Monday, April 30, 2012

Old Star, New Trick

Pasadena, CA—The Big Bang produced lots of hydrogen and helium and a smidgen of lithium. All heavier elements found on the periodic table have been produced by stars over the last 13.7 billion years. Astronomers analyze starlight to determine the chemical makeup of stars, the origin of the elements, the ages of stars, and the evolution of galaxies and the universe. Now for the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of arsenic and selenium, neighboring elements near the middle of the periodic table, in an ancient star in the faint stellar halo that surrounds the Milky Way. Arsenic and selenium are elements at the transition from light to heavy element production, and have not been found in old stars until now.

Lead author of the Astrophysical Journal paper, Fellow Ian Roederer of the Carnegie Observatories explained: “Stars like our Sun can make elements up to oxygen on the periodic table. Other more massive stars can synthesize heavier elements, those with more protons in their nuclei, up to iron by nuclear fusion—the process in which atomic nuclei fuse and release lots of energy. Most of the elements heavier than iron are made by a process called neutron-capture nucleosynthesis.

“Although neutrons have no charge, they can decay into protons after they're in the nucleus, producing elements with larger atomic numbers. One of the ways that this method can work is by exposure to a burst of neutrons during the violent supernova death of a star. We call this process the rapid process (r-process). It can produce elements at the middle and bottom of the periodic tablefrom zinc to uraniumin the blink of an eye.”
Roederer, with co-author James Lawler, looked at an ultraviolet spectrum from the Hubble Space Telescope public archives to find arsenic and selenium in a 12 billion year-old halo star dubbed HD 160617. These elements were forged in an even older star, which has long since disappeared, and then—like genes passed on from parent to infant—they were born into the star we see today, HD 160617.” 

The team also examined data for this star from the public archives of several ground-based telescopes and were able to detect 45 elements. In addition to arsenic and selenium, they found rarely seen cadmium, tellurium, and platinum, all of which were produced by the r-process. This is the first time these elements have been detected together outside the Solar System. Astronomers cannot replicate the r-process in any laboratory since the conditions are so extreme. The key to modeling the r-process relies on astronomical observations.

“What I find exciting is that arsenic and selenium can be found in other stars, even ones like HD 160617 that we've been studying for decades,” remarked Roederer. “Now that we know where to look, we can go back and study these elements in other stars. Understanding the r-process helps us know why we find certain elements like barium on Earth, or understand why uranium is so rare.”

The paper is published in the May 1, 2012 issue. Ian Roederer is supported by the Carnegie Institution through the Carnegie Observatories Fellowship. James Lawler is supported by NASA grant NNX10AN93G.

The Carnegie Institution for Science (CarnegieScience. Edu) is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2012

Into its third year, Mountain Echoes Literary Festival to be held in Thimpu from 20th to 24th May, 2012, is back with yet another power packed edition. It has lined up some of the most impressive authors writing from and on South Asia, including Vikram Seth, Patrick French, Wendell Rodricks, William Dalrymple, Kalpish Ratna, Ali Sethi and Gulzar.

Conceptualized in 2009, the festival began its journey in the pristine city of Thimpu in May 2010, as a joint effort by His Excellency Pavan K Varma, India’s ambassador to Bhutan, co-directors Namita Gokhale and Pramod Kumar KG, Mita Kapur, CEO, Siyahi. The festival also has the support of the India-Bhutan Foundation and the patronage of Bhutan’s queen mother, HM Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, who is herself a published author.

Mountains, particularly the Himalayas, are an important factor for the South Asian region encompassing within them other themes such as travel, environment, spirituality and philosophy – all of which feature in sessions programmed for the festival. In the session Dreaming of Prayer Flags, Karma Singye Dorji talks about what it means to write about his own land, the grand Himalayan vistas, the unhurried village life, and the significance of prayer flags. He also reads a few passages from his book. In Rolling Clouds: Dreaming Mountains, a session on travel writing with Vikram Seth, Patrick French and William Dalrymple will see these eminent writers share personal anecdotes and readings from their works.

In Blessings of Bhutan Dr. Karma Phuntsho and Sonam Jatso will examine the unique balance of tradition and modernity that exists in the social structure in Bhutan and the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, in its material and spiritual context. Namita Gokhale and Kishwar Desai will read from their recent books and discuss the impact of gender on their writing in the session called First person Feminine. The popular Bhutanese writer Kunzang Choden will be in conversation with Swati Chopra on a session discussing spirituality and how it reflects in the process of writing in the session called Writing the Spirit.

The program also includes a round table discussion between writers, journalists and media persons from both India and Bhutan, where they brainstorm on the relationship between media and democracy, and the roles and responsibilities of print, electronic and social media. Apart from these sessions, the festival has also organized a writers’ retreat in Paro.

The Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2012 promises to be an exciting experience of literary and intellectual delight set in the inspiring landscape of Bhutan. 

New Delhi: Vaisakha 10, 1934
April 30, 2012
Armour Day is celebrated on 01 May every year to commemorate the commencement of mechanisation of the Indian Cavalry regiments. On this date in 1938, The Scinde Horse became the first regiment to shed their horses and to be equipped with tanks. The first such equipment was the Vickers light tanks and Chevrolet Armoured Cars.

Indian Armoured Corps was equipped with the comparatively modern Sherman tanks (M4) of American origin in 1943. Regiments so equipped formed the spearhead of the 14th Army during its pursuit of the defeated Japanese in the liberation of Burma. Post independence, Indian Armour lost one third of its units and training establishments to Pakistan with the Indian share being only twelve regiments. It was these regiments which nurtured the Corps and helped expand to the force that it has evolved into today.

Expansion and modernisation of the Armoured Corps was initiated post independence with Centurions Mark VII and AMX-13 light tanks. Since then, the Armoured Corps has operated the indigenous Vijayanta tanks, the Russian T-54 and T-55, T-72 and T-90 tanks and MBT Arjun.

An ideal man-machine interface led to a sterling performance in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 when the sophisticated Pakistani Patton tanks were decimated by own Centurian tanks to form the famous ‘Patton Graveyard, near Khemkaran in Punjab. Lt Col AB Tarapore of ‘The Poona Horse’ was posthumously honoured with the Param Vir Chakra for his gallant action in the Shakargarh Bulge. The Corps proved its mettle yet again gloriously in the 1971 war with Pakistan wherein tanks were at the forefront of action in the plains sector on the Western and Eastern fronts. 2nd Lt Arun Khetrapal fought gallantly and made the supreme sacrifice in the Battle of Basantar River earning for his regiment ‘The Poona Horse’, yet another Param Vir Chakra. The core ethos of displaying exemplary courage in the face of fearful odds is amply demonstrated by the award of two Param Vir Chakras, 15 Maha Vir Chakras and 60 Vir Chakras amongst a large number of gallantry and distinguished service awards bestowed upon officers and men of the Armoured Corps.

The Corps contributes substantially to the counter insurgency operations at all times. This includes service with the Rashtriya Rifles, Assam Rifles and other PMF. The Corps is also making its contribution in its share for world peace by deploying a contingent to the UN peace keeping mission in Lebanon, apart from individual representations.

To commemorate the solemn occasion, a function was organized at the Sabre Officers Mess, New Delhi which was hosted by Lt Gen DS Sidhu, Director General Mechanised Forces and serving / retired officers of the Armoured Corps fraternity. The occasion was graced by General VK Singh, Chief of the Army Staff and other military / civil dignitaries.

IFC Concludes First Rooftop Solar Project, to Replicate Five More in India

New Delhi, India, April 30, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting the Indian state of Gujarat to replicate in five cities a rooftop solar project first completed in Gandhinagar, improving access to power and reducing air pollution from the burning of wood and fossil fuels.

The two pilot projects of 2.5 megawatt each demonstrated the viability of generating solar power through a grid-interactive system on rooftops, and will serve as a model for roll-out across the cities of Bhavnagar, Mehsana, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara. IFC is also developing a policy framework for the replication of rooftop solar concept in Gujarat based on the experience gained in Gandhinagar.

This program is the first of its kind in India and aims to be a benchmark for green energy generation at the household level. The two pilot projects will produce approximately nine million units of clean energy and help to avoid 6,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The project will also help to mobilize private sector investment of approximately $12-14 million.

"We want to fully exploit the potential of solar power generation,” said D. Jagatheesa Pandian, Principal Secretary in the state Energy and Petrochemicals Department. “IFC’s support will help us implement the rooftop solar power generation project in other cities of Gujarat and make the state the preferred destination for solar projects in India."

The project aims to help the government introduce public-private participation in generating a green energy source. The solar installations will convert sunlight into electricity and directly feed into the electrical grid. The Public Private Partnership and Sustainable Business Advisory team of IFC structured the project and advised the Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute and Gujarat Power Corporation Limited, the two state supported agencies for implementing solar power, on the global competitive bid process.

“Gujarat is pioneering the adoption and promotion of clean energy by installing rooftop solar plants in the state,” said Anita M. George, IFC Director for Infrastructure in Asia. “The project will provide economic opportunities to the local residents, whose rooftops will be used for the installation of solar panels.”

Successful implementation of the business model for the rooftop solar project in a leading state like Gujarat will encourage similar models to be adopted in India and elsewhere in the region.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities - all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion.

Nimble Offers Community Managers Free Year of Social CRM Business Edition
Social Business pioneer invests in empowering community managers for
more effective social engagement
Santa Monica, CA – April 30, 2012Nimble, the award-winning Social Relationship Manager, today announced that it is now offering qualifying community managers across the globe a one-year complimentary business edition subscription. Acknowledging social media early adopters as the linchpin for wider social business integration, Nimble empowers community managers to be more successful at connecting, listening and engaging with contacts across multiple social streams.

“Community managers are the first point of social contact at most companies and the ones that sales people go to for social selling advice,” said Jon Ferrara, CEO, Nimble. “At Nimble we're not just enabling social selling, we're empowering companies to become complete social businesses. That starts with the first conversation which can happen with the community manager, sales, marketing or support. Nimble enables a unified approach to connecting the social conversations to the customer no matter which department is having them.”

“Community managers do more than just manage content calendars and tweet all day long,” Michael Brito, SVP, Social Business, Edelman, reminds us. “The truth is, many community managers today are already driving fully robust social CRM programs.”

“The best community managers tirelessly work to promote their brands,” My Community Manager’s Tim McDonald says. “To do that, community managers today need an engagement platform that allows them to switch message and platform as appropriate, automatically connecting the conversations the entire company is having with their community to the contacts they're having them with. Nimble gives them that and more.”

Community managers interested in taking advantage of this opportunity are welcome to sign up at Joining is simple -- register for a free trial of Nimble business edition and send community profiles managed to

Nimble is partnering with My Community Manager, a global membership organization for professional community managers, which will host a live Google+ hour-long chat with Ferrara on Fri., May 4 at 2 pm ET titled, "The Importance of Social CRM to Community Managers." An archival video will be posted immediately following the chat. Join My Community Manager circle at to cover this chat live, or visit for more information.

About Nimble

Since its initial launch, Nimble has quickly established itself as the leading Social Relationship Manager. Influencers around the world have recognized Nimble as a revolutionary Social Business solution. The platform has been awarded PC Magazine “Editors' Choice”, “DEMO God”, Gartner “Cool Vendor” for Social Software and Collaboration, Red Herring Top 100 Global Finalist, and “Company to Watch” on Paul Greenberg's “2011 CRM Watch List” & “2012 CRM Watch List” published by ZDNet.

Nimble was founded in 2009 to help small businesses transform their communities into business opportunities. Nimble opens a whole new channel for businesses to engage customers in a two-way dialogue, leveraging the power of traditional CRM and social media with its web-based social CRM platform. Located in Santa Monica, Nimble is in the heart of the Southern California tech community. 

~Welcomes Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra to the store ~

Ahmedabad, April 29, 2012-----The Timberland Company (NYSE: TBL), the authentic outdoor footwear and apparel brand, today announced the opening of its first store in Ahmedabad located at Alpha One, Vastrapur Lake.

Timberland played host to the most awaited debutants and promising youngsters of Bollywood- Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra. Arjun was seen trying on a few shoes, taking keen interest in the environment friendly technology used in some of the shoes like the use of recycled coffee beans in the sole and the Anti-fatigue technology. He especially checked out the Iconic boots by Timberland, symbolic of a rugged, adventurous and daring attitude, much like his character in Ishaqzaade whilst Parineeti helped him pick out a pair that best suited his personality.

The exclusive store will offer footwear, apparel and accessories for men. In addition to the most popular collections such as the Earthkeepers-Timberland’s most environmentally conscious line of footwear built with innovative recycled materials to Classics that combine the original iconic styles with new tradition-inspired silhouettes, this summer, Timberland introduces the Formentor range for all sailing enthusiasts and The Front Country Travel collection. Whilst the former includes Formentor shoe with a technology that enhances grip at the sole and facilitates quick drying of the shoe in addition to a fully waterproof Formentor Jacket, the Front Country Travel collection is ideal for those who love traveling and the outdoors.

Spread across 1700 sq.ft. the store is specially designed keeping in mind the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle whilst maintaining Timberland’s DNA of the rugged outdoors. Timberland’s long standing commitment to sustainability is reflected through the use of recycled materials and other eco-conscious building practices.

Timberland’s journey began in 1952 with the start of the Abington shoe company in New England, USA. In 1973, the brand as the world knows it got its name the first water proof shoe they created called Timberland. What started off as a shoe back then went on to become the world's leading outdoor brand. Timberland is now available at over 130 countries around the globe.

Timberland is located at Alpha One, Ground Floor, Unit G-40, 41,TP No. 1, FP No. – 216, Vastrapur Lake, Ahmedabad – 380054. Store Timings: 10.00 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Timberland is available in India through an exclusive license cum distribution agreement with Reliance Brands Ltd., part of Reliance Industries Ltd., to distribute TimberlandÒ footwear and apparel to the Indian market. Currently in India, the Timberland stores are present in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Ludhiana.

About Timberland

Timberland (NYSE: TBL) is a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for consumers who value the outdoors and their time in it. Timberland markets products under the Timberland®, Timberland PRO®, Mountain Athletics®, SmartWool®, Timberland Boot Company® and howies® brands, all of which offer quality workmanship and detailing and are built to withstand the elements of nature. Timberland’s dedication to making quality products is matched by the company’s commitment to “doing well and doing good" -- forging powerful partnerships among employees, consumers and service partners to transform the communities in which they live and work. To learn more about Timberland, please visit

About Reliance Brands Limited

Reliance Brands Limited is part of the Reliance Industries Group. The Company began operations in October 2007 with a mandate to launch and build international and domestic brand equity in the premium to luxury segment across apparel, footwear and lifestyle business. Its current portfolio of brand partnerships comprises of DIESEL, ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, HAMLEYS, ICONIX, KENNETH COLE, PAUL & SHARK, QUIKSILVER, ROXY, STEVE MADDEN, THOMAS PINK AND TIMBERLAND.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finance Minister calls for need to empower people with skills and capabilities for continuous and inclusive growth; Releases Logo for 46th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of ADB; India to host the next ADB Annual Meeting in Delhi in May, 2013

The Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that if Asia has to continue growing rapidly, its path of development needs to be inclusive and people need to be empowered with skills and capabilities that will enable them shape their own lives. The Finance Minister said that we believe in sustaining high and inclusive growth in Asia; and to ensure that requires policies and programs designed with a focus on empowerment. The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee was speaking after formally announcing that India will host the next Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB) i.e.46th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank on May 2-5, 2013 in New Delhi. He also unveiled on this occasion the special logo titled “Web of Life” created for the said Meeting. This logo for the Annual Meeting of ADB represents the web of life which is based on the tribal motifs of central India which signifies the cycle of life. The logo has been designed by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Shri R.Gopalan, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Dr Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Adviser, representatives of CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were also present on the occasion. 

 The 46th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank is expected to see the visits of official delegations from 67 countries, where the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of different countries usually lead the country delegations. A large gathering of approximately 4000 people including delegates from different countries, economists, investment bankers, corporate leaders, Nobel laureates, Civil Society, media etc. are expected to participate in the event in 2013. 

 This would be the third time that India would be hosting the Annual Meeting; the first time was in 1990 at Delhi and the second time in 2006 at Hyderabad. The venue for the 2013 Annual Meeting would be India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. Given the size and scope of the event, the Government of India has invited Industry Associations (CII, ASSOCHAM and FICCI) to partner in the organization of the event. This is the first time that such a Public Private Partnership approach has been adopted for an event of this scale in India. 

 Speaking on the occasion, the Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that ADB has been a valued multilateral partner in India’s journey towards economic development and growth. He said that the theme for the Annual Meeting is “Development through Empowerment”. This theme encompasses issues that are critical for sustaining high and inclusive growth in Asia. This theme reflects the development strategy of India, namely, empowerment backed by legal entitlement and encompasses issues that are critical for sustaining high and inclusive growth in Asia, the Finance Minister added. 

 Speaking at this special function, the Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that the Annual Meeting of ADB will provide a valuable opportunity for brainstorming and cross fertilization of ideas amongst intellectuals and policy makers from across Asia and the World. He said that India’s association with the ADB dates back to 1966 and is a founder member of this multilateral institution. ADB’s lending operations in India commenced two decades later in 1986, and India has just completed 25 years of partnership with ADB. Shri Mukherjee further said that this will help bring countries of Asia closer to each other and also facilitate the formulation of policies that can lead us towards greater prosperity and well being. 

 The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that the rapid growth of emerging market economies in Asia has been a noteworthy feature of the global economy in recent years. Led by China, India and several other Asian countries, this dynamism makes Asia the world’s most vibrant region contributing close to 50 per cent of world growth, the Finance Minister added. He further said that Asian countries have transformed themselves from primarily agricultural and resource based economies to industrial and increasingly services based economies in less than half a century.Shri Mukherjee said that Asia’s high growth over the last several decades has improved lives and lifted millions out of poverty. 

 Later speaking on behalf of the Industry, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said that Industry is privileged to be part of this very prestigious event and would extend all support to ensure that the event is commensurate with India’s stature in the world today.

PM’s Speech at the Dedication Ceremony of the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery
Following is the speech of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the dedication ceremony of the Guru Gobind Singh refinery in Bathinda today:

 “It gives me immense pleasure to be present here on the occasion of dedication of the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery to the nation. This refinery will fulfill a long cherished dream of the people of Punjab and will make a big contribution towards economic development of the State. Ever since the project was initiated in the year 2004, out government has been monitoring its progress regularly and I am happy that our long standing commitment to the people of Punjab has finally been fulfilled. 

 A total amount of Rs.20,000 Crore has been invested in this project. It has a refining capacity of 9 million tonnes per annum. I believe this refinery is an example of what the public and the private sectors can achieve in partnership with each other. 

 I compliment Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., a public sector nav ratna company and Mittal Energy Investment Ltd., led by global captain of industry Shri Lakshmi Mittal for coming together for this very important venture.

 I understand that this project has been completed in a record time of 42 months. This is a commendable achievement. I congratulate the promoters and the operating team who have worked tirelessly to complete this project on schedule. I hope the benchmark this project has set will serve as an example for such projects in future.

 I am also told that this refinery is equipped with the latest technology. Its capability to produce Bharat Stage III and IV fuels reiterates our commitment to safeguarding our environment while pushing ahead with growth. The products from this refinery will especially help in bridging the gap between demand and supply in the northern region of the country.

 The refinery sector in the country has shown phenomenal growth and India has emerged as a refining hub. From 62 million metric tonnes per annum in 1998, the country’s refining capacity has grown about three and a half times to 213 MMTPA today. We have sufficient refining capacity to enable us to export petroleum products. 

 The challenges we face on the energy front are formidable. We need adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices. Domestic sources of crude oil and gas are inadequate to meet the growing demands of our rapidly expanding economy. With imports accounting for about 80% of our crude supplies, the spiraling prices of crude in the international market have put a severe strain on our import bill. In order to insulate the common man from the impact of rising oil prices, the Government shoulders a sizeable portion of the burden by pricing diesel, Kerosene and domestic LPG below their market prices. 

 We need to take steps to conserve our scarce energy resources. There is no room for inefficient and wasteful usage of fuel, be it petrol, diesel, kerosene or gas. We need to adopt better technology and consumers should be made aware of the benefits of fuel conservation. We also need to rationalize prices and at the same time ensure that the poor and needy are shielded from the effects of such a rationalization. 

 Refineries act as catalysts for industrial growth and development in the areas in which they operate. I am sure that this refinery will provide the impetus for the setting up of a number of major industries and ancillary units and will lead to sustained growth and development in and around Bathinda. 

 Punjab has been the torch bearer of the Green Revolution. This State has contributed greatly to our country`s food security. The hard working farmers of Punjab feed the nation. The State has also had a glorious history of industrial growth, especially in the small and medium sectors. Almost every Punjab town and city has been renowned for specific industrial products - Ludhiana for bicycles and hosiery, Batala and Ludhiana for machine tools, Jalandhar for sports goods and so on. Over the last two decades, however, Punjab has lost its leadership role in many areas of industry. The State today needs a new wave of industrialization. Apart from contributing to economic growth of the state, such industrialization would also create new employment opportunities for the youth of Punjab.

 We need more skilled people in Punjab so that they can drive the growth of industries. For this we will have to lay far greater emphasis on initiatives for skill development and vocational education in the State. Punjab has not lived up to its potential in areas such as Information Technology and we need to correct this situation. We also need improved infrastructure in Punjab- better roads and transport facilities, reliable power supply and so on. Ever since our government assumed power at the Centre we have kept the interests of Punjab in mind and this refinery is an example of the importance that we give to the progress of this beautiful state. I assure you today that we will continue doing everything possible to ensure that Punjab touches new heights of development. 

 Projects such as the one being dedicated to the nation today will help the process of industrialization in Punjab. The Dedicated Freight Corridor project will provide Punjab with rapid connectivity to the Eastern and Western ports. With these and other such projects, Punjab can once again become a hub of industry and can reclaim the traditional role it has played for centuries. 

 The average Punjabi is known for his robust health and high productivity. However, of late the incidence of cancer in Punjab has increased. I am aware that a large number of people in this part of Punjab suffer from this disease. Baba Farid University of Health and Sciences, Faridkot had requested permission to set up an advanced cancer diagnostic and research centre at Bhatinda. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has since granted permission for setting up two of the three facilities that were proposed. The third is being processed. We have also included Bathinda, in addition to Hoshiarpur and Mansa, as one of the districts under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Diabetics, Cardio-Vascular Diseases & Strokes and Cancer. 

 I once again congratulate the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, HPCL, Shri Lakshmi Mittal and his company and the Chairman and Managing Director of HMEL and their team on the successful completion of this project. I would also like to thank the State Government and the people of Punjab and Bathinda for having helped at every stage of this project.

 With these words, I dedicate the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery to the nation.”


Shazhan Padamse & Aamna Sharif dazzle on the ramp in exquisite jewellery offered at the Great Indian Wedding Carnival India 2012

Mumbai, 28th April, 2012: Gitanjali Group presented a fashion extravaganza at the ‘Equine Racing Excellence Awards”, held at the Mahalaxmi race course on Saturday. As the city’s crème de la crème and racing aficionados gathered to felicitate the derby champs and honour the thrilling performances witnessed at the racing season, Gitanjali Group put together a fashion show of classy couture designs created by ace designers Rohhit Verma & Asif Merchant and also showcased an eclectic range of jewellery offered at the Great Indian Wedding Carnival 2012. The models sashayed to the captivating numbers performed live by singer- composer Shibani Kashyap while she enthralled the guests with her melodious voice.

The entertaining evening was a perfect blend of fashion and finesse, with models donning beautiful designs by Rohhit Verma & Asif Merchant and walking the ramp in stunning Gitanjali Jewellery. Bollywood actress Aamna Sharif was the show stopper while TV actor Chahat Khanna opened the grand fashion show by designer Rohhit Verma. Rohhit’s HARE collection represented the transformation of a young girl, capturing the various moods through the garments and portraying the saga by the creative means of fabric colors and styling.

The glamorous evening continued as Shazahn Padamse dazzled on the ramp in Asif Merchant’s garments. Asif’s collection was a tribute to Mumbai and Maharashtra; created using traditional Maharashtraian fabrics like pathnis, navaris which were transformed into flowing gowns and formal wear for both women and men. His creative use of traditional fabrics and colors like black, dusty pinks, ivory and gold made each outfit stand out.

Brand Ambassador Shazahn Padamse also unveiled the eclectic range of Gitanjali jewellery showcased at the Great Indian Wedding Carnival 2012.

Vivek Jain, Chairman, RWITC said on the occasion: "The 2011-12 Racing Season has been incredible and enriching; for us at RWITC as organisers, and also for our partners and the racing fraternity. Attendance was up nearly 20%, and we innovated with new ideas, new themes, with of course, the sport holding centre stage. Never in the history of the Club has so much been done to showcase culture, environment and social causes within one season. To celebrate the highs that the 2011-12 racing season ushered, we are hosting the Third Annual Tata Housing Equine Racing Excellence Awards on April 28. The event recognises and rewards the best performances and performers of the season and gives us an opportunity to savour the glory of what has been...and what is yet to come!"

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mehul Choksi, Chairman and Managing Director, Gitanjali Group, said, “Gitanjali Group is honoured to present the fashion sequence at a prestigious event like the Equine Racing Excellence Awards. This racing season Gitanjali Group was part of various racing events which honoured the derby champs and we hope that our fashion extravaganza this evening was enjoyed by all. We will continue our association with the organisers, participants and patrons of the racing world and promise to bring more entertainment next season.”

Spending Stimulus Urged for Euro Economies Not in Crisis

U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Lael Brainard urges European countries to use short-term stimulus to end Europe's economic crisis, even if this means short-term deficits.

In April 25 remarks to the Boston Economic Club in Boston, Brainard said the European Union should pursue such short-term fiscal stimulus in the aggregate even while its weakest economies are slashing public spending. Without identifying any countries by name, she pressed governments in those countries not facing fiscal crisis to spend more money in the short term.

"Only a small group of member states retains the scope to implement countercyclical fiscal policy with the heightened market scrutiny and borrowing costs brought on by the crisis," Brainard said.

She lamented the absence of a Europe-wide fiscal policy mechanism, especially at a time when, in aggregate, the euro area is slashing spending despite having the smallest aggregate fiscal deficit and the lowest prospects for economic expansion among the world's advanced economies.

Similarly, she said, Europe's country-by-country approach is complicating its struggle to restore confidence in European banks. While fiscally strapped governments have been leaning on the big banks in their countries to buy up public debt, some of those governments might have to pay for recapitalization of those same banks.

Although slow to come, Europe's steps to subject banks to stress tests and set higher targets for deposit reserves have helped restore confidence somewhat, Brainard said. But perceptions about the close links between government and bank balance sheets while some of those banks are reducing loans in order to meet higher capital standards is shaking up financial markets, she indicated.

"The negative feedback loop between sovereign and bank balance sheets ... could be attenuated with Europe-wide efforts at bank restructuring and recapitalization," Brainard said.

Worldwide economic demand remains subdued relative to levels before the economic crisis as countries with trade surpluses have not offset reduced consumption in countries with trade deficits. The under secretary said China must rebalance its economic expansion to rely more on domestic consumption and less on export industries.

Setting its currency exchange rate free will help China sustain that process of adjustment, Brainard said. "A market-determined exchange rate will be a powerful tool as China rebalances."

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.) 

U.S. Economy Grows: Private Spending Up, Government Spending Down

By MacKenzie C. Babb
Staff Writer

Washington - The U.S. economy posted its 11th straight quarter of positive growth with a 2.2 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) from January to March, according to the Commerce Department.
White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger said the April 27 report from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis shows "encouraging signs that the private sector is continuing to heal from the worst recession since the Great Depression."

He said the report "continues a pattern of moderate growth in the private-sector components of GDP and contraction of the government components of GDP."

The increase in real GDP, or the total output of goods and services produced in the United States, primarily reflected positive contributions from exports, private inventory investment and residential fixed investment. Adding significantly to the growth were personal consumption expenditures, which increased 2.9 percent, and residential construction, which grew 19 percent. Krueger said auto production also increased robustly, accounting for half of overall GDP growth during the period.

These gains were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending, nonresidential fixed investment and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. Krueger said national defense expenditures fell by 8.1 percent in the first quarter, while government spending across all levels subtracted 0.6 percent from overall GDP growth.

Krueger said that while the "continued expansion of the economy is encouraging, additional growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the deep recession that began at the end of 2007."

His remarks came a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the United States' continued "moderate expansion" is providing critical support for ongoing improvements in the labor market.

Bernanke commended the drop of the unemployment rate by nearly a percentage point since August 2011, but said that at 8.2 percent, the jobless rate remains elevated. He said the Federal Reserve's policymaking arm, the Federal Open Market Committee, anticipates the unemployment rate will continue declining gradually to reflect the moderate pace of economic growth, dropping to between 7.8 percent and 8 percent by the end of 2012.

A revision of the GDP for January to March, based on new data collected over the next month, will be released May 31.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

Mechel Receives Lenders’ Approval On Waivers And Amendments To Credit Facilities

Moscow, Russia – April 27, 2012 – Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL), one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, announces completion of talks with lenders resulting in waivers and amendments to certain major credit facilities.
On March 29, 2012, Mechel entered talks with over 25 leading international and Russian banks regarding some financial covenants the company expected to breach due to uncertain market conditions and a period of decline in market prices for its products.
These talks were successfully completed on April 26, 2012, as lenders confirmed their agreement to waivers on a number of credit facilities and including a significant structural change to financial covenants. These changes to the financial parameters will increase the company’s financial and operational flexibility, even in the event that price volatility on key markets increases.
“Gaining approval from more than 25 leading international and Russian banks within such a limited time frame is proof of their trust in Mechel as a quality and reliable borrower as well as their confidence in our company’s strategic choices. The new levels of covenants will enable us to continue our operational and investment activity regardless of volatility on the global financial and commodity markets. At the same time, one of our main priorities is systematic deleveraging as a whole and reduction of short-term debt in particular,” Mechel OAO’s Chief Financial Officer Stanislav Ploschenko noted.
Mechel is one of the leading Russian companies. Its business includes four segments: mining, steel, ferroalloy and power. Mechel unites producers of coal, iron ore concentrate, nickel, ferrochrome, ferrosilicon, steel, rolled products, hardware, heat and electric power. Mechel products are marketed domestically and internationally.

BNSF Railway Salutes 2011 Employees of the Year

            FORT WORTH, Texas, April 27, 2012 – BNSF Railway honored the accomplishments of employees from across its network at an awards ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, this week. The event recognized BNSF’s Safety Employees of the Year, Achievement Award winners and the “Best of the Best” leaders of teams that showed outstanding safety performance in 2011.

 “The Employees of the Year awards are designed to recognize employees who demonstrate BNSF’s Vision and Values through their commitment, leadership and focus on working safely and efficiently to meet our customers’ expectations,” said Matthew K. Rose, BNSF chairman and chief executive officer. “These employees are leading by example, and represent what we are striving to become as a company and a community.”

            Six BNSF employees were honored as Safety Employees of the Year for outstanding contributions in support of an injury- and accident-free workplace; Lanny Billings, locomotive engineer, from Spokane, Wash.; Mark Johnson, switchman, from Galveston, Texas; Matt Lehr, switchman, from Lincoln, Neb.; Bryant Quick, signal inspector, from Alliance, Neb.; Tony Soto, Intermodal clerk, from Corwith, Ill.; and Jeremy Trueax, carman, from Havre, Mont.

Lehr was also named BNSF’s Hammond Award nominee. The Hammond Award is a national award that recognizes an employee’s efforts to improve safety within the rail industry and communities.
BNSF presented more than 600 Achievement Awards in 2011. Of these, 111 employees representing 20 different teams and individual achievements were honored as Employees of the Year for a wide range of accomplishments. 

Best of the Best recognition went to honorees who exhibited exceptional safety performance in leading teams that worked injury-free in 2011.

About BNSF

            BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies operating on 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain, industrial goods and low-sulfur coal that help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. And we are working continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. 

India Rupee will fall to record low of 56 against the US Dollar: UBS

The Indian Rupee (INR) is poised to fall to a record low of 56 against the US Dollar (USD), UBS stated in a report. USD/INR is now trading at around 52.India's widening trade deficit is hurting the economy while the government's policy paralysis sems to have reached a crisis point. "In these conditions, there is very little policy easing. So companies and government must now become more efficient if they want to retain/induce that extra dollar from overseas”

The Indian Rupee has been constantly weakening against the Dollar since last August, rising from the lows of 44 to currently hover around 52. India's trade deficit for the fiscal year 2011/2012 had widened after record purchases of oil and gold.

This constant expansion seems to be worrying investors that the country may not be going in the right direction and this is believed to be reflecting in the currency exchange rates. Also the overall strengthening of the USD only adds to the pressure.

- Umesh Shanmugam

World Bank Update on Remittance data

Newly available data from several countries reveal that officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries reached $372 billion in 2011, an increase of 12.1 percent over 2010 (figure 1). Worldwide remittance flows, including those to high-income countries, reached $501 billion in 2011 and are expected to increase to $615 billion by 2014. This is higher than our

Major revisions to our December 2011 estimates include remittance flows to Egypt, India, China, and Thailand.
The reasons for an upward revision to Egypt’s data in 2010 (by $4.7 billion) and 2011 (by $6.2 billion) are not obvious but reflect a variety of factors including migrants returning from Libya, an increase in government T-bill rates, and falling housing prices that likely spurred housing purchases by Egyptians residing abroad. An upward revision to flows to India in 2011 (by $5.8 billion) is primarily due to a weak rupee and robust economic activity in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which are major destinations of recent migrants. China began to publish quarterly data on remittances for the first time in 2010. The latest data show a surge in remittances to China for the first three quarters of 2011. Similarly, Thailand revised its historical data on remittance flows upwards, including that for 2011 by $1.8 billion.
There is still uncertainty about data on remittance flows to Lebanon from 2010 onwards. Although the Central Bank of Lebanon reports that remittances to the country fell by more than 30% in 2010, there is no plausible story for such a big drop (recent political events in the region, especially in Syria, are likely to impact flows in 2012). For this reason, we have projected a flat trend for 2010 and 2011 for remittance flows to Lebanon until we have better information. 

worldsteel Short Range Outlook

London, 27 April 2012 – The World Steel Association (worldsteel) today released its April 2012 Short Range Outlook (SRO) for 2012 and 2013. worldsteel forecasts that global apparent steel use will increase by 3.6% to 1,422 Mt in 2012, following growth of 5.6% in 2011. In 2013, it is forecast that world steel demand will grow further by 4.5% to around 1,486 Mt.

Commenting, Hans Juergen Kerkhoff, Chairman of the worldsteel Economics Committee said, “Despite the market weakening in the fourth quarter of 2011, world steel demand achieved solid growth of 5.6% in 2011 due to the recovery momentum seen in the first half of the year. Though we saw a series of negative events in 2011 (including Japan’s earthquake, political turmoil in MENA and flooding in Thailand), their impact proved to be contained mostly locally. The exception was the euro zone debt crisis which did have global impact and is the main cause behind the deterioration in this new forecast from our previous one issued in October 2011. Signs of stability are now emerging and we expect the recovery to resume in the second half of this year, leading to a higher growth forecast for 2013.

Although the global impact of the euro zone debt crisis has been limited so far, uncertainties continue to exist and this remains the key downside risk to our current outlook. High oil prices and geopolitical tensions in the oil producing regions are also important downside risk factors. The possibility of a hard landing for the Chinese economy cannot be ignored but at this point we do not attach high probability to this. It should be noted that the most important development in our revised forecast is the continuing slowdown of Chinese steel demand driven by the Chinese government’s efforts to restructure the economy. However, part of China’s projected slower growth is offset by improvement in other emerging markets and the strengthening recovery of the US.”

China’s apparent steel use in 2012 is expected to increase by 4.0% to 648.8 Mt following 6.2% growth in 2011. In 2013, steel demand will again grow by 4.0% as the economy enters a less steel intensive growth phase, with the government’s efforts to rebalance the economy and contain the real estate bubble. This projection brings China’s apparent steel use in 2013 to 674.8 Mt, 61% higher than the 2007 level.

India is expected to resume its high growth trend (after a sluggish performance in 2011). In 2012, India’s steel use is forecast to grow by 6.9% to reach 72.5 Mt. In 2013, the growth rate is forecast to accelerate to 9.4% on the back of urbanisation and surging infrastructure investment.

Apparent steel use in the US is forecast to grow by a healthy 5.7% in 2012. In 2013, the steel use in the US is expected to grow by 5.6% to 99.5 Mt, bringing it to 92% of the 2007 level. For NAFTA as a whole, apparent steel use will grow by 5.2% and 5.1% in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

In Central and South America, apparent steel use is forecast to grow by 6.8 % in 2012 to reach a historical high of 49.1 Mt with Brazil returning to a positive growth of over 5%. In 2013, the region’s apparent steel use is forecast to grow by 6.7% to reach 52.5 Mt, 28% higher than the 2007 level.

The recovery of steel demand is expected to stall in most of the EU in 2012 as the sovereign debt problems continue to act as a major drag on economic activities in the area, but with some differentiated pictures across the regions. In particular, the financially troubled countries of the region are expected to see their apparent steel use decline further.

Overall, apparent steel use in the EU is forecast to slide by -1.2% to 150.9 Mt in 2012, but a modest recovery of 3.3% is expected in 2013. These projections will bring steel demand in the EU to 155.8 Mt in 2013, only 79% of the 2007 level.

Japan’s steel use is expected to decline by -0.6% to 63.7 Mt in 2012 due to the impact of exchange rate appreciation, despite the reconstruction efforts following the March 2011 earthquake. In 2013 apparent steel use in Japan is forecast to continue to decline by -2.2% to 62.3 Mt, which is 77% of the 2007 level.

In the CIS, apparent steel use is forecast to grow by 4.1% in 2012 and then by 5.1% in 2013. These projections will bring the region’s apparent steel use in 2013 to 59.1 Mt, a record for the region.

Steel demand in the MENA region is expected to rebound by 5.7% in 2012 following a -2.0% drop in 2011 due to the impact of the political turmoil in the region. The growth of steel use in MENA is forecast to accelerate further to 8.4% in 2013. These projections will bring the region’s apparent steel use to 68.5 Mt in 2013. This is a record for the region and 26% over the 2007 level.

Our forecast suggests that by 2013, steel use in the developed world will still be at 14% below the 2007 level whereas in the emerging and developing economies, it will be 45% above. In 2013, the emerging and developing economies will account for 73% of world steel demand in contrast to 61% in 2007.

Notes :
  • The World Steel Association (worldsteel) is one of the largest and most dynamic industry associations in the world. worldsteel represents approximately 170 steel producers (including 17 of the world's 20 largest steel companies), national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes. worldsteel members produce around 85% of the world's steel.
  • The projections forecast by worldsteel consider both real and apparent steel use. Apparent steel use reflects the deliveries of steel to the marketplace from the domestic steel producers as well as from importers. This differs from real steel use, which takes into account steel delivered to or drawn from inventories.
  • The Short Range Outlook is provided by the worldsteel Committee on Economic Studies which meets twice a year. The Committee membership consists of chief economists from more than 40 of the worldsteel member companies. The Committee considers country and regional demand estimates to compile a global overview on apparent steel use (ASU). The Short Range Outlook is presented to the Board for their final review before publication.

The Breitling seal of confidence

Breitling provides powerful confirmation of the exceptional reliability of its “Manufacture” movements by offering an exceptional five-year warranty on all models equipped with these calibers.

In 2009, Breitling took its place within the exclusive circle of watch companies with their own mechanical chronograph movement. Not only was the development of this Caliber 01 intended to ensure the brand's long-term independence, but as a specialist of chronographs and instruments for professionals, Breitling also set itself the goal of making the world's best chronograph movement. Best in terms of performance, reliability and functionality. With this in mind, the firm put in place an avant-garde industrial facility and in-house competencies enabling it to produce its movements according to its own high standards, while ensuring maximum reliability on a large scale – around 40,000 movements in 2011. Caliber 01, which is chronometer-certified like all the brand's movements, currently powers several of Breitling's star models, including the Chronomat, the Navitimer, the Montbrillant and the Transocean. The firm's engineers have also used it as the basis for creating several innovative movements featuring functions that are both useful and user-friendly, such as Caliber 04 with its highly ingenious second timezone system, and the brand-new worldtimer Caliber 05. To confirm the exceptional reliability of these in-house movements, Breitling has decided to introduce an exclusive five-year warranty on all models equipped with its Manufacture calibers – meaning around half its range of mechanical chronographs. This move represents an exceptional measure at this level of production, and a powerful seal of confidence for all users of Breitling wrist instruments.