Russia, Ukraine gas talks to resume

22 10 2014

Russia and Ukraine have yet to reach agreement on resuming Russia’s natural gas deliveries to Kiev.

Exports have been stalled since Russia sharply raised its prices to Ukraine in April and cut off supplies in June because of Kiev’s overdue payments.Two neighboring  countries’ energy ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday in talks brokered by European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.

Oettinger said after the talks that the 2 parties have agreed to tentative gas prices through March and that Ukraine will pay 3.1 billion dollars as part of its debt to Russia by the end of this year.But he said they did not reach a final deal because Russia has demanded guarantees for Ukraine’s payments.

Ukraine is expected to arrange guarantees with the EU and the International Monetary Fund before a fresh round of talks with Russia next week.   Russia, Ukraine and the EU want to reach an accord before winter, when demand for natural gas is likely to grow. Oettinger says he hopes next week’s talks will be the last. Media agencies

Hong Kong Protesting Students and  Government divided

22 10 2014

Senior officials of the Hong Kong government and student leaders have begun their dialogue. The officials rejected the students’ demand to retract a decision made by China on electing the territory’s next chief executive.The meeting began on Tuesday evening with 5 representatives participating from each side.

Protesting students demand China’s decision be retracted, saying that it is wrong for China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, to decide everything. Students asked for a system that allows anyone to run for the post of chief executive if he or she has sufficient popular support. But the government officials stressed that Hong Kong is not an independent political entity and that people cannot ignore the fact that China is responsible for its government.

They called on the students to restore normality to Hong Kong as soon as possible.

Protesters have been staging sit-ins on major roadways for more than three weeks. They say Beijing’s decision on the first direct chief executive election in 2017 would effectively block pro-democracy candidates from running.

The meeting was broadcast live throughout the territory. The student leaders asked the government at the meeting on Tuesday to scrap Beijing’s decision that effectively bars pro-democracy candidates from running for Hong Kong’s top office of chief executive.

The protesters called for allowing anyone who has a certain level of public support to run for the post.

The officials rejected the request, saying that retracting the mainland’s decision would violate Hong Kong’s constitution. They asked the students to end the protests.

The first meeting has broken down, both sides suggested that they want to continue the dialogue.
The student leaders made a speech to protesters who are staging a sit-in near the government office.

They criticized the government for not giving a convincing explanation and indicated that they will continue the protests. Media agencies

Ministry of Human Resource Development Launches All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2014-15

22 10 2014

The Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Shri Satya Narayan Mohanty launched the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2014-15 in New Delhi today. The survey, undertaken as an annual, web-based, pan-India exercise on the status of Higher Education since 2010-11, covers all the Higher Educational Institutions in the country.

So far, the Ministry has released the final reports of AISHE 2011-12 and provisional reports of AISHE 12-13, which are in the public domain. While the Survey exercise is in its fourth consecutive year now, the AISHE 2013-14, launched on June 17, 2014, is also underway. With the launch of AISHE 2014-15 in October, the time lag in dissemination of higher education statistics has been eliminated.

The annual survey collects data on several parameters like teachers, student enrolment, programmes, examination results, education finance, infrastructure, etc. Such parameters and the data collected under these come in handy for making informed policy decisions and conducting research in education development.

The Survey is building a sound database, which is getting updated annually as per information submitted by the Institutions. The data is uploaded on the AISHE portal (

TRAI seeks more information on availability of 3G spectrum

22 10 2014

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has sought more information on the availability of 3G spectrum while proposing that vacant 3G slots be put up for upcoming auction along with the spectrum in 900 Megahertz (MHz) and 1,800 MHz bands.
In a letter to the Department, the regulator said, it will not be in a position to go ahead with the consultation process in the absence of full information with regard to total availability of the spectrum in the 2,100 MHz 3G band and requested to indicate the decision regarding this at the earliest.

Last week, the Department of Telecom had sought TRAI’s recommendations on the reserve price for 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands for all the service areas.

The DoT has informed TRAI that at present no vacant spectrum is available with it in 2,100 MHz band and discussions with Defence are underway for release of one block of 5 MHz of spectrum.

Malala Yousafzai conferred 2014 Liberty Medal

22 10 2014


Pakistani teenager and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has been conferred the 2014 Liberty Medal for her continued demonstration of courage and resilience in the face of adversity and for serving as a powerful voice for those who have been denied their basic human rights and liberties. She is the youngest recipient of the American award, which was established in 1988 to commemorate the 200 years of the US Constitution.

The annual Liberty Medal, is given to honour men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. Malala has pledged to donate the award money of 100,000 US Dollars towards education in Pakistan. Malala, 17, called for spending money on books, not guns in her speech.

Tahir-ul Qadri announces to end anti-govt protest

22 10 2014

Pakistan Awami Tehreek Chief Tahir-ul Qadri has announced to end his anti-government protest in Islamabad. The announcement ends over two months of protest sit-in in the federal capital which set off a political crisis in the country.

Announcing the decision, Qadri said that protests will now be held all over the country, which he termed as the next stage of the revolution. He announced a schedule for sit-ins that will be held in cities including Karachi, Abbottabad and Sialkot.

The cleric said, the sit-in has achieved its purpose, awakened the nation and played its role in the path of revolution. Soon after Qadri’s announcement, his supporters started packing up their camps and hugging one another goodbye.

Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan launched their protests on the 14th of August in a bid to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and had vowed to remain in Islamabad till the removal of government led by him. There have been reports of a rift between Qadri and Imran over the issue of ending the sit-in as most of their supporters had gone back. Khan is still protesting.

Qadri was reportedly holding back-channel talks with the government and speculation was rife that he might have reached some understanding with the government.

Fleet of Sukhoi-30 grounded

22 10 2014


Oct 22,

India has grounded its entire fleet of Sukhoi-30 following a recent crash near Pune. Each aircraft is undergoing a technical check. IAF spokesperson said the aircraft would be back in the air only after a thorough check.

The grounded fleet represents almost a third of the country’s fighter fleet. Last week, a Sukhoi-30 MKI had crashed in a field near Pune. Preliminary findings had suggested a technical problem and not the human error.

This was the fifth accident involving a SU 30 MKI since 2009 and the fleet has at least been grounded twice earlier.


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