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India / US at loggerheads over trade probes
Report dated 26/02/2014 @ 2:07 PM
India is unhappy about a threat of trade sanctions made by the US trade representative's (USTR) office over its protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and has decided to block investigations into its trade policies and patent laws. India is prepared for a battle at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a move that increases already-strained tensions between the two countries.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), that represents some 50 US business groups, asked the USTR to designate India a 'priority foreign country' in its 2014 report. Nam said in a letter to US trade representative Michael Froman, that the designation would rank India among the very worst violators of intellectual property rights and establish a process leading to concrete solutions.
India has also advised US deputy trade representative Wendy Cutler to postpone a visit to India scheduled for March, due to the parliamentary election due in April or May. A visit by the USITC delegation to meet officials from the Indian commerce, industry, health, telecom and finance ministries has also been put on hold. Officials say any move to put India on a priority foreign countries list would hurt bilateral relations.
In Washington, India is perceived as a serial trade offender, with US firms unhappy about imports of everything from shrimp to steel pipes that they say threatens jobs, as well as a lack of fair access to the Indian market for its goods.
There are 14 past or current WTO cases between India and the US whose bilateral trade in goods measured $63.7 billion last year.
Home Minister Shinde says he will crush electronic media !
Report dated 26/02/2014 @ 2:06 PM
While addressing a party workers' rally in Mumbai, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde targeted electronic media for its ongoing vilification campaign against Congress, and went to the extent of saying such media should be crushed.
Shinde later clarified his statement and said he blamed social media for the flare-up in the Northeast and contended that students from there who settled in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were targeted in the wake of a sustained campaign in the social media.
Shinde also rebuked the electronic media for consistently acting against Congress, referring to a series of poll surveys that said owing to the pro-Modi surge in the country it will be difficult for the UPA to retain power.
One senior Congress leader said they believe all the surveys were manipulated and have no substance.
Audio-bridge technology to help Modi talk to supporters worldwide
Report dated 24/02/2014 @ 2:52 PM
In the run up to the parliamentary polls, prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has introduced a blitzkrieg that will involve audio conferencing enabling him to interact with thousands at a time - live!
Last July Modi tested the system in Bihar when he hooked up with over 1500 party workers using the technology. Now, he will use the web-based audio bridge to connect with thousands of mobile handsets simultaneously, while a team of experts will moderate conference calls where up to a dozen people will get to pose questions to him.
Given his busy schedule, Modi will make the most of the technology platform when he is not travelling. Last November US president Barack Obama used a similar platform to connect with thousands of supporters to elicit support for 'Obamacare'.
Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi joins Aam Aadmi Party
Report dated 22/02/2014 @ 6:27 PM
Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi has joined the Aam Aadmi Party.
Gandhi, 78, who is the son of Devdas Gandhi and maternal grandson of C Rajagopalchari said he likes that the party is vehemently opposed to corruption. He had contested against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi from Amethi, and has expressed his willingness to contest on a party ticket.
Google introduces online imagery of Indian heritage sites
Report dated 21/02/2014 @ 2:30 PM
Google, in association with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has introduced Google Street View, the first 360-degree online imagery of 30 iconic Indian heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal, Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort and Agra Fort, on Google Maps and the Google Cultural Institute.
According to Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director, Google India, Google is committed to helping preserve and showcase cultural heritage across the world, and with India's unique wealth of heritage and iconic historical monuments they have been privileged to work with the ASI to collect and produce the imagery that will help make India's heritage and culture more accessible to people at home and abroad.
Google says it will shortly announce the launch of more Street View imagery for other Indian heritage sites as well.