Thursday, 24 May 2012

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Bihar News, Latest News from Bihar, News of Bihar, Biharprabha News

Bharati Airtel acquires 49 percent Stake in Qualcomm India

Posted: 24 May 2012 05:51 PM PDT

Bharti Airtel, India’s leading telecom service provider , has acquired 49 percent stake in US-based chipmaker Qualcomm’s broadband wireless access (BWA) entities in India, investing almost $165 million, to expand its high-speed data services.

The company already has BWA licences in four circles – Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra – and 3G licences in thirteen circles in India. Qualcomm has BWA licences in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala.

With this agreement, Bharti has secured a nation-wide broadband leadership through a combination of 4G and 3G, with its own networks in 18 circles. The firm is also the first operator to have launched its 4G services in the country. It has launched 4G services in Kolkata and Karnataka.

“Bharti has made an initial investment of approximately $165 million to acquire 49 percent interest in Qualcomm AP’s India entities partly by way of acquisition of 26 percent equity interest equally held by Global Holding Corporation Private Limited and Tulip Telecom Limited, and the balance by way of subscription of fresh equity in those entities,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

“The agreement contemplates that once commercial operations are launched, subject to certain terms and conditions, Bharti would assume complete ownership and financial responsibility for the BWA entities by the end of 2014,” it added.

Qualcomm had paid $1 billion to acquire licences in four circles – Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana and Kerala – in the BWA auction held in 2010.

General Provident Fund Interest Rates raised to 8.8 percent

Posted: 24 May 2012 05:38 PM PDT

Government  has  increased the Interest Rates under General Provident Fund. The Deposits under the General Provident Fund (GPF) will attract 8.8 percent interest in 2012-13 against 8.6 percent in the previous year.

The government of India has revised the interest rates for the financial year 2012-13 in respect of state provident funds and special deposit schemes for non-government provident, superannuation and gratuity funds from 8.6 percent to 8.8 percent with effect from April 1, 2012,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

The move will benefit the millions of employees who contribute to the General Provident Fund, a popular fund to encourage savings.

Mumbai hosts Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Film festival Kashish 2012

Posted: 24 May 2012 04:38 PM PDT

3rd Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Film festival Kashish 2012 started at Mumbai  yesterday with no major homophobia expressed by the police or state secretariat officials and no tantrums from ultra-right wing gay-bashing groups on the horizon.

Organisers of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) festival Kashish 2012 claim that if protests do at all happen at the film festival site, then they would reserve seats for the protestors so that they “understood” what queer is all about.

This year we required further permissions from the Mantralaya (Maharashtra government’s state secretariat) as well as local police and we have not encountered any major homophobia,” Pallav Patankar, one of the festival directors, told IANS.

Many government agencies are curious about the film festival, then amused when they understand what queer means and then very accepting and happy that we are doing it with the complete knowledge of the government machinery,” he added.

In keeping with the “For Everyone” theme of the Kashish 2012, the other festival director Sridhar Rangayan claims that both the opening film “Beginners” and the closing film “Weekend” reflected the theme best.

They are necessarily queer films because they are love stories that are human. ‘Beginners’ is as much about Ewan McGregor and his relationship with his girlfriend as it is about Christopher Plummer and his gay lover. It is a story of hearts. Similarly the film ‘Weekend’ is about two people meeting over a weekend and falling in love. It could as well be a film about a man and a woman,” Rangayan said.

“These films bridge the divide between queer and mainstream films, rather blur them…,”he added.

The organisers claimed that several celebrities were scheduled to participate as well as attend the festival, whose jury comprises well known actors, filmmakers, theatre personalities and critics – Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, Renuka Shahane, Parvin Dabas, Mona Ambegoankar and Mayank Shekar.

Moushumi Chatterjee is unveiling the queer art exhibition. We have many celebrity filmmakers and actors coming for the opening – like Sai Paranjpye, Parvati Balgopalan, Suchitra Pillai, Ashustosh Rana, Sarita Joshi as well as celebrity queer activists like Ashok Row Kavi, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and Manvendra Singh Gohil gracing the occasion,” Sridhar said.

Sridhar said that the organisers would love to have a queer film category within the mainstream film festival or have a queer award in a mainstream film festival like the Teddy awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, which he said would eliminate the need for a “separate queer film festival”.

There would be no separate queer film festival if the queer people are absolutely integrated, accepted in the mainstream and given equal rights,” he said.

Asked how the organisers would react to a possible outrage by hardliner right-wing groups that have been known in the past for protesting several queer- oriented do’s, Pallav said: “We will cross the bridge when we come to it. That is what the film festival is all about”.

India Myanmar Bus Service to start soon

Posted: 24 May 2012 03:25 PM PDT

India Myanmar Bus Service will  start soon. The Indian cabinet has cleared a bus service linking Imphal in Manipur to Mandalay in Myanmar, setting the stage for the signing of a pact during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to the Southeast Asian country that starts Sunday.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Manmohan Singh at his official residence, approved, in principle, the much-awaited bus link between Manipur’s capital and Mandalay, government sources said here.

The bus link will be a signature initiative that is expected to enhance people-to-people interaction and trade between Myanmar and India’s northeastern states.

Improving regional connectivity and expanding bilateral trade will be key highlights of Manmohan Singh’s visit to Myanmar – the first trip to the southeast country by an Indian prime minister in a quarter century.

The pact is expected to be signed after talks between Manmohan Singh and Myanmar President Thein Sein in the Myanmarese capital Nay Pyi Taw Monday.

India develops ingenious Anti-Submarine rockets for Indian Navy

Posted: 24 May 2012 02:16 PM PDT

 The Ammunition Factory Khadki at Pune has  handed over the first lot of ‘Kavach‘ naval decoy system and anti-submarine rockets for induction into the Indian Navy — a step that will reduce dependence on foreign suppliers.

Receiving the decoy system, Naval Armament Inspectorate Director General Rear Admiral Brijesh Jhang praised the synergy between the Indian Navy and the Ordnance Factory Board in developing products indigenously.

The Indian Navy had ASW (anti-submarine weapons) imported from erstwhile USSR. Disintegration of USSR led to drying up of the supply pipeline thereby affecting our inventory level while our ships continued to have the launchers”.

Therefore to meet our armament requirement Ordnance Factory Board and Indian Navy took up the challenge to indigenise these ASW rockets and achieve self-reliance in this field,” he said.

While handing over to the Indian Navy both the Kavach decoy systems and the anti-submarine rocket high explosive version, B.N. Singh, senior general manager of the ammunition factory said these strategically important products would enhance the defence preparedness of the navy.

This has been possible owing to the special focus laid down at Ammunition Factory Khadki on research and development,” Singh said.

The rockets are made available with 1.5 km and 6 km range while the factory has been successful in developing three versions of naval decoy systems having ranges of 12 km, 5 km and 1 km.

These rockets are fired to act as decoys against incoming guided threats to naval ships. All the three versions are launched in different situations based on incoming threats.

Apollo Tyres Restructures its Research and Development Wing

Posted: 24 May 2012 12:59 PM PDT

Tyre major Apollo Tyres Ltd  has  announced restructuring of its 250-member research and development (R&D) wing, which now would be located at two major centres – India and Netherlands – while having smaller teams to customise products for local conditions across key markets.

In a statement, the company said the R&D teams across its three key geographies — Africa, Europe and India — have been rejigged to create synergy and greater alignment with its growth aspirations.

The restructuring is part of the management’s decision to increase Apollo’s focus on core research and to increase the R&D spend substantially over the next couple of years.

“We have merged our research and development resources of nearly 250 individuals from Africa, Europe and India, under the leadership of two of our finest experts.

While commercial and personal vehicle tyre development and testing will be located in India and The Netherlands respectively, smaller teams across key markets will work on customising each global product to market requirements and testing under local conditions. This structure allows for a sharper focus on basic research, increased usage of alternative raw materials and market led product performance,” the statement quoted vice chairman and managing director Neeraj as saying.

The R&D team for commercial vehicle tyres will be headquartered at the company’s plant near here under P.K. Mohamed, chief advisor while Peter Snel, group head, will spearhead the passenger vehicle tyre R&D unit in Netherlands.

According to Apollo, the decision on location of the two centres was taken on the basis of current and potential commercial and passenger vehicle markets. Middle East and Asia constitute nearly 59 percent of the global commercial tyre market, while Europe and North America comprise 51 percent of the world’s passenger tyre sales.

Amnesty International slams US for Abottabad Operation

Posted: 24 May 2012 12:39 PM PDT

The US special operation in Pakistan’s Abbottabad town in May last year that killed Osama bin Laden in his hideout appears to have been “unlawful” in the absence of clarification from the US, human rights group Amnesty International has said.

“The US administration made clear that the operation had been conducted under the US’s theory of a global armed conflict between the US and Al Qaeda, in which the US does not recognise the applicability of international human rights law,” Pakistan’s Online news agency quoted the Amnesty report as saying.

“In the absence of further clarification from the US authorities, the killing of Osama bin Laden would appear to have been unlawful,” it said.

The report also raised concern regarding US drone strikes inside Pakistani territory, which have killed many innocent civilians.

Meanwhile, White House has ruled out an apology to Islamabad for the NATO air strike in November in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed.

It said it was time the two countries moved ahead, Pakistan’s Online news agency reported.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to US Sherry Rehman and Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have reiterated Islamabad’s demand for an apology for the air strike.

“I wouldn’t have anything new to offer on that beyond what we have said, that we deeply regret the incident. We have thoroughly investigated it. We shared the results of that investigation with the Pakistanis,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor, told journalists when asked for his reaction to Bhutto’s demand.

“We believe there’s a basis for us to move forward and move beyond that particular incident, to take steps to make sure that that doesn’t happen again, to be respectful of Pakistani sovereignty and to be in, frankly, better communication in that areas so that we don’t see repeated incidents on the border,” he said.

Rhodes said a bilateral meeting between President Barack Obama and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari was never planned on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Chicago.

“On the matter of a bilateral meeting, the president (Obama) didn’t host any formal bilateral meetings except for the one with President Karzai, given the fact that there was a very busy NATO summit schedule. So, it was always our intention to really focus his time on these multilateral meetings,” Rhodes said.

He said the meeting with Karzai was a priority as Afghanistan was the focus of the summit. Obama was able to meet on the margins of the summit a handful of leaders that included Zardari.

“They met twice around the margins of the ISAF session. These weren’t extensive talks. They were rather brief. But one of them was a one-on-one between President Obama and President Zardari, and the other one was a trilateral discussion amongst President Obama, President Zardari and President Karzai,” Rhodes said.

DLF to comeup with chain of AVE.NEU retail stores by 2013

Posted: 24 May 2012 11:51 AM PDT

Realty major DLF’s lifestyle retail subsidiary DLF Brands has said that it plans to open around 10 multi-brand retail “AVE.NEU” outlets by the end of fiscal 2012-13.

“We plan to open 10 more ‘AVE.NEU’ outlets in various cities across the country by the end of the current fiscal,” said Dipak Agarwal, chief executive, operations and strategy, DLF Brands told IANS on the sidelines of the company’s first lifestyle multi-brand retail outlet here.

“We plan to open 50 stores within three years and around 70-80 stores within the next five years.”

According to Agarwal, the company will target upcoming areas which have not experienced the high-end multi-brand retail. The stores will come up in areas that have a captive population of around 20 lakh.

The company’s new multi-brand outlets will come in three variations– regular store with an area of 10,000-15,000 square feet, accessory outlets and small size stores.

The company did not divulge any investment plans but said that on average a large store of an area of 10,000 square feet-15,000 square feet requires three-five crore.

“We expect our new multi-brand retail outlets to grow by 30 percent year-on-year. The industry average is around 10-15 percent,” Agarwal said.

The current product mix of the store includes 70 percent of franchised or joint venture (JV) brands while the rest are external brands.

The company is also looking at cities such as Lucknow, Pune, Chandigarh and Surat to start its new platform of stores.

The new multi-brand retail store offers international fashion brands like Boggi Milano, Claire’s, DKNY, Alcott, Sunglass Hut, ELC and Mothercare.

On standalone basis DLF Brands which currently operates 120 standalone stores for 11 global brands across India said tit expected to increase its stores to 170 by the end of the fiscal.

“We currently have 120 standalone stores. We have planned to take this number to 170 by the end of the fiscal,” said Timmy Sarna, managing director, DLF Brands.

According to Sarna, the standalone stores under the company have reported a year-on-year growth of more than 20 percent.

“We are bullish on the standalone stores prospects as the country’s economy is a consumer driven economy, and that people have aspirations for international brands now.”

DLF Brands was formed in 2008 and operates standalone stores for 11 global brands, including Armani, Boggi, Alcott, DKNY, Claire and Mothercare.

The company is also planning to enter into beauty and wellness category and enhance presence in home segment.

India’s gets its first Seismic Research and Monitoring centre at Satara

Posted: 24 May 2012 10:48 AM PDT

India’s first  seismic research and monitoring centre will be built at Satara, Maharashtra, at a cost of around Rs.400 crore (Rs.four billion).

Laying the foundation stone for the mega-project spread over 124 acres at Hajarmachi, union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Vilasrao Deshmukh said the centre would be equipped to monitor and record seismic activities at a depth of eight km below the earth’s surface.

The centre would also carry out research to ascertain whether there is any link between earthquakes and water storage reservoirs, Deshmukh said.

The centre is in close proximity to one of the oldest and largest irrigation projects in India, Koyna Dam and Karad in the same district (Satara), which is considered an earthquake prone region.

Incidentally, Satara is a neighbouring district of Ratnagiri where the 9,900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is coming up amidst fears of heightened seismic activities.

Deshmukh said independent weather centres would be set up in each district in the state to provide accurate information on climatic conditions using the most advanced scientific technology available in the world.

Besides Mumbai and Nagpur where Doppler Radar systems are installed, a similar system is being planned for Aurangabad to provide accurate information on the weather to farmers on their mobile phones, Deshmukh said.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan urged the need to set up research centres to study groundwater resources for ensuring adequate drinking and irrigation water supply.

Chavan said this was necessary since only 17 percent of the state was irrigated naturally and it was imperative to increase this especially since the groundwater levels had depleted drastically in the state.

Earlier Thursday, the Deshmukh also laid the foundation stone for a Cloud Physics Lab at Mahabaleshwar hill-station in Satara district which would study the rainfall patterns in the state which has been experiencing very heavy rains in some areas and drought in some pockets.

Kolkata hosts Slutwalk, flays sexual violence

Posted: 24 May 2012 09:43 AM PDT

SlutwalkKolkata got its edition of Slutwalk today. The City resonated with slogans of “Jaa porechi, besh korechi (I don’t care what people think of my dressing sense)” as over a hundred women, men and children, including foreign nationals, took to the streets as part of the Kolkata Slutwalk to protest against any form of sexual harassment.

Slutwalk is a global movement that started in Toronto. It came to India last year with cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal and now Kolkata holding such rallies.

Eschewing any particular dress code, a procession of about 150 people — school and college students, teachers, office goers, slum dwellers and social workers from the US — artistically covered in body-art and donning a variety of dresses from saris to shorts, began the march from Jadavpur University in the evening amidst slogan shouting.

“We are told that the onus lies on us to prevent its occurrence. We are told to dress appropriately, to come back home on time, to not attract attention to ourselves. And the worst of all, we are expected to accept sexual harassment or forms of eve-teasing as a part and parcel of our societal culture,” complained Calcutta University student Priyanka Dutta, one of the participants.

Young girls walked in all kinds of dresses right from sarees, salwar kameez to jeans and skirts to challenge the beliefs of those who accuse street sexual harassment victims of dressing immodestly in public.


What started in the city as a virtual movement on Facebook by a first year M.A. student, Sulakshana Biswas, became a reality when eight like-minded youngsters got together and pooled in their resources and started distributing pamphlets and spreading the word for the walj.

Explaining her agenda, Biswas said: “Sexual harassment has got nothing to do with the clothes one wears or with gender. We are also against victim blaming

One of the organisers, Shreya Sen from Tata Institute of Social Sciences at Mumbai, explained: SLUT is expressing oneself verbally, physically, sexually. We intend to use our bodies as canvasses, and distribute pamphlets on the way to the citizens, and express ourselves through slogans. Since it is gender inclusive, there will be members from the transgender community as well“.

The walk saw lots of men who have been victims of sexual harassment in the city. Soumek Chowdhry, one of the victims, an aspiring actor and Salsa dancer, said: “This is one small step, hopefully it will make an impact,if not an immediate change”.

Statistically Kolkata ranks second after Delhi in sex crimes. Kolkata needs awareness“, said Priyardishini, an Mphil student at the Jadavpur University.

A faculty member at the varsity’s English department, Rimi B.Chatterjee supported the cause, saying: “What remains hidden needs to come out now. We need to take a stand and not shy away from these issues“.

Joining the Kolkatans were Hemley Gonzalez and his volunteers of the Responsible Charity from US which has a branch in Kolkata as well. “I respect women and have seen what they face and therefore I am participating”.

A Polish participant pitched in: I am labeled as a slut because I am white. I needed to do this“.

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