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Manmohan may make brief statement on Tuesday

Speaker likely to move resolution on setting up of JPC

Looking forward to a fruitful, productive session, says Manmohan

Government, Opposition leaders had a good discussion: Speaker

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Sunday indicated that an announcement on a joint parliamentary
committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam will be made in Parliament on Tuesday, a day after the
start of the budget session. The session will open with President Pratibha Patil's address.

As earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to make a brief statement after which the chair will
move a resolution announcing the setting up of the panel.

In Libya, protesters dig in

At least 173 demonstrators killed, says Human Rights Watch

DUBAI: Snipers on rooftops and troops armed with machine guns on the ground attacked unarmed
protesters in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city. However, by late Sunday, it appeared protesters,
calling for “regime change,” had begun to dig in.

A square near the Benghazi courthouse was identified as the city's “Tahrir square,” Egypt's pro-democracy
icon. Joining the media war with the authorities, the protesters were arranging for beaming worldwide
images of their anticipated brutal confrontations with the security forces.

At least 173 protesters have been killed in cycles of violence in Benghazi, which peaked on Saturday,
according to an estimate by the New York-based Human Rights Watch on Sunday. The scale of the
bloodbath was hard to confirm because of the news blackout, reinforced on Saturday by the authorities'
decision to de-link the country from the Internet.

There were also reports of foreign mercenaries being drafted by the regime in the attacks. A group of 50
religious leaders urged Muslims in the security forces to stop attacking protesters.

India “wants” thousands of extra EU visas under trade deal

LONDON: India is reported to be demanding thousands of extra visas for its workers under a multi-
billion pound trade deal it is negotiating with the European Union (EU).

According to media reports, India wants up to 50,000 extra visas a year spread across EU's 27
member-States under the proposed India-EU free trade agreement with Britain said to be under
pressure to cough up 20,000 of these.

The Sunday Telegraph claimed that India was “lobbying” for between 15,000 and 20,000 extra British, 7000
German and 3,000 French visas for its citizens.

“In return for the visas, the trade deal put forward by the Indian government is expected to be worth at
least £4 billion a year to the EU. Britain is expected to win about half that trade, providing a significant
boost to exports,” the newspaper said.

the Prime Minister. He hinted at dedicated infrastructure debt funds making their debut in the coming budget. Anti-immigration groups said the move made “nonsense” of the government's efforts to reduce economic migration through measures such as the proposed annual cap on immigration from non-EU countries set to kick in from April. Right from economists. below other emerging countries such as China at 50 and Brazil at 62 in World Economic Forum's 2010-11 global competitiveness index.5 million unemployed have a right to know what is going on and to be told why the Prime Minister's pledges both to help create jobs and to cut back net immigration are being seriously undermined in this way. India is ranked 86th out of 139 countries in quality of overall infrastructure. “Britain's 2. which would allow big businesses from India and other non-EU countries to bring in high-income staff on temporary posting. aiming to exceed the 9 per cent growth mark next fiscal. Pranab Mukherjee prepares for his budget speech on February 28.A first? If the deal went through. Infrastructure push vital to achieve growth target NEW DELHI: As India is on the path of achieving 8. The Prime Minister stated that India needs to develop a corporate debt market to meet the projected investment of $1 trillion required to sustain the country's economic growth rate in the 12th Five- Year Plan (2012-2017). More than 50 per cent of this investment has to come from the private sector. India desperately needs to put its house in order as far as shaping the infrastructure is concerned as its poor health would require the Finance Minister to do a clinical job and perform dramatic surgery to give a major boost to this sector that requires an investment of $5 billion in the next five years. to tap investment from foreign insurance and pensions . ‘Significant benefits' The Department of Business. Infrastructure debt funds Indicating that infrastructure development was behind the mind of the government. the lagging infrastructure set up in the country.” said Andrew Green. Physical infrastructure has emerged as the biggest constraint to the country's attempts to achieve 9 per cent plus growth. A spokesman said “strict criteria” were being negotiated to ensure that only highly-skilled workers were allowed to come in. the biggest worrying factor that could derail this horse power of growth and play spoilsport in the “growth story” of the UPA II government is the poor state of infrastructure and its tardy pace of development across the length and breadth of the country. on the lines of venture capital funds.5 per cent economic growth. chairman of the right-wing think-thank MigrationWatch UK. Innovation and Skills said the proposed deal would deliver “significant” economic benefits to Britain. the continued poor performance of some key infrastructure sectors including the power sector would be playing up in his mind. it would be the first time that any country would have access to a fixed number of British visas every year. They said the cap was “diluted” after the government agreed not to apply it to intra- company transfers. The Finance Ministry is already understood to have readied a draft framework for infrastructure debt funds. experts and foreign investors each one of them has aired serious concern over the poor infrastructure prevailing in the country putting it far behind the fastest growing economy in the world — China. As Finance Minister. Manmohan Singh recently gave an indication of the things to come.

the new draft Animal Welfare Act. in line with international requirements. there is also a demand for restoration of tax incentives to infrastructure financing.R. Rao said these ships being built at Indian yards would be equipped with the latest maps and advanced equipment. 1960. financial and fiscal arrangements effective. efficient pricing of service. Massive hike in animal cruelty fines proposed in draft Act NEW DELHI: Animal welfare is set to get a boost with a new draft Act that includes much higher penalties than the outdated fines prescribed by the existing Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has called for the sharp increase in the planned investment levels for infrastructure and the expanding role for the private sector. even as the force continues to provide its services to neighbours in the Indian Ocean region. Its report on Infrastructure Development has suggested full exploitation of the current potential of the infrastructure sectors. The move. The electronic charts have a validity period beyond which they have to be re-purchased. they can be obtained through web-based applications. It has initiated discussions with financial sector regulators on regulatory changes required for creation of such funds. 2011 proposes to multiply the old fines by a factor of 1.000. Additional avenues of financing are needed for infrastructure as the capacity of banks to fund infrastructure projects is limited. In a signal that the treatment of domestic animals is finally being taken seriously. independence of regulators. The provision exempted from income tax the net income (in the form of dividend of interest or long term capital gains) from investments in infrastructure projects. after de-induction of two ageing ships. Navy to acquire 6 new survey ships NEW DELHI: The Navy is shoring up its hydrographic facilities by acquiring six new survey ships. The government had in 2007 removed the Section 10(23G) of the Income Tax Act. More steps The Dehradun-based National Hydrographic Office is tasked to prepare nautical charts for seas in its region. Ahead of an international seminar on hydrography starting here on March 1.funds. Its fleet strength will go up to 12 from 8 by 2014. the country's Chief Hydrographer Vice Admiral B. . reducing the time needed for achieving implementation of plan targets. slack capacity in one sector also implies less than full utilization of capacity elsewhere. The office is now in the process of preparing electronic navigational charts moving away from traditional paper-based material. Though the electronic charts are priced higher. A committee headed by HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh also endorsed the idea of infrastructure funds and said they be allowed to re-finance up to 85 per cent of outstanding debt of infrastructure projects. Restoration of tax incentives Similarly. would earn revenue. but could be physically passed around. The industry is of the view that the government should make investments in long-term bonds issued by banks tax free. This is unlike the paper charts that cost depending on data. institutional measures to make the various legal.

while tanks. However. “India has one of the most comprehensive laws on the subject of Wildlife Protection. The pro-democracy activists are now setting the resignation of the government and release of all political prisoners as pre-conditions for the commencement of talks. Elsewhere in West Asia. Moroccans for the first time demonstrated during the current wave of protests for constitutional change in the capital Rabat. hardly a deterrent in the current scenario. one lakh and imprisonment up to three years. Without attacking the King. domesticated animals do not enjoy specific protections under the same. demanded the exit of Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi.” The protests in Bahrain have attracted worldwide attention as the country is home to the American Navy's fifth fleet. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa said during an address over state television: “I hope that we can join hands. 10 to 50 for being cruel to animals – whether beating and kicking it.000 to Rs. After being violently evicted on Thursday from the Pearl Roundabout — their version of Cairo's Tahrir Square.The old Act recommends a fine of Rs. protesters are asking Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to step down.” notes the Ministry of Environment and Forests' preamble to the draft Act. “This is a peaceful protest to push for constitutional reform. similar offences are punishable with a fine of Rs. A second offence within three years could be punished with a fine of Rs. has now set tough conditions for talks with the country's embattled monarchy. numbering around 5000. the epicentre of the Egyptian uprising — protesters in Bahrain managed to reoccupy the area after brief clashes on Saturday with the police. They have also demanded the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. work together and communicate with all political forces in the country. protests continued for the eleventh successive day in capital Sana'a. 10. but unfortunately. 25 to 100 or a prison sentence of three months. Yemen In Yemen. restore dignity and end graft and the plundering of public funds. . abandoning or overloading it. was quoted as saying. confronted with violence which has led to at least six deaths. Around 50 pro-government supporters failed to disrupt a march of around 3.000 to Rs. Under the draft Act. the protesters.000 people on Sunday. 50.” The draft legislation is now available for comment on the Ministry website. It also borders Saudi Arabia's eastern province. “There is therefore a need for a comprehensive and holistic legislation to address this issue. It also allows for the government to increase these penalties at a later date. Join us to calm the situation so that we can call a day of mourning for our lost son. or even mutilating or killing it. Protesters on top in Bahrain DUBAI: Bahrain's opposition buoyed by its success in re-occupying the democracy-icon Pearl Roundabout. Pushed on the defensive. A second offence invites a penalty of Rs. which has large deposits of oil. 25. Demonstrations calling for the end of the regime led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh were also held in the cities of Ibb and Taiz. and pushing back the military into the barracks. in anticipation of unrest were out in the southern port city of Aden.000 or a prison term up to two years.” Mustapha Muchtati of the Baraka (Enough) group.

Kepler's main mission is not to examine individual worlds. The time for fixing accountability has come in earnest. not-too-cold zone where life could exist. announcing these ratios on February 19 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. So far Kepler has found 1. The underlying causes of the crisis — proliferation of sub-prime housing mortgages. . Two recent reports — one by the U. scientists then took the frequency observed already and applied it to the number of stars in the Milky Way. like Earth. Congress appointed the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) and the other by a watchdog committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — are illuminating. And that's a minimum because these stars can have more than one planet and Kepler has yet to get a long enough glimpse to see stars that are further out from the star. but give astronomers a sense of how many planets. Borucki said. Either way it shows that Carl Sagan was right when he talked of billions and billions of worlds. with 54 in the zone where life could possibly exist. especially potentially habitable ones. At least 500 million of those planets are in the not-too-hot. And that's just our galaxy. For many years scientists figured there were 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. Kepler science chief William Borucki says scientists took the number of planets they found in the first year of searching a small part of the night sky and then made an estimate on how likely stars are to have planets. but last year a Yale scientist figured the number was closer to 300 billion stars. Surely there were unacceptably high risks and complex financial structures of such a large magnitude that could not have remained unobserved even by those unconnected with the world of finance. a total abandonment of meaningful risk assessment by leading banks — are all familiar by now. there are likely to be in our galaxy. Kepler spots planets as they pass between Earth and the star it orbits.Cosmic census finds a crowd of planets Scientists have estimated the first cosmic census of planets in our galaxy and the numbers are astronomical — at least 50 billion planets in the Milky Way. The numbers were extrapolated from the early results of National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) planet-hunting Kepler telescope. Borucki and colleagues figured one of two stars has planets and one of 200 stars has planets in the habitable zone. Scientists figure there are 100 billion galaxies Economic crisis: warning signals ignored It is well known that the financial crisis that morphed into a global economic crisis had its origins in the financial sectors of the advanced countries.S. who praised the research but wasn't part of it. But the intriguing question is whether the crisis of such a magnitude could not have been spotted in advance? It is not as though that the crisis came all of a sudden.235 candidate planets. To get the estimate for the total number of planets. complex securitisation-based instruments and. But as it turned out even financial regulators of the advanced economies were complicit by not performing even the minimum regulatory role expected of them. said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran. in general. They would use the one-four- hundredth of the night sky that Kepler is looking at and extrapolate from there.

Alan Greenspan. which failed to spot the huge risks building up in the U. is a highly polarised country when it comes to key political and social issues.' Even the bilateral surveillance of the U. would avoid a hard landing and ‘that the worst news is behind us. government naturally received its share of scathing criticism. ‘a dramatic failure of corporate governance and risk management' and ‘excessive borrowing' as some of the principal causes. The U.S. even assuming that their shenanigans and risky behaviour could be detected before hand? The biggest drawback of the FCIC report. signalled the lowest point of the crisis. 2008. The crisis spread rapidly to other countries. would it have been possible to rein in all of them. That conclusion has been questioned in the light of the fact that the commission has blamed practically everybody.The FCIC report has cast the blame far and wide. as the principal cause for failure to spot the warning signals leading to the crisis. economy failed to warn the authorities of the pertinent risks and policy weaknesses. If so many individuals and institutions were responsible.S. is understandable but because the crisis has been truly global. It badly missed the warning signals because of a naïve admiration of the U. the IMF's ability to identify the risks was hindered by a high degree of ‘groupthink' and ‘intellectual capture'. financial sector. Perhaps its most contested finding is that the crisis was ‘avoidable'. has been its failure to win a consensus. The report is authentic even though it covers what has by now become familiar ground. The Federal Reserve ‘neglected its mission by not piecing the housing bubble'. Captains of finance and the regulators failed abysmally to identify the build up of risk. That is not surprising given that at the current juncture the U.S. The then Chairman of the Federal Reserve. The FCIC has used some strong language: it identified ‘widespread failures in financial regulation'. Even to a generally well reasoned report on the crisis there have been a few points of criticism. . received the largest share of criticism for any one individual for having presided over a culture of deregulation that implicitly believed that the markets would correct themselves. The report blames the Fund's dogmatic belief in the apparent invincibility of the financial system of the West as it existed then. The IMF failed to spot the severe interconnected problems in the financial systems of the West. The report was split on partly lines. Besides. financial sector. The internal report of the IMF does not mince words in its evaluation of the Fund's role during the years leading to the crisis.S. The IMF's role before the crisis has come under critical scrutiny in a new report from the Fund's independent evaluation office. It is a telling commentary that as late as the summer of 1998 the IMF's top management believed that the U. U. it would have been more useful if the commission had touched upon those aspects as well. however. It was ‘ill prepared' and ‘inconsistent' in letting Lehman Brothers fall while orchestrating the rescue of Bear Sterns earlier and bailing out giant insurer AIG later.S. Its focus on the U.- UK model of ‘light touch' regulation. but primarily on the regulators and banks within the U. The collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15. blamed The FCIC has not spared anybody who had a role in the financial markets during the period leading up to the crisis of 2008. leave alone the corrective action. Even warnings in 1995 of its own chief economist Raghuram Rajan about the threat of widespread financial instability were not taken into account.S.S. Critical voices from the IMF's own staff and outside were typically ignored.S. What is worse the Fund seemed to champion the U.S. It relied on traditional macroeconomic approaches and modelling. The Fund believed that a major crisis was unlikely in the advanced economies.S.

It is true that these have been among the causes of the global imbalance but by ignoring the housing and the financial bubble building up in the U. directly pointing a finger at China and a few other leading emerging economies. the IMF's internal report blames the Fund for its failure to think independently on economic surveillance. line by focussing on exchange rate misalignment and current account imbalances. the IMF was doing itself a great disservice.Finally. . and other advanced economies.S. Instead in the pre-crisis period it toed the U.S. thereby.