In a first such address to the nation, the Prime Minister said there is a great demand for good teachers in the world, and India being a young country should be able to produce good quality teachers for the world. Play and sweat a lot, read biographies: Modi exhorts children Haven't had time to see Delhi: Modi I am a task master: Modi Cleanliness should be part of character building: PM I have to be more careful of my words as PM: Modi Nation building should become national movement: Modi
"For me it is a privilege that I am able to speak to those who are the future of the country. Today is Teachers' Day, but slowly the value of the day is lessening... There must probably be some schools where it is not observed...The day is now just focused on teachers getting awards and being felicitated, it remains that. It is necessary to highlight the value of teachers in society," PM said.
"There is need to give more value to this important tradition, and it needs more discussion why students don't want to be teachers. The answer to this has to be sought by all...There is a great demand for good teachers in the world, they are not available. India is a young country, why can't we give the promise that India will provide good teachers to the world. And students should say that yes I will be a teacher," he said.
"You should play and sweat a lot, at least four times a day. Promise you will do it," was the exhortation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to children across the nation.
The Prime Minister, in a first such address to millions of students and teachers across the nation on Teachers' Day, also exhorted students to read biographies of people and books on subjects they like."How many are there who sweat a lot at least four times a day in play," Modi asked the students gathered in Maneckshaw Auditorium here, with the event being telecast to all schools in the country and live streamed.
"Till there is no play, there is no growth," he said.
He asked the students - "How many of you play a lot and sweat four times a day?" When most smiled and laughed saying they did not play so much, the prime minister said: "At least four times a day you should sweat a lot, promise you will do it." To which, the students responded with a loud "Yes".
He also asked the students to read biographies, saying it would take them close to history.
"Please read biographies, then we will reach near to history. You can read different biographies" of people in sports, trade, films, science, he said.
"This should be our endeavour. We get information nowadays, and not gyan (knowledge)," the Prime Minister said.
I haven't had the time to see Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
The Prime Minister was responding to a question by a class XI student during his interaction with students on Teachers' Day.
He added that going from home to office and back takes up his time. He, however, said not much has changed after he assumed office as the Prime Minister. He said his experience as a Chief Minister helped him.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described himself as "a task master". Modi addressed students and teachers at an event to mark Teachers' Day that was telecast live across the country.
On being asked what kind of person he thinks he is, Modi said: "I am a task master." He said he worked hard and expected the same from others. He added he expected work to be completed on time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he needed help from every school in the task of building toilets for children, and cleanliness should be part of efforts at character building.
Addressing students on Teachers' Day, Modi recalled his recent visit to Japan and said he was told by an "Indian family" that students and teachers there together clean and mop up toilets.
"They said it was part of character building. How do we build national character," Modi said.
Referring to his Independence Day speech in which he referred to absence of toilets in some schools, particularly for the girls, Modi said it was a very important task.
"I need help from every school. An atmosphere should be created," he said.
Modi said he has to be more careful of his words now that he is the Prime Minister.
Addressing millions of students on Teachers' Day, the Prime Minister, in an answer to a question from a student, said his life has become very busy since he became the Prime Minister.
"When I was chief minister, I did not have to care much about what I was speaking, but now I have to be careful so that whatever I say does not cause harm to the nation. I remain conscious of what I say," the Prime Minister said.
He also said that because of his long stint as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he did not find the role of Prime Minister very different.
Modi said that nation building should become a national movement and every individual should be associated with it.
Addressing students here on Teachers' Day, Modi said if every individual associates himself with the task of nation building, "we can go very far".
He said people who had achieved something in life and taken to a profession such as doctors and engineers should teach students in a school for one period in a week.
"There is need to make nation building into national movement. There is need to associate everyone...The emphasis should be on how should be the national character," he said.
Modi also said he did not feel that adverse situations can come in the way of ambition of a determined individual.
Live: Why don't students want to be teachers anymore, says PM Modi
New Delhi: Addressing millions of students and teachers across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Teachers' Day address to the nation said on Friday that there is need to find out why the value of a teacher has lost its sheen and why students don't want to be teachers when they grow up.
In a first such address to the nation, the prime minister said there is a great demand for good teachers in the world, and India being a young country should be able to produce good quality teachers for the world.
"For me it is a privilege that I am able to speak to those who are the future of the country. Today is Teachers' Day, but slowly the value of the day is lessening... There must probably be some schools where it is not observed...The day is now just focused on teachers getting awards and being felicitated, it remains that. It is necessary to highlight the value of teachers in society."
"There is need to give more value to this important tradition, and it needs more discussion why students don't want to be teachers. The answer to this has to be sought by all...There is a great demand for good teachers in the world, they are not available. India is a young country, why can't we give the promise that India will provide good teachers to the world. And students should say that yes I will be a teacher."
Teachers’ Day: J&K students to miss PM’s speech as schools shut down for floods
Srinagar: Students of Jammu and Kashmir will not be able to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address on Friday on the occasion of Teachers’ Day as the state government has ordered closure of all the schools in view of heavy rain and floods.
The decision to close all the government and private schools of the state was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
"The Cabinet ordered closure of government and private schools and colleges in the state till September 7," an official spokesman said after the meeting.
The schools shall reopen on September 8. "The closure has been ordered to ensure safety of school going children," an official spokesman said.
The state has been lashed by heavy rain for the past three days leaving several parts of the state flooded.
At least 20 people have lost their lives and 45 are still missing.
The closure of schools means that students of the state will not be able to listen to Modi's address which he is scheduled to make on Friday.
Earlier on Thursday on the eve of Teachers’ Day, Modi said India should regain the status of 'vishwaguru' (leader in education) by according high respect to teachers whom he asked to encourage students to think critically about issues concerning nation.
In an email message to teachers, he told them that their determination and sincerity will shape the destiny of the nation as they are laying the foundation and the building blocks of the society.
"Teaching is not just another profession. It is a divine responsibility to guide and enlighten," Modi said in his message of greetings.
He said that by according high status to the teaching community, India had once attained the status of 'vishwaguru'.
Encourage students to think critically: Modi to teachers
Modi on Thursday called upon the country's teachers to encourage students to "think critically" about broader issues and widen their horizon.
"Encourage them (students) to think critically about broader issues concerning our nation, society and the environment. Our goal must be to create good citizens who are capable of preserving the past and creating the future," Modi said in an email message to all teachers.
"Lessons in good citizenship inculcated at a young age will go a long way in creating a better society. This could be as simple as traffic rules, cleanliness, gender sensitisation, concern for the weak and reverence for the elders," he added.
Modi said the teachers' "determination and sincerity" will shape the destiny of the nation and also lay the foundation and the building blocks of the society."
“The influences and experiences you share with your students will remain with them for a lifetime... this is a responsibility of great significance because on this depends how our present and future generations will thrive," he said.
Modi further said "high respect" must be accorded to teachers to help the country regain the status of "vishwaguru".
"By according high status to the teaching community, India had once attained the status of vishwaguru. We must once again accord such respect to the teachers and thereby regain that status where India becomes the beacon of knowledge for the entire world," Modi said.
Nvidia Corp sues Qualcomm, Samsung over graphics patents
San Francisco: Nvidia Corp has sued rival chipmakers Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics, accusing both companies of infringing its patents on graphics processing technology.
The U.S. chipmaker vies with Qualcomm in the business of providing chips for smartphones and tablets. It said on Thursday that Qualcomm and Samsung had used Nvidia's patented technologies without a license in Samsung's mobile devices, including the just-launched Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge.
Nvidia said Samsung devices made with graphics technology from Qualcomm, Britain's ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies infringed on its patents.
"They're using our technology for free in their devices today and they're shipping an enormous number of devices," Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said on a conference call.
Samsung, the world's biggest smartphone maker, said it would fight Nvidia's lawsuits.
"Following a thorough review of the complaint, we will take all measures necessary against NVIDIA's claims," the South Korean firm said in an e-mailed statement, without elaborating on the measures it could take.
Nvidia did not say it is suing Imagination or ARM but it did say it is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to prevent shipments of Samsung devices containing ARM's Mali or Imagination's PowerVR graphics architectures, as well as Qualcomm's graphics technology.
Graphics technology from Imagination is also used in Apple Inc's iPhones. Asked whether Nvidia plans to sue Apple since it uses Imagination's technology, Huang declined to comment.
"Today we're focused on Samsung and Qualcomm, and we continue to have productive conversations with a lot of other companies out there," he said.
Nvidia made its name developing leading graphics technology for high-end personal computers but has struggled to expand into smartphones, a market dominated by Qualcomm.
Nvidia discussed its patents with Samsung for "a couple" of years before deciding to take legal action, Huang said.
Last year, Nvidia announced that it planned to license its graphics technology to other companies. But it has not announced any licensing deals since then.
Nvidia said its lawsuits were filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington.
Such dual filings are typical of infringement lawsuits since the district courts can award financial damages and the Commission cannot. At the same time, the Commission can more easily ban infringing products from the U.S. market.
ARM declined to comment. Qualcomm did not respond to a request for comment.
Facebook announces expansion of ‘Privacy Checkup’ feature to all users
New York: Social networking site Facebook has finally announced to expand its "Privacy Checkup" feature to all users.
It is asking its over 1.3 billion users to complete a privacy checkup - a short online exercise where users review who they are sharing with on the platform, media reports said.
The Facebook users will see an alert pop up on their news feeds that reminds them to run a quick audit of their privacy settings.
The checkup includes a review of who can see your posts (categories like "public", "friends" or "only me").
The privacy checkup also let users check what they do with apps that connect with Facebook like Candy Crush Saga, media reports said.
"We know you come to Facebook to connect with friends, not with us. But we also know how important it is to be in control of what you share and who you share with," Paddy Underwood, Facebook product manager, wrote in a blog post.
Facebook will roll out a mobile version of the privacy checkup soon.
Yamaha launches FZ-S Version 2.0 at Rs 79,692 in India
New Delhi: Yamaha Motor India Sales launched its two new models to comprise its very successful FZ Series in the city.
The company is selling around 18,000 units per month of the FZ series making it the second largest selling brand in the deluxe segment. With the launch of these two variants, it expects to increase the sales around 24,000 units per month, a company release said.
Forty percent of its total sales comes from FZ alone. The new FZ version 2.0 is priced at Rs 77,656, the FZ-S version 2.0 would be retailed at Rs 79,692 and will be available across all Yamaha authorised dealers in the city.
With the launch of these new models targeted at young men between the ages of 18-30, the company hopes to see a steep growth in the customer base, especially keeping in mind the mileage conscious target audience, Roy Kurian, Vice President, Yamaha Motor India Sales Pvt. Ltd, the release said.
He said Coimbatore is an important market for the company, especially for Yamaha's 150cc segment and claimed that they currently command around 22 percent market share in the deluxe segment in this city.
Microsoft launches Lumia 830, 735, 730 smartphones
Berlin: Software giant Microsoft launched three new Lumia smartphones, including one designed for "selfie" enthusiasts, in a bid to expand its portfolio as it battles the likes of Samsung and Apple in the booming, yet fiercely competitive, global smartphone market.
Microsoft has launched the Lumia 830, 735 and 730, priced at 330 euros (about Rs 26,190), 219 euros (about Rs 17,370) and 199 euros (about Rs 15,800), respectively, as it tries to build on its acquisition of Nokia's mobile division earlier this year.
All the handsets will begin rolling out globally this month.
Microsoft is also rolling out a software update called 'Lumia Denim' that adds functionality exclusively to Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8. These will however not be available on Windows Phone 8 smartphones from other companies like HTC.
The flagship 830 will come with Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim operating system, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal user memory (15 GB OneDrive cloud storage and up to 128 GB micro SD card). It has a 5-inch display, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 10 MP camera and 2,200 mAh removable battery.
The Lumia 730 has a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor with 1 GB of RAM and 4.7-inch display. It has a rear camera of 6.7 MP, along with a 5 MP front-facing camera.
With 8 GB internal memory, the handset supports 15 GB OneDrive cloud storage and up to 128 GB micro SD cards.
"Our strategy is to help people do more with stunning products that unite and showcase the best of Microsoft's digital work and life experiences," Microsoft Corporate Vice-President, Mobile Devices Sales, Chris Weber said.
The Lumia 830, Lumia 735 and Lumia 730 Dual SIM combine popular Microsoft services such as Skype, Microsoft Office and OneDrive with amazing Lumia innovations in design and imaging to bring experiences that people value, at prices they can afford, he added.
Microsoft had acquired almost all handset and services business of Finnish firm Nokia for over USD 7.2 billion in April this year.
Once the world leader in mobile phones, Nokia lost its top place to South Korea's Samsung in 2012, especially as its rivals took the lead in the key smartphone market.
Even in emerging markets like India, where Nokia held a significant share, the company lost out to international rivals and domestic firms like Micromax and Karbonn.
Sania-Cara disappoint in US Open semis
New York: It was the end of the road for India's Sania Mirza and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black as the third seeded duo lost to Swiss-Italian pair Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta in straight sets in the US Open women's doubles semifinals here.
Sania and Cara suffered a 2-6, 4-6 loss in an hour and 10 minutes to the unseeded team at the Louis Armstrong on Thursday.
Last year as well, Sania, who was partnering China's Jie Zheng then, failed to get past the semis stage.
But the Indian tennis star still has a shot at the top prize. Sania and her Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, the top seeds, will take on American-Mexican team of Abigail Spears and Santiago Gonzalez in the final of the mixed event.
Sania is the only Indian left in the competition after Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna bowed out from their respective doubles events in the earlier rounds.
New Zealand appoint McMillan as new batting coach
Wellington: Former New Zealand batsman Craig McMillan has been awarded a two-year contract as the national team's batting coach, the country's cricket board (NZC) said on Thursday.
The 37-year-old former middle-order batsman had filled the role on a temporary basis recently and the stint had earned him a full-time contract, the board said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the NZC extended Mike Hesson's contract as New Zealand's head coach by two years, putting him in the role until April 2017.
"The West Indies and NZA tours were his first as a coach at that level, and we're very happy with his development," NZC head of cricket Lindsay Crocker said.
"He's been awarded his two-year contract on that basis and I'm confident he'll continue to form an excellent coaching trio with Mike (Hesson) and Shane (bowling coach Shane Bond)."
McMillan played 55 tests and 197 one-day internationals between 1997 and 2007.
Roger Federer battles back to reach US Open semi-finals
NEW YORK: Roger Federer battled back from two sets down and double match point to defeat Gael Monfils 4-6 3-6 6-4 7-5 6-2 and reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Thursday.
Federer, aiming to add to his grand slam men's record total of 17 singles crowns, survived a pair of match points when down 15-40 on serve in the 10th game of the fourth set.
Frenchman Monfils struck a backhand long to squander his first chance to claim victory and then Federer denied the 20th seed with a sizzling forehand winner to stay in the match.
From that point on, Federer took charge by holding serve for 5-5, closing out the fourth set and then breaking Monfils in the first game of the fifth.
Playing at his brilliant best after scattering unforced errors earlier in the match, the Swiss master took nine of the last 11 games in the three-hour 20-minute clash at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Federer said he kept a positive attitude despite falling behind.
"I still thought the finish line was far for Gael," Federer told the stadium crowd. "I knew I could play better tennis.
"When I was down two match points, I wasn't feeling so great ... I thought 'this is it, this is the last point, man. Just go down fighting, don't miss an easy shot and let him have it.'
"I served well and stayed in the match and somehow turned it around. I felt great in the fifth, though. I started playing better and better as the match went on. It's a great feeling."
It marked the ninth time in his career that Federer escaped from a two-set deficit, the last time in the third round of Wimbledon in 2012 against another Frenchman in Julien Benneteau.
Federer will play 14th seed Marin Cilic, who blasted his way past sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-4 7-6(4), on Saturday for a place in the final.
Serena eyes revenge and place in US Open final
NEW YORK: Top-seeded Serena Williams will twin revenge with ambition when she faces Russia's Ekaterina Makarova on Friday with a berth in the U.S. Open final at stake.
Williams is bidding for her third consecutive U.S. Open title and 18th career grand slam victory. But having lost to the left-handed Russian at the 2012 Australian Open, she knows not to take anything for granted.
"She's beaten me before," the 32-year-old American said of her 17th-seeded opponent. "She moves well, doesn't care (about reputations), she gives 100 percent.
"It's going to be interesting for me to do the best that I can because she has a lot of momentum going into this match as well."
Having failed to reach the quarter-finals at any of the other three grand slam events this year, Williams joked that reaching the last four in New York was already a success.
"Realising that I don't have to win anymore, so everything now is just extra," she said. "That also helps."
Makarova beat seventh-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and Belarussian 16th seed Victoria Azarenka en route to her first grand slam semi-final and is also in the women's doubles final.
"I'm trying to stay in the shade and to be in my world," she said. "But I'm really enjoying playing on the big stage and the big courts with all this crowd. I'm feeling differently than in other places.
"I feel that I'm ready. I'm feeling good in my game and mentally and I believe in myself. I was feeling that I can do more than quarters."
Friday's other semi-final will pit Danish 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki, a former world number one, against unseeded Peng Shuai of China.
For Wozniacki, it's her first grand slam semi-final since the 2012 U.S. Open while Peng is into her first semi-final in what is her 37th grand slam.
South Korea hire German Stielike as new coach
SEOUL: South Korea have hired former Germany international Uli Stielike as the new national team coach, the Korea Football Association (KFA) announced on Friday, tasking him with restoring the Asian side's reputation and qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
The 59-year-old, who played 42 times for West Germany and coached Switzerland and Ivory Coast, would arrive on Monday in time to attend Korea's friendly with Uruguay, the KFA added.
The news comes just ahead of the Korean traditional Thanksgiving holiday and will be well received by football fans in the country, who were concerned that the search for a successor to Hong Myung-bo was dragging on.
Hong resigned in July following South Korea's first-round exit at the World Cup in Brazil, and the KFA's first choice to replace him, Dutchman Bert van Marwijk, turned the job down last month due to contractual issues.
After Van Marwijk's rejection the KFA widened their search and said they would negotiate with several coaches instead of just one candidate.
Lee Yong-soo, head of the KFA's technical committee, had recently expressed concern that the top candidates for the job were too expensive or did not have a good impression of what coaching Korea would entail.
The Koreans host Venezuela later on Friday with former international Shin Tae-yong and two other local coaches taking charge. They will travel to Tehran to play Iran in November as part of their buildup to the Asian Cup in Australia in January.
Among the club sides he has coached, Stielike worked with South Korean defender Kim Ki-hee at Qatar's Al-Sailiya.
"I remember that he was a good tactician who knew how to utilise his assets and respond to opposition's strategies," Yonhap News agency quoted Kim as saying.
"I think he will be great at molding different players into a team and making the most out of their talent," he said.
Euro 2016 qualifiers likely to be a damp squib
BERNE: Two wins in 10 matches could be enough to reach Euro 2016 following UEFA's decision to expand the final tournament to 24 teams while keeping the same format for the qualifying competition.
Nearly half of UEFA's 54 teams will take part at the finals in France, turning the qualifying competition, which kicks off on Sunday amid almost complete indifference, into of a matter of who will not qualify rather than who will.
The World Cup, with its attacking football and endless drama was a timely boost for international football, sometimes seen as a poor relation to the Champions League and the top domestic leagues.
But if Brazil represented a step forwards for the international game, then Euro 2016 qualifying could well be two steps back with the focus largely on who gets second and third place in the five or six team groups.
Top sides such as Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain, who qualified easily for the World Cup even when only 13 European places were up for grabs, should stroll through without barely raising a sweat.
There will be eight groups of six teams and one of five, with the top two teams in each group qualifying directly with the best of the third-placed teams and hosts France.
The remaining eight third-placed teams are involved in two-leg playoffs for the remaining four places.
It means that teams could qualify for France by winning only two matches, or despite losing five.
Of the teams who finished third in the 2014 World Cup qualifying groups, Finland had a record of two wins, three draws and three defeats while Slovenia won five and lost five of their ten games and Slovakia had three wins, four draws and three defeats.
That would earn them a playoff under the Euro 2016 format, where two draws could be enough to take them to France if they win on away goals or via a penalty shootout.
The new format will at least give some hope to the 26 teams who have never qualified before: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Cyprus, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Georgia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, San Marino, Slovakia and Wales.
Europe's performance at the last two World Cups suggests that, while the continent has three or four very strong teams, it lacks strength in depth. On both occasions, seven out of the 13 European teams failed to make it past the group stage.
By comparison, all five South American sides progressed in 2010 and five out of six went through in 2014.
World champions Germany kick off their campaign on Sunday with a moderately testing match at home to Scotland while Portugal have a gentle start at home to Albania, an excellent chance to put their World Cup woes behind them.
Spain, looking to recover from a nightmare in Brazil, will also be grateful to be kicking off at home to Macedonia on Monday in a group that also features Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus and Luxemburg.
Meanwhile, Gibraltar play their first-ever competitive international when they host Poland, in Faro, Portugal on Sunday.
In the context of who will secure second and third places, Austria's match at home to Sweden stands out, as well as Denmark-Armenia, Georgia-Ireland, Hungary-Northern Ireland, Montenegro-Moldova, Ukraine-Slovakia and Estonia-Slovenia.
Even UEFA president Michel Platini, who promised to make national team football his priority when he was re-elected in 2011, has admitted the format lacks spark.
"I think we have 24 good teams in Europe, more or less of the same calibre, so the quality (of the finals) won't be affected," he said. "The only small difficulty will be with the qualifiers, because there will be some less interesting matches at that level as the national associations wanted the same system."
"We will have two or three teams qualifying from groups of six, so matches will be less decisive, but the tournament itself will be just as interesting," he said.
P Sathasivam sworn-in as Kerala Governor
Thiruvananthapuram: Former chief justice of India (CJI) P Sathasivam was sworn-in as the new governor of Kerala on Friday morning.
The acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, Ashok Bhushan, administered the oath to Sathasivam at the Raj Bhavan here.
Sathasivam is the first former CJI to become the governor of a state. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, his cabinet colleagues, top officials were present on the occasion.
Sathasivam succeeded former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit who had resigned last week and flew out of the state on Thursday.
Justice Sathasivam, whose appointment has sparked a debate in political and judicial circles, said earlier in the day at his native village in Tamil Nadu that he was confident of discharging his duties well in the light of his experience in the judiciary.
"I did not accept any arbitration work for any corporate entity after my retirement. I wholeheartedly accept this position of Governor of Kerala," he said.
On reservations voiced by the Bar Association in Kerala about his appointment, Sathasivam said he would talk with its members.
He dubbed as "completely wrong" the allegation that he was made Governor for his verdict in a case involving BJP President Amit Shah.
"It is not legal to file a second FIR," he said and stressed that "no one was freed and we (as judges) do not see whether it was a politician or otherwise".
Sathasivam was on the Supreme Court bench that scrapped the second FIR against Shah in a fake encounter case, saying it was linked to the bigger Sohrabuddin Sheikh killing case and did not need to be separate.
The Congress had flayed the decision to appoint Sathasivam as Governor and wondered whether the government was "pleased" with his judgment in the Amit Shah case.
Dikshit, who took over as Kerala Governor in March, said there had been pressure on her (from the Centre) and she thought it proper to resign to protect the prestige of the constitutional position.
"I thought there was a pressure. Before they do something to the position, which is a highly respectable constitutional position it is better to leave myself," she said on reaching Delhi.
Security beefed up in UP after Al Qaeda video
Lucknow: Security has been stepped up at public places across Uttar Pradesh a day after an Al Qaeda video announcing the creation of its terror wing in the Indian subcontinent surfaced, an official said on Friday.
Soon after the union home ministry verified the Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri tape as authentic, Home Minister Rajnath Singh set the ball rolling.
A missive was sent to the state police and the home department after which a state of high alert was put in place, officials added.
Inspector General Amrendra Sengar told IANS that district police have been asked to be extra vigilant and the local intelligence units have been sensitized on the new threat perception.
District police chiefs have also been asked to share and pass on any specific or even vague input at the earliest.
Security has been beefed up at busy thoroughfares, religious places, schools and public places like the bus and railway stations, multiplexes, and parks where people are present in large numbers.
"We have stepped up security whereever it is needed and the UP Police is determined to meet the challenge thrown up by the terror group Al Qaeda," said an intelligence official.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the creation of a South Asian branch of his outfit to "raise the flag of jihad" in the Indian subcontinent, causing concerns.
In a 55-minute video posted online, Zawahiri - who succeeded Osama bin Laden after he was killed in Pakistan, said that the formation of "Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent" would be good news for Muslims in Burma, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression".
CBDT rationalises norms of tax returns scrutiny
New Delhi: The Income Tax Department has rationalised the norms for manual selection for scrutiny of tax returns to bring it in line with global best practices.
As per the norms released by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), all cases where income exceeds Rs 10 lakh over the previous year will continue to be selected, as well as cases relating to survey, search and seizure and reassessment.
However, the previous requirement of selection of all cases where value of international transactions exceeds Rs 15 crore has been dropped.
"This should reduce compliance requirements," said Sunil Shah, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP.
Amit Maheshwari, Partner, Ashok Maheshwary & Associates said omission of a threshold for scrutinising transfer pricing assessments "may indicate a move towards risk based selection of cases for compulsory scrutiny".
Risk based assessment approach is considered a international best practice, he added.
Shah further said the guidelines for 2014-15 fiscal "are broadly in line with the earlier year, but have been rationalised with some additions and deletions".
Charitable trusts which have lost approval will be selected if they have still claimed exemption for their income, the guidelines said.
Also, the provision for selection of cases where information of tax evasion has been given by government authorities has now been tightened up and will cover only cases where such information of tax evasion is specific and verifiable, Shah added.
"Mere suspicion will not trigger scrutiny assessment," he said.
The CBDT norms said cases involving addition in an earlier assessment year on the issue of transfer pricing in excess of Rs 10 crore "on a substantial and recurring question of law or fact which is confirmed in appeal or is pending before an appellate authority" will be selected for scrutiny.
Ficci welcomes Australian PM's statement on India ties
New Delhi: Industry body Ficci welcomed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's statement that he looks forward to making the most of the abundant opportunities for business in India.
"We foresee a significant elevation in the level of engagement between Australia and India. India-Australia ties rest on a strong edifice cemented by increasing points of convergence. Both are vibrant, secular and multi-cultural democracies and nurture the desire to have a symbiotic relationship encompassing wide-ranging areas," Ficci President Sidharth Birla said.
Starting his two-day India visit from the country's commercial capita Mumbai, Abbott said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call "come, make in India" was "close in spirit and in intent" to the phrase he had used in respect of Australia that "we are open for business".
Abbott said though there is no dearth of opportunities elsewhere in the vicinity of Australia, there is "an abundance of opportunities" in India.
"We are in the process of initiating projects that will be the building blocks of India's growth such as smart cities, transport systems, clean energy and skill development. We welcome Australia's participation in creating a new India," Birla said.
Birla also placed Abbott's visit in the perspective of the forthcoming G-20 summit in Brisbane in November. Australia is currently the Chair of the G20. Among the areas that Australia has identified as priorities for discussions are subjects like infrastructure financing, skill development and green growth.
"Our new government has also outlined these as priorities and Prime Minister Abbott's visit is therefore opportunely placed to increase bilateral cooperation and advance our mutual interests," Birla said.
The industry chamber pointed out that besides economic and strategic connects, India and Australia have tremendous potential for enhancing people-to-people contact.
Promoting tourism, youth exchanges, educational collaboration and cultural exchanges are integral to the growth of our relationship and we must work with determination to leverage these opportunities, it said.
Six Indian coaches to travel with team for World Wrestling Championships
New Delhi: Six Indian coaches are set to travel with the 24-member wrestling team which will be leave for Tashkent, Uzbekistan tomorrow to compete in the FILA World Championships to be held from September 8-14.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) assistant secretary Vinod Tomar today said that reports that no Indian coach would be a part of the support staff at the World Championships were untrue.
"As many as six Indian coaches, besides three foreign coaches will be accompanying the team at the upcoming World Championships," Tomar told PTI.
While Sujit Mann and Anil Kumar will be the Indian coaches in men's freestyle, the mentors in Greco-Roman category would be Satish Rana and S N Singh. Sahil Sharma and Ramani Chanu will be taking care of the women's team.
The foreign coaches -- Vladimir Mestvirishvili (men's freestyle), Emzar Makharadze (Greco-Roman) and Roin Doborjginidze (women freestyle) -- will also be going with the team to Tashkent, he said.
The WFI assistant secretary, however, admitted that national chief coaches -- Vinod Kumar (men's chief national freestyle coach), Kuldeep Sehrawat (men's chief national greco-roman coach) and Kuldeep Malik (women's chief freestyle coach) -- will not be going to World Championships as they would be accompanying the first-string team for the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, commencing on September 19.
"Chief coaches are not going because they will be travelling with the Asiad-bound squad to Incheon. There has been no conflict regarding this arrangement. For us, Asian Games is the main event and that is why we selected a 'B' team for the World Championships," he said.
Australia wants to make most of India's abundant opportunities for business: Abbott
Mumbai: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who began his India visit from Mumbai where he arrived with a 30-strong business delegation, said his country wants to make most of the "abundance of opportunities for business" in India.
Addressing businessmen at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Abbott said that India has amazed the world over the past few decades with its growth and development.
"India is the world's second most populous country on purchasing power terms, the third largest economy.... clearly, the emerging democratic superpower of the world, with which Australia has long and warm ties," he said.
He said that purpose of his visit - the first by a non-SAARC head of government - was to acknowledge India's importance in the wider world and inform the people of India what Australia can offer to this country, and build on those stronger foundations.
Abbott recalled his first visit to India 33 years ago as a backpacker tourist and how he watched a bullock cart take material to a nuclear power station in the then Bombay.
"India has changed enormously... 33 years on, there are not many bullock carts left in urban India, and power stations, the nuclear power stations are much more sophisticated," he said, lauding India's progress.
Endorsing his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi's call to "come, make in India" as being close in spirit and intent, Abbott assured that Australia is "open for business".
Though there are opportunities in Australia's vicinity, he said India presents an abundance of opporunties and he was determined to make the most of them by working closely with this country.
Earlier, addressing a gathering of chancellors of several Australian universities and vice-chancellors of leading Indian universities, Abbott announced the "New Colombo Plan" by which thousands of Australian students would come to study in Indian universities from the next academic year.
Presently there are thousands of Indian students studying in Australia, but very few from that country in India, he noted. "This will change now... Australian students will come to study here - there will be hundreds and thousands from next year onwards.
"An initiative of Australia, the New Colombo Plan aims at encouraging and supporting undergraduates to study and take up interships in the Asia-Pacific region, he said at a meeting in University of Mumbai.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed between the heads of various universities, including Sydney, Queensland, Melbourne, Western Sydney and Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Mysore.
Abbott also met several top corporate chiefs including Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry, State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI managing director Chanda Kochhar, IDFC executive chairman Rajiv Lall, Kotak Group managing director Uday Kotak and several others.
He then left for New Delhi where he will hold talks with top leaders including Modi and others and call on President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
Amit Shah calls for completing Modi's agenda of 'Congress-free India'
Mumbai: BJP president Amit Shah exhorted party workers to complete Prime Minister Narendra Modi's unfinished agenda of a "Congress-free India" even as he sought to put to rest speculation about a rift with ally Shiv Sena by accepting an invitation from its chief Uddhav Thackeray for a meeting.
"Today I am here to tell every BJP worker that Narendra Modi has dreamt of an India that is free from the Congress.
"But this will not be possible till the party is uprooted from Maharashtra. You have to make sure they do not even get a chance to have a leader of the opposition in the Assembly, like the way they do not have one in the Lok Sabha," he told party workers on his maiden visit to the city after taking over the reins of the party.
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Shah said if the Congress vice president had spoken more than what he did during Lok Sabha poll campaign, the party would have failed to get even 44 seats.
"Digvijay Singh said they got less seats because Rahul Gandhi was silent. But if he (Rahul) had spoken more than what he spoke, the Congress would have found it impossible to secure even 44 seats in the Lok Sabha," he said.
During his visit, Shah also sought to put an end to speculation that ties with BJP's oldest ally Shiv Sena were under severe strain over the latter's demand for more seats by accepting an invitation from Uddhav for a meeting at his residence 'Matoshree'.
Shah also paid homage to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray at his 'Samadhi' at Shivaji Park.
Launching a scathing attack on the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, Shah said it has brought "shame" to the state.
"For the last 15 years Maharashtra is being ruled by a government that is not interested in working for the people. They have shamed the state in front of India. It is now time to take away power from their hands," he said.
"Why has this coalition government frequently changed chief ministers? It is because each of them was immersed in the muck of corruption... There have been so many scams that they can't be counted even in a week," he said.
He also attacked NCP chief Sharad Pawar over the issue of suicide by farmers in the state.
"The Congress decided that the government will not buy agricultural produce from farmers at the support price and they call themselves pro-farmer. I want to ask Sharad Pawar when this anti-farmer decision was being taken which industrialist was he meeting? Why did he not save the farmers," Shah asked.
"Once BJP comes to power, I am sure even God will help Maharashtra. The droughts will end. And I am sure the next government in Maharashtra will be that of 'mahayuti' (a five-party alliance comprising BJP, Sena and three smaller parties)," he said.
Defending NDA government's stand on cancelling foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan after its Ambassador to India Abdul Basit met Kashmiri separatists, Shah said the Centre does not want peace with Pakistan at the cost of India's security.
"When we wanted to hold talks with Pakistan, they decided to meet separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir. If there was any other government at the Centre, it would have gone into a huddle wondering what to do. But we in a moment decided that talks will be cancelled if they meet separatist leaders," he said.
In a boost for BJP, former Congress MP Bhaskar Rao Patil, brother-in-Law of ex-chief minister Ashok Chavan and former Union Minister and senior NCP leader Suryakanta Patil joined the BJP in the presence of Shah.
South Africa beat Zimbabwe by 63 runs to enter triangular series final
Harare: Faf du Plessis hit his third century in four games as South Africa beat Zimbabwe by 63 runs on Thursday to book a date with Australia in the triangular series final.
Du Plessis' 121 carried the Proteas to 271 for six after they were put in to bat in Harare, before JP Duminy picked up three wickets as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 208.
Zimbabwe had to chase down their target in 25.2 overs if they were going to gain a bonus point and improve their net run rate sufficiently to knock South Africa out, but didn't even come close to winning with Brendan Taylor's 79 the only score of note.
Instead South Africa ended up winning with a bonus point to top the standings, and they will now meet Australia at the same venue in Saturday's final.
Du Plessis paced his innings superbly on another turning pitch, bringing up his half-century in 87 balls as the Proteas recovered from the early loss of their openers, before gradually increasing his scoring rate until a climax saw him hit three sixes in four balls after he had reached three figures.
The No. 3 batsman only scored his maiden one-day hundred last Wednesday against Australia, but followed it up with 126 against the same opposition in a losing cause on Tuesday before adding a third century on Thursday.
"It's certainly the best form he's shown at international level, but I've always known that he's capable of doing that so it's great to see him coming through at a crucial time leading up to a big World Cup," South Africa captain AB de Villiers said.
"It's great to have our No. 3 spot cemented down now by a guy in great form and with a great cricket brain," he said.
India Post best suited for e-commerce delivery services: Ravi Shankar Prasad
New Delhi: Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said India Post with the world's largest postal network is best suited to offer delivery services to e-commerce firms.
Prasad, who today met Probationers of the 2013 batch of the Indian Postal Service here, said there is a need to expose young officers to the latest developments and emerging trends in the postal and logistics sectors.
The Minister highlighted that the Digital India project, which aims to make broadband facility available in every village across the country, would drive up e-commerce business in villages.
With its unparalleled rural reach, India Post would be best suited to offer delivery services to e-commerce players, he added.
India Post has over 1.55 lakh post offices of which more than 1.39 lakh are in the rural areas. On an average, a post office serves an area of 21.21 sq. km and a population of 7,175 people.
According to market analysts, last-mile delivery of products ordered by online shoppers will figure as one of the major deciding factors for e-commerce firms like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, etc.
Firms are already offering one-day delivery and this will further intensify with firms investing hugely in logistics to ramp up their delivery system.
The opportunity in back-end logistics for online shopping segment is estimated to be about Rs 3,500-4,000 crore, a major part of which is last mile delivery.
According to a joint study by consultancy firm PwC and industry body Assocham, the size of the e-retail industry is poised to touch $10-20 billion by 2017-2020 and e-commerce firms are expected to spend up to $1.9 billion by 2017-2020 on infrastructure, logistics and warehousing.
Another report by consulting firm Technopak pegs the $2.3 billion e-tailing market to reach $32 billion by 2020.
Prasad said Post Office can also become a focal point for delivering not only government services but also e-services to the people as in e-service centres, apart from commercially remunerative services for corporate/private players including conducting market surveys, information dissemination, etc.
In a first such address to the nation, the Prime Minister said there is a great demand for good teachers in the world, and India being a young country should be able to produce good quality teachers for the world.
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