US says nuclear deal with India ‘not dead’

US says nuclear deal with India ‘not dead’

Washington: The US thinks the landmark nuclear accord with India can be salvaged even though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admits facing trouble pushing the controversial agreement within his government.

“It’s not dead," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said after Singh explained to President George W. Bush that “certain difficulties" had arisen in implementing the agreement. It was a new sign that Singh’s Congress party may have caved in to pressure from key left-wing allies.

Fratto said India needed to be given time to digest the deal. “India is a thriving democracy and they have work to do and they may need some additional time on their end to get their part of this deal done," he said. “The President is willing and is very understanding that the Indians may need more time for this. But no, it’s not dead," he said. AFP

New Delhi: Get ready for some shoestring monthly budgeting as prices of pulses have gone up by as much as 21% in tandem with the already soaring vegetable prices.

One major reason for the price rise is a jump in its consumption as vegetables have become unaffordable to a large section of the population due to their high prices.

“Vegetable prices generally come down from October but this has not happened this year. This has led to an increased demand for pulses and surge in their prices," a trader said.

The shift in consumers’ choice has only added to other factors which have been pushing the prices up. The unrest in Myanmar, a major supplier of arhar and rajmah, coupled with delay in arrival of new crops, has also been responsible for the soaring prices, the trader said.

Pulses Importers Association president K.C. Bhartiya said pulses prices would remain stable during this month.

Bhartiya cited the sale of imported pulses in the open market by the government agencies as a reason for prices to remain stable, although he said demand has gone up in the festival season.

Four public sector firms—State Trading Corp. of India, MMTC India Ltd, PEC Ltd and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation —sold more than 0.17 million tonnes of imported pulses last month. pti

Chennai: A leader in consumer Internet and enterprise services in India with global delivery capabilities, Sify Ltd on Wednesday announced the change of its name to Sify Technologies Ltd.

It said the name change is in line with the company’s strategy to position itself as a technology company with deep expertise in IT infrastructure management. business wire india

New Delhi: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday said it has earmarked $100 million (Rs397 crore) to create a new fast-track grants initiative to support global health research.

The new initiative named ‘Grand Challenges Explorations’ will support hundreds of early-stage research projects and will focus on large number of innovative ideas that could lead to new vaccines, diagnostics, drugs and other technologies targeting diseases that claims million of lives every year, the foundation said in a statement.

“To effectively tackle diseases like AIDS and malaria, we need to encourage the best and brightest minds to take the risk on novel ideas," the foundation’s global health programme president, Tachi Yamada, said.

The initiative is an expansion of the foundation’s commitment to the grand challenges in Global Health initiative launched in 2003. pti

New Delhi: The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) on Wednesday charged leading property developer DLF Ltd with unfair trade practice for not disclosing the basis of carpet area calculations to a customer.

The decision came on a petition filed by K.P. Jain who had purchased a shop from DLF.

Jain was under the impression that the carpet area would be equal to the floor area excluding the thickness of the bounding walls, as recommended by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

But DLF contended that the carpet area was the floor area plus the thickness of walls. The company rejected the idea of applying the BIS norms as they are not statutory.

MRTPC held that “suppression of norms by DLF in calculating carpet area has a flavour of misrepresentation."

The commission directed DLF to raise a fresh demand calculating the carpet area on the basis of the BIS norms.

DLF officials declined to comment on the issue. Sangeeta Singh

Bangalore: Telecom product maker Tejas Networks has raised Rs95 crore from investment banking firm Goldman Sachs to fund new products and expand business in emerging markets such as Africa and Latin America.

Tejas did not disclose the amount of shares it divested to Goldman Sachs.

Tejas has developed several optical networking products that enable telecom carriers to converge traditional voice based networks with new data dominated networks.

“It is a late-stage funding. Obviously they have come at a premium," said Sanjay Nayak, chief executive officer of Tejas Networks. staff writer

Islamabad: Pakistan and Iran are holding three-day talks here on the multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project although India is not participating in the parleys as differences on some key issues remain to be settled.

Senior officials of the two countries on Tuesday began talks on the 2,700km pipeline project that is expected to be completed in three years at a cost of $7 billion (Rs27,790 crore).

Pakistan and Iran are likely to settle some technical issues ahead of the ministerial-level talks on the project, to be held in October or November, media reports said on Wednesday.

The ongoing talks are a follow-up to the technical talks held in Tehran last month, which were also not attended by India. pti

Beijing: Asia’s ranks of people with more than $30 million (Rs119 crore) in assets is swelling at a faster pace than in the rest of the world, fuelled by economic growth and surging stock markets, according to Merrill Lynch & Co. and Capgemini SA.

The number of “ultra high net-worth" individuals increased 12.2% in 2006, compared with 11.3% worldwide, an annual survey of Asia-Pacific wealth by the two firms found.

Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc. and Standard Chartered Plc. are among the firms hiring private bankers across Asia, where the assets of millionaires will increase by an annual 8.5% to $12.7 trillion in the next four years, according to the study.

The wealth of Asia’s “high net-worth" individuals, defined as those with more than $1 million in assets, grew 10.5% to $8.4 trillion in 2006 from a year earlier, the survey showed. bloomberg

Mumbai: IT solutions provider Patni Computer Systems Ltd on Wednesday said it has won a $200 million (Rs794 crore) contract from the UK-based Carphone Warehouse Group Plc. for providing wide range of technology services.

“In today’s world, customers want innovation and agility coupled with operational excellence and cost leverage," Patni chief operating officer Mrinal Sattawala said. “This contract creates the opportunity for both firms to drive sustaining mutual value through a strategic, multi-year engagement structure."

Under the deal, Patni will become a technology partner with Carphone Warehouse, the UK’s largest mobile phone retailer, providing consulting, systems integration, application development, and maintenance, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. PTI

New Delhi: Facing severe criticism from the industry, the government on Wednesday said it is in the process of redrafting the controversial Broadcasting Bill besides considering an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the cable segment to 74% from the current 49%.

“We are redrafting the Broadcasting legislation after consultations with stakeholders... we will put forward minimal regulations and most of the controversial issues have been put aside," ministry of information and broadcasting secretary Asha Swarup said.

The draft Broadcasting Bill has been severely criticized by the industry, which is not in favour of the government’s intervention in the sector. On the issue of FDI in the cable sector, Swarup said, “Increasing FDI to 74% is a sensible recommendation... we are looking into its modalities." PTI

New Delhi: Ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) half-yearly review of credit policy due on 30 October, global investment banker Lehman Brothers on Wednesday said it expects the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to go up in the immediate term.

“We expect CRR to go up by 25 basis points in the immediate future and by December this year CRR may go up by 50 basis points," Lehman Brothers chief economist Asia Robert Subbaraman said. With the economic growth, inflow of foreign capital would continue unabated and RBI would intervene with the sterilization tools, he said, adding the CRR may even go up by 100 basis during the next year. pti

New Delhi: News broadcaster, New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) has reported a 42% jump in its consolidated revenue during the quarter ended 30 September at Rs77.5 crore against Rs54.5 crore in the year ago period.

The company’s stand alone revenues also grew 46% during the quarter at Rs68 crore compared with Rs47 crore in the same period last year, NDTV said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company launched four 24-hour channels in the quarter. PTI

Pretoria: India, Brazil and South Africa, key players representing developing nations’ interest in WTO, on Wednesday “committed" themselves to achieving “balanced and successful" results from the Doha Round of global trade talks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reviewed the state-of-play in the Doha Round which is stalled on the contentious issues of heavy agricultural subsidies by the rich nations that are asking developing countries to open their markets for industrial goods.

“We had a constructive discussion on the Doha Round of trade talks. This has emerged as an important issue facing the international community, in which each of our countries has an important stake," Singh said in his closing remarks at the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) summit. “We committed ourselves to working towards securing a balanced and successful outcome of the talks." pti

New Delhi: State Bank of India and ICICI Bank, selected for full banking operations in Singapore under the trade investment agreement, may have to wait till March next year as the two governments are yet to sort out the contentious issue of accounting standards.

The commerce ministry negotiators have argued that if ICICI Bank could raise money in the US stock market, why could it not be allowed licence to operate in Singapore.

“There are certain issues that authorities from the two sides are still working on and accounting standards is one of them," a senior Singapore government official said. He said modalities are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2008 for the banks from the two countries to commence operations. PTI

Kolkata: The net profit of Allahabad Bank during the first half of the current financial year increased 30% to Rs440.18 crore as compared with Rs338.28 crore in the same period last fiscal.

During the current fiscal, the bank would be paying tax for the first time, said A.C. Mahajan, chairman and managing director of Allahabad Bank. Earlier, the bank paid minimum alternate tax to the government. Mahajan said efficiency, higher yields and cost containing led to higher earnings. PTI

Hyderabad: The world’s leading business software provider, SAP AG, has announced its intent to acquire Hyderabad-based YASU Technologies, a closely held company specializing in business rules management systems, for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition, SAP’s first in the India, is in line with its strategy of organic growth, the company said. The acquisition is expected to close in October.

YASU, which currently has 120 employees, has delivered its business rules management systems to customers across sectors such as insurance, banking, mortgage and telecommunication. C.R. SUKUMAR