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By Kallol Bhattacherjee
Story Dated: Monday, June 2, 2014 15:56 hrs IST

Friend request: Nawaz Sharif with Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House. Photo by Arvind Jain

The annual spring cleaning of Hyderabad House is usually done between mid-April and mid-
May. During this period, this top diplomatic venue in Delhi undergoes a facelift of sorts. This
year, too, the protocol division of the ministry of external affairs did a good job getting rid of
the usual wear and tear that one usually spots in a much-used diplomatic venue. And the
place certainly acted as a mood lifter when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Pakistani
counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, here on May 27.
We knew that the two would be able to speak freely to each other, said a diplomat who was
present in Hyderabad House. So when they stopped talking and looked at us, it was a hint
that the delegations could leave them alone for some time.
The 10-minute private talk between the two prime ministers in the Deccan Suite is perceived
by Indian and Pakistani diplomats as a great beginning for a first meeting, as it was neither
scheduled nor expected. Diplomats suggest that it was a display of the political will for
taking bilateral relations forward. A Pakistani diplomat who was part of the delegation said
the prime ministers wanted to look forward and were thinking of out-of-box solutions for
issues such as bilateral trade, border disputes and cross-border terrorism.
It was on May 21 that India invited Sharif to Modi's swearing-in ceremony. Pakistan
responded with a positive vibe the next day. Forty-eight hours later came a terror strike on
the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan. Though Sharif's office immediately condemned
the attack, terror had made its presence felt and overshadowed his efforts to release 150
Indian fishermen from Pakistani jails. Later, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed
that the terrorists had planned to take hostages in the Indian consulate and run a terror show
parallel to the swearing-in ceremony.
Modi got the first official briefing as prime minister from Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh
and her team on May 26. A diplomat, who did not wish to be named, said the briefing was
dominated by terror threat from Pakistan even though the bilateral talks scheduled for the
following morning was top on the agenda. Modi, however, wanted to give a smooth and
memorable welcome to Sharif, and the focus of the meeting shifted to ensuring more
informal exchanges in the meeting the following day.
Planned and organised exceptionally fast by the Indian diplomats, the meeting with Sharif
and his small team of high-level officials followed a non-table format so that an air of
informality could be maintained even while doing some tough talk. Sharif and Modi took the
lead and articulated the positions of their countries. An Indian diplomat who attended the
meeting said the talks lasted about 45 minutes and Modi emphasised that Pakistan stop those
forces that were using its soil for terrorism against India. Sharif patiently heard him and then
made the Pakistani point of view.
Though the topics of the discussion were the usual ones, the delegates were struck by the fact
that Modi and Sharif listened to each other carefully. They wanted to know each other's
point of view, said a diplomat who attended the meeting. The South Block is also buzzing
about how Modi conveyed a confident yet non-aggressive message to the world in the photo-
op with Sharif by choosing the Deccan-style Vaishnav paintings in the backdrop instead of
the sculpture of the horseman which usually figures in the photo-ops in Hyderabad House.
India-Pakistan ties have been repeatedly caught in bouts of irrational exchange of words.
Following the alleged beheading of two Indian soldiers on the Line of Control by Pakistani
troops in January 2013, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who is now Modi's external affairs
minister, had commented that India should get ten Pakistani heads in retaliation. A day after
the meeting on May 27, Swaraj said that Modi had stridently conveyed to the Pakistani side
that bombs and terror attacks from Pakistan must stop so that the constructive talks could be
Pakistan's actions toward countering terror could lead to both countries meeting development
requirements, reducing poverty and increasing trade. This is being discussed in a hushed tone
in the diplomatic circles ever since the two prime ministers met. We can say that the prime
ministers shared a common vision of development as they were prompt in ordering foreign
secretaries to meet quickly, said a Pakistani diplomat. Both sides are also expected to make
fast moves towards the revival of the composite dialogue, which was aimed at addressing
Indian concerns about terrorism.
India's list of demands, however, could be too long for Sharif to fulfil. It includes the trial of
the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, handing over of underworld don Dawood
Ibrahim and terrorist Hafiz Saeed, and closing down of terror camps. Apart from these, there
are issues like demilitarisation of Siachen Glacier, boundary disputes in the Sir Creek water
bodies, Kashmir and trade.
While both India and Pakistan exchange trade delegations and have arranged meetings of
their biggest industrialists, bilateral trade is not yet considered strategically significant. Trade,
however, might be the only available way that Pakistan can reciprocate to Modi's invitation to
Sharif. Seshadri Chari, the BJP's foreign cell in-charge, said Pakistan had already declared
that it would grant the most-favoured nation status to India and it should follow up on that
promise without wasting time. Subsequently, he said, it should send a delegation to India to
explore the possibilities of trade expansion in different sectors.
Sharif's eagerness to improve the business relations with India was on display when he
visited steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal's house on Prithviraj Road in Delhi. Jindal, promoter of the
$11-billion JSW Group, threw a quick tea party in the honour of the guest. A socialite who
was present in the meeting said Sharif was delighted to see Indian industrialists' interest in
Pakistan and said his doors were open for economic diplomacy with India. The Pakistani
government is particularly keen on buying power from India.
It came as surprise to many that Modi, who benefited in the elections from his belligerent
anti-Pakistan tone, chose to embrace regional diplomacy as his first initiative. In doing this,
he has found common ground with Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, one of his biggest
detractors. Aiyar said that by reviving the composite dialogue, Modi and Sharif would revive
the special talks that were on before the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack. It looks like Modi
and Sharif will walk the path of peace and negotiation. It will be interesting to see how they
plan to achieve this, he said.
Many experts say Modi did not invite Sharif all of a sudden. Former foreign secretary Lalit
Mansingh, a key supporter of Modi in the diplomatic circle, said the prime minister was keen
to follow the Vajpayee model of shakti and shanti (power and peace). According to
Mansingh, the delegation led by Sharif went back assured that the India government was
pledge-bound to act decisively in case of terror strikes against Indian interests. Modi,
however, would have to tread with caution while dealing with sensitive issues like Kashmir,
he said.
As the Indian and Pakistani sides prepare for a resumption of the composite dialogue,
possibly leading to more step-ups in the list of solutions, the continuity is expected to be
maintained from Manmohan Singh's tenure. Satinder Lambah, who was Singh's special envoy
for Af-Pak, recently said in a lecture at Srinagar University that he had suggested the idea of
making the Line of Control the India-Pakistan border. This could be one of the starting points
for the composite dialogue.
India has taken the first step and broken the ice that formed after the 26/11 terror attack. Now
Pakistan is expected to do some steps in the short term to highlight that business can be done
between New Delhi and Islamabad. But Pakistan, as a state, needs to do something more.
According to T.V. Paul, who teaches in McGill University, Montreal, and recently published
the book The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World, Pakistan will have to craft
a good and enduring response to India's first step and ensure that reciprocity is not lost in its
list of realpolitik behaviour. Such large-scale expectations of change from Pakistan might
seem unrealistic, but Paul is hopeful because Pakistan has shown some signs of change by
holding general elections after the end of the rule of Pervez Musharraf in 2008 and then again
managing a smooth democratic transition from Asif Ali Zardari to Sharif.
If Pakistan fails to live up to the expectation after the drama in Hyderabad House, the
consequences might be unpredictable. Last year, it test-fired a 70km-range tactical nuclear
missile, which dramatically lowered the nuclear-threshold. Since then, the BJP has been
demanding a re-examination of India's nuclear doctrine of no-first use.
What India wants
* Speedy trial in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case
* Dissolution of terror camps and stopping organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba from
operating on Pakistani soil
* Demilitarisation of Siachen glacier and resolution of Sir Creek boundary dispute
* More trade
* Extradition of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his gang
What Pakistan wants
* More trade, especially in the energy sector
* Restoration of peace and security in the region
* Change from confrontation to cooperation
* End of arms race
* Wiping out poverty and illiteracy in the region
* Resolution of the Kashmir issue
What is likely to happen
* Foreign secretaries might meet in September to discuss all issues, without exception
* Increased focus on trade and development
* India likely to be given Most Favoured Nation status
* Bilateral cricket series may resume

1947/48 War over Kashmir ends with a United Nations-ordered ceasefire and resolution
seeking a plebiscite for the people of Jammu and Kashmir
1965 Second war over Kashmir; the UN calls for a ceasefire
1971 Third war, leading to creation of Bangladesh
1972 Simla Agreement signed
1974 India's first nuclear test in Pokhran
1989 India accuses Pakistan of sending militants into Kashmir
1998 India and Pakistan carry out nuclear tests
February 1999 Prime Ministers A.B. Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif meet in Lahore
1999 Conflict in Kargil
July 2001 Agra summit ends in failure
December 2001 Militants attack Indian Parliament; India blames Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-
2004 Formal peace process launched
November 2008 Terrorists attack Mumbai; India suspends dialogue
February 2009 Pakistan investigates Mumbai attack and admits it was partly planned from
July 2011 Foreign ministers meet in New Delhi
April 2012 President Asif Ali Zardari meets Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh in New Delhi
November 2012 India hangs Ajmal Kasab in the Mumbai attack case
January 2013 Two Indian soldiers are killed in Kashmir; Manmohan Singh says there can be
no "business as usual".
February 2013 India hangs Afzal Guru for the 2001 Parliament attack
September 2013 Prime ministers meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General
May 2014 Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif meet in New Delhi

File-PTI Photo/ Shahbaz Khan
Kamal Nath Sworn-In As Lok Sabha Protem Speaker
New Delhi | Jun 04, 2014
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath was today sworn-in as the Protem Speaker of the newly
constituted Lok Sabha by President Pranab Mukherjee here.
67-year-old Nath, a nine-time MP, was administered the oath at a simple function at the
Rashtrapati Bhavan which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President
Hamid Ansari, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of State
(Parliamentary Affairs) Santosh K Gangwar.
The former Parliamentary Affairs Minister and Lok Sabha Member from Madhya Pradesh's
Chhindwara was congratulated by the President and other dignitaries after the oath that took
place in the Yellow Drawing Room of the Presidents' House.
After the oath, Nath said that his party will play the role of a "constructive Opposition" and
will work to live up to the aspirations of the youth and the country.
"We will certainly play the role of a constructive Opposition. The BJP created ruckus and did
riot in the last five years in the House but we will not allow this," Nath told reporters after the
He said the role of the Opposition will be to attract the government's attention towards the
needs of the people and to help "clear pending legislations."
Nath said the Speaker of the Lok Sabha will decide the Leader of the Opposition and this
would happen on the day after tomorrow.
"It is a important decision to have a Leader of Opposition," he added.
The Protem Speaker performs the duties of the office of the Speaker from the commencement
of the sitting of the Lok Sabha until the election of the Speaker.

File-PTI Photo
All Efforts Will be Made to Fulfil Hopes of People: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured the nation that all efforts will be made in
Parliament for fulfiling the hopes and aspirations of the country's ordinary citizens.

"People of the country have elected the 16th Lok Sabha by blessing the public representatives
and casting their votes in unprecedented numbers," the prime minister told reporters at
Parliament House before the commencement of the first session of the 16th Lok Sabha.

"I assure the people of the country that all efforts will be made in this temple of democracy to
fulfill the hopes and aspirations of ordinary citizens of India," he said.

In his brief address, Modi also extended his best wishes to the citizens.
article 370 contoversy
How To Burn The Bridge
First week in office and Narendra Modis office rocks the boat with Article 370 blooper. Is
the Sangh set to raise the Kashmir bogey?
Pranay Sharma
Its the Article in the Constitution that forms the sole bridge between Jammu and Kashmir
and the Indian Union. Some facts:
J&K is the only state that negotiated its membership with the Indian Union
It was discussed for five monthsfrom May to October 1949between Jawaharlal
Nehru and his aides and Sheikh Abdullah and his aides
The draft agreed between the state and the Union was approved in October 1949 and
adopted in the Constitution as Article 370
The provision of Article 370 (1-C) stipulates that Article 1 of the Constitutionthat
lists the states of the Indian Unionapplies to J&K through Article 370. Which
means if Article 370 is removed, J&K becomes independent.
Kashmir And Article 370
From 1947 on, milestones of the dispute
1947 October The J&K maharaja accedes to the Indian Union in the wake of raids by
armed tribesmen from Pakistan, seeks Indian armys help
1948 March The maharaja appoints an interim government in the state with Sheikh
Abdullah as prime minister
1948-49 Abdullah and three colleagues join the Indian Constituent Assembly;
negotiate J&Ks entry into the Indian Union and Article 370 becomes part of Indian
1950 January Indian Constituent Assembly adopts the Indian Constitution
1950 April Syama Prasad Mookerji resigns from Nehrus cabinet, launches the Jana
1951 November Constituent Assembly of J&K meet for the first time
1952 July Delhi Agreement signed between Abdullah and Nehru, confining Unions
authority to only three subjects, leaving the rest with the state govt and abolishing
monarchy in J&K.
1953 May Syama Prasad Mookerji, arrested while leading agitation in J&K against
Article 370, dies a month later while in police custody
1956 November J&K Constituent Assembly wounds up
1961 April Hari Singh, the last maharaja of J&K, dies in Bombay
This was perhaps not how Narendra Modi expected the weeks events to pan out. His
swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt on May 26 afternoon had gotten
him off to a flying start. Among a host of dignitaries, the presence of leaders of the SAARC
countries, particularly Pakistans Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gave him the opportunity to
send out a strong, assuring signal to the outside world. To wit, the ascendance of a Hindu-
right leader to power in Delhi was not a threat to the nuclearised South Asian region. On the
contrary, the presence of the regional leaders reaffirmed Indias desire to re-engage with its
immediate neighbours. The next days meeting that Modi had with Sharif and other South
Asian leaders at Hyderabad House only strengthened this view further.
However, the mood soon changed afterwards with a remark by a junior minister in the PMO,
suggesting that a debate will soon start on Article 370 of the Constitution to determine the
special status of Jammu and Kashmir. In less than 48 hours of its swearing- in ceremony,
the new government was faced with its first political controversy. We are speaking to the
stakeholders. Article 370 has done more harm than good, Jitender Singh Rana, a first-time
Lok Sabha MP from Jammus Udhampur, told a TV channel.
Rana now is known in his constituency as a high drama artist and apparently even has a
certificate from All India Radio to prove it. A diabetologist of repute, he rose to prominence
during the Amarnath land row as the spokesman for the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh
Samitiwhich was spearheading the counter-agitation against the Valleys opposition to
transfer of land to it. He became a household name in the region then with regular
appearances on TV channels, even as the agitation continued outside with curfews lasting two
months. Several thousand people, including women and children, filled the jails, besides
fighting bloody battles with the police on the roads and bylanes.
The abrogation of Article 370 has been a long-standing demand of the BJP and the Sangh
parivar. An agitation for its removal began almost from the time the Nehru-Abdullah
agreement of 1952 detailed the special powers and status of the state. Syama Prasad
Mookerji, who resigned from Nehrus cabinet and launched the Jana Sangh, was one of the
champions of the agitation, and his arrest while making an attempt to enter the state without a
permit and subsequent death in the custody of the J&K police has made this a highly emotive
issue for the Sangh parivar.
What Rana said, therefore, was not very different from the line in the election manifesto or
what Narendra Modi himself had said while campaigning in Jammu. But it is the timing of
his remarkespecially at a time when the new government was busy highlighting its other,
softer facets to the worldthat has raised questions both within and outside the government.
Led by Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah, who wanted to know that since he hadnt
been consulted, the government should clarify who the stakeholders were it was discussing
the issue with, a host of Kashmiri leaders strongly reacted to the junior ministers comments,
some even arguing that since it came from someone in the PMs office, it must have had
Modis blessings.
Under the circumstances, however, this looked highly unlikely as the new prime minister
could not be seen opening a new front domestically, especially one as sensitive as Kashmir,
even as he was trying to project himself as a mature leader on the world stage willing to talk
peace with Pakistan and other neighbours of India. Visibly embarrassed at the development,
the PMs close aides and BJP and RSS leaders tried to play down the issue. But it did little to
contain the damage. This is pure ignorance displayed by a national party on what forms the
constitutional link, a bridge, between J&K state and the rest of the country, says ex-
National Conference MP Mehboob Baig.
Article 370 is perhaps the least understood and also most widely misread provision of the
Indian constitution. Every now and then, it has led to controversies and debates and needed
explanation on the special circumstances of its inclusion in the Constitution and the need for
it to be there.

No let-up Security forces set up another barricade in Srinagar. (Photograph by AFP From,
Outlook 09 June 2014)
Hari Singh, the maharaja of J&K, acceded to the Indian Union in October 1947 when a full-
scale war was upon the state in the wake of raids and pillage by tribesmen from Pakistan. He
sought the Indian armys help and agreed to join the Union. But it was the only former
princely state that negotiated its accession to the Union. The Instrument of Accession
document signed by the maharaja was also accompanied by a letterwhich in legal terms is
seen as a collateral document and an integral whole with the other document. And this
was done only after Sheikh Abdullah, who was appointed by the maharaja as the prime
minister of an interim government and three of his colleagues joined the Indian Constituent
Assembly as members to negotiate the terms and conditions of J&Ks joining the Union.
After five months of hectic parleys, and the personal intervention of Sardar Patel, the terms
were agreed upon and they were made part of the Indian Constitution with the incorporation
of Article 370. The separation of powers of the state and the Union was further formalised
through an agreement between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah in 1952 and also
endorsed by the constituent assembly of J&K.
Only three areasdefence, external affairs and communicationswere designated as ones
where the Union would have powers, while all others were left to the state. It was also agreed
that neither side could unilaterally alter, amend or expand the powers. Any attempt by the
President of India to bring about changes in the state to make other laws of the Union
applicable in J&K had to have the concurrence of the states constituent assembly. The J&K
constituent assembly from 1951 to 1956 debated and discussed all these provisions, and after
incorporating them in the state constitutionthe only state in India that had a separate
constitutionit got dissolved.
There are two sets of interpretations to the legal and constitutional provisions of Article 370
and relations between J&K and the Indian Union. One clearly states that provision 1-C of the
Article makes it explicit that Article 1 of the Indian Constitution that lists the states of India
applies to Kashmir through Article 370. In other words, if Article 370 is removed or
abrogated, J&K becomes independent of the Indian Union. Simply put, this is the only string
that binds the two together.
It is also argued that since the constituent assembly of J&K no longer exists, there is no
provision left for altering the terms and scope of the agreement between the two sides.
This view, though, has been questioned and tampered with by different governments in Delhi
for years. In fact, during Indira Gandhis prime ministership, the Supreme Court held that
since the constituent assembly of J&K is no longer there, the state legislature becomes its
rightful heir and, therefore, expansion of the Unions power can happen with the consent and
concurrence of the state assembly.
But for the Sangh parivar, the opposition to special status for Kashmir and Article 370 come
from another place altogether. As historian Christophe Jaffrelot says, It is key for three rea-
sons: ideologically this article contradicts their conception of the nation that is ethnic and
unitary (Golwalkar opposed even the idea of federalism, saying it was responsible for angu-
larities that had to be erased; Article 370 is much worse!). Emotionally, the fate of the
Pandits shows that Hindus are second-class citizens in their own country and, historically,
S.P. Mookerjee died in Kashmir in 1953 for the cause.
So what is the future of Article 370 and are we likely to see a renewed controversy on the
subject or will the new government be smart and mature enough to realise that scrapping this
provision of the Indian Constitution can do more harm than good to both the BJP and the
nation as a whole.
A word of caution came from Congress leader and son of the last Kashmir maharaja, Karan
Singh. In a statement on Thursday, he said, My appeal to all concerned is to kindly tone
down the rhetoric and not let the ministers statement plunge the new government almost
immediately into a complex and difficult situation. He added that the whole question of
Jammu & Kashmir has to be looked at in an integral fashion, including the international
dimension, the constitutional position, the legal aspects as well as the political aspects. Such
an integral review is overdue, but it has to be done in a cooperative rather than a
confrontational manner.
While these are wise words, it remains to be seen whether this sage advice will taken to heart
by the different players on the stage now, particularly at a time when assembly elections in
Jammu and Kashmir are due in a few months time.

Half of world's forest species at risk: UN

Endangered Asiatic lions rest at the Gir Lion Sanctuary at Sasan in Junagadh district of

Half of the world's forest species are at risk from climate change and farming, the United
Nations (UN) warned today, as it called for "urgent action" to manage them better.
In its first global study of forest genetic resources, the UN's Food and Agricultural
Organisation (FAO) said woodland was shrinking fastest in Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria.
"Forests provide food, goods and services, which are essential to the survival and well-being
of all humanity," the FAO's forestry director Eduardo Rojas-Briales said in a statement.
"These benefits all rely on safeguarding the rich store of the world's forest genetic diversity,
which is increasingly at risk," the statement added.
The report found that around half of the 8,000 reported species and subspecies were
perceived as being endangered.
The ten countries that lost the most forest area between 1990 and 2010 were Brazil,
Indonesia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Bolivia,
Venezuela and Australia, it said.
FAO said biodiversity boosted both the productivity and nutritional value of forest products
like leafy vegetables, honey, fruits, seeds, nuts, roots, tubers and mushrooms.
Genetic diversity also protects forests from pests and ensures they can "adapt to changing
environmental conditions, including those stemming from climate change", the FAO said.
The FAO called for more efforts to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and to
combat invasive species, as well as the development of national seed programmes to ensure
the availability of genetically-appropriate tree seeds.
4 Days, 3 Countries: 5 Things to Watch for on Obamas Europe Trip
Jun 2, 2014 2:31pm

(Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)
Call it Euro Trip, Part II.
President Obama embarks Monday night on his second whirlwind trip to Europe this year,
visiting three countries in four days.
The president will land in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday morning where he will help celebrate the
25th anniversary of the solidarity movement. He then heads to Brussels for a G7 summit on
Wednesday. Hell dine privately with French President Franois Hollande in Paris on
Thursday and commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy on Friday all
while Russian President Vladimir Putin is nearby.
Here are five things to watch on President Obamas four day, three country tour of Europe.
The crisis in Ukraine will dominate President Obamas time in Europe one week after the
country held successful national elections. President Obama will seek to offer reassurances
to eastern European countries that the U.S. is committed to maintaining the regions security.
Hell look to do so in his first stop in Warsaw, a western neighbor to Ukraine. The president
is slated to meet there with central and eastern European leaders, including Ukraines newly
elected President Petro Poroshenko.
This is an important time for President Obama to affirm directly to President-elect
Poroshenko our commitment to the people of Ukraine, Deputy National Security Advisor
Ben Rhodes said ahead of Wednesdays meeting. Weve admired his commitment to pursue
dialogue and to aim to reduce tensions and put Ukraine on a positive path. And in these days
before his inauguration, this will be an important time for the President to check in directly
and review his agenda.
While in Warsaw, President Obama will give a speech at a ceremony honoring the
25th Anniversary of the first free, post-Communist elections in Poland, which the
administration says sends an important message to people in Ukraine.
Its a very powerful moment to both look back at the history of how Polish democracy was
won, but also look at the current moment and the need for the United States and Europe to
stand together on behalf of the security of Eastern Europe, and to stand in support of
democratic values and all of those who would reach for democratic values, as weve seen so
powerfully in Ukraine these last several months, Rhodes said.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Ukraine will also be high on the agenda at the G7 Summit
along with discussions on energy, climate and trade.
President Obama will meet with his G7 partners in Brussels after the leaders cancelled their
participation in the G8, which was supposed to be held in Sochi, Russia. The move was a
direct snub of Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russian aggression in Ukraine.
President Obama and President Putin are scheduled to be in Europe at the same time, raising
the question of whether the two will exchange words face-to-face for the first time since the
crisis in Ukraine began.
Though hes excluded from the meeting in Brussels, Putin will get some one-on-one time
with President Hollande in Paris Thursday, the same day President Obama is set to dine
privately with the French president.
The White House says there is no planned bilateral meeting between Obama and Putin, but
the two leaders could cross paths during D-Day celebrations on Friday. Both are scheduled
to attend a luncheon for leaders and an international ceremony commemorating D-Day at
Sword Beach.
Clearly, they will be in the same place, attending the leaders lunch and then the ceremony,
so they will certainly have cause to interact in that context, Rhodes said.
President Obamas trip will culminate with a stop at Normandy to celebrate the
70th anniversary of D-Day. The president, who participated in the 65th anniversary
festivities in 2009, will speak at the American cemetery in Normandy at a celebration
honoring the ultimate manifestation of the allies working together on behalf of freedom.
While honoring the legacy of the World War II veterans, President Obama will tie the valiant
efforts of those soldiers to the men and women serving in the military today as part of the
9/11 generation.
He will aim to connect the service of that D-Day generation with the service of the 9/11
generation today, Rhodes said. We have a generation since 9/11 that has equated itself
equally in terms of their commitment to serve in a time of war and stand up for those values,
and that without that type of service, those values cannot endure.
It takes the United States, it takes our leadership, and it takes our alliances to secure the
freedoms that we pay tribute to at anniversaries like this, he said.
The presidents trip to Europe comes at a time of renewed focus on foreign policy issues.
Last week, the president outlined his foreign policy vision for the final two years of his
presidency, including a plan to remove all troops from Afghanistan by 2016, and stressed that
diplomacy, not full scale military operations, should be key in future international efforts.
But the president heads to Poland as one of its famous former leaders former President
Lech Walesa wants to share some tough words with him, saying Obama has failed as a
world leader.
The world is disorganized and the superpower is not taking the lead, Walesa told the
Associated Press last month. I am displeased.
President Obama travels to Europe just after the administration negotiated the release of
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years.
The administration sees Bergdahls release as a major win, but criticism has poured in from
Republican lawmakers who see the exchange of five Guantanamo detainees for Bergdahl as a
risk to U.S. security. While the president is abroad, lawmakers stateside could continue
lobbing these critiques.


Drunk Japanese Turned into Human Billboards

Jun 2, 2014 3:38pm

(Yaocho Bar Group/YouTube)
Someone has been turning apparently drunken Japanese people into human billboards,
framing them where they lie and including the English-language hashtag #nomisugi which
means too drunk in Japanese - and a message in Japanese characters apparently inviting
bystanders to photograph and tweet what they see.
It was not entirely clear whether these Japanese billboards were real public service
announcements against public drunkenness, as they purported to be, or a savvy publicity
stunt. Regardless, people were tweeting images of the billboards to #nomisugi.
Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising agency that appeared to be associated with the campaign,
didnt return phone calls or emails for comment by either its New York and Asia
Whether staged or legit, or both, the campaigns message echoes past public warnings posted
on the Tokyo Metro asking commuters to drink responsibly at home.

Philip Morris International Bets Big On The Future Of Smoking
This story appears in the June 16, 2014 issue of Forbes.
Researchers in this $150 million glass cube on Switzerland's Lake Neuchatel test the next
generation of cigarettes for Philip Morris International. (Photo credit: Thomas Jantscher)
As hubs of innovation go, the area around Switzerlands Lake Geneva historically trumps
pretty much any region in the world, save the 30-mile radius around Dave Packards old
garage. Its where pharmacist Henri Nestl perfected the concoction of milk, flour and sugar
that spawned the worlds largest food conglomerate, the first quartz wristwatch was
developed and Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Expand an hour or so further
and youll find the birthplace of everything from the theory of relativity to LSD.
Which brings us today to the shore of Lake Neuchatel, where I watch hundreds of scientists
and technicians, recruited from pharmaceutical giants like Novartis and Roche, scurry around
a $150 million glass cube that could easily be mistaken for Google's European headquarters.
Researchers sit in the center atrium, swapping ideas, while in the buildings on either side
robotic machines churn out prototypes for a product that could have the biggest impact on
human health since the introduction of antibiotics: a safer cigarette.
Cigarette smoking kills an estimated 5.4 million people a year worldwide, a figure thats risen
30% over the past 20 years. You can plaster pictures of skull-and-crossbones or dying cancer
victims on the wrappers and tax them until a pack costs more than dinner for two, but recent
history has demonstrated that people, especially in Eastern Europe and Asia, still figure out a
way to get their fix.
So what Philip Morris International (PMI) is doing from its Swiss headquarters is trying to
help the worlds smokers get that fix in a way that a) doesnt eventually kill half of them, and
b) replicates the aspects of smoking that got a lot of them hooked in the first place.
Its an ambitious plan that PMI has put $650 million into over the last three years, with the
current expenditure ramping up past $200 million a year. While many of the technical details
of its products remain secret, PMI is sharing the results of its clinical research with the public
and in academic journalsposters at the Lake Neuchatel lab testify to the regular tours offered
visiting scientistsin an effort to reverse the well-deserved reputation for evasion and
duplicity that the cigarette industry earned through most of its history. It opened its doors to
FORBES and made its chief executive available for a rare interview in order to explain the
strategy that may save the company in an industry thats changing along with the smoking
habits of most of the industrialized world.
The first new model is an electronic device that looks like an old-fashioned cigarette holder,
which heats tobacco to just below the burning point to release the nicotine and flavor of
tobacco with fewer harmful combustion by-products like benzene and tar. It will hit the
market in an undisclosed country sometime next year. Three more prototypes are in the
works, including one that can be lit like a conventional cig.

Tobacco-based prototypes sit in direct contrast to the biggest disruptor in the cigarette
business: e-cigarettes. Simple devices that combine a tiny lithium battery with a heating
element to vaporize pure nicotine fluid, they deliver the drug that hooks cigarette smokers but
without the taste. Competitor Lorillard is all-in on e-cigarettes, having purchased Blu, now
one of the largest U.S. brands, for $135 million in 2012, and PMIs former U.S. parent,
Altria, is test-marketing its MarkTen e-cigs.
As with almost everything in the nicotine delivery business, theres a moral quandary to all
this innovation: If PMI proves successful, the new products will surely save the lives of tens
of thousands of their customers. But they could also make smoking less scary to those who
dont smoke, creating new nicotine addicts. PMI is shepherding the new products through the
Food & Drug Administration approval process on behalf of its former parent, which spun it
out in 2008. Altria would then market the product hereassuming the FDA plays ball, which,
given its reticence to green-light any product that could encourage cigarette use, is far from a
sure thing.
Financially, the stakes are huge. Six trillion cigarettes are sold globally each year; if PMIs
tobacco heater attracts even a 5% share, that would boost profits, already a hefty $8.6 billion,
by more than $1 billion a yearand still more if a kinder, gentler cigarette is taxed less
aggressively. And thats just the starting point: Bonnie Herzog, the tobacco analyst at Wells
Fargo, believes that consumption of e-cigs and other delivery devices deemed safer could
eclipse conventional cigarettes by 2030. We believe the market continues to underestimate
the growth opportunities for the tobacco industry, she says.
In Greek mythology it was Prometheus who reintroduced fire to the world after an angry
Zeus had snatched it away. At PMI its another Greek, Andr Calantzopoulos, 56, who is
spearheading the quest to reintroduce fire, in the form of new cigarettes. The urbane
Calantzopoulos acknowledges the pressure hes under. Were fully cognizant, because we
started this journey, says Calantzopoulos, the vapor from a black plastic prototype cigarette
trailing out of his nostrils, as he sits in his office at PMIs operational headquarters in
Lausanne. These products can bring the biggest single benefit in a short period of time, in
terms of public health.

Andre Calantzopoulos, chief executive of PMI (Photo credit: Stefan Jermann For Forbes)
A pack-a-day smoker since he was 25, Calantzopoulos was born near Olympia, raised in
Athens and has an engineers approach to the cigarette business. He studied electrical
engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (his father, a banker,
had given him an appreciation for Switzerland), and after several years in the electronics
industry working on robotics he went back for a masters in business administration from
INSEAD in Paris.
Upon graduation he returned to Lausanne to work at Philip Morris European headquarters
and rapidly advanced to high-level jobs, including helping to oversee the companys $800
million campaign to buy former state tobacco monopolies in countries like Czechoslovakia
and Poland. He was chief operating officer of PMI when it was spun out of Altria in 2008 and
became chief executive in 2013.
While tobacco companies have worked on safer alternatives for yearsand have been accused
of duplicity and worse by marketing light smokes that proved just as deadly as their
heavy counterpartsCalantzopoulos says the current effort began in 2002, when Philip
Morris gave up on developing a safer version of the combustible cigarette. Filters, he says,
simply cant remove the dangerous by-products of burning tobacco that cause lung cancer,
emphysema and heart disease.
PMI took a close look at e-cigarettes developed in the early 2000s and even considered
buying the technology. The battery-powered cigarette substitutes have rapidly grown to more
than $2 billion in global sales, although reliable statistics are difficult to obtain given the
profusion of small companies selling them.
The price was too high when PMI first looked at the technology, and Calantzopoulos says
subsequent history has shown PMI was right to pass (although an Altria-developed e-cig is
among the alternatives it is testing now). Studies in various countries show that e-cigs have
close to 100% consumer recognition among smokers and 20% to 50% have tried them at least
oncebut less than 10% use them regularly.
While they satisfy the oral cravings (industry executives prefer the term ritual) and nicotine
addiction of smokers, e-cigs vaporize flavored nicotine instead of tobacco and lack the rich
taste and thick smoke of traditional cigarettes.
In any marketing definition, youd say, I have a product problem, Calantzopoulos says of
PMI is betting that smokers prefer the taste of real tobacco. The product that consumers will
try later this year is a thin black device that holds a paper tube containing tobacco and a white
filter. The smoker draws on the paper tube, while a software-controlled, rechargeable heating
element raises the temperature to almost 400 degrees (200-300 degrees Centigrade), creating
a vapor from the tobacco to release nicotine and flavors. The smoker exhales vapor that
quickly dissipates in the air.
Calantzopoulos says he switched entirely to the new device after two weeks and wont go
back to traditional cigarettes. Now I have great difficulty smoking combustible products,
he says, which he still must do when approving new blends.
So consider him hooked on his product. But not so much that the cancer-stick stigma has
faded. Despite running the company, Calantzopoulos refused to have his picture taken while
smoking the prototype he so gleefully espouses.
The argument for safer cigarettes seems as simple as the argument for installing air bags in
cars. And some public health experts, including Boston Universitys Dr. Michael Siegel and
Charles Connor, past president of the American Lung Association, support e-cigarettes as a
way to wean smokers off their favorite smokes.
But others oppose anything that might perpetuate nicotine addiction, even if it theoretically
saves lives. Anti-tobacco activist Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San
Francisco thinks the FDA should block new tobacco products until cigarette manufacturers
remove traditional cigs from the market: If it were any other product, and if it were any
other business that doesnt have the complete lack of ethics combined with maximum
chutzpah of the cigarette industry, they would stop selling the more dangerous product.
Theyve been trying to say they only want to attract existing smokers, but the evidence does
not bear that out, adds Erika Sward of the American Lung Association. The most heavily
marketed brands by the major tobacco companies are the most heavily used ones by kids.
And PMI is heading down a well-worn path with its new heat-driven devices. Reynolds
American introduced Premier, a heated-tobacco device, in 1988 but withdrew it months later
after the American Medical Association and other groups urged the FDA to ban it or at least
regulate it as a drug. Reynolds, which makes Winston and Camel cigarettes, tried again with
Eclipse, another heated-tobacco device. Its reward was being sued by the attorney general of
Vermont for violating consumer protection laws by describing the new device as safer than
smoking. A judge ordered Reynolds to pay $8.3 million in 2013 after determining the
companys extensive scientific research was inadequate because it didnt include long-term
human studies.
PMI could be heading into a similar morass, although not for lack of spending money. Inside
the glass cube on Lake Neuchatel researchers working under former Novartis executive
Manuel Peitsch are conducting tests in petri dishes and on human cells using the cutting-edge
technique known as systems biology to try to assess how the new devices affect known
pathways to cancer and other smoking-related diseases. Its a shortcut compared with running
years-long human trials, but PMI hopes it can persuade the FDA and health authorities in the
EU by the results. PMI is also testing a device developed by Duke University researchers
including Jed Rose, coinventor of the nicotine patch, which uses a chemical reaction to
deliver nicotine. All of the PMI devices are designed to prevent users from inhaling
dangerous fumes from the heating element, a knock against the Reynolds products.
At the same time the company is using scores of outside researchers to study how consumers
use the products and whether they will attract new smokers. This is critical, because the
public health impact of reduced-risk products is a numbers game: If they are 80% safer and
used by the 20% of U.S. adults who smoke, thats a public health win. If they create a bunch
of new nicotine addicts, not so much. PMI, in other words, is trying to prove to regulators
that its great new product wont actually attract new customers. Such is life in the perverse
cigarette business.
Any product we commercialize with any claim must be based on the most robust scientific
evidence, given the sensitivities, says Calantzopoulos. Because anything we do, it will be
scrutinized ten times more than anybody else.
Safer cigarettes promise a path out of the dismal long-term outlook for traditional smokes,
where even PMI, with its dominant Marlboro brand, saw unit sales fall by 5% last year. But
they also introduce uncertainty to a business that for most of Calantzopoulos 29-year career
has been as predictable as the deaths it generated.
Disruptive innovations like e-cigarettes are going to arrive more frequently, the chief
executive says, and PMI has yet to work things out with the most important partner in its
business: the taxman. Cigarettes deliver tax revenue as efficiently as nicotine. Of PMIs $80
billion in revenue last year, $48.8 billion went to the taxing authorities. Its as if 12 out of the
20 cigarettes in every pack are sold by some form of government.
In PMIs ideal world thered be little or no tax on the new products, assuming they prove to
have reduced risk. That would encourage current smokers to switch. But Calantzopoulos is a
realist: He assumes full, cigarette-level taxation in his financial models, knowing that
governments will loathe losing revenue, especially since the new products continue to deliver
The worst tax, from PMIs perspective, is a simple sales tax based on the wholesale price.
That encourages manufacturers to engage in price wars, since most of the cost is borne by tax
authorities, hurting premium brands. If there is to be a taxand so far only Italy has
announced a policy on these new productsCalantzopoulos prefers a per-cigarette excise tax.
Since they contain tobacco, if they make it to the U.S. theyll also be subject to the massive
1998 settlement with state attorneys general in the U.S., which still generates billions of
dollars in revenue (and hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees each year for the private
lawyers who helped negotiate it).
Tobacco also remains an incredibly effective profit-delivery device. PMI has been doubling
earnings every ten years since Calantzopoulos joined the firm in 1985, and investors have
earned 122% since the spinoff in 2008, compared with 67% for the S&P 500 index. That
includes a 4.4% dividend yield, compared with less than 2% for the S&P. The company
operates in 180 markets outside the U.S. and holds a 16% share of the international cigarette
market28% outside of China, where a government monopoly controls the business (and
might be interested in the new products from PMI if they could trim that countrys rising
death toll from cigarettes).
Calantzopoulos is diplomatically obtuse when asked if PMI is trying to reverse its shrinking
unit volumes with these new products. Isnt it strange, he is asked, to forswear growth in a
consumer business, as hinted by the consumer research hes commissioned to assuage
When I joined Philip Morris 30 years ago my friends asked me exactly the same question,
he says. What are you going to do in an industry that has no future?
The answer, until now, has been raising prices and stealing market share from competitors,
and Calantzopoulos maintains the new products present mainly a
market share opportunity.
While hes spending $680 million on a factory in northern Italy that can produce tens of
billions tobacco cartridges a year for the first generation of these safer cigarettes,
Calantzopoulos says he has no way of knowing which product will succeed. The equipment
in the plant will cost about double the equivalent for producing conventional cigarettes, and
earnings will suffer unless PMI can keep some of the revenue it now pays out in taxes for
Hes similarly evasive about whether PMI will exploit the Marlboro brand, one of the best-
known brand names on earth. While that would make it much easier to convince existing
customers to switch, it also could be seen as an end run around marketing restrictions on
conventional cigs.
Well do a parallel development based on both brand-name strategies, he says. And thats
all I can say today.
You have to try rather than test, he adds, stubbing out the third butt of his next-generation
cigarettes in an elegant ceramic ashtray. The best research on earth will never tell you what
success is.
Thats especially true in the cigarette trade, where success comes with all sorts of dubious
and unexpected by-products. Even the story of Prometheus ended poorly. His reward for
restoring fire to the earth was a box delivered by the alluring Pandora. It unleashed plague
and misfortune that would torment mankind for generations to come.

Philips re-enters Indian mobile market with Android devices, feature phones

By tech2 News Staff / 29 May 2014 , 09:20
Marking its comeback to the Indian mobile handset market, electronics giant Philips today
said it will launch 3-4 new smartphones and feature phones in the next few months.

The company, which sold only feature phones in India in early 2000s, is also betting big on
the burgeoning smartphone market in the country, aiming to be among the top six players in
the category by December-end.

It also announced a new range of smartphones W6610, W3500, S308 and a feature
phone E130 targeting professionals and technology enthusiasts. The W6610 is priced at Rs.
20,650, the W3500 at Rs. 16,195 and the S308 at Rs. 8290

Over the past months, we have strengthened our distribution and are now geared up for the
Indian market. We are launching four new devices, one feature and three smartphones, and in
the next few months, we will bring in more devices, Shenzhen Sang Fei Consumer
Communications Co Ltd Country Manager India S S Bassi told PTI.

Sang Fei is a subsidiary of China Electronics Corporation (CEC) that owns the exclusive
global licence to market and sell mobile phones under the Philips brand.

India is an important market and the company is focused at bringing in products relevant to
the needs of the country, Bassi said.

One of the devices to be launched includes the I928, which is a six-inch phablet featuring
the latest Android Kitkat operating system, octacore 1.7 GHz processor. It will have a 13
megapixel rear camera, a 5 MP front camera and could be priced at about Rs 35,000, he

The company has partnered Redington to distribute its products and Accel Frontline for
managing after sales service.

Asked about revenue and market share targeted, Bassi declined to divulge specific details but
said the company would target to be among the top six smartphone players in the country by

As per research firm IDC, smartphone sales in the country grew almost three-fold to over 44
million in 2013 from 16.2 million in 2012, buoyed by a strong uptake of affordable devices.

With inputs from PTI

Sony Mobile Communications today introduced Xperia T3, a light and ultra-slim
In a press release, the Japanese tech major said, "Despite being crafted with high-end
materials, the super-slim Xperia T3 remains light at a mere 148 grams, offering freedom and
ease for life on the go. The gorgeous, stainless steel frame 'mirrors' the world around you. T3
comes in three stylish colours making it a real eye-catcher: white, black and purple."
Built with Sony's BRAVIA technologies, the Xperia T3 has an impressive screen with a high-
resolution 5.3-inch HD TRILUMINOS display for mobile with Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2.
The device is powered by a Snapdragon 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Quad-core processor and 1 GB
of RAM. It runs on Android Kit Kat and has 8GB flash memory, which can be expanded up
to 32 GB via a microSD card. It packs a 2500 mAh battery and has a 8-megapixel rear
"Xperia T3 has been crafted with attention to detail for those who know how to appreciate
distinctive design in their everyday life. The T3 is packed with the latest beautiful
technology from Sony - including leading digital imaging expertise and a vivid HD display -
all within a stylish, stainless steel frame. The combination of this beautiful technology and
the premium design ensures the T3 immediately stands apart from the competition," says
Calum MacDougall, Director of Xperia Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications.
Xperia T3 features:
Sony camera expertise, at your service
The Xperia T3 is packed with Cyber-shot leading camera expertise and comes with an 8MP
camera featuring Exmor RS for mobile, allowing you to take exceptional pictures even in
challenging lighting conditions. And HDR for video means you can shoot beautiful films,
even when backlit. Thanks to SteadyShot, all your photos will come out smooth and
Super-fast speed for superior surfing
Xperia T3 supports super-fast 4G networks, allowing you to share every highlight of your
day, anytime and anywhere. With its Quad-core CPU with 1.4 GHz processor, Xperia T3
comes with ultra-fast performance and breath-taking graphics, ideal for entertainment on the
go. In addition to its long-lasting 2500 mAh battery, the Battery STAMINA Mode also helps
you enjoy your entertainment experience for longer.
The combination of its powerful processor, super-fast4G networks, and extensive battery life,
shows the Xperia T3 truly combines style with power - allowing you to consume the latest
entertainment through the Sony Entertainment Network, browse the internet or share pictures
and videos instantaneously.
Easy transfer
Xperia Transfer is an ultra-easy, safe and simple app that'll help you move your contacts,
photos, bookmarks, apps, music, messages and much more from your old Android or iOS
device to your new Xperia T3. Furthermore, Xperia Transfer Mobile2 makes the switch even
easier - no need to use your PC or Mac, you can transfer directly from phone to phone.
The new Xperia T3 will launch globally from the end of July 2014.

Apple unwraps Mac, iPhone features
Story Dated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 13:14 hrs IST

Apple senior vice-president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks about Apple
HomeKit app at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday - AP

Apple Inc on Monday took the wraps off mobile applications that pool and analyse health and
home data, kicking off an annual developers' conference lacking in big surprises, despite
hopes the iPhone maker would offer a glimpse into its secretive pipeline of products.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and software-engineering boss Craig Federighi told several
thousand developers about new features that come with the latest "Yosemite" Mac platform
and iOS8, the software that powers the iPhone and iPad. Apple shares slid 0.7 per cent to
close at $628.65.
Investors are waiting for Cook to keep a promise to create new product categories. Last week,
Internet services chief Eddy Cue said the pipeline was the best he had seen in more than two
decades. "The Healthkit has the most potential for the future," said Nils Kassube, a director of
development at Newscope, a Germany-based
consulting firm. "Those of us that are interested in health need a platform for sharing
On Monday, executives talked about "Healthkit," which will pull together data such as blood
pressure and weight now collected by a growing number of healthcare apps on the iPhone or
iPad. The company also announced an app, dubbed "Health" that will be an integral part of
iOS 8.
The company will work in tandem with Nike Inc, a major player in fitness tracking, and the
Mayo Clinic on the new feature, which will be included in the latest mobile software. "That
information lives in silos," said Federighi. "You can't get a single comprehensive picture."
Apple did not elaborate on other capabilities. The news follows Samsung Electronics Co
Ltd's announcement of its own mobile health-data product. Federighi also described
"homekit," a feature that allows an Apple device to control everything from lights to
Lookout "thefties" nab selfies of smart-phone thieves
Story Dated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 19:10 hrs IST

Mobile security startup Lookout is turning smart-phones and tablets against gadget thieves
with a new feature thatwhen possiblewill snap a picture of the culprit.
A new theft alert function added Wednesday to Lookout's premium service for Apple and
Android mobile devices sets out to pinpoint where a gadget might be and, in some cases,
even take the thief's picture.
"We are not providing this information for you to go out and find the device yourself,"
Lookout product manager Greg Lou said.
"It is so you can give it to the police so they can find it for you."
A premium version of Lookout costing $3 a month or $30 annually already provides features
such as backing up data and finding lost phones.
The new capability lets users tell smart-phones to fire off theft alerts if anyone botches a
lock-screen code, turns the gadget off, pulls a SIM card, or puts the device in 'airplane' mode
to block network connections.
On Android devices, theft alerts will signal front-facing cameras to snap photos in the hope of
capturing images of culprits.

The capability referred to by Lookout as taking a "theftie" is not available on Apple devices
because the operating system won't allow it, according to Lou.

Emails that include maps of the location of stolen devices are fired off to owners. In the case
of Android, the emails include copies of "thefties" taken with front-facing cameras.

"Phone theft is becoming a really big problem," Lou said.

Lookout launched in 2007 and reports that 55 million people worldwide use its mobile
security software, a version of which is free.
"Of course, other sports possess some of the characteristics listed here, but arguably only
soccer has them all," according to Dunning.

Services activity grows for first time in nearly a year

10:38am IST
BANGALORE (Reuters) - Activity in India's huge services industry expanded for the first
time in nearly a year in May, driven by a surge in new business, a survey showed on
The HSBC Services Purchasing Managers' Index, compiled by Markit, rose to 50.2 in May
from 48.5 in April, the first rise above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction since
June last year.
A landslide win for Narendra Modi and his Bhartiya Janata Party - which created India's first
majority government in three decades - has fuelled expectations for key economic reforms
after years of policy paralysis.
That optimism showed in the new business sub-index, which rose to 50.5 in May, also the
highest since last June.
The PMI data also showed input costs and prices charged by services companies rose at a
slower pace last month.
Inflation has eased this year. Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan opted to keep
the central bank's key repo rate unchanged at 8 percent on Tuesday, as expected, after a series
of rate rises.
Factory activity expanded at a slightly faster pace in May, while input prices rose at their
slowest rate in over a year, a similar business survey showed on Monday.
(Reporting by Rahul Karunakar; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Obama's energy policy to benefit India, China?

Wed Jun 04 08:07:03 GMT 2014
Washington: The path breaking clean energy policy unveiled by the Obama administration
would put the US at a disadvantage against countries like India and China, top US lawmakers
and policy advocacy groups have said.
"It really won't have much impact in terms of emissions because of what less-developed
countries of the world like China and India are contributing," Senate minority leader Mitch
McConnell told reporters at a joint news conference with other top Republican Senators Roy
Blunt, Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn and John Thune.
On Monday, the US Environmental Protection agency has announced to cut carbon emission
from existing power plants, which is the single largest source of carbon pollution in the US,
by 30 per cent by the year 2030. It also announced to cut by 2030 particle pollution, nitrogen
oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 per cent
as a co-benefit.
The White House described this as American leadership to the world. "The proposed rule
announced demonstrates US leadership in this important area," the White House Press
Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters. "I wouldn't predict what specific actions other countries
may take, but it stands to reason that leadership by the United States, a demonstration of a
seriousness of purpose here, will have at least potentially positive effects on other nations as
collectively we address a global challenge."
But Republicans and many others are not willing to buy the argument, according to whom
such a policy would put the United States at an disadvantage against countries like India and
The United Mine Workers of America international president Cecil E. Roberts alleged that
the proposed rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency will lead to long-term and
irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers,
boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving
any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.
"Why on earth should we be willing to sacrifice the lives and livelihoods of thousands upon
thousands of our fellow citizens on the naive bet that current and emerging economic
competitors like China, India, Brazil, Russia and others will follow our lead?," Roberts said.
Senator Pat Roberts said that as long as large developing countries like Russia, China, India,
and Brazil continue increasing their carbon emission on an annual basis, anything the US
does will be inconsequential. "This proposal amounts to all pain and no gain," he said.
"The rising electricity costs that will necessarily follow EPA's new restrictions will reduce
Americans' standard of living and give a competitive economic advantage to foreign nations
such as China and India," said James M Taylor, senior fellow for Environmental Policy at the
Heartland Institute.
Critical of Obama Administration's policy, Congressman David McKinley said that countries
like India and China are going to benefit. "For President Obama's climate change policies to
work, the rest of the world would need to be in lockstep with us," he said. "While he may be
able to circumvent Congress, issue executive orders,
and use regulatory agencies to accomplish his goal at home, this authority doesn't extend to
the rest of the world. Countries like China and India are not following the same path."
"These regulations will benefit China, India, and other rising economic competitors at the
expense of American workers," said Congressman Keith Rothfus.
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said that
Obama's plan forces costly and unnecessary regulations on hardworking American families.
"The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon. The EPA's plan is 'all pain, no
gain. It will close power plants and drive up electricity prices.
These regulations will mean more jobs lost to places like China and India," he said.
Senator David Vitter said this rule is expected to have a less than two per cent impact on
carbon emissions reductions because it will not impact the world's largest carbon emitters like
China, India and Russia.

Behind the scene
By Vijaya Pushkarna
Story Dated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 20:30 hrs IST

An Undocumented WonderThe Making of the Great Indian Election/ By S.Y. Quraishi/
Published by Rupa / Pages 434; price Rs795

The Making of the Great Indian Election by former chief election commissioner S.Y.
Quraishi is packed with stories about elections. Many of the anecdotes and views have been
reported while some have not been. But what the book offers is a context.
Stories like the one about the single voter booth where Charangattu Dasan cast his vote till
his death are a matter of pride for those who follow the Election Commission's work. But
how valuable can a single vote be? Quraishi calls it the power of one and describes how
former road transport and highways minister C.P. Joshi lost by just one vote. Ironically, two
members of his family did not cast their vote that day.
The book also deals with touchy subjects like funding of political parties, paid news, and
opinion polls. The Election Commission's mandate for free and fair elections is absolute
while the freedom of expression can be restricteda reason why exit polls, which can
interfere with the commission's view, are banned. Since 2010, the commission has been
conducting its own survey called KABP (Knowledge, Attitude, Beliefs and Practices) to
understand what the voters want so that it can plan communication strategies for voter
education better.
The commission has so far not intervened in the unrestrained use of social media by the
parties because the right time for it has not come yet. Quraishi talks about the impediments
faced by the commission in implementing its orders. Another significant concern he raises is
about the judiciary dragging the disposal of election petitions. Under the Representation of
the People Act, 1951, the judiciary must clear them within six months.
Quraishi says the challenge is to transform the largest democracy into the greatest, which is
also the dream of the educated young Indians.

Can perfume make you more attractive?
Story Dated: Monday, June 2, 2014 12:26 hrs IST

New research shows that smelling good could make you more attractive to others -

Want to instantly boost your attractiveness? Spritz on a nice perfume and you may have just
upped your stock.
In a very small study funded by Unilever and carried out by neuroscientists and psychologists
in the US and Sweden, women's faces were rated as more attractive in the presence of a
pleasant odour, suggesting that the use of perfumes and scented products may alter how we
perceive others.
Published in the journal PLoS One, the study asked participants, most of whom were women,
to rate the attractiveness and age of eight female faces, presented as photos.
While evaluating the images, scientists diffused five different concentrations and
combinations of fish oil and rose oil.
Participants were asked to rate the age of the face, the attractiveness of the face, and the
pleasantness of the odour.
Results showed that odour pleasantness' directly influenced the ratings of facial
attractiveness but did little to influence the determination of age, authors noted.
"Odour pleasantness and facial attractiveness integrate into one joint emotional evaluation,"
explained lead author Janina Seubert, who carried out the research while at the Monell
Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania. "This may indicate a common site of neural
processing in the brain."
According to scientists, another way to make yourself more attractive is to surround yourself
with friends.
In a separate study, psychologists from the University of California decided to put Barney
Stinson's "cheerleader effect" theory to the test. Stinson was a popular womanizing character
on the US TV series How I Met Your Mother.
True to his theory, the psychological scientists found that participants rated both male and
female subjects as more attractive when shown in group shots compared to photos pictured
Their working theory? That people tend to average out the features of faces in a group,
cancelling out unattractive or distinctive facial features.
Does porn affect brain?
Story Dated: Saturday, May 31, 2014 16:35 hrs IST

Photo - Shutterstock

Researchers found less gray matter in the brains of men who watched large amounts of
sexually explicit material, according to a new study.
The research, which appeared Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, could not
determine if porn actually caused the brain to shrink however, and the authors called for
additional study on the topic.
"Future studies should investigate the effects of pornography longitudinally or expose naive
participants to pornography and investigate the causal effects over time," said researchers at
the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. The institute recruited
64 male subjects aged 21-45, "with a broad range of pornography consumption."
The men were not told initially that the research was monitoring their brains on porn, rather
that it was "a scientific study including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurements."
The men were told during a later phone interview that questions about pornography would be
part of the research, and none dropped out. The men filled out surveys, describing how much
porn they watched. Their responses averaged a little more than four hours per week.
Their brains were scanned with MRI technology while they were shown sexually explicit
images from porn websites, along with non-sexual images of people exercising.
"Our findings indicated that gray matter volume of the right caudate of the striatum is smaller
with higher pornography use," said the study.
Furthermore, when sexually explicit material was shown, the men's MRIs showed diminished
function in a part of the brain that processes motivation. But were men with smaller striatums
seeking more porn, or did more porn make the brain smaller? Was it a consequence, or a
"Individuals with lower striatum volume may need more external stimulation to experience
pleasure and might therefore experience pornography consumption as more rewarding, which
may in turn lead to more porn watching," said the authors, concluding that more study is
Get belfie this summer with a butt facial
Story Dated: Thursday, May 22, 2014 16:55 hrs IST

A spa treatment can get you ready for the beach and for some 'belfie' posting - Shutterstock

'Belfies' (butt selfies) have been big news this year, with models and celebrities leading the
way on social media. But what if you're not ready for your summer close-up?
Luckily, a New York beauty salon has launched the Shiney Hiney Facial', specially tailored
for your rear end, reports The Gloss.
Featuring an exfoliation treatment followed by a peel and a steam, the service lasts 30
minutes in total.
Esthetician Molly Lamb, at Skin by Molly, based in Brooklyn, came up with the treatment
after being contacted by a client worried about acne on their behind. "Hey, skin is skin, I got
no judgment," she told Brokelyn. "Acne can flare up anywhere."
For now, the Shiney Hiney Facial is only available in Lamb's salon, but with popular belfie-
posters including singer Miley Cyrus, actress Lea Michele, television personality Kim
Kardashian and model Heidi Klum, the concept is sure to become a hit.
Belfie haters, turn the other cheek: butt facials are in