Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ban:Syria is the UN top priority

UN chief also suggested that the situation is getting worse for the UN Supervision Mission in Syria.
He said a convoy of the mission's leader, Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, was attacked on Sunday, and that more than a dozen UN vehicles have been destroyed so far.He said Syria is the United Nation's top, most urgent priority, and pledged to continue efforts to resolve the conflict. UN chief then expressed his concern over the country's arsenal of chemical weapons, warning that any use of such arms would be an outrageous crime.

Syria's Foreign Ministry hinted last week that the country is ready to use the weapons if foreign troops intervene in its internal conflict.Ban called on the Syrian government to renounce the possibility of using these weapons under any circumstances, and to ensure the safety and security of stockpiles.

Rommania : Basescu survived a referendum on his impeachment

Romanian referendum invalid due to low turnout.Romanian President Traian Basescu has survived a referendum on his impeachment due to low voter turnout. Central Election Bureau said on Monday that 87.5 percent of those who voted supported impeachment. But it said the turnout for Sunday's ballot was 46.13 percent, below the 50 percent needed for the referendum to be valid.

After the announcement, Basescu appealed to the public to support the austerity measures demanded by the country's international lenders, saying Romania needs a national effort to overcome the crisis.Basescu's support rate has plunged since the government introduced austerity in 2010 in return for EU and IMF loans. Romania's finances had worsened after the 2008 global financial crisis.

  This month, the opposition-dominated Parliament voted to suspend Basescu and hold a referendum on his mandate to govern.The drive to oust Basescu has been spearheaded by his rival, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who came to power in May.

Ponta's center-left government had accused the center-right president of overstepping his powers and meddling in government affairs. The government had tried to remove the minimum voter turnout rule to make it easier to impeach Basescu, but backed down after criticism by the EU and a Constitutional Court ruling that a 50 percent turnout was obligatory.

The Prime Minister is himself embroiled in a scandal over alleged plagiarism over his doctoral thesis.

Prez Poll:SKorean Park Geun-hye of Saenuri Party leads

S.Korea's opposition shortlists candidates:South Korea's largest opposition Democratic United Party has selected five finalists for its presidential primary scheduled in September.The party announced on Monday that it chose Moon Jae-in, Sohn Hak-kyu and 3 others. Moon was a former aide to the late President Roh Moo-hyun, and Sohn a former DUP head.The party conducted a poll among about 5,000 registered party members and non-member voters to shortlist 8 preliminary candidates.The party will designate its presidential nominee at a convention in September after collecting party ballots from members at 13 locations across the country, starting next month.

As for other parties, Park Geun-hye is likely to become the nominee of the ruling Saenuri Party. She is a daughter of the late president Park Chung-hee.A recent poll suggests Park is ahead of any opposition candidates by a large margin.

A US reports criticizes China over religious restrictions

United States has criticized China for severely oppressing religious activities in its autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.The State Department released its annual International Religious Freedom Report on Monday. The report looks into how religious freedoms were respected during 2011 in 199 countries and territories around the world.

Report classifies China, North Korea, Iran and some others as countries of particular concern.The report says there was a marked deterioration in the Chinese government's respect for and protection of religious freedom in the country.It noted that China has placed greater restrictions on religious practice, especially in Buddhist monasteries and nunneries in the Tibet Autonomous Region. It said the clamp down contributed to a dozen of self-immolations by Tibetans last year.

It also cited reports that Buddhist monks protesting the government crackdown were arrested and that some apparently died as result of torture.

The State Department said that Tibetan Buddhists in China are not even free to venerate their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. It also said the Chinese government continued to severely repress Muslims living in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and other parts of China.

Apple, Samsung patent trial begins in US

Two of leader tech companies US computer giant Apple,South Korean competitor Samsung Electronics are entangled in a new round of their legal battle on patents for smartphones and tablet computers.The Jury selection began at the federal courthouse in San Jose, California, on Monday. These two firms have fought fifty similar trials around the world, including in Japan, since April last year.

Apple is asking the US court to stop Samsung from selling its smartphones and tablet computers in the US.  Apple demand compensation for loss of market share.Apple says Samsung copied its iPhone design after the smartphone hit the market in 2007. Samsung's lawyers argue that the iPhone was not as original design. They say the US maker based its design on Sony models.

Samsung has countersued Apple, claiming the US firm infringed on its patents for communication technologies.The trial is expected to take at least four weeks. The outcome is likely to affect control of the US smartphone and tablet market.

Ukraine:Yulia Tymoshenko is chosen opposition leader

Yulia Tymoshenko, who resigned as prime minister after losing the presidential election to Viktor Yanukovych in February 2010, is charged with illegally diverting $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds. A second case includes accusations of spending 100 million euros ($131 million) from government reserves to buy cars that she later used in her presidential campaign.

Jailed Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been chosen by the country’s main opposition parties to lead them to victory in parliamentary elections slated for October.
A statement issued at the end of the united opposition parties’ congress on Monday endorsed the candidacy of the former prime minister to head the opposition parties' electoral lists in the elections.
The move may be simply symbolic for the embattled former prime minister because Ukrainian law prohibits people who are serving a prison term from running in national elections.
Tymoshenko was sentenced in October 2011 to seven years in prison for abuse of office in concluding a natural gas contract with Russia in 2009, in a case her supporters claim is politically motivated.
Hearings on a second criminal case are expected to resume in Kharkov District Court on Tuesday, after it was postponed in June to allow Tymoshenko, 51, who is suffering from back pain, to undergo a medical examination to see whether she can physically attend further hearings.
Tymoshenko is being accused of tax evasion, embezzling state funds and forgery, which caused the country multimillion-dollar losses during her term as the head of United Energy Systems of Ukraine in the mid-1990s.
The united opposition is expected to field candidates for all 450 seats at stake during the October 28 parliamentary elections.Half the deputies will be elected in single-mandate constituencies using a single-round, first-past-the-post system. The other 225 will be elected nationwide based on party lists, with a 5% threshold to gain representation.

Registration of candidates began on July 30 and runs until August 9, according to the country’s Central Election Commission. Political parties are expected to submit lists of their candidates to the CEC by August 13, while registration must be completed by August 20.The two largest opposition parties in Ukraine – Tymoshenko’s Fatherland and People's Self-Defense led by former Speaker Arseny Yatseniuk - teamed up with five smaller parties in April to form a united opposition against the pro-government Party of the Regions.

 Recent polls suggest that both the pro-government parties and the opposition are running neck and neck.
Prominent opposition figures, including Yatseniuk and former Internal Affairs Minister Yury Lutsenko will be running alongside Tymoshenko. Lutsenko, 47, a member of the People’s Self Defense bloc, was sentenced to four years in prison in February for embezzlement and abuse of office while in government. Like Tymoshenko, Lutsenko has denied the charges, saying they are politically engineered by President Viktor Yanukovych.

Others in the top-ten bracket include leader of the opposition "Ukraine" Vyacheslav Kirilenko, ex-Deputy Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Grigory Nemyria, leader of the Party "Reforms and Order" Serhiy Sobolev and leader of the Popular Movement of Ukraine Borys Tarasyuk. Mykola Tomenko, a Batkivschyna leader and the deputy speaker of parliament, has resigned his post to contest on the opposition platform.
Fugitives
The united opposition is also fielding a number of fugitives, including former Economy Minister Bohdan Danylyshyn, who was granted political asylum by the Czech Republic last year after the authorities in Kyiv accused him of squandering almost $2 million of public funds.
Arsen Avakov, the governor of the eastern Kharkiv region in 2005-2010 and a Tymosehnko ally, also made it to the opposition list. Avakov was detained in Italy in March after a request to send him back to Kiev to face charges of abuse of power. He still faces a legal battle to avoid extradition.
Lutsenko's wife Irina is also expected to contest under the opposition banner.
"We believe that these people will win the election and form a Democratic majority that will confront the Yanukovych regime," said Oleksander Turchinov, deputy chairman of the Fatherland party.
Meanwhile, the united opposition has vowed to punish all those responsible for political repression in the country and fully rehabilitate incarcerated opposition leaders, including Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko, if it wins the October parliamentary elections.
"We would like to warn that once the united Fatherland opposition party wins the elections and forms a democratic majority in the Verkhovna Rada, all those found guilty of political repression in Ukraine, [and] those engaged in criminal activity and committed fraud are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," the united opposition party said in a statement posted on its website.
The medical treatment of Ukraine’s jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been successfully completed, Health Minister Raisa Bohatyriova said on Friday.
Tymoshenko, who is serving seven years in jail for abuse of office, had severe back pain that prevented her from walking. Doctors from Germany's Charite clinic who examined her in early May diagnosed Tymoshenko with “an acute form of disk herniation."
“The rehabilitation process has been successfully completed,” Bohatyriova told Ukraine’s Fifth TV channel, citing the international commission of German and Ukrainian doctors that oversaw Tymoshenko's treatment.
Tymoshenko is now very active, she said. "This indicates the patient's health is improving and that her treatment has had a positive outcome," Bohatyriova said.
But she also said there are now no grounds for Tymoshenko to have a long-term stay in hospital based on established standards of treatment.
"For unknown reasons, German doctors from the Charite Center have canceled visits to Tymoshenko by their representatives. None of the German doctors have come to Ukraine and examined Tymoshenko for 16 days. They have communicated with the patient only by phone. That makes it impossible to adopt a plan for Tymoshenko's further treatment with the German doctors," Bohatyriova said.

Press Conference: Syndicate Bank CMD declares Q1 Results 2012

Press Conference:CMD Oriental Bank of Commerce declares Q1 Results 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Oriental Bank of Commerce – Q1 Financial Results

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 FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR Q1 OF FY-2012-13
                                                                           Amt.                            (YoY Growth) 

                                      Business Mix           Rs. 2,72,100 crore      (12.06%)

                                      Deposits                     Rs. 1,58,200 crore      ( 9.41%) 

                                      Core Deposits          Rs. 1,16,200 crore      (19.61%)

                                      Advances                  Rs. 1,13,900 crore      (15.97%)

                                      Net Profit                    Rs. 391.42 crore         (10.35%)

CD RATIO AT 72.21%

GROSS NPA AT 2.97%

NET NPA AT 2.05%

                                                                                    

Performance Highlights for the First Quarter of FY 2012-13


Ø  Yield on Advances increased by 76 bps (Q1 to Q1) to reach 12.38% from 11.62%.

Ø  Interest Income increased by 19.20% (Q1 to Q1).

Ø  Non Interest Income increased by 26.11% (Q1 to Q1) mainly due to recovery of Rs. 196.73 crore in Technical Write Off Accounts.

Ø  Net Interest Margin (NIM) stood at 2.79% (Sequential Increase of 11 bps over Q4 of FY 2011-12).

Ø  CRAR of the Bank is at 12.29% under BASEL-II (Tier-I Capital: 9.92%; Tier –II Capital: 2.37%).

Ø  Bulk Deposits reduced from Rs. 47,180 crore to Rs. 41,478 crore showing a reduction of 12.08%.

Ø  Provision Coverage Ratio has improved to 64.42%.

Ø  Total Delivery Channels: 3100 (1808 Branches/ECs plus 1292 ATMs).

PROFIT

Ø  Net Profit of the Bank stood at Rs. 391.42 crore for Q1 of FY 2012-13 as compared to a profit of Rs. 354.70 crore for Q1 of FY 2011-12, showing an increase of              Rs. 36.72 crore and 10.35% (YoY).

Ø  Operating Profit of the Bank stood at Rs. 896.54crore for Q1 of FY 2012-13 as compared to a profit of Rs. 801.37 crore for Q1 of FY 2011-12 showing an increase of   Rs. 95.17 crore and 11.88% (YoY).

BUSINESS

Ø  Total Business of the Bank increased to Rs.2,72,048 crore as on                            30th June, 2012 from Rs. 2,42,770 crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 12.06 %.

Ø  Total Deposits increased to Rs. 1,58,152 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from                  Rs. 1,44,554crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 9.41%.

Ø  Core Deposits increased to Rs. 1,16,247 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from                  Rs. 97,192crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 19.61%.

Ø  Retail Term Deposits increasedto Rs. 52,012 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from                  Rs. 40,614crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 28.06%.

Ø  Advances of the Bank increased to Rs. 1,13,896 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 98,216 crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 15.97%.

Ø  CASA Deposit increased by Rs. 4235 crore to Rs. 37,990 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 33,755 crore as on 30th June, 2011, registering a YoY growth of 12.55% .

Ø  CASA Deposits to Total Deposits at 24.02%.

Ø  Credit Deposit Ratio at 72.21%


INCOME

Ø  Total Income during Q1 of FY 2012-13 increased by 19.77% to Rs. 4696 crore from Rs. 3920 crore in Q1 of FY 2011-12 due to healthy growth of 19.20 % in Interest Income which reached Rs. 4287 crore and 26.11% growth in Non Interest Income.

Ø  Non Interest Income during Q1 of FY 2012-13 increased by 26.11% to                        Rs. 408 crore from Rs. 324 crore in Q1 of FY 2011-12 mainly due to recovery of Rs. 196.73 crore in Technical Write Off Accounts.

Ø  Net Interest Income during Q1 of FY 2012-13 increased by 10.56% to                         Rs. 1126 crore from Rs.1018 crore in Q1 of FY 2011-12.


IMPORTANT RATIOS

Ø  Gross NPA ratio stands at 2.97% as at 30th June, 2012 and Net NPA ratio at         2.05%.

Ø  Provision Coverage Ratio at 64.42%.

Ø  Net Interest Margin (NIM) at 2.79% (Sequential Increase of 11 bps over Q4 of  FY 2011-12) .

Ø  Return on Assets (RoA) at 0.87 %.

Ø  Cost of Deposit is at 7.98% for Q1 ofFY 2012-13.

Ø  Yield on Advances is at 12.38% for Q1 ofFY 2012-13.

Ø  Cost to Income Ratio is at 41.57%.

Ø  Book Value Per Share at Rs. 377.24 as on 30th June, 2012 as against                        Rs. 337.93  as on 30th June,2011.

Ø  CRAR of the Bank is at 12.29% under BASEL-II (Tier-I Capital: 9.92%; Tier –II Capital: 2.37%).

Ø  Business per Branch increased to Rs. 151.64 crore from Rs. 147.67 crore registering a growth of 2.69 % (YoY).

Ø  Business per Employee stood at Rs. 14.72 crore.

DELIVERY CHANNELS

Ø  Bank’s Branch Network stood at 1794 Branches besides 14 Extension Counters.

Ø  17 Branches opened and 5 Extension Counters upgraded by the Bank during Q1 of FY-2012-13.

Ø  Bank Installed 22 New ATMs during Q1 of FY-2012-13. The total number of ATMs as on 30th June, 2012 stood at 1292 (including 09 Mobile ATMs, 333 offsite ATMs and 06 Biometric ATMs).

Ø  ATM Coverage isat 72% vis-à-vis Branch Network.

Ø  Over 1 lac ATM Cards were issued during the quarter taking the total ATM customer base to 33.72 lac.

Ø  4.70 lac internet banking users and 27.51 lac customers availing SMS facility.

Ø  82.42% of eligible cash transactions happening through ATMs.
  

RETAIL CREDIT

Ø  Retail loans at Rs. 11,872 crore constituted 10.42% of Total Advances and grew by 16.98 %(YoY).

o   Vehicle Loan Portfolio grew by 29.21% (YoY) to reach Rs. 1230 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 952 crore as on 30th June, 2011.

o   Education loan Portfolio grew by 4.79% (YoY) to reach Rs. 1173 crore as on30th June, 2012 from Rs. 1120 crore as on30th June, 2011.

o   Direct Housing Loan Portfolio grew by 19.36% (YoY) to reach                          Rs. 5481 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 4592 crore as on 30th June, 2011 .

 PRIORITY SECTOR

Ø  PS Advances grew by 10.35% (YoY) to Rs. 40,244 crore as on 30th June, 2012 from Rs. 36,469 crore as on 30th June, 2011.

o   Agricultural advances grew by 11.91% (YoY) to Rs. 15,010 crore as on                    30th June, 2012 from Rs. 13,412 crore as on 30th June, 2011.

o   Bank issued 24,198 Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) during the Quarter ended                      30th June, 2012 with an amount of Rs. 550 crore. Total number of KCCs as on 30th June, 2012 was 4,32,242 KCCs with an amount of  Rs. 9007 crore.

MICRO,SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

Ø  Number of MSE (Micro & Small Enterprises) Accounts increased to 1,83,996 from 1,69,137and Bank’s Fund Based exposure under MSE to Rs. 17,900 crore from            Rs.15,886 crore thereby registering a growth of Rs. 2014 crore i.e. an increase of 12.68% (YoY).

Ø  Number of MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) Accounts increased to 1,85,963 from 1,70,142 and Bank’s Fund Based exposure under MSME to                    Rs. 20,288 crore from Rs. 17,716 crore thereby registering a growth of                        Rs. 2572 crore i.e. an increase of 14.52 % (YoY).

Ø  During Q1 of FY 2012-13, 4896 MSE Accounts with an amount of Rs. 343 crore & 4951 MSME accounts with an amount of Rs. 370 crore were opened.

Ø  17 MSME Specialised Branches and 51 MSME focused Branches were functional as on 30th June, 2012.
 
FINANCIAL INCLUSION

Ø  1,09,183 NO FRILLS Accounts were opened during Q1 of FY 2012-13 taking the total number of NO FRILLS Accounts to 22,44,482 as on 30th June, 2012 with an outstanding balance of Rs. 426.29 crore.

Ø  569 Villages have been allotted to the Bank with population of more than 2000 and all of them were already covered during the last Financial Year itself.

Ø  4,89,522 No Frill/ Other Savings Accounts have been opened in 569 covered villages  up to 30th June, 2012 covering 3,35,038 households.

Ø  2,16,997 Biometric Cards have been issued in FIP allotted villages and 4,51,030 transactions have been done through the same.

Ø  A campaign was launched on 16.05.2012 to ensure at least one bank account of each household in 569 villages allotted to the Bank under Financial Inclusion Plan.  Under the campaign, a structured survey of all households in villages allotted under FIP was carried to identify all households without a bank account. Simultaneously, accounts have been opened preferably in the name of head of the family during the survey. Under the campaign, a total number of 30,486 new accounts were opened completing coverage of 100% households in 569 FIP allotted villages.     

 HR INITIATIVES

Ø  Bank recruited 187 personnel including 20 Specialist Officers during Q1 of                   FY-2012-13.

Ø  The process for recruitment of 325 Probationary Officers and 100 Agriculture Officers is under process.

Ø  808 Employees promoted during the quarter ended 30th June,2012.


NEW INITIATIVES

Ø  Bank came out with Attractive Features in Oriental Home Loan & Oriental Vehicle Loan Schemes with reduction in Rate of Interest, Lowest EMI, Higher Loan Eligibility, Flexible Repayment Period and special concessions in interest rate to loyal customers.

Ø  Leading initiative was taken by the Bank in waiving the NEFT Charges on transactions up to Rs. One Lac. This initiative of the Bank was also appreciated by Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the then Hon’ble Finance Minister during his meeting with the Chief Executives of Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions on 12.06.2012.

Ø  The Bank has recently launched ORIENTAL DOUBLE DEPOSIT SCHEME where as per the existing interest rates the money gets doubled in 90 Months (Senior Citizens) and in 96 Months (Others).

Ø  An MoU was signed on 18th June,2012 with E-Billing Solutions Pvt. Ltd (EBS) for offering aggregator services.  EBS is a neutral payment gateway solution for merchants to facilitate online shopping across a spectrum of banks debit & credit cards and Utility Bill Service provider’s viz. IndiaIdeas.com Ltd (BillDesk), Techprocess Ltd, CCAvenue, and IRCTC thereby facilitating Net Banking customers to make online payments. 


IT INITIATIVES

Ø  Unclaimed Deposits / Inoperative Accounts displayed at Bank’s website in compliance with RBI Guidelines.

Ø   Loan EMI Payment – The new functionality will enable our retail Net-Banking customer to make online payment of their Loan EMI installments.

Ø   Payment gateway to Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and SGSITS Indore.

Ø   Online CBS Connectivity through Laptops at Mobile Branches & Ultra Small Branches.

Ø   Implementation of Centralized MIS project.

Ø  SMS alert for customers for SMA/NPA Accounts.

Ø  M/S STQC, a wing of Ministry of Information Technology has renewed “ISO27001” certification. It confirms that our Bank is adopting international best practices for processes and security framework for Data Centres.

Ø  At Mewat District field test has been successfully completed for inter-operability of Smart Cards for Financial Inclusion.


CSR INITIATIVES

Ø  As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, the Bank has set up a Trust in the name of ‘OBC Rural Development Trust’ on 09.12.2005 for setting up of Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs). The Trust has set up Institutes in five Districts, viz., Jaipur, Sriganganagar, Ferozepur, Dehradun and Palwal. Since inception, a total of 793 training programmes have been conducted benefiting 27,285 candidates. During the Financial Year 2012-13, 40 training programmes have been conducted benefiting 1,437 candidates.

Ø  The Bank has opened 4 Financial Literacy & Credit Counselling (FLCC) Centres in Karnal and Palwal districts of Haryana, Sriganganagar in Rajasthan & Ferozpur in Punjab. A total of 14,635 persons were counselled in these FLCCs, out of which 91 cases were referred for debt restructuring.

Ø  A Project for extending social welfare schemes such as NREGA, Pension, etc. has been launched in 6 Districts viz. Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Muktsar in Punjab and Jind in Haryana. A total number of 2,75,766 smart cards have been issued and activated up to 30th June, 2012.

Ø  A Skill Development Program for probable women entrepreneurs on tailoring & embroidery has started in FIP village Marora, District Mewat, Haryana. Initially, 40 women are undergoing training for a period of 30 days.

Ø  Installation of 8 solar lights in Village Rasoolpur Jatan, District Muzaffarnagar, UP and construction of toilets at Primary School.

Ø  Tri-cycle was provided to a physically challenged student of primary school, FIP village Kasmandi Kalan, Block Malihabad, District Lucknow. Ceiling fans were provided to Panchayat Bhawan and Primary School in that village.

Gagan Narang wins bronze

Gagan Narang wins bronze

PM congratulates Gagan Narang on his Olympic medal. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has congratulated Shri Gagan Narang on his winning the Olympic bronze medal in London: “I join the nation in congratulating Shooter Gagan Narang on his winning the Olympic bronze medal in the 10 metre air rifle event. I wish Narang more success in the two other events he is participating in.”
Shooter Gagan Narang ended India’s medal drought at the London Olympics 2012 after clinching bronze medal in the 10 metre air rifle event with an over all score of 701.1.
Narang shot 103.1 in a gripping ten-shot finals for an aggregate of 701.1 after scoring 598 in the qualifying round in which also he stood third.The gold was won by Romania’s Moldoveanu Alin George who tallied 702.1, which included 103.1 in the final, to upset world number 1 Niccolo Campriani of Italy who stood second with 701.5 at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
After a good start when he shot 10.7, Narang was off target with his second shot that fetched him 9.7.He gathered his wits and steadied his aim to collect 10.6 10.7 10.4 and 10.6 in the following four shots to at one stage remain on course for bagging even a silver.However, he slipped a bit and had to fight for the bronze medal with China’s Wang Tao who finished fourth with 700.4.After returning poor scores of 9.9 and 9.5 in the seventh and eighth attempts, Narang pulled up his socks to seal the bronze with impressive scores of 10.3 and 10.7.Narang’s compatriot and defending champion Abhinav Bindra had, however, suffered a shocking exit with his dismal show in the preliminaries in which he stood 16th out of 47 contestants with a score of 594 out of 600.Narang’s bronze medal is only the third in shooting on the planet’s biggest sporting event after Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver in double trap in Athens 2004 and Bindra’s gold in the last Games at Beijing.This was also India’s eighth individual medal in the Olympic Games.With Alin George and Campriani able to maintain their grip on the top two positions, the competition for the bronze medal had boiled down to a tense contest between the Indian and his Chinese rival over the last few shots in which Narang prevailed.There was stage when Campriani’s poor efforts of 9.9 and 9.4 in the eighth and the penultimate series gave Narang a whiff of chance of winning the silver, but the Italian fired a 10.4 in his last shot to dash the Indian’s hope of finishing second.
Earlier, Narang had kept alive India’s hopes by advancing to the medal round after Bindra crashed out.Bindra, who scripted history four years ago by becoming the country’s first-ever individual gold medallist in the Olympics, shot 594 out of 600 to finish a shocking 16th out of 47 competitors and lost the golden chance of becoming the world’s first shooter to win two successive gold medals at the mega event. Narang kept India in the hunt by finishing third with 598, a point behind Campriani and Alin George who both shot an Olympic record-equalling 599 to stand first and second in the qualifying round.
Steel Sports Council (SSC) of the Ministry of Steel has decided that medal winners at London Olympics 2012 will be awarded Rs. 50 lakh each for winning Gold Medal, Rs. 25 lakh each for Silver Medal and Rs.20 lakh each for winning a Bronze Medal.
The award to the medal winners will be disbursed by Minister for Steel, Shri Beni Prasad Verma, who is the ‘Patron’ of the Steel Sports Council.

CCI imposes penalty of Rs.397.51Cr on M/s Shree Cement Limited

CCI imposes penalty of Rs.397.51Cr on M/s Shree Cement Limited

CCI issues order against cement manufacturers, imposes penalty of Rs.397.51 crores on M/s Shree Cement Limited The Competition Commission of India passed its final order today in a restrictive trade practice inquiry against cement manufacturers and their trade association viz. Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA). The Commission in its order issued today found eleven cement manufacturers including M/s Shree Cement Limited and CMA in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 which deal with anti-competitive agreements including cartels. As the cement companies(except M/s Shree Cement Limited) were already found to be in cartel in Case No. 29 of 2010 and penalized by the Commission vide its order dated 20.06.2012, the Commission decided not to order remedies including imposition of penalty on such companies again for the same period of contravention.
The inquiry was based on a case received on transfer from the Office of the Director General (Investigation & Registration) of the erstwhile Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission under section 66(6) of the Competition Act, 2002. The MRTP Commission had initiated the investigations on the basis of press reports published in a business daily as well as on a letter of Builders Association of India.
The Commission directed M/s Shree Cement Limited to cease and desist from indulging in any activity relating to agreement, understanding or arrangement on prices, production and supply of cement in the market. The Commission has also imposed a penalty on M/s Shree Cement Ltd. at the rate of 0.5 times of its profits for the years 2009-10 and 2010-11 aggregating to Rs.397.51 corers.
The order of Commission has been passed in RTPE No.52 of 2006 and a copy of the order has been uploaded on the website of CCI at www.cci.gov.in

South Korea wins rights to undersea mine in Indian Ocean

SKorea wins rights to undersea mine in Indian Ocean

South Korea on Monday announced that it has secured exclusive rights to explore and develop a deep sea mine in the resource-rich Indian Ocean that can produce over USD 300 mn worth of minerals like gold, silver and copper per year.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) last week unanimously agreed to recognise South Korea’s rights to the offshore mine that lies across an area of 10,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean, the government said.
The site contains hydrothermal vents that could yield metals including gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead, South Korea’s maritime ministry said in a statement. The estimated production would reach about 46,000 tonnes, worth USD 320 million, per annum, it said.
“This is the result of aggressive efforts by the government and related agencies on investment, research and international diplomacy… amid fierce global competition to secure resources,” it said.
South Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy. Its economy is export-driven, with production focusing on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics.
Energy-hungry China last year was given exclusive rights to explore 10,000 square-km of seabed in the southwest Indian Ocean in an area off the coast of Africa.

Fire in Tamil Nadu Express kills 47

Fire in Tamil Nadu Express kills 47

At least 47 passengers were charred to death and 26 others injured when a fire broke in a coach of the Chennai-bound Tamil Nadu Express near Nellore in the wee hours on Monday due to a short circuit.
A Coach of Tamilnadu Express Catches Fire Near Nellore Station in Andhra Pradesh
32 Dead and 25 Injured in the Accident.There was an unfortunate incident of fire in train no. 12622 New Delhi-Chennai Tamilnadu Express at Nellore station (Andhra Pradesh) of Vijayawada Division of South Central Railway at about 0422 hours today i.e. 30th July 2012.   While the train was on run, fire broke out in Sleeper Class Coach S-11, positioned 20th from train engine.  As a result of the fire, this coach got completely burnt.  As per latest information received, 32 passengers lost their lives in this unfortunate incident, 25 passengers with burn injuries have been admitted to Government Hospital, Nellore and a nearby private hospital.  The dead bodies are yet to be identified.
According to reports, while the train was passing Nellore Station, Gateman of Level Crossing Gate noticed the fire in S-11 coach and informed Dy. Station Superintendent of Nellore who managed to stop the train after the Old South Cabin of Nellore Station.
Medical relief was immediately dispatched through Accident Relief Medical Train from Bitragunta station.  Fire Brigades from Nellore reached the site and extinguished the fire.  General Manager, South Central Railway from Secunderabad and Divisional Railway Manager, Vijayawada has rushed to the site along with team of officers to supervise the relief and rescue operations. Helpline numbers were also set up at important stations all along the route of the ill-fated train.  A special train carrying relatives of affected passengers was also arranged from Chennai to Nellore.
        The Minister of Railways, Shri Mukul Roy rushed to the accident site from Kolkata while the Minister of State for Railways, Shri K. H. Muniyappa rushed to the accident site from Kolar(Karnataka), Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Vinay Mittal with Member Electrical, Shri Kul Bhushan rushed to the accident site from Delhi by first available flight.           
The Minister of Railways, Shri Mukul Roy expressed his deep grief over the loss of innocent lives in this unfortunate tragedy.   He announced an enhanced ex-gratia amount  of Rs. 5/-  lakh to the next of the kin of each deceased, Rs. 1/- lakh for grievously injured and Rs. 25,000/- for simple injured passenger of the affected coach on humanitarian ground.  Shri Mukul Roy,
The cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained.  Statutory inquiry into this incident will be conducted by Shri D. K. Singh, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), South Central Circle, under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.The General Manger of all Zonal Railways  are being instructed to exercise extra vigil as well as launch a special safety drive regarding precautions to be taken to avoid recurrence of such accidents.

Supreme Court Upholds Basel Convention but allows hazardous US Ship Exxon Valdez

Supreme Court Upholds Basel Convention but allows hazardous US Ship Exxon Valdez 


Parliamentary Committees Intervention Will Be Sought To Stop Hazardous Waste Dumping  ࠼br>

Hazardous Waste Rules need to be revised for compliance with Conventionࠠ࠼br>

New Delhi 30/7/2012: The Bench of Supreme Court, Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameshwar, upheld UNⳠBasel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal but allowed the end of life ex US Ship Exxon Valdez (MV Oriental N) at Alang beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat.

The implication of this direction would be that all the ships which are have entered or are entering the Indian territorial waters have to show compliance of Basel Convention. In case there is non compliance, all these ships should go back to country of origin.

The Applicant in the case, Gopal Krishna commented, ㅸxon Valdez did not follow the Basel Convention and therefore according to the judgment dated 06.07.2012 it should have been sent back to the country of export. The Court ought to have applied Precautionary Principle not for the purpose of dismantling the ship but for sending it back because the principle implies that the pollution of hazardous nature has to be avoided particularly when its impact on environment and human health are not known.伳pan style>  A copy of the Basel Convention and its Technical Guidelines is attached. ༯span>

ࠠࠠࠠࠠࠠ In fact the Bench asserted in this order what they have said in their final judgment dated 06.07.2012 namely that all Ships coming for dismantling have to follow Basel Convention and if there is any violation, action should be taken according to the Municipal Laws.

The main concern of the Applicant was that ships like Exxon Valdez are End of Life ships and the entire ship itself is hazardous waste which are regulated under Basel Convention as it is embedded with asbestos waste, cables containing PCT, heavy metals, paint chips etc. the argument was not that the Ship contains any hazardous waste in loose form. None of the above mentioned authorities had given any inventory to the court about hazardous waste contained in the body of the Ship.

The arguments which were advanced by ApplicantⳊadvocate Mr. Sanjay Parikh regarding following Basel Convention namely, that there should be prior decontamination by the country of Export and prior permission by the country of Import before Ship enter the Indian territorial waters. These have been recorded in the judgment. ༯span>

It is noteworthy that Basel Convention is related to the control of Trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste and their disposal. Article 1, Article 2, paragraph 1 and 4 and Annex IV, paragraph B of the said Convention are relevant. Ships destined for ship-breaking operations are within the definition of "wastes" as defined by the Basel Convention. The Convention defines "wastes" as: "substances or objects which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national law" (Article 2, paragraph 1.).

The term "disposal" is further defined to mean "any operation specified in Annex IV to this Convention" (Article 2, paragraph 4). Annex IV includes final disposal operations and operations which lead to recovery, recycling, reclamation, direct re-use or alternative uses. Under Annex IV, paragraph B., ships destined for ship-breaking will, in fact, fall within the entry: "R4 Recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds".

Notably, ships destined for ship-breaking operations are "hazardous wastes" under the Convention.

Article 1 of the Convention determines the scope of the Convention and defines "hazardous wastes". The definition of "hazardous wastes" includes, inter alia, "wastes that belong to any category contained in Annex I, unless they do not possess any of the characteristics contained in Annex III". Ships destined for ship-breaking typically contain, inter alia, the following Annex I hazardous substances to an extent that they do constitute hazardous wastes:

-Y9 Waste oils/water, hydrocarbons/water mixtures, emulsions;

-Y10 Waste substances and articles containing or contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) and/or polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) and/or polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs);

-and a host of Y19 to Y45 constituents such as Y23 Zinc compounds, Y26 Cadmium; cadmium compounds, Y31 Lead; lead compounds, Y36 Asbestos (dust and fibers).The Parties to the Basel Convention further supplemented Annex I and III by elaborating specific wastes as hazardous wastes and including such wastes in Annex VIII. Annex VIII contains many entries of specific wastes which are contained in ships destined for ship-breaking.

i.ࠠࠠࠠࠠ࠼/span>The ship-breaking operations in non-OECD countries like India do not constitute environmentally sound management as required by the Convention. Ships destined for ship-breaking contain significant quantities of asbestos, PCBs, hydraulic fluids, paints containing lead and/or other heavy metals, tributyltin or TBT antifouling coatings, contaminated holding tanks, and other substances rendering them hazardous waste and extremely dangerous to human health and the environment when scrapped in the existing ship-breaking yards.

ii.ࠠࠠࠠࠠ In addition, Article 4, paragraph 3 requires the Parties to "consider that illegal traffic in hazardous wastes or other wastes is criminal."Article 4, paragraph 4 requires that "Each Party shall take appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement and enforce the provisions of this Convention, including measures to prevent and punish conduct in contravention of the Convention."Therefore, each Party has a legal obligation to prohibit such ship exports and must do so with respect to all persons ("any natural or legal person" - Article 2, paragraph 14) subject to its jurisdiction, e.g., exporters, importers, brokers, owners, those persons in possession and/or control of the ship, captains, etc.

iii.ࠠࠠࠠࠠIn order to export a ship for ship-breaking, there is a legal requirement to decontaminate it such that it no longer contains Basel Convention hazardous substances prior to export.

iv.ࠠࠠࠠ࠼/span>Among other things, what is emphasized in the Convention is prior informed consent and the disposal of waste in an environmentally sound manner. India has signed and ratified the said convention, in the order dated 14.10.2003- (2005)10 SCC 510 it has been observed that the Basel Convention is a part of Article 21 of the Constitution.

v.  Basel Technical Guidelines under the Basel Convention on Ship dismantling read as follows:

㔲ansboundary movements of hazardous wastes or other wastes can take place only upon prior written notification by the state of export to the competent authorities of the states of import and transit.伳pan style> 

vi. ༯span>The Basel Convention Technical Guidelines specifically points out: Ballast water which is fresh, brackish or marine water that has intentionally been brought on board a ship in order to adjust the shipⳠstability and trim characteristics in accordance with various operating conditions 㭡y contain pollutants, such as residual fuel, cargo hold residues, biocides, oil and grease, petroleum hydrocarbons, and metals (e.g. iron, copper, chromium, nickel, and zinc). Ballast water in cargo tanks (oil) is referred to as dirty ballast water. The transport of large volumes of water containing organisms from shallow, coastal waters across natural oceanic barriers can cause massive invasions of neritic marine organisms. Because ballast water is usually taken from bays and estuaries with water rich in animal and plant life, most ships carry a diverse assemblage of aquatic organisms. Aggregate sediments typically found in ballast tanks will contain living species which reflect the trade history of the vessel.䠼/span>

It further adds: ᔨe arrival condition of the dismantling candidate is most likely that of 㩮 ballast䮠The discharge of ballast water/ sediment species into the coastal sea-area may be a potential source for introducing unwanted organisms which threaten the ecological balance in the surrounding seas and thereby represent a direct threat to biodiversity. Ballast water can be the carrier of viruses and bacteria transferred to humans causing epidemics. In order to limit the biological threat represented by the introduction of invasive species via ballast water, the vessel should undergo recommended de-ballasting.ࠠࠠࠠࠠ

In view of the July 30 and July 6, 2012 judgments of the Court, Union Ministry of Environment & Forests will have to revise its Hazardous Rules to become complaint with the CourtⳠorder and Basel Convention. ༯span>

The Applicant will approach the relevant Parliamentary Committees to seek their intervention because CourtⳠorder and international law is being violated through subordinate legislations and through creating a fait accompli situation like in the case of end of life ships like Riky, Blue Lady, Platinum II and now Exxon Valdez to facilitate hazardous waste dumping. ༯span>

A separate application is being filed in the larger matter of hazardous waste management in the country to ensure compliance with CourtⳠdirections of the October 14, 2003 order and the recommendations of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes.࠼span style>Bangaldesh Supreme Court order had taken cognisance of the hazardous materials on ship and has reproduced its diagram both are attached.  

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), 9818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com, Web:toxicswatch.blogpsot.com

Anna begins indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar

Anna begins indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar

On Day 5 of the indefinite fast, Anna Hazareji joined Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and 400 anshankaris at Jantar Mantar. Supporters turned out in hordes at Jantar Mantar - according to estimates, the footfall at Jantar Mantar touched 1.5 lakh today.


In the evening, another 50,000 people assembled at India Gate circle and walked towards Jantar Mantar with a candle in their hand in support of Annaji. Prashant Bhushan led the rally.

In the morning, Anna ji released Swaraj book written by Arvind Kejriwal written today. Anna Hazareji said that people should read Swaraj and decide for themselves whether it is the government which has drifted apart from the path or the IAC movement. He said that a true democracy is one in which people make decisions and not politicians or bureaucrats. This is the true meaning of Swaraj.

He explained to the people that Gram Sabha was supreme. Its members - those who attain 18 years of age in a village - are the ones who elect MPs and MLAs and send them to Legislative Assembly, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. He explained that Gram Sabha are 'Swayambhu' or self sustainent.

Arvind Kejriwal while releasing the book Swaraj and said, “I would like to thank Vinod Mehta, Yogendra Yadav and Harper Collins. For this book, I travelled for two years and met people and tried to understand their problems. I travelled to Ralegan, Hiwre Bazaar, Kutambakam and to a tribal village called Lekha Medha. I met the sarpanches there. These villages earlier were in a very bad state and poverty stricken. But after these sarpanches took charge, they just did one thing which was different. They took all decisions in an open gram sabha meeting. Today, all these villages have become model villages."
He said, a similar practice of mohalla sabhas should be started in the cities as well.

Recalling his stint in Income Tax department he said, "When I was with the IT department, we had conducted a raid on a Japanese company. The CEO who was a Japanese warned us said that if he wished he could get any law passed in our Parliament and could get us transferred. A few days after that a senior officer was transferred. Then I had thought that maybe he had the power to get us transferred but was bluffing about the getting any law passed issue. My worst fears came true when during the voting for Nuclear Bill, some MPs waived bundles of cash in Parliament."

He said, "we conducted referendum in many areas and found that 90 per cent people wanted Jan Lokpal Bill. Despite that for one-and-a-half years we have been fighting for it and nothing has happened."

He concluded his speech with an appeal to all students to take leave for a week and come out on to the streets for just one week. 

Kiranji addressed the crowd in the afternoon and explained the need to make CBI independent. Prashant Bhushan spoke on the charges against Sharad Pawar, SM Krishna and Kamal Nath. Prashant Bhushan said he was not surprised by the large number of supporters since he knew people would rise up in support of the movement and that the right-thinking people want to save the country from the massive corruption, anarchy and chaos it is currently in.

While the anshankaris might have seen a fall in health, there is no depletion in their spirit. Despite forgoing food for 5 days, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai are showing every sign of seeing this fast through till as long as it takes. Their vitals in the evening were:

Annaji: Pulse - 78, BP-160/102, Sugar-104
Arvind Kejriwal: Pulse-80, BP-110/67, Sugar-75, Ketone-4+
Manish Sisodia: Pulse-84, BP-130/81, Sugar-75, Ketone-4+ 
Gopal Rai - Pulse-76, BP-120/73, Sugar-88, Ketone-5+

Amongst the 400 anshankaris who are on the indefinite hunger strike, 11 had to be taken to hospital due to ill health. 90-yr-old Maniram was in high spirits though, and thanked Anna Hazareji for uniting people – even while he showed signs of weakness and had to be shifted to hospital. A 60-member medical team is constantly monitoring the health of al anshankaris. However, the callousness of the govt was marked by an absence of oxygen cylinders in the Delhi police ambulances which were transferring patients to Ram Manohar Lohia government hospital.

The donation collected was released in the evening. The collection for first 4 days was approximately Rs 12 lakhs.

The anshan carried on across the country as well.

In Chennai, more than 100 protestors sat peacefully in front of Chidambaram's house. They were  man-handled and detained. They were released by evening only.

Many roads of Mumbai were also choked by IAC supporters. Marine Drive was congested by protestors who had come out in droves to support the movement. A massive Car rally was organised today which was flagged off by Anupam Kher.

In Hyderabad, one volunteer (G Venkateshwar Rao, 65) who has become very weak was taken away by the police. Presently 5 volunteers are on Ankshan since the past five days.

In Ujjain, last night 2 anshankaris were brutally hit by unknown people and their tent was completely destroyed. They filed an FIR later in the day.

Agra saw large attendance as well, attended by children and adults. A rally of schoolchildren in support of the July Kranti and indefinite fast took place in Ajmer from Gandhi Bhawan till Collectorate Ajmer.

In Bhiwani, women came out in full support of the andolan and gathered at Nehru Park, Ghanta Ghar in large numbers.

CONCERT: MUSIC FOR THEM

Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi Instituto Cervantes
2 de agosto de 2012 / August 2nd of 2012
CONCIERTO: MUSIC FOR THEM

Jueves 2 de agosto a las 7pm en el auditorio, entrada libre.



Sinopsis:

La ONG “Streets of India” inaugura su gira de conciertos en el Instituto Cervantes. Tras cinco años de experiencia haciendo voluntariado en Calcuta, se dieron cuenta del poder curativo de la música y el entretenimiento en gente en situaciones vulnerables. Con esta premisa nace el proyecto musical “Music for them”, un espectáculo de música y baile que ya ha pasado por hospitales, centros de enfermos y orfanatos de Calcuta en 2009 y 2010, y en ciudades de Rajasthan (Jodhpur, Narlai, Luni y Khejarla) en 2011. Ya han sido más de 5.000 personas las que han interactuado con “Music for them”.
Este 2012 el grupo de 6 músicos españoles se lanzan a conquistar los corazones de los niños y niñas en la gira que da comienzo en nuestro centro y que continúa en Antyodaya Niketan (Delhi), Naya Nagar (Gurgaon), y los centros de rehabilitación de la Fundación Vicente Ferrer (Anantapur).

Más información sobre el proyecto en su blog.
Video de la gira de 2011 de Music for them.


CONCERT: MUSIC FOR THEM

Thursday 2nd of August at 7pm at the auditorium, free entrance



Synopsis: 

The NGO “Streets of India” is opening their concerts tour at Instituto Cervantes. After 5 years of experience volunteering in Calcuta, they realized that curative power of music and entertainment on the most vulnerable people. With this premise they created the project “Music for them”, a show of dance and music that has already been performed in hospitals, centers for the ill and orphanages in Calcutta during 2009 and 2010, and in the Rajasthan cities of Jodhpur, Narlai, Luni and Khejarla in 2011. More than 5.000 people have already enjoyed and played with “Music for them”.
For this 2012, the group of 6 spanish musicians will conquer the hearts of the children in their tour, starting at our center, in Antyodaya Niketan (Delhi), Naya Nagar (Gurgaon), and the rehabilitation centers of Vicente Ferrer Foundation (Anantapur).

More information about the project in their blog.
Video from the tour of 2011 of Music for them.

Instituto Cervantes Nueva Delhi
48, Hanuman Road
Connaught Place
110 001 Nueva Delhi
India

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