Friday, September 25, 2009

Lunar Missions Detect Water on Moon

Scientists analyzing information from three lunar missions have found clear evidence of water on the moon. Information gathered from three space vehicles, including India's Chandrayaan-1, found small amounts of water present in particles that make up the moon's soil. The studies will be published in Friday's edition of the journal Science.Researchers say water molecules were found by analyzing data from the three probes which were equipped with NASA instruments designed to map the moon's mineral composition. Scientists say the evidence suggests that larger amounts of water may also be present in colder parts of the moon such as craters at the lunar poles.The findings overturn long-held beliefs that the surface of the moon was dry, potentially paving the way for scientists to one day set up a permanent research base on the moon. Next month, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite will deliberately crash a satellite into the moon's southern pole in an attempt to detect water and ice.

G-8 is dead, long live G-20

Ahead of the official Pittsburgh communiqué’s release, the White House leaked on Thursday that the Group of 20 would permanently replace the Group of 8 as the world’s premiere economic coordinating body.
This amounts to a recognition of the new-found economic clout of emerging economies ranging from India to China, South Africa to Brazil, and marks a historic shift in the way the world is run.
It also fulfills a long-standing demand of countries like India. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said on the eve of the G-20 summit of the need for the global financial system to reflect “ground realities”.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is known to have often privately complained about being invited as an observer to the G-8 countries. This meant India and other emerging economies were excluded from the core decision-making meetings. It was a view, he found, that was shared by Chinese leader Hu Jintao.
While the G-8 countries represent roughly 60 per cent of the world’s GDP, the newly-added 12 emerging economies now represent a fifth of the world’s wealth. Crucially, however, they provide as much as two-thirds of new GDP growth.
As US President Barack Obama, host of the present Pittsburgh summit, has repeatedly noted, on the key problems affecting the global economic system, the solutions are impossible without the emerging economies.
But the G-20 will have to accomplish things. Says US foreign policy analyst Daniel Twining, “The G-20 is not only a reflection of the new world we live in — it is also a sort of proving ground for India, China and other emerging powers that they can corral and build international coalitions.”

Pranab to don a priest's mantle during Durga Puja

SURI (WB): Far from the hurly-burly of politics, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee plays another role at this time of the year - a priest

Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and Congress MP, Deepa Dasmunshi (C) along with former Mayor of Kolkata, Subrata Mukherjee(L) at a puja pandal in Kolkata. (PTI Photo)
worshipping Goddess Durga. Mukherjee worships the Goddess at Miriti, his ancestral village near Kirnahar in Birbhum district, 200 km from Kolkata. "The puja is around 100 years old. Pranab's grandfather late Jangaleswar Mukherjee started the puja," said Goutam Roy, who has been looking after puja arrangements for the last couple of years. "After him, Kamadakinkar Mukherjee, father of Pranab Mukherjee continued it. Pranab babu does the same," he said. Mukherjee himself performs the puja on Mahastami puja, the second day of the four day festival, with thousands of people including villagers, party workers, and family members visiting Miriti.

Shed mindset of using terror as state policy, PM tells Pak

Ahead of Indo-Pak Foreign Ministers meeting in New York, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India seeks to normalise relationship with Pakistan but it should shed its mindset of using terror as an instrument of state policy against New Delhi and take action against those involved in the Mumbai terror attacks.
He made it clear that there was no change in India's stand on Pakistan since the Sharm-el-Sheikh talks with his counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, a position he has made clear in Parliament.
"India's message is that India seeks to normalise its relationship with Pakistan. But the only obstacle is that it should shed its old attitude of using terror as a state policy," Singh told a press conference winding up his two-day trip to Pittsburgh where he attended the G-20 Summit.
"We have supplied our material and evidence for them to carry out investigation. Although the tragedy took place in India, the conspiracy took place in Pakistan. Pakistan has admitted to this. We want them to bring to book the culprits involved in the November 26 attacks," he said.
Singh recollected that he has already said that if Pakistan took proper action India would move the extra mile to normalise relations.
The Prime Minister's comments come as Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan are set to meet tomorrow during which Islamabad's action against terror emanating from its soil will be discussed.
Singh said India and Pakistan are neighbours and they have an obligation to move as neighbours.
Asked how he looked forward to moving ahead with the relations with Pakistan after the Sharm-el-Sheikh episode, Singh said "If you read my statements in Parliament, I have explained the Government's position and I think there is no change on this."
Asked about a report by US General Stean McChrystal that India was doing good work in Afghanistan but it could lead to instability in the region, he said: "I think to my knowledge there US and other European powers are appreciative of the role played by India in Afghanistan.
"We have not supplied any arms, we are also helping them in construction and financing of projects in power health and education sectors. Untill today we have committed USD 1.5 billion in Afghanistan.
"Not only people of Afghanistan is appreciate but Europe and American leaders are of the same view. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, I agree that we have to sail in these difficult waters," he said.
Iran should fulfill its obligations as NPT signatory: PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said Iran should fulfill all its obligations as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), while it also enjoys rights under that agreement.
Answering a question on US, Britain and France threatening sanctions against Iran for secretly pursuing uranium enrichment facility, Singh told a press conference here that Iran issue did not come up during the G-20 Summit.
"Our position is that Iran as a signatory to the NPT has all rights to peaceful use of atomic energy and also should carry out its obligations," he said.

PM Manmohan Singh, US President Barack Obama with other leaders at the closing of G-20 summit. (AP)

PM Manmohan Singh, US President Barack Obama with other leaders at the closing of G-20 summit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Teenager Akmal helps Pakistan survive Tonge scare

West Indies' little-known paceman Gavin Tonge grabbed four wickets, but failed to stop Pakistan from posting a five-wicket victory in the Champions Trophy here on Wednesday.
Pakistan were reeling at 61-4 following Tonge's incisive opening spell, but teenager Umar Akmal helped his side surpass a 134-run target with a responsible 41 not out in the day-night match on a lively track.
Tonge finished with 4-25 off 10 overs in only his third one-dayer.
The under-strength West Indies were also well-served by wicket-keeper Chadwick Walton, who took four catches.
Tonge struck in his opening over when he bowled Imran Nazir and then had Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf caught behind to put pressure on Pakistan.
Yousuf (23), dropped on one by Darren Sammy in the slips off Tonge, and Malik (23) looked set to put Pakistan in a comfortable position before falling in the space of seven runs.
Man-of-the-match Akmal, 19, also survived a nasty blow on his fingers off a Tino Best beamer in the later part of his knock, but kept his cool under pressure. He hit six fours.
Shahid Afridi, leading in his first one-day international, remained unbeaten with 17. He added 58 crucial runs for the unfinished sixth wicket with Akmal.
Pakistan will now clash with arch-rivals India in their next match at Centurion on Saturday. Defending champions Australia are the other team in Group A, with the top two sides making it to the semi-finals.
Teenage paceman Mohammad Aamer and Umar Gul earlier grabbed three wickets apiece to restrict the West Indies to a small total.
Left-arm seamer Aamer, 17, finished with an impressive 3-24 in only his sixth one-day international, while paceman Gul bagged 3-28 as the West Indies failed to last their quota of 50 overs.
Lower-order batsman Nikita Miller top-scored with a gutsy 51 for his maiden half-century in one-day internationals. He smashed one six and six boundaries in a 57-ball knock.
Sammy (25) and Devon Smith (18) were the others to reach double-figures in a dismal performance after the West Indies elected to bat.
The West Indies were in danger of falling below the 100-mark when they are struggling at 47-7 before adding 86 for the last three wickets, thanks to Miller and Sammy.
The West Indies are without key players Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo following a contract row between the players and their cricket board.
Aamer struck with his sixth delivery when he held a return catch to dismiss Dale Richards. He kept pressure on the batsmen with a lively pace, taking two more wickets.
There was no respite from pace for the inexperienced West Indies as Aamer was brilliantly backed by Gul. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was the other notable wicket-taker with 2-16.

New Mantra for Indian Cricketers: Eat, Play, Love!

India's first match at the Champions Trophy on Saturday is also the biggest, at least as far as the fans are concerned. It's Pakistan versus India, after all.
So Coach Gary Kirsten has given the Indians some basic self-help instructions. Julia Roberts is in Pataudi shooting Eat, Pray, Love - a movie based on the best-selling book of the same name. Gary Kirsten's version for India's Men in Blue: Eat, Play, Love.
Players have been asked to eat well, because the Coach says acid in the body can lead to fatigue, irritability and over sexuality. The Indians have also been asked to love themselves, quite literally. Coach Kirsten says going without sex can lead to a significant drop in testosterone levels, and that means reduced aggression and competitiveness. So sex is a must, even if it means going solo.
More instructions on self-reliance: the team has been told to take responsibility for its performance, and to stop blaming others.
The captain of the English cricket team says his team's strategy for success doesn't resemble India's. At a press conference in South Africa, Andrew Strauss laughed, "With regards to sexual habits, I don't think that's come up in any of our dossiers! And I don't think it's likely to! I don't know, I am not sure.."
Not everyone's coach thinks Eat, Play, Love apparently.

President's son gets Congress ticket, sitting MLA rebels

President Pratibha Patil's son Rajendra Shekhawat has finally got a Congress ticket for the Maharashtra assembly polls. Sources say he will contest from Amravati.
The decision comes despite much discontentment in the party over election tickets for sons and daughters of senior leaders. Shekhawat's is one of 159 names that Congress president Sonia Gandhi has now cleared; others include sons of Vilasrao Deshmukh, Vilas Muttemmwar, Narayan Rane and Patangrao Kadam, and the daughter of Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Shekhwat's ticket was the biggest challenge for the Congress high command, because Sunil Deshmukh, the sitting MLA from Amravati, is a minister and also a two-time winner. Deshmukh has now turned rebel and will contest against Shekhawat.
"I am disappointed with the Congress leadership. I thought good sense would prevail. It appears there was a lot of pressure from Rashtrapati Bhawan," he said after the announcement.
Deshmukh has been the Amravati MLA for 10 years now. He has been credited with a lot of work in the constituency.
Earlier in the day, a disturbed Deshmukh told NDTV, "The only reason for him to get ticket is that he is the son of an influential family. I will be a sad and shocked man if Congress doesn't nominate me." Comments Post your comments
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Have sex, play better: Kirsten to Team India

Jo’burg: India’s South African coach Gary Kirsten offered an interesting advice to the country’s cricketers, urging them to boost their sex lives, which he feels would spur their on-field performances!
The secret document circulated among players by coach Gary Kirsten and mental conditioning expert Paddy Upton, is believed to have extensively explored the benefits of sex.
It came as India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their first Champions Trophy match in Centurion on Saturday.
"Yes it (sex) does, so go ahead and indulge," the document said, before detailing the benefits of a good sex life.
"From a physiological perspective, having sex increases testosterone levels, which cause an increase in strength, energy, aggression and competitiveness," the document said.
"Conversely, not having sex for a period of a few months causes a significant drop in testosterone levels in both males and females, with the corresponding passiveness and decrease in aggression."
The document quotes a professor and sports scientist at the University of Cape Town, Tim Noakes as saying that "sex was not a problem, but being up till 2:00 am, probably having a few drinks at a bar while trying to pick someone up, on the eve of a game, almost always was."
The option of "going solo" is also fine, if no partners were available, according to the document.
"If you want sex but do not have someone to share it with, one option is to go solo whilst imagining you have a partner, or a few partners, who are as beautiful as you wish to imagine," the document said.
"No pillow talk and no hugging required. Just roll over and go to sleep."
Enforced celibacy may also affect performance, the advice said.
"You may experience that your mind spends more time focusing on the fire in your groin than on good sport practice, preparation and sleep," the document said.
Besides sex, the document also stresses on the importance of being aggressive on the field from the start, self-improvement and healthy eating.
Kirsten wants the team to take note of their diet and remain healthy at all times of the year.
“For a team on tour most of the time, cricketers need a balanced & healthy diet. You are not an average man, so chose your food cleverly,” added the Indian coach.
Hailing Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar as a 'living example', the South African has asked his team to raise the bar and take their games and lives to greater heights by taking on more responsibility.
"Raise the bar, take our games and lives to even greater heights. Shift from blaming others to taking responsibility," the charter states.

Have sex, play better: Kirsten to Team India

Jo’burg: India’s South African coach Gary Kirsten offered an interesting advice to the country’s cricketers, urging them to boost their sex lives, which he feels would spur their on-field performances!
The secret document circulated among players by coach Gary Kirsten and mental conditioning expert Paddy Upton, is believed to have extensively explored the benefits of sex.
It came as India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their first Champions Trophy match in Centurion on Saturday.
"Yes it (sex) does, so go ahead and indulge," the document said, before detailing the benefits of a good sex life.
"From a physiological perspective, having sex increases testosterone levels, which cause an increase in strength, energy, aggression and competitiveness," the document said.
"Conversely, not having sex for a period of a few months causes a significant drop in testosterone levels in both males and females, with the corresponding passiveness and decrease in aggression."
The document quotes a professor and sports scientist at the University of Cape Town, Tim Noakes as saying that "sex was not a problem, but being up till 2:00 am, probably having a few drinks at a bar while trying to pick someone up, on the eve of a game, almost always was."
The option of "going solo" is also fine, if no partners were available, according to the document.
"If you want sex but do not have someone to share it with, one option is to go solo whilst imagining you have a partner, or a few partners, who are as beautiful as you wish to imagine," the document said.
"No pillow talk and no hugging required. Just roll over and go to sleep."
Enforced celibacy may also affect performance, the advice said.
"You may experience that your mind spends more time focusing on the fire in your groin than on good sport practice, preparation and sleep," the document said.
Besides sex, the document also stresses on the importance of being aggressive on the field from the start, self-improvement and healthy eating.
Kirsten wants the team to take note of their diet and remain healthy at all times of the year.
“For a team on tour most of the time, cricketers need a balanced & healthy diet. You are not an average man, so chose your food cleverly,” added the Indian coach.
Hailing Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar as a 'living example', the South African has asked his team to raise the bar and take their games and lives to greater heights by taking on more responsibility.
"Raise the bar, take our games and lives to even greater heights. Shift from blaming others to taking responsibility," the charter states.

US can’t fix world problems alone: Obama

United Nations: US President Barack Obama in his debut address to the United Nations General Assembly said that the global community was failing its people and that fixing all troubles was not "solely America's endeavor."
"In an era where our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. That is the future America wants," Obama said in his address, which was keenly watched by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Telling the leaders of the countries present that the time has come for the world to move in a "new direction", Obama said: "Our work must begin now."
Sounding distressed over the issue of terrorism, he said "Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world. Protracted conflicts that grind on and on. Genocide and mass atrocities. More and more nations with nuclear weapons. Melting ice caps and ravaged populations. Persistent poverty and pandemic disease."
The President added, "I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: the magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our action."
Obama remarked that a special envoy to Middle-East peace had been appointed and reiterated that America was for the peaceful existence of Israel and Palestine side by side.
Asserting that failure of action on the nuclear proliferation issue will only give a boost to a nuclear arms race, he said that America was committed to nuclear disarmament.
He told the international community that the US would ensure the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by 2011 and added that USA was even responsibly ending the war in Iraq.
Lauding the achievement in global warming, the President stated that his nation had invested USD 80 billion in climate change and become a leader from being a mere bystander.
On the global crisis, Obama claimed, “We worked with G20…..and spent over two trillion dollars” to combat recession. Besides he proudly told the Assembly that America had spent USD 20billion in the global food initiative to ensure food security.
Talking to the United Nations, he said, “We have reengaged the United Nations..we have paid our bill…we fully embrace the Millenium Development Goals.”

Related news :

Pakistan accuses India of sponsoring terror in Swat

Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday again appeared to be speaking in twin voices. While on one hand, the Prime Minister and President of that country said that they want to resume dialogue with India and improve ties, on the other hand, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has accused New Delhi of promoting terrorism in his country.
"Yes, it is true. The terrorists arrested from Swat and tribal areas of the country have confirmed Indian involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan," Online news agency quoted Malik as telling a private TV channel.
The remarks come on the heels of separate statements by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the need for improved ties with India and for resuming the subcontinental dialogue process that New Delhi suspended in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that have been blamed on elements operating from this country.
Those statements were seen to be setting the tone for the meetings in New York later this month of the foreign secretaries and later of the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
"Pakistan has retaliated with full force whenever India started the blame game against us," Malik said, adding: "Pakistan had offered unconditional support to India after the Mumbai attack but our sincere efforts to bring the culprits of this incident to justice are not being replied constructively."
At a meeting with former US president Bill Clinton in New York on Monday, Zardari said the resumption of the subcontinental composite dialogue was in the best interests of the region.
Zardari also reiterated that Pakistan was determined to prevent its territory from being used against any other country.
On his part, Gilani said on Tuesday that Pakistan wants good relations with all neighbouring countries, including India, on the basis of equality.
Addressing a large gathering at the Multan circuit house, Gilani said Pakistan wishes to resolve the water and Kashmir disputes with India through negotiations.
He also stressed that the two nuclear powers should decide to move forward and focus on the well-being of their poverty-ridden people, adding this will pave the way for a socio-economic revolution in the region.
Gilani comments come a day after it was announced Monday that with Pakistan arresting suspected Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed,
Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in New York on September 27 to review Pakistan's action against the 26/11 terrorists.
The Foreign Ministers' meeting will be preceded by talks between India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in New York on September 26.

全球金融中心指數公布 深圳首次上榜位居第五

【中國窗】訊 (記者 譚建偉)倫敦金融城22日公布的第六期全球金融中心指數(Global Financial Centres Index GFCI)顯示,倫敦在全球金融中心城市排名第一,紐約其次,香港和新加坡分別位于第三和第四。深圳金融中心首次上榜就表現出極强的競爭力,位居第五,領先于上海(第10)和北京(第22),成爲中國內地城市中排名最爲靠前的金融中心。
倫敦金融城在報告中盛贊深圳金融中心在指數中取得的令人矚目成績和排名,指出深圳之所以第一次進入排名就位列前五,一方面是由于深圳金融中心競爭力的提升,另一方面也得益于在問卷受訪者當中,深圳被認爲是香港的"天然夥伴",在問卷調查中受到"亞洲地區受訪者的大力支持"。 Related website

70 health and fitness courses

SERIES of workshops promoting health and fitness will be held islandwide to encourage 'wellness for everyone'.
Organised by People's Association and key players in the health and wellness industry, some 70 workshops will be held around Singapore from this month till January.
They will focus on three 'wellness pillars', namely eating healthy, being active and thinking positive which aims to help one achieve a better quality of life through various dimensions of wellness.
The key players that will be involved include the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Singapore (OGSS), National Parks Board (NParks) and Health Promotion Board (HPB).
Such workshops and courses offer participants opportunities to make more friends while keeping oneself in tiptop shape, both physically and mentally, said PA.
It added that participants could enjoy tremendous improvement to their quality of life with the positive effects of friendships built through the courses.
Mental wellness is advocated through workshops on intellectually-stimulating games such as Sudoku, Contract Bridge, Mahjong, Scrabble and Weiqi to help keep one's mind agile.
There is also a Gardening workshop organised by the PA and NParks for the therapeutic pleasures.
Apart from attaining mental well-being, staying physically active also becomes much easier with several exciting options such as the Walking Meditation classes for the multi-tasking professionals or Kangoo Jumps Clinic, using Swiss-engineered Kangoo shoes, for low-impact and fun workouts.
There are also breakfast workshops on organic bread including naan and Tibetan bread to encourage healthy eating.
The PA will also launch Supermarket Tours to teach the public how to read food labels and make healthy choices whilst shopping.
Dr Fatimah Lateef, Adviser to Marine Parade GRC Grassroots Organisations, will launch the Women's Health Series at Sheraton Hotel on Saturday to kick off the series.

See Iran as a 'friend'

NEW YORK - IRANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged President Barack Obama to see Iran as a potential friend instead of a threat before addresses both leaders will give to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
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American hikers
WHEN asked about the three American hikers, Mr Ahmadinejad said they broke the law by illegally entering Iran. Nevertheless, Mr Ahmadinejad said he will ask the Iranian judiciary to treat the case with 'maximum lenience'.The Iranian leader did not elaborate on what that might mean for the fate of the three Americans. Families of the imprisoned hikers have said they hope Mr Ahmadinejad's visit to New York might yield a breakthrough in the case.
... more
Protesters' deaths regretful
MR AHMADINEJAD said he regrets the deaths of protesters in the violence that followed his country's disputed presidential elections, but denied that his government had any role in the killings.Mr Ahmadinejad said those who died were 'not at fault'. He instead said the responsibility lies with Iranian opposition politicians and with 'European and American politicians' who he said fuelled the violence.
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not building nuclear weapons
HE REITERATED explicitly that Iran is not building nuclear weapons.'I hope that Mr Obama will move in the direction of change,' Mr Ahmadinejad said. At another point he said, 'The sources of insecurity around the world need to be discussed.' The US, Israel and the EU fear that Iran is using its nuclear programme to covertly develop nuclear weapons. But Teheran says the programme serves purely civilian purposes and asserts its right to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants to generate electricity.
... moreThe Iranian leader also said in a wide-ranging Associated Press interview Tuesday that he expects 'free and open' discussion of nuclear issues at a meeting next week with six world powers, but stressed that his country would not negotiate on its own nuclear plans.
He sought to open a wider nuclear dialogue with the West, and said the onus should be on the US and other major nuclear powers to give up their weapons and to expand opportunities for all countries to make peaceful use of nuclear power.
Speaking to AP reporters and editors just hours after arriving in the US, Mr Ahmadinejad said he will seek a quick resolution to the case of three American hikers jailed in Iran.
He dismissed last week's US shift away from a planned long-range missile shield in Europe, meant to guard against an Iranian strike, as 'a respectful way of buying out' Russian objections.
'I heard Mr Obama saying the next threat is Iran. Iran is an opportunity for everyone,' Mr Ahmadinejad said.
The Iranian leader said Mr Obama is not the first US president to believe Iran is a threat and said the president should read up on history 'to see what the fate is of viewing these problems from this perspective'. 'Historically, whoever made friends with Iran saw a lot of opportunities,' Mr Ahmadinejad said.
The Iranian president's remarks on those and other issues in an hour-long interview at his New York hotel appeared designed to present his country as open to a broad international dialogue and to soften Iran's image as a rogue nation bent on spreading its Islamic revolution.
Mr Ahmadinejad is in New York to address the General Assembly on Wednesday. Mr Obama is also speaking Wednesday.
Mr Ahmadinejad remained soft-spoken and almost completely still in his chair as he fielded questions on a wide range of controversies rankling Iran's relationship with the West. He would occasionally nod or offer a small smile, particularly when he appeared pleased with a point he had made, but the Iranian leader never gestured or raised his voice. A few questions prompted an animated flurry of conversation in Farsi among members of his delegation before he gave a response that was translated into English. -- AP

Post-grad course in aviation

NEW post-graduate programme in aviation management is now available - the latest in a growing number of tertiary courses that help cement Singapore's status as a training centre for the industry.
For a start, the Auston Institute of Management and Technology (AIMT) which is partnering Coventry University and Emirates Aviation College in the intiative, plans to offer 30 places a year, with potential to take this up to 150.
The 18-month part-time course for working adults, which was launched on Thursday, has attracted interest from potential students around the region, such as Australia, Thailand and Hong Kong.
It is targeted at executives and managers across the industry, as well as non-aviation professionals. The course will have three intakes each year, with plans for an initial intake of 30 students.
AIMT hopes to eventually take in 120-150 students a year.
The programme comes on top of the existing courses already offered by the universities, polytechnics and aviation training schools here, which churn out about 1,350 graduates each year. Related website

China’s Hu, Japan’s Hatoyama Agree to Extend Thaw in Relations

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- China’s President Hu Jintao and Japan’s new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed to push for closer ties between the two erstwhile enemies at their first meeting in New York.
“I hope and am convinced China-Japan ties will develop more actively, and enter a new phase,” Hu said yesterday, congratulating the Japanese leader on his election victory last month. Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan ended six decades of Liberal Democratic Party power, years that were often marked by frosty relations with China over Japan’s war record.
Hatoyama has urged closer ties with Japan’s Asian neighbors, and suggested to Hu the idea of an East Asian Community, modeled on the European Union. China and Japan agreed to work together to resolves differences that include disputes over energy resources in the East China Sea.
“I said we should make it a sea of fraternity instead of a sea of disputes,” Hatoyama said after meeting Hu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Hu agreed that the two countries should work toward friendship and cooperation, and that officials should begin negotiations on an agreement. Hu also invited Hatoyama to a Japan, China, South Korean summit in Beijing by December.
Hatoyama urged Hu to work on promoting public support for an accord with Japan.
Hu welcomed Hatoyama’s stance on history of Japan’s aggression during the World War II, according to Japanese government officials who briefed reporters. Hatoyama told Hu his administration will honor a 1995 statement in which Japan apologized for Japan’s aggression.
Hatoyama told reporters in August he won’t visit Yasukuni Shrine, where war criminals are enshrined among the dead, and will ask his Cabinet members to refrain from making visits.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visit to Yasukuni shrine from 2001 to 2006 aggravated bilateral ties. Relations with China had already been on the mend as none of Koizumi’s successors made the visits.
Bumpy diplomatic relations haven’t halted economic ties between China and Japan. Trade between Asia’s two biggest economies rose 13 percent to $266.3 billion in 2008, according to the Japan External Trade Organization.
Related website :

Japan's new government stands by whaling

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – Japan's new government urged Australia on Tuesday to help prevent violent attacks by activists on Japanese whalers as it stood by the country's traditional support for whaling, an official said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada met his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith on the sidelines of this year's UN General Assembly.
Okada was appointed last Wednesday when Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was sworn in at the head of his new center-left government after winning the country's elections.
The victorious Democratic Party of Japan formed a coalition government with two small parties under Hatoyama, ending half a century of almost uninterrupted rule by the country's conservative Liberal Democratic Party.
"During the meeting, our minister called for Australia's cooperation against groups like Sea Shepherd (Conservation Society), which resort to violent action," a Japanese foreign ministry official said.
Smith stopped short of replying to the request, only saying Australia wants to resolve the dispute through dialogue to avoid straining relations.
"Our minister did not clearly state that the new Japanese government supports whaling, but I understand that his remarks were quite in line with the stance held by our previous cabinet on the subject," the official said.
Anti-whaling nations led by Australia and New Zealand, as well as environmental groups, have attacked Japan for its annual whaling expeditions, including in Antarctic waters, criticizing them as cruel and unnecessary.
Japan hunts whales by using a loophole in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling that allows whales to be killed for "lethal research," and Tokyo often accuses western critics of insensitivity toward its culture.

Who gets the jam as Japan cuts road tolls?

At 6.05 on Saturday morning somewhere outside Tokyo everyone on the road began to feel majestically stupid. We wiggled awkwardly in our seats, delicately avoided eye-contact with other dupes and fiddled with air-conditioner settings that needed no adjusting.
All of us, burying our shame beneath iPod driving mixes and bags of chocolate raisins, knew exactly why we were sitting in the Great 2009 Tomei Expressway Jam. Like sailors we had been lured on to the rocks by two Sirens of the 21st century: economic stimulus and a sexy television newsreader.
“Leave your bed now and embrace the thrill of the open road — this chance will not come again for years,” the latter purred seductively. “Your epic highway adventure will cost you substantially less than it did two months ago,” oozed the stimulus Siren.
Both had a point. This week’s once-in-a-decade confluence of three Japanese national holidays guaranteed a binge of domestic travel, with the local media egging everyone to join. It was clear before any of us turned the ignition key that most of the lunacy would be road based. Japan’s new Government has extended indefinitely a scheme that removes much of the cost of its ruinous motorway tolls, and the Japanese are suckers for a bargain.
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By breakfast time, 10,000 freshly washed, gleaming cars (including mine) were ranged in a stagnant, fume-belching motorcade extending from the outskirts of Tokyo to the foot of Mount Fuji. Across Japan, motorway traffic turned solid and the Sirens cackled.
Conspiracy theory seeped with carbon monoxide through the air vents. Who benefits from this madness? Certainly not the environment, which is expected to receive another 8.4 million tonnes of CO2 from Japanese exhausts every year if tolls remain low. And probably not the economy, which relies heavily on goods moving quickly along the roads.
The only conceivable winners are businesses with exposure to people driving much, much more than they used to. For Toyota and Honda, the jollies may take years to work through. But for tyre-makers, the lucre is far more immediate. It is the sort of twist that must bring a smile to the face of Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s new Prime Minister, whose vast family wealth comes courtesy of Bridgestone, the world’s biggest tyre company.
A cheesy idea
Before much longer, for the sake of its future billing in the G7 show, Japan will have to come up with a plausible set of answers to the question “what is wrong with Switzerland?”. At first glance, for a disturbingly large proportion of Japanese, the question is rhetorical: the Swiss and Switzerland seem ideal.
The Swiss are conservative, stable, instinctively neutral and wealthy. They respect precision ball bearings, babbling brooks, snow-capped mountains and bearded old men who carve things from wood. Just like the Japanese, the Swiss make terrible wine, build first-class industrial robots and watch in resigned torment every year as their ski slopes groan under the weight of badly dressed foreigners.
The problem is that Japan’s politicians and business leaders have begun seriously contemplating the glühwein and cowbell approach to life. They wonder if Japan really needs to pursue growth or should stop where it is and be satisfied. If China’s rise is really so irresistible, and Japan is losing competitiveness as quickly as it seems, these patriarchs now reason aloud, what would be so bad about curling up in a role akin to Switzerland’s? Nobody would call on them to make big decisions, millions of tourists would visit for the clean air and mineral spas and they could be left alone to make brilliant robots and carve things out of wood.
The tiny snag with this is that it would be a diabolical betrayal of every Japanese person under 30. Slow Swissification may seem lovely to some, but it is a death sentence for everything Japan has puffed and panted to be since the Second World War. It may be hard to come up with reasons to despise the Swiss, but to trade in electronics for Emmental must be wrong.
On yer bike
In common with 3,000 other motorists, I briefly pulled out of the Great Tomei Expressway Jam to enjoy the Ebina motorway services. The extra-long weekend had brought out a fine collection of loonies, mostly on motorbikes. The gangs had organised themselves into tribes relating to their favourite bike-based film. One rather portly lot were in full Quadrophenia gear, while another was clearly modelled on the Hell’s Angels gang from Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way But Loose. But the joint prize for effort went to six couples who had to perfection the look of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, and two elderly gents who had poured themselves into the skin-tight fatigues of the 1970s television police drama CHiPs.
But Japan can be confident it has not yet turned Swiss. There was a barbed wire fence round the motorway services, but no wannabe Steve McQueen making his great escape to neutral territory.

Al Gore praises China, Japan climate leadership

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – Former US vice president and environmental activist Al Gore on Tuesday hailed China and Japan for providing global leadership in tackling climate change.
Speaking at a special UN summit on climate change, the Nobel laureate praised statements made by both Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
"I think that China has provided impressive leadership," Gore told reporters.
Predicting that China would take further action if global negotiations on a new treaty succeed, Gore said: "I think the glass is very much half full with China.
"It's not widely known in the rest of the world but China in each of the last two years has planted two and half times more trees than the entire rest of the world put together," he said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao said that the world's largest developing economy was ready to slow down emissions by a "notable margin." But he said emissions would be measured in terms of China's growth and did not provide a figure.
The United States has led rich nations in demanding that China and other developing nations commit to action in a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, whose requirements on rich states to cut emissions expire in 2012.
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, making his first international appearance since his center-left government took charge, confirmed to the summit that the world's second largest economy would ramp up its commitments.
He pledged that Japan would cut emissions by 25 percent by 2020 compared with the 1990 level, a goal far more ambitious than the previous government's eight percent.
Gore described Hatoyama's speech as "terrific" and said he was "encouraged by his pledge to step up assistance for developing nations.
"Japan, along with the European Union, has provided tremendous political leadership over the past decade in keeping the world on track toward progress involving the climate crisis," he said.

Details on how Japan's dolphin catches work

Dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, have drawn strong protests from animal rights groups, their supporters and foreign media over what they call the brutality of the traditional hunt.
In addition, animal activists are warning of the potentially dangerously high levels of methyl mercury in dolphin meat. Methyl mercury was behind deadly Minamata disease in Japan in the 1950s and '60s.
Meanwhile, fishermen and the government question why slaughtering dolphins is considered brutal when cows, chickens, fish and other edible animals meet the same fate.
How are dolphins hunted, killed and eaten in Japan? Is eating them really dangerous?
Here are some basic questions and answers:
How many dolphins are caught in Japan and where are they hunted?
According to the Fisheries Research Agency, 13,067 dolphins were caught in 2007. Of them, 10,218, or 78 percent, were caught in Iwate Prefecture, 1,623 in Wakayama, 885 in Hokkaido, 254 in Miyagi and 87 in Okinawa.
The amount has been decreasing in recent years. It was 13,751 in 2006, down from 16,012 in 2005. Iwate has always accounted for about 80 percent of the catch.
The Fisheries Agency sets a quota for each prefecture. Dolphins do not fall under the purview of the International Whaling Commission, said Hideaki Okada of the Fisheries Agency.
How are dolphins caught?
In Taiji, fishermen herd them into a small cove by banging iron pipes and then harpoon them. They also take some dolphins alive for sale to aquariums.
Elsewhere in Japan, fishermen hunt them in coastal waters.
On Sept. 9, fishermen in Taiji caught about 100 bottlenose dolphins and 50 pilot whales in their first seasonal hunt. They planned to sell 40 to 50 dolphins to aquariums and released the rest amid international criticism. The whales were slaughtered. What the fishermen will do in their next hunt remains to be seen.
Facing international criticism, will the Fisheries Agency change its stance on catching dolphins?
Probably not. The agency allows fishermen to catch dolphins to keep the animals' numbers from increasing or decreasing too rapidly, according to Okada.
He also rejected the argument that dolphin slaughters in Taiji are brutal.
"We think killing dolphins is no different from killing cows and pigs. We will reconsider how to kill dolphins if killing methods are a problem," Okada said.
What happens to captured dolphins?
About 99 percent are slaughtered for food. The rest are sold to aquariums in and outside Japan, Akio Usagawa, chairman of the Taiji International Friendship Association, said.
Only in Taiji are dolphins caught alive, according to Yasushi Shimamura of the Resource Management Division of the Wakayama Prefectural Government.
Where is dolphin meat eaten in Japan?
Most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat, although elderly people are likely to have eaten whale. Many would be surprised to learn of the custom of eating dolphin meat in some rural areas of Japan.
No official data showing places of consumption is available, but Dolphin Fisheries Cooperative official Shiro Sato in Iwate said most of the dolphins caught there are transported outside the prefecture.
A Taiji Fisheries Cooperative official, who declined to be named, said the meat is consumed both inside and outside Wakayama Prefecture.
Dolphins are also eaten in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture, although no local fishermen reportedly catch dolphins these days.
In Ito, eastern Shizuoka, fishermen caught dolphins for hundreds of years, which is why people there are accustomed to eating the meat even though the animals have not been caught there since 2004, according to dolphin meat dealers in eastern Shizuoka.
Yoshihide Suzuki of Samasa Suisan, a fish wholesaler based in Numazu, eastern Shizuoka, said his company buys dolphin meat from Iwate. The company sells seafood to fish retailers and supermarkets.
How is dolphin meat cooked and how much does it cost?
Masahiko Yamazaki of Nagahama Suisan, a fish retailer in Ito, said dolphin meat is typically stewed with miso, carrots and devil's tongue ("konnyaku"). Grilling dolphin steaks in soy sauce is also popular, he said.
The retail price of dolphin meat is between ¥100 and ¥200 per 100 grams, he said.
How much mercury does dolphin meat contain and how dangerous is it?
The amount of accumulated methyl mercury differs depending on the kind of dolphin, but the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry says that the levels in general don't pose any immediate danger to ordinary consumers, although pregnant women or women who may get pregnant soon are advised not to eat it often.
According to research conducted by the ministry, which checked 9,700 fish of 400 different types in the early 2000s with assistance from the Fisheries Agency and local governments, "ishi-iruka," or harbor porpoise, the type of dolphin caught in Iwate, Hokkaido and Miyagi prefectures, and which accounts for 96 percent of dolphins caught in Japan, have lower levels of methyl mercury than several other fish commonly eaten by Japanese people, such as "kuro-maguro," or Pacific bluefin tuna, and "kinmedai," or splendid alfonsino.
According to a 2005 ministry study, the methyl mercury level of harbor porpoises was 0.37 parts per million.
Meanwhile, the mercury level of "bando-iruka," or bottlenose dolphins, was much higher at 6.622 ppm.
The ministry recommends that pregnant women or those likely to become pregnant soon should not eat bottlenose dolphin meat more than once every two months, in amounts of 60 to 80 grams.
Then why do some experts and animal activists argue eating dolphin meat is dangerous and that it shouldn't be sold?
They point out that accumulated methyl mercury in dolphin meat exceeds "the provisional regulatory level" of 0.3 ppm set by the health ministry for fish and shellfish in general, based on a 1973 notice to local governments and municipalities.
According to the 2005 study, the level of methyl mercury in bottlenose dolphin meat was particularly high at 22 times the advised level. In Wakayama Prefecture, 320 bottlenose dolphins were slaughtered in 2007, according to the Fisheries Research Agency.
However, health ministry official Haruki Deguchi said the 1973 notice does not apply to dolphin meat because individuals rarely eat it often and the ministry has already publicized information concerning how much and how frequently it should be eaten.
With the notice, the health ministry has requested local governments to take measures urging retailers, wholesalers and fishermen not to sell sea animals containing methyl mercury higher than 0.3 ppm because consumption over a long period of time could cause health problems such as Minamata disease.
I can't trust the Japanese government. Is there any advice from a third party?
The Japan Consumers' Cooperative Union, the nation's largest cooperative organization, advises consumers not to eat the meat of dolphins, whales, tuna, shark and deep-sea fish more than twice a week, in amounts of 100 to 200 grams each time, because they contain relatively high levels of mercury, according to the co-op's Web site.
It specifically points out that dolphin meat "contains particularly high levels of methyl mercury" and advises consumers "to enjoy eating them only on very rare occasions."
Why are pregnant women in particular advised not to eat dolphin meat?
According to a 2005 warning by the health ministry, fetuses cannot easily eliminate methyl mercury, whereas adults and children can.
Women who breast-feed should not be concerned because their milk contains very tiny amounts of mercury, according to the release.
Will the health ministry change its regulations on dolphin meat consumption because of criticism by international animal protection groups?
Probably not. The ministry says no regulation changes are urgently required.
"The criticism does not affect the health risk of residents in Japan. We do not have to change our stance just because animal protection groups say something," Kenji Urakami of the ministry's Standards and Evaluation Division said.

'Konkatsu' marriage activity businesses booming

Whatever you may have thought about former Prime Minister Aso Taro, what were called gaffes were most often his simple-minded verbalization of what a lot of Japanese still think. Typical of this was an address he made shortly before the recent national election to a group of university students.
He was asked by one student if financial fears weren’t a major reason for people to get married later and thereby contributing to the falling birthrate. Aso in his usual forthright style said that he reckoned young people without money should indeed wait to get married, because it would be difficult for their partners to respect them otherwise.
Forget about love and all that soppy stuff! Alas poor Taro, he was seldom politically correct.
But financial fears about the future do indeed appear to be one of the major reasons why people are taking longer to get married. If you track the birthrate and the financial condition of Japan over the last 10 years, the correlation is very close. Fundamentally, the bottoming out and slight recovery of the fertility rate over the last three years to 1.37 kids per couple appears to be due to the improvement in the economy during the period 2005 through 2007—allowing some lag for people to gain confidence about their futures and dream of having a happy family.
Granted, there may be other reasons for the lower birthrate, but they don’t track so closely as does the economy.
However, after three relatively strong years, the Lehman Shock of last year caused reality to bite hard again, and now many young people not only face the depressing prospect of low salaries (according to NHK, more than 80% of those under 35 years old now make LESS than 2 million yen a year!) but also fear even keeping the unfulfilling jobs they already have. As their lives are impacted, I’m pretty sure that the birthrate will take another dive again from next year.
These financial fears are well founded. In fact, it costs about 30 million yen to raise and send a child to school (until they graduate from university) these days, which is about as much disposable income as many families can expect to earn in their lifetimes if the mother is a full-time housewife. You want two kids? Well forget about it—you need to either be rich or living out on a farm under the same roof as your parents and your foreign wife (statistically an Asian wife, if you’re a farmer boy).
But not having the confidence in one’s financial future doesn’t stop you from being lonely, and this seems to be the case with many young and middle-aged people in Japan. As a result, the dating business is booming.
But these days it’s dating with a purpose—to get married, not the old-fashioned idea of joining with friends to have fun and see where it goes (that activity is called a “gokon“).
The new performance dating is called “konkatsu” or “kekkon katsudo,” meaning “marriage activities” and comes from a term coined from a 2008 book by sociologist Masahiro Yamada—the same guy who came up with the cute term “parasite singles.” With “konkatsu,” he was referring to a growing number of singles who are not making enough money to provide a decent future for their mate, and thus those wanting to get married are having to focus on financial and emotional preparation.
Sounds desperate doesn’t it? And to a certain extent it is—but the connotations of inadequacy don’t seem to impact the ongoing popularity of “konkatsu” parties. Indeed, as some commentators have remarked, since the term “konkatsu” derives from the term job hunting (“shushoku katsudo“), it seems to connote the same resignation of getting results that one might normally reserve for job hunting.
So as a result, it’s somehow become trendy to be slightly desperate and determined. Although as one matchmaking owner says, it appears that the most enthusiastic marriage seekers still tend to be women in their late 30s who are sensitive to their biological clocks ticking away.
I thought the “konkatsu” trend would quickly hit its peak at the end of last year, when several TV dramas on Fuji and NHK showed the situation of aging singles (typically cast as women in their late 30s and men in their early 40s) becoming more obsessed with getting married so as to not grow old alone, or to miss the chance to have kids before it is too late. But in fact, rather than dying off as so many other fads in Japan do, this one appears to be gaining pace.
According to a Nikkei report, a 2007-2008 survey by Tokyo University’s Institute of Social Science reckons that older singles rely less on friends and networking to find a mate and turn more to professional matchmaking services such as “konkatsu” party organizers. The 2005 census statistics have 47% of men aged 30-34 still being unmarried and 32% of women. You can be sure that the 2008 number is at least as high.
“Konkatsu” is a growing business. After the popularity of the “konkatsu” TV dramas, leading matchmaking company Zwei said it had a 20% jump in inquiries and its membership has now risen to around 40,000. Zwei had sales of 4.4 billion yen in 2008, and a net profit of 321 million yen, up 9% over last year. This may not sound like a lot, but Zwei is spending large sums on advertising and clearly is on a roll recently. Their share price has surged 40% in the last six months. I saw them advertising on a rail-side hording today, alongside parent company Aeon.
There are literally thousands of companies getting in on the “konkatsu” act. One company that I spoke to in Shinjuku said that they have 20,000 members, about 1/3 of whom show up to parties every month. Indeed, they have members who have subscribed for five years or more and who still regularly attend parties but who remain unmarried. I felt like asking them “What’s the point?” but that wouldn’t have been polite.
Anyway, the average fee per party is 5,000 yen for men and 3,500 yen for women, and since this company like many others uses regularly booked venues multiple times a week, a well-rehearsed master of ceremonies, and modest drinks and finger food, its costs are low and profits high. They seem to be doing well—although they were complaining about increasing competition.
So is “konkatsu” working? Well, there were 726,000 marriages in 2008, up about 6,000 over the year before. However, given that 2008 was a leap year, in fact this represents just two day’s worth of extra marriages—not a statistically meaningful amount. My guess is that the dating bit will continue, but the reality of peoples’ financial situations means that marriage rates and eventually fertility rates won’t improve until the economy does. Related website :

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama addresses the Summit

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama addresses the Summit on Climate Change at United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

Thieves net Y6.7 million in 2 burglaries

Thieves made off with safes containing a total of 6.7 million yen in two burglaries early Wednesday, targeting a supermarket in Kanagawa Prefecture and a restaurant in Aichi Prefecture, police said. In Kanagawa, the roof and walls around the employees’ entrance of a supermarket in the city of Ebina were smashed apparently by heavy machinery equipment and a safe containing about 2.7 million yen was found to have disappeared, police said.A nearby resident reported to the police around 3:20 a.m. that what appeared to be the arm of a piece of heavy machinery equipment was sticking out of the supermarket building. The arm is about 4 meters long. A truck was also found nearby.The resident saw several people with dark-colored knit hats and masks driving away from the site, the police said.In Aichi, meanwhile, an alarm went off at around 3:15 a.m. at a restaurant in the city of Nisshin, and security guards found a safe containing about 4 million yen missing from the employees’ break room.The safe was 35 centimeters in width and 45 cm in length, weighing about 30 kilograms. The back door of the restaurant had been forced open, police said.

Jewish groups urge theater to cancel Fassbinder premiere

The planned German premiere of a play by late filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder has drawn strong protests from German Jewish groups, who say the piece reinforces stereotypes.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany urged director Roberto Ciulli not to forge ahead with Rainer Werner Fassbinder's play "The Garbage, the City and Death," saying the piece was anti-Semitic.
Ciulli rejected the demand. "This is not an anti-Semitic piece, but one that addresses the subject of anti-Semitism," he said, stressing the "autonomy of theatric art." He stressed that the play would premiere, as planned, on October 1 at his theater in the western Germany city of Muelheim. It is slated to be one of three works by Fassbinder to be shown in a three-hour evening performance set.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The play presents cliches, some Jewish leaders say
Play staged in New York, Tel Aviv
The play has never been performed in Germany, but has been staged in New York, Tel Aviv and European cities.
Jewish groups said the play revived stereotypes of Jews, with one main character being a "rich Jew" who amasses great wealth through property speculation. In the piece, the man regularly visits a prostitute, whose father was a Nazi during the Third Reich and co-responsible for the decimation of Jews.
The prostitute becomes an object for the Jew's revenge; her murder is ultimately covered up by the police. Murder, brutal homosexuality and sexual and psychic perversions are all part of the play, which was written in 1975.
The "usual cliches"
The Central Council of Jews said the play presented characters "as stereotypes burdened with the usual cliches," and said the piece should not be staged "out of respect for the small number of Holocaust survivors and the millions who died."
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Fassbinder was known for his shocking works
The play was originally scheduled to be performed in Frankfurt in1985, but was cancelled when protestors and members of the Central Council of Jews - wearing concentration camp prisoner garb - stormed the stage, rejecting the presentation of a Jew as murderer. Another attempt to stage the play in Berlin 13 years later was likewise abandoned.
This is not the first time works by the late Fassbinder have unnerved audiences. The writer and director is known for his socially critical works, and is most famous for his film "The Marriage of Maria Braun." He died in 1982 at the age of 37 from heart failure related to drugs.

Court imposes fine for racist slur against soccer player

German court has fined a 32-year-old man for a racist poster campaign against soccer player Gerald Asamoah in the run-up to the World Cup in 2006.

The district court in Rottweil sentenced the man to pay a fine of 3,000 euros ($4,400).
"The defendant's point was to defame people of color against those with white skin," said Michael Zange, the chief judge at the district court in Rottweil.
In the run-up to the World Cup, held in Germany in 2006, right-wing extremist posters appeared in Freudenstadt and the Zollernalb district south of Stuttgart comparing Asamoah to an ape. Asamoah, who was born in Ghana, played on the national team, at the time.
A local court in Horb and the Rottweil district court had previously sentenced the defendant to a fine of 1,200 euros. The man, who claimed he was innocent, then appealed to the higher regional court in Stuttgart. In May 2009, it ruled that the previous sentences for insulting the player had been too light and remanded the case back to Rottweil to be reheard as incitement to a hate-crime.
Asamoah currently plays for German Bundesliga first division team FC Schalke 04.

Adidas and Puma bury hatchet after more than 60 years

Employees of Germany's rival sportswear companies Adidas and Puma symbollically ended the firms' 60-year-old family feud on Monday with a friendly football match to mark the UN-backed Peace One Day initiative.

The game, in which employees of both firms played in both teams, included board chairmen Herbert Hainer of Adidas and Jochen Zeitz of Puma and was played in the small northern Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg, where both companies maintain their headquarters. Hainer played in attack, while Zeitz was goalkeeper.
The game was meant to bring a symbolic end to one of Germany's most infamous family feuds, which began in 1948 when a row between brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler split the family sportswear business, already a major supplier in the field, into two camps. Rudolf founded Puma in 1948, while Adolf, or Adi, Dassler founded Adidas in 1949. Their rivalry divided the Dasslers' home town of 23,000 people, where competing factories were built on opposite sides of the Aurach river.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Adidas provides the soccer balls for the World Cup
Skeletons in the sportswear closet
There are plenty of rumors about the cause of the split, including the story that Rudolf had an affair with Adolf's wife Kaethe in 1940. Monday's football match was the first conciliatory gesture between the two companies, even though neither has belonged to the Dassler family for years.
Both companies have become international leaders in the sportswear field, with Puma signing a sponsorship deal with record-breaking sprinter Usain Bolt. For its part, Adidas recently extended its partnership with the football organization UEFA, providing equipment for all international football tournaments until 2017. According to the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt, Adidas is currently the second biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world behind Nike, while Puma is third.
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EU court advisor supports Google's sale of brand-based Internet ads

An advisor to the EU's highest court says Google's sale of trademark keywords to advertisers does not infringe European Union laws. But France's Louis Vuitton complains the ads link to sites selling counterfeit products.

Despite finding that the US-based Internet search company had not broken European Union laws by selling ads that make use of trademarked terms, Tuesday's non-binding opinion by Advocate General Poiares Maduro said national courts could still take issue with Google's AdWords advertising service.

The case pits Google against French luxury products group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), which argued that some AdWords advertisements point to the sale of counterfeit products.

"Advocate General Poiares Maduro considers that Google has not infringed trade mark rights by allowing advertisers to buy keywords corresponding to registered trade marks," read a statement from European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court.

When Internet surfers use Google to search for keywords, the world's most popular search engine provides a list of relevant links, as well as advertisements on the right-hand side of the screen, which Google auctions to the highest bidder for a particular search term.

Louis Vuitton has objected to such a practice claiming that it violates its trademark. The advertiser's often less well-known name appears under a heading "sponsored links" next to the well-known brands.

Internet users expect ads

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: LVMH didn't like seeing its links next to cheap rip-offs
Google "has not committed a trademark infringement by allowing advertisers to select, in AdWords, keywords corresponding to trademarks," Maduro said.

When selecting keywords, no product or service is being sold to the public, he said in the opinion, adding that consumers are aware of the fact that their searches will not provide only a link to the owner's Web site.

Accordingly, Internet users' access to information concerning the trademark should not be limited by the trademark owner, "even if it involves a trademark which has a reputation," the advocate general said.

Google lawyer Harjinder Obhi said the company noted the advocate general's opinion and was waiting for the European Court of Justice ruling, expected to come in a few months.

"We believe that selecting a keyword to trigger the display of an ad does not amount to trademark infringement, and that consumers benefit from seeing more relevant information rather than less," he said in a statement. "We also believe that consumers are smart and are not confused when they see a variety of ads displayed in response to their search queries."

Maduro pointed out that while the search engine is "a neutral information vehicle" applying "objective criteria" in order to generate the most relevant sites to the keywords entered, that is not the case with AdWords, "where Google has a direct pecuniary interest in Internet users clicking on the ads' link."

Consequently, national courts can decide whether content featured in AdWords does indeed violate a country's trademark rules.

The advocate general's opinion is non-binding but is generally followed by European courts.

United Nations meeting features Obama, Gadhafi and a host of pressing issues

Debate at the 64th annual session of the UN kicks off on Wednesday. Experts say much of the attention will be focused on two prominent and very different leaders - Barack Obama and Muammar Gadhafi.

On the agenda as both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council convene in New York City are issues ranging from climate change and hunger to nuclear proliferation and structural reform of the institution itself.

One of the highlights will be Barack Obama's address to the 192-member Assembly on Wednesday, his first speech to that body since becoming US President.

"I hope we can demonstrate that the United Nations does not have to be just a diplomatic talkshop on First Avenue," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in advance of Obama's address.

Experts anticipate that Obama will put a clear end to his predecessor George W. Bush's disregard toward the UN as a means of multinational cooperation.

"We expect there will be a new position from the US vis-à-vis the United Nations and that relations will be much more constructive than under Bush," Sven Bernhard Gareis, Professor of Political Science at the University of Muenster, told Deutsche Welle. "As the leader of the world's most powerful nation, he won't allow himself to be constrained, but he will come out in favor of the principle of multilateralism."

But Obama's efforts to turn US policy may be hindered by the man following him on the podium in New York, Libyan President Muammar Gadhafi. He is making his first visit to the UN in his 40-year rule.

Controversy brewing?

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The General Assembly opened a week ago, but the tough talk commences on Wednesday
Libya holds the General Assembly's rotating presidency and also currently sits on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.

As a head-of-state accused of sponsoring terrorism in the past, Gadhafi is hardly the obvious choice for the role of international mediator. And the hero's welcome recently given in Libya to the mastermind of the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing, after he was released from a British prison, hardly assuaged skeptics.

Nonetheless, some experts say Libya - and its leader - can play a constructive role in international dialogue.

"The fact that Libya can take over such an office is part of the normal functioning of the world," Gareis said. "There was a lot of protest when Libya took over the UN human rights commission in 2003, but they did the job in orderly fashion. That was a sign that Libya has begun to abide by international rules."

Since the late 1990s, Libya has pursued a course of reconciliation with the West. Gadhafi has consistently opposed al Qaeda, and in 2003, Libya began dismantling its weapons of mass destruction program.

But as the past has shown, the Libyan leader is often good for surprises.

"Gadhafi is predictably unpredictable, so I think we'll see a lot that's unexpected and a lot of provocation," Isabelle Werenfels, a North Africa expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told Deutsche Welle. "There could be a lot of suggestions that are - to put things diplomatically - controversial."

For that reason, Obama advisors reportedly have been working behind the scenes to ensure the UN's scheduling doesn't make the US President and the Libyan leader appear too chummy.

Nuclear disarmament restart

Bildunterschrift: Nuclear disarmament - and not just non-proliferation - is back on the agenda

But Obama and Gadhafi will encounter one another again at the UN Security Council on Thursday. Obama is set to become the first US President to chair a summit of this body and all of the 12 heads of state are expected to attend.

The Security Council gathering, which will focus on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, could be the most productive part of the entire UN meeting. Experts say a recent decision by the Obama administration provides an extremely positive signal going into the summit.

"The US discontinuation of its proposed missile shield program in Eastern Europe is a major kick-start for discussions about making the world nuclear-free," Gareis said.

In the past, many UN member states have complained that the body has focused too much on nuclear non-proliferation, particularly where Iran and North Korea are concerned, while ignoring the issue of disarmament among the world's major military powers, including the US, Russia and China.

Change on climate

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Widespread droughts are just one of the negative effects feared from climate change
Clearly, world leaders are anticipating change from Obama. And they got a preview of how extensive that change could be on Tuesday, when the US President addressed a special UN summit on the subject of climate protection.

"The security and stability of each nation and all peoples - our prosperity, our health, our safety - are in jeopardy," Obama said. "And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out."

Obama said he would discuss measures to phase out fossil fuel subsidies when he met with the heads of the world's leading economies later this week at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. But he did not propose any major new US initiative on climate change.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told the climate summit that China would work more closely on developing renewable energy. He said the country was ready to slow down emissions by "a notable margin." But he failed to name specific figures.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama pledged to give more aid to help developing countries deal with climate change and repeated his intention of reducing Japanese greenhouse gasses 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

The climate summit comes ahead of a major UN climate conference to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December.

Author: Jefferson Chase
Editor: Rick Demarest

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ty ends above 5000, at 16-mth high; HDFC up 5%

The Nifty maintained its uptrend for the fifth consecutive session and closed above the 5,000 mark for the first time since May 22, 2008 i.e. at 16-month high. The benchmark indices gained over 4% in five days.
Buying in financial, technology, power, pharma, auto and oil marketing companies' shares helped the markets to stay on the higher side throughout the session. Over 0.9% gain in European markets and 0.6% upside in US index futures were also supportive to the indices.
However, selling in oil & gas exploration and select metal stocks capped the gains. Bharti Airtel was down 3%.
The 30-share BSE Sensex closed at 16,886.43, up 145.13 points or 0.87% over its previous close. The 50-share NSE Nifty went up 0.89% or 44.15 points, to settle at 5020.20. The broader indices also followed the same trend, rose 0.7-1%.
The Nifty September futures ended with 2.8 points premium, as per provisional data. The Nifty put-call ratio inched up to 1.81, as Nifty September 5000 Put added 10.4 lakh shares in OI (open interest), September 5100 Call added 7.9 lakh shares in OI and 5100 Put added 5.9 lakh shares in OI.
October series witnessed highest OI at 4800 Put and 5300 Call. Auto, capital goods, power and infra stocks witnessed decent rollovers.
Technical Analyst, Ashwani Gujral advised to take at least 50% of profit. "October Nifty is trading at 20 points premium, put-call ratio is near all-time high. It’s prudent to take at least 50% of your profit and look for any weakness to go short on the market. Because you had a 10% rally from 4,580 up to 5,050 almost. So it’s a 500 points rally, so at least you know you need to take money off the table at least on individual stocks, it’s very difficult to get follow through from here."
Independent Analyst, K Ramchandran said he was pretty cautious on the market. "I believe there are no incremental triggers at this point of time to take the market on a sustainable basis to higher levels. He also said, "Any serious correction will take along with it all the sectors and particularly the high beta stocks which have been buzzing around in the last few sessions

All in the family: Dynasty part of Indian politics

The love of dynasties seems to unite both the BJP and the Congress in Maharashtra, with several sons and daughters being given tickets for the upcoming Assembly polls. But the ticket that has raised the most eyebrows is that which has been given to President Pratibha Patil's son. He is now set to be the Congress candidate from Amravati.
Rajendra Shekhawat is the second son in Indian history to be fighting elections whose parent is a sitting president. The first one to do so was V Shankar Giri, son of the president VV Giri who fought and won on a Congress ticket from Madhya Pradesh in the early '70s.
Shekhawat is making his electoral debut in style - ensuring the exit of four-time sitting MLA, state Finance Minister Sunil Deskhmukh, from the seat.
CNN-IBN's Face The Nation debated: President's son to fight polls: Is dynasty firmly entrenched in politics now?
To try and answer the question on the panel of experts were Spokesperson Maharashtra Congress, Anant Gadgil; NCP leader, Jitendra Awhad; MP and BJP Spokesperson, Rajiv Pratap Rudy; and Political Editor Hindustan Times, Vinod Sharma.