Monday, November 3, 2014

GAIL SIGNS MOU WITH STATE OIL COMPANY OF REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN

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GAIL signs MoU with State Oil Company of Republic of Azerbaijan
To jointly pursue opportunities in LNG, upstream and petrochemical projects
New Delhi, Nov 3, 2014: GAIL (India) Limited today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with State Oil Company of Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). Under the MoU, GAIL and SOCAR intend to jointly pursue LNG opportunities through capacity booking, LNG procurement and promotion of LNG projects globally.
Both companies shall also cooperate in optimization of LNG marketing, sourcing and shipping requirements. In addition, GAIL and SOCAR will pursue business opportunities in upstream assets across the world and joint investment in petrochemical projects.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr B C Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL said “We are happy to enter into this strategic relationship with SOCAR. Skills and strengths of both the parties would be leveraged to explore business opportunities jointly in natural gas and LNG business including new business developments across the gas value chain.”
About GAIL: GAIL is India’s leading natural gas company with a presence along the entire hydrocarbon value chain spanning E&P, LNG, pipelines, LPG, petrochemicals, city gas distribution, etc. In order to meet the growing appetite of Indian market, GAIL has been expanding its global presence to secure long term gas supplies. GAIL has signed a 20 year Sales and Purchase Agreement with Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC, a unit of Cheniere Energy Partners, USA for supply of 3.5 million tonnes per year of LNG. In addition, the company signed long-term LNG supply contract for 2.5 million tonnes per annum with Gazprom Marketing and Trading Ltd., Singapore for 20 years. GAIL also signed a Terminal Service agreement for 2.3 million tonnes per year LNG liquefaction capacity with Dominion Cove Point LNG, USA. GAIL is also poised to make its foray into LNG shipping business with long-term charter hiring of multiple LNG vessels, mainly to transport LNG volumes from GAIL’s US portfolio to India.
About SOCAR: SOCAR is an integrated state oil & gas company of Republic of Azerbaijan and is involved in upstream, midstream and downstream operations encompassing exploration of oil and gas fields, production, processing and transporting oil, gas and condensate, marketing of petroleum and petrochemical products in domestic and international markets and supplying natural gas to domestic and industrial customers in Azerbaijan. SOCAR has its trading companies in Switzerland, Singapore and UAE and representative offices in a number of other countries.




BJP announces first list of candidates

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BJP has announced the first list of 63 candidates for Jharkhand and 45 candidates for Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls. The 81 member Jharkhand and 87 member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will go to polls in five phases beginning from 25th of this month.
In Jammu and Kashmir, BJP has fielded Pawan Khajuria from Udhampur seat, Rajesh Gupta from Jammu ( East), Chering Dorge from Leh and Julfikar Ali Pathan from Mendhar constituency.
In Jharkhand, prominent candidates are former Chief Minister Arjun Munda who will contest from Kharsawan seat, while Luis Marandi will contest from Dumka and sitting MLA Simon Marandi from Litipara. Party national Vice President Raghubar Das will try his luck from Jamshedpur (East ) assembly constituency. The lists were announced by party General Secretary J P Nadda after the Central Election Committee meeting in New Delhi last evening. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha also published its first list of 28 candidates yesterday after a meeting of its core committee at Ranchi.
Even though the alliance between Congress and the JMM could not materialise for the assembly polls in Jharkhand, there is enough hint of alliance between the BJP and the AJSU. AJSU Supremo Sudesh Mahto reached New Delhi yesterday evening once again after a gap of 12 hours to hold talks with the senior BJP leaders. The JMM Supremo Shibu Soren yesterday announced that it will fight on all 81 seats, while other parties like JVM,BSP has started releasing the names of their candidates. Congress, which is to fight in alliance with the RJD and JD(U), has already released first list of 14 candidates, although one among them has yesterday joined the BJP.




Bill Gates to give $500 million to fight diseases

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US Philanthropist Bill Gates announced he will donate over 500 million dollar to fight malaria and other infectious diseases in the developing world, saying the Ebola outbreak is a call to action. The former Microsoft CEO told the 63rd annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans that his Gates Foundation is committing more than 500 million dollar in 2014 to reduce the burden of malaria, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and an array of parasitic infections that are leading causes of death and disability in developing countries.




ISIS massacres 322 Sunni tribesmen in west Iraq

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Iraqi government said Sunday that at least 322 members of the Al-Bu Nimr tribe were murdered by Islamic State fighters over the past week, including dozens of women and children whose bodies were found dumped in a well.Tribal leader Sheikh Naeem al-Ga’oud said that 75 members of his tribe were killed on Sunday while trying to escape the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). They were gunned down and dumped near the town of Haditha.
“The number of people killed by Islamic State from Al-Bu Nimr tribe is 322. The bodies of 50 women and children have also been discovered dumped in a well,” the country’s Human Rights Ministry said on Sunday.
The Al-Bu Nimr tribe is a Sunni clan that has been fighting the Islamic State. The tribe held IS off in western Anbar province for weeks, before running out of fuel and ammunition. After the clan withdrew, IS rounded up the members and has been executing them since the beginning of last week.




Gyan, Vigyan aur Bharatiya Samaj : Ek Vihangam Drishti

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Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
cordially invites you to the
Public Lecture
 (‘Samaj aur Itihas’ series)

Gyan, Vigyan aur Bharatiya Samaj : Ek Vihangam Drishti

Prof. Deepak Kumar,
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi
Date : Friday, 7 November 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Seminar Room, First Floor, Library Building
Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
 Teen Murti House, New Delhi.
(Please find the attached abstract of the Public Lecture)

All are welcome.
Those wishing to have their names added to the email list may please email us atnmmldirector@gmail.com
 Web links to programmes for 2014:
Audio links of Public Lectures:
NMML Posters Link (Posters linked to the calendar):
Occasional Papers Links:
Facebook Link:




Intel news

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​Canada carries out airstrikes against Islamic State

The Canadian Air Force has completed its first strike against Islamic State militants in Iraq. Poor weather had previously hampered combat missions as currently Canadian fighter jets aren’t armed with all-weather laser-guided bombs.
“Coordinated with our coalition partners, two CF-18s (Hornet fighter jets) attacked ISIL targets with GBU-12 laser-guided bombs in the vicinity of Fallujah, Iraq,” said a statement issued by Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson.
“The approximately four-hour mission included air-to-air refueling from Canada’s Polaris aircraft. All aircraft returned safely to their base,” the statement said.
The outcome of the airstrike, which was the Canadian Air Force’s first combat action since the war in Libya three years ago, is still being assessed.
“We are all proud about the first strike,” an officer in Ottawa familiar with the operation told Canada.com.As the laser-guided bombs can only be used in good weather, Canadian pilots had been unable to perform missions in Iraq for a couple of days, when the weather was cloudy. Now the task force expects GPS-guided bombs to arrive from Canada. This will enable operation against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in all-weather mode, using a mix of laser and GPS-guided bombs.
“We have established an air bridge between Canada and Kuwait and expect them to arrive and be used in the coming days,” said Lt.-Col. David Devenney, Director of Public Affairs for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

PM Ponta leading in Romanian presidential elections

Social Democrat Prime Minister Victor Ponta is poised to win the Romanian presidency, despite alleged involvement in a corruption scandal exposed earlier in the campaign. The PM, whose leftist alliance is currently in control of parliament, faces some competition from Klaus Iohannis, leader of the National-Liberal party, who is backed by the two center-right parties. If neither candidate obtains an absolute majority today, a run-off will be held on November 16. The incumbent, Traian Basescu, is set to step down after serving two five-year terms. Though the president’s role is largely ceremonial, he is in charge of defense, foreign policy and naming the heads of the country’s security agencies.

At least 10 dead after migrant boat sinks off Turkey

10 people have been killed and another 20 are missing after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the northern coast of Istanbul. A rescue official said most of the dead were children and that the boat had been carrying between 30 and 40 migrants. Six people were rescued by the Turkish coastguard, while 10 bodies were recovered. According to local reports, the refugees were believed to have been heading for Romania.

Canadian fighter jets hit ISIS targets for first time

Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets have dropped their first laser guided bombs on Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS) targets since joining the US-led coalition against the extremist group, the country’s defense minister said on Sunday. “Coordinated with our coalition partners, two CF-18s attacked ISIL targets with GBU12 500 lb laser guided bombs in the vicinity of Fallujah, Iraq,” Defense Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement. “The approximately four hour mission included air-to-air refueling from Canada’s Polaris aircraft. All aircraft returned safely to their base.” Canada’s Parliament approved a six-month mission against IS in October, with the mission mandate also approving. Six CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft, and one C-150 refueling aircraft have joined the US-led coalition and stationed in Kuwait City since October 30. Around 600 Canadian soldiers have also been stationed at the base.

100 arrested in France following clashes with police over protester death

At least 100 protesters were arrested in France this weekend due to clashes with riot police after crowds rallied against police brutality in several cities across the country. The demonstrators protested the death of 21-year-old ecology activist Remi Fraisse, which was apparently caused by a police stun grenade last weekend. In Paris, 66 protesters were arrested as local media reported attacks on police and possession of unauthorized weapons. Meanwhile, another 34 activists were detained in Nantes and Toulouse, where six police officers were injured during the demonstrations. Following a rally in Paris on Sunday, protesters staged a peaceful sit-in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Shooting at national TV HQ in Burkina Faso

Shots were reportedly fired at the headquarters of RTB Television in Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou on Sunday. State-run TV came under gunfire shortly after the arrival of Sara Sereme, the head of the PDC opposition party and about 100 of her supporters, Reuters reported. They added that an army general was also present at the studios, planning to make a declaration on air before the station was shut down. Burkina soldiers seized control of the headquarters, AFP said. There were no immediate reports of injuries, with witnesses saying gunshots were fired in the air. At the end of October, the West African country’s president of 27 years resigned, amid unrest and an intensifying power struggle in the state.

​Electricity restored to Bangladesh after nationwide blackout

Officials blame the outage, which started around noon on Saturday, on the failure of a high-voltage transmission line from India. The outage, the country’s worst since 2007, resulted in the shutdown of power plants and substations. Hospitals, garment factories, and the Bangladeshi international airport were forced to use emergency generators to operate, while many offices sent their employees home. Most power was restored around 1 am on Sunday, and currently production of electricity is meeting almost all demand, according to Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, reports Reuters. Power outages are not uncommon in Bangladesh, one of the world’s most energy poor countries, where over a third of the population have no access to electricity.

​5th Russian convoy delivers aid to Lugansk

A Russian truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid, including food, construction materials, fuel and medicine has crossed the border into Ukraine after going through inspections by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers. The convoy, dispatched by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations (EMERCOM), was carrying more than 1,000 tons of relief aid, according to Oleg Voronov, deputy head of the ministry, as cited by TASS. More than 50 vehicles have arrived in Lugansk and are currently being unloaded, while 50 more are en route to Donetsk, says Voronov. This is the fifth such aid convoy sent to war-torn southeastern Ukraine since August.

Pilots in Virgin Galactic space crash identified

The pilot killed in the crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo experimental rocket plane on Friday has been identified as Michael Alsbury, 39, Kern County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ray Pruitt said on Saturday. The pilot who survived was confirmed as Peter Siebold, 43. Siebold sustained serious injuries as he was ejected from the aircraft and parachuted to the ground, police said in a statement. The aircraft suffered an “in-flight anomaly” during a test flight, which led to the crash in the Mohave Desert, Virgin Galactic said. The firm’s founder, Richard Branson, said there is an ongoing investigation into what caused the crash, adding that he is“determined” to learn from the incident. “We owe it to our pilots to find out exactly what went wrong,” Branson said at a news conference in the Mojave. “If we can overcome it, we will make absolutely certain that the dream lives on.”




Rajnath Singh to visit Israel this week to boost defense ties

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Nov 3,
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Israel this week to give a boost to bilateral ties between the two countries. Ahead of the forthcoming visit, he said the discussions would be held on homeland and border security matters. During the visit, the Home Minister is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 6th November. Both sides are expected to sign a number of agreements on several issues. The visit to Israel is significant in the wake of expanding collaboration in defence sector between the two countries. The recent decision by the Government to $ 525 million anti-tank weaponry from Israel is being seen as a major step in this direction. India is Israel’s largest purchaser of defence equipment and Israel is the second largest supplier of arms and armaments for New Delhi after Russia. The two countries also have a Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism.
The Home Minister’s visit comes more than a month after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli premier Netanyahu in New York. During that meeting, Netanyahu had said sky is the limit in terms of prospects of cooperation between the two countries as he sought expansion of ties with India. Netanyahu was among the first global leaders to call Modi to congratulate him over his victory in Lok Sabha polls. Israel’s National Security Adviser Joseph Cohen had met Rajnath Singh and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval earlier this month. It will be the first visit of an Indian Home Minister to Israel since June 2000, when LK Advani visited Tel Aviv which marked an upswing in bilateral cooperation.




Blast killed Sixty one at Wagah in Pakistan

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In Pakistan, the death toll following suicide attack has mounted to 61. Ten women, eight children and three security personnel were among the 61 people who killed in the attack that took place yesterday when a suicide attacker detonated a powerful bomb at Wagah.
Over 100 people were injured in the incident and are being treated in different Lahore’s hospitals where emergency has been declared.
Lahore police spokesman Niyab Haider Naqvi said, the law enforcement agencies have launched operation in the residential areas in Wagah and arrested about 20 suspects from the Indo-Pak border area.
The blast took place when a large number of people were returning after attending the flag lowering ceremony at the main Indo-Pak land border crossing, which is heavily guarded by the Punjab Rangers. A young suicide-bomber blew himself up near the main exitgate of Parade Avenue at 6.03 pm local time, causing colossal devastation. At least three militant factions have claimed the responsibility of bombing.
On the other hand, Border Security Force (BSF) is on a high alert at Attari gate, as well as all along the nearly 300-kilometer border. The high alert follows yesterday’s blast on Pakistani side of Wagah. The Delhi-Lahore Sadda-e-Sarhad bus, which passes through Attari-Wagah joint check post gate has been stopped for the time being.
Speaking to AIR correspondent, Customs Commissioner, Sunil Kumar Sawhney has said that there has been no decision to stop trade between both the nations temporarily. However, he said situation will be reviewed on 6th Nov for a further decision.
Meanwhile, 129 passengers are ready to leave for Pakistan through Samjhauta Express which will arrive at 2.30 p.m from Pakistan. Attari Railway station sources have confirmed that a congregation of pilgrims will also leave for Pakistan tomorrow.




Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit Bhutan

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Kuzuzangpola(Hello)!
The warm days and cold nights of Autumn are slowly giving way to winter clearing the path for clearer blue skies and fantastic views of the majestic mountains around. During this season the sky is crystal blue and the warm rays of the sun dispels any lingering chills. Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit Bhutan with lots of festivals and events on the calendar throughout the country. And also one of the most suitable season for hiking and trekking with clearer and dry weather. This month we will be looking at some of the upcoming festivals in the country.
UP-COMING EVENTS
Jambay Lhakhang Festival (November)
Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul-Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. A second is located in Paro, the Kichu lhakhang also built on the same day.
Black-Necked Crane Festival (November)
Annual black-necked crane festival is organized to generate awareness and understanding on the importance of conserving the endangered Black‐necked cranes to strengthen the linkages between conservation, economic welfare and sustainable livelihoods of the community; provide an avenue for the local community to renew their commitment to conservation of the black-necked cranes, and to showcase their cultural heritage and skills.
Pemagatshel Tshechu (November)
The district is known for its numerous festivals and folk songs. The most notable folk song is the Ausa, a song that is sung during the departure of family members, friends and relatives. Since the construction of the dzong in the early 1980’s, they have also celebrated the annual Tshechu over a three day period. Many Mask Dances or Cham which are believed to confer blessings upon the spectators and teach them the ways of the Buddhist dharma are performed during the festival.
Monggar Tshechu (November)
The main inhabitants of this region are the Tshanglas and the Kurtoeps. They speak distinct languages known as Tshanglakha and Kurtoepaikha. This region is famous for its exquisite wood carvings.The new Dzong in Mongar was built at the initiative of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1953. Today the dzong is the centre of administration where all important decisions are taken.
Trashigang Tshechu (November)
Every village in the district has its own distinctive annual festival but the highlight is the three day Tshechu that is held in Trashigang Dzong during the 7th to 11th days of the tenth monthof the Bhutanese calendar (December). The Tshechu is attended by the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic people that reside in the valleys of Merak and Sakteng, the Khengpa community and people from as far as Samdrup Jongkhar, Pema Gatshel and Trashiyangtse.
Dochula Druk Wangyel Tshechu (December)
The Tshechu is takes place every December 13th  at the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Festival Ground located at Dochula Pass around 22km from the capital city Thimphu. Dochula Pass is one of the most scenic locations in the entire kingdom, offering a stunning panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range.
For further information, please contact:
Tourism Council of Bhutan, India Representative Office
C/o Charson Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd.
1104 Arcadia, 11th Floor, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021 – India
Tel: 91 (22) 65172273; Fax: 91 (22) 22828835; Email: exec.office@charsonadvisory.com
Tourism Council of Bhutan 
Tarayana Centre, Chubachu, Thimphu, Bhutan
Tel: 975 2 323251/2 ; Email: info@tourism.gov.bt; Web: www.tourism.gov.bt




The biennial exercise DOSTI-XII was conducted at Male

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The exercise between the Indian Coast Guard and the Maldives National Security Service (Coast Guard) code named ‘DOSTI’ was institutionalized in 1991 and thereafter conducted on biennial basis. Since then 11 editions of the exercise have taken place. Sri Lanka joined the 11th edition of exercise in 2012, thus making it a trilateral exercise.
The biennial exercise DOSTI-XII was conducted at Male, Maldives from 28-31 Oct 2014. Prior to conduct of the DOSTI XII, an Initial Planning Conference (IPC) was conducted at Kochi, India from 15-16 Sep 2014 to work out the details of the programme.
A total of five ships and two aircrafts participated in the exercise DOSTI XII. Two ships from Indian Coast Guard, ICGS Samar with Integral Helicopter, ICGS Rajdoot alongwith a Dornier aircraft, one ship from Sri Lankan CG, SLNS Samudura and two ships from MNDF CG, MCGS Huravee and Shaheed Ali participated in the exercise. During the four days, various activities were undertaken including classroom training, sports activities and adventure tour for bonding between the crew. The exercise at sea included evolutions responding to actual emergencies of Search and Rescue, Medical evacuation, Anti-Piracy and Pollution Control response at Sea which will further enhance the ability of each Coast Guard to attend to real emergencies at sea.
The exercise at sea was witnessed by High level delegations from Maldives as well as Directors General of the Coast Guards of India, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The Director General of Indian Coast Guard, Vice Admiral Anurag G Thapliyal AVSM & Bar visited Male, Maldives to oversee the conduct of the exercise.
The conduct of training exercise DOSTI – XII has further cemented the cooperation among India-Maldives- Sri Lanka and also enhanced the ongoing Indo-Maldives Maritime Co-operation and develops inter-operability which would be useful to deal with maritime issues of common interest in the region.

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