Monday, May 3, 2010


Atlantis ready to return to Earth

Astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis

are preparing to return to Earth after an

ambitious and risky mission to refit


Hubble telescope.

There are two chances to land on Friday:

one at 1500 BST and a second at 1639


The mission was intended to give a new

lease of life to Hubble. The orbiting

observatory is regarded as one of the most important scientific tools ever built. The fifth and

final mission to service Hubble has been hailed as a great success.

Over five spacewalks, astronauts installed new instruments and thermal blankets, repaired

two existing instruments, replaced gyroscopes and batteries. The only disappointment was the

failure to restore the high resolution channel (one of three) on Hubble's main camera the

Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).

Cloudy skies and stormy weather could yet pose a problem for 22 nd May landing attempts,

NASA has said. The shuttle has enough supplies to remain in orbit till Monday they added.

The US space agency has cleared Atlantis for its fiery reentry

into Earth's atmosphere

following inflight

inspections of its heat shield by the crew.

Mexico City lifts swine flu curbs

Mexico City has lifted all restrictions imposed last

month, following an outbreak of swine flu across

Mexico. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said no new infections

had been reported for a week in the capital and there

was no longer a need to wear mask in public places.

The city virtually ground to a halt at the height of the

flu emergency, with schools, bars and cinemas closed.

Mexico's flu death toll rose by three to 78 officials

said. Some 4,000 people have been infected.

Authorities in the sprawling capital lowered its fourlevel

alert system from "yellow" to

"green" the

lowest level. "We can calm down now," Mayor Ebrard said.


(3) of (10)

"Now you can come to the city without any risk," he said, adding that there was "no longer

any need" to wear masks in public places. However, the mayor urged residents of the city to


The World Health Organization said that 41 countries had reported 11,034 cases of swine flu,

or influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 85 deaths. The world remains at the secondhighest

flu alert level, which means an "imminent pandemic".

Russia alarmed over new EU pact

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned the

European Union not to turn a proposed partnership with

former Soviet countries against Moscow.

Mr Medvedev was speaking at the end of the RussiaEU

summit held against a background of deep divisions

over security, trade and energy supplies.

He also signalled a new gas crisis may lie ahead,

suggesting Ukraine lacks the money to pay for gas

which Russia provides. A row over prices severely affected supplies to Europe in January.

News Reporter Richard Galpin in Moscow says divisions between Russia and the European

Union seem to be growing ever wider, and this latest summit, held in the far east of Russia,

made that abundantly clear, with little sign of progress on any significant topic.

"We would not want the Eastern Partnership to turn into partnership against Russia. There

are various examples," Mr Medvedev told a news conference at the end of the summit. "I

would simply not want this partnership to consolidate certain individual states, which are of

an antiRussian

bent, with other European states," he said.

Moscow has accused the 27member

bloc of creating new dividing lines in Europe by

offering closer ties to six former Soviet republics. The Eastern Partnership Initiative aims to

forge close political and economic ties in exchange for democratic reforms.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have signed up to the

initiative, which seeks to bolster stability in the region. However it does not offer the

prospect of eventual EU membership.

On the divisive issue of energy supplies, President Medvedev raised questions about whether

Ukraine can afford billions of dollars to top up its gas stocks. "We have doubts about

Ukraine's ability to pay," he said.

He also proposed that Moscow and the EU should help Ukraine get a loan for gas payments.


(4) of (10)

Ukraine has denied there is any problem. Russia supplies more than a quarter of EU gas

needs. Its decision to cut all gas to Ukraine a

vital transit country meant

that many EU

member states also lost their supplies of gas for two weeks in January. Speaking in

Khabarovsk, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned there should be

no more disruptions to gas supplies from Russia.

Drop in World Infant Mortality, says WHO report

Infant mortality under five has fallen 30% since 1990,

which shows how stronger health systems have performed,

a World Health Organisation report has said.

This reduction shows the validity of a better health care,

use of mosquito nets to fight malaria, oral rehydration

against diarrhoea, more vaccines and clean water and

sanitation, a WHO official said quoting the report.

More actions are, however, needed to achieve similar

results in other areas, including mother and newborn child health care, WHO Health Statistics

and Information Technology Director Ties Boerma said.

The figures are contained in a report titled 'World Health Statistics', the first drafted by WHO

on public healthrelated

tasks as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals slated to be

achieved by 2015.

NATO service member killed in southern Afghanistan

NATO forces say one of their service members has been

killed in fighting in southern Afghanistan. The

international coalition says the service member died Friday

in a "direct fire attack."

The Taliban have taken back control of large areas of

southern Afghanistan in the past three years, reversing much of the victory won by

international forces when they invaded in 2001. President Barack Obama is deploying 21,000

additional U.S. troops to try to turn back the Taliban insurgency.

The top U.S. General in eastern Afghanistan said Friday he is seeing "some very interesting

movement" of insurgents across the border into Pakistan this spring, possibly to join Taliban

militants battling government troops.

Fighters from both nations have long moved back and forth across the porous frontier, a

mountainous region that has been a sanctuary belong to both AlQaida

and the Taliban.


(5) of (10)

But Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser's remarks in an interview with The Associated Press

suggest a larger transfer into Pakistan than has been seen previously, as the fighting between

Pakistan's troops and the Taliban has intensified.

There has been concern in Islamabad and Washington that the buildup of 21,000 additional

U.S. forces in Afghanistan may push Taliban militants into Pakistan, further destabilizing the

border region there. The Obama administration has declared eliminating militant havens in

Pakistan vital to its goals of defeating AlQaida

and winning the war in Afghanistan.

Schloesser suggested that most of the movement in the past has been from Pakistan into

Afghanistan, calling the new development "an interesting movement backward." He did not

provide details or numbers of those heading toward Pakistan. It is unclear to what extent the

Taliban is moving to help militants in Pakistan or fleeing from U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Schloesser suggested that both factors could be at play.

At the Pentagon, a senior U.S. military official on Friday cited concerns by Pakistani military

Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani that the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan has been pushing the

Taliban into Pakistan over the last several months.

But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk more candidly about the issue,

downplayed the urgency of the situation and said there's plenty of time to plan for and deal

with any Taliban migration if it comes. A second official said there's no intelligence or

evidence to indicate a specific strategy by the Taliban to move back into Pakistan as a result

of the recent fighting in the nation's Northwest Territories. Most Taliban safe havens are in

Pakistan, and U.S. officials have for months pointed to its border with Afghanistan and

Pakistan as a place where extremists have been able to move freely.

Schloesser, who commands American troops in eastern Afghanistan, suggested that some of

the current movement may be intended to reinforce Taliban fighters in Pakistan."I would

suppose that some of that movement is fighters going back to help their insurgent groups that

are involved in fighting, for example in Bajur or the fighting that is occurring in Buner or in

the Dir area or potentially even in Swat," Schloesser said.

Pakistani troops launched an offensive last month in the Swat region against militants who

had pushed into the adjacent Buner district within 60 miles of the capital, Islamabad.

Pakistani military officers say Afghan, Tajik and Uzbek fighters are taking part in the current

fighting in Pakistan's Swat Valley and in other border regions, but that the vast majority is


Schloesser's troops helped the Pakistani offensive by trying to prevent militants from crossing

from Afghanistan into Bajur.


(6) of (10)

The current movement of fighters into Pakistan could also partly be a result of pressure from

the thousands of new U.S. troops that have joined the fight in Afghanistan this year,

Schloesser said.

In Washington, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said that he was

concerned that the U.S. troop buildup to roust insurgents from Afghanistan could further

destabilize Pakistan. However, Mullen, speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,

said the military planning is under way to try to avoid that.

Mullen said he believes the upcoming increase of 21,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan "is about

right" for the new strategy of trying to quell the insurgency and speed up training of Afghan

security forces.

Airtel, Infosys, TCS, Wipro among world's top tech


Telecom player Bharti Airtel and IT firms Infosys, TCS and Wipro have made it to the list of

100 best performing technology companies in the world, compiled

by American magazine BusinessWeek.

The 'Infotech 100' list for 2009 based on shareholder return, return

on equity, total revenues, and revenue growth is topped by for the second straight year.

Ranked at the sixth position, telecom giant Bharti Airtel leads the

pack of Indian companies featured in the list. The three IT majors


TCS and Wipro find a place in the top 50. Infosys is

ranked 25, TCS is at the 30 th spot and Wipro is placed at the 43 rd position.

The "2009 ranking of the tops in tech showcases companies that managed to thrive even in

the face of a bruising global recession," the magazine said. At the second spot is Oracle

followed by SAP (3), Inventec (4) and IBM (5).

Two American entities led by Indiaorigin

CEOs also find a place in the top 100. Francisco


Cognizant Technologies is ranked 51 while Adobe Systems headed by Shantanu

Narayen has cornered the 99 th spot.

Bharti Airtel is ahead of South African telecom entity MTN Group (12 th rank), maker of

Blackberry phones Research in Motion (14), technology giant Apple (19), software major

Microsoft (22) and Google (37), among others.

According to the publication, the number of US companies in the list has shot up to 43

against 33 last year. There are five firms from China in the top 100.


(7) of (10)

BusinessWeek said that it combed the financial results of "tens of thousands of publicly

traded businesses and ranked tech players on shareholder return, return on equity, total

revenues, and revenue growth" to prepare the list. To qualify, the companies should have

revenues of at least $500 million.

The magazine said that return on equity is the "net income available for shareholders divided

by common equity, in native currency" while total return is the "return to shareholders,

including dividends for the 12 months ended April 30, 2009".

NTPC Q4 net profit up 57.77% at Rs 2113.35 crore


power producer National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)

said its net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009 rose 57.77

per cent to Rs 2,113.35 crore over the same period last year.

The company had a net profit of Rs 1,339.48 crore in the same quarter

ended March 2008, NTPC said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Net sales of the company rose to Rs 11,445.78 crore for the quarter under

review, from Rs 10,743.59 crore in the same quarter ended March 2008.

For the year ended March 31, 2009, the company has posted a consolidated net profit of Rs

8,092.55 crore, up 8.33 per cent from Rs 7,469.92 crore in the same period last year.

Tata Group companies to invest Rs 2000 crore to set up

logistics parks

Tata Group firms Drive India Enterprise Solutions and Tata

Realty and Infrastructure plan to set up logistics parks across the

country with an investment of Rs 2,000 crore which will mark

their foray into the sector.

The two companies would set up 78

logistics parks with a total

warehousing space of 38.5 million sq ft in the next four to five

years, Drive India Enterprise Solutions CEO Ajay Chopra told

reporters here today.

"Tatas intend to enter this space (logistics and warehousing) to

effectively exploit the emerging landscape and become a market leader in this space.

"While Tata Realty and Infrastructure (TRIL) will make an investment of Rs 2,000 crore and

set up infrastructure at the parks, Drive India will be the service provider in these parks," he

said. However, he declined to give details on how TRIL would raise the proposed investment.

The companies would set up parks in Gurgaon, Kolkata and Nagpur initially. Another one

would be built in the vicinity of either Hyderabad or Chennai, he said.


(8) of (10)

IAF to get its first AWACS on Monday

The first Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning

and Control System) platform, which is set to alter the

dimension of the seethrough

capability of the IAF

beyond conventional visions of groundbased


tethered electromagnetic sensors, will arrive in India on

May 25.

On its maiden flight from Israel to India, the veritable


with an allpervasive

electromagnetic vision

will land at Jamnagar, Gujarat, and arrive at the Palam

airport the following day.

Although slated to operate from Agra, home to the

mammoth Ilyushin family, an induction ceremony awaits

the first AWACS in the national capital. The ceremony will be attended by among others the

Chief of the Air Staff, ViceChief

of the Air Staff, Air Officer CommandinginChiefs

of the

Western and Central Air Command and other senior dignitaries from the Ministry of

Defence, Air HQs besides air warriors from the squadron itself, a Defence Ministry release


The AWACS is an airborne mission support system fitted on an Il76

aircraft with improved

engines. With radar that can help detect even a cruise missile or an aircraft at ranges far more

than the ranges detected through the present groundbased

radars, the AWACS radar, most

sophisticated to date, can collate surface information about troop movements and missile

launches even while listening to highly confidential communications between enemy

frontline units.

Murugadoss signs record deal

A.R Murugadoss, the Tamil film director who became an all India

brand with Aamir Khan's Ghajini, has signed a record deal to do

two joint venture projects in Tamil. The deal has Fox Star Studios

(FSS), a production and distribution concern set up between

Twentieth Century Fox and Star Group entering into a multifilm

deal with Murugadoss and his production company.

FSS has struck an exclusive deal where Murugadoss will direct and

execute all the Tamil films coproduced

by them. FSS will have the

exclusive rights for distribution and marketing of these films. FSS had successfully marketed

and distributed the Oscar winning Danny Boyle`s Slumdog Millionaire in India. As per the

deal, Murugadoss will initially coproduce

and direct two Tamil films on a whopping budget

of Rs 60 crore.

GK Quiz


(9) of (10)


No comments:

Post a Comment