India`s first defence satellite GSAT-7 launchedIndia`s first defence satellite GSAT-7 was successfully launched early today by European Space Agency`s (ESA) Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.
"India`s advanced multi-band communication satellite, GSAT-7, was successfully launched at 0200 hrs IST today by the Ariane-5 launch vehicle of Arianespace. Ariane-5 precisely placed GSAT-7 into the intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) 36,000 km from above the earth after a flight of 34 minutes 25 seconds duration," the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
The Indian Navy is the beneficiary of this Rs 185-crore state-of-the art satellite which is expected to be operational by September end.
The frequency bands of GSAT-7 will help space-based marine communications. It has coverage over India landmass as well as surrounding seas.
According to ISRO, GSAT-7 is an advanced communication satellite to provide wide range of service spectrum from low bit rate voice to high bit rate data communication. Its payload is designed to provide communication capabilities to users over a wide oceanic region including the Indian land-mass.
The launch cost for ISRO is around Rs 470 crore, including insurance. ISRO cannot launch heavy satellites like GSAT-7 as its home-grown GSLV rocket, with indigenous cryogenic stage, is still at works and needs two successful flights before it is declared operational.
UK MPs reject Syria action plan, US may act unilaterallyIn a major diplomatic victory for the authoritarian Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad, British lawmakers on Thursday voted against a government motion on military action against Syria after an eight-hour intense debate.
The motion moved by the government of Prime Minister David Cameron was defeated by 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes.
The rejection of the government motion is a major blow UK Prime Minister David Cameron in his efforts for a "strong humanitarian response" to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.
Minutes after the shock result, Cameron told lawmakers, "It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the government will act accordingly."
Cameron`s defeat raises the prospects that the United States could act alone against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which it blames for horrific poison gas attacks that are believed to have killed hundreds in the suburbs of Damascus last week.
Rupee sinks to new low of 68.85The rupee Wednesday collapsed to a lifetime low of 68.85 against the dollar and closed at 68.80, registering its biggest single-day loss of 256 paise, as global oil prices jumped, deepening concerns about the current account deficit and capital outflows.
Consistent dollar demand from banks and importers, mainly oil refiners, following higher crude oil prices, kept the rupee under pressure.
At the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee opened at 66.90 a dollar against 66.24 previously and dropped to 68.75 in late morning deals. It recovered some ground in the afternoon after the central bank was said to have intervened but dropped to an all-time intra-day low of 68.85 before ending at 68.80, a fall of 256 paise or 3.86 percent.
In three trading days in a row, the rupee has lost 560 paise, or 8.86 percent, against the dollar. So far in August, it has tanked by 840 paise, or about 14 percent, and in the current year by 1,381 paise or over 25 percent.
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid to play in Champions League T20Sachin Tendulkar, who announced his retirement from the Indian Premier League after his side clinched their maiden IPL title in 2013, is likely to play the upcoming Champions League Twenty 20 tournament.
The teams announced their squads for the upcoming tournament on Friday on the Champions League T20 website.
Rahul Dravid’s name was also present in the Rajasthan Royals squad and the Champions League could be the last T20 tournament for ‘The Wall’ before he announces his retirement from all forms of cricket.
The Mumbai Indians squad however didn’t have Ricky Ponting who had captained the side in the first few matches of the 2013 season.
IBL: Awadhe Warriors defeat Mumbai Masters in semis, to play Hyderabad in finalAwadhe Warriors brother-sister pair of Markis Kido and Pia Bernadeth won the crucial fifth match and the tie 3-2 against Mumbai Masters in the second semi-final of the Indian Badminton League at Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Thursday.
The result of the second semis went into the fifth match where the Awadhe Warriors pair, one of the best in the tournament, edged past the Russian pair in straight sets 21-19, 21-15.
Earlier in the day, World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei got Mumbai Masters to a great start in the tie as he defeated Awadhe Warriors’ RMV Gurusai Dutt 21-15, 21-7.
In the women’s singles match, rising Indian shuttler PV Sindhu defeated Tine Baun in straight sets 21-16, 21-13. With this win, the 18-year-old also levelled the tie at 1-1.
Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel wins Belgian Grand PrixRed Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday. It’s the German’s fifth victory of the season.
But the most impressive driver at today`s Belgian GP was undoubtedly the Spaniard, Fernando Alonso.
Alonso started of ninth on the grid but scything past the field to finish at the podium and that too behind the race winner.
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who started the race from pole finished third on the podium.
Nico Rosberg came home fourth ahead of Mark Webber, while Jenson Button finished as he started in sixth.
The Ashes 2013: England players apologise for their ‘Monty’ actIn a statement issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the England team has finally accepted that it got carried away by the Ashes win, and the celebration went too over-the-top, at The Oval in London.
The team has claimed that the act was a simple error of judgment.
“We apologise for that and want to reassure people that it was a simple error of judgement more than anything else," the players said.
It was reported on Monday that Stuart Broad, Kevin Pietersen and James Anderson urinated on The Oval pitch while being cheered by team-mates.
Kareena Kapoor does not want husband Saif Ali Khan to kiss!Kareena and Saif have made a policy that they won’t be kissing their respective on-screen partners. This explains why Kareena refused to kiss Emraan Hashmi in her upcoming film with him and even made it clear that she won’t lock lips with Hrithik Roshan in Karan Johar’s ‘Shuddhi’.
Just a few days back, during a script narration session for a film Saif is supposed work on, Kareena too was present on the spot. When it was revealed that the script had a kissing scene, Kareena put forth her disapproval by giving a politically correct reply.
Well, Kareena simply said that since she does not kiss on screen, then why should Saif do the same? Convinced with her point, Saif duly asked the writers to rework on the script to remove the scene altogether.
In the past, and before marriage to be precise, Saif has kissed Deepika Padukone in ‘Love Aaj Kal’ and Kareena has kissed Akshay Kumar in ‘Kambakht Ishq’.
Neither Salman Khan’s family nor Ranbir Kapoor at Katrina’s sister’s weddingKatrina Kaif, who was away from work for a few days to attend her sister Natacha’s wedding in London, had invited Salman Khan’s family to be party to the celebrations. But the Khan clan chose to avoid the wedding festivities.
An online entertainment tabloid reports that although the wedding was a small affair, Katrina had sent invitations to the Khan family too, for her association with them had been long and deep. Naturally, Salman’s sisters would have also been invited to the wedding as they have been friends with Kat. But it turned out that the Khan sisters – Alvira and Arpita – chose to not attend the wedding for reasons best known to them.
Even Kat’s alleged beau Ranbir Kapoor could not make his presence felt on the D-Day but he made up for his absence by sending a nice wedding gift to Kat’s sis Natacha.
Natacha’s wedding was a great reason for Katrina to keep herself away from the wagging tongues about her relationship with Ranbir ever since the Spain beach holiday pictures hit the newsstands. There was a lot of buzz around her alleged affair with the Kapoor boy which had apparently irked Katrina.
Actress Loveleen Kaur assaulted as bystanders watchCrime against women seems to have reached a new high in Mumbai. Days after horrific gang-rape of a photojournalist, Television actress Loveleen Kaur and her friend were assaulted on Wednesday while trying to save a purse, while the crowd remained mute spectators.
Kaur, who was travelling in an auto rickshaw, reportedly had her purse snatched, and as she and her friend chased the culprit, the duo were beaten up by two other men who joined the snatcher. A daily further reports that a small crowd had gathered, but no one came forward to help the girls who fended themselves from the assaulters.
The apathy of the bystanders was quite shocking as the incident happened in a brightly lit, crowded area near the Oshiwara Junction here.
The actress was finally helped by the local police stationed nearby who heard her cries for help, said the daily. While two of the suspects have already been arrested, the third man managed to escape. The actress has suffered some minor injuries during the mugging and has been taken to a nearby hospital.
India’s GDP grows at 4.4% in June quarter, lowest in four yearsWith no sign of the economy recovering, India’s GDP for the June quarter grew by 4.4 percent, the lowest in the last four years.
The country’s economy had grown by 5.4 percent in same period of the previous fiscal.
India’s economy grew declined to 5 percent in 2012-13 from 6.2 percent in 2011-12. The economy had grown by 8 percent for two consecutive years prior to that.
While manufacturing and mining sectors have been one of the reasons behind the fall in the GDP, the fall in rupee, which hit a record low of 68.85 earlier this week, is seen as one of the major factors too.
Addressing the Parliament on Friday prior to the announcement of the GDP growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the country on the rupee and economy stating that the economy would grow by 5.5 percent in the current fiscal.
Gold prices soar to all-time high of Rs 35,074 per 10 gmExtending its earlier rally, gold price hit fresh all-time high of Rs 35,074 per ten grams in futures trade Wednesday on heavy buying as rupee plunged to its new record low of 68.85 against the US dollar.
Market participants also enlarged their positions in line with a firming trend overseas.
At the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), gold for delivery in October gained further by Rs 1,359 to Rs 35,074 per ten grams as against its previous close of Rs 33,715.
Similarly, silver for delivery in September spurted by Rs 664 to Rs 57,954 per kg after hitting intra-day high of Rs 59,942.
Gold price in overseas markets, which normally set price trend on the domestic front, extended gains to a fifth straight session today, trading at its highest in more than three months on safe-haven buying due to geopolitical tensions in Syria.
Combative PM blames BJP for hampering growthGetting into the combat mode, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday directly attacked the Opposition for calling him “a thief”.
“In no country do Members of Parliament attack the Prime Minister, shout ‘PM chor hai’,” Singh said in the Rajya Sabha.
The sharp remarks came shortly after Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley of the BJP criticised the PM and accused his government of being non-cooperative.
Jaitley made the remarks after the PM made his statement on the state of the economy and the falling rupee.
Mincing no words, the Prime Minister said the Opposition was not letting the government function.
“The Opposition is not letting us work. It is our collective responsibility to give this nation better governance,” he said.
Saying the Opposition has never been supportive, Singh said it was the collective responsibility of the government and the Opposition to fight the economic crisis.
“We (also) need the Opposition’s support in running the House,” he added.
The PM also sought to deflect the blame from himself on the missing coal blocks allocation files.
“I am not the custodian of files in the Coal Ministry,” he told the Upper House.
UPA readies for 2014 with Food Security, Land Acquisition BillUPA government`s ambitious programme and Congress president Sonia Gandhi`s pet project, the Food Security Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday. It seeks to provide cheap food grains to approximately 82 crore people in the country, ushering in the biggest programme in the world to fight hunger.
The passage of the bill will pave the way to give nation`s two-third population the right to 5 kg of food grain every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.
The bill now will be taken up in the Rajya Sabha. After the bill gets Rajya Sabha`s nod, India will join the select league of countries that guarantee majority of its population food grains. At Rs 1,30,000 crore government support, the food security programme will be the largest in the world. It would require 62 million tonnes of food grains.
However, about 2.43 crore poorest of the poor families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme under PDS (Public Distribution System) would get legal entitlement to 35 kg of food grains per family per month. The bill approximately covers around 67 percent of the population.
The bill approximately covers around 67 percent of the population.
Land Acquisition Bill gets LS nod
The path-breaking Land Acquisition Bill, which seeks to provide just and fair compensation to farmers while ensuring that no land can be acquired forcibly, was passed by the Lok Sabha with overwhelming majority on Thursday.
"The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2012" stipulates mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent for acquiring land for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private companies.
The bill, which will replace over a century-old law, proposes compensation that is up to four times the market value in rural areas and two times the market value in urban areas.
The bill was passed with 216 votes in favour and 19 against.
Terror mastermind Yasin Bhatkal arrestedIndian Mujahideen co-founder and mastermind of several blasts, Yasin Bhatkal, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency from the Indo-Nepal border.
Bhatkal, whose real name is Ahmed Siddibappa, was one of the most wanted men in India as he is believed to be the backbone of the IM network. Operating under various aliases - Mohammad Zarrar, Ahmed, Imran, Asif and Shahrukh – Bhatkal was the only IM founder member who was operating in the country.
A native of Bhatkal town near Mangalore in Karnataka, he along with his cousins Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal had formed the IM. Both Riyaz and Iqbal are said to be hold up in Pakistan.
Riyaz Bhatkal is believed to have played an active part in almost all terror attacks by the IM including the Hyderabad, Banglore and Pune blasts. Infact, he was caught on the CCTV camera of the German Bakery in Pune when he personally went there to plant the bomb.
Bhatkal carried a reward of Rs 10 lakhs for his arrest.