Sunday, August 30, 2015

News U Wish to Read - 30th August 2015

Sunday, 30th August 2015

Note: News U Wish to Read is a daily press review compiled and only covers articles published in the press, in the UAE, India and world around. Its purpose is to keep us informed of important news items which we all wish to not miss. Enjoy reading the below news items and links. More sections will come as it takes shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.


Opportunities and challenges for the downstream oil sector in the Middle East
The National

Falling oil prices have deeply affected oil and gas upstream, with many projects shelved or put on hold around the world. For much of the downstream sector, though, the current environment also provided cheaper feedstock (crude oil) and a sudden stimulus to demand. Overall, sinking oil prices have served as a shot in the arm for the downstream sector in the short term. The fundamental challenges for the refining industry, however, remain.

Published: 29th August 2015

Diesel down 18%, petrol cut by 8.5% in UAEprojects
Khaleej Times

In its monthly price adjustments, the Ministry of Energy on Thursday lowered domestic prices for petrol and diesel for September. While diesel price was slashed by 18 per cent, the price for a litre of petol was reduced by 8.5 per cent, in line with developments on the international oil market. All pumps will retail diesel at Dh1.86 per litre. Petrol will be sold to consumers at Dh1.89 per litre for E-plus (Octane 91), Dh1.96 for Special (Octane 95) and Dh2.07 for Super (Octane 98), the ministry said, after a meeting of the Fuel Price Committee chaired by Dr Matar Al Nyadi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Energy, and attended by officials of Adnoc Distribution, Enoc and other oil companies. The new prices will come into effect on September 1, 2015. Last month, the committee lowered diesel price by 29 per cent to Dh2.05 a litre from Dh2.35, while petrol price was hiked 24 per cent to Dh2.14 a litre. E-Plus 91 was increased to Dh2.06 a litre from Dh1.61, and unleaded gasoline 98 was hiked to Dh2.25 a litre from Dh1.83.

Published: 28th August 2015

Rise in solar cells production to bring Rs 30,000-crore investment
Economic Times

The increase in manufacturing facility for solar cells and modules will bring in an investment of about Rs 30,000 crore and create 25,000 jobs in the country.
"It is expected that the manufacturing capacity for cells and modules will increase roughly by 2,500 MW and 5,000 MW per annum, respectively."
"This is expected to create 25,000 jobs in manufacturing sector and bring in investment of about Rs 30,000 crore," said an official in the New and Renewable Energy Ministry. At present, manufacturing capacity of cells and modules in India is 1,386 MW and 2,756 MW, respectively.

Published: 30th August 2015

Other Sectors

L&T Construction bags orders worth Rs 1,563 crore in July, August
Economic Times

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said power transmission and distribution business of L&T Construction has bagged orders worth Rs 1,563 crore in July and August. "The power transmission and distribution business of L&T Construction has won orders worth Rs 1,563 crore," Larsen & Toubro said in a BSE filing. The company said it has received a breakthrough order from Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) for design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of a 500 kV double circuit transmission line in Malaysia.

Published: 25th August 2015

Politics & Economy

Fed, ECB, BOE officials all say they see inflation rising
Gulf News

Stronger growth will pull inflation higher in the US and Europe, according to three top central bankers who voiced confidence that their regions will escape from headwinds that are keeping inflation too low. Federal Reserve vice-chairman Stanley Fischer joined European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney Saturday on an panel at the Kansas City Fed’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, dedicated to discussing inflation dynamics. Their optimism has not been shared up until now by investors, trading in inflation- protected bonds shows.
“Given the apparent stability of inflation expectations, there is good reason to believe that inflation will move higher as the forces holding down inflation dissipate further,” Fischer said in his prepared remarks. “With inflation low, we can probably remove accommodation at a gradual pace,” Fischer said. “Yet, because monetary policy influences real activity with a substantial lag, we should not wait until inflation is back to 2 per cent to begin tightening.”

Published: 30th August 2015

Elephant vs Dragon: Why India's economy is in a better shape than China
Economic Times

China's economy is slowing sharply, creating a risk for the global economy. Its debt is pegged at 282% of GDP by some estimates. And that is just one of its problems. Years of state-driven investments have created excess capacity in several sectors. India is in far better health.

Published: 27th August 2015

Long way to go for India to become global growth engine: Rajan
The Hindu

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has said it will be “a long time” before India can replace China as a growth engine for the global economy, even if it grows at a faster rate. The comments assume significance in the wake of a China-led slowdown hurting the markets worldwide in the recent days, which has led to calls in India for taking this crisis situation as an “opportunity” as the global economy may need alternative growth engines. Asked whether India can replace China as a new growth engine, Rajan said in an interview to BBC, “India is one-fourth to one-fifth of China’s size. Even if we can overtake China in terms of growth rates, the magnitude of the effect will be far smaller for a long time to come.” As per the latest data available with the World Bank, GDP of the U.S. is over 17$ trillion. This compares with China at over 10$ trillion and India 2$ trillion. After Monday’s market crash, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed on the need to further strengthen the Indian economy and said that the present global crisis should be converted into an opportunity for India.

Published: 26th August 2015

Community, Environment & Society

MoI Launches "Our Students are a Responsibility" Campaign

The Ministry of Interior, represented by Traffic Coordination Directorate General, is launching a traffic awareness campaign under the slogan "Our Students are a Responsibility" prior to the start of the new academic year.

This campaign comes as a part of the traffic sector’s initiative in line with the MoI’s strategy aimed at controlling roads, promoting traffic safety and reducing run-over accidents. It also aims to raise the awareness of students in all educational stages; especially children, about traffic accidents, the need to adhere to traffic laws, and to preserve the safety of students from potential road dangers.

Published: 28th August 2015.

50.2°C (and it’s getting stickier)

It’s hot and sticky outside, and it’s going to stay that way for the rest of the weekend. The weather bureau forecast 90 per cent humidity at night, expected to soar to 100 per cent in the event of fog, and the temperature reached 50.2°C in Sweihan in Abu Dhabi on Friday. The spike in humidity was by a change in the wind direction, with the conditions catching many residents by surprise. Meteorologists asked motorists to drive with caution since high humidity could lead to fog. “The direction of the wind until three to four days ago was a southerly wind coming over the desert, so conditions were dry,” said Ahmed Habib, a meteorology specialist with the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology, on Friday. Humidity is likely to increase over some western areas, the report predicts. While the temperature could go up to 48°C in interior regions, it will rise to 43°C in coastal areas and 35°C in the mountains. Humidity levels will be between 55 to 90 per cent in coastal areas, 45 to 70 per cent in interior regions and 35 to 45 per cent in the mountains.

Published: 28th August 2015.

Ban on plastic packaging of food, drugs: NGT seeks Centre view
The Hindu

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre and various stakeholders to file their submissions on a proposal that there should be a complete prohibition on the use of plastic packaging in food and pharmaceutical formulations of any kind. “It appears that none of the concerned ministries are prepared to take a decision which according to them at one time was need of the hour in larger public interest. Be that as it may, we will proceed with hearing of the matter and take appropriate decision in accordance with law.” “We direct all the parties before us i.e. Ministry of Health and MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests), CPCB and the Board under the Drugs Act and all the other respondents, stakeholders, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and all the private stakeholders to place a note,” a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said. The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by NGO Him Jagriti Uttaranchal Welfare Society seeking restrictions on the use of plastic bottle and multi-layered, plastic packages or pet bottles by imposing a ban on packaging of carbonated soft drink.

Published: 30th August 2015.


Can’t stay away from phone? Find out if you’re a nomophobe
The Hindu

Do you get worked up immediately when your phone runs out of battery? Or be completely fine with it atleast for a while? Are you a nomophobe? Researchers can tell! US researchers have developed a questionnaire that can determine if you suffer from nomophobia or a fear of being without your mobile phone. Caglar Yildirim, a PhD student in human computer interaction at the Iowa State University (ISU), and Ana-Paula Correia, an associate professor in ISU’s School of Education, have identified four dimensions of this modern-day phobia. In the study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, study participants were asked to respond to statements on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Total scores were calculated by adding the responses to each item. The higher scores corresponded to greater nomophobia severity. The questionnaire includes statements such as- I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone; I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so; Being unable to get the news (example: happenings, weather, etc) on my smartphone would make me nervous.

Published: 27th August 2015


Empowering the biotech sector
The Hindu

With the Reserve Bank of India declaring biotech as a priority sector, the biotech market has acquired new hope and opportunities. Incidentally, furthering this trend, Bengaluru which is already a biotech hub, now has the support of two initiatives from the State Government: Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) which intends to promote education, research and entrepreneurship in bioinformatics and biotechnology and Karnataka Biotech Finishing Schools (BTFS), which plans to enhance the placement opportunities for fresh graduates. IBAB offers a two-year M.Sc. degree in Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology which blends Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Programming with Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. It also offers a Ph.D. programme. Students are selected for the course through an online exam followed by an interview. If IBAB takes care of the academic requirement, an initiative like BTFS aims to address the paucity of industry-ready graduates in the field of bio-technology. Initiated by the Department of IT BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka, via the implementing arm KBITS (Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services), BTFS aims to address this issue. The programme has been designed specially for life science students to give them hands-on training in various soft skills related to the field. The programme is currently in its fourth year and so far, 337 students have graduated from the schools. After six months of academic work, students are asked to intern with a company related to their domain of expertise. This programme is present in 12 institutions across Karnataka: Dayanand Sagar Institution, Bengaluru; Maharani Lakshmi Ammani College, Bengaluru; Siddaganga Institute of Technology, Tumkur; Padmashree Institute of Management of Sciences, Bengaluru; St. Aloysius College, Mangalore; Manipal Life Sciences, Manipal, etc. to name just a few. Students are selected for the BTFS programme through the Karnataka Biotechnology Aptitude Test (KBAT) which is followed by interviews and counselling sessions. Those who have completed a Masters in the subject can join BTFS.

Published: 27th August 2015

Indian traits of perseverance and adaptability excels in a global workplace
The National

From PepsiCo to Google, Indians are increasingly rising to the top roles in some of the world’s biggest companies. A number of factors are contributing to India becoming a breeding ground for global business leaders, including the country’s sharp focus on education and its citizens’ ability to integrate themselves into different cultures, experts say. The most recent high profile example of the trend came this month when Sundar Pichai, who was born and grew up in Chennai, took charge as the chief executive of Google. Also from Chennai, Indra Nooyi is the chief executive for PepsiCo. Meanwhile, Ajaypal Singh Banga from the city of Pune in Maharashtra leads Mastercard, while Ivan Manuel Menezes, also from Pune, heads the beverages giant Diageo. Satya Nadella from Hyderabad is in charge of Microsoft. In recent decades, a large number of Indians have moved to the United States and the United Kingdom to further their education after graduating from top institutions in India such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). Those graduates have since risen to leading positions, explains Arun Bala, the chief operating officer at Invenio Business Solutions. “That is one of the factors that have brought Indians to the fore at this time,” he says. “You’re talking about some of the best that have been produced as graduates in India that have moved to the US over a period of about 30-odd years,” he says. “That’s a substantial number of academically bright and highly ambitious youth that have migrated to the UK and US.”

Published: 29th August 2015

Sports – Campaign PASS

Campaign PASS (Promote All Sports Simultaneously) is an initiative started through my blog to promote all sports(other than cricket – which gets lot of attention) and sports personnel associated to give them more exposure.

Trendsetters in their own way
The Hindu

At 22 and 27 years of age, Dipa Karmakar and P.R. Sreejesh have been trendsetters in their own way for their respective sport. On Saturday, they were rewarded for their hard work with the Arjuna Award here. Dipa became the first Indian female gymnast to win medals at the Commonwealth Games last year and followed it up with another bronze at the Asian Championships in Hiroshima recently. One of only 3-4 gymnasts in the world to practice the difficult Produnova vault — a double frontal vault — Dipa’s achievements are significant given the constant administrative wranglings and lack of training camps. Sreejesh, meanwhile, has created history in his own way. Coming from Kerala, a state that boasts of multiple winners across sports, being the first male hockey player to be conferred the Arjuna is recognition of a brilliant run of form for the past couple of years. Considered among the best goalkeepers in the world today, Sreejesh’s journey from the backwaters of Kerala to the Ashoka Hall is one of perseverance and grit.

Published: 30th August 2015

Hope you enjoyed reading the above news items and links. More sections will come as it take shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.


Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

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