Thursday, May 31, 2012


Dear Xaverians,

St. Xavier’s is a Jesuit institution with one history but many stories, one fire with many sparks; It forms men and women for others, men and women who display competence, commitment, conscience and compassion.

One of the ten best Colleges in India credited with autonomous status and a College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) status, it is where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.

 The work is of God and it shall excel – St. Xavier’s is God’s will and it fosters sacred sentiments “Seemar Majhe Ashim Tume”.

 We celebrate a legacy of 152-year and pledge to prosper with our motto, ‘Nihil Ultra (Nothing Beyond)’

 We journey with dedication and determination to illuminate the minds of many with enduring wisdom. It is a march towards new directions of expansion, both academic and infrastructure. We are thinking of SXC Vision 2025.

Our plans are:

Two hostels at AJC Bose Road campus: - one for boys with 300 seats and the other for girls with 150 seats. The construction work is in progress. The demand for hostels is increasing and we must provide adequate residential facilities to our students.

St. Xavier’s Guesthouse in Salt Lake is near completion.

EM By pass campus is being developed. The EMMRC, now housed at Park Circus, will be soon moved to this second campus.

 We plan to make this campus a communication hub, with MCV, Film Studies, Journalism, Multimedia and Animation courses. As you see in the site plan, there will be hostel facilities. We also plan to start a biological science research center.

The Government of Paschimbanga has allotted 16 acres of land to St. Xavier’s College. We have to buy this land. The College needs a huge amount of fund for its expansion/development.

 The Hon’ble Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee announced during the fifth convocation on January 22, 2012 that she would be delighted to see St. Xavier’s College as a University. “I want to see St. Xavier’s on the top. To see Bengal in the first position in education, we have to promote educational hubs. A College like St. Xavier’s with quality education must be upgraded.”

 We are pleased with her announcement and offer. Now we are preparing ourselves for this new mission.

We need your sustained support for SXC Vision 2025. Your support will go a long way to form the future generation of leaders for the country. It is my pleasure to invite you to join in our endeavour to explore and create new horizons in the field of education.
Come Xaverians, participate in the dream of making your alma mater the destiny of the future, the home of us all. Your participation can be in the way of:

General donation to the College’s development fund;
Sponsorship of bricks (Rs 10,000/- for each brick);
Sponsorship of a floor/block/building;
Lakshya – Contribution of one lac/more towards the Rajarhat campus project.
You are welcome to meet me (preferably between 5.00 and 7.30 pm) to discuss about SXC Vision 2025.

Cheques/DD to be drawn in favour of  “St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata”. Your contributions will not only build Xavier's, but also tax deductible U/S 80G of IT Act.

 With my prayers and blessings. Nihil Ultra (Nothing Beyond),

 Father J. Felix Raj, SJ

SHRM Report: June 2012 Hiring Pace Expected to Slow

Alexandria, Va. – May 31, 2012 – Hiring by U.S. companies is expected to continue in June 2012 though the pace will slow for the fifth time in the last six months when compared to the same month one year ago according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
The report, a survey of 500 service-sector companies and 500 manufacturing companies, shows that service-sector hiring will drop by a net of 14 points and manufacturing-sector hiring will drop by a net of 3.2 points, when comparing June 2012 to June 2011.
The month alone, however, shows a more positive outlook—far more employers plan to hire than lay off workers.
--- In the manufacturing sector, 49 percent of respondents said their company will hire workers while 5.2 percent will cut jobs, leaving a positive net of 43.8 percent. The remaining 45.8 percent expect no activity—no hiring or layoffs.
--- In the service sector, 31 percent of companies represented in the survey will hire while 8.6 percent will trim payrolls, leaving a hiring net of 22.4 percent. The remaining 60.4 percent report no staffing changes.
“The monthly LINE findings continue to show positive net employment expectations however year-over-year comparisons paint a somewhat less rosy picture,” said Jennifer Schramm, GPHR, and manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM.
The findings are detailed in the SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment® (LINE®) Report. LINE features the only national monthly employment indices capturing HR professionals’ month-ahead hiring expectations, and past-month recruiting difficulty. The report also includes a new-hire compensation index and an index of exempt and non-exempt job vacancies.
The most recent recruiting-difficulty index data—May 2012—show that it got a little easier to find candidates to fill key jobs. On an annual basis, difficulty dropped 0.3 points in the manufacturing sector and 0.2 points in the service sector.
The latest new-hire compensation index data, again for May 2012, remained largely flat, too. Notably, the few companies that did increase wages and compensation marked the highest net in four years for both sectors during the month of May.
Highlights of SHRM LINE year-over-year findings:
---Employment Expectations - In June, the hiring rate will fall slightly in manufacturing and drop sharply in services compared with a year ago.
- Manufacturing -3.2 points
- Service -14.0 points
---Recruiting Difficulty - In May, recruiting difficulty was virtually unchanged in both sectors compared with a year ago.
- Manufacturing -0.3 points
- Service -0.2 points
New-Hire Compensation - In May, the rate of increase for new-hire compensation rose slightly in both sectors compared with a year ago.
- Manufacturing +4.2 points
- Service +1.6 points
Source: SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment

: The SHRM LINE Report is released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on the first Thursday of each month. The SHRM employment expectations index describes the same time period referenced approximately one month later in the Employment Situation Report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India.

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Amarc Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: AHR; OTCBB: AXREF) Acquires 100% Interest in the Newton Project

May 31, 2012 - Vancouver, BC - Amarc Resources Ltd. (“Amarc” or the “Company”) (TSX Venture: AHR; OTCBB: AXREF) announces that, effective May 22, 2012, the Participating Interest of Newton Gold Corp. (“NGC”) in the Newton Joint Venture converted to a 5% Net Profits Interest in accordance with the terms of the Joint Venture Agreement between the Company and NGC. As a result, NGC will no longer be a participant in the Joint Venture and the Newton Joint Venture Agreement has terminated. Amarc now holds a 100% interest in Newton property, subject only to the 5% Net Profit Interest to NGC and a Net Smelter Return Royalty to underlying property vendors which can be purchased for $2 million.

Delineation drilling of the Newton gold discovery commenced in late September and has progressed rapidly, with the completion of approximately 16,000 metres in 43 diamond drill holes. This recent drill phase brings the total drilling of the Newton deposit to approximately 23,300 metres in 72 holes. Drilling activities on the project have now been placed on standby, so that all assay results can be received and compiled. The camp, core processing facilities and one drill rig remain on site. Over the next two months Amarc’s geological team will integrate the incoming assay data with information from various on-going geological studies, including state-of-the–art drill core imaging technology which will assist in vectoring towards gold enriched areas of the Newton system. Further assay results will be compiled shortly and available for release. In addition a resource estimate for the Newton deposit is underway and is expected in mid-July. All of this work will inform management’s plans for further exploration of the Newton property.

Permit applications for extensive Induced Polarization ground geophysical surveys around the Newton discovery and additional drilling have been submitted to the provincial government.

Newton lies 175 kilometres south of New Gold’s Blackwater gold deposit and some 100 kilometres west of the City of Williams Lake, BC, in a region characterized by gently rolling hills. The district is well served by existing transportation and power infrastructure and a skilled workforce, which support a number of operating mines, as well as late-stage mineral development and exploration projects…

EVRAZ plc (LSE: EVR) and Russian Railways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines 5-year contract that will come into force in 2013, and will be valid through 2017. During that time EVRAZ will supply Russian Railways with rail products worth around 90 billion rubles, to include rails up to 100 metres long. 

EVRAZ ZSMK is completing the final stage of reconstruction of the rail mill to launch production of this new rail type, and as a result the capacity of the rolling mill will increase to 950 thousand tonnes of rails a year. The total investment of the project is 520 million US dollars. 

The 100-metre head-hardened rails are a new product for Russia and the CIS, and are comparable in quality with the products of the world leaders in this sector. They can be used on high-speed railway lines, and on lines with high levels of traffic. The increased length of the rails also allows the reduction of the number of welded joints, which improves both safety and the maximum speed the train can reach. 

The reconstruction of the rail mill at EVRAZ NTMK continues, with 60 million US dollars to be invested in the project which – with automated quality control - will allow the production of 25-metre volumetric tempered rails with a high purity of surface. After the completion of the project the volume of rail production at EVRAZ NTMK will increase to 550 thousand tonnes per year. 

“EVRAZ is reconstructing the rail mills in accordance with the priorities set out in the Strategy for Developing Rail Transport in the Russian Federation,” - Ilya Shirokobrod, EVRAZ Vice-President and Head of Division of Railway Products said. “Our railway products’ segment has excellent prospects for growth. When the reconstruction is over we will be able to produce rails that meet the highest world standards and the strictest requirements of our customers, and in particular those of Russian Railways, one of our key clients and partners”.

Linde launches EUR 500 mn bond

Munich, 30 May 2012 – Linde Finance BV, guaranteed by Linde AG (A stable/A3 stable) has today successfully placed EUR 500 mn of senior notes in a 7 year maturity. The bond with a coupon of 1.75 %, issued under the EUR 10 bn EMTN program, was priced at 35 basis points over MidSwaps. The transaction was more than 5 times oversubscribed with a huge demand from high quality institutional investors and retail intermediaries. The proceeds from the transaction will be used for general corporate purposes.

“Despite a volatile market environment we achieved very favourable financing terms”, said Georg Denoke, member of the Executive Board and CFO of Linde AG. “Our high reputation among investors, which has granted us these terms, is confirmed by the recent rating upgrade by Standard & Poor’s from A- to A.”

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 50,500 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2011 financial year, it generated revenue of EUR 13.787 bn. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The Group is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.

Geoengineering: A Whiter Sky

Washington, D.C. — One idea for fighting global warming is to increase the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere, scattering incoming solar energy away from the Earth’s surface. But scientists theorize that this solar geoengineering could have a side effect of whitening the sky during the day. New research from Carnegie’s Ben Kravitz and Ken Caldeira indicates that blocking 2% of the sun’s light would make the sky three-to-five times brighter, as well as whiter. Their work is published June 1st in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and gas have been increasing over the past decades, causing the Earth to get hotter and hotter. Large volcanic eruptions cool the planet by creating lots of small particles in the stratosphere, but the particles fall out within a couple of years, and the planet heats back up. The idea behind solar geoengineering is to constantly replenish a layer of small particles in the stratosphere, mimicking this volcanic aftermath and scattering sunlight back to space.
Using advanced models, Kravitz and Caldeira—along with Douglas MacMartin from the California Institute of Technology—examined changes to sky color and brightness from using sulfate-based aerosols in this way. They found that, depending on the size of the particles, the sky would whiten during the day and sunsets would have afterglows.
Their models predict that the sky would still be blue, but it would be a lighter shade than what most people are used to looking at now. The research team’s work shows that skies everywhere could look like those over urban areas in a world with this type of geoengineering taking place. In urban areas, the sky often looks hazy and white.
“These results give people one more thing to consider before deciding whether we really want to go down this road,” Kravitz said. “Although our study did not address the potential psychological impact of these changes to the sky, they are important to consider as well.”
There are several larger environmental implications to the group’s findings, too. Because plants grow more efficiently under diffuse light conditions such as this, global photosynthetic activity could increase, pulling more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. On the other hand, the effectiveness of solar power could be diminished, as less sunlight would reach solar-power generators.
“I hope that we never get to the point where people feel the need to spray aerosols in the sky to offset rampant global warming,” Caldeira said. “This is one study where I am not eager to have our predictions proven right by a global stratospheric aerosol layer in the real world.”
The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. The department is located on the campus of Stanford University, but is an independent research organization funded by the Carnegie Institution. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.
The Carnegie Institution for Science ( 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.
Natasha T. Metzler
Science Writer
Carnegie Institution for Science

Department of Biotechnology Announces A Pathbreaking Research:an International Consortium Sequences Tomato Genome
The Secretary, Department of Biotechnology Shri M K Bhan today announced a major leap forward in the field of Biotechnology Research. Mr. Bhan informed the media persons in New Delhi that the Tomato Genome Consortium (TGC), a group of over 300 scientists from fourteen countries, has sequenced the genomes of the domesticated tomato and its wild ancestor, Solanum pimpinellifolium. This achievement is expected to lower costs and speed up efforts to improve the worldwide tomato production, making it better equipped to combat the pests, pathogens, drought and diseases that now plague growers. The work may also speed up improvements in other crops. This important result is published in this week’s issue of Nature as cover story.

Main contributor Director of National Institute of Plant Genome Research Prof. Akhilesh Kumar Tyagi said that India contributed sequence of euchromatic region with emphasis on chromosome 5 of tomato and provided support to generate 5-fold sequence coverage of the entire tomato genome by Next Generation Sequence (NGS) technology. Indian Team also participated in performing annotation of all predicted proteins using international databases as a part of the International Tomato Annotation Group (ITAG). Simultaneously, Indian researchers have taken up analysis of specific genes/gene families related to ripening, nutrition, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance based on transcriptome data and comparative genomics. The genomic resources generated are expected to greatly accelerate improvement of tomato by functional genomics and molecular breeding. The University of Delhi South Campus (Principal Investigator- J.P. Khurana), National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (Principal Investigator- N.K. Singh), and National Institute of Plant Genome Research (Principal Investigator- D. Chattopadhyay), New Delhi, under the auspices of the Indian Initiative on Tomato Genome Sequencing (IITGS; Coordinator- A.K. Tyagi) participated in the international Tomato Genome Consortium (TGC). The Indian initiative was funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and supported by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.

Mr. Tyagi mentioned that the sequences provide a detailed overview at the functional portions of the tomato genome and its closest relative, revealing the order, orientation, types and relative positions of their 35,000 genes. The sequences will help researchers decipher the relationships between tomato genes and traits and broaden their understanding of genetic and environmental factors that interact to determine a field crop’s health and viability. Tomato is a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, and the new sequences are expected to provide reference points helpful for identifying important genes in tomato’s relatives. The group includes potato, pepper, eggplant and petunia and is the world’s most important vegetable plant family in terms of both economic value and production volume. Solanaceae members serve as sources of food, spices, medicines and ornamentals.

Elaborating further the Director of NIPGR Mr. Tyagi mentioned that the sequences also offer insight into how the tomato has diversified and adapted to new environments. They show that the tomato genome expanded abruptly about 60 million years ago, at a time close to one of the large mass extinctions. Subsequently, most of this genetic redundancy was lost. Some of the genes evolved during that event survive till today and control some of the most appealing traits of tomato.

Mr. Bhan said that the previous efforts have led to the sequencing of a number of other crop plants, including rice, corn, sorghum, poplar, potato, soybean, grape and Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant widely studied as a model organism. The availability of tomato genome sequence will not only serve as a reference for other Solanaceous species but also help in comparative genomics among diverse taxa.

TGC was established as a result of a scientific conference organized in 2003 in Washington, DC. Consortium members include scientists from Argentina, Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The genome sequence and related resources can be accessed at the Solgenomics website ( and at

Government Notifies Guidelines for Short Term Procurement of Electricity by Discoms
The Government has notified guidelines for short-term (i.e. for a period of less than or equal to one year) procurement of electricity by Distribution Licensees under section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003. The new guidelines will promote competitive procurement of short-term power requirement by the Distribution Licensees and are also expected to reduce the overall cost of procurement of power leading to significant benefits for consumers. The specific objectives of these Guidelines are as follows:

(i) Promote competitive procurement of electricity by Distribution Licensees for their short term demand (less than or equal to one year);
(ii) Reduce the Power Purchase Bill of Discoms through a process of planned procurement based on transparent guidelines;
(iii) Provide benefit to consumers;
(iv) Facilitate transparency and fairness in procurement processes.

A few exceptions have also been made under the new guidelines which have been finalised after consultation with all stakeholders. Procurement of Power for less than 15 days shall be excluded from the scope of these Guidelines to allow for contingencies. Power procured under Banking Mechanism and from Power Exchanges shall also be excluded from the scope of these Guidelines.

The need for guidelines for short term procurement of electricity was felt as Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) engage in purchase or sale of electricity in the short-term market to meet their demand for electricity for shorter duration not exceeding one year. Power purchase cost constitutes the largest cost component for Distribution Licensees reflecting in the retail consumer tariff. Since short-term procurement of electricity was being done by the DISCOMs in large scale to meet the urgent short term requirement it was decided to issue the guidelines for short term procurement of power by Distribution Licensees through competitive bidding process.

Earlier, the Ministry of Power, Government of India under the provisions of Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003, had notified guidelines for determination of tariff by bidding process for Procurement of Power by Distribution Licensees on 19.1.2005 which were amended from time to time. These guidelines covered the long term (more than 7 years) and medium term procurement (upto 7 years but exceeding 1 year) and are available on the Ministry of Power website. It is provided in these guidelines that "As and when considered appropriate, the Central Government would issue the guidelines for procurement of electricity for a period of less than one (1) year under the provisions of Section 63 of the Electricity Act. These guidelines would be applicable to the electricity to be procured outside the long-term PPA as stipulated, from time to time, in the National Electricity Policy and Tariff Policy."

Relaxation of reform conditionalities under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) for release of second instalments
The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure approved the following proposals of the Ministry of Urban Development:

(i) To de-link the reforms implementation with release of funds for the second instalment in the ongoing projects in the States of North Eastern Region & State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(ii) The second instalment for the on-going projects sanctioned under UIDSSMT may be released to those Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) that have completed four out of the six mandatory ULB level reforms, including two reforms relating to property tax to the extent of 60% coverage of properties and 70% collection efficiency and in respect of reforms on recovery of O&M cost through user charges to the extent of 70 % are achieved.

(iii) Those ULBs which are not able to achieve the relaxed standards as suggested by Committee of Secretaries to the extent of the 2nd instalment due in the on-going projects sanctioned under UIDSSMT, work may be carried out with the funds available with States. This would be reimbursed if reforms to the extent of (ii) above are achieved by March 2014.

As per existing stipulations of Scheme guidelines of UIDSSMT, a total of 23 urban sector reforms were to be implemented within the seven year Mission period i.e. up to 31.03.2012 which has been extended by two years with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure till 31.03.2014 for completion of projects sanctioned up to 31.03.2012 and completion of all undertaken reforms.

Requests for release of the second instalment for on-going projects in NER States and J&K will be released on submission of requisite Utilisation Certificates to the extent of 70% expenditure of earlier released funds.

Requests for release of 2nd installment of projects in all the States except NER States and J&K will be considered for release on completion of four reforms out of six mandatory ULB level reforms including two key reforms relating to property tax to the extent of 60% coverage of properties and 70% collection efficiency and reforms on recovery of O&M cost through user charges to the extent of 70% are achieved. States which are not able to complete the reforms to this extent will be asked to complete the projects from their own resources and get the amount reimbursed of the second instalment due on achievement of reforms to this extent by March, 2014.

Under UIDSSMT Rs.11358 crore has been committed for 808 projects in 673 towns in 28 States and five Union Territories of which 142 projects have been physically completed and remaining projects are at various stages of implementation and likely to be completed before 31.03.2014 with commitment to complete all the undertaken reforms. 

National Telecom Policy-2012 and Unified Licensing Regime
The Union Cabinet today approved the National Telecom Policy -2012 (NTP - 2012).

The Cabinet also approved introduction of Unified Licence and authorised the Department of Telecommunications to finalise the new Unified Licensing regime with the approval of Minister of Communications & IT. The salient features of the National Telecom Policy-2012 are as follows:

The policy envisions providing secure, reliable, affordable and high quality converged telecommunication services anytime, anywhere for an accelerated inclusive socio-economic development. The main thrust of the Policy is on the multiplier effect and transformational impact of such services on the overall economy. The thrust areas of NTP - 2012 are;

• Increase rural teledensity from the current level of around 39 to 70 by the year 2017 and 100 by the year 2020

• Repositioning of Mobile phone- as an instrument of empowerment

• Broadband –“`Broadband For All” at a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps

• Domestic Manufacturing- Making India a global hub

• Convergence of Network, Services and Devices

• Liberalisation of Spectrum- any Service in any Technology

• Simplification of Licensing regime- Unified Licensing, delinking of Spectrum from License, Online real time submission and processing

• Consumer Focus - Achieve One Nation - Full Mobile Number Portability and work towards One Nation - Free Roaming

• Resale of Services

• Voice over Internet Protocol

• Cloud Computing, Next Generation Network including IPV6

The policy seeks to provide a predictable and stable policy regime for a period of about ten years. Policy will be operationalised by bringing out detailed guidelines, as may be considered appropriate, from time to time. Implementation will enable smooth implementation of the policies for providing an efficient telecommunication infrastructure taking into account the primary objective of maximizing public good by empowering the people of India. The policy will further enable taking suitable facilitatory measures to encourage existing service providers to rapidly migrate to the new regime in a uniformly liberalised environment with a level playing field. 

Reviving Growth in Europe

By Nemat Shafik
Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund 
Brussels Economic Forum
Brussels, May 31, 2012
As prepared for delivery
It is a pleasure for me to be here today, and I want to thank the organizers for inviting the IMF to give its perspective on how to revive growth in the European Union.
There is no denying that Europe today is in an extremely difficult situation. The pressure has been relentless for many months now, and it will unfortunately take further efforts to restore confidence in the European Union’s economic future. The topic of today’s conference ―finding new sources of growth―will ultimately determine whether we are successful in that endeavor.
As I was preparing for this speech, I was reminded of Robert Schuman, one of the founders of the European Coal and Steel Community. This month, 62 years ago, he and his fellow politicians issued their call for an integrated Europe, starting the process that paved the way for the European Union we know today.
Schuman’s dream was simple: He wanted an economic union, a sharing of strategic resources in Europe that would “make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” At the heart of his vision was the idea that economic growth and shared prosperity would finally bring peace to Europe.
By that measure the project has been a resounding success. The EU has expanded to 27 member states and the economic union has grown ever deeper, including a common market and, for 17 countries, a shared currency.
And yet, today, the crisis afflicting some members of the euro area is threatening to undo those historic achievements. So where do we stand, and what needs to be done? In the next 15-20 minutes, I will look at what we think could be done to support growth in the short term, before turning to reforms that are needed to boost long-term growth and complete the process of European integration.
The big picture
Let’s start with the big picture. The threat of a sharp global slowdown has in fact eased since last year, thanks to improved economic data coming out of the United States and better policies in the euro area. But the recovery remains fragile.
The challenges are daunting and concern every country in the world, not just in Europe. We at the IMF have been encouraging all our member states to enact policy measures that collectively can help pull the world economy out of its current weak state.
But there is no denying that Europe remains at the epicenter of the current crisis. It is essential to build on the considerable progress that has already been made to overcome the deep challenges facing the region.
Where Europe stands now
From the IMF’s perspective, what more needs to be done? First, let’s not forget how much has already been done to address the crisis.
The hardest hit countries—Greece, Portugal, and Ireland—have all undertaken unprecedented fiscal consolidation and are carrying out ambitious structural reforms, with financial assistance from the EU and the IMF to help ease the adjustment.
Efforts on the ground in individual countries have been supported by actions at the European level. EU leaders have improved fiscal governance and strengthened the firewall, and the European Central Bank has provided liquidity support on an unprecedented scale.
But despite all these efforts, financial and sovereign stresses remain elevated in many countries. Markets are worried about the ability and commitment of some European governments to rein in fiscal deficits, contain the crisis, and revive growth. Possible contagion from so-called tail risks have come to be seen as more likely. And the negative feedback loops between sovereigns and banks are still in place.
Those are the economic costs. But let’s not forget what this crisis really is about: human lives. High levels of youth and long-term unemployment in Southern Europe risk creating a “lost generation,” with lasting consequences for growth.
In Greece, for instance, the overall unemployment rate stands at more than 20 percent. For young people, the rate is above 50 percent, and the same is the case in Spain. In Portugal, more than 35 percent of young people cannot find a job.
Increased social and political tensions are threatening to undermine public support for the very reforms that are meant to put the economies back on track. The biggest problem is the lack of growth. If we are not successful in finding new sources of growth, it is very hard to see how tax revenues can recover, debt ratios decline, and weak banks restore their health and start lending again. Public support for reforms, so vital for success, will almost inevitably suffer as a result.
Finding new sources of growth
Reviving growth is no easy task. Growth and productivity trends in Europe have fallen behind peers over the past decade, reflecting slower productivity growth. Within the euro area itself, there is divergent economic performance. Portugal’s economy, for instance, contracted by 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012, whereas Germany grew by 1.2 percent. The differing growth trends are exacerbated by a growing gap in terms of competitiveness, leading to the severe imbalances within the monetary union that we see today.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to spur growth and job creation. Crisis-hit countries in Europe will only be able to revitalize their economies by selling more goods abroad and creating new jobs in the private sector.
This challenge is complicated by the constraints imposed by the eurozone. In a context where the exchange rate cannot be devalued and productivity increases only take hold over time, improving competitiveness unfortunately requires a reduction in costs, including labor costs. As we have seen, that is an extremely painful process for the crisis-hit periphery of the euro area. People who lose their jobs and see their pensions cut rightly ask why they have to bear the burden.
These questions should be asked—and answered. But when we look at the crisis-hit economies in the euro area, we should not forget the wider context. What many countries in Europe are going through right now is a correction of the very large increases in wages that took place in the period up to the global economic crisis.
In Greece, for instance, wages have increased faster than productivity growth for years. Unit labor costs in manufacturing―which is a key measure of competitiveness – increased by about 30 percent from 2000 to 2008, while they declined by 8 percent in Germany.
The process of adjustment is underway, in Greece and elsewhere. It is so far happening largely via lower imports, but relative prices are beginning to adjust too: core inflation has lately slowed faster in the euro periphery than in the core.
Regaining competitiveness is a bit like running a marathon. Many reforms, especially of the structural kind, take time to show results, and it is easy to hit a wall when vested interests resist change. To make it to the finish line, it is crucial that European policymakers keep up momentum.
In this context, I want to emphasize two policy fronts we at the IMF think are particularly important: macroeconomic policies to support demand in the near term, and further progress in structural reforms to raise long-term growth and complete the process of European integration.
Supporting demand in the short run
We all know that fiscal consolidation―reducing deficits by cutting spending or raising revenues―can stifle growth. When a number of countries need to engage in fiscal consolidation simultaneously, the negative impact on growth is reinforced. Getting the pace of fiscal consolidation right is therefore of paramount importance, especially given the current context of weak growth and employment.
In Europe, there is no doubt that fiscal consolidation through credible medium-term plans must happen. Front-loaded fiscal consolidation measures are absolutely necessary for the most heavily indebted states.
Overall, fiscal adjustment plans for this year are broadly appropriate in Europe. In a few euro area countries, however, the nominal fiscal targets for 2013 agreed before the current slowdown in growth may prove too pro-cyclical and may need to be adjusted or at least expressed in structural terms.
The Stability and Growth Pact’s excessive deficit procedure does allow for some flexibility in deciding how fast to bring deficits below 3 percent of GDP. Should economic conditions worsen, this flexibility should be used to revise deadlines for meeting the targets. Consideration could also be given to specify the targets in cyclically-adjusted rather than nominal terms, so that the automatic stabilizers can be allowed to work.
Monetary policy also plays a crucial role in terms of supporting growth in the short term. With price pressures expected to decline, this means the European Central Bank could consider further expansionary measures to prevent aggregate inflation slipping far below the target of keeping inflation at or below 2 percent.
Restoring the health of the financial sector
Well-functioning credit markets are another important element in terms of relaunching growth, both in the near and medium term. For structural reforms to pay off, sectors with growth potential must have access to financing. This is particularly important for small and medium-sized companies, which are more dependent on banks than larger firms for credit. A healthy and well regulated financial system is also critical for restoring investor confidence and preventing future boom and bust cycles.
Even though the reform agenda remains unfinished, much progress has been made since the global economic crisis first hit in terms of improving financial supervision and regulation, both at the national and EU levels.
One example of a country that suffered greatly from the lack of oversight and proper regulation of banks prior to the crisis, but has since made impressive progress in terms of overhauling its financial system is Ireland. The banking system has been restructured and the domestic banks recapitalized on the basis of stringent stress tests and independent loan loss forecasts. The priority now is to restore the long-term viability of banks and restart lending.
Spain is another example of a country that suffered from overlending into the real estate sector during the boom years. It, too, is carrying out a much needed restructuring of its financial system. The set of measures that have been recently announced by the Spanish authorities to address financial sector weaknesses demonstrates their resolve to ensure the stability of the banking system. Decisive follow-through is needed to help boost confidence and support growth.
Reforms to boost long-term growth
Let me now detail the second policy front that will have an impact in the medium- and long term. There, I see two challenges. First, countries will need to implement comprehensive structural reforms to raise their growth potential and facilitate the rebalancing of their economies. Second, at the regional level, EU leaders should aim to complete the architecture of monetary union.
Potential benefits from structural reforms are likely to be substantial over the medium term, though their benefits may not be obvious in the short run. Simulations by the IMF for the 17 euro area countries suggest that eliminating 50 percent of euro area countries’ gap with OECD best practices in labor and product market policies could boost GDP growth by up to 4½ percent over five years.
The study also shows that there are significant gains to be made when structural reforms are implemented simultaneously. About a quarter of additional growth is expected from positive cross-country and cross-reform spillover effects.
The past experience of the Netherlands and Sweden attest to the substantial benefits that can be derived from comprehensive structural reforms. In the Netherlands, the employment rate increased from 53 percent in the 1980s to close to 67 percent in 2011. In Sweden, annual labor productivity growth increased from 1 percent in 1977-92 to 2.5 percent in 1992-2007.
Politicians have a tendency to overestimate what they can achieve in the short run and underestimate the impact they can have in the long run. But well-targeted structural reforms really do pay off if governments manage to stay the course and see implementation through.
The key is to design reforms that are closely tailored to each country’s unique challenges. The problems relating to competitiveness vary even among the crisis-hit countries in Southern Europe. A lack of competitiveness was more acute in Greece and Portugal than in Spain, for instance, which enjoyed strong export growth in the years preceding the global economic crisis. And Italy remains pretty competitive even though it also needs to reform.
But common for all countries is the need to improve competitiveness and invest more in human and physical capital.
In Southern Europe, the most critical issue is to improve the efficiency of the tradable goods sector. A fall in relative prices in the south vis-à-vis the north can facilitate this process. Take the example of tourism. A hotel room in Spain costs 50 percent more than in 2000 and vacation packages cost 22 percent more. In Germany, hotels are only 15 percent more expensive today, and the cost of vacation packages has barely changed in 12 years.
Several policies can help countries regain competitiveness:
  • Reforming labor markets. Labor market reforms should be designed to make labor markets more inclusive and help achieve the needed price realignments. Policies to reduce the duality of the labor market, reform the wage bargaining system, and promote higher labor mobility are all helpful in that regard. Active labor market programs, possibly financed by EU funds, can also bolster employment in the short term.
  • Lowering regulatory barriers. Making it easier for firms to start up or close down, simplifying tax systems, and providing support for small- and medium-sized companies that are trying to gain a foothold in international markets will also improve competitiveness in most southern European countries.
  • Increasing investment. Another key ingredient for growth is investment. Growth-enhancing public investment could be facilitated by increasing common resources available for new projects through the EU budget and the European Investment Bank. Project bonds for infrastructure investment and redirecting EU funds toward projects that can have a big impact on growth in a number of countries should be given priority.
Fiscal devaluation and nominal wage and price restraints can foster the process of internal devaluation in the short run, while minimizing the loss of purchasing power of households.
Finally, reversing the competitiveness gap within a currency union requires that domestic demand must outpace output somewhat in Northern European countries with current account surpluses. In contrast, Southern European countries with current account deficits must aim for higher net exports. These developments will be accompanied by higher inflation in the north than in the south.
Further integration at the European level
To complement reforms at the national level, EU governments will have to take further steps to integrate their economies. Though Europe has a single market for products, the single market for financial services is lagging. This is in stark contrast to other currency areas. Decisive steps toward more complete financial integration would complement the growth agenda and weaken the adverse bank and sovereign feedback loop.
Such steps would involve providing banking support from a common resource pool independent from national sources, sooner rather than later. To ensure that banks which receive pan-European support are properly restructured and supervised, these banks could over time be made subject to centralized regulation and supervision, through a joint bank resolution authority with a common backstop and a single deposit insurance fund.
The introduction of a common backstop for a pan-European financial system would entail some fiscal risk-sharing, but restoring stability and confidence will require additional pooling of sovereignty. Greater fiscal integration would contribute to lowering sovereign yields and would likely improve the ability of countries to access markets to finance their debt. Deepening the single financial market and developing a pan-European financial stability framework would decouple banks from sovereigns and reduce deleveraging pressures, thereby facilitating the availability of credit and investment.
I have outlined a number of reforms, which we at the IMF think are needed at both the national level and the EU level to strengthen growth in the short and medium term.
Let me make one final point. In many countries, reform fatigue is setting in. Adjustment of the kind Europe is going through right now is extremely difficult. The IMF has learned the hard way how important it is to protect social cohesion in crisis-hit economies―and how hard it is to achieve at a time of tight fiscal constraints. In our recent programs in Europe, we have worked closely with governments to protect social spending and jobs where possible, even when overall spending has to be cut.
For governments, explaining the rationale of reforms to the public is now more important than ever. Losing public support now, at this critical juncture, risks negating the efforts of the past two years, and will set Europe back.
Let me end here with a quote from another of Europe’s great statesmen, Jean Monnet. “People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them,” he said. It is time to accept necessity, and to step boldly forward to complete the reform agenda that will restore Europe’s growth and enable its future.

India’s first online fashion brand, launched its first women’s collection in the Capital yesterday at The Grand Vasant Kunj . Style Icon and Yepme Brand Ambassador, Kangana Ranuat led the fashion show featuring the entire Yepme’s first ever women’s collection.

ANDRITZ acquires over 10% of Schuler AG shares

Graz, May 31, 2012. International technology Group ANDRITZ announces that it has acquired more than 10% of the shares in Schuler AG since disclosing its decision to submit a voluntary public takeover offer. ANDRITZ thus holds over 10% of the shares in Schuler AG; together with its previous acquisition of Schuler AG shares still subject to approval by the anti-trust authorities, ANDRITZ now has access to more than 48.5% of the total shares.


International technology Group ANDRITZ is a globally leading supplier of plants, equipment, and services for hydropower stations, the pulp and paper industry, solid/liquid separation in the municipal and industrial sectors, the steel industry, and the production of animal feed and biomass pellets. In addition, ANDRITZ offers technologies for certain other sectors including automation, pumps, machinery for nonwovens and plastic films, steam boiler plants, biomass boilers and gasification plants for energy generation, flue gas cleaning plants, plants for the production of panelboard (MDF), thermal sludge utilization, and torrefaction plants. The publicly listed ANDRITZ GROUP is headquartered in Graz, Austria, and has a staff of more than 17,000 employees worldwide. ANDRITZ operates over 180 production sites as well as service and sales companies all around the world.


New Delhi: Jyaistha 10, 1934
May 31, 2012

General Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM YSM, ADC is a third generation officer of the Rajput Regiment. An alumnus of Birla Public School, Pilani, the General was commissioned in 1970. He has been a recipient of Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

General Singh has seen action in the liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 and Op PAWAN in Sri Lanka in 1987, where he was awarded Yudh Seva Medal. He has vast operational experience in Counter Insurgency Operations, Line of Control and High Altitude Area. He has had a very illustrious career. The General is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, US Army Rangers Course at Fort Benning, USA and US Army War College, Carlisle.

General VK Singh has wide-ranging experience in various high profile command, staff and instructional appointments. The General Officer has also commanded a Strike Corps in Western Sector, before taking over the command of the Eastern Army in March 2008. He has been an instructor at Infantry School and at IMTRAT, Bhutan.

During his tenure, Indian Army has initiated a transformation process which seeks to restructure our organisations, capabilities equipment, training and mould our military values, traditions and mindsets, besides addressing host of aspects related to the Army’s functioning. A time bound roadmap has been drawn up and the process is likely to fructify in near future.

The General is also a keen sportsman and plays almost all troops games as well as Tennis, Badminton and Golf. His hobbies include Trekking and Photography. The Chief of Army Staff is retiring on 31 May 2012 after forty two years of an excellent military career.


New Delhi: Jyaistha 10, 1934
May 31, 2012

General Bikram Singh took over as the new Chief of the Army Staff here today. He succeeds Gen VK Singh who proceeded on superannuation. The change over of the baton was solemnised in a ceremony in the Army Chief’s office.

A profound sense of accomplishment and achievement marked the occasion as the baton was exchanged.

General Bikram Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC, most decorated soldier is an alumnus of National Defence Academy. He was commissioned into The Sikh Light Infantry in 1972.

During his military career spanning over forty years, the General has held various high profile Command and Staff appointments. He has commanded an Infantry Battalion in the North East and on the Line of Control in J&K, a RR Sector and an Infantry Division in Northern Command. He has commanded 15 Corps and Eastern Command. He has served in three UN Peace Keeping Missions.

He has also held very important staff appointments at Army Headquarters, which include, tenures in Military Operations, Perspective Planning and Staff Duties.

Besides holding two Masters Degrees from India, he is also Masters in Strategic Defence Studies from the USA.

The General is an avid sportsman. Cricket, Athletics and Hockey are his favourite games. 

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe modernizes Bochum site

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe has comprehensively modernized the facilities at its Bochum site with numerous measures to increase equipment efficiency and further improve the quality of its steel products. Some of the investment went into optimizing the rolling process. The improvements will enable the company to meet customers' exacting requirements for flat products. The cooling section has been upgraded to a laminar-flow system. The aim is to expand production capacities for high-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels. In the cold rolling mill the continuous pickling line has been upgraded to improve product surface quality.

The latest investments are part of an extensive modernization program begun in 2007. Since then, among other things a new walking-beam furnace and new edger have been installed and the roll cooling system in the finishing mill as well as the zinc kettle and laser welding machine in the hot-dip galvanizing line have been replaced. In addition, work is being carried out constantly to improve the stock management system and automate the hot-dip coating line. In total, more than 140 million euros has been invested to strengthen ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe's Bochum mill with its approximately 2,100 employees. 

United States Ambassador to Visit Ferrexpo Yeristovo Mining

Today, 31 May 2012, the US Ambassador to Ukraine, John Tefft, is to visit Ferrexpo’s Yeristovo Mine (FYM) in Poltava Administrative Region. This visit has been organised in recognition of the significant partnership Ferrexpo has forged with Zeppelin Ukraine, Caterpillar Global Mining and US Export-Import Bank, the US credit finance agency, and to celebrate several milestone events in the development of FYM.

Commenting on the visit, The Ambassador, said “The mutually beneficial trade relationship among Ferrexpo, Zeppelin Ukraine, Caterpillar and the US Export-Import Bank is an example of how business cooperation between U.S. and Ukrainian companies can work well. There are no losers here. We would like to see even more such mutually beneficial relationships in the future.”

Kostyantin Zhevago, Ferrexpo’s Chief Executive Officer, added “Ferrexpo’s strategy is to invest in world-class mining equipment, bringing global mining technology to Ukraine. We have built strong relationships with the very best suppliers in the world, including Zeppelin here in Ukraine and our investment is supported by long-term loans from US Export-Import Bank. As a result, we have some of the best and most modern technology working across our mining operations and will soon have a world-class component rebuild facility on site to support our activities. I am delighted to welcome Ambassador Tefft to FYM to show him the progress we are making in the development of our new mine and to celebrate the strength of the relationship we have forged with Zeppelin, Caterpillar and US Export-Import Bank.”

Ferrexpo’s relationship with Zeppelin Ukraine is now 10 years old, having started with the delivery of Ferrexpo’s first CAT 988F Front End Loader for use in its Poltava mine in 2002. Through continued investment, the fleet now comprises 125 pieces of equipment operating across both its mines, valued at more than US$200m.

Today, Ferrexpo will unveil its new CAT 6060 Shovel, the first and largest of its kind to arrive in Ukraine and the biggest hydraulic face shovel to be placed into service at either of the two Ferrexpo sites. Its mining fleet has also been expanded with the acquisition of 10 CAT 793D haul trucks, which started operating at FYM late last year. These are the largest Caterpillar mining trucks to operate in Ukraine and can carry 220 metric tonnes of material per load. These acquisitions have been supported by long-term credit guarantee finance provided by US Export-Import Bank. Additional credit has been approved for a further eight 785C mining trucks, 11 bulldozers and one grader which will arrive on site shortly.

Zeppelin Ukraine (with the support of their parent company Zeppelin GmbH in Germany) will strengthen its close working relationship with the Ferrexpo Group further, by building a state of the art component rebuild centre on site at Yeristovo, to cost approximately US$7.5m. This facility has been designed in conjunction with the Caterpillar Global Mining Engineering Team and will allow Zeppelin to increase their service and support capabilities to Ferrexpo. It will employ around 40 skilled specialists and administrative staff.

The location for the new facility was chosen in recognition of the strength of the relationship between Ferrexpo and Zeppelin Ukraine and will reduce the need to ship mining equipment components elsewhere for repair and overhaul. The 2651m² building will incorporate a rebuild workshop, warehouse, administrative-building and engineering room under one roof as well as 550m² of additional undercover storage for large parts and components. Zeppelin Ukraine has leased a 9,000m² plot of land from Ferrexpo, and construction will start in June, 2012. The works will last around 11 months, and the facility is expected to open in May 2013.

Summing up Kostyantin Zhevago added, “In partnership with our suppliers, we are focused on developing a world-class mining operation here in the heart of Ukraine. Ferrexpo delivers valuable economic benefits through our long-term commitment and investment in the Poltava Region. This is good for our business, good for the region, but most of all, good for Ukraine.”

ANDRITZ to supply paper machine to Zellstoff Pöls, Austria

Graz, May 31, 2012. International technology Group ANDRITZ has received an order from Zellstoff Pöls AG, Austria, for the supply of a PrimeLine plant for production of special paper. The new paper machine (width: 5.4 m; annual capacity: 80,000 t; design speed: up to 1,000 m/min) will produce very high-strength paper grades used primarily for shopping bags, high-grade medical packaging, and food packaging. Start-up is scheduled for the end of 2013.

The scope of supply comprises the stock preparation plant, an approach flow system, the complete PrimeLine fourdrinier paper machine, a high-precision steel yankee to increase drying rates (diameter: 6.5 m), a calender, and the automation systems.

With this investment, Zellstoff Pöls is extending its existing paper production capacities at the Pöls mill; the company is the largest manufacturer of high-quality, Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) sulfate pulp from bleached softwood in Central and Southeast Europe.


International technology Group ANDRITZ is a globally leading supplier of plants, equipment, and services for hydropower stations, the pulp and paper industry, solid-liquid separation in the municipal and industrial sectors, the steel industry, and the production of animal feed and biomass pellets. In addition, ANDRITZ offers technologies for certain other sectors including automation, pumps, machinery for nonwovens and plastic films, steam boiler plants, biomass boilers and gasification plants for energy generation, flue gas cleaning plants, plants for the production of panelboards (MDF), thermal sludge utilization, and torrefaction plants. The publicly listed company is headquartered in Graz, Austria, has a staff of more than 17,000 employees, and operates over 180 production sites as well as service and sales companies all around the world.


ANDRITZ PULP & PAPER is one of the leading global suppliers of turnkey systems and services for the production of all types of pulp, paper, tissue paper, board, fiber-board (MDF), nonwovens, as well as of biomass boilers and gasifiers for energy production and of systems for the production of plastic films. The technologies available are employed for the processing of logs and annual fibers, the production of chemical and mechanical pulps as well as recycled paper fibers, recovery and reuse of chemicals, generation of energy from biomass, preparation of paper machine furnish from virgin or recycled fibers, production of paper, tissue paper and board, calendering and coating of paper, and the handling of reject materials and sludges. Services include complete mill maintenance, equipment upgrades and rebuilds, engineered wear products, and spare parts.

Antony to address Asia Security Summit
The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony will articulate New Delhi’s views on ‘Protecting Maritime Freedoms’ at the 11th Asia Security Summit, also known as Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday, June 02, 2012. The event has been taking place annually since 2002 and organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

On the sidelines of the event, Shri Antony will hold bilateral discussions with a number of leaders from several Countries including Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, France, Canada and Tonga.

The minister leaves New Delhi tomorrow for Singapore and will be accompanied by a lean delegation including the Defence Secretary Shri Shashikant Sharma and the Chairman of the Integrated Defence Staff to the Chiefs of Staff Committee Vice Admiral ShekharSinha.

Shri Antony returns home on Sunday. 

PM appoints committee to look into the design of future Production Sharing Contracts in hydrocarbon exploration
In view of the considerable experience gained in awarding concessions for oil and gas exploration and production over the last 15 years under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), there is a need to look into how the policy design has impacted oil and gas exploration and production. At the request of the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Prime Minister has approved the constitution of a Committee to review Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) in Hydrocarbon exploration.

The composition of the Committee is:

(i) Dr. C. Rangarajan, Chairman, PM`s Economic Advisory Council – Chairman

(ii) Shri B.K. Chaturvedi - Member, Planning Commission

(iii) Justice Shri Jagannadha Rao, Former Judge of the Supreme Court

(iv) Prof. Ramprasad Sengupta

(v) Shri J.M. Mauskar, former IAS Officer

(vi) Shri Joeman Thomas, MD, ONGC Videsh Ltd.

The Committee is to look into all modifications necessary for future Production Sharing Contracts so as to enhance production of oil and gas and the Government`s share of this while minimizing procedures for monitoring the expenditure of producers.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee are:

(i) Review of the existing PSCs, including in respect of the current profit-sharing mechanism with the Pre-Tax Investment Multiple (PTIM) as the base parameter;

(ii) Exploring various contract models with a view to minimize the monitoring of expenditure of the contractor without compromising, firstly, on the hydrocarbons output across time and, secondly, on the Government`s take;

(iii) A suitable mechanism for managing the contract implementation of PSCs which is being handled at present by the representation of Regulator/Government nominee appointed to the Managing Committee;

(iv) Suitable governmental mechanisms to monitor and to audit GOI share of profit petroleum;

(v) Structure and elements of the Guidelines for determining the basis or formula for the price of domestically produced gas, and for monitoring actual price fixation;

(vi) Any other issues relating to PSCs.