watch the 21st century's longest solar eclipse from Anqing in China, one of the best places in the world to view the spectacle July 22, apart from a village in Bihar.

The students will leave for China Saturday on an eight-day scientific expedition called 'heliodyssey' to watch the eclipse that will last for six minutes and 44 seconds, making it the longest eclipse till 2132.

The students were selected through a countrywide online examination conducted May 17 by Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE), a Delhi-based organisation working to make science and astronomy popular among youngsters.

The students, a majority of them from Class 6 to 8, will be trained in various experiments and scientific procedures and will collect data related to temperature, intensity of light and humidity during the eclipse, besides studying the properties of the sun.

'There are several properties of the sun which can only be watched during a solar eclipse. The corona, which is the sun's outer atmosphere, is visible as a pearly white crown surrounding the sun only during a total solar eclipse,' SPACE president Chander Bhushan Devgun told IANS.

The students will be felicitated at the Chinese Embassy Saturday before they leave for the mega event in Anqing, a city in southwestern Anhui province. In China, they will also meet the Indian ambassador and foreign secretary designate Nirupama Rao.

Nearly 1,200 students had applied for the qualifying examination based on applied science, astronomy and logical reasoning. Of these, 61 scored above 75 percent and the top 10 won a fully sponsored trip to China.

The next 30 students will be taken to Taregana near Patna, one of the places in India that fall in the total solar eclipse belt.

Devgun said: 'The aim behind the 'heliodyssey' event is to inculcate interest among the common man, especially students, towards science and to study the scientific phenomenon that is caused due to the geometrical positioning of these heavenly bodies.

'These students will be a part of the official SPACE team of astronomers and scientists working on various experiments during the total solar eclipse and record the event scientifically. They will not only get a chance to represent their school and themselves internationally but the exposure opens their horizons for scientific research and the cultural diversity adds to their personality.'

Devgun is a mechanical engineer who left his job to start a professional astronomical organisation.

The first 'heliodyssey' programme was conducted in 2006 when students were taken to Turkey to watch the total solar eclipse followed by a trip to Siberia in Russia in 2008.

SPACE will also organise public viewing of the eclipse at four places in India.

'Our teams along with experts will be available at Sasaram and Taregana in Bihar, in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh for helping people watch the eclipse,' Devgun said.

Nehru Planetarium director N. Rathnasree said: 'According to NASA, Taregana near Patna could be one of the best places to watch the eclipse as based on satellite images, clouds are likely to be less (over the region) and so the possibility of watching the eclipse there is more compared to other parts of the country due to the ongoing monsoon.'

Indo Asian News Service
Indian boffin creates camera with invisible flash that takes pics sans the glare

London, July 17 (ANI): An Indian researcher along with a colleague has developed a camera that takes photos with an invisible flash of infrared and ultraviolet light points to a smarter way to take photos in the dark.

Dilip Krishnan and Rob Fergus at New York University made the camera to do away with intrusive regular flashes.

In order to make their "dark flash" camera, the researchers modified a flashbulb to emit light over a wider range of frequencies and filter out visible light.

They also had to remove the filters which usually prevent a camera's silicon image sensor detecting IR and UV rays, reports New Scientist.

Krishnan and Fergus used colour information from a brief, flash-free photograph of the same scene taken quickly after the dark flash image to give the pictures more normal hues.

Krishnan and Fergus will present their work at the Siggraph conference in New Orleans in August. (ANI)
Cellphones: The New Billboards

Ad-weary Internet users may have trained their eyes to ignore banner ads, but on an otherwise uncluttered mobile phone screen the ads are harder to ignore. That's the thinking behind SAP's new mobile marketing campaign, which it launched in mid-June along with related online and print ads.

The software company used an ad network to seed banner display ads on the mobile version of 11 different IT and business technology sites, including CBS, Gizmodo and CNN. Users can click on the display ads and, if their handset allows it, connect to an SAP site that hosts five different short videos, where luminaries, including Accenture's Royce Bell and New Yorker writer James Surowiecki, talk about the connection between clarity and successful businesses (and accompanying ads plug SAP).

Costanza Castelnuovo-Tedesco, SAP's vice president of global advertising and branding, says the company turned to mobile marketing as a way of reaching its target audience of C-level execs and "senior business decision makers," who are early adopters of technology and are frequently on the road. They also increasingly access the Web via their mobile devices. Castelnuovo-Tedesco says the campaign is too new to have quantifiable results. One of its creators, Maria Mandel, the executive director of digital innovation at OgilvyOne, points to a Mobile Marketing statistic that mobile banner ads have a higher click-through rate than Internet banner ads--2% vs. 0.15%.

Mobile phones are an increasingly vital link to information, banking and commerce; 11% of the country's 267 million mobile phone users own Internet-ready smart phones. In recent months brands including Buick, Kraft and Walmart and have been building "M sites"--mobile phone-ready versions of their Web sites. Alexandre Mars, chief executive of Phonevalley and head of mobile at Publicis Groupe, says M sites should be the first step in any company's mobile marketing strategy. "You can't teach your baby to run before it knows how to walk," says Mars.

According to mobile research firm M:Metrics, 49% of American mobile phone users actively use text messaging, which explains marketers' interest in text-based campaigns. Last year Ogilvy used text messaging in a test pilot with its then-client, mattress and bed manufacturer Select Comfort. Select Comfort bought ads in local newspapers, which instructed users to send the company an SMS message with their zip code. Select Comfort sent back the nearest store location along with a mobile coupon for $50 off. According to OgilvyOne's Mandel, seven times more people texted in their responses than those who called in the company's 1-800 number that was also in the advertisement.

Phonevalley's Alexandre Mars says that both mobile banner ads and text-based campaigns have the advantage of being easy to scale. "The question is still the same," Mars says. "How can you do it big? When you are talking to clients, you have to be scalable." In October Phonevalley completed a campaign for Puma in China. Mobile phone users could download a mobile game, after which Puma sent them a coupon for a free phone toy accessory. One hundred and fifty-five thousand people downloaded the mobile game, and 70,000 redeemed the coupon in stores.

On the more innovative--but less scalable--end of the mobile marketing spectrum are Quick Response Codes, or "QR" codes. QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that look like a square of black and white pixels. When a user scans his phone over a QR code, software in the phone automatically connects the mobile user to a specific URL. Marketers in Japan have been using QR codes since the mid-'90s; there, handsets come preloaded with QR readers. A recent QR code-based campaign for Northwest Airlines covered Tokyo's billboards and subway stations with ads containing the bar codes. The QR code directed users to a mobile version of the airline's Web site, where users could pay a game and win coupons for flights.

In the U.S., QR codes are less popular because most handsets lack the software required to read them. "Domestically, QR-based initiatives still sit squarely in the 'test' bucket," says Courtney Acuff, vice president and director at Denuo. The QR codes aren't standardized, and different codes require different kinds of technology to read them. Even if the codes were standardized, most users don't want to download the necessary technology.

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. has incorporated QR codes into print advertisements and in store windows. Users first have to visit the company's mobile site and download software. They can then scan a QR code, which will direct them to a mobile commerce site. The company won't disclose how many people have downloaded the software, or the volume of sales that customers have purchased over their phones. The campaign may be driving more PR buzz than actual revenue.
How India scored at G8

Delhi is confident it emerged from the recent G-8 summit with the nation's climate change interests intact. India led a successful charge against three demands by the developed nations. India made one major concession, accepting that global average temperatures "ought not to exceed 2º Celsius," largely because other developing nations conceded the point. A sign of success: China's climate change minister Xie Zhenhua thanked Indian team. The climate change battle at the G-8's major economies forum saw India align with China, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa against the West. First, the rich countries wanted developing countries to accept a global target of halving carbon emissions by 2050. The rich would cut their emissions by 80 per cent. The poor would do the rest. This meant the rich would slash emissions from the 1990 base of 18.4 billion tonnes to 7.4 billion tonnes. The poor would cut theirs from 22.6 billion to 15.3 billion. But since the latter had faster growing and larger populations, per capita they would have to cut emissions a staggering 60 per cent.

Second, India insisted the declaration say "social and economic development and poverty eradication" are "the... overriding priorities" of the poor. Third, the developed world argued poor countries should fix the amount they would reduce the rate of emissions growth. The rich wanted a 15 to 30 per cent cut. The developing countries only conceded such cuts would be "meaningful" and tied them to financial and technological aid.The last battle was the 2º Celsius issue. India opposed it, but the other four developing countries felt some sop had to be given to the West. India then ensured ambiguous wording. The statement only speaks of "the scientific view" such an increase "ought not to exceed 2º C" and that all countries would "work together" to "identify a global goal."

China's economy hits turning point

China is beating the global recession faster than expected and better than any major economy. On Thursday, economists scrambled to notch up their China forecasts for this year and 2010, as Beijing released new growth figures driven by the government's unprecedented $585 billion (Rs 28,66,000 crore) economic stimulus injected last November. Latest data shows China's economy expanded by 7.9 per cent during the year's second quarter.

"The government stimulus has been very effective first in terms of cushioning the downturn, and now in driving a recovery," Vivek Arora, senior resident representative of the International Monetary Fund, told HT in Beijing. During the year's first half, China struck 7.1 per cent growth, surging close to the year's target of eight per cent growth that seemed uncertain a few months ago. "Looking ahead, we expect the economy to continue growing solidly,'' said a statement from J P Morgan Chase Bank, Hong Kong. Last year, China - the world's third-largest economy that hit 13 per cent growth in 2007 - slowed to a seven-year-low of nine per cent growth as tumbling global demand for Chinese exports led to mass factory closures and millions of job losses. As world demand dwindled, local Chinese governments urged villagers to go shopping for their first cars, bikes, computers, refrigerators and dozens of appliances sold on new rural subsidies. Since November, Beijing pumped massive investments to boost demand and create jobs by building infrastructure across China. The stimulus included a stunning 126.5 per cent increase in investment in railway infrastructure (almost 2,000 km of new tracks laid this year) and a 54.7 per cent increase in highway investment this year.In Beijing, economist Tao Wang who heads China economic research at UBS Securities, raised China's 2009 and 2010 GDP forecasts to 8.2 per cent and 8.5 per cent. "The government's massive economic stimulus...helped push investment higher while exports continued to decline,'' said a statement from Tao, who had forecast 7 per cent growth for the second quarter. "Policies to promote consumption, including tax rebates for household appliances, helped sustain consumer demand, while government consumption is likely to have risen."
Indian scientists find earthworms can be used to produce compost from 'textile sludge'

Washington, July 17 (ANI): In a new research, scientists at the Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, in Haryana, India, have determined that earthworms could be used to produce compost from the huge volumes of solid sludge produced by the textiles industry.

The team of scientists included Vinod Garg, Renuka Gupta and Priya Kaushik of Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology.

Sludge from the textiles industry is usually difficult to dispose of. Landfill and incineration are not viable options given environmental concerns and expense.

As such, the industry in India is under pressure to find a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to disposal of industrial sludge.

Garg and colleagues have now tested vermicomposting of solid textile mill sludge that has been spiked with urine-free cow and horse dung, collected from local farms, in a six-month pilot-scale experiment using Eisenia foetida, a particular species of earthworm.

Eisenia foetida thrives in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. This species is grown commercially for composting because of their skills at converting organic waste into rich compost.

The team found that the composting process changes the physical and chemical properties of the test mixtures significantly.

The vermicomposts are much darker than the original materials and form compost-like, homogeneous mixture after just 180 days.

The team also found that the earthworms grow well in this manure-enhanced sludge.

They lower the pH of the alkaline sludge, free up mineral ions, including potassium, decrease the ratio of carbon to nitrogen of the material, and boost the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus available for plant growth within a matter of weeks. (ANI)
Baking soda ''could slow kidney disease''

London, July 17 (PTI) It may appear to be a simple household product, but the baking soda is so effective that it could ease the suffering of patients with failing kidneys, a new study has revealed. Every year, a number of people with kidney failure die languishing on transplant waiting lists because of a shortage of donors.

Doctors have long wondered about using baking soda for kidney disease patients with metabolic acidosis. Now, researchers in Britain have carried out the study and found that sodium bicarbonate could dramatically slow down the progression of kidney disease in some patients, the media reported today.

Lead researcher Prof Magdi Yaqoob of the Royal London Hospital said: "It''s amazing. A simple remedy like sodium bicarbonate when used appropriately can be very effective (in preventing patients having to be put on kidney machines).

"This study shows baking soda can be useful for people with kidney failure. That is, as long as the dose is regulated and under supervision.
Bhullar stares at early exit from British Open

Turnberry (Scotland), July 17 (PTI) Traditional Turnberry weather returned to wreck Gaganjeet Bhullar''s British Open debut and the Indian risks missing the cut in golf''s oldest major after a poor second round of seven-over 77 here today. With the traditional inclement weather returning to the Ailsa Course, many a golfer found their campaign in complete disarray and Bhullar''s early morning start proved a handicap for the Kapurthala pro, who totalled eight-over 148.

With morning rain bringing down the mercury and strong, swirling wind making life miserable for the golfers, Bhullar birdied the second hole to start on a positive note. But soon the famous winds of Turnberry began to bare its teeth and the Indian began to struggle.

Lone Indian in the fray after injured Jeev Milkha Singh pulled out of the event, Bhullar failed to find any rhythm on any part of the Ailsa links after that birdie. He reached the turn in 38 after registering a double bogey on the fifth and bogeys on the seventh and eighth.

His card on the back-nine was also marred with another double bogey on the 13th and bogeys on the 14th and 18th. .
Iran names new head of atomic energy body

Iran's government has named a former envoy to the U.N. nuclear watchdog as new head of the country's Atomic Energy Organisation after its head for 12 years resigned, Iranian media reported on Friday.

The organisation leads a nuclear programme that has put Tehran at odds with the West, which fears it is aimed at making bombs. Tehran says it is for peaceful power purposes.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's former representative to the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, was named to replace Gholamreza Aghazadeh as head of the Atomic Energy Organisation at a cabinet meeting late on Thursday.

A relative of Salehi, who was Iran's ambassador at the U.N.'s IAEA under the government of reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, told Reuters he had been offered the post but it was not immediately clear whether he had accepted it.

"In the cabinet's meeting on Thursday night Ali Akbar Salehi ... was named the new head of the Atomic Energy Organisation," the ISNA news agency said. Other media also carried the report.

The mild-mannered politician is in favour of resolving Iran's nuclear row with the West through talks, an analyst said.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly ruled out bowing to Western pressure and halting nuclear work which can have both civilian and military uses.

"Salehi's appointment is a positive signal to the West. Salehi is a logical and soft spoken person who is trusted by the IAEA," said the analyst, who asked not to be named.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is Iran's most powerful figure and has last say on all state matters like Iran's nuclear dispute with the West.

Aghazadeh, who was also a vice president, announced his resignation on Thursday.

He is an ally of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who backed opposition candidate Mirhossein Mousavi in a June 12 disputed election, but Thursday's media reports on his resignation did not say whether it was linked to the vote.

Ahmadinejad won a second four-year term in last month's election, but Mousavi says it was rigged and that the next government will be illegitimate.

Ahmadinejad, who has signalled he will make changes in his next government that is expected to take office in August, has appointed a new first vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, to replace Parviz Davoudi, Iranian media reported.

Mashaie was previously one of at least seven vice presidents and in charge of a culture and tourism body. He came under fire last year for attending a ceremony that involved actions deemed insulting to the Koran, Islam's holy book.

He also created a storm in 2008 by saying Iran was friendly even to the people of Israel, Iran's sworn foe. Ahmadinejad had said those comments by his vice-president were misrepresented.

Unlike government ministers, appointments of vice presidents do not need parliamentary approval.
Nine killed in blasts at Jakarta luxury hotels

Jakarta, July 17 (DPA) Two powerful explosions ripped through the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels Friday morning in the Indonesian capital, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens of others, police and the security minister said.

Six bodies were found in Jakarta's Marriott Hotel, two in the nearby Ritz-Carlton and another victim died in hospital after the blasts, which took place during the hotels' busy breakfast time, chief security minister Widodo Adisucipto said.

Four foreigners were killed, including the president of the local unit of Swiss cement maker Holcim Ltd, Timothy Mackay, a New Zealander, media reports said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the bombings, vowing to hunt and capture the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

'This action was carried out by a terrorist group,' Yudhoyono told a press conference. 'Those who carried out this attack and those who planned it will be arrested and tried according to the law.'

Leading Indonesian lawmaker Theo Sambuaga said the attacks were 'suicide bombings' while international terrorism experts pointed a finger at Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional terrorist group affiliated with the Al Qaeda network and blamed for numerous other bombings in Indonesia.

A bomb-disposal squad found and defused an unexploded bomb in a room of the Marriott, while rescue workers removed a head and body parts, including legs, from the Marriott restaurant.

More than 40 people were injured in the blasts and were taken to nearby hospitals, Widodo said.

Television footage showed severely injured victims, including foreigners, being taken out of the Marriott hotel.

Smoke was rising from the hotels, and glass from broken windows and other debris were scattered on the ground.

Jakarta police spokesman Chrysnanda, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, confirmed that the blasts came from 'high-explosive bombs'.

'An investigation is under way by bomb experts,' he said.

The first explosion hit the Ritz-Carlton, destroying its facade, and the second blast hit a restaurant in the nearby Marriott a few minutes later.

Lesley and Paul Harbon, Australian guests at the Marriott, said there was no taking the explosion at the hotel for anything other than a bomb.

'It doesn't sound like anything else you've ever heard,' Lesley Harbon said in a telephone interview from the couple's new Jakarta hotel. 'You couldn't mistake it.'

Paul Harbon, who was eating breakfast downstairs at the time, had an easier time evacuating than his wife, who was in the couple's room.

'I ended up in the bottom of the building,' she said. 'There was floodwater everywhere, and there were no lights. I just screamed and screamed until someone came to get me out.'

The hotels, connected by an underground tunnel and located in a business and diplomatic district, were popular with foreigners as a venue for business meetings because they were thought to be well-protected. The Harbons said they had been impressed with the security when they checked in Thursday night.

The blast was the second bombing on the Jakarta Marriott. In August 2003, a militant drove a bomb-laden truck into the lobby of the hotel and set it off, killing 12 people and injuring 150.

'The only group that has the ability to carry out such attacks is Jemaah Islamiyah,' terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna told Channel News Asia.

Until Friday, Indonesia had not had a major bombing since October 2005 when militants belonging to Jemaah Islamiyah blew themselves up at three restaurants in Bali, killing 20 people.

Jamaah Islamiyah, also known as JI, is also blamed for the October 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly foreign holidaymakers.

Analysts have said that the group's violent faction has been severely weakened after the arrests of scores of operatives in recent years but determined militants were still capable of mounting a deadly attack.

'The signs were there over the last few months that this hard-line group within JI was disaffected with the lack of a bombing campaign over the last couple of years and was clearly intent on doing something,' said defence analyst Carl Ungerer, director of the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The hotel bombings came a little more than a week after the July 9 presidential election, in which Yudhoyono appeared set to win a second five-year term although the final results have yet to be officially confirmed.

Yudhoyono has been credited with restoring security after a spate of deadly attacks blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah since the start of the decade.

English Premier League champions Manchester United cancelled their plans for friendly match with an Indonesian All Star, scheduled for Monday. The Manchester United players were due to stay at the Ritz-Carlton.
Pakistan sets Guinness record by planting 541,176 saplings

Islamabad, July 17 (IANS) Pakistan has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records by planting 541,176 saplings in one day to break the Indian record of 447,874 trees set on June 12.

Pakistan's environment ministry arranged the plantation drive earlier this week as part of series of events being held to observe the National Year of Environment that is also aimed at developing forest resources through international competitions.

The plantation, which kicked off at sunrise, culminated at sunset as per the requirement of the Guinness Book of World Records. During this period, 300 planters, wearing green jackets, planted local species at Keti Bandar in Thatta district, some 150 km southeast of Karachi, an environment ministry statement said.

The event was monitored by Tahir Qureshi of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and independent monitor Marvi Memon, both of whom were nominated by Guinness, whose representative Adil Ahmed was also present on the occasion.

After the plantation drive culminated, Environment Minister Hamidullah Jan Afridi received a shield and certification from Guinness certifying the world record.

'The tree plantation drive is also in accordance with the government's resolve to rehabilitate mangrove forests of Sindh by all means, in partnership with the provincial forest department, international and national NGOs and the private sector,' the statement said.

The environment ministry has initiated a Rs.13.5 billion forestry sector project in the four provinces, Pakistani Kashmir, the Northern Areas and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to increase the forest cover by one percent under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. One million hectares of land would be required to achieve this target.

'The fact also remains there that despite planting millions of saplings every year, the forest cover area is stagnant at 4.9 percent over the decades,' the statement said.

'The reasons for this are massive tree cutting and low survival rate of the saplings planted every year,' the statement said, adding that to save the forests and ensure better survival of saplings, the ministry is also reviewing its strategy at all tiers, raising awareness levels and involving all stakeholders.

Indo Asian News Service
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New record in Endhiran's sights

Who is the greatest publicist in Tamil cinema? Well, one year back, this question might have looked interesting. Tamil cinema has quite a few producers who know the art of promoting or marketing their films well. Publicity stills, stunts, star studded audio launches, promos, contests and whirlwind releases are all part of the big picture that makes cinema viable. Producers go all out to make sure that everyone knows about their film in theaters. Nothing ever becomes popular without advertisement, however good it might be. The importance of publicity and promotions cannot be over emphasized in cinema.

The old and haloed production houses have always had their ways of promoting their movies. AVM was in full form in 2007 promoting Sivaji, making it a craze all over Tamil Nadu. The cut-outs were all over the city, the songs were

always on FM and practically all theaters were showing Sivaji; there is no better way to promote a movie. Kalaipuli Thanu too is known for his aggressive style of marketing. Quite a few years back, in 2001, when publicity was not a much talked about aspect, he went all out for Aalavandhan. That unfortunately did not work. But, in 2007, he proved that he has not lost his taste for big time promotion when he launched Kanthaswamy in a style that was never before seen in Tamil cinema, making it an overnight sensation. Now, with a grand audio release ceremony, he has set the stage for a big release which will probably work wonders for him. Another publicity and marketing icon of Tamil cinema is Aascar V Ravichandran. He has been the best over the past decade or so. He made it a habit of adopting small films and releasing them with the required backing, Chiththiram Pesudhadi was one such movie. But, it is not the small stuff that he specializes in. In 2005, he showed Kollywood that a big budget can be feasible and even profitable with appropriate release strategies and top gear publicity – Anniyan. Three years later, he once again showed his big budget skills with the multi-crore Dasavatharam. The way the movie was promoted on TV might not have been one of the best, but its pre-release events, especially the Jackie Chan special audio launch were master strokes by a man who knew what he was doing.

As said above, around the same time last year, it would have been an interesting debate as to who among the three names mentioned above is the publicity and promotion king of Tamil cinema. But now, this debate has been rendered ineffective and meaningless by a new player in the field who is just too good inherently. Whom are we talking about? No, it is not any of those corporate giants - Ayngaran or Eros, it is South India's most watched media conglomerate, SUN.

If one remembers right, it was with the Nakul-Sunaina starrer Kadhalil Vizhunden that SUN Pictures first entered film distribution. Now, a year later, it makes a lot of sense to talk about their primacy in promotion and marketing when another Nakul-Sunaina starrer Maasilamani is in theaters.

From Kadhalil Vizhunden to Maasilamani, SUN Pictures has bought around a dozen films including Thenavattu, Dindigul Sarathy, Padikkathavan, Ayan etc. Out of the films that they have invested in, only Ayan and Padikkathavan might qualify as comparatively big products. The rest are medium budget flicks that do not boast of much star power. Yet, SUN Pictures, has left no stone unturned in trying to make these films popular, of course, not without the cooperation and visibility that the SUN Network enjoys. Promos and trailers of all kinds, lengths and sizes are beamed on the main channels of the network, almost every five minutes. Even the most disinterested person will end up taking notice of such an incessant barrage of promotional videos. It is now being jocularly said that Maasilamani might be holding the all-time Tamil cinema record for having its trailer telecast most number of times on TV. Well, you might have to believe it if you turn on TV. SUN Pictures has certainly given new dimensions to publicity in Tamil, set new benchmarks and redefined the limits of promotion. But too much advertisement can be detrimental to a product too, raising expectations abnormally high.

But, SUN Pictures doesn't seem to be stopping at this. In fact, they are now into their first production and we all know that it as big as it can get - Endhiran. More than Rs. 100 crores, Superstar, Shankar, Aishwarya Rai and A.R. Rahman – these names are publicity enough for any movie. But, SUN Pictures will not take anything for granted. Rumors are already afoot about how they intend to promote the movie, even the Superstar may be making a special appearance personally inviting people to theaters. With more than Rs. 100 crores riding on it, we can expect publicity for Endhiran to touch pitches and intensity never seen before. Maybe the same time next year we will be talking about how Endhiran holds the record for having its trailer telecast on TV the highest number of times.
Anesthetic drugs found in Jackson's body

Propofol, an anesthetic drug is the cause for Michael Jackson's death said a 'multiple law enforcement source', reported a celebrity news website.

The website reported that vials of Propofol were found at the Pop star's home after his death.

There are evidences against Doctor Conrad Murray for using Propofol on Jackson said the law enforcement sources.

The Los Angeles Police Department treats the death of Michael Jackson as homicide added the website.
What's brewing between Gautham Menon and Rahman?

Gautham Menon and AR Rahman are very unhappy over rumors that the latter refuses to compose the background score for Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya. A few days earlier, there were reports that Rahman is not satisfied with the pay packet and refused to score the BGM.

Clarifying on this issue, Gautham said that Rahman called him up when such reports surfaced to find out the reason for the rumors. Rahman was also very disturbed that the media persons did not verify their claim before writing.

Gautham said that Rahman had already composed five songs for the VTV of which three have already been filmed. Rahman will work on the BGM once the shooting is done.
Suriya's avatars for Singam

News about Hari - Suriya's cop flick Singam seems to be attracting the focus of media every now and then. Now that it's established that Suriya will be playing a police officer, latest in the series is that Suriya's role will have both urban and rural shades in it. Besides, we hear wind of the fact that Suriya is asked to put on some weight by the director to suit the character.

However, with his six-pack tag weighed down heavily on him, Suriya doesn't seem to have lost interest in the phenomenon altogether. Last heard, he will gain some weight but not at the cost of his toned abs.
Movies & Commercials / Ajith in Malaysia!
Jul 16, 2009, 07:46 PM
Ajith in Malaysia!

By Behindwoods Visitor  Sharmila Valli Narayanan
The views expressed in this column is that of the visitor. doesn't hold responsible for its content.
Everyone, especially all the Thala fans know that Ajith is in Malaysia for the shooting of his latest movie Asal. My friend Sukvinder Singh has a walk-in-role in the movie – the kind that you blink and you'll miss. Although he is cast as an extra, he still got a chance to mingle with the stars and especially the biggest star of them all – Ajith.

Thala fans will be pleased to know that Ajith is really, really a very nice and down-to-earth person. Sukvinder said that he and the other extras were very surprised and touched at the concern that he showed to them. He would talk to them, ask about themselves and their families and ask them if they had eaten. He asked my friend what was the reason he accepted to play the small part in this movie.

Sukvinder, who is not well versed with Tamil movies, was later astonished to learn from other Tamilians on the set on how big a star Ajith really is. "For someone who is such a huge star, he is very humble and does not throw his star power around," says Sukvinder. He was also very pleasantly surprised to find out how well Ajith speaks Hindi.

Another friend of a friend who had a small part in Ajith's Billa (he was one of the gang members of Billa) also attested to Ajith's friendliness. He said Ajith would go out of his way to greet and talk to everyone and make them all feel special. 'It is so good to see your screen hero is also a real hero in life," he said.

Here are some pictures that Sukvinder took with Ajith and Sameera Reddy. Sameera too is a very nice and friendly person who has no airs, says Sukvinder. It is very nice to know that there are some movie stars who do not act like divas and are very down to earth people.
Google announces Courgette for smaller Chrome updates

Google announces Courgette for smaller Chrome updates

Google Chrome developers have announced that they are using a new compression algorithm called Courgette to ensure that Chrome updates are small.

This would help them to deliver more frequent updates as they would be tiny compared to previous updates.

Google Chrome is updated automatically in the background on the user's machine. So it became important for Google to ensure that the updates delivered to the users are as small as possible.

Google said:

    One of the pillars of our approach is to keep the software up to date, so we push out updates to Google Chrome fairly regularly.

Opera 10 Beta 2 released

The developers behind the Opera web browser have released the second beta of Opera 10.

Opera 10 is a very exciting update to Opera as it comes loaded with tons of new updates and a few new technologies.

The developers continue to work on polishing this release as they prepare to launch the first stable edition of Opera 10.

One of the new exciting features in Opera 10 would be Opera Unite which enables anyone to run web server powered services on their own computers with little configuration required.

Opera browser handles the hard part by letting the user share files with their friends and relatives.
Google Chrome released on Dev Channel

Google Chrome released on Dev Channel

Google has delivered a minor update for the users on Google Chrome Dev Channel.

The latest edition on the dev channel is Google Chrome

Google Chrome developers said that this update fixes some crash related problems connected to V8, autocomplete, tab dragging, and context menus.

Looks like the company delivered this update through their recently announced technology named Courgette.

Google Chrome developers updated a previous post with the information on this update. That is pretty strange.
Tata Indicom extends Global Data Roaming to postpaid customers through Cyberpass

Tata Teleservices Limited India's fastest growing pan India telecom service provider today announced the launch of Global Data Roaming in association with Tata Communications. Tata Communications has extended its global data roaming services to mobile customers through Cyberpass. Jetsetters can now avail of global data roaming with a single login internet access across 160 countries on Tata Indicom.

This first-of-its-kind roaming service will be available to Tata Indicom post-paid (mobile, Walky and data card) subscribers. Users can access the World Wide Web though dial-up, broadband or from Wi-Fi zones, across the world, using a single login and password enabled by Cyberpass. Globetrotters can now stay on top of their mails, send large files and browse the internet with a simplified billing structure that allows cost certainty when they roam abroad.

"This is a pioneering service introduced by Tata Indicom, another amongst the host of "firsts" offered to the customers. It brings together not only the comfort of a hassle–free and secure billing process, but also the calculations of the bill being in Indian Rupees in spite of international roaming. It further reduces the limitations of availing Tata Indicom services to enhance customer experience," said Mr. Pradeep Dwivedi, Senior Vice President-Marketing, Tata Teleservices Limited.

"We are delighted to partner with Tata Communications for extending its global data roaming services through CyberPass that allows a host of services like internet access, content access, net telephony, e-mail, etc. through one power packed account !", he added.

How it works:

This Global Data Roaming Service can be activated through a simple registration process at Tata Indicom and "Cyberpass" websites. Once registered, the user can download the dialer from the Tata Indicom website for a hassle-free log-in across the globe. While on roaming at an overseas Wi-Fi zone, a customer can login through the dialer after selecting the appropriate service provider from the dropdown list, and start enjoying the extensive coverage provided by Tata Indicom. Users will also be able to view their Global Roaming Usage by going in to the "My Usage" sub section in the "Cyberpass" website.

About Tata Teleservices Limited

Tata Teleservices Limited is one of India's leading private telecom service providers, having a pan-India presence. The company offers integrated telecom solutions to its customers under the Tata Indicom brand, and uses the latest technology platform(s) for its wireless network. With a customer base of over 37 million, Tata Teleservices Limited, along with Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited, covers over 320,000 towns and villages across all of India's 22 telecom circles. In November 2008, Tata Teleservices entered into an agreement with Japanese telecom major NTT DOCOMO, as part of which the Japanese company acquired a 26% stake in TTSL for USD 2.7 billion. The transaction marks a key step in the strategic evolution of Tata Teleservices, as it moves towards a pan-India dual network presence. The company also recently announced a unique reverse equity swap strategic agreement between its fully-owned telecom tower subsidiary, Wireless TT Info-Services Limited, and Quippo Telecom Infrastructure Limited—with the combined entity kicking off operations with 18,000 towers, thereby becoming the largest independent entity in this space in the country. Tata Teleservices' bouquet of telephony services includes mobile services, wireless desktop phones, public booth telephony and wireline services.
Sunil Mittal awarded Honorary Doctorate by University of Leeds

New Delhi (PTI) Sunil Mittal, Chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, has been awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Leeds, UK.

The University of Leeds awards honorary degrees to people distinguished by their contributions to business, government, arts or public life in general.

On the occasion, Mr. Mittal said: "I am delighted with this honour from such a globally reputed institution and would like to extend my sincere thanks to them.

"The recognition reflects India's growing reputation in the international fora. I sincerely believe this will go a long way towards inspiring India's young generation to pursue their goals with passion and commitment," a company statement said.

The University of Leeds is UK's second largest university with 30,500 students from over 130 countries. It is among the top 10 universities for research in the UK and is globally acknowledged as a centre of excellence in a wide range of academic and professional disciplines, it added.
Japanese discovery could help fight resistant flu virus

Washington (IANS): A discovery by Japanese scientists could foster a new genre of anti-virals that sidestep resistant flu virus problems, according to a new study.

Toshinori Sato, of Toshiba Microelectronics Engineering Lab, Japan, who led the study, noted that current antiviral drugs, including Tamiflu and Relenza, fight influenza by blocking key proteins that viruses need to reproduce.

As viruses reproduce, however, they can mutate into drug-resistant strains. They described the discovery of a new way to prevent flu viruses from infecting cells in the first place.

They identified potential drugs that can block the first step in the infection process, and demonstrated that the substances work in cell cultures, according to an American Chemical Society (ACS) release.

"These results may lead to a new approach in the design of antiviral drugs," Sato and colleagues stated, noting that it could be used to develop new drugs for a variety of other medical problems.

These findings are slated for publication in the July 23 issue in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
Coming soon: A grapefruit pill to fight obesity!

London (PTI): Tart and tangy with an underlying sweetness, grapefruit has a juiciness which rivals that of the ever popular orange and sparkles with many of the same health promoting benefits.

And, now researchers are on track to develop a pill from a chemical compound in grapefruit, which they claim would help obese people shed the flab and diabetics control their blood sugar levels.

Researchers at University of Western Ontario have found that naringenin, the chemical compound that gives grapefruit its bitter taste, has revolutionary effect on the liver making it burn fat instead of storing it after a meal.

According to them, this means that without having to change diets or cut out particular foods, a dose of naringenin could prevent weight gain and even help to lose it as well as help those having diabetes to control blood sugar levels.

Lead researcher Murray Huff said: "The study shows naringenin, through its insulin-like properties, corrects many of the metabolic disturbances linked to insulin resistance and represents a promising approach for metabolic syndrome."

They have based their findings on an analysis of tests which were carried out on mice -- two groups of rodents were both fed the equivalent of a Western diet to speed up their "metabolic syndrome", the process leading to Type 2 diabetes


Citrus fruits check obesity, diabetes

Toronto (IANS): Canadian researchers have found that citrus fruits can prevent weight gain and help control Type-2 diabetes and increased risk of heart disease.

A flavonoid called naringenin found in citrus fruits helps the body burn extra fat to check weight gain. It also has insulin-like properties to check Type-2 diabetes, says a study by the University of Western Ontario.

Flavonoids, which are found in plants, promote antioxidant activity in the human body.

They work by genetically reprogramming the liver to burn up excess fat, rather than storing it, according to the study.

In their study, the university researchers fed one group of mice with a high-fat diet to induce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A second group was fed the exact same diet but treated with naringenin.

The researchers found that naringenin corrected the rise in triglyceride and cholesterol levels, prevented the development of insulin resistance and thus completely normalized glucose metabolism in mice.

"Furthermore, the marked obesity that develops in these mice was completely prevented by naringenin," Murray Huff of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the university said.

"What was unique about the study was that the effects were independent of caloric intake, meaning the mice ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat. There was no suppression of appetite or decreased food intake, which are often the basis of strategies to reduce weight gain and its metabolic consequences."

He said: "We are examining the pharmacological properties of naringenin. The next step is to find out if naringenin prevents heart disease in animal models and to explore the feasibility of clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy in humans."

Huff said his team is also investigating whether naringenin can treat obesity and other metabolic problems. "These studies show naringenin, through its insulin-like properties, corrects many of the metabolic disturbances linked to insulin resistance and represents a promising therapeutic approach for metabolic syndrome."

The study was published online this week in the journal Diabetes.
Sea ice formed in the Arctic before it did in Antarctica

Washington: A new study has concluded that significant sea ice formation occurred in the Arctic earlier than previously thought, which suggests that sea ice formed in the Arctic before it did in Antarctica.

"The results are also especially exciting because they suggest that sea ice formed in the Arctic before it did in Antarctica, which goes against scientific expectation," said scientific team member Dr Richard Pearce of the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).

The international collaborative research team, led by Dr Catherine Stickley and Professor Nalan Koc of the University of Tromso and Norwegian Polar Insitute, analyzed oceanic sediment cores collected from the Lomonosov ridge in the central Arctic by Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 302 ("ACEX").

Previous analyses of cores drilled in this region revealed ice-rafted debris dating back to the middle Eocene epoch, prompting suggestions that ice appeared in the Arctic about 46 million years ago.

But, records of ice-rafted debris do not differentiate sea ice from glacial (continental) ice, which is important because sea ice influences climate by directly affecting ocean-atmosphere exchanges, whereas land-based ice affects sea level and consequently ocean acidity.

Instead of focusing solely on ice-rafted debris, Stickley and her colleagues also garner information about ancient climate by analyzing fossilized remains of tiny single-celled plants called diatoms in the sediment cores.

Coincident with ice-rafted debris in the cores, the researchers found high abundances of delicately silicified diatoms belong to the genus Synedropsis.

"Weakly silicified diatoms are preserved only under exceptional circumstances, so to find fossilized Synedropsis species so well preserved and in such abundance is truly remarkable," said team member Richard Pearce of NOCS.

Synedropsis species probably over-wintered within the sea ice and then bloomed there in the spring when there was enough sunlight.

They would have been released into stratified surface waters as the ice melted, rapidly sinking to the sea bottom as aggregates, leaving other diatom species to dominate summer production. And, indeed, these seasonal changes can be discerned in the sediment cores.

The researchers conclude from their analysis, which cover a two-million year period, that episodic sea ice formation in marginal shelf areas of the Arctic started around 47.5 million years ago, about a million years earlier than previous estimates based on ice-raft debris evidence only.

This appears to have been followed half a million years later by the onset of seasonal sea-ice formation in offshore areas of the central Arctic, and about 24 million years before major ice-sheet expansion in the region.
Popular dietary supplement shows promise to prevent, treat cataracts

A new piece of research suggests that the popular dietary supplement carnosine may prove helpful in preventing and treating cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide.

Writing in a study report, Enrico Rizzarelli and colleagues point out that the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgical replacement of the lens, the clear disc-like structure inside the eye that focuses light on the nerve tissue in the back of the eye.

The report highlights the fact that cataracts develop when the main structural protein in the lens, alpha-crystallin, forms abnormal clumps.

The authors say that the clumps make the lens cloudy and impair vision.

Studies conducted in the past have suggested that carnosine may help block the formation of these clumps.

During the current study, the researchers exposed tissue cultures of healthy rat lenses to either guanidine -- a substance known to form cataracts -- or a combination of guanidine and carnosine.

They observed that the guanidine lenses became completely cloudy, while the guanidine/carnosine lenses developed 50 to 60 percent less cloudiness.

According to them, carnosine also restored most of the clarity to clouded lenses.

The results, scheduled for publication in the July 28 edition of ACS' Biochemistry, demonstrate the potential of using carnosine for preventing and treating cataracts, the scientists say.
US "fully committed" to implementing nuclear deal with India

Washington: Allaying fears in India over the recent G-8 declaration regarding restriction on transfer of atomic technology to non-NPT States, the US today said it was "fully committed" to the nuclear deal with New Delhi and hopes to sign the end-use monitoring agreement on Monday.

"We hope to be able to sign that (end-use monitoring agreement), and obviously, that will take place on Monday of next week," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told reporters here on the eve of secretary of state Hillary Clinton's visit to India beginning tomorrow.

Against the backdrop of the recent G-8 summit in Italy that came out with a declaration related to restriction on transfer of nuclear technology to non-NPT States including India, Blake asserted that the US was committed to implementing the civilian nuclear deal with New Delhi.

"I do not think there should be any apprehensions about the future of the civil nuclear agreement," Blake told reporters ahead of Clinton's maiden official visit to India.

"The (US) secretary and the President are fully committed to that agreement. I think the Indians are also fully committed," he said.

"They (India) are going to be, I am sure, moving forward to file a declaration of safeguarded facilities with the IAEA, which is sort of the next step in that process, and then we're going to start reprocessing talks, probably either later this month or in August," Blake said.

"So all of that is very much on track. As I say, we'll also be starting some bilateral cooperation with -- hopefully with the announcement of these two nuclear sites. So I would discourage any talk that somehow the agreement is off track," Blake said.

Blake said the US hopes to get commitment from India for two nuclear park sites for American companies during Clinton's visit.

"On the question of the two nuclear sites, we hope that we will be in a position to be able to announce publicly those two sites where US companies can have exclusive right to locate reactors and sell reactors to the Indians," he said amid reports that India has identified the two sites in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

"We think that that's a major opportunity for American companies. It opens up as much as USD 10 billion worth of new exports to India. So again, we hope to be in a position for both sides to announce it," Blake said.

"The agreement would be with her (Clinton's) counterpart, foreign minister (SM) Krishna. The end use monitoring is the only one that is on the table for the moment," Blake said.

He said the purpose of Clinton's visit to India is to strengthen and broaden the strategic partnership between the two sides.

Obama and Clinton also think there is a scope for broader engagement with India on some of the big global challenges of the world, including climate change and non-proliferation, he said.
Was the 8-day strike by resident doctors justified?

Mumbai: There are various reasons that have compelled the resident doctors to go on a strike. They put in long working hours and their living conditions in the hospitals are pathetic. They are also expected to attend to emergencies at odd hours. I think the government needs to address their demands seriously, and at the earliest. --Remi Punamiya

It's distressing that resident doctors havenot settled down their strike when many are suffering and few have died. The strike is on for more than a week now. I am sure there is an ethical manner by which they can get their demands met. Such culpable doctors have resorted toacts which bring disrepute to the medical profession.
--Chirag Mavani

It is shameful to see over 8,000 resident doctors and interns on an indefinite strike demanding a pay hike. On humanitarian grounds, my heart goes out to the resident doctors and others too support their cause but not their means of pleading for better amenities. Holding patients to ransom is not the solution. Resorting to activities typical of retrograde socialists does not suit doctors.--Hardik Kothare

Doctors in Maharashtra are overworked and underpaid is a well known fact. The government somehow doesn't realise that it is killing medicine as a career. It's not an easy career option as one has to study for atleast 12 years, followed by a year long compulsory rural service and earning Rs15,000 a month. --Niket Shah

After the doctors now teachers in aided schools, junior and degree colleges across Maharashtra are set to go on a strike. Why can't the issues be solved in a better way than go on a strike? Is going on a strike the only resort to meet their demands? One of the prominent demands by the teachers is the sixth pay commission salaries that have not been implemented is justified. But I don't think that by going on strikes will solve their problems.--Ryan Pinto

If not for the MARD strike, the situation will keep deteriorating. We read about the shortage of faculty members in public hospitals due to poor salaries. Their living and working conditions makes it difficult for them to live with dignity. But strike is not the right way to get their demands fulfiled, at the cost of people's life.
--Arpita Chakraborty

The sixth pay commission has recommended that the doctors salary be raised to Rs40,000--45,000. Its recommendations were implemented in Delhi, MP, Goa, Bihar, and Punjab without any problem. Then why is the Maharashtra govt not willing to do the same?This has been pending since March. The govt just keeps asking the doctors to go to work before considering anything. --Akshay Baheti

There were death cases reported due to non-availability of doctors in govt and civic hospitals. And now even college and school teachers have announced their strike. There should be some other way out to convince government rather than going on strike. The indefinite strike by doctors and teachers isn't justified.--Deepali Maniar

The continuous strikes by professionals shows that how incapable the government is to meet their demands. Govt should realise and try to make the doctors and teachers resume work by fulfiling their demands. It's unfortunate that teachers and students are forced to go on strikes and cause inconvenience to the citizens. --Raj Kumar

--Compiled by Brinda Majithia
After Google scare, Wipro on flu alert

HYDERABAD: The swine flu bug has bit the IT sector. After Google closed its office for two days to get its premises sanitised, Wipro decided to
get its swine flu act in place.

The firm has directed its employees returning from overseas assignments to report to work 48 hours after their arrival. These two days will be paid leaves for them. Given that of the 34 confirmed cases of swine flu so far, most have been techies, the city's IT firms have stepped up their swine flu alert and awareness mechanism.

The two IT firms that have had a case each of infection in their office have had the entire staff quarantined and the suspect cases tested for the infection. Most IT majors are sending out mailers daily asking their jet-setting techies to take precautions.

At Microsoft, the internal website has been uploaded with the information on swine flu along with travel guidelines. Similarly, the management of Mahindra Satyam has forwarded power point presentations to the work force giving a lowdown on how to protect themselves and the same has been uploaded on the company's portal as well.

"For anyone who is going on overseas assignments, they should report to office only after completion of 48 hours. The employees who returned from Sweden, were asked to do the same since the flu symptoms develop within 48 hours," a senior staffer of Wipro said.

Elaborating the status of a company wherein one of the employee contracted the virus and is a part of the cluster, District Medical & Health Officer (DM&HO) Hyderabad Dr Ch Jayakumari, who along with her team conducted an awareness session on Wednesday said, "This company has a work force of 180. While one has tested positive, reports of another five have been sent for confirmatory tests while 56 have been given profilaxis treatment. Rest have been home quarantined."
National swine flu phoneline to be launched today

The national swine flu phoneline, a central call centre that allows thousands of people to receive infection diagnoses simultaneously, is to be launched by the Government as early as today, The Times understands.

The flu line, the backbone of the National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS), is to be activated following a further dramatic rise in infection cases, to be announced by the Department of Health today.

The NPFS will allow flu diagnoses to be processed at high speed, with unique reference numbers given to callers with suspected swine flu to allow their friends or relatives to collect medication for them.

The Times understands that the decision to launch the flu line imminently was taken after it was discussed at a meeting of Cobra, the Government's emergency committee, yesterday morning. However the service is expected to operate in an "interim" form to begin with, as further work by the Department of Health is still required to take it fully operational. This decision will also depend on the number of cases and the pressures they are placing on the NHS.

Figures released by the Royal College of GPs yesterday revealed that the number of swine flu cases has jumped by nearly 50 per cent in a week, the latest statistics suggest, making the current summer outbreak worse than the peak of last winter's flu season. Data from a sample of GPs' surgeries shows that up to 40,000 people complained to their doctor last week of "flu-like illness" in England and Wales, with a huge rise in the number of young children being affected.

The recent surge in cases, particularly in hotspots such as the West Midlands and London, prompted Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, to announce the beginning of the "treatment phase" for the illness this month.

Questions were raised as to why the flu line was not launched immediately, as it is intended to take the pressure off local GPs and hospitals. A memo between health chiefs last week, seen by The Times, criticised the Government's "muddled thinking" in advising health authorities how to implement this crucial phase.

In the memo, a health trust executive concludes that the way the national flu line fits into the system "is anyone's guess!!", adding that the current "treatment phase' instructions were "frankly all a total fudge" and a "very confusing picture".

The service - which is designed to involve a call centre manned by 7,000 volunteers who identify swine flu symptoms, and allocate code numbers so that Tamiflu can be picked up from collection points around the country - is now expected to start within days.

When fully functioning, the system is designed to involve high-speed call management a maximum of eight minutes per call for suspect cases. People who call the line then nominate a "flu friend" to go to one of up to 500 collection points, take the medication back to the affected person's home and post it through their door.

Earlier this year a senior member of the House of Lords told The Times that the Government had been "caught on the hop" with the development of the service. Lord Jenkin of Roding, who was asked to sit on the Lords' Science and Technology Committee flu pandemic inquiry, described ministers as being "very slow" on the issue, adding that the flu line should have been critical to preparations over recent years, not just months.

When Dawn Primarolo, the Health Minister, appeared before the Lords committee last year, she said that the flu line would be ready by April or May, but the deadline passed and was revised as planners battled to get the system finalised. A contract to provide the flu line was agreed with BT only in December, but a health department spokesman insisted that since then all involved had been working "extremely hard" to have it ready.

The current rate of patients reporting flu symptoms is now higher than experienced last winter, when the NHS came under intense pressure at evenings and weekends. Last week Sir Liam Donaldson announced his intention to develop an alert system, the NHS Pressure Rating, to assess demand if local hospitals, intensive care units and doctors' surgeries appeared to be in danger of being overwhelmed.
Google vs MS: Why are the two digging their teeth into each other's jugular?


It may remind you of the cola wars. But this time it's the mammoth Microsoft and the giant Google clashing and the fizz is spreading for the media to savour.

In the past few months, the two seem to have dug their teeth into each other's jugular vein. First Google shot the Chrome browser against Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Then came Google's Android smart-phone operating system that was clearly to dent Microsoft's Windows Mobile.

But Microsoft went straight for Google's heart with Bing, the new search technology.

And finally, the most recent salvo from Google came when it announced that it was planning a computer operating system based on its Chrome browser – sure shot at Billy boy's 'Window'.

Why are they moving each other's cheese

How does it help the two IT bellwethers to lock horns like this? Is there an untapped market space and thus money in it?

Why would Microsoft shift focus from its main money spinners – Windows and Office and why does Google want to stray from internet ads into the much monopolized world of operating systems and browsers?

A vast majority of Google searches are done on PCs running Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. So would Google really gain from displacing these products?

It seems like a lose-lose situation for both as both companies may take eons to actually get some moolah from their mutually-competing product pursuits. But the reality is that the game is on and the two companies are ostensibly trying to step on each others' toes big time.

Chrome vs Internet Explorer

Last year, Google unveiled the Chrome browser. It was touted as a tool for users to interact with increasingly powerful Web programs, like Gmail and Google Docs, along with Web applications created by other companies.

Google has been adding capabilities to Chrome. It now runs applications even when a user is not connected to the Internet.

When Google released the Web browser, it was seen as countering the dominance of Microsoft Internet Explorer and ensuring easy access to its market-leading search engine.

Today, the number of Web browsers has grown to a dizzying array – from IE, Mozilla's Firefox, to Apple's Safari, Opera and others.

So has MS been sitting tight, doing nothing? IE has managed to hold on to its numero uno spot. Recently, it re-enforced its market position by releasing its newest version, IE8.

Searching Strengths

In May, Microsoft unveiled Bing, its new Internet search engine, at San Diego. With the final unveiling of a product that had been MS's long standing threat to Google, the software giant has finally scratched the tip of the search business which is worth $12 billion in the United States alone.

Microsoft tried to go the other way by training its eye on Yahoo – the second biggest player in search engine and had set aside a whopping $47.5 billion for the Yahoo buy. But the efforts fell on their face.

So finally Bing(o), it unveiled its own search engine and most certainly at a lesser cost.

Today Bing is a distant third in the search race. It would have to triple its audience to catch Yahoo – and grow eightfold to tie Google, which accounts for 65 per cent of searches in the United States. But the beginning has been made.

Breaking Bill's Windows

Google has announced that it is developing an operating system for PCs based on its Chrome Web browser. Google has said in its blog that the operating system would initially be aimed at netbooks, the compact, low-cost.

It said the open-source software, called Chrome OS, would be available in the second half of next year. So is Microsoft biting its nails over the announcement? Who knows.

Microsoft is already feeling the heat of the rise of netbooks that will challenge it's personal computing software.

So far netbooks have been banking on various versions of the open-source Linux operating system. Companies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell have backed the Linux software.

So could this be the beginning of the end to MS's monopoly in the OS space? Only time can tell! Meanwhile, Microsoft has started offering its older Windows XP operating system for use on netbooks at a low price.

In addition, the company has promised that the next generation of Windows, Windows 7, due out this fall, will run well on the tiny laptops.

Eating into MS's Mobile Magic!

Google has already developed an operating system for mobile phones, called Android.

Android, introduced last year by a group of companies led by Google, was initially designed to run mobile phones, though developers were increasingly inclined to put it on a wider array of computing devices.

It already powers smartphones like the T-Mobile G1.

A number of companies have also been looking at using Android in larger Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), netbooks, set-top boxes, and even televisions, according to Google. Given the proliferation of netbooks and smartphoones, it;'s not a forte that Microsoft will like to accede to Google. So the fight of territory is on.

Microsoft Warming up to Online Collaboration

Microsoft recently announced that the 2010 version of Office will feature online collaboration. Why would this be?

Did Google's effort to lure computer users to text, spreadsheet, and other applications hosted online unnerve Microsoft? Google has been offering these services at low-cost or even free! Whatever the reason, the key upgrade to widely-used Office is that online hosting will make it possible for users to access projects from any Internet-linked computers and to collaborate online in real time.

According to the company website, Office Web applications will be lightweight, browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote that provide access to documents from anywhere.

Microsoft's current version, Office 2007, allows online collaboration, but not in the real-time manner promised by its successor.

So the billion dollar question is: Is Microsoft fearing that Google Apps - which are part of a growing online trend of offering software as services on the Internet, or "in the cloud," as opposed to people needing to buy, install and maintain programs on their own machines – may be the next killer strategy.

What is in it for the user?

Windows operating system runs about 95 per cent of PCs. Google promises that its Chrome operating system, which will be available on computers in the second half of next year, will put an emphasis on speed, simplicity and security.

But will Google do what IBM and Sun Microsystems tried and failed at?

Google believes that a huge shift in computing is under way - web connections will become so fast and browsers so powerful that most of the programs that currently run on PCs will become redundant. There would be online applications to handle every requirement.

So no installation, upgrade and back up software! And who knows, the war may help lower the cost of personal computers. And finally when it comes to Microsoft, no freeware has so far made a dent in its popularity. Will Google's attempt bear fruit?

Microsoft's Bing gains on Yahoo, Google

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft Corp's market share of the US Internet search market increased modestly in June, the first month that it fielded its new
Bing search engine, according to the latest data from research firm ComScore.

Microsoft captured 8.4 percent of US Internet searches in June, up from 8 percent the month before, largely at the expense of rival Yahoo Inc, whose market share fell to 19.6 percent in June from 20.1 percent in May.

Market leader Google Inc's share was unchanged from the prior month at 65 percent. "Given all the publicity and advertising around Bing, we were expecting a month-on-month increase," said Citi analyst Mark Mahaney, in a research note issued soon after the figures were published.

"But we think it's too early, need three to four months to call a trend, and the June move wasn't material enough to make any definitive statements as to whether Bing is a search market share game changer," said Mahaney. "We continue to view Bing as a very solid product, but one facing a very large uphill battle."

Microsoft has been pouring investment into its money-losing online services business in an attempt to counter Google's dominance in the Internet search market.

There is still a possibility that Microsoft will strike a partnership with Yahoo to combine their online advertising strengths, after Microsoft's aborted attempt to buy Yahoo outright last year. Microsoft shares rose 3.1 percent to $23.83 on Nasdaq. Yahoo and Google shares also rose.
Google links success of Android-based phones in India to price

NEW DELHI: Internet search major Google today said the success of its Android platform in India would be determined by the accessibility and
affordability of the mobile handsets in the country.

"A lot would depend on the affordability and accessibility of the handsets. We would eventually like to see a wide spectrum of pricing and functionality with the Android-powered handsets," Google India Head (Products) Vinay Goel told PTI.

He added that handsets in the price range of Rs 10,000-15,000 would do well.

Asked if Google was working with the handset makers like HTC and Samsung, who have announced plans to introduce Android handsets in the country, Goel said, "We act as catalysts. It is up to the OEMs to determine the pricing and functions of the product."

Android is an open-source operating system for mobiles and wireless devices, initially developed by Google, which allows developers to design applications independent of the handset type.
Tech Mahindra opens BPO centre in Kolkata

NEW DELHI: IT firm Tech Mahindra on Wednesday said it has opened a BPO centre in Kolkata with the initial capacity of 1,000

The facility would focus on providing customer service delivery to telecom service providers and primarily be servicing Reliance Communications' operations in the first phase, the company said in a statement.

The Kolkata centre would cater to other clients in the future, it added.

The centre would have about 1,000 seats in the initial ramp up with 500 seats coming up in end July 2009 and another 500 in the end August 2009.

The firm already has centres in Noida, Chandigarh, Pune and Chennai and two overseas centres in Belfast and New Castle.

Tech Mahindra President (Corporate Affairs) Sujit Baksi said: "Tech Mahindra has always expanded in major cities around India to leverage the availability of local skilled staff. This centre allows us to spread our operations in Eastern India in a big way and we are keen to tap the local talent pool in this region to make this centre a major hub that will service other telecom service providers in this region as well."
Satyam dilemma: SEBI allowed trade, US didn't

NEW DELHI: Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju's disclosure of an accounting fraud had posed a major dilemma for market regulator SEBI on whether to  halt trade, but it did not although the US banned it for a day.

"At that time the issue was do you close the market or do you allow the market to operate? Now if there is somebody who knows about the confession (and) wants to buy (or sell) at price 'x', should we as a regulator be coming in the way? We didn't see the need to intervene in the price formation process,'' C B Bhave, chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India, said.

Asked about the difference in response by the regulators in the US and India after the disclosure of the accounting irregularities, Bhave said the US halted trading in the scrip for one day and the next day when they found that Indian markets were going on, they allowed resumption of trade.

"May be they learnt from us. I don't know,'' he suggested. His first reaction on receipt of Raju's e-mail was, however, that of disbelief. "The content of the e-mail were such that no CEO had ever sent an e-mail like that... One had to verify whether it is genuine or (is) somebody playing a prank,'' Bhave said, sharing his experience on handling the country's largest corporate fraud estimated to be about Rs 10,000 crore. "If it was true it was dangerous not to let the market move.'' The scrip of the IT major crashed 78% to Rs 39.95 from Rs 179.10 on January 7, the day of the disclosure.

Responding to queries as to why investors' interest was not protected whereas the government saved the company and its employees, Bhave said: "Our judgment at that time was that we should not be coming in the way of such a transaction.

"As long as this information is available to the whole market, which was all over the media, we didn't see the need to intervene in the price formation process.'' Bhave feels Indian regulators need not take cues from the US or others. Why India, a fast growing market, should play a subservient role or follow developed countries, he wondered in the context of actions taken by the US regulator after the financial crisis.

"It appears that the (global financial) crisis was handled much better in India,'' he said. SEBI had initiated action to plug loopholes, if any, after the Satyam fiasco, which had also raised questions about the role of IT company's auditor.

The regulator had ordered peer review of accounts of blue-chip companies by a second audit firm. "Peer review is still on. Once we will get all the peer reviews then we would study those. Action is on,'' Bhave said.

SEBI had approached ICAI to make it mandatory for audit firms of all listed companies to have such a review. The peer review, suggested by the SEBI committee on disclosures and accounting standards, was aimed at reassuring global investors and at the same time strengthening financial reporting.
Fraud-hit Satyam to restate accounts for seven years

MUMBAI: Satyam Computer said Thursday it was on track to restate accounts going back seven years, after its founder-chairman had admitted to a massive corporate fraud in January.

"We are likely to go back (in restating accounts) for at least 6-7 years. Work is in progress," company spokesman Sridhar Maturi told the media by phone from the firm's headquarters in Hyderabad.

Satyam has appealed to the Company Law Board to be given until March 31 to complete the process.

Satyam shares rose 4.01 percent to 80.4 rupees in afternoon trade at the Mumbai stock exchange.

In April, mid-sized outsourcer Tech Mahindra paid nearly 600 million dollars for a majority share in Satyam, after company founder and former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju admitted the firm had falsified accounts and assets and inflated its profits "over a period of several years".

The takeover had a rapid effect, with Satyam reporting modest but better-than-expected quarterly profits of 1.81 billion rupees (38 million dollars) for the quarter ending December 2008.

Several equity research firms have dropped Satyam from their investment radar since the fraud.

Satyam, India's fourth-largest software exporter, operates in nearly 70 countries, with 690 clients including 185 Fortune 500 blue-chip companies.
Cyber crooks get biz savvy

SAN FRANCISCO: Cyber criminals are aping executives when it comes to sales, marketing and risk management in the world of online treachery,
according to a report released by networking giant Cisco.

"The novel thing is that they have taken the Harvard Business School, General Electric board room business training and applied it to their old techniques" , said Cisco chief security researcher Patrick Peterson. The US technology firm summarized current threats and said hackers are increasingly operating like successful businesses. Peterson cited how cyber hackers capitalized on interest in the death of pop icon Michael Jackson in June.

Disasters, celebrity doings and other major news is routine fodder for bogus emails and websites booby-trapped with computer viruses, but in the case of Jackson's death, crooks cranked out fake news stories to dupe readers. "They had their criminal copy editors working on copy for the story as fast as it happened," Peterson said. "They brought the Jackson story to market in a way that rivals media outlets. They have an advantage; they don't have to do any reporting."

Billions of spam messages with links to trick websites or videos promising scintillating Jackson images and information were fired off in the days after his June 25 death, according to Cisco.

"Sales leads" that followed online links were turned into "customers," whose computers were stealthily infected with nefarious codes for stealing data, usurping control of machines or other evil deeds.

Cyber criminals are embracing a nefarious version of a "cloud computing" trend of offering computer applications online as services. Commanders of infected computers rent out illegally assembled networks to fellow criminals for sending spam or launching attacks. Peterson also told of an "anti-anti-virus " operation called Virtest that charges monthly fees to keep hackers informed about which security firms can detect their malicious programs. AFP
Recession sends Americans to the Internet: Study

BANGALORE: It's not just family and friends that Americans are turning to for advice and support to cope with the prolonged recession; many have
found a counselor in the Internet.

More than two-thirds of American adults - or 88 per cent of US Internet users - went online for help with recession-induced personal economic issues and to gather information on national economic problems, a study released on Wednesday said.

The Internet ranks high among sources of information and advice that people are seeking during hard times, especially when it comes to their personal finances and jobs, Pew Internet & American Life Project said.

"People are anxious about these hard times. They are more information-hungry than in normal times," said Lee Rainie, director of the nonprofit group and co-author of the report, who pointed out that 79 per cent of Americans were Internet users.

The current recession - considered by some to be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s - is unprecedented as it is the first time when people had such widespread access to the world wide web.

Some 52 percent of American adults have either lost their jobs, seen their investments fall by more than half their value, suffered a pay cut or watched their house lose half its value during the downturn in the past year, according to the study, which is based on interviews with 2,253 adults.

US employers cut far more jobs than expected in June and the unemployment rate hit 9.5 per cent, the highest in nearly 26 years.

Creative juices have been flowing online in the down economy. Overall, 34 percent of online economic users have created content and commentary about the recession in places like blogs, social network sites and Twitter, the study found.

"That is a large number of those who are exploiting the Internet to participate in the roiling online discussion about how we got into this mess and how we are going to get out of it," Rainie said.

Among broadband users, the Internet was the top source for material on personal coping strategies during the recession, said the study.

But broadcast media outpaced the Internet as sources of news about national economic affairs.

"It's a mistake to think people are using only the Internet," Rainie said. They are networking and using multiple sources, including human sources, he added.

The top three recession-related activities of these users were price comparisons, a general understanding or grasp of the economic downturn and new jobs, the study said.

Three percent of such users scoured the Internet for information about filing for bankruptcy.
Gold to shine this year and next as dollar ails

LONDON: Gold prices are set for solid gains this year and next, with the $1,000 mark in sight, as potential inflationary concerns and a softer  dollar outlook prompt analysts to ramp up forecasts, a survey showed.

The poll of 48 analysts and traders showed that expectations for gold prices this year have risen 7.8 per cent to a median $930 from $862.50 in a similar survey carried out in January, when fears over the economic outlook were at their height.

Expectations for prices of the more industrial precious metals - platinum, palladium and silver - have risen still further, with hopes for an economic recovery helping allay fears demand would continue to tumble.

"We think gold will get $1,000 in its sights again (by year-end)," said RBS Global Banking & Markets analyst Stephen Briggs. "There is clearly a risk of inflation building up and there are clear risks of the dollar weakening sharply."

"We're looking at lower central bank sales than we've had, static, stagnant mine production and, if the world economy picks up, there will also be a pick-up in jewellery demand," he added.

Gold has already performed solidly so far in 2009. Spot gold was bid at $935.65 an ounce at 0906 GMT on Thursday. Median forecasts for the yellow metal stood at $930 an ounce in the third quarter of this year, moving up to $951 an ounce by the last quarter as seasonal demand weakness eases and the economy picks up.

Gold prices are seen rising further in 2010, with the median forecast climbing to $975 an ounce. The 2010 forecast is 13 per cent above the price view for the same year given in January, of $862.50 an ounce.

On the US COMEX gold futures market, the June 2010 contract was trading at $943.50 per ounce.

Comments from the analysts polled suggest expectations for dollar weakness were largely behind rising optimism towards gold, on fears a rise in US debt issuance to bankroll the economic recovery could weigh on the currency. They said quantitative easing measures could lead to rising inflation. Gold is often seen as a hedge against rising consumer prices.


Additionally, jewellery demand, which has been particularly weak in recent months due to a combination of falling consumer spending linked to the global economic downturn and higher prices, was expected to pick up as the economy revives.

Traders said they were already seeing signs of recovering demand in the Middle and Far East, though Indian buyers continued to hold out for lower prices. The median forecast for silver has risen still further, climbing 18 per cent to $13.59 an ounce from $11.50. Spot silver was at around $13.24 an ounce on Thursday.

Next year silver prices were on average expected to rise to $14.25 an ounce, the poll showed. This too was significantly above January's forecast for 2010 of $13.00 an ounce.

The metal is industrial in use as well as being a precious metal - it is widely used in electronics manufacturing - and as such is more sensitive than gold to economic activity. Rising industrial commodity prices and the relative illiquidity of the market meant silver outperformed gold in the second quarter, but could also fall further than the yellow metal if the market turns bearish.

"Silver's dependence on gold is expected to continue: should gold fall afresh, buying support from the industry and private investors - which we have observed it the recent past - will not be able to prevent the white metal from falling further," said Wolfgang Wrzesniok-Rossbach, head of sales at Heraeus in Germany.
Naxal violence claimed 3,300 lives between 2004-08

NEW DELHI: More than 3,300 people have lost their lives in Naxal violence in ten states during last five

The annual report of the Home Ministry for 2008-09 says the killings in 7,806 incidents of Naxal violence took place in Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka.

The highest casualties were in Chhattisgarh where a total of 1,250 people lost their lives in 2,654 incidents that took place between 2004-08.

The state saw 242 deaths last year, 369 deaths in 2007 and 388 deaths in 2006, the report said.

The Naxal violence claimed 776 lives in Jharkhand, one of the worst affected states, in last five years. In 2008 alone, the state witnessed 207 deaths from 484 incidents of violence.

Altogether, 452 people lost their lives in Bihar in 915 incidents which took place in the last five years. Last year, the state saw 73 deaths in 164 incidents of Naxal violence while in 2007, there were 67 deaths in 135 incidents of violence.
India, Pak agree not to link dialogue to action on terror

EGYPT: India and Pakistan on Thursday agreed not to link the composite dialogue to action on terrorism as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh elicited
a promise from his counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani that Islambad would "do everything in its power" to punish perpetrators of 26/11 attack.

In a joint statement issued after about two-hour-long talks between Singh and Gilani here, the two sides agreed to "create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence" and resolved to eliminate the factors that prevent the two neighbours from realising the full potential in their ties.

During the talks that focussed on terrorism against the backdrop of Mumbai attack, the two sides also decided to share "real-time, credible and actionable information on any future terror threats".

"Both Prime Ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward... Action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed," the statement said.
யமஹாவின் புதிய பைக் அறிமுகம்

சென்னை:இருசக்கர வாகன தயாரிப்பில், பிரபலமான யமஹா மோட்டார் நிறுவனம், பேசர்' என்ற புதிய மாடல் பைக்கை அறிமுகப்படுத்தியுள்ளது. 'எப்இசட் 16, எப்இசட் -எஸ்' போன்ற 150 சிசி திறனுள்ள இரு பைக்குகளின் வரிசையில், தற்போது, 'பேசர்' என்ற புதிய மாடல் பைக் அறிமுகப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளது. நீண்ட தூர பயணத்திற்கு ஏற்ற வகையில், சவுகரியமான இருக்கை வசதி கொண்டது இது.எலக்ட்ரிக் ப்ளூ, மிட்நைட் ப்ளாக், லாவா ரெட், பிளேமிங் ஆரஞ்ச் போன்ற வண்ணங்களில், 72 ஆயிரம் ரூபாயில் கிடைக்கிறது.யமஹா நிறுவனத்தின் புதிய திட்டத் தின் கீழ், ஏற்கனவே யமஹா பைக் வைத்திருக்கும் வாடிக்கையாளர், ஒரு புதிய வாடிக்கையாளரை அறிமுகப் படுத்தி னால், அவருக்கு 500 ரூபாய், புதிய வாடிக்கையாளருக்கு 2,500 ரூபாய் மற்றும் யமஹா எப்இசட்16, எப்இசட்-எஸ் பைக்குகள் வாங்கும் மாணவர்களுக்கு, 3,000 ரூபாய் போனஸ் வழங்கப்படும்.

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பஜாஜ் நிறுவனத்தின் 100 சிசி டிஸ்கவர் பைக் அறிமுகம்

சென்னை:பஜாஜ் ஆட்டோ நிறுவனத்தின் 100 சிசி திறன்கொண்ட 'டிஸ்கவர் பைக்' அறிமுகப்படுத்தப் பட்டது. இதற்கான அறிமுக நிகழ்ச்சி சென்னையில் நேற்று நடந்தது. மேம்பட்ட 2.0 டி.டி.எஸ்., - எஸ்.ஐ., தொழில் நுட்பத்தை அடிப்படையாகக் கொண்டு தயாரிக்கப்பட்டுள்ள இந்த வகை பைக்குகள், இம்மாத இறுதியில் விற்பனைக்கு வருகிறது.அறிமுக நிகழ்ச்சியில், நிறுவனத்தின் துணை பொது மேலாளர் சந்திரசேகர் பேசியதாவது: வாடிக்கையாளர் எதிர்பார்ப்புக்கும், தற்போது சந்தையில் விற்பனையாகும் பைக்கிற்கும் நீண்ட இடைவேளை நிலவுகிறது. தினசரி 50 கி.மீ., தூரம் பயணம் செய்வோருக்கு ஏற்ற வகையிலும், நீண்ட தூரம் பயணம் செய்வதற்கேற்ற வகையிலும் இந்த புதிய பைக் வடிவமைக்கப் பட்டுள்ளது. மேலும், அதிகபட்ச மைலேஜ் மற்றும் நீண்ட காலம் உழைக்கக்கூடிய வகையிலும் வடிவமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.நிறுவனத்தின் ஆராய்ச்சிப் பிரிவின் நீண்ட கால ஆராய்ச்சிக்குப் பிறகு, இத்தகைய சிறந்த ஆற்றல் கொண்ட பைக் உருவாக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. ஏற்கனவே சந்தையில் உள்ள 100 சிசி பைக்குடன் ஒப்பிடுகையில், இது மிகச் சிறந்தது என்பதில் சந்தேகமில்லை. தற்போதைய விழாக்கால சீசனில் இரண்டு லட்சம் பைக்குகளை விற்பனை செய்ய நிறுவனம் இலக்கு நிர்ணயித்துள்ளது.இவ்வாறு சந்திரசேகர் கூறினார்.
கிராமங்களுக்காக 'ரிலையன்ஸ்' மொபைல்போன்

மதுரை:'ரிலையன்ஸ் கம்யூனிகேஷன்ஸ்' தமிழக தலைமை செயல் அலுவலர் அஜய் அவஸ்தி கூறியதாவது: ரிலையன்ஸ் வாடிக்கையாளர்கள் அதிகளவில் கிராமங்களில் உள்ளனர். போதிய தொழில் நுட்பம், மொழியறிவு இல்லாததால் ஐ.வி.ஆர்.,- எஸ்.எம்.எஸ்., மற்றும் கால் சென்டர் சேவையை பயன்படுத்த தயங்குகின்றனர். வாடிக்கையாளர் சேவை மையத்தை தொடர்பு கொள்ள பல கிலோ மீட்டர் தூரம் செல்ல வேண்டியுள்ளது. கிராமங்களில் உலகத்தரமிக்க மொபைல்போன் சேவை பெற, மதுரை மண்டலத்தில் ஆண்டிபட்டி, போடி, சின்னமனூர், திருப்புவனம், கமுதி, திருத் தங்கல், சாத்தூரில் 'கிராமப்புற வாடிக்கையாளர் சேவை மையங்'களை துவங்கியுள்ளோம். கிராமங் களில் 'டெலி- டென்ஸிட்டி' என்ற தொலைத் தொடர்பு வசதியை அதிகரிக்கும் நோக்கில் இசட்.டி.இ., ஹேண்ட் செட் 799, எல்.ஜி.,கலர் ஹேண்ட் செட் 1099 ரூபாய்க்கு இன்று அறிமுகப்படுத்துகிறோம் என்றார். மதுரை மண்டல மேலாளர் ஆன்டனிராஜ் உடனிருந்தார்.
இந்தியாவில் உற்பத்தி தொழிற்கூடம் எதையும் அமைக்கவில்லை : சோனி அறிவிப்பு

புதுடில்லி : சர்வதேச அளவில் புகழ்பெற்ற ஜப்பானின் சோனி நிறுவனம், இந்தியாவில் உற்பத்தி கூடம் எதையும் அமைக்கவில்லை என்று தெரிவித்திருக்கிறது. சமீபத்தில் புதுடில்லியில் நடந்த புதிய கார்டுலெஸ் எம்பி3 பிளேயர் அறிமுக விழாவில் கலந்து கொண்டு பேசிய சோனி இந்தியாவின் மேலாண் இயக்குனர் மாசரு தமகவா, இந்தியாவில் எம்பி3 சந்தை வேகமாக வளர்ந்து வருகிறது என்றார். நாங்கள் வருடத்திற்கு 9 லட்சம் செட்களை இங்கு விற்பனை செய்து வருகிறோம். வருடத்திற்கு 11 சதவீதம் விற்பனை அதிகரித்து வருகிறது. இருந்தாலும் நாங்கள் இங்கு உ<ற்பத்தி கூடம் எதையும் அமைக்க விரும்பவில்லை. மேலும் வேறு நாட்டில் உற்பத்தி செய்து இங்கு வந்து அசம்பிள் செய்யலாம் என்றாலும், அந்த விஷயத்தில் இந்திய அரசின் கொள்கைகள் எங்களுக்கு சாதகமாக இல்லை. எங்களுக்கு இதனால் வரி ஆதாயம் எதுவும் இல்லை என்றார்.
நாய், பூனைகளுக்கு பிரத்யேக விமான சேவை : அமெரிக்காவில் துவக்கப்பட்டது

வாஷிங்டன் : இப்போது உள்ள பொருளாதார சீரழிவில், மனிதர்களை ஏற்றி செல்லும் விமான சேவையே கடும் சிக்கலில் இருக்கும்போது, அமெரிக்காவில் நாய் பூனைகளுக்காக தனியாக விமான சேவை துவங்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. 'பெட் ஏர்வேஸ்' என்ற பெயரில் துவங்கப்பட்டிருக்கும் இந்த புதிய விமான சேவை செவ்வாய் அன்று நியுயார்க்கில் துவங்கப்பட்டது. இந்த விமானம் வாஷிங்டன், சிகாகோ, டென்வர் மற்றும் லாஸ் ஏஞ்சல்ஸ் நகரங்களுக்கு செல்லும்.செல்லப்பிராணிகளுக்காக பிரத்யேகமாக துவங்கப்பட்ட இந்த விமான சேவை முதலில் நாய் மற்றும் பூனைகளை மட்டுமே ஏற்றி செல்லும் என்று அந்த நிறுவனம் அறிவித்திருக்கிறது. பொதுவாக எல்லா நாடுகளிலுமே பயணிகள் விமானங்களில் நமது செல்லப்பிராணிகளை ஏற்றுவது இல்லை. அவைகளை கார்கோவில் தான் ஏற்றி கொண்டு செல்ல வேண்டும். கார்கோவுக்கான இடம் விமானங்களின் அடிப்பாகத்தில் அமைந்திருப்பதால் அந்த இடம் ஒன்று அதிக வெப்பமாக இருக்கும். அல்லது அதிக குளிராக இருக்கும். இந்த சூழ்நிலை செல்லப்பிராணிகளுக்கு ஒத்துக்கொள்வதில்லை. எனவே அவைகளில் சில கடுமையான பாதிப்பிற்குள்ளாவதுண்டு. சில விமான கம்பெனிகள் மட்டும், நமது இருக்கைகளுக்கு கீழே வைத்துக்கொள்ளக்கூடிய வகையில் இருக்கும் சிறிய பிராணிகளை மட்டும் கொண்டு செல்ல அனுமதிக்கின்றன. இதனை கருத்தில் கொண்டு தான் அமெரிக்காவில் செல்லப்பிராணிகளான நாய் மற்றும் பூனைகளுக்காக பிரத்யேக விமான சேவையை அல்சா பின்டர் மற்றும் டான் வீசல் என்பவர்களால் துவங்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. இந்த விமான சேவைக்கு அங்கு பெரும் வரவேற்பு கிடைத்திருக்கிறது. இன்னும் மூன்று மாதங்களுக்கு விமானம் புக் ஆகி விட்டது என்கிறார் விமான கம்பெனி அதிகாரிகளில் ஒருவரான அய் தோக்னோட்டி. இப்போது ஒரு சில நகரங்களுக்கு மட்டுமே இயக்கப்படும் இந்த விமான சேவை இன்னும் இரு வருடங்களில் 25 நகரங்களுக்கு விரிவு படுத்தப்படுகிறது. இந்த விஷேச விமானத்தில் இருக்கைகளுக்கு பதிலாக ஷெல்ஃப் கள் தான் இருக்கும். அவைகளில், கூண்டுகளில் அடைக்கப்பட்ட செல்லப்பிராணிகள் வைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கும். இந்த விமானத்தில் பைலட் மற்றும் சிப்பந்திகள் மட்டுமே மனிதர்களாக இருப்பார்கள். சிப்பந்திகளும் கூட, பிராணிகளுடன் அன்பாக பழக கூடியவர்களாக இருப்பார்கள். ஒரு நகரத்தில் இருந்து இன்னொரு நகரத்திற்கு செல்லப்பிராணிகளை அனுப்ப டிக்கெட் கட்டணம் 149 டாலரில் ( சுமார் 7,150 ரூபாய் ) இருந்து துவங்குகிறது.
நியூசிலாந்தில் சுனாமி எச்சரிக்கை

வெலிங்டன்: நியூசிலாந்தில் கடலுக்கு அடியில் சக்தி வாய்ந்த பூகம்பம் ஏற்பட்டதால், சுனாமி எச்சரிக்கை விடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. நியூசிலாந்து நாட்டில் அடிக்கடி பூகம்பம் ஏற்படும்; எரிமலை வெடிக்கும். இதற்கிடையே, நேற்று மதியம் 2.50 மணியளவில் இன்வெர்கார்கில் என்ற தீவு நகரம் அருகே, கடலுக்கு அடியில் 33 கிலோ மீட்டர் ஆழத்தில் 7.8 ரிக்டர் அளவுக்கு சக்தி வாய்ந்த பூகம்பம் ஏற்பட்டது. கடலுக்கு அடியில் இந்த பூகம்பம் ஏற்பட்டதால், நிலப்பகுதியில் உள்ள வீடுகள் பெரிய அளவில் பாதிக்கப்படவில்லை. ஆனால், இந்த பூகம்பத்தால் சுனாமி ஏற்படுவதற்கு வாய்ப்புள்ளதாக அமெரிக்காவின் சுனாமி எச்சரிக்கை மையம் தெரிவித்துள்ளது. இதையடுத்து, நியூசிலாந்து முழுவதும் சுனாமி எச்சரிக்கை விடப்பட்டது.
எம்.இ., - எம்.டெக்., சேர 14 ஆயிரம் பேர் ஆர்வம்

சென்னை: எம்.இ., - எம்.டெக்., உள்ளிட்ட முதுநிலை பொறியியல் படிப்பிற்கு 14 ஆயிரத்து 856 மாணவர்கள் விண்ணப்பித்துள்ளனர்.எம்.இ., - எம்.டெக்., - எம்.ஆர்க்., மற்றும் எம்.பிளான் படிப்புகளுக்கான மாணவர் சேர்க்கை கவுன்சிலிங்கை சென்னை அண்ணா பல்கலைக் கழகம் நடத்தவுள்ளது.

அண்ணா பல்கலைக் கழகங்கள், அரசு மற்றும் அரசு உதவிபெறும் பொறியியல் கல்லூரிகள் மற்றும் தனியார் பொறியியல் கல்லூரிகளில் உள்ள அரசு ஒதுக்கீட்டு இடங்கள் இந்த கவுன்சிலிங் மூலம் நிரப்பப்படவுள்ளன.
இதற்கான விண்ணப்பங்கள் கடந்த 1 முதல் 14ம் தேதி வரை வழங்கப்பட்டன. சென்னை அண்ணா பல்கலைக் கழகம் உட்பட தமிழகம் முழுவதும் 13 மையங்களில் விண்ணப்பங்கள் வழங்கப்பட்டன. பூர்த்தி செய்யப்பட்ட விண் ணப்பங்களை சமர்ப்பிக்க கடைசி நாள் நேற்று முன்தினம் மாலை 5:30 மணியுடன் முடிந்தது. மொத்தம் 14 ஆயிரத்து 856 மாணவர்கள் இப்படிப்பிற்கு விண்ணப் பித்துள்ளனர்
எம்.சி.ஏ., - எம்.பி.ஏ., படிப்புக்கு 'ரேங்க்' பட்டியல் வெளியீடு

சென்னை: எம்.சி.ஏ., படிப்பிற்கு 19 முதல் 29ம் தேதி வரையும், எம்.பி.ஏ., படிப்பிற்கு 30ம் தேதி முதல் ஆகஸ்ட் 17ம் தேதி வரையும் கோவை அரசு பொறியியல் கல்லூரியில் மாணவர் சேர்க்கை கவுன்சிலிங் நடக்கிறது.தொழில்நுட்பக் கல்வி கமிஷனர் ஜெயக்கொடி வெளியிட்டுள்ள செய்திக்குறிப்பு:அரசு, அரசு உதவிபெறும் பொறியியல் கல்லூரிகள், தனியார் பொறியியல் கல்லூரிகள் மற்றும் அரசு கலை, அறிவியல் கல்லூரிகளில், எம்.பி.ஏ., - எம்.சி.ஏ., படிப்பிற்கு விண்ணப்பித்தவர்களுக்கான தர வரிசைப் பட்டியல், "தீதீதீ.ஞ்ஞிt.ச்ஞி.டிண' இணையதளத்தில் வெளியிடப்பட்டுள்ளது.இவர்களுக்கான மாணவர் சேர்க்கை கவுன்சிலிங் கோவை அரசு பொறியியல் கல்லூரியில் நடக்கவுள்ளது. எம்.சி.ஏ., படிப்பிற்கு வரும் 19ம் தேதி முதல் 29ம் தேதி வரையும், எம்.பி.ஏ., படிப்பிற்கு 30ம் தேதி முதல் ஆகஸ்ட் 17ம் தேதி வரையும் நடக்கவுள்ளது.

மாணவர்களுக்கான கவுன்சிலிங் அழைப்புக் கடிதம் கோவை அரசு பொறியியல் கல்லூரி, தமிழ்நாடு எம்.பி.ஏ., - எம்.சி.ஏ., மாணவர் சேர்க்கை செயலரால் அனுப்பப்படும்.இவ்வாறு செய்திக்குறிப்பில் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது.
'சர்க்யூட்' படிப்பை விரும்பும் மாணவிகள்

அண்ணா பல்கலை பொறியியல் கவுன்சிலிங்கில், "இ.சி.இ., - கம்ப்யூட்டர் சயின்ஸ்' ஆகிய "சர்க்யூட்' படிப்புகளில் மாணவிகளும்,"மெக்கானிக்கல்' படிப்பில் மாணவர்களும் அதிக அளவு சேர்ந்துள்ளனர்.

பொதுப்பிரிவு மாணவர்களுக்கான பொறியியல் கவுன்சிலிங் சென்னை அண்ணா பல்கலைக் கழகத்தில் நடந்து வருகிறது. கடந்த 14ம் தேதி கவுன்சிலிங்கின் முடிவில், மொத்தம் 10 ஆயிரத்து 232 மாணவர்கள் சேர்ந்திருந்தனர். இ.சி.இ.,யில் 2,650 பேர், கம்ப்யூட்டர் சயின்ஸ் பிரிவில் 1,437 பேர், மெக்கானிக்கலில் 1,624 பேர் சேர்ந்திருந்தனர்.

இ.சி.இ., படிப்பில் சேர்ந்த 2,650 பேரில், 1,202 பேர் ஆண்கள்; 1,448 பேர் பெண்கள். கம்ப்யூட்டர் சயின்ஸ் படிப்பில் சேர்ந்த 1,437 பேரில், 585 பேர் ஆண்கள்; 852 பேர் பெண்கள். மெக்கானிக்கல் படிப்பில் சேர்ந்த 1,624 பேரில், 1,600 பேர் ஆண்கள்; 24 பேர் பெண்கள்.இ.சி.இ., - கம்ப்யூட்டர் சயின்ஸ் ஆகிய "சர்க்யூட்' படிப்புகளில் அதிகளவில் பெண்கள் சேர்ந்துள்ளனர். மெக்கானிக்கல் படிப்பில் அதிகளவில் ஆண்கள் சேர்ந்துள்ளனர்.
சென்னை அண்ணா பல்கலைக் கழக கிண்டி பொறியியல் கல்லூரியில் சிவில், இ.சி.இ., மெக்கானிக்கல் படிப்புகள் மற்றும் எம்.ஐ.டி.,யில் ஏரோநாட்டிகல், ஆட்டோமொபைல் படிப்பில் அனைத்து இடங்களும் நிரம்பிவிட்டன. மற்ற படிப்புகளிலும் மிகவும் குறைந்த அளவிலான இடங்களே உள்ளன.கோவை பி.எஸ்.ஜி., தொழில்நுட்பக் கல்லூரியிலும் இ.சி.இ., - இ.இ.இ., படிப்புகளில் அனைத்து இடங்களும் நிரம்பிவிட்டன. மேலும், அரசு மற்றும் அரசு உதவிபெறும் கல்லூரிகளில் பெரும்பாலான இடங்கள் நிரம்பிவிட்டன.
ரெகுலர் பயணிகளுக்கு ஏர்-இந்தியா சலுகை

சென்னை: அடிக்கடி விமானத்தில் பறக்கும் பயணிகளுக்கு மழைக்கால சலுகை கட்டணத்தை ஏர்-இந்தியா நிறுவனம் அறிவித்துள்ளது.இது குறித்து ஏர்-இந்தியா நிறுவனம் வெளியிட்டுள்ள அறிக்கையில், "அடிக்கடி விமானத்தில் பறப்பவர்களுக்கும், "பிரீகுவன்ட் பிளையர் கிளப்' உறுப்பினர்களுக்கும் மழைக்கால சிறப்பு கட்டணம் அறிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. ஏர்-இந்தியா விமானத்தில் அடிக்கடி பயணம் செய்பவர்கள் இந்த வாய்ப்பை பயன்படுத்தி, வழக்கமான டிக்கெட் கட்டணத்தில் 75 சதவீதம் சலுகை மைலேஜ் புள்ளிகள் பெற்று, வரும் 20ம் தேதி முதல் செப்டம்பர் 30ம் தேதி வரை பயணம் செய்யலாம்' என, தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
பொறியியல் கவுன்சிலிங் நேற்றைய நிலவரம்:

கல்வி நிறுவனம்ஓ.சி.,பி.சி.எம்.,பி.சி.,எம்.பி.சி.,எஸ்.சி.ஏ.,எஸ்.சி.,எஸ்.டி.,மொத்தம்

அண்ணா பல்கலை657114739654152635503001
அரசு, அரசு உதவி பெறுபவை1418316912046942763
சுயநிதி கல்லூரிகள்243783021218541745127161357990483903

நேற்றைய நிலவரப்படி நிரப்பப்பட்ட இடங்கள்:

கல்வி நிறுவனம்நிரப்பப்பட்ட இடங்கள்
அண்ணா பல்கலை2,714
அரசு, அரசு உதவி பெறுபவை3,528
சுயநிதி கல்லூரிகள்6,748
ஸ்ரீவி.,யில் விலை உயர்வை எதிர்நோக்கி நெல்லை அடமானம் வைக்கும் விவசாயிகள்

ஸ்ரீவில்லிபுத்தூர்:அரசு நெல்லுக்கு நல்லவிலை கொடுத்தாலும் வரும் காலங்களில் நெல் லின் விலை மேலும் உயரும் என்ற எதிர்பார்ப்பில் ஸ்ரீவில்லிபுத்தூரில் அதிகளவிலான விவசாயிகள் நெல்லை அடமானம் வைத்து கடன் பெற்று செல்கின்றனர்.ஸ்ரீவில்லிபுத்தூர், வத்திராயிருப்பு, மம்சாபுரம் பகுதிகளில் ஏழு மாதமாக மழை பெய்யாத போதிலும் கிணறு, கண்மாய்களிலும் இருந்த தண்ணீரை பயிர் செய்த விவசாயிகள் தற்போது நெல் அறுவடை செய்து வருகின்றனர்.தற்போது அரசு நெல்லுக்கு குவிண்டாலுக்கு 1050ரூபாய் கொடுப் பதால் தனியாரிடம் விற்பதை காட்டிலும் அதிகளவில் விவசாயிகள் நெல்லை அரசு கொள்முதல் நிலையங்களில் விற்பனை செய்து வருகின்றனர். தற்போது வெளி மார்க்கெட்டில் அரிசியின் விலை அதிகரித்து வருவதால் விவசாயிகள் பலர் விளைந்த நெல் முழுவதையும் விற்பதில்லை. தங்களின் தற்போதைய தேவை போக மீதி நெல்லை அடமானம் வைத்து கடன் பெற்று வருகின்றனர். இதனால் அவர்களுக்கு தற்போதைய தேவைக்கு பணமும் கிடைத்து விடுகிறது. நெல்லும் பாதுகாப்பாக இருக்கும். இதனால் விலை ஏறும் போது அடமானம் வைத்திருந்த நெல்லை மீட்டு அதிக விலைக்கு விற்கலாம் என்ற நோக்கில் அதிகளவில் விவசாயிகள் தங்கள் நெல்லை அடமானம் வைத்து வருகின்றனர்.ஸ்ரீவில்லிபுத்தூரில் ஆர்.41 ஸ்ரீவில்லிபுத்தூர் வேளாண் உற்பத்தியாளர் கூட்டுறவு விற்பனை சங்கத்தில் நெல், எள், மக்கா சோளம், பருத்தி, எண்ணெய் வித்து போன்றவைகளுக்கு மார்க்கெட் விலையில் இருந்து 60 சதவீத விலையில் 14 சதவீத வட்டியில் கடன் வழங்கப் பட்டு வருகிறது. தற்போது கடந்த ஆண்டை விட இந்தாண்டு அதிகளவிலான விவசாயிகள் நெல்லை அடமானம் வைத்து கடன் பெற்று செல்லுகின்றனர்.
ஐரிஷ் பெண்ணுக்கு காந்தி அளித்த புத்தர் சிலை ஏலம்

மும்பை: மகாத்மா காந்தி தனது நண்பரான ஐரிஷ் நாட்டு பெண்மணிக்கு பரிசாக வழங்கிய புத்தர் சிலை வரும் செப்டம்பர் மாதம் ஏலம் விடப்பட உள்ளது.ஐரிஷ் நாட்டை சேர்ந்தவர் எம்மா ஹார்கர். இவர் கணவரை இழந்தவர். இவரது மருமகன் இந்தியாவில் பணியாற்றினார். எனவே எம்மா ஹார்கர், முன்னர் ஒரு சமயம் தனது மகள் மற்றும் மருமகனுடன் தங்கி இருப்பதற்காக, இந்தியா வந்திருந்தார்.

அப்போது சரோஜினி நாயுடுவுடன் பழக்கம் ஏற்பட்டு இருவரும் நெருங்கிய நண்பர்களாயினர்.இந்நிலையில், 1934ம் ஆண்டு செப்டம்பர் மாதம் 19ம் தேதி, மகாத் மா காந்தி, எம்மா ஹார்கருக்கு கடிதம் ஒன்றை எழுதியிருந்தார்.அதில், பீகார் மற்றும் ஒரிசாவில் வெள்ளத்தால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட பகுதியில் உள்ள ஏழை மக்களுக்காக மேற் கொள்ளுப் பட்ட நிவாரணப் பணிகளுக்கு தனிச்சையாக உதவ பரிந்துரைத்திருந்தார்.இந்த காலகட்டத்தில் தான், மகாத்மா காந்தி, புத்தர் சிலையை எம்மா ஹார்கருக்கு பரிசாக வழங்கியிருக்க வேண்டும் என கருதப்படுகிறது.அந்த புத்தர் சிலை 13 அங்குலம் உயரத்துடன் அமர்ந்திருப்பது போன்ற நிலையில் உள்ளது. இந்த புத்தர் சிலை வரும் செப்டம்பர் மாதம் 8ம் தேதி ஏலம் விடப்பட உள்ளது. மேலும், இந்த சிலை இரண்டு லட்சத்து 36 ஆயிரத்து 72 ரூபாய் முதல் மூன்று லட்சத்து 93 ஆயிரத்து 454 ரூபாய் வரை ஏலம் போகும் என எதிர்பார்க்கப்படுகிறது.

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Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off

Washington, July 16 (DPA) Space shuttle Endeavour blasted off Wednesday on its sixth attempt to launch since June, headed to the International Space Station to expand Japan's Kibo module.

The seven-member crew is to deliver an outside porch on the module at the station to expose scientific experiments to the extremities of space.

The mission has suffered a slew of delays that kept the craft on the ground for weeks longer than planned.

A planned Sunday launch was cancelled due to storms and a Saturday launch was also scrubbed due to lightning the night before that struck the launch pad, but spared the shuttle itself.

On Monday, stormy weather again grounded the spacecraft.

NASA was forced to postpone the launch twice in just four days last month, after technicians detected hydrogen gas leaks during fuelling, just hours before scheduled liftoff.
Shuttle soars to space station after launch delays

U.S. space shuttle Endeavour blasted off from its seaside launch pad on Wednesday, ending a month of delays to a mission intended to complete construction of Japan's Kibo research laboratory on the International Space Station.

On its sixth launch attempt, NASA's 127th space shuttle mission began at 6:03 p.m. (2203 GMT) when Endeavour's twin solid-fuel booster rockets ignited, sending the 4.5 million pound (2.04 million-kg) spaceship into the steamy Florida sky.

"The weather is finally cooperating, so it is now time to fly," launch director Pete Nickolenko radioed to the crew shortly before liftoff. "Persistence pays off. Good luck and godspeed."

Riding atop a pillar of smoke and flame, the shuttle soared over the Atlantic Ocean en route to an orbital rendezvous with the space station on Friday 220 miles (354 km) above Earth.

Two launch attempts last month were scuttled by hydrogen fuel leaks. A third attempt on Saturday ended when NASA ordered checks of the shuttle's electrical systems following a spate of lightning strikes, and Sunday and Monday launch attempts were canceled due to poor weather.

Televised replays of the launch broadcast by NASA showed small clouds of debris, possibly foam from the external fuel tank, that appeared to hit the underside of the shuttle about one minute and 45 seconds after liftoff.

"We had some foam loss events," NASA's spaceflight chief Bill Gerstenmaier told a post-launch news conference.

He said a detailed analysis would come after the station crew takes pictures of the shuttle's heat shield prior to Endeavour's docking on Friday but it was too soon to talk about potential damage.

Since losing shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew in a 2003 accident caused by debris impacts, NASA conducts a suite of inspections and analysis post-launch to determine the condition of the shuttle's heat shield, needed for the return trip to Earth. Columbia broke apart when its heat shield failed as it flew through the atmosphere for landing.


NASA is trying to complete construction of the $100 billion outpost, a project of 16 nations, by Sept. 30, 2010, so it can retire the shuttle fleet and ramp up development of replacement ships that can journey to the moon and other destinations farther from Earth.

Endeavour is carrying a Japanese-built platform to be mounted on the front of the $2.4 billion Kibo complex to hold science experiments that need to be exposed to the open environment of space.

Experiments on the platform can be installed and retrieved remotely with a robotic arm, eliminating the need for time-consuming and potentially risky spacewalks by station crew members. The first two sections of Kibo were attached to the station in 2008.

The platform is to be installed during the first of five spacewalks scheduled during Endeavour's 11-day stay at the station. Astronauts also plan to replace batteries that are part of the station's solar power system and store spare parts needed to keep the outpost operational after the shuttle fleet is retired next year.

None of the other spaceships that travel to the station -- Russia's Progress and Soyuz vessels, Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo hauler and Japan's HTV vehicle, which is scheduled to make its debut flight this year -- can carry and install the station's large modules, trusses, gyroscopes and other key components.

The space station has been under construction for more than a decade. It consists of nearly 26,000 cubic feet (735 cubic metres) of pressurized space, about as much room as a typical four-bedroom house.

Once the shuttles are retired, NASA plans to pay Russia to fly astronauts to the station, and rely on commercial U.S. carriers for cargo deliveries, although none has yet demonstrated that capability.

Endeavour's mission is among the most ambitious and complicated flights NASA has attempted, with simultaneous use of three robotic arms and an unprecedented 13 people as part of the joint shuttle-station crew.

NASA and its partners doubled the size of the live-aboard station crew to six people in May. Endeavour, with its seven-member crew, is the first to visit the station since then.
Irene Klotz
Tiger stripes on Enceladus a result of its unusual chemical composition

Melbourne, July 16 (ANI): A new study has revealed that the tiger stripes and a subsurface ocean on Enceladus - one of Saturn's many moons, are a result of the natural satellite's unusual chemical composition.

"NASA's Cassini spacecraft recently revealed Enceladus as a dynamic place, recording geological features such as geysers emerging from the 'tiger stripes' which are thought to be cracks caused by tectonic activity on the south pole of the moon's surface," said Dr Dave Stegman, a Centenary Research Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Enceladus is also one of the brightest objects in our solar system because the ice covering its surface reflects almost 100 percent of the sunlight that strikes it.

It reflects so much of the sun's energy that its surface temperature is about -201 degrees Celsius.

Grappling with how an inaccessible small moon with a completely frozen interior was capable of displaying geological activity, Dr Stegman and colleagues used computer simulations to virtually explore it.

Ammonia, usually found on Earth as an odorous gas used to make fertilizers, has been indirectly observed to be present in Enceladus and formed the basis of the study, which is the first to reveal the origins of the subsurface ocean.

The model reveals that Enceladus initially had a frozen shell composed of a mixture of ammonia and water ice surrounding a rocky core.

Over time, as Enceladus interacted with other moons, a small amount of heat was generated above the silicate core which made the ice shell separate into chemically distinct layers.

An ammonia-enriched liquid layer formed on top of the core while a thin layer of pure water ice formed above that.

"We found that if a layer of pure water ice formed near the core, it would have enough buoyancy to rise upwards, and such a redistribution of mass can generate large tectonic stresses at the surface," said Dr Stegman.

"However, the pure water ice rising up is also slightly warmer which causes the separation to occur again, this time forming an ammonia-enriched ocean just under the surface. The presence of ammonia, which acts as an anti-freeze, then helps keep the ocean in its liquid state," he explained.

"These simulations are an important step in understanding how planets evolve and provide questions to focus future space exploration and observations. It will hopefully progress our understanding of how and why planets and moons are different to each other," he added. (ANI)
NASA's space shuttle Endeavour launches to complete Japanese module

Washington, July 16 (ANI): Space shuttle Endeavour and its seven-member crew have set off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 15, to deliver the final segment to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and a new crew member to the International Space Station (ISS).

Endeavour's 16-day mission includes five spacewalks and the installation of two platforms outside the Japanese module.

One platform is permanent and will allow experiments to be directly exposed to space. The other is an experiment storage pallet that will be detached and returned with the shuttle.

During the mission, Kibo's robotic arm will transfer three experiments from the pallet to the exposed platform.

Future experiments also can be moved to the platform from the inside of the station using the laboratory's airlock.

Shortly before liftoff, Commander Mark Polansky thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible.

"Endeavour has patiently waited for this," said Polansky. "We're ready to go, and we're going to take all of you with us on a great mission," he added.

Polansky is joined on STS-127 by Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Dave Wolf, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette and Tim Kopra.

Kopra will replace space station crew member Koichi Wakata, who has been aboard the station for more than three months.

Kopra will return to Earth during the next station shuttle mission, STS-128, targeted to launch in August 2009.

Endeavour's first landing opportunity at Kennedy is scheduled for Friday, July 31 at 10:45 a.m. STS-127 is the 127th space shuttle flight, the 29th to the station, the 23rd for Endeavour and the third in 2009. (ANI)
Scientists discover pot-bellied dino that had claws like 'Wolverine'

Washington, July 16 (ANI): Scientists have discovered the most complete skeleton of a type of pot-bellied dinosaur, a therizinosaur, in southern Utah, US, which had claws like that of the fictional 'X-Men' character 'Wolverine'.

According to a report in National Geographic News, dubbed Nothronychus graffami, the 13-foot-tall (4-meter-tall) therizinosaur lived about 92.5 million years ago in what is present-day Utah.

When alive, the animal would have sported a beaked mouth and forelimbs tipped with 9 inch- (22 cm)-long sickle claws.

In life, sheathed in hornlike keratin, the talons would have each been about a foot (30 centimeters) long, or about as long as the dinosaur's head.

In addition to its imposing claws, which are a therizinosaur trademark, the newfound dinosaur had a less-than-fearsome potbelly, a birdlike beak, stumpy legs, and a short tail.

Its stumpy legs, large gut and other features suggest the lumbering giant scarfed down plants rather than chasing after meaty prey.

Because these facts suggest that the animal was a plant-eater, scientists are puzzled about the use of the killer claws for the dinosaur.

"We really don't know," said study team member Lindsay Zanno of the Field Museum in Chicago.

"There are some things we can rule out, such as digging. Other than that, the claws may have been used for defense, to forage for plants, or to attract mates," she added. (ANI)
Satellites can spot tsunamis, U.S. study finds

Satellites can spot the leading edge of a tsunami, U.S. government researchers said on Wednesday in a study that might lead to better ways of detecting the giant waves and get people out of their way.

They went back and looked at satellite images in the Indian Ocean as the December 2004 tsunami raced across to destroy coastlines in Thailand, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. They found clear patterns in the water.

"We've found that roughness of the surface water provides a good measure of the true strength of the tsunami along its entire leading edge," Oleg Godin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement.

"This is the first time that we can see tsunami propagation in this way across the open ocean."

A giant earthquake in Indonesia triggered the 2004 tsunami, which killed more than 228,000 people.

Governments have since rushed to complete an early warning system of mid-ocean buoys that would detect such waves as they pass by. But such a system is imperfect and might miss areas, especially as the buoys cannot be placed everywhere.

Tsunamis can only usually be seen when they enter shallow water. In the depths of an ocean, the water they displace barely shows -- although this tiny movement can also be detected by satellites.

The satellites that can do this, however, do not cover all the world's seas.

Godin's team found that tsunamis crossing the open ocean stir up and darken the surface waters along the leading edge of the wave. Many ordinary satellites can detect the dark pattern, they reported in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences.
Moon landing myth? Decades later, conspiracy theories remain

Washington, July 16 (DPA) Even conspiracy theories must sometimes be taken seriously.

Every week Roger Launius, chief historian at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, devotes his time to debunking one of history's favourite such theories: That astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin never landed on the moon.

The entire July 20, 1969, landing and the spacewalk several hours later was just a show, all lies, filmed in a Hollywood studio or in a desert, the sceptics say.

Few other conspiracy theories have proven so popular or long-lived.

'We Americans love that sort of thing,' Launius said as he stood before a lunar lander like the Eagle that took Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon's surface.

In fact, conspiracy theories abound in the US: the Sep 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were planned by the government; President Barack Obama is not really a US citizen; and various false hypotheses about the assassination of president John F. Kennedy.

It didn't take long after the moon landing for wild speculation to surface. Then the 1976 book, 'We Never Went to the Moon - America's 30 Billion Dollar Swindle', by Bill Kaysing really got things going. It was the era of Watergate and the Vietnam War, and the theories played off the resulting distrust of the government.

At one time, up to 10 percent of Americans may have believed the conspiracy theories about the moon. On average, it has dropped to about six percent of Americans, Launius said.

The arguments of the critics include the 'waving flag', the 'missing stars' and 'false shadows' in television images. But at the root of the idea is that the country was not yet technologically advanced enough to make the trip. The US was in a space race with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and could not hand a win to the communists. As a last resort they reached for fabrication, the disbelievers say.

As evidence, a favourite of the doubters is the waving flag that Armstrong and Aldrin planted in the moon's surface. How was it waving if there is no air on the moon? In actuality, the flag was equipped with a bar to keep it extended rather than hanging limp and the ripples in the cloth were due to its folding in the packaging.

Additionally, a shot of the flag actually moving was caused by an astronaut letting go of the cloth.

Then there is the issue of missing stars. Why were there no stars visible in the television pictures? The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has responded that starlight is too weak to appear in photos under normal lighting conditions on the moon -- a phenomenon also well known to every photographer on Earth.

As for the 'false shadows' in NASA pictures, objects and people appeared to cast shadows in different directions rather than in parallel directions. Because the sun is the only light source on the moon, sceptics have used this as evidence that it was all filmed in a Hollywood studio with multiple lights. The experts' answer: The moon is not flat, meaning there is no 100 percent 'correct' shadow. This can even happen on Earth.

Launius calls the theories 'silly', but admits they aren't going away any time soon.

'It would be the coolest thing on Earth to go back to the moon - just to prove that we have been there before,' he said.
Black boxes recovered from crashed Iranian plane

Two badly damaged black box recorders have been recovered from a Tupolev aircraft that crashed in Iran on Wednesday, killing all 168 people on board, official media reported on Thursday.

The cause of the worst air crash in Iran for six years was still unknown, Iran's state English-language Press TV said.

The aircraft was on its way to neighbouring Armenia's capital Yerevan when it came down after catching fire in mid-air and ploughing into farmland 16 minutes after departing Tehran.

The Russian-built Caspian Airlines plane exploded on impact and left only scattered bits of incinerated metal and fragments of the bodies of 153 passengers and 15 crew across a wide area around a deep smoking crater in the ground.

"Iran has recovered two black boxes from the passenger plane that crashed in the northwest of the country," Press TV said. Other Iranian media carried similar reports.

Press TV's website quoted an official as saying the two boxes -- which could contain vital clues to explaining the crash -- were heavily damaged but that experts were trying to retrieve data from them.

The semi-official Fars News Agency said authorities were still searching for a third black box.

Most of those onboard were Iranians, but there were also Armenian and Georgian citizens.

Deputy Transport Minister Ahmad Majidi said DNA testing would be needed to identify the remains.

"All gathered parts of dead bodies scattered in the crash area have been handed over to Qazvin's coroner office and will be transferred to Tehran's coroner office today," Fars quoted Majidi as saying.


The United States, the Islamic Republic's arch foe, extended condolences on Wednesday to families of the victims.

Washington has no diplomatic ties with Tehran but has been trying to reach out to the country as part of an effort to coax it into negotiations over its disputed nuclear programme.

"The United States extends it condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in today's crash of a Caspian Airlines plane carrying passengers from Tehran, Iran to Yerevan, Armenia," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

U.S. sanctions bar the sale of Boeing aircraft to Iran and hinder it buying other aircraft or spares from the West, many of which rely on U.S.-built engines and parts.

Air safety experts have said Iran has a poor record, with a string of crashes in the past few decades -- many involving Russian-made aircraft. It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002.

It was the deadliest crash since 2003 when an Ilyushin Il-76, also Russian built, crashed into an Iranian mountain.

Eight members of Iran's national junior judo team and two coaches were among the dead as well as a former Iranian MP representing Iran's Armenian minority and, reportedly, the wife of the head of Georgia's diplomatic mission in Iran.

Six Armenian and two Georgian citizens were on board, the deputy head of the Armenian civilian aviation authority Arsen Poghosyan said at Yerevan Airport on Wednesday.

Iran is home to some 100,000 ethnic Armenians, many of whom frequently fly between Tehran and Yerevan to visit relatives.

Tehran-based Caspian Airlines was set up in 1993 and flies an all-Tupolev fleet linking Iranian cities and also routes to the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and Armenia.
Skin cancer''s secret ''revealed''

Washington, July 16 (PTI) Scientists have discovered how skin cancers manage to slip past the human immune system, a finding which they claim could pave the way for developing new treatment against the disease. An international team, led by Sydney University, has in fact identified a compound produced by certain fatal skin cancer tumours, the latest edition of the ''Immunology and Cell Biology'' journal reported.

Lead researcher Dr Scott Byrne said: "The economic and social costs of treating skin cancer are enormous. Some skin cancers will spontaneously regress while others will continue to grow and possibly metastasise (which may be fatal).

" Doctors don''t yet understand why some tumours undergo regression and others continue to grow, but Dr Byrne''s team has discovered that the immune system is critically involved in the recognition of tumours and their destruction. (MORE) PTI MOT.
Pentagon says won't ban smoking for troops in war zone

Washington, July 16 (ANI): The Pentagon has said that it won't ban troops from smoking in war zones, despite a recent study recommending a tobacco-free military.

The study by the Institute of Medicine calls for a phased-in ban over a period of up to 20 years. It recommends requiring new officers and enlisted personnel to be tobacco-free, eliminating tobacco use on military installations, ships and aircraft, expanding treatment programs and eliminating the sale of tobacco on military property.

Fox News quoted Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, as saying that troops already are under enough stress and making enough sacrifices in fighting the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates doesn't want to do add to that stress by taking away one of the few outlets they have to relieve it.

Morrell said Gates will look at the study to see what other things can be done to move toward a goal of a tobacco-free force.

An advocacy group, however, is strongly condemning the push by Pentagon health experts to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end sales of tobacco products on military property.

Brian Wise, executive director of Military Families United, decried even the discussion of such a ban.

"With all the issues facing our military today and the risks our troops take to protect our freedom, banning smoking should not even be on the radar screen," Wise said in a written statement Wednesday. (ANI)
Australia braces for more swine flu deaths, 1st Ld-Writethru, AS

SYDNEY (AP) Health authorities have estimated up to 6,000 Australians could die from swine flu in a "worst case scenario" during the current Southern Hemisphere winter, the country's health minister said Thursday. But that figure would likely only be reached if no action were taken against the virus, such as using antivirals and vaccines, Health Minister Nicola Roxon told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

radio. Australia has ordered 21 million doses of a vaccine, which authorities hope to begin using by October.

There are an average of 2,000 to 3,000 flu-related deaths in Australia per flu season, the health department said. Australia is the worst-hit nation in the Asia-Pacific region, with 24 swine flu-related deaths and 11,194 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the latest figures from the nation's health department.

Also Thursday, New Zealand confirmed its tenth swine flu-related death. The Ministry of Health said the total number of confirmed cases in the country had risen to 2,107.

A total of 113 people were in the hospital with the flu or complications stemming from the virus, including 23 in intensive care. Meanwhile, Google shut one of its offices in southern India on Tuesday and Wednesday after an employee tested positive for swine flu, a company statement said.

The office in Hyderabad with 250 workers was closed while it was being sanitized, the statement said. However, the main office in the city, a key software hub in the country, was functioning normally.

Last week, the World Health Organization reported nearly 95,000 cases of swine flu worldwide, including 429 deaths.
Reliance ADA, DreamWorks close to $825 mln film financing deal

Director Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios could receive $825 million in film financing to begin producing movies starting this year, Reliance ADA Group which is involved in deal talks said on Wednesday.

The Indian conglomerate is in talks with DreamWorks Studios partners Stacey Snider and Spielberg in New York, and the $825 million figure has emerged from those talks as a possible funding slate for DreamWorks Studios.

The deal between the two companies, which announced last year a plan to work together, has not been finalized.

But the ongoing negotiations over financing come after DreamWorks Studios said in February that the Walt Disney Co would distribute its films.

Under the terms of the deal, which could allow DreamWorks to make five to six films a year, Reliance will match whatever financing DreamWorks can get from a syndication of banks.

The $825 million funding slate announced by Reliance would break down as $325 million from the Indian conglomerate, $325 million from the banks and $175 million from Disney.

But the total amount could change if DreamWorks raises more from the banks. That would increase the matching equity investment from Reliance, which has agreed to provide up to $550 million.

With the downturn in the global economy, DreamWorks in recent months had trouble securing financing from banks.

"This venture with Reliance opens a new door to our future," Spielberg said in a statement.

"Their visionary step has given us a new set of dreams to work toward," he said.

Reliance and DreamWorks Studios announced a partnership last year, and the studio has operated out of offices in Los Angeles since November.

The newly created DreamWorks Studios is a production unit separate from listed DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

Under the deal being discussed between Reliance and DreamWorks Studios, Disney would market and distribute the studio's films around the world, except in India where Reliance would retain distribution rights, Reliance said.

"We are delighted to partner with such uniquely talented individuals as Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider," Reliance ADA Group Chairman Anil Dhirubhai Ambani said in a statement.

No date was given for when Reliance and DreamWorks Studios expect to close their deal.
U.S. hopes to unveil defense, nuclear deals in India

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hopes to unveil agreements that would help U.S. firms sell sophisticated arms and nuclear power plants to India when she visits next week, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

One would be an "end-use monitoring" agreement under which the United States would have the right to make sure U.S. arms sold to India are used for their intended purpose and that the technology does not leak to third countries.

Under U.S. law, such a pact is necessary for U.S. firms to bid on India's plan to buy 126 multi-role fighters, which would be one of the largest arms deals in the world and could be a boon to Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co.

"We hope to be able to sign that," Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake told reporters as he previewed Clinton's trip to India. She arrives in Mumbai on Friday for a two-night visit and then goes to New Delhi for Monday talks.

If the end-use monitoring agreement is signed, Blake suggested it would be on Monday in New Delhi.

Lockheed and Boeing are competing with Russia's MiG-35, France's Dassault Rafale, Sweden's Saab KAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish firms, for the contract.

Making her first visit to India as secretary of state, Clinton will strive to deepen ties that were strengthened by the U.S. Congress giving final approval last year to a pact that opens the Indian market to U.S. nuclear power companies.

U.S. officials hope India will use her trip to announce two sites where U.S. firms would have the exclusive right to build nuclear power plants, a business opportunity that Blake estimated could be worth up to $10 billion for U.S. companies.

The two major U.S. nuclear reactor builders are General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp.
Website publishes sensitive Twitter corporate info

Technology news website TechCrunch published on Wednesday sensitive internal documents belonging to Twitter, including financial projections, offering a rare glimpse into the wildly popular microblogging site.

Twitter has a targeted revenue run rate of $140 million by the end of 2010, with the expectation it would record its first revenue -- a modest $400,000 -- in the third quarter of this year, according to a document Techcrunch published that it said was sent by a hacker.

Dated February, the document was labeled a Financial Forecast and outlined how Twitter expected to take in $4 million in revenue by the fourth quarter and maintain $45 million of cash in the bank.

By the end of 2013, Twitter hoped to sign up 1 billion users, post $1.54 billion in revenue, employ 5,200 people and make $111 million in net earnings, according to TechCrunch.

Techcrunch, which said it negotiated the publication with Twitter itself, added in the report that the document was unofficial and "certainly no longer accurate."

Twitter was not immediately available to comment on the projections. The document published by TechCrunch did not provide details about how Twitter planned to get the revenue.

"We are in touch with our legal counsel about what this theft means for Twitter, the hacker, and anyone who accepts and subsequently shares or publishes these stolen documents," Twitter said in an official blog post.

TechCrunch said earlier on Wednesday that an anonymous hacker had gained "easy access" to hundreds of pieces of internal Twitter information -- from pass codes to meeting minutes -- and then forwarded the data to the news website.

TechCrunch initially posted a single document, a discussion about a proposed reality television show. Within hours of its posting, hundreds of readers condemned the site for the move.

Michael Arrington, founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, defended its right to make the material public, saying it would exercise restraint on material such as personnel records.

"We've spent most of the evening reading these documents. The vast majority of them are somewhat embarrassing to various individuals, but not otherwise interesting," Arrington wrote.

"But a few of the documents have so much news value that we think it's appropriate to publish them."

Twitter, which permits users to post "Tweets" of up to 140 characters, has won a loyal fan following of millions and catapulted to prominence after it was used by protesters in Iran following a disputed election there.

The company is trying to parlay the popularity of its free service, into a money-making business. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told Reuters earlier this year the company had decided to generate revenue in 2009, a year earlier than planned.

Stone also said Twitter was more interested in generating revenue from premium add-on features, such as analytic tools, than from traditional online advertising.

Twitter's surge in popularity, and its real-time search feature, have captured the attention of Web giants such as Google Inc, which has had unspecified discussions with the company, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

"Obviously Twitter is a very attractive target for hackers or attackers, because of its high profile as a very popular media website," said Joris Evers, a spokesman and security expert at McAfee, which protects against Internet threats.
Doctors probed by state in Michael Jackson's death

California's attorney general said on Wednesday his office has run several doctors' names and several potential aliases through its prescription drug database to aid police investigating the death of Michael Jackson.

Attorney General Jerry Brown said his office was not the lead agency in probing Jackson's sudden death -- a role it took in the fatal overdose of Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith in 2007 -- but was assisting other agencies as they try to track down prescription drugs that may have killed the King of Pop.

"We've found some things, but this is early on" to provide details, Brown told Reuters.

Brown's office monitors all over-the-counter prescription transactions in California, using a database that contains the name of each doctor, patient, medication and quantity.

He said his investigators were given "dozens" of names to run through its system by police probing Jackson's sudden death, several of them doctors and others potential aliases thought to have been used in obtaining the prescription drugs.

The findings could be used to show that "there were drugs in quantities and character that are lethal in combination," which in conjunction with the official autopsy could lead investigators to determine exactly what killed the 50-year-old singer and dancer.

Brown declined to say if he thought murder or manslaughter charges could be brought in the case, but said those kinds of crimes could not be ruled out "any time you've got a dead body and you've got chemicals in large quantities."

Jackson died at his rented Los Angeles mansion on June 25 after suffering cardiac arrest. Official autopsy results are pending toxicology tests, but rampant speculation has centered on Jackson's use of prescription drugs.

On Tuesday, an official from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office visited the office of Dr. Arnold Klein, the singer's longtime dermatologist, to obtain Jackson's medical records as part of its investigation.

Brown, a former California governor who is said to be considering a run for that job again in 2010, said his office took the lead in investigating prescription drug use in Anna Nicole Smith's death because no other agency had done so.

In the Jackson case, he said, Los Angeles Police and coroners investigators were involved and his office was so far only assisting in tracking the prescription medications.
India's met office forecasts widespread rains

India's weather office has forecast widespread rainfall in most regions in the next five days, calming fears of extensive crop damage in the country where only 40 percent of the farmland is irrigated.

In the next two days heavy rains are expected in the western Gujarat state, a key cotton and oilseeds producer, and many places in Madhya Pradesh where soybean is being planted.

The India Meteorological Department has also predicted rains in parts of Jharkhand, where the local government has said some districts are drought hit.

Rainfall is expected to increase after two days, it said.

In its outlook for July 19-21, it said: "Active monsoon condition is likely to continue with the likely formation of a low pressure area over northwest Bay of Bengal."

"Fairly widespread rainfall activity is likely over west coast, central India, east and northwest India," it said.

A weak start to the vital June-September monsoon rains stoked fears of crop failure, encouraging the government to ban wheat exports and prepare contingency plans.

But the weather office said on Wednesday that rainfall had improved in the past two days and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament that while the slow progress of monsoons was a concern, the situation was not alarming.
Clinton aims to deepen ties, dispel doubts in India

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves for India on Thursday on a high-profile mission to deepen ties and dispel any doubts about the U.S. commitment to New Delhi under U.S. President Barack Obama.

Despite Obama's early focus on fighting the Taliban insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, aides say they fully understand India's importance as a rising major power and they want to strengthen all aspects of the relationship.

"Everything is on the table," Clinton said on Wednesday. "We're going to do everything we can to broaden and deepen our engagement."

U.S. officials hope they will come away from the trip, which includes two nights each in Mumbai and New Delhi and a visit to Thailand for a regional conference, with tangible accomplishments in at least three areas:

-- signing an agreement to ensure that U.S. arms technology sold to India does not leak to third countries, a step required by U.S. law for arms sales by U.S. corporations;

-- India's announcement that it has reserved two sites for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants, which could be worth as much as $10 billion in business for American firms;

-- establishing a "strategic dialogue" between the two countries to be led by Clinton and Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

All three, likely to be unveiled when Clinton visits New Delhi on Monday, could demonstrate that Obama's commitment to the relationship equals that of his predecessor, George W. Bush.


Bush's signal achievement with India was to secure an agreement that ended a three-decade ban on nuclear commerce with New Delhi, helping India to meet its vast energy needs while opening a market worth billions to foreign companies.

"With the Bush administration, the policy was clearly that we supported India's rise on the world stage," said South Asia analyst Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation think tank.

"Coming out of the Obama administration, there has been more focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan and that worries some Indians that the policy toward the whole region will be driven by U.S. goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan," she added.

U.S. officials played down Clinton's decision to skip India on her foreign first trip as secretary of state in February, when she visited China, and said they were constrained in approaching India ahead of its May parliamentary elections.

They also said they want to further cooperation in areas such as agriculture, education, counter-terrorism and defense.


Relations between India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, is one of the most nettlesome issues Clinton will discuss.

Indian officials are angry at what they see as Pakistan's failure to act against the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group India blames for last year's attacks on Mumbai, which killed at least 166 people.

Despite this dispute, which threatens to delay any formal resumption of a peace dialogue between the two countries, the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers are due to meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on Thursday.

The United States is keenly interested in resumption of talks between the two countries to ease tensions on Pakistan's eastern border with India so it can focus on fighting Taliban militants on its western border with Afghanistan.

U.S. analysts expected little to emerge on Pakistan during Clinton's trip, saying the issue is too charged in India to air much in public and that in any case Clinton will want to stress U.S.-Indian ties.

Stephen Cohen, a South Asia specialist at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, said that U.S. and Indian officials should be speaking privately "about what kind of Pakistan we want to see emerge out of the crisis there."

In addition to fighting the Taliban, Pakistan is grappling with major economic problems and with returning to civilian rule after years under former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

"Normalizing the India-Pakistan relationship should be at the top of the agenda," Cohen said. "Especially now because you have got governments in both countries who would like to do this."
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Achchamundu Achchamundu Movie Preview

Behindwoods review board
Starring: Prasanna, Sneha
Direction: Arun Vaidyanathan
Music: Karthik Raja
Production: A Project East West - A LLC Production
Fear; it is something that most people find difficult to admit. Here is a movie that proclaims aloud that fear is what it is all about. Achchamundu Achchamundu, as the title suggests, is all about fear. Of what or whom, we don't know.

The makers have vouched that they have made something genuinely different in this movie. It will not be in any way
        Achchamundu Achchamundu
similar to a regular Kollywood product. Narrating a few disturbing events that a middle class Indian family in the USA has to face, Achchamundu Achchamundu is all set to break most of the conventions of Tamil cinema. The movie will be completely faithful to the main plot and the script, there will be no unnecessary deviations in the name of item songs, duets or comedy. In short, it is as different or distant a Tamil film that one is likely to come across.

Shot completely in the USA, the makers have also vouched for the fact that this movie will break the preconceived notions of the country that have been created by Tamil films thus far. Most Tamil films that have gone to the USA have mostly stuck to New York, Los Angeles or other such big cities, creating a larger than life impression of the country. But, Achchamundu Achchamundu will be set in a calm suburb of USA. Directed by Arun Vaidyanathan, Achchamundu Achchamundu, is a movie that according to its makers has to be seen along with children, because it shows things that they ought to know about.

Prasanna and Sneha are perhaps the only links that Achchamundu Achchamundu has with mainstream Kollywood cinema, all else is really unconventional, including the Red One camera that has been used to shoot the movie. Karthik Raja's music seems to be tailored for a movie of this kind. There is also the very curious and brave decision to have almost 45 minutes of the movie without any background score. Looks like he knows what he is doing. The few international awards that the movie has already got are proof for this. Let's prepare for fear and let's be prepared for something really different.
Kamal Haasan's highly educated family and his passion

Actress and choreographer Gayathri Raghuram's dance school Narthanasala was inaugurated by Kamal Haasan and Prabhu Deva. Speaking at the function, Kamal jocularly remarked that he and choreographer Raghuram decided on cine field as many in their respective families were highly educated. The actor said that Suja Raghuram's dance school is already functioning well in the US and he would be happy to inaugurate as many dance schools planned by the Raghurams. Prabhu Deva was student of this group of dance schools, he revealed.

Raghuram said that the dance school will teach Bharathanatyam, Kathakali, Western and other types of dances. He added that the school will strive to provide the best results and ensure that its students reach the pinnacle.
Kanthaswamy pushes back Aayirathil Oruvan

With the release date of Kanthaswamy finalized to August 7th, the Aayirathil Oruvan team has decided to hold back their film. AO was originally scheduled to be released during the end of July but the release date was once again postponed to ensure that it does not get eclipsed by Vikram's Kanthaswamy.

However, Madhavan's Naan Aval Adhu will hit the marquee as planned at July end. Yet another strong competitor for AO happens to be Unnai Pol Oruvan. This Kamal Haasan's flick is also expected to be released during mid August.
மீனா கழுத்தில் தாலி கட்டினார் வித்யாசாகர்

நடிகை கழுத்தில் கம்ப்யூட்டர் என்ஜினீயர் வித்யாசாகர் தாலி கட்டினார். நடிகை மீனாவுக்கும், பெங்களுரூவை சேர்ந்த சாப்ட்வேர் என்ஜினீயர் வித்யாசாகருக்கும் திருமணம் நிச்சயிக்கப்பட்டிருந்தது.  இவர்களது திருமணம் திருப்பதி ஏழுமலையான் கோவிலில் இன்று (12ம்தேதி) வெகு விமரிசையாக நடந்தது. இந்நிகழ்ச்சியில் மணமகன் மற்றும் மணமகள் குடும்பத்தினர் பங்கேற்றனர். தமிழ் திரையுலகம் சார்பில் டைரக்டர் சேரன், நடிகை சங்கவி உள்ளிட்டோர் கலந்து கொண்டனர். மீனாவின் திருமண வரவேற்பு நிகழ்ச்சி நாளை மறுதினம் சென்னையில் வரவேற்பு நிகழ்ச்சி நடைபெற உள்ளது. இதில் தமிழ் திரையுலக பிரமுகர்கள், வி.ஐ.பி.,க்கள் கலந்து கொண்டு மணமக்களை வாழ்த்த உள்ளனர்.

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நடனப்பள்ளி தொடங்கினார் ரகுராம்   

பிரபல நடன இயக்குனர் ரகுராம் நார்த்தனாசாலா நடனப்பள்ளி ஒன்றை சென்னையில் தொடங்கியிருக்கிறார். இந்நிகழ்ச்சியில் நடிகர்கள் கமல்ஹாசன், பிரபுதேவா ஆகியோர் சிறப்பு விருந்தினர்களாக கலந்து கொண்டு குத்துவிளக்கேற்றி நடனப்பள்ளியை தொடங்கி வைத்தனர். அப்போது ‌பேசிய கமல்ஹாசன், ஆரம்ப காலத்தில் ரகுராமுக்கும். தனக்கும் இடையே இருந்த நட்பை பற்றி பேசி பழைய நினைவுகளில் மூழ்கினார். பிரபுதேவாவிடம் ஏராளமான திறமைகள் இருக்கிறது என்று சொன்ன கமல், அவர் இன்னும் சாதிக்க நிறைய இருக்கிறது, என்றார். நிகழ்ச்சி நிறைவில் நன்றியுரையாற்றிய ரகுராம், என் மகள் காயத்ரி ரகுராம் அமெரிக்காவில் நாட்டியப்பள்ளி நடத்திட்டு இருக்கிறா.  அங்கு 150 மாணவர்கள் படிக்கிறாங்க. அதே மாதிரி நிறைய நடனப்பள்ளியை திறக்கணும்னு ஆசை இருக்கு. அதையும் கமல்தான் திறந்து வைக்கணும், என்றார்.
சிம்புவுடன் ஜோடி சேருவாரா ஷாம்லி?   

கதாநாயகிக்காக அங்கே, இங்கே தேடிய சிம்பு கடைசியாக பரிசீலித்திருப்பது நடிகை ஷாம்லியை! நடிகை ஷாலினியின் தங்கையும், குழந்தை நட்சத்திரமாக தமிழ் சினிமாக்களில் உலா வந்து பெயரெடுத்தவருமான ஷாம்லி தற்போது தெலுங்கில் ஓய் என்ற படத்தில் நாயகியாக நடித்துள்ளார். ஆந்திராவில் ஓய் படம் ஓசையில்லாமல் வெற்றி பெறவே... அம்மணிக்கு வாய்ப்புகள் பல வாயிற்கதவை தட்டுகின்றன. இருப்பினும் அடுத்த படத்தில் கமிட் ஆகாமல் மவுனம் காத்து வரும் ஷாம்லிக்கு தூது விட்டிருக்கிறார் சிம்பு. போடா போடி படத்தில் தனக்கு ஜோடியாக நடிக்குமாறு ஷாம்லியிடம் கால்ஷீட் கேட்டிருக்கிறார் சிம்பு. ஆனால் ஷாம்லியோ... சிம்புவின் அழைப்புக்கு பதில் எதுவும் தெரிவிக்க வில்லையாம். இருப்பினும் ஷாம்லியை எப்படியாவது தனது ஜோடியாக்கி விட வேண்டும் என்று முயற்சி எடுத்து வருகிறாராம் சிம்பு.

ஏற்கனவே போடா போடி படத்தில் நடிக்க நடிகர் சரத்குமாரின் மகள் வரலட்சுமி ஒப்பந்தம் செய்யப்பட்டு, பின்னர் அவர் விலகியது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.
டாக்டரை மணக்கிறார் கஞ்சா கருப்பு   

காமெடி நடிகர் கஞ்சா கருப்பு டாக்டர் ஒருவரை திருமணம் செய்யவிருக்கிறார். ராம், பருத்திவீரன், சுப்பிரமணியபுரம் உள்ளிட்ட பல படங்களில் காமெடி கேரக்டரில் பின்னியெடுக்கும் கஞ்சா கருப்பு இல்லற வாழ்க்கையில் அடியெடுத்து வைக்கவுள்ளார். மழைக்கு கூ‌ட பள்ளிக்கூடம் பக்கமா ஒதுங்குனதில்லண்ணே... எப்படியாவது ஏழை பிள்ளைகளுக்காக பள்ளிக்கூடம் கட்டணும்ணேன்னு.. தனக்கே உரிய பாணியில் அவ்வப்போது லட்சியத்தை வெளியிப்படுத்தும் கஞ்சா கருப்புவுக்கு வாழ்க்கை துணையாக ஒரு டாக்டரே வரப்போகிறார். மதுரையை சேர்ந்த அந்த மணப்பெண் டாக்டர் யார் என்ற விவரங்களை வெளியிடாவிட்டாலும், கல்யாணத்துக்கான வேலைகளில் பிஸியாகி விட்டார் கஞ்சா கருப்பு.
அரசு ஊழியர்கள் ஏர் - இந்தியா விமானத்தை மட்டுமே பயன்படுத்த உத்தரவு

புதுடில்லி : கடும் நிதி நெருக்கடியில் சிக்கி தவிக்கும் பொதுத்துறை நிறுவனமான ஏர் - இந்தியாவை காப்பாற்றும் நடவடிக்கைகளில் மத்திய தீவிரமாக ஈடுபட்டு வருகிறது. இதன் ஒரு கட்டமாக, இனிமேல் மத்திய அரசு ஊழியர்கள், அலுவலக வேலையாக வெளியூருக்கு பயணம் செய்யும் போது, இனிமேல் ஏர் - இந்தியா விமானத்தையே பயன்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்று கேட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்கிறது. அவர்களது உள்நாட்டு மற்றும் வெளிநாட்டு பயணங்களுக்கு ஏர் - இந்தியா விமானங்களையே பயன்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்று மத்திய நிதி அமைச்சகம் கூறியிருக்கிறது. கடும் நிதி நெருக்கடியில் இருக்கும் ஏர் - இந்தியா, நிதி பிரச்னையை குறைக்கும் விதமாக, குறைந்த காலத்திற்கு கடன் வாங்க திட்டமிட்டிருக்கிறது. அவ்வாறு கடன் கொடுப்பவர்களுக்கு நம்பிக்கை ஊட்டும் விதமாக, மத்திய அரசு இந்த நடவடிக்கையை எடுத்திருக்கிறது என்கிறார்கள். ஒரு வேளை அரசு ஊழியர்கள் செல்ல வேண்டிய இடத்திற்கு ஏர் - இந்தியா விமானம் செல்லவில்லை என்றால், எவ்வளவு தூரத்திற்கு ஏர் - இந்தியாவில் போக முடியுமோ அவ்வளவு தூரத்திற்கு போய்விட்டு, அப்புறம் வேறு விமானத்தில் போய்க்கொள்ளலாம் என்றும் உத்தரவிட்டிருக்கிறது. அந்த வேறு விமானமும் ஏர் - இந்தியாவுடன் கூட்டு வைத்திருக்கும் விமானமாக இருந்தால் நல்லது என்றும் சொல்லியிருக்கிறது. மத்திய அரசு ஊழியர்கள் அவர்களது அலுவலக பயணங்களுக்கு தனியார் விமானங்களையும் பயன்படுத்திக்கொள்ளலாம் என்று கடந்த 2005 டிசம்பரில்தான் மத்திய அரசு அனுமதி அளித்திருந்தது.
ஹெச்டிஎப்சி பேங்க்கின் நிகர லாபம் 31 சதவீதம் அதிகம்

மும்பை : இந்தியாவின் இரண்டாவது மிகப்பெரிய தனியார் வங்கியான ஹெச்டிஎப்சி., 2008 - 09 நிதி ஆண்டின் முதல் காலாண்டில் ரூ.606.11 கோடியை நிகர லாபமாக பெற்றிருக்கிறது. கடந்த வருடம் இதே காலாண்டுடன் ஒப்பிட்டால் இது 30.53 சதவீதம் அதிகம். கடந்த நிதி ஆண்டின் முதல் காலாண்டில் அந்த வங்கி பெற்றிருந்த நிகர லாபம் ரூ.464.35 கோடி மட்டுமே. மும்பை பங்கு சந்தைக்கு அந்த வங்கி அனுப்பிய அறிக்கையில் இந்த விபரம் தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. கடந்த வருடத்தில் ரூ.4,215.15 கோடியாக இருந்த அதன் மொத்த வருவாயும் இந்த வருடத்தில் 22 சதவீதம் அதிகரித்து ரூ.5,136.75 கோடியாக அதிகரித்திருக்கிறது. அதே போல் வட்டி மூலமாக பெற்ற வருவாயும் 13 சதவீதம் அதிகரித்து ரூ.4,093.10 கோடியாகி இருக்கிறது. இந்த வருடம் ஜூன் மாதத்துடன் கணக்கிடும்போது, அந்த வங்கிக்கு மொத்தம் 1,416 கிளைகளும் 3,382 ஏ.டி.எம்.சென்டர்களும் இருக்கின்றன.
புதிய விமானங்களை வாங்குவதை தள்ளி வைக்க ஏர் - இந்தியா முடிவு

புதுடில்லி : ரூ.7,200 கோடி நஷ்டம் அடைந்து, கடும் நிதி நெருக்கடியில் இருக்கும் ஏர் - இந்தியா நிறுவனத்தின் நிதி தேவையை பூர்த்தி செய்ய பங்குகளை விற்பது மற்றும் குறைந்த கால கடன் பெறுவது போன்ற நடவடிக்கைகளை மத்திய அரசு எடுத்து வருகிறது. அத்துடன் அது ஆர்டர் செய்திருக்கும் புது விமானங்களை இப்போது பெறாமல், பெறுவதை தள்ளி வைக்கவும் முடிவு செய்திருக்கிறது. ஏர் - இந்தியாவின் நிலை குறித்தும் அதனை காப்பாற்ற மத்திய அரசு என்ன நடவடிக்கைகளை எடுக்கிறது என்பது குறித்து எழுந்த கேள்விக்கு பதிலளித்த மத்திய சிவில் விமான போக்குவரத்து அமைச்சர் பிரபுல் படேல் இதனை தெரிவித்தார். புது விமானங்களுக்காக செய்திருக்கும் ஆர்டரை மாற்றி அமைப்பது, அல்லது ரத்து செய்வது, லாபம் வராத விமான வழித்தடங்களில் விமானங்களை இயக்குவதை குறைப்பது, ஊழியர்கள் எண்ணிக்கையை குறைப்பது, ஊக்க தொகையை குறைப்பது போன்ற நடவடிக்கைகளை எடுத்து வருவதாக பிரபுல் படேல் தெரிவித்தார்.

எம்.பி.பி.எஸ்., சீட்டை மறுத்த 11 மாணவர்கள்

சென்னை: மருத்துவப் படிப்பில் இடம்கிடைத்த 11 மாணவர்கள், அப்படிப்பைக் கைவிட்டு பொறியியல் படிப்பில் சேர்ந்தனர்.பொதுப்பிரிவிற்கான பொறியியல் கவுன்சிலிங்கிற்கு நேற்று 3,021 மாணவர்கள் அழைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தனர். அதில் 417 பேர், "கவுன்சிலிங்'கில் கலந்து கொள்ளவில்லை. ஆறு பேர் பொறியியல் படிப்பு வேண்டாமென தெரிவித்தனர். 2,598 மாணவர்களுக்கு இடம் ஒதுக்கப்பட்டது.இதுவரை நடந்த நான்கு நாள் "கவுன்சிலிங்'கில் மொத்தம் 7,490 மாணவர்களுக்கு இடம் ஒதுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதுவரை, மருத்துவ கவுன்சிலிங்கில் இடம்கிடைத்த 11 மாணவர்கள், அப்படிப்பை மறுத்துவிட்டு, பொறியியல் படிப்பில் சேர்ந்துள்ளனர்.

பொறியியல் படிப்பிற்கு இடம் கிடைத்துள்ள 7,490 பேரில், 1,852 மாணவர்கள், அண்ணா பல்கலைக் கழகத்திலும், 2,711 மாணவர்கள், அரசு மற்றும் அரசு உதவிப்பெறும் கல்லூரிகளிலும், 2,927 மாணவர்கள், தனியார் கல்லூரிகளிலும் சேர்ந்துள்ளனர்.நேற்றைய கவுன்சிலிங் முடிவில், அண்ணா பல்கலைக் கழகத்தில் 3,862 இடங்கள், அரசு மற்றும் அரசு உதவி பெறும் கல்லூரிகளில் 1,580 இடங்கள், தனியார் பொறியியல் கல்லூரிகளில் 86 ஆயிரத்து 780 இடங்கள் என மொத்தம் 92 ஆயிரத்து 222 இடங்கள் காலியாக உள்ளன.
பத்தாம் வகுப்பில் தேர்ச்சி அதிகரிக்க பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள் யோசனை

மதுரை: பத்தாம் வகுப்பில் தேர்ச்சி வீதத்தை அதிகரிக்க பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள் பொதுக் குழுக் கூட்டத்தில் யோசனை தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டது.தமிழ்நாடு பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள் சங்கம் சார்பில் நடந்த பொதுக்குழு கூட்டத்திற்கு மாநில தலைவர் தம்பிதுரை தலைமை வகித்தார். இக்கூட்டத்தில், பத்தாம் வகுப்பு பொதுத் தேர்வை ரத்து செய்யக் கூடாது என தீர்மானம் நிறைவேற்றப்பட்டது. ஐ.டி.ஐ., பாலிடெக்னிக், போலீஸ், ராணுவப் பணிகள், விவசாய சான்றிதழ் பயிற்சிகள் உட்பட பலவற்றிற்கும் செல்லும் மாணவர்களுக்கு 10ம் வகுப்பு பொதுத் தேர்வு அளவுகோலாக உள்ளது.

இத்தேர்வில் தேர்ச்சி சதவீதத்தை அதிகரிக்க வேண்டுமானால் (பிளஸ் 2 போல) மார்க் சதவீதத்தை 25 சதவீதமாக குறைக்க வேண்டும். மீதியுள்ள மதிப்பெண்ணை கேட்டல், பேசுதல் திறன் மூலமும், பிராக்டிக்கல் மூலமும் வழங்க வேண்டும். ஆங்கிலம் 2ம் தாளை ரத்து செய்து, ஒரே தாள் தேர்வாக மாற்ற வேண்டும். அதில் இலக்கணம், உரைநடை போன்றவற்றிற்கு தலா 50 சதவீத மதிப்பெண்கள் இடம் பெற வேண்டும் என பத்தாம் வகுப்பு பொதுத் தேர்வு குறித்து தீர்மானங்கள் நிறைவேற்றப்பட்டன.

மேலும் மத்திய அரசு தருவது போல மாநில அரசும் பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு கிரேடு சம்பளத்தை 2400 ரூபாயாக உயர்த்த வேண்டும். ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு பதவி உயர்வு இல்லாததாலேயே தேர்வு நிலை, சிறப்பு நிலை ஊக்க ஊதியம் வழங்கப்படுகிறது. அதை பதவி உயர்வாக கருதி கிரேடு சம்பளம் வழங்க வேண்டும்.

தொகுப்பூதிய காலத்தில் பணியாற்றியதை கணக்கில் எடுத்துக் கொண்டு (பணப் பலன் இன்றி) பணிவரன் முறை செய்ய வேண்டும். 6 முதல் 8ம் வகுப்பு வரை பணியாற்றும் இடைநிலை ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு சிறப்பு தேர்வு நடத்தி பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியராக நிலை உயர்த்த வேண்டும். ஏற்கனவே பட்டம் பெற்றவர்களை பாடபேதம் இன்றி பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியராக நிலை உயர்த்த வேண்டும். எம்.பில்., படித்த முதுநிலை ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு ஊக்க ஊதியம் வழங்குவது போல, பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்களுக்கும் ஊக்க ஊதியம் வழங்க வேண்டும் என்பது உட்பட பல்வேறு தீர்மானங்கள் நிறைவேற்றப்பட்டன. இந்நிகழ்ச்சியில் மாநில பொதுச் செயலாளர் நடராஜன் உட்பட பலர் கலந்து கொண்டனர். மாநில பொருளாளர் பழனி நன்றி கூறினார்.
டைம்ஸ் பட்டியலில் இரு ஐ.ஐ.டி.,க்கள் தேர்வு

புதுடில்லி: லண்டன் "தி டைம்ஸ்' இதழ் தயாரிக்கும் சிறந்த சர்வதேச கல்வி நிறுவனங்கள் பட்டியலில், முதல் 200 நிறுவனங்களுக்குள் இந்தியாவை சேர்ந்த டில்லி மற்றும் மும்பையில் உள்ள ஐ.ஐ.டி.,க்கள் இடம் பெற்றுள்ளன.டைம்ஸ் இதழ், ஆண்டு தோறும் சிறந்த மேற்படிப்பு நிறுவனங்களை தேர்ந்தெடுத்து அறிவிக்கும். கடந்தாண்டு சிறந்து விளங்கிய 200 கல்வி நிறுவனங்களின் பட்டியலை இப்போது வெளியிட்டுள்ளது. இதில், இந்தியாவை சேர்ந்த டில்லி ஐ.ஐ.டி.,154 வது இடத்தில் உள்ளது.

2007 பட்டியலில் 307வது இடத்தில் இது இருந்தது. அதுபோல, மும்பையில் உள்ள ஐ.ஐ.டி., மேற்கல்வி நிறுவனம், 2007 பட்டியலில் 269 ல் இருந்தது; இந்த முறை 174 வது இடத்துக்கு முன்னேறியுள்ளது.அமெரிக்கா, பிரிட்டனை அடுத்து, இந்தியாவில் இருக்கும் ஐ.ஐ.டி.,க்கள் சிறந்து விளங்கினாலும், சர்வதேச அளவிலான மாணவர் களையோ, ஆசிரியர்களோ கணிசமாக இல்லாததால், இந்த நிறுவனங்கள் முதல் 100 இடங் களுக்குள் வர முடியவில்லை.சர்வதேச அளவில் பிரபலம், சர்வதேச மாணவர்களை சேர்ப்பது, சிறந்த சர்வதேச ஆசிரியர்களை கொண்டிருப்பது, வேலை வாய்ப்பு போன்ற பல அம்சங்களின் அடிப்படையில் இந்த பட்டியல் ஆண்டுதோறும் தயாரிக்கப்படுகிறது. பல தரப்பில் இருந்தும் கருத்துக்களை கேட்டும் கல்வி நிறுவனங்கள் தேர்வு செய்யப்படுகின்றன.

ஒரு லட்சத்து 80 ஆயிரம் பேரிடம் "இ மெயில்' மூலம் கருத்து கேட்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. மேலும், நேரடியாகவும் சோதனை செய்யப்படுகிறது.டில்லி, மும்பை ஐ.ஐ.டி.,க்கள் மட்டுமின்றி, இந்தியாவில் உள்ள மேற்படிப்பு கல்வி நிறுவனங்களில் வெளிநாட்டு மாணவர்களை அதிகபட்சம் 20 சதவீதத்துக்கு மேல் எடுப்பதில்லை; அதுபோல, வெளிநாட்டு ஆசிரியர்களும் மிகக்குறைவாகவே அமர்த்தப்படுகின்றனர்.இந்த வகையில், மத்திய அரசு கட்டுப்பாடு உள்ளதால், சர்வதேச அளவில் இந்திய மேற் படிப்பு கல்வி நிறுவனங்கள் , எல்லா தகுதியும் இருந்தும் முன்னணியில் வர முடியவில்லை என்பது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.
இரண்டு லட்சம் இன்ஜினியர்கள் வேலையின்றி தவிப்பு

புதுடில்லி : "நாடு முழுவதும் இரண்டு லட்சம் இன்ஜினியரிங் பட்டதாரிகள் வேலை இல்லாமல் உள்ளனர். அரசு - தனியார் துறை மூலமாக 1.5 கோடி புதிய வேலைவாய்ப்புகளை உருவாக்க திட்டமிடப்பட்டுள்ளது' என, மத்திய அரசு சார்பில் தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. மத்திய தொழிலாளர் மற்றும் வேலைவாய்ப்புத் துறை இணை அமைச்சர் ஹரிஷ் ரவாத், லோக்சபாவில் கூறியதாவது: கடந்த 2007ம் ஆண்டு நிலவரப்படி, நாடு முழுவதும் 1.93 லட்சம் இன்ஜினியரிங் பட்டதாரிகள் வேலை இல்லாமல் உள்ளனர். டிப்ளமோ பெற்றவர்களைப் பொறுத்தவரை 1.32 லட்சம் பேருக்கு வேலை இல்லை. இன்ஜினியரிங் பட்டதாரிகளைப் பொறுத்தவரை கடந்த 2003ல் இருந்து வேலை இல்லாதவர்களின் எண்ணிக்கை படிப்படியாக அதிகரித்து வருகிறது.

இடையில் 2003ல் மட்டும் நிலைமை ஓரளவு நன்றாக இருந்தது. தற்போது பொருளாதார மந்த நிலை வேறு ஏற்பட்டுள்ளதால், வேலை இழந்துள்ளோரின் எண்ணிக்கை மேலும் அதிகரித்திருக்கலாம். 11வது ஐந்தாண்டு திட்ட கால முடிவுக்குள், அரசு - தனியார் துறை மூலமாக புதிதாக 1.5 கோடி வேலைவாய்ப்புகளை உருவாக்கத் திட்டமிடப் பட்டுள்ளது என்றார்.
விரும்பினால் தேர்வு எழுதலாம் பத்தாம் வகுப்பில் சி.பி.எஸ்.இ., திட்டம்

புதுடில்லி : "பத்தாம் வகுப்பு தேர்வை விருப்பத்தின் அடிப்படையில் எழுதும் தேர்வாக மாற்ற மத்திய இடை நிலை கல்வி வாரியம் (சி.பி.எஸ்.இ.,) திட்டமிட்டுள்ளது' என, லோக்சபாவில் நேற்று தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டது.உறுப்பினரின் கேள்வி ஒன்றுக்கு எழுத்து மூலம் பதில் அளித்த மத்திய மனிதவள மேம்பாட்டுத் துறை இணை அமைச்சர் புரந்தரேஸ்வரி கூறியதாவது: பத்தாம் வகுப்பு தேர்வை விருப்பத்தின் அடிப்படையில், எழுதும் தேர்வாக மாற்ற சி.பி.எஸ்.இ., திட்டமிட்டுள்ளது. அதேநேரத்தில், மாணவர்களின் திறனை உள்மதிப்பீடு செய்வது தொடரும். பத்தாம் வகுப்பு தேர்வை விருப்பத் தேர்வாக மாற்றுவதால், கல்வித் தரம் பாதிக்கப்படாமல் இருப்பதை உறுதி செய்ய ஒன்பதாம் வகுப்பு மற்றும் பத்தாம் வகுப்பில் தேவையான பயிற்சிகள் அளிக்கப்படும். அதற்கேற்ற வகையில், வரையறுக்கப்பட்ட பாடப் புத்தகங்களைக் கொண்டு பாடங்கள் நடத்தப்படும்.

சி.பி.எஸ்.இ.,யால் வரையறுக்கப்படும் பாடத்திட்டங்கள் அடிப்படையில், மாணவர்களுக்கு உள்மதிப்பீட்டுத் தேர்வை பள்ளிகள் நடத்தும். உள்மதிப்பீட்டுத் தேர்வுக்கான வினாத்தாள்கள், கல்வி வாரியம் நடத்தும் தேர்வின் வினாத்தாள்களைப் போன்றே இருக்கும். நாடு முழுவதும் பள்ளிக் கல்விக்காக ஒரே தேசியவாரியம் அமைக்கும் திட்டம் எதுவும் தற்போதைக்கு இல்லை. தற்போது சி.பி.எஸ்.இ., இணைப்பு பெற்ற பள்ளிகள் 10 ஆயிரத்து 429 உள்ளன என்றார்.
பிரான்ஸ் தேசிய தினம் : 400 இந்திய ராணுவ வீரர்கள் கம்பீர அணிவகுப்பு

புதுடில்லி : பாரிசில் நடந்த தேசிய விழாவில் சிறப்பு விருந்தினராக பிரதமர் மன்மோகன் சிங் கலந்து கொண்டார்.கடந்த 1789ம் ஆண்டு பிரெஞ்ச் புரட்சி ஏற்பட்ட தினத்தை, ஒவ்வொரு ஆண்டும் ஜூலை மாதம் 14ம் தேதி தேசிய தினமாக பிரான்ஸ் கொண்டாடுகிறது. பாரிசில் இன்று நடக்கும் தேசிய விழாவில், இந்தியாவின் சார்பில் முப்படைகளைச் சேர்ந்த 400 பேர் அணிவகுப்பில் கலந்து கொண்டனர். இதில், 90 பேர் பேண்டு வாத்தியக் குழுவை சேர்ந்தவர்கள். ஒன்றரை கிலோ மீட்டர் தூரத்துக்கு இந்த அணிவகுப்பு நடைபெற்றது. இந்திய படைகள் அணிவகுப்பு நடத்திய போது, பிரான்ஸ் அதிபரும், இந்திய பிரதமரும், எழுந்து நின்று அணிவகுப்பை கண்டு ரசித்தனர்.
Astronauts board shuttle for fifth launch attempt

The shuttle Endeavour crew climbed aboard their spaceship on Monday, hoping for a break in the weather and the start of an ambitious 16-day construction mission at the International Space Station.

The flight has been on hold for a month, delayed by fuel leaks, lightning strikes and bad weather. The forecast for Monday's launch attempt at 6:51 p.m. EDT (2251 GMT) is not encouraging, with meteorologists predicting a 60 percent chance of clouds and thunderstorms near the Florida spaceport.

"We're going to give it a shot," said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel.

Earlier Monday, the shuttle was filled with more than 500,000 gallons (1.9 million litres) of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to prepare for NASA's fifth attempt to deliver a Japanese-built research platform and spare parts to the space station.

The fuel will be consumed by the shuttle's three main engines during the 8.5-minute ride to orbit.

If it rains in the hours before the launch, NASA may opt to call off the launch attempt because water could seep inside one of the shuttle's steering thrusters, possibly creating problems when it would be fired up in space to maneuver the shuttle.

The thrusters are launched with covers, but one came loose during Sunday's launch attempt.

NASA managers considered delaying the launch another day to replace the cover, but decided instead to proceed with the countdown and hope for good weather.

The U.S. space agency has until Tuesday or Wednesday to get Endeavour into orbit before it would stand down until July 27 to allow a Russian Progress cargo ship to launch and dock at the station.

NASA has eight shuttle missions remaining to complete construction of the orbital outpost, a $100 billion project of 16 nations. Endeavour's primary cargo is a platform to hold science experiments that need to be exposed to the open environment of space. The module is to be connected to the front of Japan's $2.4 billion Kibo complex.

The shuttle crew plans to conduct five spacewalks during their 12-day stay at the station. The astronauts also plan to replace batteries in one of the station's solar panel wings and stash spare parts needed to keep the outpost operational after the shuttle fleet is retired next year.
U.S. rocket firm puts Malaysian satellite in orbit

A pioneering rocket company that wants to take over the job of sending U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station launched an imaging satellite into orbit late on Monday for a Malaysian firm, its first paying customer.

Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 1 rocket lifted off from Omelek Island in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Western Pacific at 11:35 p.m. EDT/0335 GMT on Tuesday carrying the 400-pound (180-kg) RazakSAT satellite, designed and built by ATSB of Malaysia.

The spacecraft has black-and-white and color cameras to take high-resolution pictures of agricultural lands, forests, urban centers and other targets in Malaysia for commercial and government customers.

It was the fifth flight for Space Exploration Technologies, a privately funded California firm founded by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, a co-creator of the PayPal financial services company that was purchased by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.

SpaceX's first three launches in 2006, 2007 and 2008, fell short of reaching orbit.

Its fourth launch last September successfully put a dummy payload into orbit.

In addition to its Falcon 1 rocket, which can put a half-ton payload into orbit for about $8 million, SpaceX is developing a heavy-lift Falcon 9 rocket that can carry 11 tonnes to low-Earth orbit, or four tonnes to an orbit 22,300 miles above the planet, for about $40 million.

"We're the lowest prices on the market for comparable capabilities," Musk said in a recent interview.

The firm's biggest customer is NASA, which has reservations for more than half of SpaceX's two dozen upcoming missions. The company has contracts to develop and deliver a space station cargo vehicle. It also is petitioning for a $300 million contract addition to upgrade its Dragon capsule to ferry astronauts to and from the space station after NASA retires its space shuttle fleet next year.

"It's a no-lose proposition for the taxpayer," Musk said. "If we don't do what we say we're going to do, we don't get paid."

Falcon 9's debut flight is scheduled for October from a new launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
How noise affects nervous system's ability to transcribe sounds key to reading skills

Washington, July 14 (ANI): A new study conducted by Northwestern University researchers offers an unparalleled look at how noise affects the nervous system's ability to transcribe sounds whose subtle differences are key to success with language and reading.

The study suggests that distinguishing such sounds is too much to ask of the nervous system of a subset of poor readers whose hearing is fine, but whose brains have trouble differentiating the "ba," "da" and "ga" sounds in a noisy environment.

"The 'b,' 'd' and 'g' consonants have rapidly changing acoustic information that the nervous system has to resolve to eventually match up sounds with letters on the page," said Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, where the work was performed.

According to the researcher, the brain's unconscious faulty interpretation of sounds makes a big difference in how words ultimately will be read.

"What your ear hears and what your brain interprets are not the same thing," Kraus said.

This is the first time that any study has shown an unambiguous relationship between reading ability and neural encoding of speech sounds, which previous work has shown present phonological challenges for poor readers.

Published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study focuses on what is happening in the brainstem, an evolutionarily ancient part of the brain that scientists in the not too distant past believed simply relayed sensory information from the ear to the cortex.

The researchers focused on the sensory system, and demonstrated that the technology developed during the last decade in the Kraus lab offered a neural metric sensitive enough to pick up how the nervous system represents differences in acoustic sounds in individual subjects, rather than, as in cortical-response studies, in groups of people.

What is significant to note is the fact that this metric reflects the negative influence of background noise on sound encoding in the brain.

"There are numerous reasons for reading problems or for difficulty hearing speech in noisy situations, and we now have a metric that is practically applicable for measuring sound transcription deficits in individual children. Auditory training and reducing background noise in classrooms, our research suggests, may provide significant benefit to poor readers," said Kraus, the senior author of the study.

During the study, the researchers attached electrodes to the scalps of children with good and poor speech-in-noise perception skills, and delivered sounds through earphones to measure the nervous system's ability to distinguish between "ba," "da" and "ga".

In another part of the study, sentences were presented in increasingly noisy environments, and children were asked to repeat what they heard.

"In essence, the kids were called upon to do what they would do in a classroom, which is to try to understand what the kid next to them is saying while there is a cacophony of sounds, a rustling of papers, a scraping of chairs," Kraus said.

The researcher says that in a typical neural system, there is a clear distinction in how "ba," "da" and "ga" are represented, and the information is more accurately transcribed in good readers and children who are good at extracting speech presented in background noise.

"So if a poor reader is having difficulty making sound-to-meaning associations with the 'ba,' 'da' and 'ga' speech sounds, it will show up in the objective measure we used in our study," Kraus said.

Reflecting the interaction of cognitive and sensory processes, the brainstem response is not voluntary.

"The brainstem response is just what the brain does based on our auditory experience throughout our lives, but especially during development. The way the brain responds to sound will reflect what language you speak, whether you've had musical experience and how you have used sounds," Kraus said. (ANI)
Mars simulation mission focuses on improving work performance on Red Planet

Washington, July 14 (ANI): A six-man international crew has completed a 105-day Mars simulation mission that was full of realistic scenarios, with experiments evaluating solutions to conditions that impact work performance.

The experiment was carried out in an isolation chamber in Moscow from March 31 to July 14.

The crew, composed of four Russians and two Europeans, simulated the 105-day Mars mission full of experiments and realistic mission scenarios, including emergency situations and 20-minute communications delays.

US participation in the mission consisted of three research teams with experiments evaluating solutions to conditions that impact work performance.

The projects evaluated lighting interventions to counter sleep disruption due to shift work or long hours, tested two objective methods of measuring the impact of stress and fatigue on performance, and assessed interactions between crew members and mission control.

"The mission allowed us to look at the feasibility of certain technologies developed for improving performance by deploying them in an extremely demanding work environment. In this realistic setting, will crews use the technologies and will we get good data?" said Dr. David F. Dinges, leader of the NSBRI group funded from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Rutgers.

"Additional goals were to see how different mission situations affected the various performance measures and to evaluate whether the interventions could indeed improve performance," he added.

The 105-Day Mars Mission, a partnership between Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems and the European Space Agency, is the precursor to a 520-Day mission scheduled for 2010.

The isolation facility consists of several interconnected, modules containing medical and scientific research areas, living quarters, a kitchen, greenhouse and exercise facility.

For researchers, the opportunity to run experiments in this type of environment was invaluable.

"We've done experiments in the sleep lab to test the efficacy of lighting interventions, but that is a highly controlled environment," said Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, leader of the NSBRI project funded from Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and University of Colorado.

"By transitioning studies into an operational environment, like the 105-Day Mission, we have the opportunity to learn how to best deploy interventions in a realistic mission setting. This analog is a great intermediate step before implementation on an actual spaceflight," he added.

Participation from the crew and mission controllers was excellent. All three NSBRI projects received data throughout the mission.

Final data will be received in the coming weeks, and the teams will begin detailed data analysis. (ANI)
Scientists develop materials with a "memory"

Berlin, July 14 (ANI): With the help of numerical solutions, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Germany have developed various materials with a memory, including a minuscule forceps for endoscopy.

Such materials can "remember" a condition. If they are deformed, a temperature change can be enough to bring them back to their original shape.

This phenomenon is called the shape memory effect. It can be observed in certain metallic alloys, known as shape memory alloys.

These kinds of materials are ideal for many applications.

For instance, in aerospace technologies: solar sails can unfold in outer space thanks to shape memory alloys. The medical sciences, too, rely on their characteristics.

One example is cardiology: stents are small tube-shaped, metal grid frameworks.

They are folded together and inserted into blood vessels where they expand and prevent the vessels from becoming blocked.

However, it is a long road towards achieving a fully developed product. The characteristics of shape memory alloys are complex and therefore difficult to predict.

Engineers must produce many prototypes before they achieve a fully operational component with the desired characteristics.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM have found a quicker way to reach their goal: "The numerical simulation which we have developed already answers many questions upfront, long before a prototype exists," explains IWM project manager Dr. Dirk Helm.

With the help of these simulations, the scientists have developed various objects, including a minuscule forceps for endoscopy. Normally, such micro forceps can only be created with joints.

With the help of numerical simulation models, the researchers could calculate in advance the most important characteristics of the component, such as its strength and clamping force, and efficiently develop and manufacture the elastic component.

"Normally, many tests with various prototypes would need to be conducted," Dr. Helm explained.

"By using simulations, we can avoid producing most of these prototypes. This saves costs because the raw materials for the shape memory alloys are very expensive and are sometimes difficult to work with," he added.

In addition, the researchers can estimate through simulations how durable the modern materials are. (ANI)
Venus may once have been more Earth-like

Paris, July 14 (ANI): Venus Express has charted the first map of the planet's southern hemisphere at infrared wavelengths, which hints that Venus may once have been more Earth-like, with both, a plate tectonics system and an ocean of water.

The map comprises over a thousand individual images, recorded between May 2006 and December 2007.

Because Venus is covered in clouds, normal cameras cannot see the surface, but Venus Express used a particular infrared wavelength that can see through them.

Although radar systems have been used in the past to provide high-resolution maps of Venus's surface, Venus Express is the first orbiting spacecraft to produce a map that hints at the chemical composition of the rocks.

The new data is consistent with suspicions that the highland plateaus of Venus are ancient continents, once surrounded by ocean and produced by past volcanic activity.

"This is not proof, but it is consistent. All we can really say at the moment is that the plateau rocks look different from elsewhere," said Nils Muller at the Joint Planetary Interior Physics Research Group of the University Munster and DLR Berlin, who headed the mapping efforts.

The rocks look different because of the amount of infrared light they radiate into space, similar to the way a brick wall heats up during the day and gives off its heat at night.

Besides, different surfaces radiate different amounts of heat at infrared wavelengths due to a material characteristic known as emissivity, which varies in different materials.

The Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) instrument captured this infrared radiation during Venus's night-time orbits around the planet's southern hemisphere.

The new map shows that the rocks on the Phoebe and Alpha Regio plateaus are lighter in colour and look old compared to the majority of the planet.

On Earth, such light-coloured rocks are usually granite and form continents.

Granite is formed when ancient rocks, made of basalt, are driven down into the planet by shifting continents, a process known as plate tectonics.

The water combines with the basalt to form granite and the mixture is reborn through volcanic eruptions.

"If there is granite on Venus, there must have been an ocean and plate tectonics in the past," said Muller.

The new map gives astronomers another tool in their quest to understand why Venus is so similar in size to Earth and yet has evolved so differently. (ANI)
Yogurt could help gastric-bypass patients lose weight more quickly

Washington, July 14 (ANI): Taking probiotics after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery can help obese patients to lose weight more quickly, according to a new study.

Probiotics are the so-called 'good' bacteria found in yogurt as well as in over-the-counter dietary supplements that help in the digestion of food.

New research from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Hospital and Clinics suggests that patients who take probiotics after the gastric-bypass procedure tend to shed more pounds than those who don't take the supplements.

"Surprisingly, the probiotic group attained a significantly greater percent of excess weight loss than that of control group," said John Morton, MD, associate professor of surgery at the medical school who wrote the paper with lead author Gavitt Woodard, a third-year medical student, and five other medical students at the Surgery Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation in Stanford's Department of Surgery.

The researchers followed 44 patients on whom Morton had performed the procedure from 2006 to 2007. Patients were randomized into either a probiotic or a control group. Both groups received the same bariatric medical care and nutritional counseling, as well as the support of weight-loss study groups. Both groups also were allowed to consume yogurt, a natural source of probiotics.

In addition, the probiotic group consumed one pill per day of Puritan's Pride, a probiotic supplement that is available online and in many stores. Morton has no financial ties to the company that makes the supplement.

The study showed that at three months, the probiotics group registered a 47.6 percent weight loss, compared with a 38.5 percent for the control group.

The study also found that levels of vitamin B-12 were higher in the patients taking probiotics - a significant finding because patients often are deficient in B-12 after gastric-bypass surgery.

The probiotics group had B-12 levels of 1,214 picograms per milliliter at three months, compared with the control group's levels of 811 pg/mL.

Morton said he now recommends probiotic supplements to his patients, and he plans to continue to look for ways to enhance the outcomes from the procedure.

The study has been published in the July issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. (ANI)
Google Strives to Help Online Software Catch Up

Google Inc.'s plans for a new operating system based on its Chrome Web browser is a big bet that online programs can eventually surpass desktop software.

Now the Internet giant is pushing hard to make that happen, enticing developers to take advantage of several technologies to improve the speed, esthetics and reliability of software running in a Web browser.

Google is trying to spur a new market for software that can run entirely in a Web browser, such as Google Docs. The search giant believes that online applications will be one of its next big businesses, as its core search and search-advertising businesses mature.

But it faces heavy competition, including from rival Microsoft Corp., which Monday announced it will offer online versions of its popular Office software to consumers free.

Web browsers originally were used mainly to view static pages of text and images. Their capabilities for playing video and animation have improved using technologies such as Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flash -- software that is used by Google's YouTube service -- and others that require users to download a program called a plug-in.

But browsers still can't typically handle many chores conventional PC software users take for granted, like some mechanisms for copying and pasting text and playing games that use three-dimensional graphics.

"There is still a big difference between Web pages and Web apps," said Francisco Tolmasky, chief executive of 280 North Inc., a maker of software programming tools and applications.

Google hopes to change that by accelerating the adoption of HTML 5, the acronym for an extension of the hypertext markup language that is a foundation of the Web. The proposed programming standards -- which are likely years from being finalized, and include technology from Google and others -- are designed to let developers build more advanced applications that can run within a browser.

A number of software developers and browsers have already incorporated some aspects of HTML 5, such as faster video streaming and storing more data in the browser for faster retrieval -- all without having to download additional software.

In May, Google executives delivered a keynote to thousands of software developers exclusively on the technology, discussing and demonstrating features like the ability to allow users to draw on Web pages with their cursors, and urging them to try it.

Vic Gundotra, a vice president of engineering at Google, said in an interview Monday that Google has "heavily influenced and participated in the standard."

"We are very concerned about making sure the Web moves forward," he said. To that end, Google is actively pushing for inclusion of features such as ability to drag and drop files from a desktop into a Web browser, a PC-style function not typically possible now, and support for 3D graphics, he said.

To advance the latter, the Mountain View, Calif., company recently released its own small piece of software that allows users to run 3D graphics within a Web browser.

Dozens of companies, from Microsoft to tiny start-ups, also are developing technology to bring more parity between desktop and online software.

Last week, for example, Microsoft released the latest version of Silverlight, its technology for running visually rich applications across many different types of browsers. The new version, which requires a small download, has features that include improved support for streaming video. Adobe, meanwhile, has been improving its support for 3D animation with its widely used Flash format.

Google and other backers of HTML 5 believe that over time, plug-ins won't be necessary as browsers become more powerful. A Microsoft spokeswoman said the latest version of the company's Internet Explorer browser already supports some elements of HTML 5 and that Microsoft is also a member of the working group responsible for pushing the standard along.

HTML 5 is already making a difference for some developers. Meebo Inc., a service that allows users to chat across multiple instant-messaging services within a Web browser, recently used a feature of HTML 5 called postMessage. It used the technology to build a "chat bar" for third-party Web sites that stays loaded and updated with a user's current conversation even when he switches between Web pages.

But Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg believes that a significant amount of new technology needs to be developed before online applications can be as powerful as desktop applications.

For instance, online software can't typically launch automatically when a computer starts-up or send updates and notifications when users close their Web browsers, he says.

Mr. Tolmasky, CEO of 280 North, said Google is earning a reputation for helping software developers migrate their services to the Web. He says Google recently approached his start-up about integrating Google's new 3D software.

"It is nice to see Google put its money where its mouth is," he said.
Genes that modulates stress responses identified

Washington, July 14 (ANI): A Baylor University researcher claim to have discovered certain genes that modulates stress responses, which could cause some people to take drugs and consume alcohol.

Dr. Doug Matthews, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, has found a small section on chromosome one that is responsive to a particular type of stress in animal models.

He then identified the genes in this region that could be responsible for the behavioural response to stress, like alcohol consumption.

"This study gives us insight into a common genetic pathway for stress that might be critical in modulating drug taking behaviour, especially alcohol consumption since many people report drinking alcohol to reduce stress," said Matthews.

"It also gave us some ideas on where to look in the brain for drug taking behaviour and it provided a method to do so," he added.

According to Matthews, the researchers used a unique method to do the project by selecting chromosomes from one particular strain of mice, and embed them inside the background of a host strain.

He said that this sophisticated genetic manipulation allowed them to target specific chromosomes so they could get a much more powerful genetic answer.

The findings have appeared in the journal Behaviour Genetics. (ANI)
Infosys BPO bags award for diversity hiring initiatives

BANGALORE: Infosys BPO on Monday announced that it has received the 'ASTD Excellence in Practice Award' for its 'diversity hiring

The award honours a company practice which leverages diversity for enhanced performance and recognizes corporate programmes or efforts to address issues around inter-cultural, gender or sexual orientation, a release said.

The ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) association is the world's largest asssociation dedicated to workplace learning and performance, it said.

The award was conferred during the award ceremony held by ASTD in Washington.
Mahindra Satyam open to out of court settlement of class action suits in US

NEW DELHI: Mahindra Satyam Executive Vice Chairman Vineet Nayyar on Monday said that the company is open to out of court settlement of the class action suits that it is facing in the US.

"Out of court settlement have always been better. If we have a common ground, we will make out of court settlement otherwise law will take its own course," Nayyar told reporters here while stepping out of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs office.

Nayyar further said, "I don't think any special assistance can be given by the government other than the fact that Satyam is as much a victim of the fraud as the shareholders."

When asked about the issue, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khursid said, "Most of the class action suit in the US do get settled out of the court and it is sensible to do so."

However, he made it clear that the government will not be a party to the class action suits.

On assisting the company in settling the legal suits in the US Khursid said, "Certainly, it is not for us to give any help because we do not have any locus to do such things."

Satyam Computer Services, re-branded as Mahindra Satyam by its new owner Tech Mahindra, is facing many class action suit in the US. The lawsuits filed by Satyam's US shareholders over the multi-crore financial scam at the company, could result in a liability running into crores for the company.
To challenge Google, Microsoft moving Office online

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Monday said that the 2010 version of its popular Office software will feature online collaboration as the technology giant duels "in the cloud" with Internet titan Google.

Microsoft made the announcement at the opening of a Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans.

Next-generation Office, Visio, Project, and SharePoint Server programs to be released in the first half of next year are being given to tens of thousands of people selected to test the nearly completed software.

A key upgrade to widely-used Office is that online hosting will make it possible for users to access projects from any Internet-linked computers and to collaborate online in real time.

Office Web applications will be lightweight, browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote that provide access to documents from anywhere, according to Microsoft.

There will be online "co-authoring" capabilities in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Microsoft's current version, Office 2007, allows online collaboration, but not in the real-time manner promised by its successor.

"We wanted to make sure when we brought applications to the Web we did it in a way that we can really delight customers and not sacrifice quality," Office group product manager Chris Bryant told AFP.

We're really raising the bar; the level of expectation for what Web-based applications can do and how they work into real complements for the apps you use on the desktop, using personal computers."

The move comes as Google strives to lure computer users to text, spreadsheet, and other applications hosted online and offered as low-cost or free services.

The California firm's Google Apps are part of a growing online trend of offering software as services on the Internet, or "in the cloud," as opposed to people needing to buy, install and maintain programs on their own machines.

"The fact that Microsoft is developing it at all is a response to Google," said analyst Matt Rosoff of Directions On Microsoft, a private firm that tracks the Redmond, Washington-based technology firm.

"This is a move that they probably wouldn't have made if they didn't have to, but there is enough competition bubbling up that they thought they needed a response."

Office 2010 will also dramatically enhance video and picture capabilities in PowerPoint presentations, according to Bryant.

Office Web applications will be available through Windows Live; on-premises for Office annuity customers; and by paid subscription at Microsoft Online Services.

There are to be five versions of Office 2010, with prices yet to be disclosed.

Microsoft has thus far responded to the cloud computing trend with a "software plus services" approach that augments applications installed on personal machines with services hosted online.

People will be able to use Office 2010 purely as a service hosted online, but functionality will be less than when pairing it with Office applications installed on personal computers.

"If people were given full Office features online, why would they buy it?" Rosoff asked rhetorically.

"That is what has taken Microsoft so long to get there."

Microsoft has an edge with large corporations, where Office is widespread and often multi-year technology contracts are in place, according to Rosoff.

"Google has a better chance of getting traction with small businesses and consumers where Microsoft isn't so entrenched," Rosoff said.

The war between Microsoft and Google has been escalating, with Google last week announcing plans to create an open-source "Chrome OS" computer operating system tailored for netbooks.

Chrome OS will be a direct challenge to Windows operating systems at the heart of Microsoft's global software empire.
Now, Microsoft takes on Google with free Office software

BOSTON: Microsoft will release a free version of its dominant Office software that users can access over the Web, catching up with products that arch rival Google launched three years ago.

The world's largest software maker will offer a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a note-taking program with the same look and feel of their counterparts in the Office suites that it sells for personal computers.

It is the latest salvo in an intensifying war between the two technology giants. Google announced plans last week to challenge Windows with a free operating system. Microsoft introduced a new search engine, dubbed Bing, last month, that has taken a small amount of market share from Google.

A free version of Office could hurt sales of Microsoft's top-selling and most profitable business unit. One of Office's most popular titles is a home version that sells for $150. It includes the four programs that Microsoft will give away.

"Microsoft is in a tough spot. Their competition isn't just undercutting them. They are giving away the competitive product," said Sheri McLeish, an analyst with Forrester Research. The Office division rang up operating profit of $9.3 billion in the first three quarters of the software maker's current fiscal year. — Reuters

McLeish said she expects Microsoft to overtake Google in the market as the hundreds of millions of people who use Office flock to try out the Internet version.

Microsoft will seek to make money by using it to lead those users to its ad-supported websites, including the Bing search engine. Analysts have said that Bing's early signs of success suggest Microsoft may be rounding the corner in efforts to turn around its money-losing Internet division.

Microsoft will release the free offering when it starts selling Office 2010, it next major release of the product, sometime in the first half of next year. Its current version came out in January 2007.

The software maker unveiled an early release on Monday at a conference for business partners in New Orleans. It will be distributed to tens of thousands of testers.

Company spokeswoman Janice Kapner said the free Web version will provide "a very rich experience" and probably have more functionality than Google.

Office 2010 is among a wave of upgrades to Microsoft programs planned over the next year. A new version of its ubiquitous Windows operating system is coming out in October and a new version of its widely used email server is also in the works.

Microsoft also plans two other Internet versions of Office for businesses.

It will host one of them at its own data centers, charging a yet-to-be-announced fee for that service. Businesses with premium service contracts will have the choice of running the Web-based version from their own data centers at no extra cost.
Microsoft Office 2010 enters technical preview

Microsoft showcases new product capabilities and announces Office Web applications will be available to nearly half a billion people at

Microsoft Corp. has announced that Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010 have reached the technical preview engineering milestone. The announcements were made at its Worldwide Partner Conference 2009. Starting today, tens of thousands of people will be invited to test Office and Visio as part of the Technical Preview program. Office 2010 and related products will be available in the first half of 2010.

"Office 2010 is the premier productivity solution across PCs, mobile phones and browsers," said Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the Microsoft Business Division at Microsoft. "From broadcast and video editing in PowerPoint, new data visualization capabilities in Excel, and co-authoring in Word, we are delivering technology to help people work smarter and faster from virtually any location using any device."

Office 2010 and related products will deliver innovative capabilities and provide new levels of flexibility and choice that will help people:
Work anywhere with Office Web applications — the lightweight Web browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote — that provide access to documents from virtually anywhere and preserve the look and feel of a document regardless of device.
Collaborate better with co-authoring in Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft OneNote 2010, and advanced e-mail management and calendaring capabilities in Microsoft Outlook 2010, including the option for users to "ignore" unwanted threads.
Bring ideas to life with video and picture editing, broadcast capability in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, easy document preparation through the new Microsoft Office Backstage view, and new Sparklines in Microsoft Excel 2010 to visualize data and spot trends more quickly.

Microsoft also announced that it is streamlining the number of Office editions from eight to five and enhancing each edition with additional applications and features. The company also announced that Office Web applications will be available in three ways: through Windows Live, where more than 400 million consumers will have access to Office Web applications at no cost; on-premises for the more than 90 million Office annuity customers; and via Microsoft Online Services, where customers will be able to purchase a subscription as part of a hosted offering.

Microsoft also is preparing partners for the release of Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 through a number of new and refreshed readiness tools and training programs. These include the Ignite program for SharePoint, Office and Exchange; Business Productivity Infrastructure Optimization (BPIO) University; Masters and Architect Certification for SharePoint; new Partner Business Productivity Online Services features and distributor model; and Exchange 2010 Readiness Webcast Series and Demo Showcase.
Bing search engine delivers credibility to Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO: In late May, Microsoft unveiled Bing, its new Internet search engine, in front of an audience of skeptics: technology executives
and other digerati who had gathered near San Diego for an industry conference.

To that crowd, Microsoft's efforts to take on Google and Yahoo in the search business had become something of a laughingstock, and for good reason. Microsoft's repeated efforts to build a credible search engine had fallen flat, and the company's market share was near its low.

Six weeks later, Bing has earned Microsoft something the company's search efforts have lacked: respect.
As a result, analysts say, the once-dubious prospect that Microsoft could shake up the dynamics of the search business, which is worth $12 billion in the United States alone, has become just a bit more likely.

The stakes could not be higher. With Google and others trying to challenge Microsoft's traditional software business, Steven A. Ballmer, the chief executive, has made succeeding in search a top company priority. Last year, Ballmer bid a staggering $47.5 billion in an unsuccessful effort to take over Yahoo, the No. 2 player in search.

That defeat forced Microsoft to redouble its homegrown efforts, leading to the release of Bing. The new service received favorable write-ups from influential reviewers and technology bloggers for the quality of its results, as well as its features and design. Studies showed that many people preferred its look and feel to Google's. And marketing experts said the Bing brand was a good choice that resonated with users.

"They have achieved a degree of respect they haven't had," said Danny Sullivan, a veteran search analyst and editor of the industry news site SearchEngineLand. With a tone that suggested surprise, Sullivan added: "They've rolled out a product that is good. When people spend time on it, they do like it."

Anna Patterson, who helped design and build some of the foundations of Google's search engine and later co-founded Cuil, a search start-up that has yet to attract much of an audience, said: "I think they put together something that is really compelling. They made significant progress."

That is music to the ears of Microsoft's long-maligned search team, which has watched the company's market share in search fall by half, to about 8 percent in May, since it introduced its first search engine in 2005.

"We have had a great start and some good buzz," said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for Microsoft's online audience business group. "We're settling in for a big long run."

But if succeeding in search is Microsoft's Mount Everest, as some executives there have suggested, Bing's success so far has merely put the company at base camp.

Reports from more than half a dozen companies that measure search and search advertising all point to upticks in Microsoft's business since the release of Bing. Microsoft said on Monday that its internal numbers showed its search traffic growing 8 percent in June. (ComScore, whose reports are closely watched, is expected to release figures for June on Tuesday.)

Still, Bing remains a distant third in the search race. It would have to triple its audience to catch Yahoo – and grow eightfold to tie Google, which accounts for 65 percent of searches in the United States.

Sustaining Bing's early momentum will be harder for Microsoft after the intense marketing campaign fades.

"It is going to be a difficult and long-term challenge," said Scott Garell, president of Ask Networks, a subsidiary of IAC that includes the search engine. Ask has long been praised for its innovations, and it too spent more than $100 million to market its search engine in 2006 and 2007, yet the company's small market share has barely budged in recent years.

But analysts say that Bing's solid start gives Microsoft a chance to finally sharpen its assault on the search business. No one suggests that Google faces any immediate threat. With many people using more than one search engine, however, some believe that Bing has a shot at dislodging Yahoo as the logical alternative to Google. (Google declined to comment for this article, other than to say in a statement that it takes all competitors seriously.)

"Yahoo doesn't seem as aggressive as it has been in the past," said Mark Mahaney, an analyst with Citigroup. Mahaney cautioned that whatever gains Bing achieves in coming months, he still expected Bing to trail Yahoo a year from now.

Yahoo disputed Mahaney's characterization. Larry Cornett, the company's vice president for consumer products for search, said that in the last year alone, Yahoo had unveiled technologies that allow publishers to better showcase their sites in search results and tools that make it easier to conduct extensive research. He said other companies were using an innovative Yahoo technology allowing them to build their own search services, which collectively garner nearly as many queries a day as Microsoft.

"What we have accomplished in the last year shows an incredible commitment and focus," Cornett said.

Other analysts say that if Bing can sustain its early gains, it could have another important effect on the industry: Yahoo and Microsoft could be pushed into a search partnership. Since Microsoft dropped its takeover attempt more than a year ago, the two companies have discussed a more limited alliance to take on Google but have been unable to reach an agreement. The talks continue apace, according to a person briefed on them.

"If Bing can have some momentum, I think it makes a deal more likely," said Benjamin Schachter, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech. Schachter said continued momentum would make Bing a bigger threat and a more attractive partner for Yahoo.

For now, Microsoft continues to fight alone, but with more vigor than in years past, analysts said. Less than a month after Bing's release, Microsoft beat Google and Yahoo to a hot new area in search: It became the first major search engine to index new postings from popular Twitter users almost immediately. The move helped amplify the buzz around Bing.

"I feel like they are a little more daring," Sullivan said. "They popped this thing out in a few weeks. That's very Googley."
Flextronics to expand PC business: Sources

TAIPEI: Electronics giant Flextronics will quadruple its notebook PC workforce in Taiwan, in a major push that would pit it against established
contract PC makers such as Quanta and Compal Electronics.

The addition of 1,500 engineers to the Singapore-based firm's FLEXComputing Taiwan unit will bring the total to 2,000, as it looks to grab a piece of a fast-growing global notebook PC market expected to pass traditional desktop PCs this year in unit sales, sources told media on Monday.

The move follows Flextronics's acquisition of PC contract manufacturer Amira Computer last year. "The unit in Taiwan will focus primarily in research and design work because that's where the major suppliers are," said one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media.

"Manufacturing will still be done at the company's factories in China." The sources said the expanded unit, which would focus on notebook and netbook PC manufacturing and design, would have an annual sales target of $3.5 billion by March 2011.
Govt to chip in with India Microprocessor

NEW DELHI: The chips may have been down at India's computer hardware sector for some time now, but an ambitious government programme is looking to change that.

Top scientists at some of the country's ace scientific institutions are pooling energies, and the government some money, in an attempt to design a home-grown microprocessor, which they hope will ward off the rising threat of espionage into strategic segments like defence, telecom and space.

The project to make the India Microprocessor, as it is being tentatively called, will see scientists from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and IIT Delhi coming together under the aegis of the department of IT.

An entity, to be called Zerone Corporation for now and with an initial investment of $200 million, will carry out the project, according to a government official involved in the process. A draft proposal in this regard is likely to be presented to the cabinet soon requesting funds, the official said on condition of anonymity. 

Zerone, which will start operations from the facilities of a government-owned company, is also expected to give a leg up to India's struggling semiconductor industry.

Demand for microchips from India's booming technology sector is expected to touch $315 billion by 2015, but a semiconductor policy of previous years to encourage firms to manufacture them locally evoked little interest from the private sector.

However, the current plan has national security as the first priority, especially after reports of a global network of Chinese hackers breaking into sensitive installations worldwide, including the headquarters of Dalai Lama in Dharamshala and telecom networks in the UK. Just a week ago, South Korea had complained of an organised effort by North Korea to hack its government network.

The government document, a copy of which is with ET, presents several such scenarios. If the Indian Army's WAN (Wide Area Network) is cut off from other networks, hypothetically the army's equipment can still be activated wirelessly by foreign parties to transfer information or compromise it, the document says.

"Unless India has its own microprocessor, we can never ensure that networks (that require microprocessors) such as telecom, Army WAN, and microprocessors used in BARC, ISRO, in aircraft such as Tejas, battle tanks and radars are not compromised," the document points out.

It further cites recent UK reports that have raised concerns over importing a Chinese telecom major's equipment for use in Britain's telecom network, which may lead to espionage or a shut down during a war.

A consultative process is already on to decide the chip architecture and finalise the final name of the corporation along with other modalities. The revenue source of Zerone is likely to be from the sales and support of microprocessors and by providing training on the advanced technological architecture.

The India Microprocessor is likely to adopt Sun Microsystem's Open Sparc open source chip design technology, along with Linux operating system and MySQL database software.

The chip could also help India develop a low-cost mobile phone, worth say just Rs 500, high-tech defence precision systems and a host of other applications in areas including healthcare and weather forecasting.

"Apart from defence sector, it will be a shot in the arm for the $10-billion IT hardware industry, if the government is successful in its move," said Vinnie Mehta, executive director of hardware industry body MAIT, who was present at a recent meeting on the issue.

The meeting was presided by Prithviraj Chauhan, minister for science and technology, a week after the new government took charge.

"Whether the technology from foreign companies will continue to be available in future is uncertain. Basic research for an India microprocessor has been going on with a small team," said an official with CSIR, who didn't want to be named. He added that to make a microprocessor with complementary hardware, India would need a team of over 400 people.

The director-general of CSIR, Prof Brahmachari, a key player in this project, was unavailable for comment for this story.

According to Ramkumar Subramaniam, vice-president for sales & marketing at AMD India, private companies would like to work with the government on this. "A similar partnership was forged by AMD with the Chinese government for licensing key x86 microprocessor technology that helped them develop embedded computer solutions," he said.

Poornima Shenoy, president of Indian Semiconductor Association, said the outsourced chip design industry in India was about $8 billion currently, and most of the intellectual property rests with companies based overseas.

"History has shown that the need for defence security has sparked a chip industry in most nations," she said.
Unlike the US and China, India still does not have chip-making technology, and Zerone seeks to change that.

Initially, the land and building would be provided by the government while the company will be 80% owned by the government and 20% by employees. However, the fabrication of chips will be outsourced to a private foundry overseas, as India still does not have one.

Over the next two years, the stake is proposed to be relaxed to 49% for government, with 31% to be held by private IT hardware companies and the corporation's strategic domestic customers. The proposed company is expected to hire only Indian nationals to work on the project. 
Digital Sky Technologies values Facebook at $6.5 billion

SAN FRANCISCO: Digital Sky Technologies will pay $14.77 a share for Facebook common stock, in a deal that values the world's No. 1 Internet
social network at roughly $6.5 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The deal will allow DST to purchase common shares from Facebook employees and ex-employees, and is separate from the Russian investment firm's $200 million investment in Facebook that was announced in May.

Together, the two transactions will give DST a 3.5 percent stake in Facebook, according to the source.

A Facebook representative confirmed that the common share purchase is underway.

In a statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was pleased that the price that DST is offering is "much greater" than the price Facebook originally considered last fall in a similar program to allow employees to cash out their shares.
Startups give Google thumbs-up over Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO: Silicon Valley startups, increasingly dropping Microsoft and turning to Web-based software, may be the crucial opening  Google  needs for its Chrome operating system.

Analysts and executives say Google, which unveiled the Chrome this week in a direct challenge to Microsoft's decades-old dominance of computer operating systems and business applications, will take years to get significant share of the market, but startups might be their way in.

A growing number of tech entrepreneurs argue that Microsoft's current software is out of date and inefficient because, unlike applications that run off the Web in a "cloud" environment, they run one copy per person at a time, rather than allowing multiple users to share information.

"In a business setting you never work on things alone," said Tien Tzuo, chief executive of Zuora, a company that sells software to facilitate billing online. "The idea of sending a file back and forth is just archaic," said Tzuo. "Why not just give employees an inexpensive device that allows them to plug into the Internet?"

Microsoft's Windows nonetheless dominates. It remains the operating system software for about 95 percent of PCs, with more than 950 million copies running worldwide.

Key to Windows's success is that it offers the most applications and draws the most programmers. But startups, who thrive on low-cost efficiency, say Google's operating system, which will be free, offers superior applications. Many have already switched to Web-based software such as Google Apps for everything from email to word processing.


David Sifry, the chief executive of Offbeat Guides, which provides personalized on-line guides for 30,000 destinations, said Google Apps allow him to travel without a computer because he can access all of his applications on-line.

Also, with operating system-based applications most companies would have to maintain, update, install, costing time and money, he said. In contrast, Offbeat Guides contractors around the world collaborate online with the main office, Sifry said.

"The fact that I don't have to worry about doing technical support on their computers and software helps an extraordinary amount," he said. "Whenever Google does a bug fix it works on all of their systems, without us having to spend any effort."

Analysts estimate about 2 percent of PC users will try out the Chrome OS in its first year. Google has said it will first try to persuade the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Acer to offer its operating system in low-cost netbooks that work mostly off the Web, allowing existing individual users to switch painlessly.

But analysts are uncertain if Google's Chrome can gain rapid traction among corporations, law firms and other businesses because of the sheer cost of switching. James Siminoff, chief executive of PhoneTag, which faces direct competition from Google for software that transcribes phone messages, uses both Google and Microsoft and similarly lets his employees use any application they want. But he concedes that some Microsoft applications remain indispensable.

Both Siminoff and Sifry say they need at least a few copies of Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet software so they can exchange data with lawyers  and accountants. Chad Wilbur, a senior Quist Valuation financial analyst, said Excel enjoys "mindshare" among long-standing users.

"It's beat into you from the time you learn on a computer. All our client documents arrive in Excel format. There are no comparable products," he said. But Tzuo argues that will change.

"Sure, there are certain functions that are still only in Excel," he said, noting his finance department uses it for complex spreadsheets spanning multiple files. But every day that passes, the number of things that Excel does, that Google Spreadsheet doesn't, gets smaller and smaller."
Microsoft touts early feedback on Bing

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Monday praised its freshly-launched Bing online search engine and said it is taking a long-term approach in its
quest to break from third place behind Yahoo! and Google.

The number of people that used Bing in June for online searches was eight percent higher than the number that used its predecessor, MSN Live, in the same month last year, according to Microsoft.

Meanwhile, figures released in recent weeks by industry analytics firms reveal mixed data, leaving it unclear whether Bing is doing much to close the gaps with Yahoo! and Internet search king Google.

California-based Google's regal share of the US online search market was approximately 74 percent, stats from Compete indicate.

Yahoo! remains the second most popular search engine with about 16 percent of the US market, and Bing is third with 6.5 percent, according to Compete.

Other Internet-tracking firms report different figures, with the ranking remaining constant but conflicts emerging as to whether Bing is gaining, holding, or losing ground.

"It's really too early to tell how Bing is doing; the numbers are really mixed," said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief at, a website devoted to developments in the industry.

"Microsoft does deserve to pat itself on its back a bit. They do seem to have had some lift but it is not an extraordinary amount. An increase in visitors is not surprising given the marketing they are doing."

Microsoft is reportedly spending 80 to 100 million dollars marketing Bing but has not publicly disclosed its promotional budget.

"We're gratified to report that there has been some great interest in trying out Bing and that those experiences are yielding positive results," Microsoft senior vice president of Online Audience Business Group Yusuf Mehdi said in an online posting.

"It's been a busy month, but we're just getting started. We have a long term view, and we are committed to steady progress over the years to come."

June is the first full month the Bing "decision engine" has been live.

Microsoft said Bing is aimed at online shoppers and will initially focus on helping people make buying decisions, plan trips, research health matters, or find local businesses.

For example, people using Bing to shop online will automatically be provided product reviews, and those planning trips will get information regarding travel bargains.

Mehdi said visits to Bing Travel surged 90 percent in June and that traffic to Bing Shopping tripled during the month.

Some analysts believe Bing is more likely to lure users away from Yahoo! than Google, which is woven into people's lives so thoroughly that the company's name is used as a verb to express the act of searching the Internet.

"The next big goal for Bing is not to beat Google, but to beat Yahoo!," Sullivan said. "If they can't get to number two, then getting past there is much harder."
Facebook gets $6.5 bln valuation with share sale

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook netted a $6.5 billion valuation for its common shares on Monday, further underscoring the fast-growing Internet social
networking site's high rank among technology and media industry heavyweights.

Russia's Digital Sky Technologies said it will pay $14.77 a share for Facebook common stock, boosting its stake to as much as 3.5 percent and valuing Facebook at about $6.5 billion.

While that is below the $10 billion valuation set by Digital Sky's May investment in Facebook, which was for preferred shares, investors have been valuing the social network's common stock at less than $5 billion in secondary markets in recent weeks.

The deal suggests that Facebook has a higher market value than many established media and tech companies which generate significantly more revenue than Facebook, including CBS Corp

and, as at least one blog pointed out on Monday.

CBS, which had $13.95 billion in revenue last year, has a market capitalization of $4.06 billion and had a $4.72 billion market cap at Monday's market close.

Facebook is expected to breach $500 million in sales this year, according to board member Mark Andreessen. The company has said it expects revenue to grow 70 percent this year.

At $6.5 billion, DST is valuing Facebook common shares at 13 times expected 2009 revenue, noted JMP Securities analyst Sameet Sinha, well above the 2.2x multiple that is common for online advertising-based businesses and even the nearly 6x multiple of Google Inc, the No.1 Internet search engine in the U.S.

But Sinha said Facebook's lofty multiple was not completely out of line given the strong growth in sales and users that Facebook is generating amid a tough business environment.

"Those are the things that are really driving the valuation," Sinha said. "Essentially, people's expectations that this could be the next Google."

Facebook recently surpassed 200 million active users on its social network, up from 100 million users less than a year earlier, and vaulting it ahead of rival social network MySpace which is owned by News Corp.


Digital Sky, a Russian investment firm, bought $200 million worth of preferred shares in Facebook in May and said it would buy another $100 million worth of common shares from Facebook employees and ex-employees.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Digital Sky will pay $14.77 per common share. A representative for Digital Sky confirmed the terms, and said the tender offer begins on Monday and runs through August.

Digital Sky spokeswoman Jennifer Gill would not say whether Digital Sky would impose a cap on the amount of shares that participants can sell in the offer. The firm plans to buy up to $100 million of Facebook common stock.

In a statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was pleased that the price that DST is offering is "much greater" than the price his company originally considered last fall in a similar program to allow employees to cash out their shares.

Facebook put that plan on hold as the financial markets tanked last year.

Facebook employees and ex-employees are eligible to participate in the offer, said Gill, but she noted that Facebook senior management, board members and holders of 5 percent or more of Facebook are not eligible due to legal reasons.

When Facebook initially attempted to create a program for employees to sell shares last year, participants were limited to selling 20 percent of their holdings, or $700,000, whichever was less, according to a former Facebook employee.

In the weeks prior to Monday's pricing, investors in secondary markets had been valuing Facebook common stock between $10 and $10.50 a share, or up to $4.7 billion, according to Adam Oliveri. a managing director of SecondMarket, which provides a marketplace for trading in private shares and other illiquid assets.

In 2007, Microsoft Corp invested $240 million in Facebook preferred shares, snagging a 1.6 percent stake, though that deal also included other elements such as an advertising partnership. That deal had valued Facebook at $15 billion.
Indians buy fewer computers, sales drop 7 per cent

NEW DELHI: Slowdown-hit Indians bought fewer personal computers including notebooks and netbooks last fiscal, according to the hardware
industry's representative body.

Sales declined 7 per cent to 6.79 million units from 7.34 million units in 2007-08, the Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT) said here Tuesday.

According to MAIT, the slowdown impacted the notebook segment the most, which saw sales decreasing 17 per cent in 2008-09 as compared to an increase of 114 per cent the previous fiscal.

Desktop sales slipped 4 per cent.

"The industry expects 7-8 per cent growth this year. Consumer sentiment was subdued due to uncertainty in the economy in 2008-09," said MAIT executive director Vinnie Mehta.

"However, we expect sales to pick up this year," Mehta told reporters while releasing the annual report on the hardware industry's performance last fiscal.

Internet users in the country increased to 8.6 million in 2008-09 compared to 7.2 million in the previous year.
China bans electro-shock therapy for Internet addicts

BEIJING: China has banned electro-shock therapy as a treatment for Internet addiction, citing uncertainty in the safety and effectiveness of
the practice after criticism in the local media.

The Ministry of Health announcement followed recent media reports about a controversial psychiatrist in Linyi, Shandong Province, who administered electric currents to nearly 3,000 teenagers in an attempt to rid them of their Internet habit.

The Chinese government has led a campaign for over a year against Internet addiction, saying young people's excessive time in Internet cafes, known as Web bars in Chinese, is hurting their studies and damaging family life.

"Electroshock therapy for Internet addiction...has no foundation in clinical research or evidence and therefore is not appropriate for clinical application," read the notice, posted on the ministry website.

The world's most populous country also has the world's largest Internet population, with almost 300 million users at the end of last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre.

Problems caused by Internet over-use are also on the rise, especially among young Chinese seeking an escape from the heavy burden of parental expectations. There are over 200 organisations offering treatment for Internet disorders in China.

The developer of the "electric impact therapy" is Doctor Yang Yongxin, also known as "Uncle Yang," who runs a boot camp called the Internet Addiction Treatment Centre at Linyi Mental Hospital, the China Youth Daily said.

Patients are given psychotropic drugs as well as electro-shocks, at a cost of 5,500 yuan ($805) a month.

Strictly trained in military ways and accompanied by their parents, the young patients are prohibited from outside contact.

Most of them were sent to the hospital by force, the China Youth Daily added.

Neither Yang nor his six colleagues at the camp were qualified psychotherapists, it said.
Infosys not to have co-chairman, post-Nilekani

BANGALORE: IT bellwether Infosys Technologies will not have a co-chairman after Nandan M Nilekani resigned from the post, a top official of the
IT bellwether said on Friday.

"There will be no co-chairman for now as there is no other change in the board. Though it is difficult to fill the void left by Nandan, there is no dearth of leadership in the company. His executive powers and responsibilities will be distributed among others on the board," Infosys chief executive and managing director Kris Gopalakrishnan told reporters here.

Nilekani bid adieu Thursday to the company he co-founded with chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy and four others 28 years ago.

He has been appointed as chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) project by the central government.

"We are confident of managing the transition as we did before when Murthy handed over the baton to Nilekeni in 2002. He has been an integral part of the company for nearly three decades," Gopalakrishnan said at a media conference on the company's financial performance in the first quarter this fiscal.

Admitting that Nilekani will be missed by the board as well as thousands of its employees, the chief executive said the former co-chairman had been the face of the company and was extensively involved in branding exercise globally.

"Now, we will have to travel a lot more to make up for Nandan's absence and work for marquee clients he has been engaging," Gopalakrishnan added.
Siemens IT arm lays off 128 staff; Union says it is 500

NEW DELHI: IT firm Siemens Information Systems, a unit of German conglomerate Siemens, today said it has laid off 128 employees as part of its
cost cutting measures, debunking union's claim that 500 employees had lost jobs.

The IT-ITeS union UNITES India said the number of employees laid off by the company could be around 500. It added that Siemens is laying off its employees in Bangalore violating the Industrial Dispute Act.

When contacted SISL spokesperson said, "As a part of our cost-cutting initiatives, we have released only 128 employees from one of the business units."

UNITES Professionals India General Secretary Karthik Shekhar said, "The figures provided by the company does not include the number of employees who were on contract. In the last one month, the company has laid off more than 128 employees."

SISL has over 5,500 employees in the country. The union has also written to the headquarters of the firm in Germany.

About compensating the employees, the company said it has already compensated the affected employees higher than the contractual terms.
Israeli cos in talks with TCS, Wipro, Infosys for IT deals

BANGALORE: With the virtual stampede to tap the US and European markets having thinned following recessionary pressures, Israeli hi-tech firms
are now focusing on emerging markets such as India and China.

Many mid-segment companies are in talks with Indian IT giants, such as TCS, Wipro and Infosys for contracts, especially in e-governance projects. "The global economic crisis has shown Israel that the future lies not only in the US and European markets, which are its traditional focus zones, but in the Indian and Chinese markets, which are growing," consul general of Israel Orna Sagiv said.

Trade between the two countries stood at $4 billion in 2008, up from $3.3 billion in 2007. Israeli exports were at $2.4 billion, while Indian exports stood at $1.6 billion. Some Israeli companies, such as Pegasus Technologies, which provides digital pens and solutions, will be tying up with retail chains in India, said Tal Atzmon, vice-president, business development.
Intelenet bags $300-mn deal from US healthcare co

MUMBAI: Nearly two years after private equity firm Blackstone acquired BPO, Intelenet Global Services, the back-office processor is starting to
see some big outsourcing contracts from the PE player's portfolio companies.

The BPO firm has won a multi-million dollar contract from a healthcare provider in the US, which is a Blackstone investee company. The contract is the second-largest for Intelenet after its number one customer Barclays, according to sources close to the development.

ET had reported that this was one of the sweeteners to the deal when the management-led buyout of Intelenet was done in June 2007. Follow-on business contracts and acquisition opportunities are some of the benefits that a large PE investor like Blackstone brings.

"Blackstone holds a significant stake in the company that has outsourced work to Intelenet. It is one of the largest healthcare providers in the US and does work with patients and insurance providers," said one of sources familiar with the details. The contract is between $250-$300 million and spread over a period of seven years, he said.

When contacted, Intelenet officials refused to confirm or deny the development. The contract will also give the BPO firm a presence in the healthcare segment, which is impacted to a lesser extent by the recession compared with financial services.

Apart from this, its dependency on Barclays will come down to 25% of its revenues, said the source quoted earlier. At the time of the Blackstone acquisition, Barclays, which was a stakeholder, contributed close to 60% of Intelenet's revenues.

"There could be more such deals in the pipeline. There is enormous pressure on companies in the US to cut costs because of the slowdown," said another person close to the company. He said the healthcare provider would save around 65% of its existing costs because of consolidating its back-office operations and outsourcing them.

"There are at least 5-6 more such contracts that are expected to come to Intelenet in healthcare segment, although they may not be as large," said the same person.

The healthcare provider is in the business of providing facilities such as wheelchairs and oxygen cylinders to patients, and needs to liaison with both hospitals and insurance providers for its business.

A good amount of the back office processing involved such as raising invoices or contacting patients and hospitals will now be handled by Intelenet. The work also includes a voice component, the sources said.

Earlier, Intelenet had acquired two Blackstone companies, Upstream and Travelport ISO, but this is the first major business contract it has won from a Blackstone portfolio company.
Recession proves good for Indian outsourcing firms

BANGALORE: In a year when outsourcing of application development and maintenance projects has slowed down, top customers such as Bank of America,
JPMorgan and Citibank continue to send more back office projects to India, as they seek to lower their cost of operations by up to 40%.

According to Nasscom, India's back office outsourcing industry will grow at 18.4% this year to reach $14.8 billion. Outsourcing of IT services will clock a lower growth at around 13.5% this year, and could even decline to single digit growth if the situation does not improve.

"The Indian BPO industry is likely to maintain double digit growth rate as most of the work done by them is 'keeping the lights on' or non-discretionary ," said Everest Group principal & country head Gaurav Gupta.

The current recession is forcing companies from other verticals such as media, entertainment, healthcare, energy and utilities to consider outsourcing of back office work.

"BPO business is largely annuity in nature where the contracts are for a longer term making it slightly more immune from economic recession," said Intelenet EVP Sandeep Aggarwal says. "A CFO is constantly looking at gaining control on the cost structure," said Gartner senior research analyst Arup Roy.

According to a Gartner study released in April, 2009, Indian BPO providers have proved to be stiff competition to western BPO providers, accounting for 5% of market revenue generated among the top 150 providers in 2008.

Gartner expects this increase in revenue to be maintained, with the BPO market share of Indian vendors expected to nearly double by 2010.Meanwhile, Infosys BPO CEO Amitabh Chaudhry said that the BPO growth story is primarily driven by captive outsourcing.

Captives have not stopped outsourcing, they have in fact increased their pie," he said.
Infosys Technologies nets $10-mn Intel pilot project

BANGALORE: Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, has awarded a pilot outsourcing contract to Infosys Technologies worth $10 million currently, which could evolve into a $100-million engagement for India's second biggest software exporter that is seeking to grow its revenues from customers such as BP (British Petroleum ), Intel and Telstra.

"Infosys has been working on this account for more than a year, while it is a small deal now — it surely can evolve into a much bigger engagement," said a New York-based person familiar with the contract. He requested anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media about this transaction.

Intel is not alone in pursuing outsourcing contracts with Indian offshore companies. In April this year, world's biggest software firm Microsoft announced a five-year, $170-million outsourcing contract with HCL Technologies for supporting its online services business. Large technology companies including Intel and Cisco are under tremendous pressure to reduce operational costs, and outsourcing of non-core activities can result up to 20-30 % savings.
Tata Communications to manage MTS call centres

Honda Motor Co plans to launch its CR-Z hybrid sports car in February next year, as it aims to bring more hybrid models to market quickly to tap growing demand.

Honda, Japan's No.2 automaker, also plans to launch its Fit Hybrid compact model in Japan by the end of 2010, Takanobu Ito, who took over as CEO last month, said in an interview with select media.

Sales of Honda's Insight flagship hybrid car have far outpaced Honda's monthly target of 5,000 units in Japan since its launch in February.

Honda is counting on the new Insight to support demand even as it expects its global car sales to fall 8.7 percent this year.

Analysts are watching to see how the Insight fares overseas, especially against Toyota Motor Corp's Prius, which is more spacious, fuel-efficient and costs just $2,000 more than the Insight.

Honda, which is developing a new hybrid system for use on mid- to large-size vehicles, said production of the Insight began on the No.3 line at its Suzuka factory in mid-June, on top of production at Suzuka's No.1 line.

Honda is the only top-three Japanese automaker to have escaped a loss last year, and has forecast a 95 percent drop in operating profit to 10 billion yen ($108 million) for the financial year to March 2010.
Oil markets to 'turn positive' in 2010: OPEC

VIENNA: World oil demand is "settling down" this year in line with the global economy and is expected to "turn positive in 2010," the OPEC oil
producers' cartel said on Tuesday.

"World oil demand is settling down in line with the current world economic situation," the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wrote in its latest monthly report.

And "after two consecutive years of negative growth ... world oil demand is expected to turn positive in 2010. (It) is projected to show a moderate increase of 0.5 million barrels per day (bpd)" or 0.59 percent to 84.34 million bpd.

For this year, OPEC estimated that demand would contract by 1.65 million barrels per day (bpd) or 1.93 percent -- only a marginal downward revision from its earlier forecast.

In its previous monthly bulletin released in June, OPEC had been pencilling in a contraction of 1.62 million bpd or 1.89 percent for 2009.

Next year, "the bulk of the recovery in oil demand is projected to be seen in the second half of the year when the global economic rebound strengthens," the report continued.

Growth was expected to come mostly from developing economies such as China, India, the Middle East and Latin America.

Demand for industrial fuel was expected to remain weak, with transportation fuels making up most of the increase.

Oil demand in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer, "will remain as a wild card in 2010 given the uncertainty about the pace of the economic recovery," OPEC cautioned.

"Oil prices, taxes, and removal of retail price subsidies will also impact demand and could lead to further downward revisions."

Nevertheless, if the US were to experience a stronger and more rapid economic recovery than currently expected, "then oil demand could see higher growth," it added.
Indian origin researchers develop equations to prevent car crashes

Sydney, July 14 (IANS) A set of algorithms developed by Indian origin researchers will enable robotic cars to communicate with one another and avoid collisions.

Bhibhya Sharma of the University of South Pacific, headquartered in Fiji, who led the research, said that the series of equations would instruct robotic cars when and how to merge lanes, which could lead to fewer accidents and ease traffic congestion.

Flocking is a biologically inspired technique and a strategy commonly used in robotics. 'One of the advantages of flocking is that robots can work together and achieve what would take individuals far longer,' he said.

He further explained that each car will be controlled by a centralized brain guided by a series of algorithms to control the car. The brains will talk to each other and instruct the cars to merge lanes and move in formation together.

The team demonstrated the technique using computer simulation and is currently testing it in two wheel robots.

Fellow researcher Utesh Chand said that the cars have targets they move towards and maintain and when the cars find themselves in a merging situation, one of them will be given the position of leader, the rest will follow.

The team has written equations for attraction towards the target, enabling cars to stay inside their lanes and avoid crashing into each other. The challenge now is to allow the robot to automatically plan how to avoid crashing with the side of the road and cars travelling close by.

Sharma and Chand presented these findings at the first Rim Mathematical Association (PRIMA) conference in Sydney, said a University of South Pacific release.

Indo Asian News Service
Why do taller guys end up earning more?

Sydney, July 14 (IANS) Taller men are able to earn more than their shorter counterparts simply because they are perceived as being more intelligent and powerful, according to a new study.

The study 'Does size matter' used newly available data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to estimate the relationship between hourly wages and two aspects of body size: height and body mass index (BMI).

It finds that taller people, particularly men, earn more money -- with every five cm of height being worth about $950 per annum.

'Our estimates suggest that if the average man of about 178 cm gains an additional five cm in height, he would be able to earn an extra $950 per year -- which is approximately equal to the wage gain from one extra year of labour market experience,' explained study co-author Andrew Leigh, professor, Australian National University (ANU).

The study also finds that while there are wage returns to height, there are no systematic wage penalties to having a higher body mass index (BMI), said an ANU release.

'We began the project with a primary interest in whether overweight people were paid less, but eventually realised that the most interesting thing in the data is the relationship between height and wages,' Leigh added.

These findings were published in The Economic Record.

Indo Asian News Service
Is honesty a by-product of lack of temptation?

Washington, July 14 (IANS) Is honesty or truthfulness a by-product of lack of temptation? In a recent study, Harvard psychologists looked at the brain activity of people given the chance to gain money dishonestly by lying.

The study was designed to test the 'Will' theory that postulates honesty is a by-product of active resistance to temptation, and 'Grace' theory in which honesty stems from a lack of temptation.

Using neuroimaging, the researchers found that honest people showed no additional activity when telling the truth. However, those who behaved dishonestly, even while telling the truth, showed additional activity in brain regions that involve control and attention.

The results suggest that the 'Grace' theory is true, because the honest participants did not show any additional brain activity when telling the truth.

'Being honest is not so much a matter of exercising willpower as it is being disposed to behave honestly in a more effortless kind of way,' said Joshua Greene, psychologist at Harvard University.

To prompt participants to lie, they created a cover story about the focus of their study -- paranormal ability to predict the future.

Participants were told to predict the outcomes of a series of coin tosses, and were told that the researchers believed predicting the future was more likely when given a monetary incentive and when the prediction wasn't shared in advance of the outcome.

This gave the participants the opportunity to lie and say that they had correctly predicted the coin toss to win the money.

Individuals who reported improbably high levels of accuracy were classified as dishonest, and participants reporting statistically feasible levels of accuracy were classified as honest.

Using fMRI, Greene found that the honest individuals displayed little to no additional brain activity when reporting their prediction of the coin toss, said a Harvard release.

However, dishonest participants' brains were most active in control-related brain regions when they chose not to lie.

The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Indo Asian News Service
Google Street View extending coverage to off-road spots like Stonehenge

London, July 14 (ANI): Internet road mapping service Google Street View is now starting to cover areas like Stonehenge, which are far away from driving routes.

Rickshaw-style tricycles, carrying 3-D cameras, will be used to film several popular off-road spots, including Loch Ness and the Angel of the North, reports the Telegraph.

Street View allows web users to "walk" along streets, exploring 360-degree images recorded from eye level.

People in 25 British towns and cities can access 360-degree views of roads and homes via this application.

Street View also includes photographs of millions of residential addresses, people and cars.

It has been hailed as a helpful tool for home hunters and would-be tourists. (ANI)
Computer hackers can use power sockets to spy on what you're typing

London, July 14 (ANI): Computer hackers can use power sockets to scout what people are typing, warn experts.

Researchers Andrea Barisani and Daniele Bianco, of Inverse Path, have revealed that poor shielding on some keyboard cables can allow hackers to identify each character typed on a computer.

According to the BBC, the information passed along cables connecting keyboards to desktop PCs is leaked onto power circuits.

"Our goal is to show that information leaks in the most unexpected ways and can be retrieved," the Telegraph quoted the researchers as saying.

During the study, the research focused on the cables used to connect a type of keyboard, called a PS/2, to desktop PCs.

They found that six wires inside a PS/2 cable were typically "close to each other and poorly shielded", thus information travelling along the data wire, when a key is pressed, leaks onto the earth wire in the same cable.

The study said that picking up the voltage changes, which identify each keystroke, was made easier because data travels along PS/2 cables one bit at a time. (ANI)
What CEOs Don't Know About Cybersecurity

Being the chief executive has its privileges. And one of them may be a blissful ignorance of your company's data breach risks.

According to a study to be released Tuesday by the privacy-focused Ponemon Institute, companies' chief executives tend to value cybersecurity just as--if not more--highly than their executive colleagues. But compared to lower-level execs, CEOs also tend to underestimate the frequency of cyberthreats their organization faces.

The survey, which was funded by cybersecurity firm Ounce Labs, asked 213 senior executives about their perceptions of data breach risks. Among those respondents, just 17% of CEOs said their company faced attempts by cybercriminals to steal data at least once every hour, compared with 33% of other executives. By contrast, nearly 50% of CEOs said their company experienced an attack "rarely"--less than once a week--while only 32% percent of other executives reported the same frequency of cyberthreats.

That disconnect, says Ponemon founder and lead researcher Larry Ponemon, isn't a matter of CEOs not valuing cybersecurity. On the contrary, about 77% of chief execs said that preventing cyber attacks and insider data theft was "important or very important" compared with just 51% of other respondents.

But Ponemon says that CEOs' staffs may not tell them the full extent of a company's data risks. "Even in the most transparent of companies, there's a bit of hesitance to give the CEO a report of vulnerabilities or even small breaches," says Ponemon. "We don't know how much filtering of bad news happens that keeps CEOs from hearing some of the darker secrets."

There's plenty of evidence to support the views of the survey's more paranoid respondents. Cybersecurity firms, such as Finland's F-Secure, detect more than 20,000 new variations of malicious software churned out by hackers every day. In fact, the rate of publicly known data breaches has been steadily rising for years, with 646 breaches recorded in 2008, a 46% increase over 2007, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.

In January, Princeton, N.J.-based payment processor Heartland Payment Systems revealed that it had been the victim of a cybercriminal operation that had gained access to as many as 100 million credit card numbers, potentially the largest data breach of all time.

Despite that sort of high-profile hack, the CEOs interviewed in Ponemon's survey seemed especially unconcerned about cybercrime as a source of data breaches. While 31% named stolen PCs or thumb drives as a source of data loss, only 3% cited malicious hackers as the top threat for their company's data security--about a fifth as many as the lower level employees who cited cybercriminals as the most important threat.
Online admission merit list to be out today

After two weeks of online application, as students gear up
to check their names in the general merit list for admissions to junior colleges that will be declared on Tuesday, there were still approximately 7,000 students who had not yet submitted their online applications on the website by Monday evening. As a result, all those students who submitted their forms at the submission centres on Monday, will be considered for admissions in the second merit list and not included in the first round. Â

While many of these students had already taken admission through minority quota in colleges and hence did not submit application in other colleges, there were still some who had filled up forms but did not care to submit their forms and make sure that they were accepted by Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Ltd (MKCL) till they were intimated by MKCL on Monday through SMSes. Most of these students are from outside Mumbai.

Despite the education department extending the deadline for online application, students came into submission centres as late as Monday to submit their filled-up forms.

Mayur Gaikwad, a student from Nagpur who came to submit his form to Hinduja College, Charni Road, said he could not do so earlier because he had not got his school leaving certificate. Around 20 students like Gaikwad came to Hinduja College on Monday to submit their forms. T Shiware, principal of Hinduja College said, "We tried to submit the forms online on Monday, however, the link to do so on the website was deactivated. We have been instructed by the Deputy Director of Education to consider new submissions for the second round of admissions." The link to submit forms online is likely to be activated before the second merit list is displayed.

V Wankhede, Deputy Director of Education, Mumbai said, "We sent text messages to students asking them to submit forms on Monday. Several students out of the 7,000 had secured admission in minority quota or the management quota and did not bother to submit the forms."

The merit list will be available at the respective submission centres, the college where the student has been allotted a seat and on the MKCL website on Tuesday at 1 pm. The student should contact the college in which his name appears in the first merit list according to his marks and confirm his admission. It is mandatory for every student to confirm his admission. A student who fails to secure admission in allocated college will be out of the admission process. If a student's name comes in the merit list of two streams, then the student can take admission only for one stream and his name will be automatically deleted from the other stream. If a student takes admission according to the first merit list and gets into the second or third merit list of another college, which is preferentially above the college where he has already taken admission, the student can cancel his admission. Students can use the betterment option only once.

The admission forms will be issued to students free of charge.
Microsoft takes on Google as Office moves to Web

Microsoft Corp will release three versions of its dominant Office software that users can access over the Web, catching up with products that rival Google Inc launched three years ago.

The news helped send shares in the world's largest software maker up 2.7 percent by midday, more than double the gain in the Nasdaq Composite Index.

It is the latest salvo in an intensifying war between Microsoft and Google. Google announced plans last week to challenge Windows with a free operating system. Microsoft introduced a new search engine, Bing, last month.

"Microsoft is finally making the conversion through the Web-based world. First, we saw that through Bing. Now we are seeing that through Office," said Jefferies & Co analyst Katherine Egbert.

Microsoft will offer for free to consumers Web-based versions of its Office suite of programs, including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a note-taking program.

Microsoft will also host one Internet business version of Office at its own data centers, charging companies a yet-to- be-announced fee. Companies with premium service contracts will have the choice of running a second Web-based version from their own data centers at no extra cost.

The company hopes to make money by using the free software to lead users to its ad-supported websites, including Bing. Analysts have said that Bing's early signs of success suggest Microsoft may be rounding the corner in efforts to turn around its money-losing Internet division.

Still, a free version of Office could hurt sales of Microsoft's top-selling and most profitable unit. One of Office's most popular titles is a home version that sells for $150. It includes the four programs that Microsoft will give away.

"Microsoft is in a tough spot. Their competition isn't just undercutting them. They are giving away the competitive product," said Sheri McLeish, an analyst with Forrester Research.

The Office division rang up operating profit of $9.3 billion on sales of $14.3 billion in the first three quarters of the software maker's current fiscal year.

McLeish expects Microsoft to overtake Google in the market as the hundreds of millions of people who use Office flock to try out the Internet version.

Microsoft will release the web offerings when it starts selling Office 2010, it next major release of the product, sometime in the first half of next year. Its current version came out in January 2007.

The software maker unveiled an early release on Monday at a conference for business partners in New Orleans. It will be distributed to tens of thousands of testers.

Company spokeswoman Janice Kapner said the free Web version will provide "a very rich experience" and probably have more functionality than Google.

Office 2010 is among a wave of upgrades to Microsoft programs planned over the next year. A new version of its ubiquitous Windows operating system is coming out in October and a new version of its widely used email server is also in the works.

Microsoft shares rose 2.7 percent to $23, while the Nasdaq was up 1.2 percent at 1777.50
Govt may offer funding to Air India

India is considering injecting funds into ailing national carrier Air India by way of equity and debt as an initial public offer is unlikely at present, the civil aviation minister said on Tuesday.

State-owned National Aviation Co of India Ltd (Nacil), which operates Air India, has been struggling amid high costs of operations and has sought a government bailout.

Minister Praful Patel said in a statement to parliament that the accumulated loss of the company at end March was about 72 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) and government help was needed.

"The government, in the past, has never assisted Air India, unlike governments in other countries assisted their airlines when in difficulty," Patel said, adding that an initial public offer could not be possible amid negative market conditions.

"It is in this background that an equity infusion and soft loan by the government as a measure of softening the adverse financial situation is contemplated," he said.
First dengue case this year in capital from south Delhi

New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) The national capital has reported the first case of dengue this year with a 27-year-old man from south Delhi testing positive for the disease. Naval Kishore, a resident of Malavya Nagar, was admitted to Fortis Hospital on July seven after showing symptoms of dengue, N K Yadav, Municipal Health Officer of MCD, said today.

"He was tested positive on Saturday but has since been discharged from hospital as he has shown improvement," Yadav told PTI. He said fogging was conducted in Malavya Nagar. This is the first case of dengue in the capital this year.

The city reported two deaths and over a 1,000 cases of dengue last year. After Kishore tested positive for dengue, authorities had collected blood samples of other members of his family.

The New Delhi Municipal Council and MCD have initiated a series of measures to prevent outbreak of such diseases. The NDMC has written to authorities in all high-rise buildings, RWAs and market associations in areas under its jurisdiction on the do''s and don''ts to prevent mosquito breeding.

The MCD has also written letters to all government offices to take measures to check breeding, officials said. Over 3,000 domestic breeding checkers have been deployed by the MCD to undertake up house-to-house inspection.

Spraying of insecticides has also been started in various parts of the city.
India bag three medals in Wrestling tournament in Spain<