Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Superslim silicene

You're never far from silicon. This material is used to make the computer chips inside cell phones, computers, MP3 players and other electronic devices. Even if you don't use these devices, silicon is just beneath your feet: It makes up more than one-quarter of the weight of the Earth's crust.

Silicon comes in many forms, from large rock crystals to tiny grains of sand. Now there’s one more: Scientists have created sheets of silicon that are only one atom thick. This creation is called silicene. If you zoom in far enough with a powerful microscope, each sheet looks like a honeycomb. Both structures are made of connected hexagons.

At a scientific meeting in Dallas on March 24, physicist Antoine Fleurence presented a new way to make silicene. Fleurence and his colleagues at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Ishikawa found a way to create silicene slices. When they used X-rays to study their creation, they saw the familiar honeycomb pattern.

Though silicon is in the ground, don't go looking for silicene sheets there: They're so thin they are invisible to the naked eye. And the sheets can be forged only in the laboratory — not in nature. The physicists who made silicene were inspired by graphene, a similar material that was first found in 2004. Like silicene, graphene has the thickness of a single atom. Graphene also has a honeycomb shape. Unlike silicene, which is made of silicon atoms, graphene is made of carbon atoms.

At the time of its discovery, graphene was the thinnest and most expensive material in the world. Since then, scientists have found new and cheaper ways to make the material. Graphene is strong and flexible, and it conducts electricity. Scientists envision using this wonderstuff for portable electronics — like electronic paper you can roll up and tuck into your pocket.

Graphene is considered so important that in 2010, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, the physicists from the University of Manchester who first isolated the material, received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Geim and Novoselov, as well as other teams of physicists, have gone on to build new and small electronic components from graphene.

Graphene is considered so important that in 2010, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, the physicists from the University of Manchester who first isolated the material, received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Geim and Novoselov, as well as other teams of physicists, have gone on to build new and small electronic components from graphene.

“Silicon has the advantage of being more [useful] in today’s electronics,” he said at the March meeting in Dallas.

Silicene has a few more hurdles to overcome before it can compete with graphene. Scientists need to continue testing the material's ability to conduct electricity. And silicene also needs to be easy to make. The scientists who first made graphene used only Scotch tape and a graphite material similar to pencil lead.

There’s no similarly easy experiment behind silicene, but that doesn't mean it’s not worth watching. In the future, silicene could be a big player in the world of small electronics.

Fat weighs heavy on the brain

Obesity, or being extremely overweight, isn't problematic only because of the extra pounds. The condition also boosts a person’s risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Now research indicates that obesity also leads to problems with memory, thinking and reasoning. The good news, an international team of scientists reports, is that the damage may be undone through weight loss.

Earlier studies had connected obesity-related diseases to cognitive problems. The word cognitive comes from cognition, which refers to the brain processes involved in gathering, analyzing and using information. In the previous studies, people with heart disease or high blood pressure — diseases strongly tied to obesity — scored lower on memory, thinking and reasoning tests than did people who didn't weigh as much.

Health experts define obesity using a scale called the body mass index, or BMI. Anybody can figure out his or her own BMI — it’s a math calculation that uses height and weight. To find out your BMI, follow the “Calculate your BMI” link under “Further Reading.” If a person’s BMI is greater than 30, then that person is considered to be obese.

For the new study, scientists wanted to know if obesity caused the lower scores on cognitive tests. The researchers set up an experiment involving 150 obese volunteers. The new study was led by John Gunstad, a psychologist at Kent State University in Ohio who studies how diseases affect thinking abilities.

Gunstad and his colleagues asked the 150 obese people to take cognitive tests. The scientists then compared the test results with those from healthy people. The researchers found that, in general, the obese study participants’ scores were lower than those of healthy people. On some tests, including memory tests, nearly 1 in 4 scored low enough to be considered learning disabled, or handicapped.

After the initial test, 109 of the obese participants underwent a type of surgery that helps people lose weight. Twelve weeks after the procedure, the patients had lost about 50 pounds each. Gunstad and his colleagues tested the group again and found that patients who had lost weight scored higher on memory tests.

That wasn’t true for people who hadn’t lost weight, either through surgery or other ways. Those people did worse on the second round of tests.

“That was a bit surprising,” Gunstad told Science News.

In another study, the researchers investigated a possible cause for the connection between obesity and brain functions. The scientists used a tool called magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to see inside people’s brains. MRIs, which use magnetic fields and radio waves, produce three-dimensional images of internal organs.

Gunstad and his colleagues used MRI to study the nerve bundles that shuttle information through the brain. A white, fatty substance surrounds and protects these bundles. Gunstad and his colleagues found damage in this protective outer coating in obese people.

“It’s not as though a cable has been cut,” Gunstad told Science News, but the damage could be a problem for signals trying to get from one place to another in the brain.

Mark Bastin, a brain-imaging expert at the University of Edinburgh Western General Hospital in the United Kingdom, told Science News that Gunstad’s MRI work was interesting and thorough. But he noted that because Gunstad’s study was small, the results should be considered an early step in the larger scientific investigation.

Inside the brain, obesity may damage nerve channels. In the bigger picture, obesity impairs thinking, memory and reasoning. In the biggest picture of all, inside and out, obesity is bad news for a person’s mind and matter. About 1 in 3 adult Americans, or 72 million people in this country, are obese, and all face higher risks of heart problems, cancer and diabetes, as well as cognitive problems.

“Doctors have known for a long time that being overweight is bad for your body,” Gunstad says. “It can damage your heart and make it harder to breathe.” Now his research shows that being overweight can also damage the brain, “especially,” he notes, “the parts of your brain most important for paying attention and learning new things. This could make it hard to do your best and get good grades in school.”

In recent years, the number of children and teens who are overweight has been climbing dramatically. “If this pattern continues,” Gunstad says, “it will put many people at risk for brain damage and problems at school and work.” That’s why he recommends that kids help protect their brain by maintaining a healthy weight, talking to parents and teachers about eating healthy foods, and getting enough exercise. After all, the science argues, “a healthy body leads to a healthy brain.”

Samsung Galaxy S II Launching May 1st

Samsung have confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S II will be launching in the UK on May 1st. The new smartphone will be available across all major networks and retailers.

The SIM-Free price of the  Galaxy S II is expected to come in at £600, which we at 3G reported earlier in the month.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is the successor to original Galaxy S, which is Samsung's most successful smartphone. The Galaxy S II is a real powerhouse that will be at the pinnacle of smartphone technology.

The mobile is the first to feature Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus touch-screen and is a huge 4.27 inches in size. It's powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz mobile processor which enables rapid multi-tasking. Other features include an 8 mega-pixel camera which can record 1080p HD videos, WiFi and 3G connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0 and a HDMI output.

The Samsung Galaxy S II runs on Android 2.3 and features a new "Live Panel" which enables you to customize your home-screen and also features Samsung Hubs.

Once we here at 3G, get news of the prices and networks the mobile will launch on we'll let you know.

HP Application Transformation Solutions Deliver Flexibility and Speed

In today's world of instant gratification, everyone expects secure, seamless access to information no matter where or when they want it. This requires an Instant-On Enterprise that can rapidly innovate and respond.

"Innovation is what separates market makers from market followers," said Eyad Shihabi, Managing Director and Enterprise Business Lead, HP Middle EastHP Middle EastLoading.... "At HPHPLoading..., we believe technology is the innovation engine for the enterprise and we have the unique portfolio to fuel it."

New research conducted on behalf of HPHPLoading... reveals the role of innovation in organizations today. Ninety-five percent of executives in the private and public sectors consider innovation to be important to the success of their organizations. When asked why innovation is important, the top reason cited by both sectors was future growth (84 percent of private sector executives; 63 percent of government executives).(1)

The respondents also revealed that "changing customer or citizen demand" and "producing higher quality products and services" were the primary goals for innovation. To understand what is driving innovation in the enterprise, the survey asked the respondents to identify the "innovation engine." More than two-thirds of the executives indicated that it was technology.

The survey also sought to determine where executives would invest first to drive innovation. The No. 1 response was "applications and software for more flexible processes."

To help enterprises accelerate innovation, HPHPLoading... is expanding its Application Transformation solution portfolio to include seven new offerings. The enhanced portfolio allows clients to assess, modernize and manage the applications driving their enterprises.

HPHPLoading... also partnered with the Italian Ministry of Instruction, University and Research (MIUR) that manages the staff at 10,500 schools. MIUR implemented a solution including Application Modernization Services from HPHPLoading.... The key deliverable was the transformation of thousands of COBOL batch programs, which were then re-hosted on a modern infrastructure. As a result, MIUR reduced its application portfolio by 33 percent and development costs by 38%. MIUR also projects a savings in hardware and software licensing of more than €12 million over three years and complete retirement of mainframe architecture adopted 30 years ago.

Assessing application environments for greatest impact on innovation

HP Application Transformation solutions enable enterprises to understand their application portfolios, decide what to keep, change or retire. This is the first step in their transformation journey.

HP Application Portfolio Management (APM) software, delivered as a service, helps enterprises rapidly identify areas for portfolio rationalization using fact-based analysis against a set of enterprise goals. APM serves as the foundation for the enterprise application transformation plan and helps to reduce the cost and risks associated with modernization projects. By combining APM with HPHPLoading... Applications Rationalization services, clients can receive a customized applications transformation roadmap that delivers the optimal application portfolio.

HPHPLoading... Applications Transformation to Cloud services help enterprises analyze their application and infrastructure environments to determine cloud suitability, develop a customized roadmap for transformation and ultimately deliver those applications via the cloud.

Modernizing application environments

HPHPLoading... is helping clients transform legacy applications into agile services through a full portfolio of application consulting, development, integration and outsourcing services.

HP Application Transformation Services for Client Computing modernizes client device environments to Windows 7, delivering improved productivity, mobility and security. Using automation, standardized processes and a global workforce, HPHPLoading... can drive down the cost and time needed for implementation.

Managing application environments to ensure security

With the threats from application risks increasing both in number and sophistication, security is a major concern and challenge for modernization projects. HP Fortify Real-Time Hybrid Analysis is the first application security analysis solution that discovers the root cause of software vulnerabilities by observing attacks in real time.

By using HP Fortify Real-Time Hybrid Analysis in concert with new versions of HP Fortify 360 and HP Application Security Center, enterprises can proactively deliver the application security intelligence required to effectively manage risk.

Using hybrid delivery models to speed application transformation

HPHPLoading... offers a full range of cloud-based solutions to help clients on their journey to the cloud. HPHPLoading... announced three new offerings in its cloud portfolio that increase flexibility and speed time to solution.

-- HP Cloud Service Automation 2.0 software enables enterprises to quickly build, deploy, monitor and manage applications and infrastructure across heterogeneous environments. With new automation enhancements, one-touch provisioning and monitoring capabilities, HP Cloud Service Automation 2.0 enables enterprise to quickly build their own public or private cloud and speed application delivery to market.

-- HP Exchange Services for Private Cloud helps enterprises get a "pay per use" model of cloud computing along with an enterprise-grade level of performance and security. This provides the benefits of cloud computing without the associated risks.

-- HP Enterprise Cloud Services for Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers Microsoft's market-leading Dynamics CRM software suite via a virtual, private cloud. This alternate delivery model combines the benefits of a cloud-based model with HPHPLoading...'s extensive experience in running customer relationship management systems and contact centers.

Helping clients overcome financial barriers to innovation

HP Financial Services works with enterprises to implement long-term IT investment strategies to address funding barriers to innovation.

HP Application Transformation solutions accelerate the journey to becoming an Instant-On Enterprise by modernizing applications and processes designed for another era.

Intel new Xeon E3-1200 family processor

Intel's Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 family is an entry-level server processor built to meet the demands of small business applications, ranging from collaboration tools to storage and back-up applications.

With up to 30% greater performance over the previous generation, the Xeon processor E3-1200 product family is faster and provides higher reliability than a desktop computer running similar applications, Intel said. Support for Error Correcting Code (ECC) memory ensures system reliability by preventing glitches that cause data breaches and downtime, and with small businesses facing a harsher climate of security threats the Xeon processor E3-1200 product family helps ensure the integrity of valuable data with Intel AES-NI and Intel TXT.

The Xeon processor E7-8800/4800/2800 families range in price from US$774-4,616 in quantities of 1,000. The Xeon processor E3-1200 family ranges in price from US$189-612 in quantities of 1,000.

Sathya Sai Baba critical but stable

Sathya Sai Baba, who has been undergoing treatment for multi-organ dysfunction, continued to be critical on Wednesday but doctors attending on him were satisfied with his response to the treatment.

“Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who is under treatment in this hospital for multi-organ failure, is showing positive but slow response in the treatment given to him,” a bulletin issued by A.N. Safaya, Director of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences here, said.

“He is still on the ventilator and is on intermittent hemodialysis. His vital parameters of health are nearly normal,” it said.

“The continued stable state of health is a matter of satisfaction to the treating team of doctors, although he continues to be critical,” the bulletin added.

85-year-old Sathya Sai Baba was admitted to the super-speciality hospital on March 28 following problems related to heart and respiration.

Delhi superbug a symptom of India’s ills

From objecting to biological samples in the form of “swabs of seepage water and tap water” being smuggled out of the country “on the sly” by British scientists, to calling the resultant Lancet report a western plot to kill India’s potentially $2.3 billion medical tourism industry, New Delhi’s defensive rhetoric appears misplaced as cases of poor health standards surface each day in India’s capital city.

A study, published last August in The Lancet Infectious Diseases citing the drug resistant NDM-1 bug that had evolved in India, and named after New Delhi, raised global concerns when the World Health Organisation endorsed the report.

Since its release, the Indian health establishment has downplayed its findings, and alleged a conflict of interest over the report’s funding.

However, despite its public misgivings, India has begun drafting a policy to regulate the use of antibiotics to prevent bugs from becoming resistant to drugs and recommending a ban on non-therapeutic usage of antibiotics in animals and farms to curb the spread of NDM-1 like bacteria in humans.

Even as India’s finance minister showered a 20 percent hike in the annual health budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, the country’s 2 percent of GDP spending on health is paltry compared with the 9-11 percent of GDP spent by European countries.

The government is pushing for increased surveillance and chlorination of drinking water in response to the NDM-1 threat, but India’s creaking health care systems still appear distinctly unable to properly service its 1.21 billion population.

About 20- 50 percent of all antibiotic use in India is inappropriate, the policy being drawn up by the country’s Ministry of Health says.

In Asia’s third-largest economy, despite huge economic advancement, poor sanitation levels, contamination of water supplies, and a severe lack of medical infrastructure has fuelled the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

For example, India accounts for one-fifth of the world’s tuberculosis cases, with two Indians dying of the disease every three minutes. Resistance to antibiotics is a major issue cited by authorities as a barrier to treating the disease, The Hindu reported.

Even if the merit of the Lancet report is questioned, can New Delhi survive the impending health care issues of its growing population?

Obesity, smoking lift stillbirth risk

STILL HURTING: Laura Hurley with son Mitchell and a mould of the feet of her stillborn daughter Tabitha-Rose. Ms Hurley said having another baby did not mean the hurt of losing her daughter had gone away.

Stillbirth rates in New Zealand will not drop unless more is done to tackle obesity and other avoidable pregnancy risk factors, new research says.

A comprehensive series of articles published in prestigious medical journal The Lancet has gathered data and research from throughout the world to paint a global picture of stillbirth.

The authors estimate 2.65 million babies are stillborn every year. They have called for action to halve that number by 2020.

The vast majority of stillbirths happen in developing countries, but rates in many high-income countries have nearly stalled in the past decade, the research says.

In 2007 and 2008, New Zealand's stillbirth rate was second-highest among developed countries, surpassed only by Britain.

There were 210 babies stillborn at 28 weeks or later in 2008, or 3.5 stillbirths per 1000 babies born - a rate that has remained mostly steady since 1996.

The risks increases for Maori and Pacific women and those in the lowest socio-economic groups.

David Ellwood, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Canberra Hospital, said the rate of reduction in developed countries "has been nothing like what we'd like to see".

A third of stillbirths in high-income countries were probably avoidable, he said.

Obesity and smoking during pregnancy were two leading avoidable risks, The Lancet said.

Worldwide, being obese or overweight contributes to about 12 per cent of stillbirths.

"Implementation of preconception care for all women could reduce these risk factors. Smoking cessation programmes in pregnancy are effective and should be implemented as part of routine care," the authors said.

Women aged 35 or over were also more likely to have a stillborn baby.

Lesley McCowan, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Auckland University, said increasing obesity rates and more women choosing to have babies later in life could be behind the stalled New Zealand rate.

"My colleagues and I speculate that's one of the reasons why Western countries are not seeing significant reductions in stillbirth risk. In New Zealand, [pregnant] women are older and we're all getting heavier."

Those factors could be counteracting improvements in other areas, she said. It was possible the stillbirth rate could even grow in tandem with New Zealand's increasing obesity rates.

However, McCowan took issue with The Lancet's ranking of New Zealand as second-worst among high-income countries.

"Those rates fluctuate from year to year."

New Zealand usually ranked somewhere in the middle. "I think New Zealanders should be really reassured that our rates ... are actually pretty good."


When Laura Hurley was told her baby daughter had died, the bottom dropped out of her world.

Just two weeks before her due date, the Trentham mother realised she had not felt any of the usual kicks and movements in her belly that day.

"As the day wore on I got more and more worried. We called the midwife, who did a heartbeat check, and were told our baby had passed away."

Hurley, 31, and her husband, Bryon Berry, found themselves planning for the arrival of a baby who would never grow up.

A few days later, on October 24, 2009, Ms Hurley was induced and gave birth to Tabitha-Rose.

They took her home for a week before the funeral.

Hurley felt lost. "All these thoughts - like, does that mean I'm not a mum?"

Tabitha-Rose was still part of the family, which now included three-month-old Mitchell.

Having another baby did not mean the hurt of losing her daughter had gone away.

"It just reminds us of what we missed out on."

Salman Khan promotes `Teen Thay Bhai`

Mumbai: Bollywood star Salman Khan went out of his way to help the cast of "Teen Thay Bhai" in promoting the film and reached out to his friends and fans on Twitter to watch the film, releasing Friday.

Producer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, along with the cast - Om Puri, Shreyas Talpade and Deepak Dobriyal and Ragini Khanna and director Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, were promoting the film and while moving from one floor to another in Mumbai`s Filmistan Studio, when they bumped into Salman.

The actor was also shooting there.

"Salman asked them what they were promoting and when he heard the name of the film, found it very interesting as he has always been referred to as Salman bhai and the film is called `Teen Thay Bhai`. Then he very graciously wanted to take a picture with the entire cast and immediately put it up on Twitter.

"He posted the picture, which also included Rakeysh, and put up a note, which read - `Teen thay bhai aur ek mein`. He also mentioned the release date. It is really nice of him to do this," said the publicist of the film.

The movie is a comedy about three brothers who cannot stand each other and are forced to come together as a result of their grandfather`s will.

Role swap for Abhishek Bachchan - yet again

Mumbai: Not many know it, but actor Abhishek Bachchan has for the second time taken on a role not originally meant for him.

The character of a cop in his upcoming film "Dum Maaro Dum", directed by Rohan Sippy, was first supposed to be played by Telugu star Rana Daggubati.

"When Rohan came to me with this film, he wanted me to play the role of DJ Joki, the role that Rana is playing now," Abhishek, who celebrated his 35th birthday in February, told reporters.

"But when I read the script, I told him that I want to do ACP Vishnu Kamath`s role instead, because I felt I would be able to do that role better and Rohan agreed."

"I liked the attitude of this character. I liked the way he tackled situations in life and that`s the reason I did it," said Abhishek, who sports a gelled look in the film.

Earlier, when he was offered "Bluffmaster" (2005), in which he co-starred with Riteish Deshmukh, he was to play some other role than the one he eventually did.

"A similar thing happened during `Bluffmaster`. Originally, I was doing Riteish`s part and then we changed and I did the part that I finally did and we got Ritiesh for the part I was supposed to do initially," said Bachchan junior, who has spent over a decade in the industry.

There is another similarity between "Bluffmaster" and "Dum Maaro Dum". Abhishek has lent his voice for a song in "Dum..." - again like "Bluffmaster". The song is called "Thayan thayan".

"The idea to have a song in my voice in the film is something Rohan and I both came up with. There`s a scene in the film, which allowed for a song and we both decided why not do another song after `Bluffmaster`," said Abhishek, who began his career with J.P. Dutta`s "Refugee" (2000).

"But the challenge this time was that my character in this film is not the kind who will sing a song. This is a very intense character. In this the challenge was how do we justify this character coming up with a song," he said.

"When Jaideep (Sahani) wrote the lyrics, we realised that we`ve got it bang on. The attitude was absolutely correct, it reflected and embodied what Assistant Commissioner of Police Kamath stands for. So, we went ahead with it," he added.

So did he have to brush up his singing skills? "I tried to, a little bit, but the credit should entirely go to Pritam (music director); he is the master mind," said the actor.

"Dum Maaro Dum", slated to hit screens April 22 and also starring Bipasha Basu and Prateik Babbar, is Abhishek`s third film with Rohan and the actor said he witnessed a marked change in the director while shooting for this film.

"Rohan has changed immensely. As a person, he is still the same but he has changed immensely as a director. The amount of maturity and growth I have seen between `Bluffmaster` and `Dum Maaro Dum` is a lot more than I saw between `Kuch Na Kaho` and `Bluffmaster`," said the actor.

"Now he is very sure of what he needs to get out of an actor, whereas previously, he would give you a lot more leeway. But this time he was so sure about what he wanted and how to get it out. I think his confidence levels were soaring," said the actor who, apart from "Dum Maaro dum", will also be seen this year in "Players" and "Bol Bachchan".

Abhishek gave his first commercial hit "Dhoom" in 2005, five years after his debut. He shot to fame with four movies that did well commercially - "Bunty Aur Babli", "Sarkar", "Dus" and "Bluffmaster".

In 2007, the actor starred in "Guru", receiving much acclaim for his performance, and the film emerged as his first solo hit. Later, he went on to do films like "Dostana", "Delhi-6" and "Paa" among others.

Fans Gift Skirts To Deepika

Deepika Padukone gets fan mail delivered to her house on a daily basis. Most of it consists of soft toys, chocolates and greeting cards from fans professing their love for her. Not this time!

When the leggy lass returned home from her Aarakshan shoot in Bhopal, she was shocked to see the nine skirts lined up in her mail!

A source reveals, "Usually her fan mail is kept in a separate room. So whenever she comes back from outdoor shoots, she personally sits and reads through each one.

There are times when she's replied to her fan's letters as well. But nothing could prepare her for the nine skirts!"

The length of the skirts vary. "Some are extremely long, while others are short.  She feels these are reactions to her Dum Maaro Dum item number.

While some fans might have liked her sexy look, there are others who want her covered up. The lyrics in the song also refer to the skirt (Aaj mere liye chair khich raha hai, kal meri skirt khichega. Khichega ki nahi?).

Deepika reacts, "I've just come home. It has just hit me! It's all because of Dum Maaro Dum."

IIMs continue to dominate Indian B-school list

CNBC-TV18 on Wednesday released 'The A-List of B-Schools Rankings 2011'. IIM Ahmedabad led the rankings and continues to be the benchmark for MBA education in India.

This year's survey, conducted in collaboration with research organization C-Fore, saw 113 B-Schools and 208 recruiting companies participating. The rankings were dominated by the IIMs as IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta and IIM Lucknow followed next.

MDI, XLRI, NITIE and FMS broke this monopoly as they took up the next four positions. NITIE made significant gains along with IIM Kozhikode to break into the Top 10. XLRI and FMS saw a minor drop in their rankings this year.

RIL starts projects to expand polyester capacity

Reliance Industries said on Wednesday it had started work on polyester projects in the country as it aims to consolidate its position as the world's largest integrated polyester producer.

Reliance plans to add over the next few years 2.3 million tonnes of capacity for making purified terephthalic acid at Dahej in Gujarat, and 395,000 tonnes of polyester filament yarn capacity at Silvassa, also in western India, it said in a statement.

The company also plans to add 540,000 tonnes of polyethylene terephthalate capacity at Dahej, it said.

Reliance operates in sectors including petrochemicals, refining, oil and gas exploration and retail.

Bric summit in China seeks influence for huge economies

The leaders of the so-called Bric nations are meeting in China for a day.

South Africa has become the fifth member of the Bric nations - which currently includes Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The summit is set to focus on reforms to the global financial system - they have 40% of the world's population and almost a fifth of the world's growth.

It is little wonder then that the so called Brics want a greater say in global affairs.

The organisation was formed as a counterweight to Western powers.

And ever since the global financial crisis, the influence of the Brics - particularly of China - has grown.

This summit is set to focus on economic issues such as rules governing international trade.

While the Bric nations have been driving global economic growth it is still unclear whether the organisation itself will become truly influential.

All the countries broadly support free trade and oppose protectionism.

Where they have similar interests - such as climate change - they have taken a united position.

But on many other issues the countries have found little to agree upon.

Egypt: Hosni Mubarak, Sons Detained For Investigation

Cairo:  Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak was put under detention in his hospital room Wednesday for investigation on accusations of corruption, abuse of power and killings of protesters in a dramatic step Wednesday that brought celebrations from the movement that drove him from office.

Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were also detained for questioning and taken to Cairo's Torah prison, where a string of former top regime figures -- including the former prime minister, ruling party chief and Mubarak's chief of staff -- are already languishing, facing similar investigations on corruption.

The move was brought by enormous public pressure on the ruling military, which was handed power when Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11. Tens of thousands protested in Cairo's central Tahrir Square on Friday, the biggest rally in weeks, demanding Mubarak and his family be put on trial. Many in the crowd accused the military of protecting the former president.

The detention is a new landmark in the stunning fall of the 82-year-old Mubarak, who only months ago appeared unquestioned in his control of Egypt after nearly 30 years of rule. Even after his fall, he seemed untouchable, living with his family at a palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

On Tuesday night, Mubarak was taken to a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh because of heart troubles, and so that his health could be monitored as he submitted to the first round of questioning by investigators. Hours later, the public prosecutor announced early Wednesday that Mubarak was ordered put under detention for 15 days for investigation. He was to be flown later in the day to a military hospital outside Cairo, where he would remain in detention, a security official in Sharm el-Sheikh said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

Later Wednesday, prosecutors announced a new arrest -- that of former parliament speaker Fathi Surour, a prominent ruling party figure who led the legislature since 1991 until it was dissolved following Mubarak's fall. He was ordered detained for 15 days for investigation on allegations of amassing wealth and misuse of power.
Mubarak's detention also marks a new chapter in Egypt's still unsure transition to what protesters hope will be a democratic post-Mubarak future.

Protesters had pushed hard for Mubarak's prosecution, demanding what they called a clear signal that the corruption that pervaded his nearly 30-year rule would be definitively broken. Public outrage was widespread over allegations that large fortunes were skimmed off by top regime officials through shady deals over the years.

Beyond the anger has been the fear that Mubarak cronies are manoeuvring to regain power as the country tries to work out democratic rule -- and that the ruling military was not taking action to prevent them, or was even abetting them.

"I was so happy in the morning when I heard the news," said Ahmed Maher, co-founder of the April 6 group, one of the movements that led the unprecedented 18-day protest movement against Mubarak.

"All people are very happy because this step reassured them after a period of doubts and stagnation," referring to doubts over the military's intentions, he told The Associated Press. Worries over the military were intensified by a fierce pre-dawn raid on protesters in Tahrir on Saturday that killed at least one person.

Still, he said, Egypt faces a long road to ensure the transition period leads to real democracy. "Trying Mubarak and his regime is very important but what is super important is the political future of Egypt and what kind of political system we want to have," he said.

The prosecutor's announcement gave a momentary easing of tensions between the military and protesters. Following the prosecutor's announcement, the coalition of youth groups that have organized the protests said it is cancelling a planned new mass demonstration in Tahrir Square on Friday to demand Mubarak's prosecution.

But the coalition underlined that there are still unfulfilled demands, including the dissolving of the former ruling party and the sacking of Mubarak-appointed governors as well as university deans and local city councils, both seen as levers of his regime.

Activist Amr Bassiouny said in a Tweet that the detention was not the protesters' primary goal but "free speech, free assembly, free press -- no torture, real democracy, end of lies."

Since Mubarak's fall, activists have complained that the Armed Forces Supreme Council, the body of top generals that now rules Egypt, has been dictating the post-Mubarak transition without consultation. Relations have rapidly soured over past week, amid reports of abuses by the military that reminded some of Mubarak's rule -- including torture of detained protesters and the imprisoning of an activist for criticizing the army.

Protesters have criticized the army for being too close to the old regime and not swiftly bringing Mubarak to trial while hundreds of protesters remain in military detention, some convicted in swift trials before military courts.

In its announcement, posted on the social networking site Facebook, the public prosecutor said Mubarak was under investigation into allegations of assaults, killings and injury of protesters, corruption, squandering of public funds, and the abuse of authority for personal gain.

Hundreds were killed during the 18-day uprising against Mubarak, when police opened fire and cracked down on the crowds. Officials say 365 were killed, but a count by the Front to Defend Egypt Protesters, a group that provides medical and legal assistance to the demonstrators, said 685 people died as of March 7.

On Sunday, Mubarak defended himself in a pre-recorded message where he sounded as defiant as he did up to his last hours in power. He said he was hurt by the corruption allegations against him and his family, insisted he had not abused his authorities and invited investigators to check his assets.

It was his first address to the people in the two months since his ouster. He has kept a low profile since he was ousted, living on his compound in Sharm el-Sheikh. He and his family were banned from traveling and their assets frozen.Shortly after, the prosecutor general issued a summons for Mubarak to appear for questioning.

Soon after the hospitalization Tuesday night and in a sign that his ailment might not be very serious, Justice Minister Mohammed el-Guindi said Mubarak was then questioned in his suite for his role in the violence against protesters. The ministry statement on Facebook said Mubarak's lawyers and a medical team were present during the interrogation. Mubarak has a history of minor ailments and underwent gallbladder surgery in Germany in March last year.

While the ex-president was taken to the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, where he has been living since being removed from power, his sons were taken for questioning to the nearby courthouse.

An angry crowd of 2,000 people had gathered outside the hospital late Tuesday, demanding the sons' arrest. Then, in the early hours Wednesday, head of provincial security in the South Sinai told the crowd that Gamal and Alaa would be detained."Brothers, whatever you wanted, you have got ... 15 days," said Maj. Gen. Mohammed el-Khatib, as the crowd erupted in cheers.

As a police van with drawn curtains took away the brothers, the crowd pelted it with water bottles, stones and their flip-flops, as a sign of contempt.

Over the past decade, Gamal had risen to the top ranks of the ruling party and was widely seen as Mubarak's designated succession. Anger over that prospect helped galvanize Egypt's protest movement. Gamal brought into government and the ruling party a number of top businessmen who led an economic liberalization program that brought in billions in foreign investment but has also widened the gap between rich and poor. Several of those businessman-politicians now face trial or investigation for allegedly using their positions to amassing fortunes. His brother Alaa is a prominent businessman.

Egyptian stock market's posted moderate gains Wednesday with investors buoyed by news that Mubarak and his sons have been detained. The market had been relatively stable in the days after its reopening late last month, following a nearly two-month closure linked to the anti-Mubarak uprising.AP 

Gilani Criticises US For Drone Strikes

Islamabad  : Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today criticised US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt, saying Islamabad is applying diplomatic pressure on Washington to stop the missile strikes as they undermine efforts to fight extremism and terrorism.

Gilani made the remarks in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament hours after US drones targeted a compound in the restive South Waziristan tribal region, killing six suspected militants.

The strike was the first since March 17, when over 40 people were killed as the CIA-operated spy planes targeted what Pakistani officials said was a tribal jirga.

Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and diplomatic channels are being used to compel the US to stop drone attacks as they are counter-productive, Gilani said in response to various issues raised by Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Pakistan had informed other countries that the drone strikes were creating problems for the government, he said.

“Under a well thought out strategy, we had separated the tribesmen from militants. Whenever a drone attack is carried out, it unites the militants and the tribal people. This creates problems for the government because no war is won without the support of the people,” he said.

He said his government had united the “whole nation in fighting terrorism” by adopting a rational strategy that isolated terrorists and militants from the tribesmen.

The security forces too had conducted successful operations against militants, he remarked.

Gilani further said the leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan were united against US drone attacks as these were not in favour of both countries.

Pakistan is part of the solution to the Afghan issue and the Afghan war cannot be won without Pakistan’s support, he added.

“Terrorism, law and order and economy are inter-related.  Until the issues of terrorism and law and order are not controlled, foreign investment will not come to the country,” he said.

Even one suicide attack would scare investors away, he said.

The Foreign Office too strongly condemned the drone attack at Angoor Adda in South Waziristan.

“We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counter-productive and only contribute to strengthen the hands of the terrorists,” spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said in a statement.

“Drone attacks have become a core irritant in the counter-terror campaign. Pakistan has taken up the matter with the US at all levels. The Foreign Secretary has lodged a strong protest with the US Ambassador today,” she said.

Today’s drone strike came just a day after a meeting in Washington between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief and the head of the CIA, which runs the drone campaign.

Media reports had claimed that the Pakistani military had told the CIA to limit its drone campaign. PTI

Manmohan Singh Meets Hu Jintao

Sanya (China) : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao met here today, with the Indian leader conveying the intention to expand cooperation in all areas and strengthen the strategic and economic partnership.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit and discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation with particular focus on economy and trade, amid India's concerns over the imbalance in favour of China.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Singh told Hu that India was "keen to expand areas of cooperation" with China.

"I wish to reaffirm the desire to strengthen strategic and economic partnership with China in every possible way," the Prime Minister said.

As the two leaders greeted each other warmly, Singh pointed out to Hu that they had met a number of times, including on the sidelines of G-20 and BRIC Summits.

Hu said it was pleasure to meet Singh and that he looked forward to exchanging views on bilateral and international issues of mutual interest.

Singh and Hu met in the backdrop of concerns in India with regard to expanding trade imbalance in favour of China and other issues like grant of stapled visas to people hailing from Jammu and Kashmir and Chinese activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Ahead of his meeting with Hu, Singh said that as the two largest developing countries in the world, India and China bear an important responsibility of ensuring their all-round and sustainable socio-economic development.

Recalling the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao to India in December last year, Singh said the two sides had agreed on a series of measures to broad base and balance trade and economic cooperation.

"We have to make more efforts to promote greater Indian exports to China to reduce the trade deficit," he has said in an interview to Xinhua while expressing hope that the two countries would be able to achieve the target of USD 100 billion by 2015.

Earlier today, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said there was a need to address the question of trade imbalance and that India had sought greater access to Chinese markets, particularly in the areas of strengths like IT and pharma, to bridge the gap.

Sharma yesterday had said the trade imbalance in favour of China was a matter of concern as he pointed out that the imbalance had gone up to USD 20 billion in the overall bilateral trade of USD 55 billion as of December 2010. The imbalance was about USD 16 billion till 2009.

He said China had assured India that it would give access through government contracts in sectors like pharmaceuticals and IT. PTI

Gujarat Has Become Benchmark For Development In India: Modi

Ahmedabad : Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today claimed that the state has become a benchmark for development in the country.

“In the (ongoing)elections in the five states, one thing has come to fore, that Gujarat has become benchmark of development,” Modi said while addressing a public meeting after inaugurating two bridges here in the presence of BJP leader L K Advani.

“In these elections, those who were impressed by Gujarat had said that they would develop their state on lines of our state. And those who are against Gujarat, drew comparison saying that they have developed their state better than us,” Modi said.

“This only shows that, Gujarat has become a benchmark of development in the country,” Modi said.

Modi lambasted forces perceived by him to be opposed to state by saying, “Some people get fever when the name of Gujarat is taken. A simple man like Anna Hazare, was asked a question and by mistake he took my name. Those forces got jolted by it and now they are trying to defame Hazare”.

Targeting Congress, he said, “Hazare had not taken name of any party in his fight against corruption. But the Congress was disturbed. This only shows that they indulge in corruption”.

Modi also raised the issue of naming big national schemes only after members of one family targeting the Congress.

“Thousands of schemes introduced by central and state government are named after them. I do not want to take their name. But we here believe in naming them after real national leaders”.

“Our Municipal Corporation has given the name of Sister Nivedita to an under-bridge in Paldi and Rishi Dadhichi bridge which is 10th on river Sabarmati”, Modi said.  Modi told the centre to compete with Gujarat on the issue of development.

Advani praised Modi for the developmental works carried out by his government in Gujarat. PTI

Not A Single Train Stopped As Bleeding Athlete Lay On Track For 4 Hours

Bareilly : As details of the athlete throwing incident emerged, it has come to light that Arunima alias Sonu Sinha, a national level volleball and football player, lay on the track for nearly four hours, but not a single train driver or guard who passed through that section stopped the train and came forward to help, railway sources said.

The incident took place on Monday night between 2 and 3 am, when the robbers pushed Arunima from the Padmavati Express.

Arunima had taken the train from Faizabad via Lucknow to find out the result of her interview for a job in CISF in Noida.

Arunima lay on the track bleeding with one of her legs severed. Several trains passed on that section at night time, but none of the drivers either didn't notice her, or didn't stop the train even after noticing the girl lying near the tracks.

The Government Railway Police took action 36 hours after the incident and that too after the national media played the story. One person has been held on suspicion of robbery.

It was left to the vilagers who took a bleeding Arunima at around 6 am to the nearby District Hospital in Bareilly where her leg had to be amputated.

The Divisional Railway Manager of Moradabad has ordered an internal inquiry by the RPF commandant and four other officials.  They have been asked to give their report within a week, said A K sinha, Assistant DRM, Moradabad.

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