Thursday, 13 December 2012

Facebook Named ‘Best Place to Work’ by its Employees

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, center, smiles with unidentified co-workers at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.

Forget “like” — most Facebook employees absolutely love working for the company, a new survey found.

The social media network topped this year’s list of the 50 best places to work in jobs and careers site’s fifth annual Employees’ Choice Awards.

Facebook earned an average score of 4.7 out of a maximum of 5, with employees lauding the company for its “fun” and challenging work environment, its global impact on society — and their admiration for CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“Facebook is really thriving as a place to work, and much of that can be attributed to Mark Zuckerberg, whose approval rating among employees is up to 99% this year,” Glassdoor spokeswoman Samantha Zupan told the Daily News.

“You see they all talk about the great culture there and certainly the perks also, but it’s a unique atmosphere when you know your work is impacting nearly a billion people.”

It was the second time in the past three years the California company was rated No. 1.

Starbucks came in last in Glassdoor’s survey, which has workers rate the pros and cons of their companies anonymously.

Among the most common Starbucks cons: low pay, bad managers — and dealing with rude customers.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12/12/12: Kashmir Govt Steps In As Online Rumour About Cosmic Rays Goes Viral

People in Kashmir on Tuesday had a sleepless night when an online message went viral that cosmic rays from Mars will enter into Earth and damage mobile phones. The government had to come up with an official statement to dispel the rumour.

Late on Wednesday evening, a message attributed to NASA and BBC news service went viral online with people sharing it on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The message, which sparked panic, reads: “Attention please: Tonight 12:30am to 3:30am cosmos rays are entering earth from Mars. So switch off your mobile at night. Don't keep your cell with you and put it away while you are sleeping because they are too much dangerous rays.”

The message had people switching off their phones and calling each other to take precaution. “After reading the message, we immediately cut off power supply to the mobile tower in our premises,” said Naseer Ahmad, a resident of south Kashmir’s Bijbehara area.

At several places, mobile users complained that towers were shut by people who have it at private premises. Newspapers offices were flooded with queries by the mobile users.

Late on Tuesday night, the Kashmir’s divisional office issued a state to put to rest the viral rumour. “Don’t panic please. It’s just a rumour,” said Kashmir’s divisional commissioner’s office.

Amir Ali, spokesman of Kashmir divisional commissioner’s office, clarified, “People all around the world are receiving false messages attributed to NASA and BBC that cosmos rays are entering into Earth from Mars. It is clarified that neither BBC nor NASA has released any such news related to Cosmo rays and it is only a rumour.”

The state government asked cellular users “not to pat pay heed to these rumours and help educate others”.

“Spreading rumours and unsubstantiated warnings is unethical and against the law,” said the divisional commissioner’s office.

Rumours and myths around numbers are common in Asia. Many people attribute many myths to 12/12/12, which is 12, Dec of 2012. While many people are using it for memorable dates, some believe untoward incident are bound to unfold.

Amarnath's Remark On Dhoni: BCCI Insists Selectors are Independent

Amarnath's remark on Dhoni BCCI insists selectors are independent
The BCCI on Wednesday refuted former selector Mohinder Amarnath's accusation that board president N Srinivasan had blocked a move to sack under-fire skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, insisting that the selectors are 'independent'.

Amarnath had created a flutter by openly admitting that 'certain internal reason' stopped the selection committee from replacing Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Indian captain after eight successive Test defeats in England and Australia.

But BCCI vice-president and Indian Premier League chairman Rajeev Shukla rebutted the allegations.

"I will not go into what he has said. I don't think this has ever happened. I don't think it is appropriate to give statements like this," Shukla told reporters in New Delhi.

"Whatever one has to say, one can say while participating in the (selection) meeting. Making comments about it, I think it is not appropriate as it creates some kind of perception in the minds of players and fans," he said.

"Selectors are independent. They are not under any pressure," he asserted.

Amarnath, while making the allegation, did not divulge the exact reasons for not sacking Dhoni despite India's Test humiliation which has continued at home as well in the ongoing series against England.

"Definitely, there were discussions to replace Dhoni and people were agreeing to do so but for some internal reason, it didn't happen. I will not like to divulge what were the reasons. But when the time is right, I will let the people of this country know about the reasons," Amarnath, the hero of India's 1983 World Cup victory, had said.

In a roundabout manner, Amarnath had also admitted that there were external pressures on the selection committee when the topic of Dhoni's removal was broached.

"In Indian politics and cricket, it's always the same. There are people who are controlling the game and other people are scared to take a stand," he had stated.

"I believe that Dhoni should be removed as captain from the Tests. He hasn't set the Test stage on fire. A captain's place in the team should be secure and I don't see his place secured in the side. He doesn't have the technique for Test cricket," he added.

It was widely believed that the veteran of 69 Tests and 74 ODIs, who was in line to become the chairman of selectors, was removed at the behest of BCCI president N Srinivasan as he had a fall-out on Dhoni issue.

Source : HT

Indian MoD: No Chinese Parts in U.S.-Supplied Aircraft

Indian MoD: No Chinese Parts in U.S.-Supplied Aircraft
NEW DELHI — Responding to an earlier U.S. investigation about the possible use of defective parts from China in military equipment, the Indian Defence Ministry has said that no Chinese suppliers were among the companies providing parts to aircraft sold by the United States to India.

Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Indian Parliament Dec. 10 in a written reply, “the Indian Air Force (IAF) has acquired a list of supplier from the U.S. government with respect to aircraft procured from the USA and none of the suppliers are found to be Chinese manufacturers.”

The Defence Ministry carried out the investigations following media reports in May that said a U.S. Senate investigation had concluded that between 2009 and 2010, 1,800 incidents were detected in which more than a million fake parts had been sourced from China. The U.S. Senate panel report states that counterfeit electronic parts from China were used in the Air Force’s C-130J cargo plane, helicopters for special operations and the Navy’s Poseidon surveillance plane.

Both the C-130J and Poseidon have been contracted by India under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program with the U.S.

“While Government is aware of certain media reports regarding possible usage of Chinese counterfeit electronic parts in military aircraft manufactured in the U.S., no P8I aircraft has so far been delivered to India. Moreover, during the last four years of operation of the U.S. defence equipment, including C-130J transport aircraft, the IAF have not encountered any faulty spare parts and equipment,” Antony told Parliament.

India has purchased six C-130J aircraft from Lockheed Martin and the aircraft have joined the Indian Air Force. In addition, India has contracted to buy 12 Poseidon P8I surveillance planes from Boeing in two separate contracts worth more than $3 billion. The long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft will replace the Indian Navy’s Russian-made TU-142 aircraft.

This year, the Air Force finalized procurement of Chinook Ch-47F heavy-lift helicopters and AH-64D Block-III Apache helicopters from Boeing, and final contracts are likely to be inked by the end of March.

India, Ukraine Ink Defence Cooperation Agreement

A broad defence cooperation agreement was among five pacts signed following delegation-level talks between the visiting Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.

With Ukraine having consolidated its military enterprises into bodies under governmental control, on the lines of what Russia did to its military-industrial complex a decade ago, New Delhi feels the path has been smoothened for a more intimate defence relationship.

Instead of dealing with a number of defence enterprises scattered over Ukraine, India will find it easier to conduct focussed negotiations, which could help it get a better deal.

During the Soviet times, Ukraine was home to 30 per cent of the country’s military industrial complex and it is now attempting to modernise its defence industry. In this scenario, India senses it will be able to duplicate its approach towards Russia of moving away from the buyer-seller relationship and going in for an R&D-joint production model such as the pacts with Moscow for Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, Military Transport Aircraft and BrahMos.

Ukraine is already modernising India’s 100-plus fleet of military transport aircraft and has been active in providing engines for naval vessels and military spares.

Ukraine in turn assured India of its support in a bid to join four international export control organisations, including the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. Kiev voluntarily gave up the nuclear weapons arsenal it had inherited from the Soviet Union and its backing to India in this respect is considered important.

The two sides also inked an agreement on exchanging nuclear safety-related information. Ukraine operates 15 reactors of the same type as the ones being put up by Russia at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. As the Ukrainian reactors are a decade or more older, transfer of safety-related expertise would be of help to Indian nuclear engineers.India pressed hard on the visa issue which, it feels, is a major non-tariff barrier. Official don’t know if the fortnight-long wait for business visas is Ukraine’s retaliation for India clamping down on visas to women of a certain age group from Ukraine and Central Asian countries, but the subject was deemed crucial enough for Dr. Singh to mention it to the Ukrainian President.

India feels one reason for the huge trade deficit with Ukraine is visa issuance delays. It made progress with another approach to reduce the imbalance, currently 5:1 in Kiev’s favour, with Ukraine agreeing to Indian investments in the fertilizer sector.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Sri Lanka to Continue to Train its Military Personnel in India

Sri Lanka to Continue to Train its Military Personnel in India
India provides short-term and long-term training programmes to military personnel from Sri Lanka and other neighbouring countries, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Monday.

Notwithstanding stiff opposition from political parties in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka on Wednesday asserted that it was "very firm" on continuing the training programme of its defence personnel in India and ruled out sending them to countries like China.

Sri Lanka's powerful Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, also the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said his country looks at India in a "much bigger way" than China.

During an interaction with visiting Indian journalists, Rajapaksa admitted that the recent attacks against Sri Lankan citizens in Tamil Nadu has "hurt" their feelings, but said no one in his country had any "hard feelings" for India or its people.

"No. We have never (thought about it) because in our long history since the days when we moved from British shoulders all training (to army personnel) were done in India or in Pakistan," he said.

The minister was responding to a question whether Sri Lanka was reconsidering the training programme for its military personnel in India and possibly get them trained in countries like China in the wake of protests in Tamil Nadu.

Dwelling on the issue, he said it has been the practice for any new batch to be sent to India for training and that Sri Lanka has no plans to change the tradition.

"There can be various opinions, but we can't (shift the programme). We are very firm on that and we have confidence (that it will continue). We have not even thought about," he said when pressed further on whether Sri Lanka would stop sending its personnel to India.

He noted that starting from the Defence Secretary to Army commanders, everyone has been trained in India. "Everyone go to India first and only then they are sent to other countries like USA (for training)," he said.

Rajapaksa's comments assume significance in the wake of almost all political parties in Tamil Nadu coming on a single platform to oppose the training programme to Sri Lankan military personnel in India.

Initially, the parties protested the presence of Sri Lankan personnel in Tamil Nadu, but later widened their demand by asking the Indian Government to scrap the entire programme and send them back home.

However, India has made it clear that the training programme would continue.

On whether Sri Lanka was moving close towards China, he said: "We look India in a much bigger way."

Speaking about the attacks against Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu, Rajapaksa said that it "hurt" the feelings of Sri Lankan people because it had happened in India, which is regarded as a "big brother and a country which shows the way" for his nation.

"It hurt our feelings, we cannot hide that because we always think India as our big brother or who shows us the way and how should we work. India has taught us all good things.

We never thought this will happen?But we have no hard feelings towards India or its people," he said.

The minister, who is in-charge of reconstruction of the war-torn Northern Province, also noted that most of the pilgrims who were attacked in Tamil Nadu were of Indian-origin Sri Lankans.

Asked whether such incidents will cast a shadow on Indo-Lanka ties, he replied in the negative and appreciated the Indian Government's initiatives to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

"I believe that the people of Tamil Nadu understand that nobody gains from such incidents," he said.

Defence Minister AK Antony said : 54 Indian Soldiers May be in Pakistan Jails

AK Antony
AK Antony
New Delhi: Fifty-four Indian military personnel missing since the 1965 and 1971 wars are believed to be in Pakistani custody, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said on Monday.

These include a member of the Border Security Force (BSF), the minister told the Lok Sabha in a written statement.

He said the government had repeatedly taken up the matter with the Pakistani government but "Pakistan does not acknowledge the presence of any such personnel in its custody".

Antony recalled that a delegation of 14 relatives of missing Indian defence personnel visited 10 jails in Pakistan June 1-14, 2007.

"The delegation, however, could not conclusively confirm the physical presence of any missing defence personnel."

He said that in the wake of media reports that some 1971 prisoners of war (POWs) were in a jail in Oman, the Indian embassy in Muscat formally took up the issue with the Omani foreign office.

The mission wanted to know the "factual status and consular access and release of Indian POWs, if any, in Omani jails.

"However, there has been no official and formal response from the Omani side," the minister said.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Israel pips US in anti-tank guided missile supply to India

NEW DELHI: Israel has upstaged the US in the ongoing race to bag the huge deal to supply third-generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) to the Indian Army, in a project which could well be worth $1 billion eventually.

Defence ministry sources said the plan to go in for the American FGM-148 Javelin ATGMs has "virtually been shelved" because of Washington's reluctance to provide full military knowhow - licensed "transfer of technology (ToT)'' - to allow India to indigenously manufacture the "tank killers'' in large numbers after an initial off-the-shelf purchase.

 Instead, the Army has already completed extensive trials of the Israeli 'Spike' ATGM, which like Javelin is also a shoulder-launched and fire-and-forget missile, under varied conditions in plains, deserts and mountains. "The staff evaluation is now in progress as the next step in the procurement process,'' said a source.

The Javelin imbroglio has once again rekindled long-held fears in the Indian defence establishment about the US not being a reliable long-term supplier of cutting-edge military technology. India also detests American conditions on "intrusive end-user inspections'' of weapons sold to its armed forces.

The US has notched up military sales worth over $8 billion to India in the last few years, including mega deals for C-130J 'Super Hercules', C-17 Globemaster-III and P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, but they did not involve licensed production in India.

The AGTM project, in contrast, involves ToT since the 1.13-million Army wants to equip all its 356 infantry battalions with the man-portable missiles as an effective counter to Pakistani and Chinese main battle tanks. A bulk of the estimated 2,000 launchers and 24,000 missiles required for this are planned for production by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics (BDL) after getting requisite ToT from the selected foreign vendor.

With General Bikram Singh identifying infantry modernization as a major thrust area, the Army wants to complete the induction of these 2.5-km range advanced ATGMs by the end of the 12th Plan (2017).

At present, infantry units are making do with second-generation Milan (2-km range) and Konkurs (4-km) ATGMs, produced by BDL under licence from French and Russian companies, which are wire-guided and do not have fire-and-forget capabilities.

Overall, the Army has an "authorized holding'' for over 81,000 different kinds of ATGMs, which are critical to stem enemy armoured attacks, but does not have even half of that number in its inventory.

A part of the deficiency will be met by the induction of the long-delayed indigenous third-generation Nag ATGMs, which are vehicle and helicopter-mounted, with a 4-km strike range. The Army has already placed an initial order for 443 Nag missiles and 13 Namicas (Nag missile tracked carriers).

If Israel, the second-largest defence supplier to India after Russia, does indeed stitch up the ATGM project, it will be the third major missile programme between the two countries. They are already collaborating in two surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, under which deliveries are slated to begin soon.

While the DRDO-Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) project for long-range-SAM to arm Indian warships is worth Rs 2,606 crore, the medium-range-SAM one for IAF is worth Rs 10,076 crore.

BEL, Israel’s IAI ink MoU on Naval Missiles

A MoU signed between Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has set the stage for joint development and indigenous production of a set of Long Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (LR-SAMs) to defend Indian warships from enemy attack.

BEL will be the lead integrator of this set of missiles and produce some of the major sub-systems, the company announced on Monday.

LR-SAMs, along with MR-SAMs (Medium Range SAMs) for the IAF, is among the major pursuits of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is said to be developing some of them, also in a tie-up with IAI, at a cost of over around Rs. 2,500 crore.

It is based on Israel’s Barak missile system and will give the country an advanced, seeker-based missile capability. Indian missiles are ‘guided’ and the country does not have the ‘seeker’ technology that enables a missile to home in on the target.

The LR-SAM would track and engage multiple targets simultaneously over a 70-km range, defence sources said.

The project could span five to eight years.
‘Significant step’

President and CEO of the Tel Aviv-based IAI Joseph Weiss described the move as “a significant step forward in our joint work with India.” BEL was a strategic partner and this would enhance the IAI’s ability to provide high quality solutions and service to the Indian defence services.

BEL’s Director (Marketing) H.N. Ramakrishna, who signed the MoU in Tel Aviv on December 5, was quoted as saying: “We see the IAI as a strategic partner with a wide range of potential joint activities. This MoU demonstrates that BEL and the IAI can work closely together on the most sophisticated and advanced programmes, for the mutual benefit of both companies.” DRDO would continue to guide the activity.Boaz Levy, Director General of Air & Missile Defense Systems division of the IAI, signed the memorandum in the presence of Mr. Weiss and Eli Alfassi, Corporate VP, India Operations.

India To Outpace China By 2030: US Intelligence Report

WASHINGTON: It might be hard to visualize or believe in today's messy, gridlocked, turmoil-ridden subcontinent, but the US intelligence community in a new report released on Monday says by 2030, a surging India, along with decelerating China, will straddle global commerce and dominate the world economy amid the gradual decline of the west.

They won't be doing it in tandem. China has powered ahead, but India's turn will come after 2015 even as China's fortunes start receding. But by 2030, Asia, fueled by India as much as China, "will be well on its way to returning to being the world's powerhouse, just as it was before 1500," says "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds," a report issued by the US National Intelligence Council, the brains' trust of the US intelligence community. Pakistan will be a no-show and may not even exist.

The report shows that India will surge ahead after 2020 even as China begins to wane or decelerate, mainly on account of demographic changes which will see China aging before India. "As the world's largest economic power, China is expected to remain ahead of India, but the gap could begin to close by 2030. India's rate of economic growth is likely to rise while China's slows," the report says, adding, "In 2030 India could be the rising economic powerhouse that China is seen to be today. China's current economic growth rate -- 8 to 10 percent -- will probably be a distant memory."

According to the report, the total size of the Chinese working-age population will peak in 2016 and decline from 994 million to about 961 million in 2030. In contrast, India's working-age population is unlikely to peak until about 2050. In terms of timeline, India's demographic window of opportunity is between 2015 to 2050, whereas China's is 1990 to 2025. In contrast, the US fecundity was at its best between 1970 to 2015, presaging the country's gradual decline. India's median age, currently at 26, will be 32 by 2030, still the lowest among the top ten economies in the world.

The report forecasts that sometime after 2030, India, not China will have the world's largest middle-class consumption, bigger than US and EU combined. But both China and India, it says, faces the prospect of being trapped in middle-income status, with their per capita income not continuing to increase to the level of the world's advanced economies unless they resolve their resource constraints (mainly water, energy, food) and invest more in science and technology to continue to move their economy up the value chain.

Indeed, the India-China economic journey is not without hurdles or pitfalls, especially with regards to the global scrap for resources and the effects of climate change. But if they surmount the difficulties and things pan out well, India and China will dominate a world in 2030 that will largely be "middle-class, not poor, which has been the condition of most people throughout human history."

Google critic disappointed with FTC, meet with Justice

Critics of Google, fearing that an antitrust investigation into the search giant by the Federal Trade Commission will not produce a strong conclusion, may be ready to take their grievances next to the Justice Department.

At least one Google adversary met with Justice Department
officials recently, pressing them to investigate, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

The FTC is believed to be close to wrapping up an investigation into accusations that the search giant uses its dominance to squash competitors in shopping and travel, blocks rivals' access to its Android wireless operating system, and asks courts to stop sales of products that it says infringe essential patents.

"The entire technology industry wants to see the FTC take action," said one lawyer following the probe. "If the FTC lets down the entire tech industry, the next time the tech industry has a concern they're going to go to the DOJ (Justice Department)."

The lawyer also pointed to the possibility of congressional hearings aimed at probing the FTC itself if the agency reached what Google critics considered a weak conclusion.

Gary Reback, who also represents Google's critics, said he had not taken clients to meet with the Justice Department recently because it was "too early to throw in the towel with the FTC."

"This goes well beyond an emotional response. If the FTC isn't equipped to deal with this, they shouldn't have taken it on in the first place," said Reback, who is with the law firm Carr & Ferrell LLP. "Believe me, I know how to find the (Justice Department) antitrust division."

Both the Justice Department and the FTC enforce antitrust law, although the commission has more arrows in its quiver because it can pursue companies for ill-defined "unfair" practices while the Justice Department cannot, said David Balto, an FTC veteran now in private practice.

Balto doubted that the Justice Department would take up action against Google.

"They're (the Justice Department) going to say 'no,'" he said. "What are we going to do? At the end of every investigation are we going to let people change the rules and change courts?"

A decision by the FTC is expected by the end of the year. The European Commission, which is also probing Google, is expected to announce a decision next month.

Apple launches iPad mini in India, basic version to cost Rs. 21,900

Tech giant Apple's much awaited smaller version of the iPad has finally been released in India with a price tag of 21,900 rupees for the basic version.

The 7-inch iPad Mini is 23% slimmer and weighs 53% lesser than the iPad tablet. According to the Wall Street Journal, the
tablet computer has a 10-hour battery life for long usage.

Pad mini basic verion comes with a 16-gigabit storage capacity, and allows users to access the internet via Wi-Fi networks.

While the advanced version with 64-gigabit capacity, Retina display and internet access through both Wi-Fi and cellular networks has been priced at Rs. 41,900, the paper said.

According to the Journal, Apple will also start selling its latest fourth-generation iPad in India from Friday.

The firm has priced the base 16-GB Wi-Fi version for Rs. 31, 900 per piece and the most-advanced version at Rs. 51, 900 per unit.

Pakistan should not tour India: Ehsan Mani

Former ICC President Ehsan Mani has criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board for agreeing to tour India for a short one-day series later this month.

"I think the PCB is wrong to have agreed to this. If it is a political decision, then the PCB should have asked the politicians to make
sure that India reciprocated by coming and playing against Pakistan even if it was at a neutral venue," Mani said in an interview on '' website.

Mani who was Pakistan's representative in the ICC before becoming its President in 2003 said he couldn't understand how the PCB agreed to play in India when the nation owes Pakistan two series which it has cancelled out on.

He said from a reciprocity point of view, it is totally wrong that Pakistan should be going to India.

"My opinion is Pakistan should not be going to India at all. India or the BCCI went out of its way after the Mumbai attack to isolate Pakistan cricket at the ICC," Mani said.

He pointed out that BCCI knew well that by refusing to play Pakistan even at a neutral venue, they were going to cost the PCB a huge amount of money.

Opposition lashes Out at Govt after 'Walmart lobbying' Claim

The issue of FDI in retail came to haunt the government again in Parliament with a united Opposition demanding an inquiry and reply from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on reports of Walmart spending huge money to lobby for entry into the country's market.

Forcing two adjournments in the Rajya Sabha before lunch, members from BJP, CPI-M, CPI, SP, JD-U, Trinamool Congress, AGP and AIADMK said the measure should be withdrawn as "corruption" has come to fore now because lobbying is illegal in India.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Ravishankar Prasad (BJP) said apprehensions were raised earlier also about Wal-Mart spending huge money to lobby for entering the country's market, which has now been proved true.

"Walmart has in its lobbying disclosure report to the US Senate said it has spent Rs. 125 crore on lobbying and $3 million have been spent in 2012 itself for entering the Indian market.

"Lobbying is illegal in India. Lobbying is a kind of bribe. If Walmart has said that hundreds of crores of rupees were spent in India, then it is a kind of bribe. Government should tell who was given this bribe. This raises a question mark on the implementation of FDI in retail," Prasad said.

He was supported by members from other opposition parties with TMC leader D Bandopadhyay waving a newspaper report and CPI-M member P Rajeeve asking for an "independent inquiry" into the whole episode alleging that there are some reports saying Walmart invested money even before FEMA was amended.

"This is bribery," he said as the Opposition members shouted slogans in favour of withdrawing FDI.

Amid din, SP members trooped into the Well shouting slogans against the government's move to bring reservation in promotion for SCs/STs. Government has listed the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012 for this purpose in the House on Monday.

India's 1st Indigenous 155 mm Bofors-Type Howitzer From TATA

The Tata group is to unveil India's first indigenously developed 155 mm howitzer in New Delhi.

The Tata group is to unveil India's first indigenously developed 155 mm howitzer in New Delhi. The 155/52 mm howitzer is mounted on an eight-wheeled Tata truck for enhanced mobility. The gun was developed by its defence subsidiary Tata Power Strategic Electronics Division (SED) this year. The 'mounted gun system' can fire a six-round salvo on a target 40 km away in less than three minutes.

The truck-mounted howitzer was also displayed at an army seminar at the Maneckshaw centre. The roll out comes even as the Indian Army and the Ministry of Defence have struggled to import howitzers over the past 25 years.

The Army acquired its last howitzers over 25 years ago, 410 FH-77B howitzers from AB Bofors of Sweden in 1987. Since then, the army's howitzer arsenal has been critically depleted.

Tata Power SED, the defence arm of the $ 100 billion Tata group, began work on its 'Mounted Gun Project' over two years ago. The prototype gun was rolled out of the Tata Power SED facility in Bangalore's electronic city this October. It will spearhead the group's bid for the Army's requirement for 814 mounted gun systems for Rs.8500 crore.

The Tata gun is India's first new howitzer since its purchase of Bofors guns. The subsequent bribery scandal torpedoed the acquisition of additional howitzers from Sweden.

The Bofors howitzers performed spectacularly in the Kargil conflict of 1999. The Indian Army wants to buy over 2200 such howitzers in five different categories but has been unable to do so because of other bribery scandals involving firms like Rheinmetall, Singapore Technologies Kinetics, Soltam and Denel

Friday, 7 December 2012

Pakistani Taliban launches New Facebook Page To Recruit

ISLAMABAD: The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have created a Facebook page to recruit persons to write for a planned quarterly magazine and to work on tasks like video editing and translation.

The Umar Media TTP page, which has nearly 290 likes, has a message posted on November 22 seeking writers for "Ahyah-e-Khilafat", which is described as the "official quarterly magazine" of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

"Dear brothers and sisters, 'Pen is mightier than the sword (sic)'. Now you have a chance to use this mighty weapon," the message says.

Prospective contributors can write on "on topic of your choice, or on jihadi current affairs, history, Islamic movements, plight of ummah, etc etc", the message adds.

An earlier message posted in October states that "Umar Media is proud to announce online jobs opportunities (sic)".

The job "description (sic) is video editing, translations, sharing, uploading, downloading and collection of required data".

The earlier message includes an email ID for contacting the Taliban and asks people to spread news about the Facebook page as the account may be deleted.

US-based private intelligence organization SITE too said the Pakistani Taliban use Facebook as "a recruitment centre".

In a statement, SITE said: "Through its official media arm, Umar Media, the TTP has taken to Facebook to recruit contributors for their media work and the group's forthcoming publication 'Ayah-E-Khilafat' (Sign of the Caliphate)."

The TTP, currently led by Hakimullah Mehsud, has been behind scores of bombings and suicide attacks, a majority of them against the security forces, that have killed thousands in the past five years.

In October, the TTP claimed responsibility for an attempt to assassinate teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai, who is being treated in a British hospital after being shot in the head.

Source : TOI

IAF: LCA Tejas To Be Part Of 'Iron Feast' In 2013

The much-awaited indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will now be put to test in the forthcoming air exercise “Iron Feast”, to be held in February next year in Pokhran of Jaisalmer.

The much-awaited indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will now be put to test in the forthcoming air exercise “Iron Feast”, to be held in February next year in Pokhran of Jaisalmer.

The Tejas will display its capabilities in the exercise, where its lethality, endurance and precision will be tested, Air Marshal Anjan Kumar Gogoi, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South-Western Air command, said at a press conference here.

If the supersonic fighter is found performing successfully on every parameter in this exercise, its first squadron will be deployed in Bangalore, he said.

This will be the first demonstration of strength by Tejas after it recently completed weapon trials in preparation for its operational clearance and now planned to be finally cleared for operational service after this exercise.

'Good News' coming Soon for Arihant

The Indian Navy will have 'good news' to share on Arihant soon, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi has said.

The Indian Navy will have 'good news' to share on Arihant soon, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi has said. Currently undergoing crucial trials, the Navy Chief indicated that India's first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine had completed a majority of its harbour acceptance trials (HATs) and would shortly enter a phase of sea trials, which he said were expected to last less than a year.

Admiral Joshi's predecessor had said in 2010 and last year that the Arihant would begin a deterrent patrol in 2012, though that had always seemed optimistic. Navy sources said, "The Arihant trials are swimming along well and is performing as expected. The Navy Chief is right when he says that harbour acceptance work-up is almost complete and we will soon be in a position to gauge its performance out at sea conducting all maneouvers expected of a submarine of this size." It is understood that a second hull has already been fabricated.

When asked if the nuclear reactor that powered the Arihant would be modified and improved for the second SSBN, the Navy Chief indicated that the performance of the powerplant was being assessed along with the performance on the Navy's leased Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine INS Chakra leased from Russia, and that plans would be drawn up on the configuration of the second boat's power source. Speaking of India's depleting conventional attack submarine assets, Admiral Joshi said, "They are not junk or obsolete.

They are highly capable, potent platforms, and also have a land-attack capability." Acknowledging that the delays in the Project 75 Scorpene build at Mazagon Dock had slowed plans, the Admiral said that things were finally on track, revealing that the Navy had asked MDL and its technology partners (DCNS and Navantia) to compress construction/delivery schedules as far as possible. Finally, the CNS said that the request for proposal (RFP) for the long-awaited follow-on Project 75 India submarine line—for six more conventional attack submarines—would be floated soon, given that all approvals had been accorded by the government.

Cisco Wants To Become No.1 IT Company

NEW YORK: Cisco Systems isn't content to be the world's largest maker of computer networking gear. It says it wants to become the "No. 1" supplier of information technology to big businesses by broadening its offerings of services and software.

But when Cisco says "No. 1 IT company," it doesn't mean that it's going to be the biggest-selling company. That goal is out of reach, as IBM's revenue is twice that of Cisco.

Rather, Cisco CEO John Chambers says he wants the company to loom largest in the minds of its customers and to be the one setting the pace in the industry. Being No. 1, he says, means having the best customer satisfaction and the best profit margins for products.

The strategy statement, articulated at a presentation for Wall Street analysts, follows some lean years that have seen Cisco retrench from even broader goals, which included trying to establish itself as a consumer brand and buying a maker of camcorders. The new direction will be supported by a global advertising campaign with the slogan "Tomorrow starts here." The ad campaign starts Monday.

"The play sounds a lot like the IBM story," Raymond James analyst Simon Leopold said. After the maker of mainframe computers struggled in the 1980s with the rise of cheap microprocessors and rapid changes in the industry, IBM successfully transformed itself into a company that combined consulting services, software and hardware.

For Cisco, the new playbook comes as Chambers, who is 63 and one of the longest-serving CEOs in Silicon Valley, is nearing retirement and looking to hand over to a successor in two to four years. There are two chief candidates, who appeared with Chambers on Friday: Rob Lloyd, the head of sales and product development, and Gary Moore, the chief operating officer.

"Both Rob and I are prepared to be the CEO," Moore said, adding that whoever wasn't chosen would accept the board's decision and remain with the company.

Chambers told analysts that Cisco pulls in about $6 billion from software per year and plans to double that in the next three to five years. That's not a figure the company usually breaks out, as most of its software is deeply integrated into hardware such as routers and switches, which shunt data through networks.

Analysts at the meeting were unsure how to incorporate the figure into their models, and the company didn't give a lot of specifics on how it hoped to achieve that.

Analysts also questioned how Cisco hopes to be the top player when it doesn't sell the massive storage arrays that big companies need for their data. Chambers said Cisco will keep partnering with companies that do sell storage products, including IBM and EMC Corp.

Apart from IBM, Cisco's chief competitors for the "No. 1 IT" throne are Microsoft, Oracle, SAG AG and Hewlett-Packard. Cisco partners closely with them, except for HP.

Chambers said the company is sticking to its forecast of growing sales by 5 percent to 7 percent per year and its earnings slightly faster, at 7 percent to 9 percent per year. Both figures represent pullbacks from the past two decades, when the San Jose, Calif., company often grew sales by more than 10 percent per year.

Cisco's stock fell 15 cents, or 0.7 percent, to close Friday at $19.33.

Source : TOI

FDI Vote Gives UPA The Reforms Edge..

NEW DELHI: Eventually, it turned out to be a stroll rather than the tough climb it was billed to be. The Congress humbled the opposition in the vote on allowing FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha by a convincing margin of 21 votes: a scoreline which was facilitated by desertions from the opposition ranks and support from all but one of the Independents.

The victory — 123 votes for FDI to 102 against —is likely to be a spur for the government to seek the passage of more reforms legislations. "Certainly, we are going to bring in more legislation in the coming weeks in Parliament (financial bills) and we will be engaging all political parties on it," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath told reporters after the Rajya Sabha vote.

SP, BSP bail out government again

The debate for FDI in retail in Rajya Sabha carried the trademark stamp of the Congress's fabled "management" skills. V Maitreyan of the AIADMK, who initiated the debate, called the 123-102 scoreline a victory of Kamal Nath, the parliamentary affairs minister, and the House, otherwise deeply divided, agreed.

The floor management saw three of the five TDP members abstaining, along with two belonging to the NDA — Shiv Sena's R K Dhoot and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Sanjeev Kumar. The Congress also got Upendra Kushwaha, a JD(U) rebel who risks losing his membership under the Anti-Defection Act, to vote for the government.

The Samajwadi Party and the BSP, bitter rivals in UP, were again united in bailing out the government, disregarding their anti-Congress posture. Fifteen members of the BSP, which is keen to avoid Lok Sabha polls, voted against the opposition, while those belonging to the SP, which would not wish Mayawati to be the government's principal rescuer, walked out in time to facilitate the government's task.

The Congress also bagged the support of all Independents in the House, excepting A V Swamy. Vijay Mallya, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Mukesh Ambani's aide Parimal Nathwani, Mohammad Adeeb, Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi and SP rebel Amar Singh all went the same way.

Such was the Congress's confidence that minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajeev Shukla sought a recount when the electronic scoreboard showed that the government had eked out a narrow victory with 123-109 margin. The slim gap suggested that the government would have lost had the BSP not voted for it. The revised tally validated Shukla's confidence. "This shows that we would have won even without BSP's vote," a triumphant Shukla said, proclaiming the result as reflecting the yearning for stability and faster economic reforms.

The presence of Mallya, who NDA assumed would stay abroad, and the preference of Chandrasekhar, whom the BJP had banked upon, was a tribute to the painstaking work the Congress put in to escape what had threatened to be a big political embarrassment. There was a strong element of intrigue about the absence of three TDP members, with political circles wondering whether senior party leader Devender Goud and leader of the party in the House Y S Chowdary, along with Sudharani Gundu, acted without a wink from party leader N Chandrababu Naidu.

Congress sources denied, although not very convincingly, efforts made by Kamal Nath to play on the pro-reforms instincts of Naidu who has diverse business interests.

Stressing that more members had criticized FDI and, therefore, the outcome could not be called an endorsement of government's policy to let in foreign retailers, Maitreyan said, "It is not commerce minister Anand Sharma but parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath who has won. If the government wins it is going to be the victory of management and not the policy because the majority of speakers in the House have opposed the policy."

He also said the policy would be reversed after Congress's loss in the next Lok Sabha election. Former minister Ambika Soni rubbished the assertion. "Let the nine-member party first get the numbers to form the government," she said.

Nath had on Wednesday impressed upon Mayawati that government's defeat in Rajya Sabha would set in motion a trend leading to Lok Sabha elections at a time when the BSP is still trying to recover from the drubbing in the UP assembly polls.

Although BSP's switch to the government camp had settled the issue on Thursday itself, Congress left nothing to chance with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to Congress sources, himself working the phone.

NCP's Janardan Waghmare, who is bed-ridden because of a fractured bone and had been counted out, was brought in on a stretcher and voted for the government from the lobby. Another ailing member, Congress's N Janardhana Reddy, arrived on a wheel chair, helped by special arrangements put in place by Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Reddy at Nath's behest.

Actrees Rekha, along with other Independent members, turned up to cast what leader of opposition Arun Jaitley had on Thursday called "thanksgiving vote".

In all, 10 members skipped the vote for various reasons. They include cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, JD(U)'s Vashista Narain Singh, BJD discard Pyari Mohan Mahapatra, Congress's ailing member Murli Deora and Lalhming Liana of Mizo National Front.

Earlier, while replying to the debate on FDI in multi-brand retail, commerce minister Sharma maintained that the move was essential for the country's growth and rejected the opposition's contention that it would hurt small retailers and farmers and harm the manufacturing sector.

Sharma accused the opposition of creating a scare over the issue and rejected Jaitley's contention that the measure would lead to India becoming a nation of sales boys and sales girls. "You have scared foreign investors who want to visit India," he said.

Source : TOI