Monday, September 7, 2015

News U Wish to Read - 6th September 2015

Sunday, 6th September 2015
Note: News U Wish to Read is a press review compilation and only covers articles published in the press, in the UAE and India. 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.


Saudi Arabia said to be studying gasoline subsidy cut
The National
Saudi Arabia’s government is studying whether to cut state subsidies that keep domestic gasoline prices at some of the lowest levels in the world, a major Saudi newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying. Al Watan’s Saturday edition quoted the sources as saying Saudi authorities had been considering the issue for several years, but the matter had taken on additional importance after the UAE reduced subsidies and allowed gasoline prices to rise last month. Saudi Arabia cannot leave gasoline prices at their current ultra-low level indefinitely, because that would hurt the economy, the sources added. The newspaper did not elaborate on when the government might reach a conclusion on the issue, and it did not give details of the possible reform. But it quoted Fahad al-Anazi, deputy chairman of the economic and energy committee in the Shura Council, a top state advisory body, as saying any changes to subsidies would have to be accompanied by other measures to preserve public welfare, such as the provision of cheap public transport. Because higher gasoline prices could lead to inflation in other goods, Mr Anazi suggested the government might introduce new subsidies for some food and other consumer items, or distribute cards allowing some people to purchase fuel at subsidised prices. Such subsidies would be provided to Saudi citizens rather than the large number of foreigners in the country. Economists estimate that removing subsidies on gasoline would save the kingdom nearly 30 billion riyals (Dh29.38bn) annually, Al Watan reported.
Published: 6th September 2015
UAE, India energy ties to reach new level
Gulf News
Energy cooperation between India and the UAE is set to reach new heights with both countries deciding to set up a joint working group on hydrocarbons, petrochemicals and fertilisers. The new development comes after the visit of UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India on Thursday. During his visit, Shaikh Abdullah met a number of senior officials and co-chaired the Meeting of the Joint Commission with Sushma Swaraj, India’s External Affairs Minister. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi during a press conference which was streamed live, Anil Wadhwa, secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India said both the countries will look for investment opportunities in the hydrocarbon sector. “There was discussion on the investment opportunities in the upstream and downstream projects in the UAE by the Indian companies and third countries of mutual interest. The UAE has also expressed interest to participate in India’s strategic petroleum reserves,” Wadhwa said. India is a major importer of crude oil from the UAE. It imports about 270,000 of crude oil per day from the UAE with the country being the sixth largest supplier of the commodity to India.
Published: 3rd September 2015

Other Sectors

Big opportunity in small & payment banks for IT cos: Nasscom
Economic Times
Industry lobby Nasscom sees a "massive opportunity" for the domestic tech companies in payments banks and small finance banks, but warned the industry that they need to find out innovative solutions to help these lenders ensure cost-effective delivery of services.  "It is a massive opportunity in a country like ours. It is not only a massive opportunity, it is also one with incredible scope for innovation and creation of new kinds of products which are relevant for our development," Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar told PTI here over the weekend.
Published: 6th September 2015

Politics & Economy

G20 pledges to keep economic recovery on track
Khaleej Times
The G20 group of top world economies on Saturday said that global economic expansion was slower than had been expected but expressed confidence that a recovery would gain momentum. "Global growth falls short of our expectations. We have pledged to take decisive action to keep the economic recovery on track and we are confident the global economic recovery will gain speed," finance ministers and central bank chiefs said in a draft communique after their two-day meeting in Ankara. The group vowed to "carefully calibrate and clearly communicate our actions to minimise negative spillovers, mitigate uncertainty and promote transparency" as key global economies search for robust growth. The economic supremos also vowed to "refrain from competitive devaluations and resist all forms of protectionism", following controversy over China's unexpected devaluation of the yuan last month. China's move had rattled financial markets and also amplified concerns about its own economic slowdown and drastic loss in value of its stock market. "We reiterate our commitment to move toward more market-determined exchange rate systems and exchange rate flexibility... and avoid persistent exchange rate misalignments," it said. The statement called on governments and central banks not to over use interest rates as a tool for boosting economic activity and instead implement fiscal policies to support growth and job creation. "Overreliance on monetary policy will not lead to balanced growth," said a copy of the communique obtained by AFP which still needs to be formally approved by the ministers.
Published: 6th September 2015
Etihad Airways Becomes Founding Member Of UAE Business Council In India
The National
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has been announced as one of the Founding members of the UAE-India Business Council. The airline was represented by Hareb Al Muhairy, Senior Vice President Corporate and International Affairs; Abdul Qader Hussein Ahmed, Vice President Government and International Affairs, and Neerja Bhatia, Vice President India and the Indian Subcontinent. James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "India is a crucial market not only for Etihad Airways but the UAE itself and therefore we welcomed the opportunity to become a founding member of the UAE Business Council in India.
Published: 4th September 2015
Saudi Arabia to cut public spending
The Hindu
Saudi Arabia’s finance minister Ibrahim Alassaf yesterday confirmed for the first time that the kingdom will cut public spending, as the country attempts to weather the low oil price that has blown a US$120 billion hole in its finances. “We have built reserves, cut public debt to near-zero levels and we are now working on cutting unnecessary expenses while focusing on main development projects and on building human resources in the kingdom,” Mr Alassaf said n an interview with CNBC Arabia. “There are some projects like the ones that have been approved a few years ago and haven’t been carried out until now – that means such projects are not currently necessary and can be delayed,” he said. Not all projects would be cut at the same pace, Mr Alassaf said. “Projects in sectors such as education, health and infrastructure are not only important for the private sector but also for the long-term growth of the Saudi economy.” This marks the first time since last year’s oil price collapse that a high-ranking government minister has publicly said that the government will reduce infrastructure spending. The oil price fell to $42 per barrel last month, down from about $110 per barrel in mid- 2014. The kingdom needs an oil price of about $100 to cover its spending.
Published: 6th September 2015

 Community, Environment & Society

45 UAE servicemen die in Yemen
The National
The Government last night declared a three-day period of mourning, for the 45 servicemen killed in Yemen on Friday.  The General Command of the UAE Armed Forces said the personnel died while performing their national duty as part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition in support of the legitimate Yemeni government.  It is understood the men died when a rocket attack at dawn on Friday on an ammunition store for the 107th Brigade caused several explosions that resulted in the deaths of Emirati and Yemeni soldiers.  President Sheikh Khalifa mourned the brave Emirati soldiers who were killed in Marib in Yemen in defence of truth and justice, stae news agency Wam reported. The President said the men were defending the oppressed during the performance of sacred duty within the Arab coalition forces.  Hours after the attack, UAE Air Force fighter jets launched strikes on Houthi targets.
Published: 4th September 2015

The UAE’s wildlife app Charles Darwin would have wanted
The National
If Charles Darwin had a smartphone he would probably have downloaded the Collector for ArcGIS, a free app being used by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) to help record species of wildlife in the UAE. The app is created by Esri, a US-based supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software and geodatabase management applications. It’s a tools that people can use to make the EAD’s work easier. “There is definitely the possibility of one of the users discovering a new species, or an observation of a species that we thought was extinct,” said Anil Kumar, director of information management at the EAD. “That’s the idea behind the app, for people to help us in science.” The EAD hopes that people use the app for the possibility of discovering new species and to get the public to help in conservation efforts in the UAE. The app allows users to record an animal or plant seen, in real time, record whatever information they know about it and then upload it to the EAD for analysis. The app is available for download for Android and Apple devices.
Published: 28th August 2015.
The UAE’s wildlife app Charles Darwin would have wanted – graphic
The National
If Charles Darwin had a smartphone it is likely that he would have downloaded the Collector for GIS, an app being used by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi to help discover new species of wildlife in the UAE.

Published: 6th September 2015.
Go green
The Hindu
Interested in saving the environment? The Centre for Science and Environment can provide the training and information you’ll need.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which was established in 1980, focuses on advocacy by spreading awareness on issues concerning the environment. The CSE primarily conducts research with the intent to simplify facts relating to the environment for laymen. “Our advocacy is why we do the training. We disseminate information gathered at our research unit,” says Sharmila Sinha, Deputy Programme Manager, Environment Education, CSE. The CSE periodically conducts training sessions for the industry, NGOs, government officials and students. Summer schools are organised annually for Indian and international students as well as young professionals. Students aged 18 years and above, with a background in environment are generally preferred. The screening process includes a telephonic interview and a review of the statement of purpose. The intake of students for the courses is typically 20 to 25. The summer school, Agenda for Survival, is held every year in June. It focuses on the politics and policies of environment and development in India today. The CSE has various units that conduct research across different segments, including water. General training courses for consultants, students, professors and NGOs are conducted in areas of rainwater harvesting and decentralised waste water treatment. The CSE also conducts webinars. The CSE also has an online portal,, where a wide range of books on the environment can be purchased. For example, it has specific material and books on the Ganga and mining. Interesting titles on diverse topics include Environment History Reader (understanding environment concerns from a historical perspective), Heat on Power (green rating of coal-based power plants) and Building Sense: beyond the green facade of sustainable habitat.
Published: 5th September 2015.

Microsoft to buy startup focused on worker efficiency called VoloMetrix
Economic Times
Microsoft on Thursday said it was buying a startup that specializes in analyzing email, meeting schedules and other work data to increase people's efficiency on the job.  Microsoft did not disclose financial details regarding its acquisition of Seattle-based VoloMetrix.  "I am excited about this big step forward in our company ambition to reinvent productivity and business process, and how it will deliver new value to our customers with organizational analytics," Microsoft Outlook and Office 365 corporate vice president Rajesh Jha said in a blog post. 
Published: 3rd September 2015
Read more:


Great students make great teachers
The Hindu
Will your students look back and remember you as the person who shaped their lives? A great teacher is one a student cherishes forever. Teachers have a longlasting impact on the lives of their students, and the best students inspire their teachers, too. Years ago, as a young, eager student, I would have told you that a great teacher was someone who provided classroom entertainment and focused very little on discipline and assignments. Now, after working for 35 years in education including 26 years of heading institutions and related administrative experience and having been involved in hundreds of teacher evaluations, my perspective has changed. My current position as a professor of higher education gives me the opportunity to share what I have learnt with current and future college faculty administrators and through friendly banter with my postgraduate students about what it means to be a great teacher.
 Published: 6th September 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.
India crushes DPR Korea in 7th Women’s Junior Asia Cup
The Hindu
The Indians continued in the same vein in the second half and pumped in as many as seven more goals. India started their campaign at the seventh women’s Junior Asia Cup on a resounding note by humiliating DPR Korea by 13-0 in Changzhou on Saturday. Without wasting much time, India’s Preeti Dubey opened the scoring in the 11th minute before Jaspreet Kaur successfully converted a penalty corner in the 20th minute to take a 2—0 lead. India kept up the pressure and scored the third goal through a field effort from Navneet Kaur in the 24th minute. Captain Rani Rampal then scored a field goal in the 28th to make the scoreline 4-0 in favour of the Indians. Lily penetrated the opponents defence and smacked the fifth goal for India in the 31st minute followed by another field goal by Punam Barla as India went into halftime with a comfortable 6-0 lead. The Indians continued in the same vein in the second half and pumped in as many as seven more goals.
Published: 5th September 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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