Monday, May 3, 2010


Iranian Missile Launch Confirmed

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced

that his country had successfully testfired

a mediumrange


missile apparently capable of striking

Israel and U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf region.

U.S. officials confirmed the launch, while armscontrol

experts debated its significance. Several described it as

evidence of continuing progress in Iran's missile

program, if not a breakthrough. Iran fired a similar

missile last year.

Iran's ability to build a solidfuel

rocket suggests an

increasing sophistication in its missile program, because

solid fuel offers advantages over Iran's previous liquidfuel

program, several experts said. For one thing, liquidfuel

rockets are more vulnerable to preemptive strikes

because it takes hours or even days to fuel them. Solidfuel

rockets can be launched faster and are more mobile,

the experts said.

The missile was launched from a site in Semnan province, where Iran's missile and space

programs are headquartered and Ahmadinejad was born. Ahmadinejad visited the province

Wednesday as part of a series of trips by government officials to Iran's 30 provinces ahead of

the June 12 presidential election.

Reporters touring with Ahmadinejad saw corkscrews of smoke on the horizon near the

Alborz mountain range. Hours later, Ahmadinejad announced the news to a crowd of

thousands of people gathered for a speech in the city of Semnan. He said the missile struck its

intended target, but he did not specify where the target was.

"The rocket went into space, returned to Earth and hit its target," Ahmadinejad said to

raucous cheers in a soccer stadium lined with posters bearing his image.

Ahmadinejad has long said Iran's nuclear program has strictly peaceful civilian purposes. But

he linked the missile test with that program, calling it an important scientific achievement and

a blow to those trying to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"In the nuclear case, we send them a message: Today the Islamic Republic of Iran is running

the show," Ahmadinejad said in his speech. "We say to the superpowers, 'Who of you dare to


(3) of (13)

threaten the Iranian nation? Raise your hand!' But they all stand there with their hands behind

their backs."

Gary Samore, the top White House counter proliferation official, said the missile was "a

significant step forward in terms of Iran's capability to deliver weapons."

But some experts said the missile was a new version of an existing missile that was

successfully tested late last year and has a range of about 1,200 miles.

The implication of solid fuel is that you can slap it onto a truck or put it in a cave and drive it

around," said Jeffrey G. Lewis, Director of the nuclear strategy nonproliferation initiative at

the New America Foundation in Washington.

According to the Iranian government, the missile showed another technical development: It

was in two stages, rather than one. For years, the Iranians simply built bigger and bigger onestage

rockets, which came to be nicknamed "Scuds on steroids," said Greg Thielmann, a

senior fellow at the Arms Control Association. But a twostage

rocket can go farther, because

it jettisons some of its weight as it flies. A country has to develop a twostage

system in order

to build intercontinental ballistic missile systems.

Samore said the launch might strengthen the coalition of countries that has been trying to

restrain Iran's nuclear program.

Iran's nuclear program was the top priority for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

when he visited President Obama at the White House for the first time.

Israel said after the launch Wednesday that Europe and the United States should share Israel's

goal of stopping Iran's missile program. "In terms of strategic importance, this new missile

test doesn't change anything for us since the Iranians already tested a missile with a range of

1,500 kilometers, but it should worry the Europeans," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny

Ayalon told Israel Radio. "If anybody had a doubt, it is clear the Iranians are playing with


Obama acknowledged Monday that there is "deepening concern" in the global community

about Iran's nuclear ambitions. But the White House is pushing Israel, which receives nearly

$3 billion in annual military aid from the United States and has its own undeclared nuclear

arsenal, to focus on better relations with its Arab neighbors as a way to step up international

pressure on Iran.

Obama said that he would wait until after Iran's presidential election next month to directly

engage its leaders. Obama said he should know by the end of the year whether talks and

international pressure are dissuading Iran's leadership from pursuing nuclear weapons.



(4) of (13)

Diplomats barred from Burma trial

Burmese authorities have barred international observers

from the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, a day after allowing

them to attend.

The government opened proceedings to diplomats and

journalists, in an apparent response to criticism. But a

Burmese official said that the move had been "only for

one day".


leader Aung San Suu Kyi is accused of

breaking the terms of her house arrest, after a US man swam across a lake to visit her. The 63


has been in detention without being charged for more than 13 of the past 19 years.

Her latest period of house arrest was scheduled to expire on 27 May, and many observers see

this case against her as a pretext to ensure she is still in detention during next year's elections.

On 20 May Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to speak to three foreign diplomats. Several

others, along with 10 journalists, were allowed into court at Rangoon's Insein prison.

But a Burmese official said that the court would not be open to international observers on


"Only for one day were diplomats and press allowed," the unidentified official told AFP news


Lawyers for Suu Kyi have argued that she did not invite the US national, John Yettaw, to

visit, and only allowed him to stay because he said he was exhausted.

But the UK's Ambassador to Burma, Mark Canning, said he was not confident that she would

receive a fair trial.

"I think this is a story where the conclusion is already scripted," he said.

Burma's ruling generals say they will hold multiparty

elections in 2010.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the last elections, in 1990, but was

never allowed to take power.


(5) of (13)

No nonpoliticians

in Cabinet, says Sonia

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia

Gandhi has told party managers that she was in favour of

appointing only politicians as Cabinet ministers, since they

were accountable to the people during elections, and

preferred to keep "nonpoliticians"


This, in effect, minimizes the chance of Planning

Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia

or former Reserve Bank Governor C Rangarajan being

appointed finance minister.

According to top sources in the party, "this narrows down

the choice for finance ministry to Pranab Mukherjee, who may retain the portfolio, and P


Both Chidambaram, who headed finance before taking charge of home after the 26/11 terror

attacks, and Mukherjee, who took over from him, are interested in heading the ministry.

Meanwhile, after holding separate meetings with some of the allies over sharing of

ministerial berths, the Congress top brass held the first meeting of the UPA. Most of the

parties have offered Manmohan Singh unconditional support to form the next government.

Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress won 19 seats, has sought at least two Cabinet

portfolios from a choice of three — railways, rural development and information technology

and telecommunications.

In a late development, top Congress managers conveyed to the supporters that in the wake of

more parties offering unconditional support to the Congressled

government, a new formula

to share ministerial berths was in the works, according to which the party would offer one

Cabinet portfolio to a prepoll

ally for every 10 seats won by it. Earlier, the party offered two

ministries for every 13 seats held.

Besides, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), with 18 MPs, has also demanded IT and

Telecommunications, a portfolio it held in the outgoing government. The DMK patriarch and

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Karunanidhi also met the Congress president and is learnt to

have asked for seven Cabinet berths for his party.

Although Karunanidhi is keen to get a Cabinet seat for his loyal T R Baalu, Congress sources

claim the prime minister was unimpressed by his performance in the last five years. Baalu

was in charge of shipping, road transport and highways.


(6) of (13)

During Baalu's tenure at least five Chairmen of the National Highways Authority of India

had to quit in quick succession, following reports of disagreements with the minister.

Congress sources suggest the prime minister is also not happy with the progress of the

National Highway network.

In today's meeting, attended by DMK, Trinamool Congress, NCP, National Conference,

PCK, Bodo People's Front, Kerala Congress (Mani) and Muslim League, Manmohan Singh

laid emphasis on strengthening the UPA's flagship programmes and said internal security and

maintaining communal harmony would be his government's priorities.

MTV signs deal with HCL for online support

HCL Technologies signing a global outsourcing deal with

MTV Networks (MTVN) to develop and support its online

media platforms. The financial details were not disclosed.

MTV Networks is part of media conglomerate Viacom and

owns brands such as MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and

Comedy Central. The outsourcing engagement with HCL

is aimed at supporting content delivery on the Internet.

HCL and MTVN signed the deal in the OctoberDecember

quarter last year. It was not disclosed when HCL will start generating revenues

from the contract.

The Indian IT firm will provide application development and maintenance services to the

media firm. "We will also work on future technologies such as media players, search

technologies and product engineering for MTVN," said HCL Technologies Senior Director

Srirama Srinivasan.

HCL will work on developing and supporting platforms for media players, social networking

and games, among others, for MTVN. Most of the work under the engagement will be done

at HCL's existing centres in Chennai, while the user interface design would be supported

from Noida. HCL will also set up a media centre for MTV Networks for developing new

products such as media players. The IT firm didn't reveal the investment earmarked for the

centre that is likely to come up in Chennai.

HCL Technologies CEO Vineet Nayar said the firm's innovative solutions and riskandreward

sharing model has helped it bag a number of deals in the last several quarters. "We

look forward to this partnership with MTVN and demonstrating the value which HCL

brings," he added.


(7) of (13)

In the last few months, HCL has won a number of deals including a $350million

total IT

services outsourcing deal with Readers' Digest Association (RDA) signed in March this year.

Apart from ADM and infrastructure support, HCL would also work on digital content

delivery for the media firm. It also won a sevenyear,

Rs 393crore

IT services deal from

Indian general insurer National Insurance Company. HCL also signed a $100million


centre services and transformation deal with printing major Xerox Corporation. More

recently, it bagged a multimillion

dollar deal from supply chain services firm UTI.

Novartis buys part of generics maker for $1.2 billion

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis AG said that it will

buy the generic injectable cancer drugs business of

Austria's EBEWE Pharma for $1.2 billion in cash.

Novartis said EBEWE's products will be incorporated into its own generics units Sandoz,

creating a new unit in Unterach, Austria. Some of EBEWE's products include versions of the

chemotherapy agents Cytarabine and Etoposid, along with the breast cancer treatment


"These medicines will remain the backbone of multidrug

treatments in the fight against

cancer, one of the world's leading causes of death,'' said Novartis Chief Executive Daniel

Vasella. The deal excludes EBEWE's line of injectable neurological medicines, Novartis said.

The market for injectable generics was estimated to be worth $1012

billion in 2008, with

cancer drugs accounting for almost a third of that, Novartis said.

The Baselbased

company said cancer drugs worth $9 billion in annual sales are expected to

lose patent protection by 2015. Novartis shares closed 0.5 percent higher at $40.41 (USD) on

the Zurich exchange.

The move comes on the heels of Pfizer Inc.'s decision to expand more strongly into generic

drugs. The New Yorkbased

company added injected drugs specialist Claris Lifesciences Ltd.

as a partner while expanding a prior deal with Indiabased

Aurobindo Pharma Ltd.

The deals come as large pharmaceutical companies scramble to protect revenue because of

pricing pressures, increased competition and a lack of new blockbuster drugs. For many

companies, their largest moneymakers are losing patent protection, opening the market up to

cheaper generic competition and cutting into sales.

Utilities test Google Software to Save Energy

A handful of electric utilities are rolling out software made by Internet giant Google Inc.

(GOOG) as part of their "smartmeter"

programs in hopes it will help customers conserve



(8) of (13)

Utilities including Sempra Energy's (SRE), San Diego Gas

& Electric unit, Energy Future Holdings Corp.'s, TXU

Energy, and Integrys Energy Group Inc.'s (TEG)

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. are testing Google's

software as part of programs to digitize their utility meters

and relay usage information to the utility and to customers.

The application, called Google PowerMeter, reads information coming from a smart meter,

and displays it in realtime

on a Web site. As utilities increasingly embrace smart meters as a

way to cut energy use, in part by charging customers for the power they use at realtime

prices, they have been searching for ways to display the information in a userfriendly

manner that allows customers to adjust their power use. Smart meters and their potential to

help cut U.S. energy consumption and greenhousegas

emissions, have been embraced by

President Barack Obama and Congress, in part through billions of dollars in grants made

available for smartmeter

programs as part of the Recovery Act.

"A smart meter is just a meter unless you're able to utilize the information and get it into

customers' hands," said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions at San Diego Gas &

Electric. The utility is rolling out Google's PowerMeter as part of its $572 million smartmeter


San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) estimates its smart meters, with the PowerMeter

application, could help customers cut their use by 5% to 10%. Such cuts likely would come

from people unplugging televisions, DVD players and other electronics, and turning off

lights, Snyder said.

A small group of San Diego Gas & Electric employees has been testing the PowerMeter, and

the utility plans to expand the program to 35 other customers this month. If the system works

well, SDG&E likely will offer it to all 1.4 million customers slated for electricmeter

upgrades over the next two years, Snyder said.

SDG&E and Google, of Mountainview, Calif., said they're working with electric meter and

data management company Itron Inc. (ITRI) to work on putting the software in place.

Other utilities testing Google's PowerMeter include Reliance Energy in India and Toronto


System Ltd. in Canada and Glasgow EPB of Kentucky, White River Valley

Electric Cooperative of Missouri, and JEA of Florida. Google said it plans to partner with

additional utilities and meter companies in the future.

American Idol winner is crowned

Student Kris Allen has been named the surprise winner of the eighth season of American

Idol. The 23yearold

from Arkansas beat favourite Adam Lambert, 27, to the title in

Wednesday's finale.


(9) of (13)

"I'm sorry; I don't even know what to feel right now.

This is crazy," he said after hearing he had won. Host

Ryan Seacrest said nearly 100 million votes had been

cast during the show, which featured Keith Urban and

Lionel Richie as guest stars.

Allen, who won over audiences with his allAmerican

good looks and by putting a personal spin on popular

tunes, appeared shocked as musical theatre actor

Lambert embraced him after the announcement.

How to fit 300 DVDs on one disc

A new optical recording method could pave the way for data

discs with 300 times the storage capacity of standard DVDs,

Nature journal reports. The researchers say this could see a

whopping 1.6 Terabytes of information fit on a DVDsized


They describe their method as "fivedimensional"


recording and say it could be commercialised.

The technique employs nanometerscale

particles of gold as

a recording medium.

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in

Australia have exploited the particular properties of these

gold "Nanorods"

by manipulating the light pointed at them.

The team members described what they did as adding three "dimensions" to the two spatial

dimensions that DVD and CD discs already have.

They say they were able to introduce a spectral or

colour dimension

and a polarization

dimension, as well as recording information in 10 layers of the Nanorod

films, adding a third

spatial dimension.

The scientists used the nanoparticles to record information in a range of different colour

wavelengths on the same physical disc location. This is a major improvement over traditional

DVDs, which are recorded in a single colour wavelength with a laser.

Also, the amount of incoming laser light absorbed by the nanoparticles depends on its

polarization. This allowed the researchers to record different layers of information at different



(10) of (13)

Their approach used 10layer

stacks composed of thin glass plates as the recording medium.

If scaled up to a DVDsized

disk, the team would be able to record 1.6 terabytes that


1,600 gigabytes or

over 300 times the quantity stored on a standard DVD.

Significant improvements could be made by thinning the spacer layers and using more than

two polarization angles pushing

the limits to 10 Terabytes per disc and beyond, the

researchers say.

Recent efforts based on holography have shown that up to 500 GB could potentially be stored

on standard DVDsized

disks. Holographic methods take all of the information to be recorded

and encode it in the form of a graph showing how often certain frequencies arise in it.

Reliance Power to invest Rs 12,000 crore in Arunachal


Anil Ambaniled

Reliance Power will invest

over Rs 12,000 crore for executing 2,520MW

hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh, to

be commissioned in the next Five Year Plan


"Reliance Power has signed an agreement with the Arunachal Pradesh government

for developing 2,520 MW of hydro power projects in the state," a Reliance Power

spokesperson said.

The company has signed agreement with the state government for developing four hydro

power projects 1,200

MW KalaiII,

420 MW Amulin, 500 MW Emini and 400 MW


These projects were awarded to the company through competitive bidding conducted by the

state government.

The current hydro project portfolio of Reliance Power is 4,620 MW, one of the largest in

private sector in India.

Besides, the other projects of the company in the state are 700MW


and 1,000MW

Siyom, a company statement said.

Construction activities have commenced at TatoII

and Siyom and preliminary work like

preparation of Detailed Project Report is going on for all the other projects, it said.

All these projects are Runofriver

(ROR) projects and would take 67

years to get

commissioned. They are expected to be commissioned in the next plan period (201217)



will be the first project to go onstream.

Skoda launches luxury car the New Laura

Skoda India launched its luxury car the New

Laura, which is available in three engines

and six variants, priced between Rs 12.67

lakh and Rs 17.15 lakh, according to exshowroom


"We are proud to present the New Laura,

which assures the customers a perfect 10/10

driving experience," Skoda India Board

Member Thomas Kuehl said in a release.

"Skoda India has achieved tremendous success since its inception in India and we are looking

forward to achieve many more milestones with the support of our valued Indian customers,"

he said.

"With the New Laura, we will reinstate our supreme position in the C+ segment and aim at

increasing our segment share by penetration into smaller cities and towns in India for which

we are expanding our dealer network and infrastructure to 65 points by this yearend,"


India GM Sales Ashutosh Dixit said.


set to open its first Indian wholesale outlet


the world's largest retailer, is set to open its first

wholesale or cashandcarry

store in India next week and

has chosen Amritsar as the location to kickstart


venture, company officials said. The USbased

giant has

also decided to call its cashandcarry

venture BestPrice

Modern Wholesale to offer retailers bargains that would

eventually benefit end consumers, the officials added.

The venture is in collaboration with the Bharti group that

has interests in telecom, retail, agrotrade

and realty industries. The US giant and Bharti had

formed the 50:50 joint venture in 2007 to launch a chain of wholesale stores in India.

Officials said more than dozen such large stores, spread over 50,000 to 100,000 sq ft were

planned in the country over the next five years. They said only retailers who have a sales tax

number would be served at these stores.

India does not permit foreign equity in multibrand

retailing, estimated to be a $350billion

industry and seen doubling in size by 2015. Only 5% of the market is in the organized

segment, with momandpop

stores accounting for the bulk of the shops.

No comments:

Post a Comment