Saturday, November 21, 2015

French President Francois Hollande to be Republic Day chief guest

Belgium raises its terror alert to highest level in Brussels

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level in the capital Brussels today, with the OCAM national crisis centre warning of an imminent threat a week after the Paris terror attacks.
As Europe tightens security, it said, following the recent evaluation, the centre has raised its terror alert to ‘level 4’, signifying a very serious threat, for the Brussels region. OCAM in a statement said that the analysis shows a serious and imminent threat requiring specific security measures as well as detailed recommendations to the population.
The centre urged citizens to avoid crowded areas such as concerts and transport hubs in Belgium’s capital.

PM Modi invites Malaysia, Singapore and other Asean countries to invest in infrastructure projects

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Malaysia, Singapore and other Asean countries to invest in infrastructure projects in India. Addressing ASEAN -Business Summit in Kuala Lumpur this morning, Mr Modi said winds of change prevail in India. He said India has opened Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Insurance, Defence and Railways. FDI policy has been relaxed in construction, plantation and Media. Assuring that all rights of innovators will be protected, Mr Modi said Intellectual Property Rights Policy would come in force by the end of this year.
He listed out a series of measures that his government taken on the reforms front on the occasion. The Prime Minister has laid emphasis on reforms for transformation of India with an aim to bring the fruits of development to the bottom of the demography.
Stating that India has immense potentiality for infrastructure development, he said 50 cities in the country are ready for Metro Rail Projects and the Government is committed to build 50 million houses in the next few years providing lot of employment for skilled as well as semi-skilled and poor.
The Prime Minister said concentrated steps are being taken for institutional reforms and emphasizing implementation of the tax reforms. Mr Modi exuded hope that the Goods and Services Tax Act, is expected to be rolled out by early next year. A bill has already been introduced in Parliament. He assured that all facilities would be provided to genuine and honest investors under the provisions. Exuding confidence that the 21st Century belongs to Asia and Asian countries will become economic powerhouse zones in the world.
AIR correspondent reports, Mr Modi will attend the ASEAN-India Summit today, and the East Asia Summit tomorrow. He reached Kuala Lumpur early this morning on the first leg of his two-nation visit to Malaysia and Singapore.
Earlier, the Prime Minister held talks with his China Counterpart Li Kequiang at the Shangrila Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The two leaders held bilateral talks in a host of issues of mutual concern ahead of the crucial ASEAN – India Summit. The Prime Minister will address the ASEAN-India Summit followed by bilateral talks with New Zealand.

Globe with Earthquake Location


Preliminary Earthquake Report
  • 21 Nov 2015 09:06:12 UTC
  • 21 Nov 2015 18:06:12 near epicenter
  • 21 Nov 2015 13:06:12 standard time in your timezone
Location7.207S 129.925E
Depth67 km
  • 174 km (107 mi) WNW of Saumlaki, Indonesia
  • 355 km (220 mi) WSW of Tual, Indonesia
  • 433 km (268 mi) SSE of Ambon, Indonesia
  • 442 km (274 mi) SSE of Amahai, Indonesia
  • 502 km (311 mi) ENE of Dili, East Timor

‘Made-in-India’ Volkswagen achieves five stars at Latin NCAP;
Volkswagen Vento shows highest safety in Adult Occupant Protection
Pune, November 20, 2015 – Latin NCAP recently announced its latest crash test results. Amongst the six new announced results, the ‘Made in India’ Volkswagen Vento was one of the four cars, which achieved five stars in Adult Occupant Protection. The Vento’s top-class standard safety package with dual front airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, ABS, ISOFIX and robust vehicle body structure delivered these top results and underlined its ambitions of providing highest occupant safety.
With its five stars ranking in Adult Occupant Protection and its three stars in Child Occupant Protection achieved from the recently conducted test by the independent consumer protection organisation Latin NCAP, the Volkswagen Vento is one of the safest cars in its segments – in Latin America as well as in India. In the frontal impact, the Latin NCAP commented that the driver and passenger heads were well protected by the airbags and the bodyshell showed stable performance with capability to withstanding further loading.
The Volkswagen Vento has been in the Indian market since 2010 and was specifically designed for India. Manufactured at the Volkswagen Pune Plant in Chakan, the Vento carries the Volkswagen DNA of German Engineering which is innovative technology, excellent driving dynamics as well as robust quality and highest safety. Safety is of paramount importance for Volkswagen and hence the Vento comes fitted with dual front airbags as standard even in India.
The Volkswagen Vento is exported from the Pune Plant in Chakan in left-hand drive as well as right-hand versions to over 35 countries across four continents – Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Biggest export market for the Volkswagen Vento is Mexico, where the ‘Made-in-India’ Vento is the highest sold Volkswagen at the moment.
About Latin NCAP: The Latin New Car Assessment Programme (Latin NCAP) was launched in 2010 to develop a regional system of independent crashworthiness and safety rating across Latin America and Caribbean (LAC). Latin NCAP replicates similar consumer testing programmes developed over the last thirty years in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and which have proved to be very effective in improving the safety of motor vehicles. Since 2010 Latin NCAP has published the results of more than fifty cars in six test phases. Latin NCAP is an Associate member of Global NCAP and supports the Stop the Crash Partnership and United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 especially the vehicle pillar of the Global Plan for the Decade.
About Volkswagen Group India: The Volkswagen Group is represented by five passenger car brands in India: Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, ŠKODA, and Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Group has been present in India for the last 14 years and began its India journey with the entry of the ŠKODA brand in 2001. The Audi brand and Volkswagen brand entered India in 2007, while Porsche brand and Lamborghini brand followed in 2012. Each brand has its own character and operates as an independent entity in the market. Volkswagen Group India has over 25 models in India, over 240 dealerships and is operating two plants – Pune and Aurangabad. The Pune Plant has a manufacturing capacity of 130,000 cars per year (in current two-shift system) and is currently manufacturing Volkswagen Polo and Vento and ŠKODA Rapid. The Aurangabad Plant assembles various premium and luxury models of Audi, ŠKODA and Volkswagen sold in India and has an annual capacity of approximately 89,000. Volkswagen Group India is a part of Volkswagen AG, which is globally represented by 12 brands – Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Scania, SEAT, ŠKODA, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge), MAN and Volkswagen Passenger Cars.

Vani Kapoor wins fifth title of the year
Noida, 20th November 2015: Delhi youngster Vani Kapoor saw off a dual challenge from Gursimar Badwal and Smriti Mehra, carding 5 over 77 to secure the winner’s cheque after the final round of the 17th Leg of the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour 2015 at the Noida Golf Course here today. Gursimar Badwal finished second with a total score of 227. The INR 5,00,000 event culminated today.
The Hero Order of Merit leader Vani Kapoor, who was at the top of the leaderboard throughout the tournament, was not in the best of form on the final day. Her round consisted of three birdies on the 1st, 10th and 15th holes, as against bogies on the 6th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 18th holes. This effort was however, still good enough for Vani to secure her fifth title of the year. The Delhi professional ended with a total score of 226 after 54 holes, to give her victory by a slender margin of one stroke over Gursimar Badwal.
Kapurthala’s Gursimar Badwal, who started the day in tied first position, came up with an effort of 6 over 78 to finish runners-up at the Noida Golf Course. She played a birdie-less front nine with two bogies on the 4th and 8th holes, along with a double on the 3rd. She began her back nine with a birdie on the 10th, but three more bogies on the 12th, 13th and 18th holes quashed all  chances of her winning her maiden title, and she had to be content with another second place finish.
Kolkata’s Smriti Mehra and Delhi’s Gauri Monga ended with identical totals of 229 to finish tied third. Smriti Mehra started the day in tied first position but could not emulate her second day performance. She played a birdie-less round with bogies on the 1st, 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th and 15thholes, along with a double on the 4th, to return with a score of 8 over 80. Gauri Monga’s round of 5 over 77 included two birdies on the 8th and 17th holes as against five bogies on the 6th, 7th, 10th, 12th and 15th holes, along with a double on the 3rd.
Kolkata’s Neha Tripathi returned a card of 9 over 81 to total 232 after the final day. Her error-prone round included six bogies on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 11th and 16th holes, and two doubles on the 14th and 15th. Her lone birdie of the day came on the 17th hole.
Overseas player Kiran Matharu returned with a score of 1 over 73, the best score of the day. Kiran, who returned to the tour after a gap of five months, fired in four birdies on the 2nd,9th, 12th and 14th holes, while dropping shots on the 7th, 13th and 18th holes, along with a double on the 8th. She finished with a total score of 234 after 54 holes. Her tally of four birdies was the best on the day.
Delhi’s Ankita Tiwana ended with a total score of 235 to finish seventh, followed by Panchkula’s Amandeep Drall in eighth place with a total of 237.Chandigarh’s Saaniya Sharma and amateur Tavleen Batra finished with identical totals of 240 to tie for the ninth position.
The Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour 2015 now moves to Jaipur for the final event of the season at Rambagh Golf Club.
Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
Hand phone:+91-8377079442

Prime Minister’s Address at ASEAN Business and Investment Summit
Tan Sri Dato Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council,
Dato Ramesh Koddamal, Co-Chair of the ASEAN-India Business Council,
Business Leaders of ASEAN,
Members of the ASEAN Business Community,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am very happy to be here with you. I feel honoured to address this privileged gathering of the leaders who have transformed South East Asia into one of the most dynamic regions of the world. I congratulate you for this achievement. I also congratulate you on the creation of One ASEAN Community which you are going to sign off tomorrow.
India and ASEAN are natural partners. Our ties date back to ancient times. They continue to serve as a bridge between our countries and regions.
Friends! I have been saying that the 21st century belongs to Asia. I say this because of the track record of the ASEAN countries. Together, ASEAN’s ten member countries form an economic powerhouse. ASEAN has emerged as one of the largest economic zones in the world. Last fifteen years have seen your rapid and yet stable growth. Your Macro-economic stability has been the main reason for growth and stability in South East Asia. With good governance, futuristic infrastructure and focus on new age technologies, you have created excellence.
In simple things like tourism, you have done miracles. Once again, I compliment the leadership and people of ASEAN countries for what they have achieved.
When I analyse the Asian miracle, I find that small countries of ASEAN and a big country like China, both have done well. This shows that growth depends more on the spirit of people rather than the size of population. I have had personal relations with many leaders of this region. I have also visited a number of places a number of times. Even as Prime Minister, my engagements with the Asian leadership started as soon as I took over. I met a number of ASEAN leaders in the last Summit too.
My government took office nearly 18 months ago. The Indian economy faced serious challenges. A high fiscal deficit, a high current account deficit, a large number of stalled infrastructure projects and persistent inflation were among them.
It was obvious that reforms were needed. We asked ourselves the question – Reforms for what? What is the aim of reform? Is it just to increase the measured rate of GDP growth? Or is it to bring about a transformation in society? My answer is clear: we mustREFORM TO TRANSFORM.
In short, reform is not an end in itself. Reform for me is just a way station on the long journey to the destination. The destination is the transformation of India. We have to take the fruits of development to the margins of our geography and to the bottom of our demography. We have to touch lives, while reaching for the sky.
By almost every major economic indicator, India is doing better than when we took office 18 months ago.
• GDP growth is up and inflation is down
• Foreign investment is up and the Current Account Deficit is down.
• Tax revenues are up and interest rates are down.
• The fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable.
Obviously, this did not happen by accident. And the world economy is not exactly doing well. This success is the result of a series of concerted policies. We have embarked on a course of fiscal consolidation. We have entered, for the first time, into a monetary framework agreement with the Reserve Bank to curb inflation.
Even while cutting the fiscal deficit, we have substantially increased productive public investment. This has been made possible in two ways. Firstly, we have imposed carbon taxes on fossil fuels. We have taken the bold step of de-controlling diesel prices and thereby eliminated energy subsidies, and have in fact imposed taxes on fossil fuels. We have increased the cess on coal by 300%. Globally, there is much talk of carbon taxes. We have actually acted. Secondly, we have reduced wasteful expenditure through innovative methods including targeting subsidies to the deserving through technology.
Overall, there is increased confidence within and outside the country. The IMF and World Bank have expressed even better hope for our economy this year and after. The Economist magazine this week stated that “India is in healthier shape than any other big emerging economy.”
However, as I said, our aim is not mere reform, but “reform to transform”. Macro-economic stability is good. But to transform India, much more needs to be done. We have begun a series of concerted steps. These include structural and institutional reforms.
Agriculture remains India’s mainstay in terms of providing livelihood. We have introduced a series of simple but powerful structural reforms. There was a tendency to divert subsidised fertiliser for the production of chemicals. We have found a simple but very effective solution: by neem-coating the fertiliser, it becomes unsuitable for diversion. We are now moving towards universal neem-coating. This has already saved billions of rupees of diverted farm subsidies.
We have also introduced Soil Health Card. This tells every farmer the condition of his or her soil and then enables him to choose the right crop, best quantity and mix of inputs.
We have launched a housing for all program, one of the most ambitious in the world. It involves building 20 million urban houses and 29.5 million rural houses, totalling nearly 50 million. While the programme will make sure no Indian is houseless, it will also generate a large amount of employment – that too, mainly for the unskilled, the semi-skilled and the poor.
We have undertaken major improvements in the transport sector. Our major ports witnessed a 4.65% growth in traffic and an 11.2% increase in operating income, in 2014-15 despite a global contraction in trade volume.
The pace of award of new highway works has increased from 9 km/day in 2013-14 to 23 km/day currently. These will have large multiplier effects throughout the economy.
We were committed to restore credibility in the process of allocation of natural resources. My government has intervened with legislative and administrative measures to improve the supply of critical inputs and raw materials. They include Coal, other minerals and spectrum. The hallmark of this intervention is allocation through transparent auction.
We started the Jan Dhan Yojana. In less than a year, we opened 190 million new bank accounts. On Social security front, we have launched innovative and attractive schemes for insurance and pension. We have also set up MUDRA Bank to fund the small traders who were unfunded so far. More than six million small traders have already availed the loans.
While expanding the banking services, we are also taking steps to strengthen the Banking system. Credible and capable bankers have been appointed to head banks. For the first time since banks were nationalised 46 years ago, private sector professionals have been appointed in key positions. We have taken concerted action to revive stalled infrastructure projects – We have started a major revamp of the power sector. These measures will also benefit our banks.
Let me now turn to issues of investment, which may be of more direct relevance to you.
In a break with over 65 years of tradition, we have involved India’s States in foreign policy. The Ministry of External Affairs has been asked to work with the States. When I visited China, a state-to-state summit was also held. And states have been asked to create export promotion councils. Making the States think globally is yet another reform with potential to transform.
Our aim is to create jobs for more than a billion young hands. To provide this, the share of manufacturing must reach around 25% in our GDP. We have launched a campaign called ‘Make in India’ and aggressively worked on the front of Ease of doing business. Reducing complicated procedures, making them available at one platform- preferably online, simplifying the forms and formats has been taken up on war footing. That is how we have jumped up by 12 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report of 2016. Industry is realizing the benefits of these changes. Index of Industrial Production in the current year shows a distinct improvement over the previous year. We are working in all ways to make India a global manufacturing hub.
World Class Infrastructure has remained a dream for India. Hence, our maximum focus is on building futuristic infrastructure. By exercising tight control over unproductive expenditure, we have greatly increased capital investment by the Public Sector. To further augment such investments, we are encouraging the PPP model. We are also setting up National Investment and Infrastructure Fund which will help us leverage public investments. We are also coming up with Tax Free Infrastructure Bonds with a view to broaden the corporate bond market and to provide long term finance for infrastructure. We are eager to work with Malaysia, Singapore and other ASEAN countries in this regard.
As a result of our initiatives,
• The sentiments for private investment and inflow of foreign investment have turned positive. Foreign investment is up 40%.
• India has been consistently ranked as the most attractive investment destination by several global agencies and institutions.
• India has also improved its UNCTAD ranking of investment attractiveness. Against 15th so far, now we are at 9th place.
• India has also jumped 16 places on the World Economic Forum’s global competitive index after five years of decline in the list.
• MOODY’s have upgraded the outlook for India.
Campaigns like Digital India and Skill India are designed to prepare the people to take part in this process. We have witnessed exponential growth in the number of start-ups in the recent past. To tap this energy fully, we have launched the Start up IndiaCampaign.
We are aware of the interest of the Global investor community in the potential that India has. In recent months, this interest has gone up. Therefore, to re-vitalize the flow of investments, we have launched the second wave of structural and financial reforms. We are trying to further open up the economy and introduce an element of predictability and stability in taxation system.
To give you some examples:
• We have allowed and enhanced FDI levels in key sectors including Insurance, Defence and Railways.
• Now, most of these FDI sectors have been put on automatic approval route.
• We have also rationalised FDI policies in many sectors, including construction, plantation and medical devices.
• We have now allowed composite caps for Foreign portfolio investors in all sectors where FDI is allowed. Earlier, portfolio investments had a separate cap.
• We have greatly liberalised the licensing regime; to give you one example – we have taken out almost 60% of Defence items out of the licensing process.
• We have ended retrospective taxation.
• We have notified the regulations for the Alternative Investment Funds.
• We have rationalized capital gains tax for Real Estate Investment Trusts.
• We have also decided to defer the implementation of General Anti Avoidance Rules.
• We have introduced the Goods & Services Tax Bill in Parliament. We are hopeful of rolling it out in 2016. This will create a unified system of taxation across the country.
• We have drafted a new bankruptcy code. Formation of the Company Law Tribunal to expedite cases is on the way.
These are just a few examples. Almost on a daily basis, we are trying to remove the bottlenecks that were affecting our growth process. Even early this month, we have taken very dynamic steps to further open up the economy for FDI. With this round of reforms, we are among the most open economies in the world.
Going further, I want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators. We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is expected by the end of the year. We are moving fast to make sure that our tax regime is transparent and predictable. We are also keen to see that genuine investors and honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions on tax matters.
Friends, India is a land of immense opportunities. To give you some examples: our fifty cities are ready for putting up Metro Rail Systems. We have to build 50 million affordable houses. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous. We have decided to go for renewable energy in a big way – 175 GW. We have to do all this in a short span of time. Our democratic values and an alert judicial system ensure the safety of your investments. We have set the tone of Governance with a long term vision and an open mind. We are particularly working to make India the easiest place to do business.
Friends, Most of the ASEAN economies have done their bit for Asia’s resurgence. Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. We are at a take-off stage. I invite you to come and see the winds of change in India. Winds do take time to cross the borders. That is why; I am personally here to invite you. When you come, you will get the wings of a new business environment. And once you are there, I assure you of my full co-operation.
Thank You.

AirAsia’s travel 3Sixty° magazine celebrates 100th issue

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: cid:image001.png@01CD7A2A.808EF500

AirAsia’s travel 3Sixty° magazine celebrates 100th issue
KUALA LUMPUR, 21 NOVEMBER – AirAsia’s award-winning in-flight magazine travel 3Sixty° marked its 100th issue with a celebration event, also marking the eighth anniversary of the publication which has grown to reach over 3 million readers monthly.

Dato’ Aziz Bakar, Board of Director of AirAsia Berhad revealed the cover of Travel 3sixty°’s 100th issue during the celebratory event.
Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, publisher of the travel 3Sixty° magazine who is also theExecutive Chairman of AirAsia Berhad and Group CEO of AirAsia X said, “It has been quite a journey for the in-flight magazine since it was established in 2007. I am very proud of how it has grown into the sleek, stylish and informational magazine that it is now; apart from being the only in-flight publication to be audited and endorsed by the Audit Bureau of Circulations of Malaysia (ABCM).”
“The core mission of the magazine has always been to showcase the best of travel, culture and lifestyle and we want our readers to continue to experience and enjoy the magazine through an array of media – both print and digital. 100 issues is surely no easy feat, and I would like to congratulate the team on this milestone,” added Datuk Kamarudin Meranun.
A special contest themed ‘Invite travel 3Sixty° was also announced in conjunction with the magazine’s 100th issue. This contest provides readers of the magazine opportunities to invite the editorial team to visit their hometown and be featured as the cover story, enabling local stories to be shared on a regional front through the magazine.
The inspiration for this special contest came from a school teacher from the rural area in Tebedu, Sarawak who emailed the editorial team and shared his story on how he has been using travel 3Sixty° to teach his students about other cultures in the region, apart from improving their English.

His initiatives reached the ears of the editorial team when the school teacher wrote in to request for old copies of the magazines to be donated to the school. Since then, copies of travel 3Sixty° have made regular appearances at the school as part of their lessons.
travel 3Sixty° has won many awards and accolades since its inception in August, 2007. Most recently, in June, 2014, the magazine clinched the Platinum Achievement Award at the 2nd Kuala Lumpur Mayor’s Tourism Award 2014 in the International Print Media category which had 22 shortlisted publications from all over the world competing in the category.
The magazine is also available online at Follow the magazine’s updates on social media via Twitter ( and Facebook (

Competitiveness, climate, security Finn’s priorities Ministry of Finance release Finnish road map of EU presidency. Finland i...