19.4.14

India & France to start 10 day joint Air exercise 'Garuda-5' from June 3



Photo: India & France to start 10 day joint Air exercise 'Garuda-5' from June 3
India and France will start a ten-day joint Air exercise 'Garuda-5' from June 3rd. The exercise aims at training the pilots and crew of Indian and French fighters in air superiority operations. IAF sources said the exercise will be done in Rajasthan's Jodhpur airbase.
Both the Indian Air Force and French Air Force will be engaged in various missions ranging from close combat engagement of large forces, slow mover protection, and protecting and engaging high-value aerial assets in the exercise.
Air to air refuelling, basic and advanced fighter interceptions and group combat manoeuvring will be the main focus of the exercise.
India and France will start a ten-day joint Air exercise 'Garuda-5' from June 3rd. The exercise aims at training the pilots and crew of Indian and French fighters in air superiority operations. IAF sources said the exercise will be done in Rajasthan's Jodhpur airbase.

Microsoft most attractive employer; Sony India second:Randstad



Photo: Microsoft most attractive employer; Sony India second:Randstad
Global software major Microsoft is the 'most attractive employer' in India, while IT, telecom and ITes are the most preferred sectors by the workforce, a survey by HR services firm Randstad said.
Microsoft emerged as the 'most attractive employer' in the survey for the fourth year in a row.  Sony India is next most attractive employer. According to the surrey, Larsen & Toubro is the most attractive employer in the infrastructure industry, State Bank of India in the banking sector, Taj Group in the hospitality and Tata Power in the energy sector.
Global software major Microsoft is the 'most attractive employer' in India, while IT, telecom and ITes are the most preferred sectors by the workforce, a survey by HR services firm Randstad said.

India-born poet Vijay Seshadri wins the 2014 Pulitzer Prize



Photo: India-born poet Vijay Seshadri wins the 2014 Pulitzer Prize
India-born poet Vijay Seshadri has won the prestigious 2014 Pulitzer Prize in the poetry category for his witty and philosophical collection of poems while The Washington Post and Guardian were awarded for their reports on America's secret global surveillance programmes.
Seshadri won the Pulitzer, considered the most prestigious awards in journalism, for his work '3 Sections' which is a "compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless."
The 98th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board, were announced yesterday by Columbia University. A Columbia University alum, Seshadri, 60, would receive a USD 10,000 prize. Born in Bangalore in 1954, Seshadri came to America at the age of five and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He became the fifth person of Indian-origin to bag the prestigious prize.
India-born poet Vijay Seshadri has won the prestigious 2014 Pulitzer Prize in the poetry category for his witty and philosophical collection of poems while The Washington Post and Guardian were awarded for their reports on America's secret global surveillance programmes.

18.4.14

Admiral R K Dhowan is new Navy Chief



Photo: Admiral R K Dhowan is new Navy Chief
Admiral R K Dhowan today took over as Navy Chief. He has been serving as the  acting Chief of Naval Staff since 26th February this year after the incumbent, D K Joshi resigned owning moral responsibility for naval accidents. Defence Minister A K Antony had recommended the name of Admiral Dhowan. He will have a tenure of 25 months, retiring in May 2016.
A Defence Ministry release issued in New Delhi said Admiral Dhowan, a navigation and direction specialist, has commanded frontline warships INS Khukri, Ranjit and Delhi. He has also served as Chief Staff Officer (Operations) Headquarters Western Naval Command. 
He has commanded the Eastern Fleet as Flag Officer and served as Chief of Staff at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam. Admiral Dhowan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy.
Admiral R K Dhowan today took over as Navy Chief. He has been serving as the  acting Chief of Naval Staff since 26th February this year after the incumbent, D K Joshi resigned owning moral responsibility for naval accidents. Defence Minister A K Antony had recommended the name of Admiral Dhowan. He will have a tenure of 25 months, retiring in May 2016.

CAG empowered to audit private telecom companies: SC



Photo: CAG empowered to audit private telecom companies: SC
The Supreme Court today said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), is empowered to audit private telecom companies. 
A two-judge bench, comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Vikramjit Sen held that private companies utilize spectrum, which is national wealth, in providing the services and so their profit-loss accounts could be looked into by the CAG.
The Delhi High Court had in January this year upheld the validity of laws empowering CAG to conduct revenue audits of private telecom firms. Private telecom companies and Cellular Operators Association of India had challenged the Delhi High Court order.
The Centre had argued that in private-public partnership ventures, the revenue generated by the licencees is required to be shared with the Union government in line with the licencing agreements.  Telecom companies pay a portion of their revenue as licence fee to the government. 
The CAG had initiated an audit after TRAI found that some telecom operators were allegedly under-reporting income to avoid paying revenue share to the Government.
The Supreme Court today said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), is empowered to audit private telecom companies.

11.4.14

Gavaskar appoints HDFC chairman as his special advisor for 7th edition of IPL



Photo: Gavaskar appoints HDFC chairman as his special advisor for 7th edition of IPL
The Interim President of BCCI-IPL Sunil Gavaskar today appointed Housing  Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) chairman Deepak Parekh as his special advisor for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League.
Parekh will be a special invitee during the IPL governing council meeting as his vast expertise in financial affairs will enable Gavaskar to ensure smooth functioning of IPL affairs for the next two months.
Former India opener Gavaskar was appointed the interim president of the BCCI-IPL following a direction from Supreme Court as N Srinivasan was asked to step aside from his post pending the completion of the IPL spot-fixing enquiry.
The Interim President of BCCI-IPL Sunil Gavaskar today appointed Housing  Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) chairman Deepak Parekh as his special advisor for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League.

R.M. Lodha to be the 41st Chief Justice of India



Photo: R.M. Lodha to be the 41st Chief Justice of India
In exercise of the powers conferred by  clause (2) of article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from 27th April, 2014. 
Bio-data of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha 

 Born on September 28, 1949 at Jodhpur.
 Son of Justice S.K. Mal Lodha, former Judge of Rajasthan High Court.
 Enrolled with Bar Council of Rajasthan in February, 1973.
 Practiced Law in the Rajasthan High Court and dealt with all branches of law; Constitutional, civil, company, Criminal, Taxation, Labour, etc.
 Elevated as a Permanent Judge of Rajasthan High Court on January 31, 1994.
 Transferred to Bombay High Court where he assumed office on February 16, 1994.
 As a Judge, Bombay High Court for thirteen years, he sat on almost all jurisdictions.
 Sworn in as Chief Justice, Patna High Court on 13th May, 2008.
 Elevated as a Judge of Supreme Court of India on 17th December, 2008.
 Executive Chairman, National Legal Services Authority.
 Member, General Council, National Law University, Jodhpur.
 Member, Governing Council, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal.
 President, Supreme Court [Middle Income Group] Legal Aid Society.
 Chairperson, Advisory Committee, National Court Management Systems.
In exercise of the powers conferred by  clause (2) of article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from 27th April, 2014.

10.4.14

Cyclone Ita: Queensland braces for category five storm



Photo: Cyclone Ita: Queensland braces for category five storm
The Australian state of Queensland is bracing for the arrival of Cyclone Ita, a category five storm set to hit its far north coast. The storm is expected to hit the Cape York peninsula late tomorrow night, bringing very destructive winds. It was expected to bring damaging waves to some low-lying areas, the Bureau of Meteorology said, and heavy rain could cause flooding. It is the strongest storm to hit since Cyclone Yasi, which struck in 2011.
The Australian state of Queensland is bracing for the arrival of Cyclone Ita, a category five storm set to hit its far north coast.

Sachin is first Indian on Wisden cover



Photo: Sachin is first Indian on Wisden cover
Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who quit international cricket last year after an illustrious 24-year long career, adorns the cover of the 151st edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.
The 40-year-old cricketer is the first Indian to feature on the cover of the Almanack. He was earlier chosen to feature on the cover of the second edition of the Wisden India Almanack.
The yellow page shows Tendulkar walking out of the Wankhede stadium after playing his last innings against the West Indies in November last year. The photograph captured
Tendulkar acknowledging the crowd with his bat raised. The 2014 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack will be published in London tomorrow. Shikhar Dhawan has been named as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year,by Wisden for his performance in 2013.  The 28-year-old Dhawan was the highest run-scorer during India's triumph in the ICC Champions Trophy, amassing 363 runs in five ODIs at an average of 90.75.
Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who quit international cricket last year after an illustrious 24-year long career, adorns the cover of the 151st edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

WB President calls for reforms to spur growth in Indian economy



Photo: WB President calls for reforms to spur growth in Indian economy
The World Bank President Jim Young Kim said today in Washington that the private sector strongly feels that India is a difficult place to do business due to many regulations. He called for necessary reforms to create a better environment and spur growth. The World Bank President told journalists at a round table with media representatives from eight countries that the Indian government, especially the leadership knows it very well and they're moving in a direction to try to improve that. The media representatives from India, China, Mexico,Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Africa and Tunisia took part in the round table held on the sidelines of the annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank..
Kim was highly appreciative of the top Indian leadership including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
He was also appreciative of Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan. Kim said all of them were well aware of the difficulties and what needs to be done to address such challenges. Noting that India is very focused on improving its educational system, he said that investing in human beings, improving health outcomes and investing in education, is extremely important for economic growth. Kim said he is working with the Indian government on ideas to improve their healthcare system.
The World Bank President Jim Young Kim said today in Washington that the private sector strongly feels that India is a difficult place to do business due to many regulations.

India second among world tea producers: Dubai Tea Forum



 Photo: India second among world tea producers: Dubai Tea Forum
More than three billion cups of tea are served every day around the world and a large share comes from the developing world and the emerging economies. This too despite stiff competition from beverages like Coffee and aerated drinks.  The estimates came to light at the ongoing Global Dubai tea forum. Four countries produce approximately 70% of the world’s tea with India at the second place contributing around 9,80,000 tonnes every year which amounts to 20 percent of the total tea production. 
China occupies the first place with 1.64 billion tonnes yield per annum contributing to 35 per cent of the overall tea production. Kenya and Sri Lanka follow next. However, in terms of exports, Kenya tops the ratings with 396,000 tonnes tea export annually, Sri Lanka comes next followed by China and India.  India exported 203,000 tonnes of tea last year. The representative of United Planters Association of Southern India, UPASI, Sanjith Kumar told AIR in Dubai that Indians are the largest consumers of the tea, which limits the export options. More than 300 delegates including the producers, suppliers, manufacturers, exporters, importers and ancillary industries are taking part in the sixth edition of Global Dubai Tea forum.

More than three billion cups of tea are served every day around the world and a large share comes from the developing world and the emerging economies.

WB projects economic growth rate of 5.7% for India in 2015 fiscal



Photo: WB projects economic growth rate of 5.7% for India in 2015 fiscal
The World Bank on Wednesday projected an economic growth rate of 5.7 per cent in fiscal year 2015 for India on the back of a more competitive exchange rate and many large investments going forward. The World Bank said in its latest edition of 'South Asia Economic Focus ' that bolstered by permanently more competitive exchange rate and progress towards clearance of important investment projects, India may see an acceleration of growth (factor costs)in FY 2014 to 4.8 per cent, further increase to 5.7 per cent in FY 2015.
Another multilateral agency , the Internatonal Monetary Fund (IMF) had yesterday forecast that Indian economy would recover from 4.4 per cent growth in2013 to 5.4 per cent in 2014. The estimate triggered a rally on Indian bourses, with BSE benchmark Sensex surging close to 360 points to all-time closing high of 22,702.34. The Indian rupee, which plunged to all-time low of 68.85 in August last year, has since then recovered to trade in 60-levels against the US dollar. The IMF had also cited export competitiveness as a reason for possible growth recovery.
The World Bank on Wednesday projected an economic growth rate of 5.7 per cent in fiscal year 2015 for India on the back of a more competitive exchange rate and many large investments going forward.

Belt to protect against gamma radiation in case of nuclear incident developed



Photo: Belt to protect against gamma radiation in case of nuclear incident developed
A body belt that protects people from the worst effects of gamma radiation has been developed by an Israeli company.  The device, called Stemrad 360 Gamma, could be a real boon for the emergency services in case of a nuclear incident. The belt weighs just over 15 kilos is wearable for most people. 
Oren Milstein, the co-founder of Stemrad said the belt may look simplistic on the outside but the structure inside is three-dimensional and very unique.
A body belt that protects people from the worst effects of gamma radiation has been developed by an Israeli company.

Swiss pilot unveils solar-powered plane to fly around world next year



Photo: Swiss pilot unveils solar-powered plane to fly around world next year
A Swiss pilot unveiled on Wednesday, what could be a history-making aircraft. It is designed to fly around the globe powered only by the sun.  The Solar Impulse 2 will begin test flights next month in preparation for a planned around-the-world trip next year. The plane has the same wingspan as a jumbo passenger jet. 
But only weighs about the same as a large car. Solar Impulse 2 is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells, grabbing energy from the sun and storing it in batteries.  The plane is an updated model of a solar-powered aircraft built five years ago and flown across the United States last year.
A Swiss pilot unveiled on Wednesday, what could be a history-making aircraft. It is designed to fly around the globe powered only by the sun.

Berlin architects give Nobel Foundation a home in over 100 years



Photo: Berlin architects give Nobel Foundation a home in over 100 years
The Nobel Foundation unveiled on Wednesday, the winning design for a building that will give the world's most prestigious prize a home for the first time in its 100-plus-year history.
The Foundation hopes to inaugurate the 25,000-square-metre building in 2018, when it is expected to house nearly all its activities, including the Nobel Prize ceremony and the Nobel museum.
Nobel Foundation executive director Lars Heikensten said at a press conferencein Stockholm that the winner of the architecture competition of the Nobel Centre is David Chipperfield Architects in Berlin.
He said,the Nobel Centre, with a 184 million US dollar budget, will be built in a historic district, surrounded by water and near some of the city's main museums and landmarks.
The Nobel Foundation unveiled on Wednesday, the winning design for a building that will give the world's most prestigious prize a home for the first time in its 100-plus-year history.

Andaman tribe to exercise franchise for first time



Photo: Andaman tribe to exercise franchise for first time
Shompen tribesmen cast vote for first time; Andaman & Nicobar records 30% turnout.
In Andaman and Nicobar, brisk polling has been reported from many parts of the islands. According to the Returning officer, the voter turn out in this lone Parliamentary constituency with 15 candidates in fray stood at 30 per cent around noon. 
For the first time, the rarest tribe Shompens cast their votes from the exclusive. polling station at Shompen Huts in the interior jungle of Great
Nicobar.  One of the smallest polling stations in the country, Pillo patia in Great Nicobar with just 9 enrolled voters recorded cent per cent of voters turn out as of 11 hours. The southern-most polling station in the country located at Shastri Nagar in Great Nicobar.
Tribes of Andaman & Nicobar Islands
1. Andamanese, Chariar, Chari, Kora, Tabo, Bo, Yere, Kede, Bea, Balawa, Bojigiyab, Juwai, Kol
2. Jarawas
3. Nicobarese
4. Onges
5. Sentinelese
6. Shom Pens.

Shompen
The Shompens are hunter-gatherers who have only very limited contact with outsiders. Their population in the last census of 2001 was only 398.
The Indian Government has initiated efforts for the protection of the fast-depleting Shompen primitive tribe in the Nicobar islands and proposed granting it the status of “unique human heritage” of the country.
Shompen tribesmen cast vote for first time; Andaman & Nicobar records 30% turnout.

6.4.14

Women's World-T20 final : Australia beat England to win title



Photo: Women's World-T20 final : Australia beat England to win title
Australia has retained the ICC Women's World Twenty-20 for the third time in a row. In the finals at Dhaka today, Australia defeated England by 6 wickets. AIR correspondent reports, completing a hat-trick of World Cups, Australia has once again proved its supremacy in women's cricket.
Put in to bat, England posted 105 for 8, courtesy a superb performance from the Aussie pacers, who bagged 7 of the 8 wickets. Sarah Coyte scalped 3, while Ellyse Perry and Rene Farrell took 2 each. Set to score a modest 106 for the title, Australia overhauled the target with 29 balls to spare and 6 wickets intact.
The highlight of the chase was the 60-run third wicket stand between Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry. Coyte was adjudged player of the match. The only cheer for the shattered England team was that Anya Shrubsole was named player of the series.
The Indian eves had failed to make it to the knock-out stage of this tournament, yet, they had the solace of booking the 2016 World Cup berth, beating Pakistan.
Australia has retained the ICC Women's World Twenty-20 for the third time in a row. In the finals at Dhaka today, Australia defeated England by 6 wickets. AIR correspondent reports, completing a hat-trick of World Cups, Australia has once again proved its supremacy in women's cricket.

American novelist Peter Matthiessen dies



Photo: American novelist Peter Matthiessen dies
American novelist Peter Matthiessen, whose notable works include At Play in the Fields of the Lord, has died at the age of 86 following leukaemia.
The New York-born writer was also a committed environmentalist and adventurer, who wrote about his travels in the wilderness. Among his other books were The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country. His latest novel, 'In Paradise', is due to be published on Tuesday.
About Peter Matthiessen
 In the 1960s, he shunned his wealthy upbringing to embrace Buddhist teachings, becoming a Zen priest, and during the same decade began gaining acclaim for his writing.
 At Play in the Fields of the Lord, published in 1961, told of missionaries and mercenaries working in Brazil.
 The novel was turned into a film in 1991 - starring John Lithgow and Darryl Hannah - after the late producer Saul Zaentz spent more than 25 years trying to buy the rights.
 Matthiessen travelled to Antarctica, the Himalayas and Australia to write about the environment and the wilderness, as well as exploring wildlife in America.
 The Snow Leopard - which won the National Book Award for non-fiction in 1980 - retold his two-month Himalayan trip to search for the elusive snow leopard.
 In 2008, he published Shadow Country - which brought together his "Watson trilogy", which he began in the 1980s, into one re-edited story. It went on to win the National Book prize.
American novelist Peter Matthiessen, whose notable works include At Play in the Fields of the Lord, has died at the age of 86 following leukaemia.

Hungary polls: PM Viktor Orban tipped to win again



Photo: Hungary polls: PM Viktor Orban tipped to win again
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor  Orban and his right wing Fidesz party are seeking another term in office in today elections. Fidesz is expected to win between 45 to 50 percent votes. The centre left opposition is facing a close race for second place with the far right Jobbik party. The election is mainly being fought over the state of the economy.
Facts about Hungary
 Location: East-Central Europe (borders with Austria, Slovakia, Ukraina, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia)
 Density of population: 110 (per square km)
 Form of government: Republic (parliamentary democracy - 4 year election periods)
 Capital: Budapest (2 million inhabitants)
 Climate: Continental with Mediterranean and Atlantic influences
 Average temperatures: January -2C (28F), July 23C (73F)
 Language: Hungarian (a very special language, originating from the Finnougric tribe of languages)
 Currency: Hungarian Forint - HUF 
 Religion: Roman Catholic (majority), Protestant, Jewish
 Urban population ratio: 60 percent
 Population increment: -0.1 percent (decreasing!)
 Life expectancy: men 66, women 74 (decreasing!!!)
 International country phone code: 36
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor  Orban and his right wing Fidesz party are seeking another term in office in today elections.

US to send two more missile defence warships to Japan



Photo: US to send two more missile defence warships to Japan
The United States plans to send two more missile defence warships to Japan to counter the threat posed by North Korea's provocative actions, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said today. The US ships would join five missile defence vessels already stationed in Japan. The US announcement followed a move in October to deploy a second early warning American radar to Japan, stationed in Kyoto, and a decision to increase the number of ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska.
North Korea last month test fired two medium-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan. Tokyo has reportedly ordered its forces to destroy any North Korean ballistic missiles that pass through its airspace, and has deployed its own Aegis vessel to the Sea of Japan.
A mid-range missile fired from North Korea would be capable of reaching Japan.
The United States plans to send two more missile defence warships to Japan to counter the threat posed by North Korea's provocative actions, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said today.

5.4.14

Dr Poonawalla, Irrfan Khan, V Ramakrishnan receive UK’s 2014 Asian award for outstanding achievement



Photo: Dr Poonawalla, Irrfan Khan, V Ramakrishnan receive UK’s 2014 Asian award for outstanding achievement
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman of  Poonawalla Group won the United Kingdom’s 2014 Asian award - Asian Business Leader of the Year for his outstanding contribution to the field of medicine.
Film and TV actor Irrfan Khan was chosen for the Asian outstanding achievement in Cinema award while Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry received the Asian outstanding achievement award in Science and Technology.
South African Activist, Ahmed Kathrada, to receive prestigious Founders Award at The Asian Awards, London, 4th April, 2014

About Asian Awards
The Asian Awards, an annual awards ceremony founded by business man Paul Sagoo through his Lemon Group company. The awards also support charities through the event. The Asian Awards is an award ceremony which takes place in the United Kingdom that recognises and rewards exemplary achievement across 12 categories that include business, philanthropy, entertainment, culture and sport. Nominees are selected by an independent judging panel consisting a panel chaired by Baroness Verma of Leicester. The Asian Awards, reward outstanding achievement from within the Asian community. In 2010 and 2011, the awards were only open to those born in or with direct family origin from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, or Bangladesh. In 2013, the Asian Awards were opened to all people of both South and Southeast Asian origin. The 4th Asian Awards will take place on 4 April 2014 in London.
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman of  Poonawalla Group won the United Kingdom’s 2014 Asian award - Asian Business Leader of the Year for his outstanding contribution to the field of medicine.

Asia's largest Tulip garden in Srinagar thrown open for public




Asia's largest Tulip garden in Srinagar has been thrown open for public. The  garden in the foothills of Zabarwan Range was opened for visitors today despite inclement weather have delayed blooming of most of the bulbs.