Daily News (In Short)-25-September-2015

25 Sep 2015

#* PM Modi 'Best Leader' in Most Complex Nation, Tweets Rupert Murdoch
NEW YORK:  After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, tweeted that he had a "great hour" with the "best leader with best policies since independence."

PM Modi 'Best Leader' in Most Complex Nation, Tweets Rupert Murdoch
PM Modi with Rupert Murdoch in New York on Thursday

NEW YORK:  After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, tweeted that he had a "great hour" with the "best leader with best policies since independence."
  Mr Murdoch was among the top CEOs who met PM Modi on Thursday at New York's iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel.

After the meeting, many American business leaders said the Indian prime minister had carried out significant economic and governance reforms after taking power last year, but needed to do more.

"We all have concerns about the speed. We want to see more action more quickly but directionally the investments in infrastructure, the energy, vision for the future, bringing the country together, goods and services tax reform, are all extremely positive," said Mark Weinberger, CEO of Ernst and Young.

To a gathering that featured eight of the top 10 financial entities in the US, including JP Morgan and Blackstone, PM Modi outlined efforts made during the last 15 months to increase investment in key areas like infrastructure.

"The government has already undertaken a massive amount of reforms. The key message from the US companies was keep doing what you are doing. I had a great meeting, there was a constructive dialogue in the spirit of collaboration. We are looking at India trying to get foreign direct investment," JP Morgan CEO James Dimon said.

Black Stone CEO Stephen A Schwarzman said that he felt the Prime Minister was open to the suggestions the CEOs put before him to improve access to the country.

"There are various, in terms of ability of US companies to take IPOs, the ability to have more capital going to rural areas," he said when asked on the kind of reforms US companies would like to have in India.

"I think, things tend to overshoot. People tend to get exceptionally excited. I am hopeful as is everyone that things would be on track," Mr Schwarzman said.


#* 14 Indians killed, 13 injured in Haj stampede in Saudi Arabia: Sushma Swaraj
New Delhi: Fourteen Indians have died in one of the worst ever Haj tragedy that took place in Saudi Arabia, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed on Friday adding that the exact number will be known after confirmation by Saudi authorities. Swaraj also tweeted that 13 other Indians injured in the incident have been taken to the hospital.
"Indian volunteers have reached in large number and are assisting the local authorities" Swaraj said in a tweet.Over 800 pilgrims were injured in the disaster that took place on the first day of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.
She had earlier said, "Our embassy officials have reported that the process of identification of bodies is on. This will take at least 24 hours."
"After this Saudi authorities will disclose their identity with photographs."
She also said that two Indian officials have reached the site at Makkah to aid Indian pilgrims.
Thursday's stampede took place barely two weeks after a massive crane fell in Makkah's Grand Mosque, killing over 100 people and injuring over 200. Eleven of the dead were Indians.
Emergency Numbers to get in touch with Indian authorities in Mecca are:

Toll free number for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia : 8002477786


#* Netaji or Sarat Bose: Who was a bigger threat for Britishers?
Kolkata: The declassified files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose have revealed that veteran freedom fighter's elder brother Sarat Bose was considered as the potent threat by the Britihers.
According to a report published in 'Hindustan Times', the Britishers cinsidered Sarat Bose “the real power behind his brother Subhas Chandra Bose”.

As per the report, British police officer Charles Tegart described Sarat Bose as the dangerous opponent of the regime and the power behind Subhas Chandra Bose.

Not only the British regime, but even the Congress government of the Independent India was wary of Netaji's brother, who defeated Congress candidate in the South Calcutta bypolls in June 1949.

The files say that the Nehru government extensively snooped upon Sarat and Intelligence officials keenly followed his all activities.

The files state that Sarat had planned an opposition block against the PC Ghosh government in West Bengal and was popular across India within the other groups, which were opposed to the Grand Old Party.

Ever since the Mamata Banerjee government released the top secret files relating to Netaji, the debate over the veteran freedom fighter's mysterious death has intensified further and more revealations are being made about him in the national media.

On August 22, 1945, Tokyo Radio announced the 'death' of Netaji in an air crash in Formosa (now Taiwan) on August 18, 1945, en route to Japan.

Banerjee has said that some letters in the declassified files indicate that Netaji was alive even after 1945.

The Trinamool Congress chief's comments came after 64 secret files related to Netaji that could help throw light on his mysterious disappearance--an enduring enigma for seven decades --were released by her government.

The West Bengal CM also said that the documents support the theory that Bose family was snooped upon.

"There are intercepts. I have seen the documents and it is clear from them that the family of Netaji was spied upon," Banerjee told the media.


#* Jet airways crew member held for attempting to smuggle gold worth over Rs28 lakh
In what could be the twentieth such case of involvement of an airline/airport insider in gold smuggling in past over one and half year, sleuths from Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of airport customs on Thursday held a Jet airways crew member for attempting to smuggle gold metal worth over Rs 28 lakh.

In July, a Chief security co-ordinator with Gulf based airline Etihad, who ranked third in the organization's hierarchy in India was held by Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) of airport customs for allegedly involved in smuggling of Rs 33 lakh worth of gold. The accused, has indulged in similar activities on at least past four occasions.
According to Additional Commissioner (airport customs), Milind Lanjewar, ten gold bars worth around Rs 28 lakh was recovered from Jet Airways Crew Member Deepak Indramani Pandey after he arrived from Dubai by Jet Airways Flight No. 9W-543.

"The accused abandoned the gold on the sofa outside the Superintendent room while being asked to come inside for personal search by AIU. The gold was discovered later and the CCTV footage was studied revealed that crew was seen dropping the gold from his pant pocket and undergarments." said Lanjewar.

Deputy Commissioner (AIU) of airport customs, Kiran Kumar said that the crew was then asked to return to the airport and was confronted with the gold and footage. He admitted the possession and carriage of the gold.The crew member is arrested and further investigations are under processes.

In yet another case, based on profiling, AIU had in March intercepted a Jet airways flight attendant, for allegedly conniving in smuggling of gold and cut diamonds to the tune of over Rs 1 crore. One of his accomplice who was awaiting for him outside the airport terminal for handing over of the consignment was also arrested.


#* Maha Governor rejects Sanjay Dutt's pardon plea in 1993 Bombay blasts case

Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao has rejected former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju's plea seeking pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt and waiving his remaining sentence in the Mumbai serial blasts case after the state's home department disfavoured such a course.
"While turning down the plea for pardon, the Governor followed the advice of Home Department which had recommended him that the plea for pardon be turned down as Dutt had been convicted by the highest (Supreme) court. It was felt that granting him pardon would set a bad precedent", an official said.
Katju, in his petition, had argued that Dutt was "not a terrorist" and had "only erred".
The Supreme Court had, while convicting Dutt in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case in 2013, sentenced him to five year in jail but said the 18 months that the 56-year-old actor had already served would be set off against the period he had to spend behind the bars.
After the imprisonment in May 2013, Dutt has spent nearly 30 months in prison already and is due to walk out as a free man in February 2016.
On March 12, 1993, a series of 13 explosions had rocked Mumbai resulting in 257 fatalities and injuries to 713 others. Dutt was convicted of possessing sophisticated firearm, part of the cache that was intended to be used during the terror assault, and attempting to destroy it.
After he was sent to Pune's Yerwada jail in May 2013, Dutt had been out on parole twice and an equal number of times on furlough, inviting charge of favouritism against the state authorities.
In October 2013, he was out on furlough for 14 days, which was extended by a fortnight. In January 2014, a 30-day parole was extended by another 30 days. In December 2014, he was granted a 14-day furlough. Since August 27, 2015, he is again out on furlough.
In his petition, Katju had said, "The only charge on which Sanjay Dutt has been found guilty is the charge of having in his possession a prohibited weapon".


#* China and the US: Between Cooperation and Cold War
For the last two years, the world’s two pre-eminent powers have been inching ever-closer to a new Cold War. China’s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea has panicked nations across its eastern seaboard while its cyber-strikes have enraged the United States. For its part, China sees the United States’ strategic pivot to Asia as an effort to contain its legitimate geopolitical aspirations. Today, when President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping meet, both men will be aware of the catastrophic consequences of great-power confrontation. It’s far from clear, though, how much progress they’ll be able to make towards avoiding that worst-case outcome. From Beijing’s point of view, the big prize is a Bilateral Investment Treaty — an agreement that would provide uniform rules for foreign investments in both countries. A BIT would be a major vote of confidence in China’s troubled economy. It would also ease the entry of Chinese firms into United States markets. United States businesses, in turn, would be allowed to invest in many of the 100-plus sectors of the Chinese economy they are currently excluded from. The signs of an imminent agreement, though, aren’t good. Michael Froman, the United States’ trade czar, said on Tuesday that China’s proposed list of sectors exempted from the BIT was still too long.
UN Sustainable Development Goals: All you need to know 


#* Asian Shares Erase Gains, Dollar Gains As Yellen Revives Rate Talk
Tokyo: Asian shares gave up early gains on Friday, while the dollar firmed after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested the central bank is still on track to raise interest rates later this year.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.4 per cent, on track for a weekly loss of nearly 5 per cent.

Australian shares also fell 0.4 per cent, in a week when markets were roiled by a survey showing China's factory activity fell to its weakest since 2009.

"Heading into the end of the week traders and investors are weary and still concerned about China and the ongoing Fed lift-off conversation," said Chris Conway, head of research, Australian Stock Report.

Japan's Nikkei stock index erased a rise of over 1 per cent and was 0.1 per cent lower at the end of morning trade, poised to lose 2.8 percent in a holiday-shortened two-day trading week.

Data released before the open showed Japan's core consumer prices marked the first annual drop since the central bank deployed its massive stimulus programme more than two years ago.

Japan's government also cut its economic assessment and highlighted external risks posed by China and a U.S. interest rate hike.

Yellen, speaking a week after the Fed delayed a long-anticipated rate hike, said she and other Fed policymakers do not expect recent global economic and financial market developments to significantly affect the central bank's policy.

"We doubt Fed officials will have enough new information to start tightening at the October meeting if they were not prepared to act last week, but we expect they will be moving in December," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

"Implicitly, the drag from global forces is being offset by domestic strength," he said in a note to clients.

Yellen struggled to finish a speech at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst due to dehydration, for which she received medical attention.

The Fed chair later attended a dinner event as planned, a university spokesman said.

The euro fell about 0.5 per cent to $1.1172 from around $1.1230, while the dollar was up around 0.1 per cent at 120.15 yen, from around 120.00 yen before Yellen's speech.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of six major counterparts, was up 0.3 percent at 96.282.

Federal fund futures contracts for January fell to as low as 99.735 in price, pricing in more than 50 percent chance of a rate hike by the end of this year, before erasing losses.

U.S. stock futures were off earlier highs but were still up 0.1 percent, suggesting calmer trading later in the global session.

Stocks around the world fell for a fifth day on Thursday, sliding towards two-year lows as worries lingered over global economic growth and Volkswagen's emissions test scandal rattled European carmakers.

The Brazilian real bounced back sharply after hitting a record low of 4.2482 to the dollar, after the head of the Brazilian central bank vowed to use all instruments in its arsenal to curtail the real's collapse.

The real last stood at 3.9363 per dollar, rising 6.1 per cent on the day.

In commodities trade, crude oil futures held on to overnight gains after rising as much as 1 percent after an estimate of inventory draws at a key U.S. delivery hub. U.S. crude was up 0.1 percent at $44.96 a barrel, while Brent was slightly up at $48.19.

#* Study Says Global Warming Began In 1940s
Although climate change has become a major concern in recent years, new research has found that clear signs of global warming emerged as early as 1940s in parts of South East Asia, Australia, and Africa.

The reason the first changes in average temperature and temperature extremes appeared in the tropics was because those regions generally experienced a much narrower range of temperatures, the study said.

Polar Bears Eat Dolphins Due To Climate Change And Global Warming

This meant smaller shifts in the temperature record due to global warming were more easily seen.

The first signal to appear in the tropics was the change in average temperatures. Later extreme temperature events showed a global warming signal, the study noted.

“We examined average and extreme temperatures because they were always projected to be the measure that is most sensitive to global warming,” said lead study author Andrew King from Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

“Remarkably our research shows that you could already see clear signs of global warming in the tropics by the 1960s but in parts of Australia, South East Asia and Africa it was visible as early as the 1940s,” King noted.

Closer to the poles the emergence of climate change in the temperature record appeared later but by the period 1980-2000 the temperature record in most regions of the world were showing clear global warming signals.

One of the few exceptions to this clear global warming signal was found in large parts of the continental US, particularly on the Eastern coast and up through the central states.

These regions have yet to manifest obvious warming signals according to the models but it is expected they will appear in the next decade, said the researchers who analysed different climate models for their research.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

#* Study on H1N1 virus shows how our soft palates help influenza to spread
Flu viruses come in many strains, and some are better equipped than others to spread from person to person.

Scientists from MIT and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have now discovered that the soft palate -- the soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth -- plays a key role in viruses' ability to travel through the air from one person to another. 

The findings should help scientists better understand how the flu virus evolves airborne transmissibility and assist them in monitoring the emergence of strains with potential to cause global outbreaks. Researchers made the surprising finding while examining the H1N1 flu strain, which caused a 2009 pandemic that killed more than 250,000 people.

Ram Sasisekharan, one of the study's senior authors, has previously shown that airborne transmissibility depends on whether a virus' hemagglutinin (HA) protein can bind to a specific type of receptor on the surface of human respiratory cells. Some flu viruses bind better to alpha 2-6 glycan receptors, which are found primarily in humans and other mammals, while other viruses are better adapted to alpha 2-3 glycan receptors, found predominantly in birds.

The 2009 strain was very good at binding to human alpha 2-6 receptors. In the new study, the researchers made four mutations in the HA molecule of this virus, which made it better suited to bind alpha 2-3 receptors instead of alpha 2-6. They then used it to infect ferrets, which are often used to model human influenza infection. The researchers believed the mutated virus would not spread, but to their surprise, it traveled through the air just as well as the original version of the virus. After sequencing the virus' genetic material, they found that it had undergone a genetic reversion that allowed its HA protein to bind to alpha 2-6 glycan receptors as well as alpha 2-3 glycan receptors.

The researchers then examined tissue from different parts of the respiratory tract and found that viruses with the genetic reversion were most abundant in the soft palate. By three days after the initial infection, 90 percent of the viruses in this region had the reverted form of the virus. Other sites in the respiratory tract had a mix of the two types of virus. 


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