Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Govt. employees in J&K to get Sixth Pay Commission benefits

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent

New Delhi, Oct 1, 2008: The state government employees in troubled Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state may be in for some good news soon. Sixth Pay Commission it seems is all set to be implemented in the state that is under virtual siege for the last three months.

The state government has formed a committee to look into the issue of implementation of the sixth pay commission in a state that is under continuous bouts of uprising against India. Both Jammu and Kashmir Valley are under siege due to continuous agitations from two different parties.

In Jammu the issue of land allotted to Shri Amarnath trust stoked fire that continued more than two months.

The agitators not only brought Jammu area to a standstill but were able to block main highway to Kashmir Valley thus imposing an effective blockade of the valley.

The state government of Jammu and Kashmir that was under constant demand to implement the sixth pay commission there has constituted two committees to look into the possibilities of enhancement of retirement age of the state government employees from 58 to 60 years and implementation of 6th Pay commission, sources in the administration told a local news agency. According to the reports, a proposal in State Administrative Council (SAC) meeting of September 24, 2008 for enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60 and implementation of 6th pay commission for state government employees was to be adopted. However, the decision was put on hold as Youth Federation had submitted a memorandum to the Governor N N Vohra, asking him not to take any final decision in this regard.
Read more:

Sixth Pay Commission brings some joy to people’s lives

By Husna Anjum

New Delhi, Oct 1, 2008: Sixth Pay Commission notification has brought some joy to people’s lives. It has made 5.5 million central government employees happy. They say the pay panel recommendations’ implementation could not have come at a more opportune time. It has relieved millions of Government employees from top to the lowest order.

Steep price rise had troubled central government employees like never before. The inflation had eaten into the savings of the most people and most of the people had to fall back on either loans from relatives or from banks at ever increasing rates.

The life was becoming very tough for most of the people who work in the central government enterprises. The cash crunch was affecting most of the families and they were under increasing distress.

Sixth pay commission at least relieves the central government employees in some small ways. The 40 percent arrears that the central government workers will get this month will help them pay their debts and also save a part of the money that comes their way.
Read more:

Palin’s debate performance critical

Sarah Palin’s performance in the vice presidential debate Thursday night will determine the course of the last month of the presidential campaign.

If she does OK, the race will continue to be fairly close in the last few weeks, with the outcome still in doubt but Obama holding the advantage.

However, if Palin embarrasses herself and her party and contributes further to the belief that her nomination was a monumental mistake, the presidential race is over and the only remaining question will be the margin of victory.

So far, Palin has come across as unintelligent in interviews, and has been lampooned viciously for that. However, it’s an impression that may not be entirely fair — the more charitable and accurate word may be unknowledgeable. Perfectly smart people will sound stupid if asked to expound on topics they have not studied and thought about, and that seems to be what is happening with Palin.

Time and again, she has shown no real familiarity or comprehension of national or international policy. In fact, her interview with Katie Couric is destined to become political legend. Afterward, one McCain aide tried to explain Palin’s performance in that interview by claiming that Couric had asked Palin “a series of trapdoor questions.”

They weren’t trapdoor questions, they were basic questions, and simply put.

Things got even more absurd this week after a voter in Philadelphia asked Palin whether US forces ought to chase terrorists across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Absolutely, Palin said, thus taking a position identitical to that of Barack Obama and contradicting that of John McCain.

Here’s how the conversation with the voter, Michael Rovito, played out:

“How about the Pakistan situation?” Rovito asked. “What’s your thoughts about that.”

“In Pakistan?” Palin responded.

“What’s going on over there, like Waziristan?”

“It’s working with Zardari to make sure that we’re all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border,” Palin said. “And we’ll go from there.”

“Waziristan is blowing up,” Rovito replied.

“Yeah, it is,” Palin said. “And the economy there is blowing up, too.”

“So we do cross-border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan, you think?” Rovito asked.

“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin said.

It’s hardly unheard of for a vice presidential candidate to express views different from that of the presidential nominee. Joe Biden has already done so on occasion.

But in a later interview with Palin at his side, McCain claimed it was somehow “gotcha journalism” to have reported Palin’s response. Gotcha journalism, to report accurately a vice presidential nominee’s public response to a voter?

Here’s the interview. Note also how McCain and Palin try to mislead viewers about the nature of the exchange with the voter.

Gwynne Dyer: Workers will be forced to pay for Wall Street's failures

This is not the Crash of 1929 revisited, and we are not heading into a second Great Depression. No developed country this time round is going to face the 25 percent unemployment rate that the United States experienced in the 1930s.

"Capitalists can buy themselves out of any crisis, so long as they make the workers pay," Lenin said, but it's more complicated than that. They didn't manage to buy themselves out of the Depression, mainly because they didn't know how to use the government (i.e. the taxpayers) to restore credit and confidence. They know now, however, and they can still buy themselves out of this crisis despite the hitch in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

President George W. Bush's radio talk last week was all about getting the workers to pay: "When the government asks you to pay for mistakes on Wall Street, it does not seem fair, and I understand that. And if it were possible to let every irresponsible firm on Wall Street fail without affecting you and your family, I would do it. But that is not possible." So we're going to bail Wall Street out with $700 billion of your money.

The bailout legislation was negotiated with bipartisan support––and then the people's elected representatives baulked. Two-thirds of the Republicans in the House voted against it, but the Democrats had the majority to pass it with no Republican support whatsoever. It failed because 94 out of 235 Democrats voted against it too.

Some Republicans argued that they could not support "socialistic" measures like nationalising banks and capping executive salaries, but in most cases that was not their real problem, and it can hardly have been the Democrats' problem. What really drove the House's rejection of the bill was the fact that every member faces re-election in five weeks' time, and the workers (sorry, I mean the voters) don't want to wind up paying for the mistakes of Wall Street's capitalists.

They will be forced to pay in the end, because there's nobody else who can, but the timing is bad right now. All 435 Representatives have their jobs on the line in the elections on November 4, and those in marginal constituencies know that they will be severely punished at the polls if they use the taxpayers' money to bail out Wall Street now. A deluge of e-mails, letters, and calls from outraged voters has made that very clear to them.

After the election will be a different matter, and a bill quite similar to the one that failed this week will probably pass the House then without too much difficulty. There really is a financial crisis, and as soon as their own jobs are safe the politicians will deal with it. Or rather, they will arrange for the "workers" (as Lenin quaintly called them) to deal with it.

In the meantime there will probably be further bank failures and piecemeal government bailouts in many countries, for the "toxic" financial instruments based on subprime mortgages are widely held by banks and other financial institutions around the world. This does not add up to an economic Armageddon, although strenuous efforts are being made in the media to portray it as exactly that.

The stock market can crash (as it did in 1987) without having much effect on the real economy. Bank failures are more serious, but they do not have to entail wider economic disaster either. The business cycle was overdue for a recession anyway, and there is certainly going to be one now, but despite all the apocalyptic talk it hasn't arrived yet.

Even the countries where the housing bubble was biggest and the mortgage lending most reckless, the United States and Great Britain, are not yet technically in a recession. When it does arrive, it will probably be worse than the mild recession of the early 2000s, but maybe not as bad as the recessions of the early 1980s and the early 1990s. It will almost certainly not be as bad as the economic stagnation and runaway inflation of the 1970s, and it will be less bad in the big developing economies than in the developed ones.

As for a rerun of the Dirty Thirties, that is not on the table even in the United States, where deregulation was most extreme and the creation of impenetrably complex financial "derivatives" of doubtful value was most enthusiastic. So you might as well take what entertainment you can from this spectacle of mass folly among the high and the mighty.

The Masters of the Universe have been revealed as naive speculators who believed that property values could only go up. The journalists who preached the blessings of unregulated free markets have been unveiled as blind ideologues at best, and at worst paid propagandists. The response of American politicians at all levels has been pathetic.

It will be unpunished mass folly, of course: these people are not going to lose their homes and end up poor. Most won't even lose their jobs. It takes another old Commie (a pre-Commie, actually) to sum it up. In 1852, Karl Marx wrote: "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce."

Not the Great Depression, but the Reign of Folly.

Is it a 'bailout'? Is it a 'rescue'? The White House says ...

BAIL·out? RES·cue?

Are President Bush and supporters of his $700 billion plan to deal with the causes of the nation's economic turmoil promoting...

a.) A bailout?

b.) A rescue?

There may be no legal or legislative difference. And for those seeking help -- from individual homeowners trying to make their mortgage payments to Wall Street CEOs -- the description may be irrelevant.

But it is more than a semantic question. And the White House took issue today with the word BAILOUT -- especially when written in headlines and cable TV screen "crawls" in SCREAMING CAPITAL LETTERS.

The concern: It inherently suggests government help for investors whose risky gambles have left them deep in the red.

"It's really unfortunate shorthand for a very complicated issue," said Deputy White House Press Secretary Tony Fratto.

"Our critics took the language of a 'bailout for Wall Street,'" he said, and the news media adopted it as the shorthand to describe the administration's aid package.

He insisted, at the daily White House news briefing: "It is not a bailout for Wall Street. It is not a bailout for CEOs."

The word the White House prefers is "rescue."

Certainly, it carries less emotional weight.

As for definitions, here's some help from dictionary.com:

According to dictionary.com:

Bailout: An instance of coming to the rescue, esp. financially: a government bailout of a large company.

Rescue: to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil.

So, which is it? A bailout? A rescue? Does it matter?

-- James Gerstenzang

Bush urges new action on bailout

US stock markets opened up on Tuesday after a massive fall the previous day [AFP]

George Bush, the US president, has said that the rejection by the US House of Representatives of a $700bn bailout for troubled financial institutions was not the end of efforts to pass a rescue plan.

In a televised address at the White House on Tuesday, he attempted to reassure taxpayers and the markets, while warning the US Congress decision would be "painful and lasting" for the economy.

"I recognise that this is a difficult vote for members of congress ... but the reality is that we are in an urgent situation and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do no act," he said.

Wall Street opened up on Tuesday after Bush's statement, with the Dow Jones industrial index rising 178 points or 1.7 per cent, following its worst plunge in a single day after the the House of Representatives voted against the plan by 228 votes to 205.

"I think the markets are believing there will be a bailout at some point, it will have to come in some size shape or form," Al Jazeera's John Terrett, reporting from New York, said.

"The problem is that Congress is now away until Thursday, at least the House of Representatives is away until Thusday ... there probably won't be any kind of vote on any new package until the weekend, so therefore we are now trading in uncharted waters."

'Large problem'

Bush told taxpayers that he understood that many people were concerned about the $700bn cost of the rescue plan, but the cost of not passing the bill would be greater.


Political reaction to the bail-out rejection

Economic analysis of what the bill rejection means

"That is a large amount of money ... but we are also dealing with a large problem, to put that in context the drop in the stock market yesterday represented more than $1 trillion in losses," he said.

He also said that he expected much of the money used to buy up the bad debts would be made back once they were sold as the market recovered.

"It is likely that many of the assets would go up in value over time, much, if not all, of the tax dollars invested over time would be paid back," he said.

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican who voted against the bill, said that many congressmen were still concerned about the level of taxpayer
commitment to the bailout.

"This is something we can't leave on the table and leave Washington. This is something that affects every man and woman, every family in this country," she told CBS television.


Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington DC, said the rejection of the bill had been a shocking loss for the Bush administration.

A substantial number of Republicans were saying they did not want the increase in spending and did not believe in any government intervention in the economy, our correspondent said.


US citizen's economic concerns

Effects of bail-out snub

The president on Tuesday appealed directly to those Republicans, especially the ones who opposed the plan as government interference in free markets, to get behind a deal.

"Our country is not facing a choice between government action and the smooth functioning of the free market. We're facing a choice between action and the
real prospect of economic hardship for millions of Americans," he said.

But Tom Price, a Republican who voted against the bailout, said that rather than not acting he thought "it's important to get this vote right, not necessarily to get it quick".

"We are principled in the fact that we believe we ought to stick to American principles, we ought to protect the taxpayer, we need to make sure that private money, private equity can get involved and have Wall Street bail out Wall Street, not on the backs of the taxpayers," he said on NBC television.

Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat Representative, said: "We have to look for something that will make the markets function in the way that they should, not reward bad behaviour."

David Buick from BCG Partners in London told Al Jazeera that now was the time for pragmatism rather than recriminations.

"The fact is we have a problem and I don't think that those people who voted against it know the implications," he said.

"The banking sector is the lifeline, the best artery ... to the fabric of every society in the world. Without strong banks we have nothing, we have a delapidated economy worldwide, we have no retail, we have unemployment, we have anarchy."

Shares fluctuate

Asian and European stock markets were volatile the day after the House of Representatives voted against the rescue plan.

Asian and European stock markets were volatile the day after the House of Representatives voted against the rescue plan.

Asian and European stock markets were volatile the day after the House of Representatives voted against the rescue plan.

Japanese share prices closed down 4.12 per cent on Tuesday, hitting a more than three-year low, while European shares fluctuated wildly in mid-morning trade.

Hong Kong's blue chip Hang Seng index shed nearly six per cent before it recovered ground and finally closed 0.8 percent up.

India's main stock exchange in Mumbai trimmed sharp early losses and closed 2.1 per cent up at 12,860.43, snapping three consecutive days of losses.

Share prices in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan all fell sharply on Tuesday before regaining some ground. Australia ended the day down four.

London's FTSE 100 plunged on opening, briefly recovered and oscillated between a loss of three per cent and a gain of 0.77 in morning trades.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 slid 2.19 per cent to 5,679.67 points on opening and in Paris the CAC 40 tumbled 1.96 per cent before recovering to reach 0.26 per cent up at midday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wall Street: US bail-out rejection stuns markets


The failure to pass the bail-out plan shocked
traders on Wall Street [AFP]

The US Dow Jones industrial index has suffered its worst decline ever for a single day after the US House of Representatives voted against a $700bn bail-out bill in a shock decision.

The Dow, the best indicator of the financial health of the US, fell 778 points to close at 10,365 points after the bill, aimed at trying to stabilise the US economy, was rejected by 228 votes to 205 on Monday.

Ahead of the vote, markets had continued to fall with Europe's markets closing at their lowest level since 2005.

Rosiland Jordan, Al Jazeera's Washington correspondent, said: "This is a shocking loss for the Bush administration.

"A substantial number of Republicans are saying 'we don't want this increase in spending and [we] don't believe in any government intervention in the economy'."

George Bush, the US president, said he was "very disappointed" by the rejection of the bailout and had summoned top aides to plan the next steps, White House officials said.

Barack Obama, the Democratic White House contender, said: "It's important for the markets to stay calm because things are never smooth in congress and to understand that it will get done."

Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives speaker, said: "... the legislation has failed and the crisis is still with us.

"We must work in a bi-partisan way to have another bite at the apple."

'Shocking scenes'

John Terrett, Al Jazeera's correspondent in New York, said "I've never seen anything like this before.


The US bail-out package

"We're seeing quite literally shocking scenes on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

"People were standing around unable to know what to say to each other or what to do next ... The open-mouthed, shocked looks on the faces of the people on the stock exchange floor is something I will remember all my life.

"As the vote got going, the Dow dropped steadlily, reaching a point where it was down by more than 600 points," he said.

"Investors are reacting to the fact that this bill has failed."

He said that traders had been expecting the bail-out plan to have been voted through before markets opened on Monday.

"A lot of people were walking around Capitol Hill saying, "don't vote for the bill," and now it has collapsed. This was not the story we were expecting to tell today.

"We're in completely unchartered waters once again."

'No happy day'

Henry Paulson, the US treasury secretary said US regulators wouldl use "all the tools available" to help the US economy, but he warned their powers were "insufficient" and a rescue plan was urgently needed.

"This is up too important to simply let fail ... we need to work as quickly as possible."

The House of Representatives is to reconvene on Thursday over the issue.

The decision by the House of Represenatatives came despite urgent warnings from president Bush and congressional leaders of both parties that the US economy could nosedive into recession, or even a depression, without it.

Eric Cantor, a House Republican, said: "This is not a partisan crisis. It is an American crisis affecting everyone in the country."

Gerald Friedman, a US economist, told Al Jazeera: "The Republicans in the House of Representatives are playing chicken with world economy.

"The pro-deregulation people, the Republicans who voted this down, are the same people who have deregulated financial markets over the last 30 years.

"The people that got us into this mess are now the ones that want to wash their hands of it. It's a little hypocritical."

Terrrett earlier said that as banks were still not lending to each other - meaning the credit markets were not unfreezing - and the widening international crisis, with banks being rescued on Monday in Germany, Iceland, the UK and Belgium and with New Zealand going into recession, meant concern was still high.

"This was all supposed to be a much happier day than it turned out to be," he said.

Britain's FTSE 100 earlier tumbled 5.3 per cent at close amid the swathe of efforts around Europe to try and rescue troubled banks.

Asian markets initially rose on Monday but soon fell by as much as two per cent.

The US talks on the deal came shortly after George Bush, the US president, called for the "bold" bill to be passed, saying he was "confident" it would help "restore strength and stability to America's financial system and overall economy".

US House rejects massive Wall Street bailout

US House rejects massive Wall Street bailout

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (KUNA) -- In a stunning economic and political development, the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday defeated a USD-700-billion bailout of failed Wall Street financial firms.

With telephone calls and e-mail from their constituents reportedly running 100-to-1 against the bailout package, enough members of Congress from both the Democratic and Republican parties, feeling their re-election prospects on November 4 were on the line, refused to quickly approve the controversial legislation.

The surprising turn of events saw left-wing Democrats opposed to bailing out Wall Street financiers they blamed for creating the mess, join with right-wing Republicans who viewed the package as a socialistic bailout anathema to free-market capitalism.

Stocks plunged on Wall Street even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was official.
Read more:

Cadbury recalls 11 of its products made in China

TOKYO, Sept 29 (KUNA) -- Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety (CFS) on Monday urged the public not to consume 11 Cadbury products manufactured in China, which have been recalled by the British chocolate maker's Asian unit, according to a statement issued from the regional government. The Cadbury Asia Pacific informed the CFS that the affected products were manufactured in its Beijing plant and distributed to Hong Kong.

"We appeal to the public to stop consuming the chocolate products concerned, " a CFS spokesman said in the statement. "We would alert the trade to stop selling the affected products. The Center would test the related products. We are closely monitoring the situation." The recalled 11 products included small and bulk packs of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and chocolate cookies. Two samples of milk biscuits were found to have an unsatisfactory melamine level, the government added.

The toxic chemical melamine has recently sickened nearly 53,000 children in China, with the deaths of four babies and the hospitalization of more than 13, 000 others. The sick children consumed milk made from milk powder contaminated by the chemical melamine, most of it produced by Sanlu Group, China's biggest milk powder maker based in the northern province of Hebei, the daily said.
Read more:

Bernanke, Paulson praise deal by Citigroup to acquire Wachovia banking operations

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (KUNA) -- Top U.S. financial officials on Monday praised the deal by Citigroup Inc. to acquire the banking operations of Wachovia Corporation.

In the latest move in the 2-week-old Wall Street meltdown, Citigroup will absorb up to 42 billion dollars of losses in the deal, with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) covering any remaining losses, the government agency said on Monday. Citigroup also will grant the FDIC 12 billion dollars in preferred stock and warrants.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday voiced support for the FDIC actions, which he said demonstrate the U.S. government's "unwavering commitment to financial and economic stability." U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson also praised the deal, saying it would mitigate potential market disruptions. A failure of Wachovia would have posed a "systemic risk" to the U.S. financial system, Paulson said.
Read more:

Wall Street bailout restore confidence, stability in US financial system: Bush

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (KUNA) -- The sweeping Wall Street bailout bill negotiated by congressional leaders over the weekend will help restart the flow of credit for U.S. families and businesses, and will "make clear that the United States is serious about restoring confidence and stability in our financial system," President George W. Bush said on Monday.

The bipartisan economic rescue plan addresses the root cause of the U.S. financial crisis -- the assets related to home mortgages that have lost value during the housing decline, the President said in an early morning appearance on the South Lawn of the White House.

"Under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the federal government will be authorized to purchase these assets from banks and other financial institutions, which will help free them to resume lending to businesses and consumers," Bush said.
Read more:

HP launches several new and affordable Compaq laptops in India

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

New Delhi, Sept, 2008: HP, the market leader in PC and laptop has launched several new and affordable Compaq laptops in India. These laptops unlike the earlier Compaq products come in beautiful styles and attractive designs and are priced in range of INR 28000 to INR 45000.

Hewlett Packard has emerged as one of the fastest growing laptop manufacturers in India.

And though its products compete with other leading international brands like Acer and Lenova, HP has tried to get an upper hand with some intelligent design and colours.

The Indian notebook personal computer (PC) market has grown by around a whopping 150 percent annually for the last several years. Every computer and laptop manufacturer wants to grab a pie of the market share.

A report released by US-based IDC Ltd's Indian subsidiary IDC India, a global research and market intelligence firm for IT, telecom and consumer technology in a report said early this year that the market is slated to grow even faster in coming days.

Read more:

Meet John McCain the puppy, and Sarah Palin the moose!

New York, September 29 (ANI): U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have been depicted as animals in an artwork.

Created by Tim Rollings in just a couple of weeks, the piece features Palin's face on the body of a moose and that of McCain on the body of a puppy.

"She even looks halfway decent as a moose," the New York Daily News quoted one art lover as commenting.

The artwork is on display at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery through December.

It is part of the "Party Headquarters: Voting Is Just the Beginning" show, curated by Eleanor Heartney.

The artist's next exhibition will be with Lehman Maupin starting in October. (ANI)

Forces Pay Hike: Govt. formed 3-member Committee

After the Armed Forces expressed huge disappointment over the Sixth Pay Commission report and rejected it outright, the PMO intervened and formed a 3-member committee to look into their grievances.

After consulting with the PM, who is away on a foreign visit, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee formed a committee with two other members Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A K Antony. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee will head the committee.

The committee will look into objections raised by armed forces over the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. Defence Minister AK Antony expressed hope that armed forces will get their pay in new scales by Diwali.

He also assured that all anomalies in the pay will be duly addressed. The Defence Services have decided to accept the revised pay scales and submit the salary bills to the ministry until the committee submits its report the cabinet.

President Dr. Pratibha Patil took note of the concerns of the armed forces and gave her sanction to the order for ad-hoc payment of arrears, which will help the defence personnel to manage their Diwali expenses.

Armed forces chiefs had made it public that they are not going to implement the 6th Pay Commission recommendations in its present form. They had clearly said that the discrimination in payment of officials in armed forces viz a viz civilian officials was unacceptable.

There was also talked of armed forces personnel going to celebrate Divali as black day.
Read more:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wall Street bailout plan: US officials reach tentative deal on USD 700 bln

WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (KUNA) -- Top US officials and lawmakers say they have made "great progress" on a tentative deal for a USD 700 billion bailout plan for financial institutions.

After a marathon session of negotiations on Capitol Hill, congressional leaders emerged with an agreement just after midnight Sunday.

The new plan has to be reviewed by House Republicans, who have fiercely opposed the proposal that would allow the government to buy up bad mortgage-debts and take over devalued assets from banks and other financial firms in the hopes of unlocking frozen credit, currently threatening the countrys financial markets.

"We've made great progress," said Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives speaker.

"Weve still got more to do to finalize it, but I think were there," said US Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, who participated in the talks on Capitol Hill.

The White House welcomed the news of a deal, according to spokesman, Tony Fratto saying: "Were pleased with the progress tonight and appreciate the bipartisan effort to stabilize our financial markets and protect our economy." A vote on the deal could be held in the House of Representatives today, with negotiators hoping to boost market confidence before they reopen on Monday. Democrat and Republican lawmakers have struggled to come to an agreement over the details of the plan.
Read more:

Hurricane Kyle strengthens, heads towards landfall near Maine-Canada border

WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (KUNA) -- Hurricane Kyle strengthened Sunday as churned its forceful winds and pounding rain towards Maine and Canada, forecasters said.

Kyle, the 11th storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, carried sustained winds of 80 miles an hour with higher gusts upgrading it to a Category one storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the US National Hurricane Center said.

A hurricane watch was in place for southwestern Nova Scotia and tropical storm warnings were issued for eastern parts of Maine, as it treks north-northeast at 24 miles per hour over the open Atlantic ocean. The system is expected to weaken as it approaches cold Canadian waters, the Miami-based center said.
Read more:

US House clears N-deal, French accord imminent

US House clears N-deal, French accord imminent

By Sanjay Basak

New York, Sept. 28: India stands on the verge of creating history. The Indo-US civil nuclear agreement moved into its final lap by clearing its most crucial hurdle when the House of Representatives approved legislation on Saturday to give effect to the deal by well over the required two-thirds majority. The bill will now go to the Senate for approval next week, and it is hoped that the vote might take place as early as Monday.

The House passed the bill with 298 voting in favour and 117 against. With the Senate foreign relations committee already having given its green signal, the Indian side hopes clearance by the full Senate will now be a "mere formality".

The architect of the historic accord, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would, however, only allow himself cautious optimism. "I am happy that one hurdle has been crossed, but it is not the end of the congressional process and we need to wait for the final outcome," Dr Singh said. External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who arrives in New York on Sunday to attend the UN General Assembly session, is expected to sign the agreement later in New Delhi along with US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who is scheduled to be in India during the first week of October.
Read more:

Confusion galore over death in Mehrauli blast

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

New Delhi, Sept 28, 2008: There was serious confusion over the number of death in yesterday’s bomb blast in Mehrauli area of New Delhi. The final tally of the casualty was brought down to just one from six and seven that most channels reported even hours after the blast.

The small kid who picked up the tiffin dropped on the scene by two bikers was finally announced the lone casualty in the blasts.

But confusion was not just limited to newspapers and television news channels who at times exaggerate everything to get more readers for newspapers and more eyeballs to their TV screens, even hospital sources and administration did not have right number yesterday.

So when every television news channel was trying in its own way to build story around the two alleged terrorists who escaped from alleged Batla House encounter ten days ago, the news channels were also trying to speculate as to how many people were killed.
Read more:

Forces play down differences with Govt. on 6th Pay Commission anomalies

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

New Delhi, Sept 28, 2008: Armed forces tried to play down their differences with the government on 6th pay Commission anomalies. This may have been done to control the damage already done by the fact that differences on the issue of anomalies in 6th Pay commission came into open like never before.

Armed forces chiefs had made it public that they are not going to implement the 6th Pay Commission recommendations in its present form. They had clearly said that the discrimination in payment of officials in armed forces viz a viz civilian officials was unacceptable.

There was also talked of armed forces personnel going to celebrate Divali as black day.

But luckily it seems that the direct intervention of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh from New York broke the ice and defence minister AK Antony gave his consent to form a panel to look into the anomalies in pay structure of armed forces.

There was also pressure from Defence Minister AK Antony on armed forces chief to implement the 6th pay commission from this month. He had made it amply clear that if the forces chief do not implement it, defence ministry will issue order in this regard.
Read more:

US 'reaches deal' on bank bail-out


Congressmen struggled through the night to reach a deal [GALLO/GETTY]

Leaders of the US congress have reached a tentative deal with the administration of George Bush, the US president, on a $700bn bail-out for the country's troubled financial institutions.

Congressmen held overnight talks in an attempt to reach a deal before so they could vote on the legislation before the stock markets reopen on Monday.

"We've made great progress," Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, said early on Sunday after a night of marathon talks.

"We have to get it committed to paper so we can formally agree."

Henry Paulson, the US treasury secretary, who under the rescue plan would have unprecedent powers to use taxpayers' money to buy up bad debt, said: "I think we're there."

"We've been working very hard on this ... And we've made great progress toward a deal, which will work and will be effective in the marketplace, and, you know, effective for all Americans."

But Senator Judd Gregg, a leading Republican negotiator on the issue, was more cautious, saying that he would looked at the final wording of the agreement and consulting with colleagues before giving his final approval.

"I think we are going to be able to have an announcement tomorrow, but these are difficult issues," he said.

Hard sell

The rescue plan for troubled financial institutions, proposed by the US administration, has proved a hard sell, both to Democrats and members of Bush's Republican party.

"The refusal to agree to this package would have meant that everybody would run for cover and the markets would have spiralled downwards"

Kishire Mahbubani, University of Singapore

Kishire Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the University of Singapore, said it would have been "absolutely catastrophic" if the stock markets had opened on Monday without a deal in Washington.

"The refusal to agree to this package would have meant that everybody would run for cover and the markets would have spiralled downwards because there were so many expectations of this $700bn package," he said.

"It is very import to emphasise that we are in completely uncharted territory ... given the gravity of the situation the costs of doing nothing would have been enormous."

Several polls this week showed many Americans were sceptical of the package backed by Bush.

In one poll, 55 per cent of people said they did not believe the government should be responsible for bailing out private companies with taxpayers' money, even if the collapse could damage the economy.

Voter anger

Bob Corker, a Republican senator for Tennessee, who serves on the Senate Banking Committee, said congressmen were encountering extraordinary voter anger.

Referring to his own senate office, he said, "We had, I'm going to guess, 3,500 calls this week about this particular issue. I've had 95 calls in support of it if that gives you any indication."

The entire House of Representatives and one-third of the senate are facing re-election on November 4.

Bush told Americans that he understood their frustration [AFP]
Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar, reporting from Washington, said that conditions had been applied to the rescue plan as part of the deal.

"We understand that there will be a supervisory board which will oversee this programme and there will be some limits on the golden parachutes ... the enormous payouts given to senior executives when they leave financial institutions," she said.

Bush told citizens in his weekly radio address that he understood taxpayer frustration for being asked "to pay for mistakes on Wall Street".

But seeking to persuade Americans to support the deal, he said: "The failure of the financial system would mean financial hardship for many of you.

"The result would be less economic growth and more American jobs lost. And that would put our economy on the path toward a deep and painful recession."

Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed disquiet that so much money from taxpayers would go to private companies, but Bush assured voters in his radio address that over time the value of those assets would rise again.

"This means that the government will be able to recoup much, if not all, of the original expenditure," he said.

Muslims living in constant fear in Delhi

By Qanita Iram

A large number of Muslims are living in constant fear in Delhi following the Jamia Nagar encounter almost ten days ago. They still feel very scared venturing out of their homes at night.

Large number of police deployed in the area scares them instead of giving them the feeling of security. The Eid that is just two days from now has not been able to bring out the shoppers from their homes as people are not in celebration mood any more.

The markets of Batla House, Zakir Nagar and Joga Bai that used to be full of shoppers from 10 in the morning to as late as1 am in the night seem deserted and very few shops remain open beyond 10 pm despite it being the last ashra (last 10 days) of the Holy month of Ramadan.


How Sarah Palin vowed middle America

By Ujvala Stathis

Sarah Palin's emergence as the vice-presidential running mate of US Republican Presidential candidate John McCain has catapulted the 44-year-old "hockey mother" of five into the spotlight of critical acclaim. Her political inexperience and, as the opposition Democrats allege, her "zero foreign policy experience" - a na‹ve comment on Russia is being quoted as an example - have made many baulk at McCain's selection. However, Palin the first female governor of Alaska, does have her set of ardent supporters, particularly amongst the women of Middle America.

Considered a rising star in the Republican Party and its youngest chief executive, Palin, who becomes the first woman to serve on a GOP presidential ticket and the first Alaskan to appear on a national ticket, made her national debut at the Republican National Convention. Her audience comprised tens of thousands and an estimated television audience of over 40 million.

Her 36-minute address at the convention left many working mums admiring Palin for being the "average concerned mother, yet, one with the passion for public service". "This is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity, " she said to a cheering crowd.

Following the speech in which Palin touched upon her efforts as Governor to cut state expenses and generate fuel - controversially by also tapping Alaskan oil - a female senator from the state, Lisa Murkowski, exclaimed, "America has seen one tough dynamic woman they will be able to put their confidence in."
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Committee set up to address pay grievances of armed forces

Committee set up to address pay grievances of armed forces

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister on Saturday intervened from New York to avert an unprecedented revolt by the 15-lakh strong Armed Forces, refusing to accept the Sixth Pay Commission pay-scales that put their officers below the equivalent civilian posts of IAS and IPS cadres.

Just a day after the chiefs of the three Services ordered submission of September's pay bills to the Defence Ministry's accounts office in old pay-scales, the government set up a 3-member ministerial panel to examine their grievance of the raw deal and Defence Minister A K Antony promised to settle their issue "by Diwali."

The Services responded to Antony's assurance, deciding to accept the revised pay scales "for the moment" and submit the pay bills on Monday as per the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee head the panel with Antony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram as its members that will try to sort out the refusal by the three Service chiefs to implement the "discriminatory" pay scales that put their officers at "disadvantage" vis-a-vis the civilian IAS and IPS officers.
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Chinese Mobile Phones In India: An Overview

Chinese mobile phones have flooded Indian markets like never before. You would find these mobile phones being sold in both posh markets, malls and in run down neighborhoods.

The fact remains that most of these Chinese makes are copies of other trusted brands and you are pretty likely to find lots of Nokla’s, K-Touch’s and LPhone’s. But does their apparent lack of originality mean that they are unreliable? I don’t really think so, especially after personally experiencing their ruggedness and stability.

Yes, questions regarding whether you should trust your money in something absolutely crap do come up. But when you’re going to throw away your cellphone after a maximum of two years in any case, would it be a $200 one or a $500 one?

For example, let’s consider one of the popular cell-phones

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hollywood legend Paul Newman dies

Legendary film star Paul Newman, one of Hollywood's most well-known actors, has died, a spokesman said.

Newman was 83 and had been battling cancer.

The acadamy award-winning superstar appeared in 60 movies, including "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "The Hustler," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and "The Sting."

"Paul Newman's craft was acting. His passion was racing. His love was his family and friends. And his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place for all," Robert Forrester, the vice-chairman of the Newman's Own foundation, said in a statement from Westport, Connecticut on Saturday.

Newman earned nine Oscar nominations for acting and won the best actor honour for "The Color of Money" in 1986.

In May, Newman said he had dropped plans to direct an autumn production of
"Of Mice and Men," citing unspecified health issues.

Starry career

Newman began his career in theatre and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world's most enduring and popular film stars.

With major roles in more than 50 motion pictures, Newman worked with some of the greatest directors of the past half century, from Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston to Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers.

His co-stars included Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and, most famously, Robert Redford, his sidekick in "Butch Cassidy" and "The Sting".

He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages.

They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in "The Long Hot Summer," and Newman directed her in several films, including "Rachel, Rachel" and "The Glass Menagerie."

Wall Street: Top US lawmakers say bailout plan agreement by Sunday

WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (KUNA) -- Top US Democratic lawmakers say an agreement is near on a proposed USD 700 billion Wall Street bailout plan the White House said is needed to alleviate the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Pressed to act before Asian markets open on Monday, congressional negotiators worked through the night into Saturday to reach an agreement on historical legislation that would invest 700 billion taxpayer-dollars on a US government-run hedge fund that would buy bad mortgage-backed debts from banks and other financial firms.

The meeting of top negotiators from the Senate and the House of Representatives made "significant progress" according to Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, who noted the talks left 15 issues unresolved.

"If we could do it by six oclock tomorrow that would be really important because thats when the Asian markets open," Reid said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backed fellow-democrat Reid, saying after talks that she hoped Congress could act on a bill by Sunday evening or Monday morning.

"It would be my hope, that this could be resolved today, that we had a day for the American people and members of Congress to review the legislation on the Internet that we could bring something to the floor possibly Sunday night or Monday morning," Pelosi said.

"We are not leaving until this legislation is passed," she added.

Read more:

McCain, Obama resume campaign fight after debate

By Caren Bohan

GREENSBORO, N.C., Sept 27 (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama accused John McCain on Saturday of playing politics with the financial crisis, while his Republican rival tried to show leadership by returning to Washington where lawmakers raced to reach a deal on a financial rescue package.

Fresh from their first presidential debate, where the two White House hopefuls clashed sharply on spending and foreign policy, Obama hit the campaign trail and McCain sped to the capital where some Democrats have expressed fear he might upset delicate bailout negotiations.

In their first joint campaign rally since just after being nominated as the Democratic nominees for president and vice president, Obama and his running mate Joe Biden took turns criticizing McCain, often on the economy and his ties to unpopular President George W. Bush.

They also made digs at him for jumping off the campaign trail on Thursday to join bailout talks, a move some called a political stunt less than six weeks before the Nov. 4 presidential election.

"George Bush has dug us into a deep hole. John McCain was carrying the shovel. It's going to take time to dig ourselves out," Obama said to a rally attended by about 20,000 people.

"You see, I think Senator McCain just doesn't get it -- he doesn't get that this crisis on Wall Street ... hit Main Street long ago," Obama said. "That's why he's been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for a photo-op, and trying to figure out what to say and what to do," he said.

In Washington, lawmakers were still working on a proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial industry in response to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

McCain went straight to Washington from Mississippi after the debate ended late on Friday. But unlike on Thursday, when he headed to Capitol Hill and the White House to take part in highly publicized negotiations, the Arizona senator worked the phones behind the scenes.

"He's calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can," McCain aide Mark Salter said.

In between his campaigning, Obama spoke by phone about the financial rescue with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and top Democratic lawmakers.

Congressional leaders said they hoped to reach a deal by the end of the weekend so Congress can act Sunday or Monday.

Several have said they were frustrated with Thursday's theatrics when McCain rushed to Capitol Hill and then with Obama attended a White House meeting which ended in acrimony.

"The further presidential politics stays from these negotiations, the better off we'll be and the quicker we can come to a solution," said Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat who chairs the Joint Economic Committee.

McCain, who decided at the last minute to reverse a vow not to attend Friday's debate unless the financial industry rescue was agreed, was also eager to get back to campaigning.

"We hope to have a deal in place so we can get back on the trail," said Salter.


In the debate both McCain and Obama were optimistic Congress would agree a rescue plan but said the huge price tag would limit their agendas as the next president.

Public opinion polls have shown Obama gaining over the past week on the question of who could best lead the country on economic issues. Most polls show Obama holding a slight and growing lead over McCain.

Both camps claimed victory after the 90-minute debate that gave undecided voters their first chance to directly compare the two candidates.

McCain and Obama repeatedly questioned each other's judgment and battled over the economy and the Iraq war. McCain, 72, cast doubt on Obama's readiness for the presidency.

Obama, 47, a first-term Illinois senator, tied McCain to the policies of the unpopular Bush and said both men had been too focused on Iraq while ignoring other problems.

Neither candidate scored any clear blows or committed major gaffes. McCain was on the attack frequently and put Obama on the defensive, but he responded forcefully.

The Obama campaign released a new advertisement called "zero" -- the number of times it said McCain made reference to the middle class during the debate. "McCain doesn't get it. Barack Obama does," the ad's narrator says.

McCain also released an ad criticizing Obama for a 2007 vote against funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The narrator says Obama was "playing politics, risking lives. Not ready to lead."

The next scheduled debate is on Thursday between the vice presidential candidates, Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, and Democratic Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.

Alarmed govt sets up panel on forces' pay

Faced with virtual defiance from the three service chiefs on the issue of the “discriminatory” pay scales recommended by the 6th Pay Commission, the government today set up a high-level ministerial committee to address the grievances of the armed forces.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will head the three-member committee, which includes Defence Minister AK Antony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram, that will go into the concerns of the armed forces that the pay commission has put them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis civilian bureaucracy.

Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major — who together command 1.5 million defence personnel — had come together on the issue and decided not to implement the revised pay scales from October 1 as was being done in the case of other 3.5 million central government employees.

However, the services have decided to accept the revised pay scales for the moment and submit their salary bills to the defence ministry on Monday.

The three-member committee was set up following a direction from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is currently abroad.
Read more

Anomalies in defence pay will be rectified, says Antony

Anomalies in defence pay will be rectified, says Antony

Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said though most recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission were beneficial to the armed forces, certain issues in the pay revision proposals need to be resolved.

Interacting with presspersons here on Saturday, he said the Central government had cleared an extra Rs. 6,000-crore package for defence personnel, in addition to the proposed revisions in their pay. He said the soldiers pointed out certain flaws in the new pay package. The government was examining these in detail.

He denied the allegations that a section of soldiers was going to observe Deepavali as “Black Deepavali” and that the Defence Ministry had rejected a revised pay package for soldiers drawn up by the Pay Commission.
Lateral entry

He said the Central government’s long-term mission was to ensure lateral entry for soldiers in State and Central services. A policy decision was pending because certain sections of the government had expressed reservations. He said many able-bodied soldiers, an estimated 60,000 men annually, were decommissioned at the relatively young and energetic ages of 35 and 40. The country owed them a second innings in life.

The Defence Ministry was seeking the help of the State governments and the public and private sector enterprises to effectively resettle retired soldiers. In 2007, the Army found employment for 44,000 ex-servicemen. This year, the target was 50,000.
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6th Pay Commission: govt. forms panel to look into anomalies in armed forces pay

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

New Delhi, Sept 28, 2008: After weeks of bickering the government today formed a panel to look into anomalies in armed forces pay in the 6ht Pay commission. The three forces chief had earlier threatened not to implement the pay panel recommendation in protest against anomalies in armed forces pay viz a viz civilian officials.

The decision to form a panel to look into anomalies come after almost two weeks when India’s finance ministry had refused to entertain the idea of revision of pay panel recommendations.

But it was after consistent efforts of the Naval chief Admiral Mehta who pursued the issue from Prime Minister to defence minister and finance minister. He also brought together the chief of Army and Air Force on the issue.
Read more:

Visa to Turn Android, Nokia Phones Into Credit Cards

Visa to Turn Android, Nokia Phones Into Credit Cards

By Walaika Haskins

E-Commerce Times

Visa has become the latest player to try and start a fire under mobile payments and mobile commerce, a concept that in the U.S. has remained mostly in the imagination over the last decade. Visa's first partners in its roll-out are Nokia and Google's Android platform. Its partnership with a major credit company is a win for Google's fledgling mobile operating system.

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Visa announced plans Thursday to develop payment and payment-related services for both Nokia (NYSE: NOK) Latest News about Nokia mobile handsets and those running Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Latest News about Google new Android platform. In addition, Visa announced a pilot program that enables U.S. Bank Visa cardholders to transfer money using a mobile phone.

The announcement looks to revive the efforts of credit card companies to push consumers toward mobile payments and mobile commerce, a concept that looked promising around the turn of the century but floundered in in the U.S. following the dot-com bust. Other efforts involving contactless payment devices in the mid-2000s also failed to gain widespread consumer adoption.

However, Visa's announcement could mark a turnaround.

"I definitely see the value in this from a functionality standpoint. Visa has been very calculated in establishing a much more global strategy surrounding the mobile channel. Rather than looking at an individual market and latching on to what's going on there, they are really trying to focus on the different things that are happening in different markets," Bruce Cundiff, a Javelin Strategy analyst, told the E-Commerce Times.
Android and Visa

Developing applications for the Android platform is central to Visa's mobile application push, the company said. The credit card company's mobile applications will enable owners of mobile devices running the Google operating system to receive notifications about transaction activity on their accounts; obtain offers from a wide array of merchants; and use Android's built-in location-based technology to map nearby merchants to redeem Visa offers as well as locate ATMs participating in the Visa network New HP LaserJet P4014n Printer Starting at $699 after $100 instant savings..

Chase Visa cardholders will have the first crack at the new mobile applications. Visa, however, said it will work to make the services available to account holders of other financial institutions. The credit card provider is also developing a payment application to enable Android device owners to make mobile payments at retail locations around the country and over wireless networks.

In its deal with Google, Visa is clearly banking on some level of success for Android, Cundiff said.

"[The Android platform] is still very new. There's just one phone out there that T-Mobile Latest News about T-Mobile announced earlier this week, so that's about it. It's not as though Android has taken over as a viable platform. But, Visa jumping in at this early stage is definitely a leadership role that they need to take," he explained.

Consumers come out on top with both services because they add layers of protection against identity theft and credit card fraud, according to Cundiff.

"The ability to detect fraud and fraudulent transactions or even prevent it before it happens -- involving the consumer in that process is paramount. What Visa is doing is really working at the transaction level -- has huge implications for mitigating identity theft and fraudulent transactions. It also gives consumers peace of mind," he pointed out.

McCain, Obama debate focuses on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, US eco crisis

WASHINGTON, Sept 27 (KUNA) -- US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama Friday night aired their differences on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Russia -- and the US financial crisis -- during the first of three debates scheduled before voters elect the next president on November 4.

One of their sharpest exchanges during the event, which was held at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, came during questions about lessons of the Iraq war.

McCain said the United States could not have a failed strategy in Iraq that could cause the war to be lost, and criticized Obama for not supporting the nearly two-year-old troop surge into Iraq, which McCain said had succeeded.
Read more:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bengal appeals Tatas not to leave Singur

Kolkata, Sept. 26: In an unusual move, the state Cabinet on Thursday made an appeal to Tatas not to abandon their Nano project in Singur. It has also appealed Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to accept the new compensation package. A statement was issued after both chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and commerce and industry minister Nirupam Sen told their Cabinet colleagues that Tatas were on the verge of a "pull out".

Significantly, although Singur issue was not on the agenda but it was discussed with a great deal of concern.

Emerging from the meeting, PWD minister Kshiti Goswami quoted the commerce and industry minister Nirupam Sen as saying, "Given by the present goings of the Tatas, it has become clear that there is no possibility of the Tatas Singur project taking off."

Truckloads of materials have started rolling out of the Singur Nano factory, a clear sign that Tata Motors is on an exit route from Bengal, Mr Goswami added.
Read more:

Sixth Pay Commission : Govt agrees to jawans’ demand on pension

New Delhi, Sept. 25: The government has agreed to restore 70 per cent "pensionary weightage" to jawans, even as defence chiefs on Thursday intensified efforts to get "anomalies" in the 6th Pay Commission notification removed.

"The government has given in principle approval to reverting to the 70 per cent pensionary weightage, as demanded by the Services, overruling the 50 per cent recommended by the Central Pay Commission (CPC), providing much-needed relief just before this Diwali," top defence ministry sources said.
Read more:

US suspends consular services in Pakistan: official

US suspends consular services in Pakistan: official

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States Thursday suspended visa services at consular offices in Pakistan citing deepening concerns over security after the deadly Islamabad hotel bombing, the State Department said.

"Consular services have been temporarily suspended as of today," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

"We are very concerned about the security situation. We had the attack on the Marriott Hotel almost a week ago, and it's of great concern," he said.

A suicide bomber rammed a truck packed with more than half a tonne of explosives into the hotel's security gates on Saturday, killing at least 60 people, including two US military personnel assigned to the US embassy and the Czech ambassador to Pakistan.

More than 250 people were wounded in the blast.

A State Department official, who asked not to be named, said visa services had been suspended in response to threats against American interests.

"There is not a specific threat, but there are a number of threats and that's what we're responding to," the official said.

"We'll be evaluating the security situation over the next couple of days and weeks, but there's a lot of chatter out there and we're obviously very worried about it," he said, using the term referring to intercepted telecommunications and cyber-space dialogue.

Wood stressed the suspension of consular services would not affect emergency services for US citizens in Pakistan.

US consular offices in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad were affected by the suspension.

Controversy gives good exposure to Hari Puttar

Khabrein.Info News Desk,

Mumbai, Sept 25, 2008: Controversy gives good exposure to Bollywood films, and Hari Puttar is no exception. The legal hurdles that the Warner Brothers threw at the Indian Film gave it more exposure than it actually deserved.

In India very few people would have thought that Hari Puttar had anything to do with Harry Potter due to the commonality of the name Hari. But now a number of kids who have seen the film will go to theatres to probe as to whether it had any similarity with Harry Potter.

This was probably the reason that prompted the makers of the film to announce five sequels of the yet to be released film, obviously seeking to cash in on the exposure that this small budget film got.
Read more:

China launch Shenzhou 7 for their first space walk

China successfully launched Shenzhou 7 for their first space walk and the first module of a space station.

This is third Chinese manned mission. The Shenzhou VII lifted up into the nightime sky at approximately 9:10pm(13:10GMT).

The capsule contained 3 Chinese Taikonauts and the mission will include a space walk on Saturday. The Shenzhou consist of a modified Soyuz capsule that the chinese have made major modifications and updates. The Chinese Shenzhou program began in 1992.

The three-day mission is part of Project 921, China's ambitious manned space program, and is expected to include the first Chinese attempt at a space walk. Success would make China only the third country to accomplish a space walk, after Russia and the United States.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mother of all defamation suits: Anil Ambani sues Mukesh

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

Mumbai, Sept 25, 2008: Anil Ambani has filed mother of all defamation suits of Rs 10,000 cr against Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries and his elder brother. The two are at loggerhead at each other ever since the death of their father Dhirubhai Ambani, who built India’s largest private company, Reliance Industries.

Though the two have multiplied the investors’ money and both have built equally formidable companies giving them almost top slot in Forbes list of richest men in the world, the animosity has not come down between the brothers.

But the dispute has snowballed into a big controversy with both the brothers vying for top spot in energy sector as well.

Younger brother Anil Ambani, who owns Reliance Telecom and Reliance Energy has filed a defamation suit against his brother reportedly worth Rs 10,000 crore.

Junior Ambani has named several other people as respondents in the petition, including New York Times editor, publisher and reporter of New York Times) in its petition.
read more:

Tatas might ‘relocate’ to new state

Tatas might ‘relocate’ to new state

Kolkata, Sept. 24: The exit of Tata Motors, which had suspended construction work at its Nano plant in Singur on September 2, seems imminent. The automobile major is believed to have finally decided to "relocate" the small car project to some other state. Although Tata Motors authorities have not confirmed the news, sources said that the decision was taken following the collapse of the talks between chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and the outright rejection of the state government’s new compensation and rehabilitation package by the latter. "The brutal assault on the private security guards inside the project area on Monday night proved the proverbial last straw," sources added.

Apprehending the grim reality, the CPI(M) on Wednesday expressed dismay over the dilly-dally in execution of the Tata Motors Nano project in Singur. The party satraps have even become stoic and hinted that the chance of its commissioning would be remote.

CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, who was in the city on Wednesday, said, "The more the project is delayed, the prospect of its coming up becomes bleaker." Describing the Singur project as vital that would have been the nucleus of the industrial revival of the state, Mr Karat said that the project is currently suspended following unreasonable demand of the Opposition parties for 400 acres of land for the farmers evicted from the area.

The state government also expressed fear that the Tata Motors might pull out of Singur following the continued impasse over the return of 400 acres of land from within the Nano project area to farmers.
Read more:

Aamir confident of Taare Zameen Par winning Oscar this year

By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

Mumbai, Sept 24, 2008: Aamir Khan is confident that Taare Zameen Par will win Oscar award this year. Earlier last week Aamir Khan’s supremely successful film Taare Zameen Par was selected as India’s official entry for this year’s Oscar award.

Aamir Khan has been winning accolades for this film like no other film he has done or produced. He and the child actor Darsheel have won many awards among them for the film that focuses on special kids with special needs.

Darsheel earlier this year made history by being nominated in the best actor category, the first such honour for a child actor in the 54-year-old film awards history. Never before had a child artiste competed with established actors like Shah Rukh Khan for the best actor's crown.

As the loveable dreamer with a learning disability in Aamir Khan's directorial debut, he won the critics' prize for best actor in the Filmfare Awards earlier this year.

The focus on children and family cinema has dramatically improved in Bollywood with more and more production houses venturing into the genre. And Darsheel gives hope to child actors and widens the scope for more child-centric films in the future.


Bad economic news nets Obama 52 percent to 43 percent lead over McCain


ImageWASHINGTON, Sept 24 (KUNA) -- Nine days of seismic economic shocks have resulted in Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama gaining his first clear lead in his bid to defeat Republican John McCain and become the first African-American U.S. president, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Among likely voters, Obama leads McCain by 52 percent to 43 percent, the poll found. Just two weeks ago, following the Republican National Convention, the race was close to even, with McCain at 49 percent and Obama at 47 percent, previous polls found.

Only 9 percent of those questioned in the latest poll said the U.S. economy was in "good or excellent" condition, marking the first time that number has been in single digits since shortly before the 1992 election, which Democrat Bill Clinton won by defeating incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush, father of the current president. Fourteen percent in the latest poll said the United States is moving in the right direction, matching the record low on that question dating back to 1973 polls.

Obama recorded a double-digit advantage on handling the current problems on Wall Street, the new poll found, and as a result, his overall support was up.

Neither of the last two Democratic presidential nominees, Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, polled support above 50 percent in a pre-election poll by the Post and ABC News. Both Gore and Kerry lost very close elections to Republican George W. Bush, who leaves the White House in January.
Read more:

India to make its presence felt in space with launch of 1st moon mission

India to make its presence felt in space with launch of 1st moon mission
Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

Bangalore, Sept 24, 2008: India is set make its presence felt in the space with the launch of its first mission to moon. It is a big achievement for a country that just over a decade ago was known more for snake charmers, abject poverty, backwardness and corruption.

But things have changed and certainly for better when it comes to economic prosperity and scientific advancements.

Now consistent impressive performance in the economic filed in the last decade has seen India’s graph going up in the international arena.

India is taken as an important member of the world fraternity and an economic powerhouse of the world that has potential to become a superpower.

Though India’s human rights performance has been dismal in the last decade with right wing Hindu chauvinists targeting two large minorities of the country, Christians and Muslims but it has not hindered India’s ascendance to the big league in the space.

This is a dream for any nation. And India is going to fulfill its long cherished dream on this coming 22nd October. Everyone is unanimous on one thing. If India’s Moon project is successful, it will be something for everyone to cheer loudly about. The Moon is Earth’s single important natural satellite, and as planetary moons go, it is unusually large in size compared to Earth.
Read more:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tatas shifting out of their Nano car plant at Singur

Tatas shifting out of their Nano car plant at Singur
By Khabrein.Info Correspondent,

Kolkata, Sept 24, 2008: Tatas have started shifting out of their Nano car plant at Singur in West Bengal. Ever since the current agitation started at Tata’s Nano car plant at Singur, Ratan Tata led company had started breaking down its plant and shifting dies and other components of highly awaited car out of the Rs 1500 crore plant at Singur.

But initially it was only under the dark of the night when the company would take truckloads of machinery from the plant site, but now the shifting is in full swing in day light under the watchful gaze of somewhat perplexed farmers and the Trinamool Congress activists who have been camping outside the company plant.

The company is still maintaining secrecy as to where it is moving its equipments and the dies that are used in manufacturing the car.

This comes around three years after the company started working on launching the much talked about people’s car, Nano.
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Die is cast: Tata rolls equipment out of Singur

Times of India

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: Truckloads of material have started rolling out of the Singur Nano factory, a sure sign that Tata Motors is on an exit route from West Bengal. Although there has been no formal communication from the company, the grim message has reached the corridors of power in Kolkata.

According to government officials, the beating up of two security guards at the plant on Monday night might have been the last straw for the Tatas.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, industries minister Nirupam Sen, and even Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi have resigned themselves to fate of West Bengal turning into a graveyard for industry again. "The possibility of the small car factory coming up in Singur is becoming remote by the day," Sen said in Delhi.

There are no signs of a let-up in the Opposition camp, though. Mamata Banerjee is determined to deepen the impasse and make it a political issue in the coming Lok Sabha polls. She won't listen to the Governor let alone the government, won't take note of the public mood that wants the Tatas to stay, or heed the law that rules out return of acquired land to farmers.

Sources said Tata engineers had dismantled dies and other "key fixtures unique to the Nano" from Singur and started moving them to an undisclosed location a few days back. Pending a final decision, the company could either roll out its first Nano from its Pantnagar or its Pune facility. The Rs 1 lakh car was scheduled to hit the road in October and Tata wants to stick to that deadline. But as an official said, the situation in Singur "was not conducive to work".

Mamata is sticking to her land-for-land demand, hoping that her stubborn stand will yield electoral dividends in rural Bengal it doesn't matter if Tatas exit Singur. Her colleagues in Trinamool are equally frustrated with didi's arrogance but they don't dare go against her. "I am fed up. Let the Tatas do whatever they want. The war of nerves is getting too much," a senior Trinamool leader said.

The rumblings, however, make no difference to Mamata. Her eyes are fixed on Writers' Buildings, and not the small car factory.

Mamata's defiance now revolves round the agreement that the government had signed with the Opposition at Raj Bhavan on September 7, in the presence of the Governor Gandhi. In the agreement, the government agreed to provide land-based compensation in and around Singur, with the maximum from within the project area, and created a panel to examine the scope of compensation and modalities of settlement.

Soon after this, Mamata came out of Raj Bhavan and announced that the government would "return 300 acres from within the project area", and suspended her dharna on Durgapur Expressway. A worried Tata Motors MD Ravi Kant shot off a letter to the government the next day. The CM clarified that the government had not made any such promise to Mamata, because sacrificing part of the project area would hamper the integral nature of the car factory.

The panel with Trinamool MLA from Singur Rabindranath Bhattacharya and Krishi Jami Raksha Committee convenor Becharam Manna as two of the members did scout for land and, as tutored by Mamata, found 300 acres in the project site that could be returned. They refused to identify sites outside the project area. However, both of them primarily agreed to a compensation package that WBIDC managing director Subrata Gupta had offered.

Bhattacharya and Manna had come out of the meeting with a sense of victory and rushed to Kalighat to break the good news to Mamata. Little did they know that their didi would reject the offer outright.
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