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Bush signs nuclear deal with India and other top news on 09 Oct 08

Bush signs nuclear deal with India

The times of India states


Bush keeps his word on nuke deal, assures fuel supply and reprocessing rights

WASHINGTON: In the end, he kept his word. US President George Bush substantially stood by the pledges and assurances made in course of the civili

Bush signs Indo-US N-deal bill

President Bush signs the India-US nuclear deal law at the White House. (AP photo)

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an nuclear deal he conceived and promoted with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh three years ago, even at the risk of angering the US lawmakers and non-proliferation hard-liners. ( Watch )

In remarks at a brief but elegant White House ceremony on Wednesday while signing the nuclear deal bill into domestic law, and in a separate statement issued thereafter, Bush reiterated the primacy of the bilateral agreement between the two countries, saying the bill was an important enabling legislation that allowed him “to bring the 123 Agreement into force and to accept on behalf of the United States the obligations contained in the Agreement.”

The 123 Agreement provides a wider latitude to India’s nuclear program and cooperation with Washington than constrictive US laws, including the new legislation. Bush identified for clarification two particular issues that had exercised critics of the deal both in New Delhi and Washington — the former fearful that India was being short-changed and the latter worried US was giving away the store.

He said “the Agreement grants India advance consent to reprocessing which will be brought into effect upon conclusion of arrangements and procedures for a dedicated reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards.”

“In addition, the legislation does not change the fuel assurance commitments that the US Government has made to the Government of India, as recorded in the 123 Agreement,” he maintained.

In plain words, it meant he overruled the non-proliferation hardliners in acceding to India‘s rights for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel — which critics fear will enable New Delhi to build more weapons. And he stood by the fuel assurance commitments which critics had tried to kill.

Both assurances appeared to run contrary to pledges made by the administration to U.S lawmakers who codified the constrictive measures, but Bush maintained in his statement that “the legislation does not change the terms of the 123 Agreement as I submitted it to the Congress” and that the “Agreement is consistent with the Atomic Energy Act and other elements of US law.”

Administration officials said the punitive caveats in the legislation only applied in the event of an Indian nuclear test and even for that the 123 Agreement outlined discussion of mitigating circumstances.

It was a sparkling day for US-India ties at the White House East Room, as Bush cranked up the warm fuzzy feeling while signing the bill, including wishing India on for the upcoming Diwali festivities. He strode into the room at 2.25 pm accompanied by vice-president Dick Cheney, and with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, senior lawmakers, and Indian envoy Ronen Sen lined up behind him, delivered a nine-minute address that must have brought relief at the midnight hour in New Delhi and raised the pitch of US-India ties.

There were two other striking observations that Bush made in remarks outside the formal statement issued later. He said by undertaking new cooperation on civil nuclear energy, “India will be able to count on a reliable fuel supply for its civilian reactors,” a more oblique reiteration of universal fuel supply assurances contained in the 123 Agreement. In addition, he said “India and the United States will cooperate more closely to keep the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of extremists and terrorists,” an implicit reference to the concerns of the two countries on Pakistan and Iran respectively.

“This agreement sends a signal to the world: Nations that follow the path of democracy and responsible behavior will find a friend in the United States of America,” Bush said pointedly. “The American people are proud of our strong relationship with India. And I am confident that the friendship between our two nations will grow even closer in the years ahead.”

Bush’s remarks were punctuated by applause from more than 100 Indian-American movers and shakers, and officials from both sides, who the president praised warmly and for whom it was a day of pride and joy. Some of them mobbed Bush as he left the East Room (with a sphinx-like Cheney in tow), while others took photographs of themselves on the podium after he left to mark the historic occasion.

Ashok Mago, a Texas realtor who lobbied for the deal from the beginning was beside himself with delight. “You may or may not agree with President Bush’s domestic and or foreign policies but one thing we all can agree on that no other US president has done for India what this president has done,” he said. “Some presidents looked good others might have made you feel good but this president has done good.”

The final administrative aspect of the deal will be taken care of on Friday when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee sign the bilateral instruments of the 123 Agreement which will enable operationalisation of the deal.



US to Start Buying Stakes In Banks by Month’s End

CNBC states

The U.S. Treasury plans to start injecting capital directly in U.S. banks as soon as the end of October in exchange for passive investment stakes, according to a financial policy source familiar with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s thinking.

Financial Crisis

Financial Crisis

Under authority granted to it by last week’s $700 billion market rescue legislation, Treasury would get common or preferred shares from the banks it capitalizes, the source told Reuters Thursday.

The government does not intend to seek board seats in the voluntary capitalization program.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said later Thursday that Paulson is “actively considering” capital injections into troubled U.S. banks.

“Secretary Paulson is looking at all the different tools to figure out which ones should be used at what time and how robustly and how much money to put into each,” she said.

Treasury’s plan to inject capital would follow action by the British government Wednesday in which it pledged billions of dollars to shore up banks’ capital in exchange for preference shares.

The source familiar with Paulson’s thinking said Treasury was working “extremely fast” to put together a capital injection plan.

The injections would get at the credit crisis by giving banks more capacity to lend, complementing the bailout bill’s objective of removing soured mortgage-backed assets weighing down banks’ balance sheets.


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The source said the injections would likely be made public, which could cause some reluctance on the part of banks to use the capital program for fear of exposing more vulnerabilities.

Paulson said Wednesday that Treasury has wide latitude to buy or insure troubled assets, provide guarantees and inject capital.

“We will use all of the tools we’ve been given to maximum effectiveness, including strengthening the capitalization of financial institutions of every size,” he said.




American jobless Claims Fall 20,000 as Storm Impact Fades

CNBC states

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell 20,000 last week, in line with forecasts, as the impact of hurricanes Gustav and Ike eased, government data on Thursday showed.

Meanwhile, inventories at US wholesalers rose 0.8 percent in August, higher than what analysts had expected, while sales suffered their largest drop in more than a year and a half, a Commerce Department report showed.

Unemployment Line


Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits declined to a seasonally adjusted 478,000 in the week ended Oct. 4 from a revised 498,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said. It was the lowest reading since mid-September, but claims remain at levels indicating a weak U.S. employment climate.

“The overall message is that the labor market remains quite weak. We know claims have been boosted by the storms, but the trend remains sharply up and the economy is deteriorating,” said Anna Piretti, senior economist at BNP Paribas in New York.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 478,000 new claims versus a previously reported count of 497,000 the week before.

U.S. Treasury debt prices pared losses after the claims data, U.S. equity index futures held their gains and the dollar was steady at lower levels against the euro.

“It is estimated that the effects of Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana and the effects of Hurricane Ike in Texas added approximately 17,000 claims to the total,” the Labor Department said in a statement. The previous week it estimated the hurricanes contributed 45,000 claims.

The four-week average of new jobless claims, a better gauge of underlying labor trends because it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose to 482,500 from 474,250 the week before. This was the highest reading since October 2001.

This measure has mounted steadily as the U.S. housing slump has chilled growth and crimped hiring.

“We haven’t peaked. It’s going to get worse. We’re going to lose a lot of jobs in the immediate future,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at Global Insight in Lexington, Mass.

The number of people remaining on the benefits roll after drawing an initial week of aid rose 56,000 to a higher-than-forecast 3.659 million in the week ended Sept. 27, the most recent week for which data is available.

Analysts estimated so-called continued claims would be 3.60 million. It was the 24th straight week that claims were above 3 million in a sign that the slowing economy is making it harder for U.S. workers to find jobs.

“Payrolls will continue to shrink in the months ahead. We could see number of minus 100,000 or more. We could see the unemployment rate could rise to 7 percent. Earnings prospects will worsen and cut into personal consumption,” said Piretti.


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Wall Street analysts polled by Reuters had expected wholesale inventories to gain by only 0.5 percent, compared with a 1.5 percent rise in July that was previously reported as 1.4 percent.

Sales fell 1.0 percent after dropping 0.8 percent in July, which was originally reported as a much smaller decline of 0.3 percent.

The last time they saw such a large drop was January 2007, when they fell 1.4 percent.

Plummeting sales and swelling inventories pushed up the inventories-to-sales ratio, a measure of how long it would take to sell stocks at the current sales pace, to 1.10 months’ worth from 1.08 months’ in July.

Sales of nondurable goods, which make up more than half of wholesale sales, fell 0.6 percent in the month.

Petroleum was the biggest drag on the category, with a 2.0 percent decline.Durable goods sales dropped 1.5 percent in August, after falling 0.2 percent in July.Durable goods inventories, though, rose 1.4 percent.

Sweet revenge for Gujarat: Nano moves to Gujrat

The times of India states


RAJKOT: By snatching the Nano plant, Gujarat has paid West Bengal back in its own coin. Given the strange ways in which history plays itself out,


in 1948 Hindustan Motors had shifted its assembling plant for Ambassador from Okha in Jamnagar to Uttar Para in West Bengal.

Sixty years after the politicians’ chariot drove from Gujarat to West Bengal, the ‘Lakhtakia’ common man’s car has driven from West Bengal to Gujarat. Manshukh Barai, 66, former sarpanch of Okha, says the assembling plant was initiated by CK Birla group in 1942 with cars being exported to some Asian countries apart from the Indian market.

“In 1948, the Birla group decided to manufacture the car indigenously and shifted Okha plant to West Bengal because it provided cheaper raw material – iron and steel,” he says. Also, Rajkot was not an engineering hub then.

The land and general manager’s bungalow, which alone is spread over 50,000 square feet, is today owned by Rajkot‘s Davda family. Dipak Davda, a customs clearance agent and one of the owners of the property, says his father Tulsidas Davda had purchased the plant from Hindustan Motors when Birlas moved out. The general manager’s bungalow, a heritage property, has been rented to coast guards while the land has been rented to industrial units.

Interestingly, Okha was part of Amreli district then which was under the erstwhile Baroda state. Sayajirao Gaekwad, who was the king, had wooed Birlas to set up the plant at Okha. “The Ambassador plant was just an assembling unit. When it left, it did not have any major economic impact on the region,” Davda adds.”It is a strange feeling to see history being played out in reverse. We are very happy to see Nano driving into Gujarat.”





Indian flavoured century at last

 Thursday, October 09, 2008 07:27:48 pm, AFP

Neo cricket states

BANGALORE: There was an ugly blot in Ricky Ponting’s illustrious cricket CV when he arrived in India. That the Australian captain had aggregated a paltry 172 runs in eight previous Tests on had stuck out like a sore thumb. He corrected it on the first day of the four-Test series by cracking a century as his side ended the day at a reasonably healthy 254 for four on Thursday.

As he walked tentatively into the humid M Chinnaswamy cauldron after the early demise of Matthew Hayden, he was palpably filled with self doubt. For about 20 minutes he was ill at ease against Ishant Sharma. Smelling blood, India sought to rid him off the square.

But the plucky Tasmanian dispelled his Indian blues with a masterly 123, notching his 36th Test hundred in his 200th innings. His pugnacious knock as well his 166-run second wicket association with Simon Katich (66) was the fulcrum around which the Australian first innings gathered momentum. (TOI Photo)

| Watch: Australia 254/4 at close



Duesshera celebrations held peacefully

October 9th, 2008 – 10:09 pm ICT by ANI –

Manmohan SinghNDTV states

New Delhi, Oct.9 (ANI): Dussehra, which marks the triumph of good over evil, was celebrated peacefully in the national capital and different parts of the country with full religious fervour on Thursday. Also known as Vijayadashmi, the festival is celebrated as the day when Lord Rama killed Demon King Ravana in a fierce battle. The main function for Vijayadashmi was held in the popular Ramlila Ground here. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Congress President Sonia Gandhi attended the Dussehra celebrations in Subhash Maidan here. Meanwhile, a high alert was declared and additional forces were deployed at important places to prevent any untoward incident across the capital. Delhi Police spokesperson, Rajan Bhagat, told media that authorities had declared a security high alert for the Dussehra festivities and extra forces had been deployed at important centres where celebrations were being held. He added that Close Circuit Television Camera had been placed at the sensitive spots in the city. Vijayadashmi day also brings to an end the four-day Durga Puja celebrations. On this occasion idols of Goddess Durga were immersed on the banks of rivers and ponds with full enthusiasm. In Mysore, the 10-day Dussehra festivities culminated in a grand procession called Jumbo Savari today. Thousands of people converged to watch the special Jumbo Sabari. In Uttar Pradesh, massive security arrangements were made on the occasion of Dussehra across the state. Nearly 47 companies of Provincial armed constabulary and eight companies of Rapid action Force (RAF) along with 1,000 were deployed at sensitive places across the State to ensure Law and order. The government had issued instructions to the officials of highly sensitive districts to keep high alertness during the festival and provided extra security forces to keep a tight vigil. In West Bengal, the four-day long Durga Puja festival also came to an end today. Though the immersion of Durga idols began on Thursday evening, the bulk immersion of the community Puja idols will take place on Friday. (ANI)


At Least 8 Killed In Islamabad‘s Blast

Bernama.The Malasian news group states

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9 — At least eight people were killed and seven people injured in a blast in Pakistan‘s capital Islamabad on Thursday, China‘s Xinhua news agency said quoting a local TV report.

The blast took place near heavy-guarded anti-terrorism squad ( ATS)barracks in the capital, Dawn News TV channel said.

Reports said a suspected bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into the ATS building and caused the collapse of the three-storey building in the city’s H-11 sector.

The blast also destroyed 15 to 20 vehicles, all belonging to the police officials, parked in the premises of the building.

Eyewitnesses said dark clouds of smoke can be seen over the blast site, and the explosion also broke the glass windows of nearby buildings.

The injured were shifted to the hospitals.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack came just three weeks after the suicide attack on the capital’s Marriott Hotel, which killed 53 people.

Pakistani president and prime minister condemned the attack and said the blast can not stop the country’s fight against terrorism.

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