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November 1, 2007


Former President A.P.J. Kalam visits UK

The Royal Society of U.K. presented former President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the King Charles II Medal, for outstanding contributions to science. He was on a visit to the United Kingdom from October 21 to 23. Dr. Kalam is the second recipient of this award after its inception in 1997. The only other recipient is Emperor Akihito of Japan.

The award, comprising a medal and a scroll, was presented to Kalam by Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, at a ceremony attended, among others, by industrialist Swraj Paul, economist Meghnad Desai and India's Acting High Commissioner in London Asoke Mukerjee. Lord Rees hailed Kalam as an "ideal recipient," saying that he had been "tireless" in promoting science and technology in India.

Kalam said he deemed it an honour to receive the award from the world's "pioneering scientific academy studded with eminent scientists of the world since its inception in 1660". The former President thanked the Royal Society saying, ". Royal Society will be required to find solutions to the problem of mankind in meeting the challenges of climate and environment, resources like water, energy, food, habitat and combat disasters both natural and man-made. The creation of the World Knowledge Platform will be vital for bringing the science and technology to the society. The Royal Society has a special place in the minds of the young. Achievers of Royal Society and other scientific institutions can inspire the youth to take up science."

Kalam visited Warwick University and Wolverhampton University. At the Warwick University, he received an Honorary Doctor of Technology. Lord Paul, Chancellor of the University, said: "Dr. Kalam's accomplishments are an inspiration to all and we are very pleased that he has chosen to accept an honorary award from the University." University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps, said: "Dr. Kalam has achieved eminence in his own academic studies and he has also educated and inspired others. "We are delighted to be welcoming Dr. Kalam to the University and to have this opportunity to honour his significant contribution to science and education."

He also delivered a speech on "The Future of India's Space Programme". The programme involved interaction with students and a tour of Warwick Manufacturing Group.

significant contribution to science and education." He also delivered a speech on "The Future of India's Space Programme". The programme involved interaction with students and a tour of Warwick Manufacturing Group. In his address, Kalam talked about his guru, Prof. Vikram Sarabhai and his vision of space science and space technologies. He said: "Very rarely, in the life journey, great human beings influence one's life. I was fortunate to work with Prof. Vikram Sarabhai for seven years. While working closely with him, I saw the dawn of the vision for the space programme in a one-page statement. Witnessing the evolution of this one page by many years of ceaseless work by a cosmic ray physicist, a great scientific mind was really a great learning for me. Today, India can build any type of satellite launch vehicle, any type of spacecraft and launch from Indian soil and also it has all the capability with its mighty facilities and powerful human resource because of the vision of Prof. Vikram Sarabhai."

He then went on to define a leader: ". the leader gives the credit for success to those who worked for it, and leader absorbs and owns the responsibility for failure. This is the quality of leadership."

During his U.K. visit, Kalam also visited Swaminarayan Akshardham Cultural Complex in London on October 21. He praised the centre saying, "Today, when I entered the Akshardham Cultural Complex, I get an answer for a question; the question is how can you mix the spirituality and social service? How can you separate the two? Those who wish to sincerely serve society must be spiritually pure and only those who are spiritually pure can sincerely serve society. That is your motto. But who is the creator? The creator I saw in the I-MAX Theater at New Delhi Aksharam centre. A child wading through rivers, climbing over the snow tipped Himalayas, slips and slips and then climbs and climbs, walking across the nation and discovering cradles of India's civilisation. Who is the child? Can you remember the child? Oh! That is the divine child, the child Swaminarayan. The spirit of the divine child entered into Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj. And we see the birth of the Akshardham cultural complexes across the world, radiating the civilisational heritage of India in dynamic form in front of the world."

He then told the enthralled audience about his first meeting with Swamiji. "I presented the Developed India Vision 2020 in front of Swamiji on June 13, 2001, and he said that God's blessings are always there to realise this vision. That was the time; Pramukh Swami Maharaj showed me the architectural design of the Delhi Swaminarayan Akshardham Cultural Complex and expressed his vision. On November 6, 2005, I inaugurated the Akshardham complex at New Delhi. I understand in U.S.A., U.K. and other parts of the country, a number of Aksardham complexes is emanating radiating the spirit of unitedness, spirituality and promoting value system in the society." He concluded his speech with a personal oath for the prosperity of nations.


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BSE breaches 20,000 mark

The benchmark sensitive index (Sensex) hit an all-time high 20,000 points mark on October 29. There was massive buying by domestic players such as insurance and mutual fund companies, which propelled the index to the new height. In a day of all-round gains, the maximum gain was seen in the capital goods sector.

Thus, India became the 20th nation in the world to have seen its stock market benchmark enter the league of bourses that have touched the 20,000-point milestone. As many as 32 indices spanning across 19 countries have already crossed this mark.

In Asia, the bellwether index is second only to Hong Kong's Hang Seng to achieve this feat, while markets like China and Japan are yet to see any of their indices touching 20k points.



IT exports to touch $80 billion

Exports from the IT and ITeS sector is expected to reach $80 billion by 2011, Information Technology and Communications Minister A. Raja said in New Delhi on October 24.

"Our IT exports were a few million dollars in the early 90s and now it is around $37 billion. We are confident that our exports will boom despite the perceived odds against outsourcing and increasing competition," Raja said at an award function organised by the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC).

"Assuming that we will grow at an average rate of 30 percent per annum, our IT exports turnover will touch $80 billion mark by 2011," the Minister added.


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Zoom in air passengers

The number of air passengers are projected to touch 2.75 billion by 2011, an increase of 620 million against what was recorded in 2006, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The industry will handle 36 million tonnes of international freight, which is 7.5 million tonnes more than that handled in 2006, IATA projections revealed.

International passenger demand is also expected to grow from 760 million in 2006 to 980 million by 2011 at an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 5.1 percent.



Tsunami warning centre set up

India has set up an early tsunami warning system - the first of its kind in the world - which will sound an alert 13 minutes after an undersea earthquake in two potential source regions.

Set up at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) at Jeedimetla on the outskirts of Hyderabad, the centre is equipped to warn in real-time if sub-duction zone related earthquakes in the Andaman-Nicobar-Sumatra island arc and the Makran sub-duction zone north of the Arabian Sea could trigger tsunamis.



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