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Storm-hit Obama ropes in Bill Clinton for election campaigning

WASHINGTON, Oct 30: After suspending his election campaign to personally lead the administration’s preparedness for superstorm Sandy pounding the East Coast, US President Barack Obama has roped in charismatic Bill ...more

China to raise environmental bar for mining projects -assn

XIAMEN, Oct 30: China is expected to issue new guidelines by the end of the year to encourage metals miners to conserve domestic resources and protect the environment, a director at the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said today.Hu Changping, director of heavy metals at the association, said Beijing aims to tighten the ....more

North Korea leader’s wife reported back in public after long silence

SEOUL, Oct 30: North Korean state media reported public appearances by the wife of leader Kim Jong-un for the first time in two months today amid mounting speculation that she had been chastised ....more.

SKS Microfinance tanks after Q2 results; hits lower circuit

MUMBAI, Oct 30: Shares of SKS Microfinance today plunged 5 per cent to touch the lower circuit after the company reported Rs 262 crore net loss for the quarter ended September 30.The SKS scrip tanked 5 per cent and hit a lower circuit of Rs 114.25 on the ...more

Six Colombian police killed in rebel attack

BOGOTA, Oct 30: Six Colombian police officers were killed in an attack blamed on leftist FARC guerrillas, regional police sources have said.The officers were gunned down in the southwestern department of Cauca yesterday between the ...more

North Korean leader’s wife re-appears

SEOUL, Oct 30: The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has re-appeared after dropping out of the public eye for 50 days amid fevered rumours that she was either pregnant or had fallen out of favour. North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Ri Sol-Ju joined her husband at a musical performance and a football match in Pyongyang ....more

Kardashian sisters threatened with lawsuit over make-up line

LONDON, Oct 30: Reality TV stars Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian have been accused of stealing the name of a cosmetic brand for their own brand.The Kardashian sisters, who have been working on their ...more

Vision evolved 700 million years ago: scientists

LONDON, Oct 30: Scientists have traced the evolution of sight in ancient species to a jellyfish, which first developed the ability to detect light 700 million years ago.The exact point in time when ancient species developed the first rudimentary ability ...more

   


Storm-hit Obama ropes in Bill Clinton for election campaigning

WASHINGTON, Oct 30: After suspending his election campaign to personally lead the administration’s preparedness for superstorm Sandy pounding the East Coast, US President Barack Obama has roped in charismatic Bill Clinton to carry on the campaign on his behalf.

Seeking his re-election, next one week are crucial for Obama as voting for presidential elections are scheduled for November 6 and polls are indicating that both he and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney are running neck to neck.

Clinton would hold rallies at several places in Minnesota today where he will discuss the choice in this election between moving forward with President Obama’s vision to create an economy that’s built to last, or going back to the same failed top-down economic policies that crashed our economy and punished the middle class, the Obama Campaign announced.

Following the events in Minnesota, former president Clinton will deliver remarks at grassroots events in Colorado, the campaign said late last night. Clinton yesterday addressed rallies in Florida and Ohio, where he slammed Romney.

"Now it turns out that Jeep is reopening in China because they made so much money here they can afford to do it and they are going on with their plans here. They put out a statement today saying that it was the biggest load of bull in the world that they would consider shutting down their American operation. They are roaring in America thanks to people like the people of Ohio," Clinton said in Ohio.

"So in keeping with that, here is what I want to say I think this election is about. I support Barack Obama because I think he has got a better jobs plan, and a better jobs record, a better budget plan, a better education plan, a better health care plan than his opponent Governor Romney," he said.

Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama also continued with their election campaign even as Obama was now focused on storm Sandy preparedness.

"The election will take care of itself next week. Right now, our number-one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search-and-rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency," Obama had said.

"He (Obama) has made, really, this storm his priority, even in the midst of the final days of this campaign. He’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure that the American people are safe and secure," Michelle said at a rally in Iowa.

Biden was also campaigning in Ohio, which he termed as "the epicenter" of this election. "If we win Ohio, we win this election," he said.

Meanwhile, the Romney Campaign announced that Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan would hold storm relief efforts today. The announcement came after Romney had cancelled his election campaign meetings due to the superstorm Sandy. (PTI)

China to raise environmental bar for mining projects -assn

XIAMEN, Oct 30: China is expected to issue new guidelines by the end of the year to encourage metals miners to conserve domestic resources and protect the environment, a director at the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said today.

Hu Changping, director of heavy metals at the association, said Beijing aims to tighten the requirements on firms allowed to mine metals and will announce the guidelines before the end of this year.

"Copper, lead and zinc mines will be included," Hu told on the sidelines of an industry conference in Xiamen, in the southeastern province of Fujian.

Authorised firms would be required to submit mining project proposals to the Ministry of Land and Resources and also receive approval from environmental authorities. No other details of the scope of the guidelines were immediately available.

(AGENCIES)

North Korea leader’s wife reported back in public after long silence

SEOUL, Oct 30: North Korean state media reported public appearances by the wife of leader Kim Jong-un for the first time in two months today amid mounting speculation that she had been chastised for inappropriate conduct or that she may be pregnant.

Ri Sol-ju’s once frequent appearances with her husband in public reported in state media had marked the starkest break by the North’s leadership from the dour image of Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, who was rarely seen in public with any of his wives.

Ri attended football match and a musical concert with Kim Jong-un on Monday. Their appearance at the concert "drew a thunderous cheer from the audience", the official KCNA news agency said today.

Activities and public appearances in choreographed media reports give rare indications of events inside the reclusive state, which is locked in a stand-off with its neighbours and the West over its nuclear weapons programme.

Kim Jong-il, who died in December, had suffered a stroke in 2008 which was followed by a sudden disappearance from media until re-emerging in early 2009 appearing gaunt and ill.

Monday’s events in Pyongyang and his visit to a military college were also the first public appearance by the young new leader Kim Jong-un himself in about two weeks. He looked healthy and confident in photos accompanying reports over four pages in the Tuesday’s edition of the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

South Korea’s intelligence agency had joined the fray of speculation over the sudden disappearance of Ri from state media since early September saying state elders may have raised an issue over her casual and cheerful demeanour portrayed in media.

"The analysis has been that there was concern over breach of discipline (by Ri) among North Korean elders, plus the speculation of pregnancy," South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted the National Intelligence Service as reporting in a closed-door briefing to parliament.

North Korea broke the mystery surrounding a young woman who had been seen with Kim in July by saying she was the leader’s wife. The announcement itself was part of a trend that Kim has followed to break out of the secretive management style of his father.

North Korea’s state media have not disclosed when the two got married or whether they had any children. (AGENCIES)

SKS Microfinance tanks after Q2 results; hits lower circuit

MUMBAI, Oct 30: Shares of SKS Microfinance today plunged 5 per cent to touch the lower circuit after the company reported Rs 262 crore net loss for the quarter ended September 30.

The SKS scrip tanked 5 per cent and hit a lower circuit of Rs 114.25 on the BSE.

At NSE, the stock was down 4.96 per cent to Rs 114.95.

It had incurred a loss of Rs 385 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.

The company’s standalone total income from operations stood at Rs 78 crore against Rs 122 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

Meanwhile, the company said it has received a showcause notice from authorities demanding Rs 34.2 crore service tax.

"The company has received show-cause notice from service tax authorities on October 23 to explain as to why the assignment of portfolio loans should not be classified under recovery service agent and the related income from the asset assignment transaction should not be subjected to service tax," SKS Microfinance had said yesterday.

(PTI)

Six Colombian police killed in rebel attack

BOGOTA, Oct 30: Six Colombian police officers were killed in an attack blamed on leftist FARC guerrillas, regional police sources have said.

The officers were gunned down in the southwestern department of Cauca yesterday between the towns of Puerto Tejada and Villarrica, according to local police, who blamed the assault on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The attack comes as negotiators representing the Colombian government and the FARC are engaged in peace talks aimed at ending their nearly five-decade conflict, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Rebels armed with rifles and explosives attacked after the police had set up a checkpoint on the Pan American highway, police told AFP, adding that another officer was wounded and rushed to an area hospital.

The government of President Juan Manuel Santos said there will be no ceasefire during the talks to prevent the guerrillas from regrouping, as they did during a failed previous round of peace talks 10 years ago. (Agencies)

North Korean leader’s wife re-appears

SEOUL, Oct 30: The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has re-appeared after dropping out of the public eye for 50 days amid fevered rumours that she was either pregnant or had fallen out of favour.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Ri Sol-Ju joined her husband at a musical performance and a football match in Pyongyang yesterday.

"Marshall Kim Jong-Un, the supreme leader of the party and the people, came to the spectators’ seats, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-Ju. At that moment, thunderous applause broke out," KCNA said.

Kim took over the reins of power in North Korea following the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il last December.

The fact that he even had a wife was only revealed in July when pictures emerged of a stylish young woman accompanying the new young leader at official events.

A terse statement from Pyongyang’s state television that month confirmed her identity and the fact that the couple were married.

Then in early September, she dropped from public view just as suddenly as she had appeared.

Her absence triggered speculation that she might be pregnant, while some suggested she was doing penance for failing to wear the lapel pin—bearing the image of one or both of the country’s late leaders—that all adult North Koreans are required to wear.

A photo of the couple at yesterday’s musical performance showed Ri, wearing a long coat, applauding as Kim saluted the cheering crowd.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency stoked the pregnancy rumours by observing that her mid-section appeared swollen. It was not clear if she was wearing a badge under the coat.

The announcement of Kim Jong-Un’s marriage and Ri’s media profile mark a departure for North Korea whose intensely secretive regime has previously kept the private lives of its rulers under wraps.

According to intelligence reports cited by the South Korean media, the couple were married in 2009 and already have one child.

Ri was described as coming from an ordinary family, with her father an academic and her mother a doctor. She visited South Korea in 2005 as a cheerleader for her country’s squad in the Asian Athletics Championships. (Agencies)

Kardashian sisters threatened with lawsuit over make-up line

LONDON, Oct 30: Reality TV stars Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian have been accused of stealing the name of a cosmetic brand for their own brand.

The Kardashian sisters, who have been working on their make-up range for quite sometime, will launch it next month and it will be called Khroma Beauty, reported Daily Mirror.

However, Michael Rey, the co-owner of the similarly named cosmetic brand Chroma Makeup, said his range has taken him years to build up an A-list clientele and Kardashians have cheapened their products to create a marketplace.

He has written to his clients to assure them Chroma is not linked in any way to the "low-budget cosmetic products" of the sisters.

He has also hired a legal team and is hoping the girls will change the name before he has to take any action.

The Kardashians were not available for comments on the issue. (PTI)

Vision evolved 700 million years ago: scientists

LONDON, Oct 30: Scientists have traced the evolution of sight in ancient species to a jellyfish, which first developed the ability to detect light 700 million years ago.

The exact point in time when ancient species developed the first rudimentary ability to see light has been hotly contested.

Scientific opinion was divided over which sponges or jellyfish types species first possessed opsins, a group of light-sensitive protein-coupled receptors in photoreceptor cells of the retina, the Daily Mail reported.

Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and colleagues looked at a newly sequenced group of sponges named Oscarella carmela, and the jellyfish type Cnidarians, a group of animals thought to have possessed the world’s earliest eyes.

The study used computer modelling to provide a detailed picture of how and when opsins evolved.

Dr Davide Pisani performed a computational analysis to test every hypothesis of opsin evolution proposed to date.

The analysis incorporated available genomic information from all relevant animal lineages to develop a timeline with an opsin ancestor common to all groups appearing some 700 million years ago.

This opsin was considered ‘blind’ yet underwent key genetic changes over the span of 11 million years that conveyed the ability to detect light.

"The great relevance of our study is that we traced the earliest origin of vision and we found that it originated only once in animals," Pisani said.

"This is an astonishing discovery because it implies that our study uncovered, in consequence, how and when vision evolved in humans," Pisani added.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (PTI)

Bubble-forming super-massive black hole found

WASHINGTON, Oct 30: Bubbles in space! Astronomers have discovered giant bubbles in the Universe powered by a massive black hole, with a mass six billion times that of the Sun.

Astronomers used a brand-new radio telescope to produce one of the best images ever made at the lowest frequencies of a galaxy 2000 times more massive than Milky Way, hosting in its centre one of the most massive black holes discovered so far.

Researchers found that this bubble is surprisingly young, just about 40 million years, which is a mere instant on cosmic time scales.

Like symbiotic species, a galaxy and its central black hole lead intimately connected lives. Some black holes actively accrete matter.

Part of this material do not fall into the black hole but is ejected in a narrow stream of particles, travelling at nearly the speed of light.

When the stream slows down, it creates a tenuous bubble that can engulf the entire galaxy. Invisible to optical telescopes, the bubble is very prominent at low radio frequencies.

The new International LOFAR Telescope is ideally suited to detect this low frequency emission.

Astronomers produced one of the best images ever of such a bubble, using LOFAR to detect frequencies from 20 to 160 MHz.

"The result is of great importance", says Francesco de Gasperin, lead author of the study that is being published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

"It shows the enormous potential of LOFAR, and provides compelling evidence of the close ties between black hole, host galaxy, and their surroundings," de Gasperin said.

The image was made during the test-phase of LOFAR, and targeted the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87, at the centre of a galaxy cluster in the constellation of Virgo.

Every few minutes this black hole swallows an amount of matter similar to that of the whole Earth, converting part of it into radiation and a larger part into powerful jets of ultra-fast particles, which are responsible for the observed radio emission.

"This is the first time such high-quality images are possible at these low frequencies", says professor Heino Falcke, chairman of the board of the ILT and co-author of the study. (PTI)

Pak Par may be dissolved in Jan; elections to be held by April

ISLAMABAD, Oct 30: Pakistan’s Parliament is likely to be dissolved in January next year and a caretaker government installed to oversee elections to be held by April.

Speculation has increased in political circles about the government preparing a preliminary roadmap for the next general election, which is scheduled for early next year.

The National Assembly or lower house of Parliament is likely to be dissolved on January 16 or 17, The News daily quoted its sources as saying.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf would make a final decision about installing a caretaker government, dissolving the national and provincial assemblies and the holding of the general election after consulting partners in the ruling coalition.

If the National Assembly is dissolved in January, the constitutional limit for holding polls will be 90 days.

At the same time, the Constitution states that polls must be held within 60 days of the completion of the tenure of the current Parliament.

The current National Assembly will complete its tenure on March 16 and the general election may be held by April 26, the report said.

As the polls get closer, political "wheeling and dealing" has gathered pace and new political alliances may be forged before the election, the report said.

However, it would be a landmark for the country as a democratic government will complete its tenure for the first time and credit for this achievement is being given to the political strategy of President Zardari, sources said.

Some sources claimed the 2013 election would be surprising like the last polls to the Senate or upper house of Parliament, in which the ruling Pakistan People’s Party emerged stronger than before. (PTI)

Bahrain says it is banning all protest gatherings amid escalating clashes in the strategic Gulf kingdom that hosts the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

The decision re-imposes state of emergency-style rules in the Sunni-ruled nation, whose Shiite majority launched an uprising over 20 months ago, aiming to win a greater political voice.

Today’s announcement by the Interior Ministry did not specify what actions could be taken against fresh protests, but suggests Shiite political groups could be held responsible with possible arrests or formal closures of their offices.

Bahrain’s monarchy has permitted limited protests and marches, but much of the violence occurs outside authorised gatherings. Emergency rules including curfews and special military tribunals had been enacted for several months during the early stages of the uprising, which has left over 50 dead. (Agencies)

 

Bahrain bans all protest gatherings amid violence

MANAMA, Oct 30: Bahrain says it is banning all protest gatherings amid escalating clashes in the strategic Gulf kingdom that hosts the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

The decision re-imposes state of emergency-style rules in the Sunni-ruled nation, whose Shiite majority launched an uprising over 20 months ago, aiming to win a greater political voice.

Today’s announcement by the Interior Ministry did not specify what actions could be taken against fresh protests, but suggests Shiite political groups could be held responsible with possible arrests or formal closures of their offices.

Bahrain’s monarchy has permitted limited protests and marches, but much of the violence occurs outside authorised gatherings. Emergency rules including curfews and special military tribunals had been enacted for several months during the early stages of the uprising, which has left over 50 dead. (Agencies)

Australians turning to India for surrogacy

MELBOURNE, Oct 30: Rising number of Australians are turning to India for surrogacy arrangements to fulfil their parenting dreams, according to a new study.

India is being seen as a preferred destination for commercial surrogacy, followed by Thailand and the United States, according to the study by ‘Surrogacy Australia’, an agency involved in international surrogacy.

According to Herald Sun, the agency had found there were 200 recorded surrogacy births in India to Australian couples so far this year, compared to 179 in 2011, 86 in 2010 and 47 in 2009.

The research included Australian government statistics, data collected from 14 large overseas surrogacy agencies and a survey of 217 Australians.

The survey of heterosexual and same-sex Australians who had considered or sought out surrogacy found many households were refinancing their homes to afford the thousands of dollars in agency and travel costs.

The average cost of surrogacy in India was 77,000 Australian dollar while an arrangement in the US cost on average about 176,000 Australian dollar.

Half of those surveyed mortgaged or refinanced their home to pay for surrogacy, while 45 per cent cut their spending. Others took out a bank loan, borrowed from family or sold property.

Surrogacy Australia president Sam Everingham said the trend towards overseas surrogacy would continue "while Australia maintains laws and policies that make surrogacy quite difficult within Australia".

"We’re getting very, very small numbers accessing surrogacy here," Everingham, who will present the research at the annual Fertility Society of Australia conference in Auckland today, said.

"The research has shown that high levels of regulation within Australia and lower barriers in some overseas markets is shifting the practice of surrogacy offshore and it is a big industry," Everingham said.

Everingham said new visa laws enacted by India would prevent singles, same-sex and de facto couples from entering surrogacy agreements which could lead to a drop in numbers in coming years. (PTI)



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