Category Archives: Education

India’s Special Olympics Winter Games champions felicitated

The 89-member strong Indian contingent that returned home with 73 medals from the 2017 Special Olympics Winter Games in Austria earlier this month were felicitated on Monday in the national capital.

India back in sweet spot after note ban: BNP Paribas

NEW DELHI: India has hit the sweet spot again, with the underlying vibrant consumption coming to the fore as the economy bounces back from demonetisation, said Richard Iley, chief economist, emerging markets at BNP Paribas.

With real GDP growth expected to average 8%, the country is a clear standout, said a BNP Paribas report that dwells extensively on “India’s sweet spot”.

“Last year’s good enough monsoon combined with just this natural buoyancy in incomes, which is being supported by the seventh pay commission. This means that India’s very solid if not strong consumption story remains very much intact,” Iley said in an interview to ET, while characterising demonetisation as a shock to the India story.

BJP’s victory in the critical UP election is icing on the cake for India, Iley said. “The scale of the victory surprised everybody … That sets up the realistic possibility of the NDA government retaining its majority in lower house in 2019 and likely to have a potentially workable majority in the upper house as well,” he said.

“Foreign investors are now assuming this will work to further embolden the prime minister and the government to press on with relatively high-risk structural reforms.” He said even the global environment has positive implications for India.

“Global growth and in turn world trade, on a number of matrix, actually looks the strongest it has now for at least six years, probably (since) the first half of 2011,” Iley said, pointing to a clutch of data from the US, commodity prices and freight rates.

“Critically, there are some very encouraging signs corporate animal spirits are reviving in the US and there is the potential, helped by the prospect of deregulation and tax reform by the Trump administration, we can see really strong upswing in capital spending by corporate America through this year,” Iley said, pitching it in the context of India, which has faced exports headwinds in its attempts to grow faster.

India’s exports rose 17.8% in February, the first double-digit growth in nearly three years of Narendra Modi government, validating the global revival pointed out by BNP Paribas.

The sharp rise in engineering goods exports hints there is spending recovery in the US and to some extent in the Europe as well, Iley said. The other problems for the economy such as non-performing assets are concentrated in the basic industrial sector, he said.

“Coal, iron ore, steel prices have kicked up very smartly over the last six to nine months. That’s an important solve, not a game changer but definitely a solve,” he said.

Meanwhile, falling oil prices, a game changer for the Indian economy, will continue to provide cushion, Iley said. “Upside risk to the oil prices and in turn downside risk to the Indian economy are pretty capped by the elasticity of the US oil supply and the very dynamics shale sector,” he said, pointing out that this is undermining OPEC’s attempts to push up oil prices.

BNP Paribas expects short-term prices to be capped at around $60 a barrel. “That’s essentially a tremendous source of comfort for the Indian economy,” Iley said, adding it also helps reduce inflation risks.

Inflation has bottomed out and there is risk of upside with a pickup to near 5%, but Iley said he sees no worry on that count. “Essentially under control… Inflation expectations have continued to pull back in RBI’s surveys… underscores RBI has been making the right policy decisions,” he said.

As for what next for India, Iley said there is a very standard shopping list. “Progress on land acquisition, which remains very difficult… labour reforms… a particular pet subject of mine is foreign direct investment,” he said. FDI is crucial to generate manufacturing jobs critical for India to have any hopes of creating employment needed to meet the enormous increase in labour supply.

This will make up for likely continued weakness in domestic capex cycle, Iley said, the real sour patch or the Achilles heel of the economy and there is no quick fix here. On the risk side, he said, there is still a lot of potential downside for the world economy from Trump administration’s policy agenda of increased protectionism and potential increase in border tariffs, which could push up the dollar.

However, even if those measures are coming, India is relatively insulated from those, Iley said. “Exports cycle is picking up. That is healthy for India but trade overall is much less important for India’s economy than many emerging markets,” he said.

What are the risks of government becoming more populist as 2019 election approaches, with schemes such as universal basic income? “The jury is clearly out. Certainly, I think the foreign investors are hoping that the scale of the UP victory will lead the administration to continue to prioritise the highrisk reforms,” he said.

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Uber suspends self-driving car program after Arizona crash

By Gina Cherelus

March 25 (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.

The accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.

Even so, the company said it was grounding driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday evening in Tempe.

“We are continuing to look into this incident,” an Uber spokeswoman said in an email.

The accident occurred when the driver of a second vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber vehicle while making a turn, said Josie Montenegro, a spokeswoman for the Tempe Police Department.

“The vehicles collided, causing the autonomous vehicle to roll onto its side,” she said in an email. “There were no serious injuries.”

Two ‘safety’ drivers were in the front seats of the Uber car, which was in self-driving mode at the time of the crash, Uber said in an email, a standard requirement for its self-driving vehicles. The back seat was empty.

Photos and a video posted on Twitter by Fresco News, a service that sells content to news outlets, showed a Volvo SUV flipped on its side after an apparent collision involving two other, slightly damaged cars. Uber said the images appeared to be from the Tempe crash scene.

When Uber launched the pilot program in Pittsburgh last year, it said that driverless cars “require human intervention in many conditions, including bad weather.” It also said the new technology had the potential to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the country.

The accident is not the first time a self-driving car has been involved in a collision. A driver of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car operating in autopilot mode was killed in a collision with a truck in Williston, Florida in 2016.

A self-driving vehicle operated by Alphabet Inc‘s Google was involved in a crash last year in Mountain View, California, striking a bus while attempting to navigate around an obstacle.

The collision comes days after Uber’s former president Jeff Jones quit less than seven months after joining the San Francisco-based company, the latest in a string of high-level executives who have departed in recent months.

In February, Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving car unit sued Uber and its Otto autonomous trucking subsidiary, alleging theft of proprietary sensor technology. (Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Bill Rigby)

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Solar tariffs in India have fallen by 73 per cent since 2010

MUMBAI: Intense competition in reverse auctions due to a limited supply of projects has pushed companies to bid lower to gain market share at the cost of margins. India’s solar sector recently reached record low tariff levels in the auction conducted at the Rewa Solar Park in the state of Madhya Pradesh, according to a report by Mercom.

India was among the first countries to adopt reverse auctions for solar projects since the inception of its national solar policy.

The government’s goal has been to procure solar power at the lowest price possible. When the first 150 MW of solar was tendered under the National Solar Mission (NSM) Batch-I in 2010, the average tariff quoted was Rs.12.16 (~$0.17)/kWh.

Average tariffs have fallen by about 73% since 2010, almost in line with Chinese spot module prices, which have fallen by approximately 80% since 2010, Mercom said. In 2010, while the entire global solar market was about 17 GM, Indian solar installations were merely 18 MW.

Highly competitive reverse auctions, falling module and component prices, the introduction of solar parks, lower borrowing costs, and the entry of large power conglomerates with strong balance sheets and access to cheaper capital, according the Mercom, have contributed to the dramatic fall in bids.

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पत्नी से विवाद में अधेड़ ने जहर खाकर दी जान

मेरठ : कंकरखेड़ा में पत्नी से हुए मामूली विवाद में एक अधेड़ ने जहर खाकर अपनी जान दे दी। पुलिस ने शव को पोस्टमार्टम के लिए भेजते हुए मामल की जांच शुरू कर दी है। परिजनों के मुताबिक, न्य गोंविदपुरी निवासी मनोज उर्फ मुकेश पुत्र दामोदर श्रीवास अंडो का ठेला लगाता था। बताया जाता है कि उसका अपनी पत्नी संजू से किसी बात को लेकर विवाद हो गया, इसी के चलते उसने शुक्रवार की रात अपने कमरे में जाकर जहर खा लिया। हालत बिगड़ती देख परिजन उसे लेकर डाक्टर के पास पहुंचे, जहां उसे मृत घोषित कर दिया गया। मामले की जानकारी मिलने पर मौके पर पहुंची पुलिस को परिजनों ने बताया कि मृतक का मानसिक संतुलन ठीक नहीं था और वह अवसाद में चल रहा था। पुलिस ने शव को पोस्टमार्टम के लिए भेज दिया है। परिजनों के मुताबिक मृतक की शादी करीब पंद्रह वर्ष पूर्व हुई थी और उसके बच्चे भी हैं। पुलिस मामले की जांच कर रही है।

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भाजपा को वोट दिया तो दबंगों ने किया ये हाल

मेरठ : जानी निवासी एक महिला ने एसएसपी से शिकायत करते हुए कुछ दबंगो पर अपने परिवार के साथ मारपीट का आरोप लगाया है। महिला का आरोप है कि इस मामले की शिकायत थाने में की गई लेकिन कोई कार्रवाई नही हुई। एसएसपी आॅफिस पहुंची नौसाबा पत्नी मौमिन निवासी जानीकलां गांव थाना जानी ने बताया कि उनके परिवार ने विधानसभा चुनाव में भाजपा को वोट दी थी जबकि कुछ लोग बसपा को वोट देने का दबाव बना रहे थे। महिला ने आरोप लगाया कि इसी खुन्नस के चलते कुछ लोगों ने 15 मार्च को घर में घुसकर पूरे परिवार को पीटा और जख्मी कर दिया। इस मामले की शिकायत थाने में की गई लेकिन आज तक हमलावरों के खिलाफ कोई कार्रवाई नही हुई। उधर, पीड़िता ने इस मामले की शिकायत एसएसपी से की है, एसएसपी ने इस मामले मेें कार्रवाई कराने का आश्वासन दिया है।

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Dollar edges up after worst run vs yen since 2010, healthcare vote eyed

* Risk aversion ebbs slightly after delay in US healthcare vote

* Uncertainty over Trump administration still limits USD rise

* Dollar/yen on track to lose more than 3 pct on the fortnight

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Jemima Kelly

LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) – The dollar edged up against the yen on Friday, recovering from its worst run of daily losses versus the safe-haven currency since 2010, but gains were capped by worries that U.S. President Donald Trump was on course for defeat on a new healthcare bill.

With a risk-averse mood having taken hold across markets this week on doubts over Trump’s ability to deliver the fiscal and economic reforms that had driven bets on higher growth, inflation and interest rates, the greenback slipped 1.3 percent against the yen to four-month lows.

And though the dollar edged up 0.2 percent to 111.19 yen on Friday, it has still fallen over 3 percent over the past fortnight — its worst showing since early August 2016 — as the so-called “Trumpflation trade” has faded.

Lawmakers in U.S. Congress will vote on new healthcare legislation later on Friday, but it was not clear late on Thursday evening that Trump and the Republican leaders who crafted the bill had enough support to pass it.

That means that Trump now risks defeat in his first attempt at major legislation reform, and may fail to deliver on a key campaign pledge to replace Obamacare.

Postponement of the vote from Thursday initially knocked the dollar and stock markets, but the dollar was given breathing space as Treasury yields turned higher after Wall Street shares trimmed losses to close little changed.

“There is still a risk that the vote fails today,(and) there are numerous other uncertainties that suggest anything but a smooth course ahead for implementing the much anticipated tax reform reflation programme,” said MUFG currency strategist Derek Halpenny, in London.

“We still expect a much smaller tax cutting programme simply due to the inability to agree on how a large program could be financed,” he added. “The Trump reflation trade could still reverse course in a more meaningful way, resulting in dollar weakness.”

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was flat at 99.746. It was on track to lose over half a percent this week, during which it slipped to a seven-week low of 99.547.

The euro gained 0.1 percent to $1.0798, close to a seven-week peak of $1.0825 touched on Wednesday, on the view that the European Central Bank is heading towards tightening monetary policy amid accelerating growth and inflation rates across the euro zone.

“Centrists at the ECB are continuing to downplay the prospects of early tightening, although markets continue to price a hike in Sep 2018,” wrote ING currency strategist Chris Turner.

“We’re still clinging to the view that the $1.0850 area is the top of the euro/dollar range, but that could be severely tested if the U.S. healthcare bill fails in the House today.”

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets (Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Keith Weir)

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UK's Lamprell cuts 20 pct admin staff; sees 2017 as toughest year yet

(Corrects headline to say cuts 20 pct of admin staff, not total staff)

March 24 (Reuters) – Oil-rig builder Lamprell Plc said it cut about 20 percent of its administrative staff and expects 2017 to probably be the toughest year to date, despite early signs of recovery.

Lamprell has been cutting costs as oil explorers have cut their spending and cancelled contracts to counter a more-than-2-year rout in oil prices.

Lamprell, which runs three rig building yards in the UAE, said it expects the overhead cuts to contribute annualised savings of $23.4 million in 2017.

The company said it expects 2017 revenue to be in the lower half of its previous forecast of $400 million to $500 million in the absence of large project deliveries in the second half of this year.

The company’s 2016 revenue fell 19.1 percent to $705 million for the year ended Dec. 31. (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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Police arrest two more over British parliament attack

LONDON: British police said they had made two further significant arrests in the investigation into the attack on London’s parliament and gave the birth name of the man behind the assault as Adrian Russell Ajao.

Britain’s top anti-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, said police had nine people in custody after the attack on Wednesday which killed five people including the assailant.

Police had said the man behind the attack was British-born Muslim covert Khalid Masood, who used several aliases, and that they were trying to establish if others had directed him.

“Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, his operation and his associates,” Rowley said.

“Whilst there is still no evidence of further threats, you’ll understand our determination is to find out if either he acted totally alone, inspired perhaps by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.

Rowley said police had made two further “significant” arrests overnight, one in the West Midlands and one in the north west of the country.

We now have nine people remaining in custody, and one woman has been released on bail,” he said.

Rowley said the attacker, who ploughed down pedestrians when he sped across Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing an unarmed policeman, had injured at least 50 people in total. Two are still in a critical condition, and one person is considered to have life-threatening injuries.

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Police arrest two more over British parliament attack

LONDON: British police said they had made two further significant arrests in the investigation into the attack on London’s parliament and gave the birth name of the man behind the assault as Adrian Russell Ajao.

Britain’s top anti-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, said police had nine people in custody after the attack on Wednesday which killed five people including the assailant.

Police had said the man behind the attack was British-born Muslim covert Khalid Masood, who used several aliases, and that they were trying to establish if others had directed him.

“Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, his operation and his associates,” Rowley said.

“Whilst there is still no evidence of further threats, you’ll understand our determination is to find out if either he acted totally alone, inspired perhaps by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.

Rowley said police had made two further “significant” arrests overnight, one in the West Midlands and one in the north west of the country.

We now have nine people remaining in custody, and one woman has been released on bail,” he said.

Rowley said the attacker, who ploughed down pedestrians when he sped across Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing an unarmed policeman, had injured at least 50 people in total. Two are still in a critical condition, and one person is considered to have life-threatening injuries.

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