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May 15th, 2008

ISRO scientists meet Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 5 lauded Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists behind the successful launch of polar rocket that put a record ten satellites in orbit.

On May 13, a delegation of top space scientists led by ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair presented Singh with a model of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the first satellite pictures of the national capital taken by Cartosat-2A that was launched on April 28.

"Sir, we are here," a space scientist told the Prime Minister pointing out his residence in the picture of the national capital taken by Cartosat-2A. "The pictures are very clear," Singh remarked upon seeing the satellite pictures.

Nair made a presentation to the Prime Minister on the PSLV C6/CARTOSAT-1/ HAMSAT mission operations, the performance of launch vehicle PSLV, Cartosat-1 and Hamsat.

Singh was also shown the first pictures received from the satellite of Punjab and Gujarat, with 2.5 metre resolution stereo scopic camera and the digital terrain model, processed from the satellite pictures over Gujarat. Prime Minister while evincing keen interest in the details depicted in the imagery, congratulated ISRO scientists for their outstanding achievement.

Cartosat-2A carries a state-of-the-art Panchromatic camera (PAN) that can record high clarity images covering a swathe of 9.6 km. The highly agile remote sensing satellite can be manoeuvred to facilitate imaging of any area more frequently.

Minister of State Prithviraj Chavan, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair were also present during the meeting and appreciated ISRO's efforts.

The ISRO team included Dr. P.S. Goel, director, ISRO Satellite Center, Dr. K.N. Shankara, director, Space Applications Centre, K. Narayana, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Dr. R.R. Navalgund, director, National Remote Sensing Agency, and N. Narayana Murthy, mission director of PSLV C6/Cartosat-1/Hamsat mission.

Shiv Shankar Mukherjee takes charge as envoy to UK

Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, a career diplomat, on May 9 took charge as India's new High Commissioner to Britain. Mukherjee completed a successful stint as Indian Ambassador in Kathmandu from October 2004 to April 2008. Born on August 1, 1949, Mukherjee joined the Indian Foreign Service in July 1971 and began his career as an attaché at the Ministry of External Affairs in Bangladesh from July 1973 till August 1975. He was India's Deputy High Commissioner in Lusaka from August 1982 to August 1985. Mukherjee also served as Counsellor (Press) in Washington from September 1985 to November 1988 and later as Minister (Press Information & Culture) from October 1995 to July 1998.

Mukherjee was India's High Commissioner in Windhoek from March 1990 to November 1992; Ambassador in Cairo from August 1998 to November 2000 and Indian High Commissioner in Pretoria from November 2000 to September.

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Boris Johnson elected Mayor of London

Boris Johnson, Tory candidate, defeated Labour's Ken Livingstone to become Mayor of London. Here a quick look at the story of his election, the character of the man, and the challenges he faces in his first term in City Hall.

Mr. Johnson was elected on a manifesto commitment to ban drinking in the Tube, part of his wider pledge to cut down on violence and anti-social behaviour in public places.

Trams, buses and Docklands Light Railway will also be covered by the ban, which will apply from the start of next month. Unveiling new posters to publicise the ban, Mr. Johnson said that the new restriction would have wider social benefits. Mr. Johnson said: "I firmly believe that if we drive out the so-called minor crime then we will be able to get a firm grip on more serious crime.

"That's why from June 1, the drinking of alcohol will be banned from the tube, tram, bus, and Docklands Light Railway." The mayor was supported by Peter Hendy, the London transport commissioner. He said: "I am sure that cutting out boozing on public transport will be welcomed by our passengers and staff."

Alcohol Concern has backed the new mayor's move. The group said: "Public drinking and the behaviour sometimes associated with it can, and does, deeply affect people's ability to enjoy public spaces. "Taking a firm approach to public drinking in this way sends a strong message that public drunkenness is socially unacceptable."

Johnson had his first official engagement with a visit to a cultural event in Trafalgar Square marking the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi.
(Courtesy : Daily Telegraph.)

$35bn FDI target for FY09

High on the radar of global investors, India received 24.57 billion dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2007-08, prompting the world's second fastest growing economy to set an FDI target of $35 billion for the current fiscal. The FDI inflows in 2007-08 saw an increase of 56.50 percent over $15.70 billion in the previous year.

India, which saw a GDP growth of 8.7 percent in 2007-08, aims to more than double its FDI inflows between 2006-07 and end of the current financial year.

"India remains attractive investment destination and it will be a good parking lot for money. FDI inflows reflect growing confidence (of global investors) in India," Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said while releasing the FDI data on May 2 in New Delhi.

Infrastructure projects approved

The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) has granted fresh approval to 13 infrastructure development projects worth $1.98 billion under the public private partnership model.

The approval was granted in the 14th PPPAC meeting, chaired by the finance secretary on April 30. The projects are located in 10 states.

Of the 13, ten are national highway projects being developed in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, Andhra pradesh and Karnataka. Two are dedicated for non-metro airport projects - the city side development of Udaipur airport in Rajastan and Amritsar airport in Punjab.

One project has been approved for renovation of the Old Mint Complex and development of tourism infrastructure in West Bengal. Since its inception in January 2006, PPPAC has granted approval to 52 projects, with an estimated project cost of Rs.350.68 billion.

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Forex reserves at $309.7 billion

The country's foreign exchange reserves stood at $309.7 billion as on March 31, 2008, up $110.5 billion over the same period last year, making it the third-largest stock of reserves among emerging market economies.

"The increase in reserves was mainly due to an increase in foreign currency assets from $191.9 billion at end-March 2007 to $299.2 billion at end-March 2008," the Reserve Bank said in its Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments document released in Mumbai on April 29.

As on April 18, the country's foreign exchange reserves were at $313.5 billion.

"The overall approach to the management of India's foreign exchange reserves in recent years reflects the changing composition of the balance of payments and the liquidity risks associated with different types of flows and other requirements," the Indian apex bank said.

On the other pages

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India Pakistan Sri Lanka Bangladesh UK

Indian News, Pakistan News, Sri Lanka News, Bangladesh News

India:Rupee gains 20 paise vs dollar; Sensex up 126 points.


Pakistan:Pakistan welcomes IMF $6.7bn lifeline

Sri Lanka:LankaClear posts Rs 189 m PAT


Bangladesh:GDP growth rises to 6.18pc, per capita income $ 1044 

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