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Modi lauds ISRO for Mars mission success, urges it to go for the next frontier

 
Modi congratulates scientists for Mars success
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded Indian space scientists for successfully inserting its Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan, into Martian orbit this morning and urged them to make the achievement the base for challenging the next frontier -- of an inter-planetary mission.
 
"Let today’s success, only drive us with even greater vigour and conviction. Let’s set ourselves even more challenging goals. And strive even harder to achieve them," he told scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) control centre after the historic feat.
 
"Let us push our boundaries. And then, push some more!" he said, exulting over the fact that India had succeeded in its Mars mission in its very first attempt.
 
"History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown. And have achieved the near impossible. I congratulate all ISRO scientists, as well as all my fellow Indians, on this historic occasion," he said.
 
"They achieved it with very little resources and many constraints. only because of their confidence, their abilities and determination," he said.
 
He said what had been achieved was truly remarkable, with the spacecraft travelling a mind-boggling distance of more than 650 million kilometres.
 
"We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination. We have, accurately navigated our spacecraft, through a route known to very few. And, we have done so from a distance so large that it took even a command signal from Earth more time to reach it than it takes sunlight to reach us," he said, referring to the time delay of about 12.5 minutes for a signal from Mangalyaan to reach the control centre.
 
Mr Modi said the odds were stacked against Indian scientists, with only 21 of the 51 previous missions attempted by other countries succeeding. 
 
"But we have prevailed! Every one did not succeed, in fact, very few did. And nobody achieved it in the first atempt. Indian scientists have achieved it in the very first attempt," he said.
 
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He noted that, with today’s spectacular success, ISRO had joined an elite group of only three other agencies worldwide to have successfully reached the red planet.
 
"We put together the spacecraft in record time, within a mere three years of first studying its feasibility. Built it indigenously, in a pan-Indian effort stretching from Bangalore to Bhubaneswar, and Faridabad to Rajkot. Used a smaller rocket and payload to reduce the cost, even while increasing the complexity of an already challenging mission. The mission has cost less than a Hollywood movie," he remarked.
 
"And launched it on our very own PSLV launch vehicle. These are all accomplishments that will go down as landmarks in history," he said.
 
Mr Modi said uncertainty is a part of the journey of every explorer who seeks to push boundaries. 
 
"The hunger of exploration and the thrill of discovery are not for the faint-hearted," he said, and went on to quote from one of his own poems in Gujarati in which he had said that people would have to suffer criticism if they failed and jealousy if they succeeded.
 
"Success will bring new challenges and controversies. Innovation, after all, by its very nature involves risk; as you are trying to do something which has not been done before. It`s a leap into the dark. Humanity would not have progressed, if we had not taken such leaps into the unknown. And space is indeed the biggest unknown out there," he said.
 
"No one represents this zeal for exploring the unknown more than our space scientists here at ISRO," he said, to loud applause.
 
"Through your brilliance and hard work, you have made it a habit of achieving the impossible. You have developed self-reliance across critical domains, often in the face of hostile circumstances. Every generation of your scientists, has groomed the next home-grown lot 
 
"Through your achievements, you have honoured our forefathers, and inspired our future generations! You truly deserve all the love and respect you get from a grateful nation!" he said.
 
"We Indians are a proud people! Despite our many limitations, we aspire for the best. The success of our space program is a shining example of what we are capable of as a nation. Our space program has been an example of achievement, which inspires the rest of us to strive for excellence ourselves," he said.
 
"Moreover, space exploration requires cutting-edge expertise across diverse disciplines. A successful space program thus generates applications across multiple domains. 
 
"Our efforts in particular, have historically focused on the ultimate objective of nation-building. Of translating space technology into space applications. Delivering the fruits of this farthest frontier to the remotest corners of the country. Deepening our governance, strengthening our economy, and improving our lives," he said.
 
"We also have a great legacy and responsibility to live up to. Our ancestors had helped the world understand the mysteries of the heavens. Grasp the idea of Shunya or nothingness. Map spatial knowledge; such as the rotation of the Earth, motion of planets and occurrence of eclipses. Modern India must continue playing this leading role of ‘Jagad-guru Bharat’," he said.
 
"In contrast with the linear nature of Western philosophy; there is no absolute ‘beginning’ or ‘end’ in our Eastern understanding of the cosmos. There is only a continuous, unending cycle of dispassionate, detached perseverance," he said.
 
Mr Modi said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpaye had inspired the people to reach for the moon through the Chandrayaan mission, which in turn led to the Mars Orbiter Mission.
 
He urged all of India, especially students in schools and colleges, to celebrate the achievments of Indian scientists. "Every school and college should gather for a few minutes and honour our scientists," he added.
 
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India scripts space history as its Mangalyaan enters Mars' orbit

India scripted history on Wednesday when its Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan, slipped into its designated orbit around the Red Planet after a tricky 24-minute manoeuvre during which the spacecraft was slowed down by 1099 metres per second.

 
India's maiden Mars mission successful
India today scripted space history when its Mars Orbiter, Mangalyaan, slipped into its designated elliptical orbit around the Red Planet after a tricky 24-minute manoeuvre during which the spacecraft was slowed down by 1099 metres per second.
 
With the successful entry of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft into the Martian orbit, India has joined an elite club of a few space powers who have explored the Red Planet, after Russia, the United States and Europe.
 
It has also become the first country to achieve success in its Mars mission on its very first attempt. Of the 51 missions to Mars launched by various agencies, only 21 have succeeded so far.
 
"Spacecraft successfully enters Martian orbit," a post on ISRO's website said, confirming, after 12.5 nerve-wracking minutes, that India had made the leap.
 
The historic achievement came 300 days after MOM, India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, on the east coast of the country and at the end of a 690 million km space odyssey.
 
In preparation for today's Mars Orit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre, the spacecraft changed to its medium gain antenna at 0417 hours IST. At 0656 hours, the forward rotation started.
 
Even as Mangalyaan went into the shadow of Mars because of an eclipse at 0712 hours, the burn of its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), along with eight smaller liquid engines, started at 07:17:32 hours for a duration of 1388.67 seconds.
 
Because of the Mars-Sun-Earth geometry, the orbit insertion was destined to happen while MOM was in eclipse and when it was dependent on its batery for all the power required.
 
Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here got confirmation of all the events only after about 12.5 minutes because of the time delay in communication, given the huge distance involved. The confirmation of each event was greeted with loud applause by the scientists and others present.
 
"The events related to Mars Orbit Insertion progressed satisfactorily and the spacecraft performance was normal.  The spacecraft is now circling Mars in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7 km and farthest point (apoapsis) at 76,993.6 km.  The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended," an ISRO press release said later.
 
In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go round Mars once.
 
"In the coming weeks, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in the Mars orbit and the systematic observation of that planet using its five scientific instruments would begin," the release added.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived at the mission control centre here around 0700 hours, was among the several dignitaries present on the occasion.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Modi congratulated the space scientists on their achievement.
 
"Indian scientists, through their hard work and dedication, have stretched the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the Mars Orbiter Mission was an indigenous pan-Indian effort, stretching from Bangalore to Bhubaneswar, and Faridabad to Rajkot.
 
"The hunger of exploration and the thrill of discovery are not for the faint hearted," he said.
 
He said he had chosen to be present at ISRO today, unmindful of success or failure of the mission. He exhorted the scientists to set even more challenging targets for themselves, and said he had confidence that they would be able to achieve even those targets. 
 
"You have made a habit of achieving the impossible," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the success of the space programme was a shining symbol of what India was capable of as a nation.
 
"A successful space programme generates applications across multiple domains," he said.
 
He said the efforts of India`s space scientists were deepening India's governance, strengthening its economy and improving people's lives. 
 
Noting that the whole nation celebrates when its cricket team wins a tournament, the Prime Minister described the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission as a thousand times greater achievement and said all Indians must celebrate the success of the country's space scientists today. 
 
"Let India celebrate the achievements of its scientists. Let students in every school and college applaud their efforts," he added.
 
Others present included Union Ministers D V Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar and Jitendra Singh, Karnataka Governor Chief Minister H Siddaramaiah, eminent scientist Yash Pal and former ISRO Chairman U R Rao were amongst those present.
 
Current ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan went around the control centre, congratulating all the scientists on the momentous achievement, as soon as confirmation was received about the success of the MOI manoeuvre.
 
Earlier, two days ago, on September 22, MOM cleared a crucial test when its main liquid engine was successfully test-fired and the spacecraft underwent its fourth trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM), ahead of its historic tryst with the Red Planet.
 
ISRO scientists test-fired the main liquid engine, which was lying dormant during the 300-day journey to Mars, for 3.968 seconds at 1430 hours on September 22,  consuming 0.567 kg of fuel.
 
This operation of the spacecraft’s main liquid engine was also used for the spacecraft’s trajectory correction and changing its velocity by  2.18 metre/second.
 
The successful test firing meant that the Mars Orbit Insertion operation could go ahead as scheduled today.
 
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Earlier on September 22, the orbiter had entered the sphere of influence of Mars and the propellant lines were enabled for orbit insertion.
 
ISRO scientists had uploaded the necessary commands for MOI on September 14 and verified them on the following day.
 
Last month, ISRO did not carry out the TCM planned for August because it was not required as Mangalyaan was closely following is trajectory.
 
On July 3, the spacecraft had crossed the three-fourths mark of the journey to Mars.
 
On December 1, ISRO scientists had successfully conducted the Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre, setting it on course for Mars through a heliocentric trajectory.
 
Soon after the spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a TCM was performed successfully on December 11. As the spacecraft was on its designated trajectory, the TCM planned for April was not considered essential and the next one was carried out on June 11 by firing its 22 Newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds.
 
One of the main objectives of the first Indian mission to Mars is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. 
 
The technical objectives include design and realisation of a Mars orbiter with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.
 
They also include deep space communication, navigation, mission planning and management and incorporation of autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
 
The scientific objectives of the mission include exploration of Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.
 
The orbiter craft is carrying five payloads, including Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Martian Exospheric Neutral Composition Explorer (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
 
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ING Vysya Bank announces top level changes, Ashok Rao B is new COO

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ING Vysya Bank today said it had appointed Mr Ashok Rao B as its Chief Operating Officer, effective October 1, as part of several leadership changes across operations, IT, retail banking and audit.
 
A press release from the bank said Mr Ambuj Chandna had been appointed as Chief Distribution Officer- Retail Liabilities, effective October 13.
 
Ms Sonalee Panda will be the new Chief Marketing Officer from the same date, while Mr Anantha Raman will take over as Chief Auditor on October 1.
 
Ms A Meenakshi, Head of Operations has decided to pursue opportunities outside the bank and will be leaving effective November 30, the release said.
 
After a stint of two years, Mr. Brett Morgan, Country Head Branch Banking, 
Marketing and Private Client Group has decided to move back to Australia to pursue new opportunities, effective October 13, it said.
 
Mr Shailendra Bhandari, MD & CEO, said, “I am pleased to announce the changes in the leadership team. This is in line with the bank’s philosophy to groom internal talent. Keeping in mind our ambitious growth plans, we continue to develop our leadership pipeline with job rotation, stretch assignments and international exposure. I thank Meenakshi and Brett for their invaluable contribution in our journey, and wish the appointees all the very best in their new roles."
 
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Silver Leaf Oak acquires 10% stake in Syngene, Biocon’s research services subsidiary

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Silver Leaf Oak (Mauritius) Limited. an investment vehicle advised by India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA), has agreed to acquire a minority 10% stake in Syngene International Limited, biotechnology major Biocon’s research services subsidiary.
 
Silver Leaf will acquire the stake from Biocon Research Limited (BRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Biocon Limited at a valuation of Rs.3800 crore, a press release from the company said.
 
The transaction is subject to standard condition precedents including regulatory approvals, it said.
 
Post the completion of this transaction, Biocon and BRL will jointly hold 85.54% stake in Syngene, it said.
 
Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon’s Chairman and Managing Director said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Silver Leaf as a shareholder. This investment reflects Syngene’s leading position in the contract research and manufacturing space in Asia, acknowledging its comprehensive multidisciplinary capabilities. This transaction is part of the overall strategic plan for Syngene and sets a new benchmark as we prepare the company for listing.” 
 
Mr. Vishal Nevatia, Managing Partner, IVFA said, “We had partnered with Biocon through our first fund in 2003. We are excited to partner with them again. Syngene has emerged as one of the leading service providers globally for integrated discovery and development with a marquee client base. This deal showcases the IVFA investment philosophy of working with high quality entrepreneurs and management teams.”
 
Syngene is one of India's leading contract research organization offering integrated drug discovery and development services with capabilities in medicinal chemistry, biology, in vivo pharmacology, toxicology, custom synthesis, process Research and Development, and formulation development for small and large molecules. 
 
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Infosys announces partnerships with Microsoft, Huawei, Hitachi Data Systems

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IT services major Infosys Ltd today announced three significant partnerships with technology players Microsoft, Huawei and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) aimed at strengthening and widening the scope of solutions it offers in the areas of Cloud, Big Data & Analytics, Communication and Infrastructure & Data Center Transformation Solutions.
 
The company said the agreement with Microsoft would expand their decade-long partnership to help enterprises transform their business and tap opportunities in a cloud-first, mobile-first world. 
 
As one of Microsoft’s leading systems integration partners globally, Infosys has thousands of Microsoft Certified Professionals. It will now expand its capabilities for analytics and other service offerings on Microsoft technologies. Infosys will also establish a global center of excellence for Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, capable of training over 1,000 engineers by the end of fiscal year 2015, it said.
 
Similarly, the agreement with Hitachi would expand the partnership between the two countries to bring next-generation infrastructure and data center transformation solutions to enterprises. The new solutions will help improve operational efficiencies and facilitate smooth transition of their IT infrastructure to new cloud-based environments. Infosys will also establish a centre of excellence to co-create ‘pay-per-use’ solutions with HDS.
 
The partnership with Huawei will enable the two companies to jointly offer enterprise customers Cloud, Big Data and Communication solutions, along with other enterprise-oriented services, which will combine Huawei’s Cloud infrastructure and global IT service expertise from Infosys, it said.
 
A press release from Infosys said the agreement with Microsoft would help enterprises harness the power of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Microsoft Power BI to realize more value from their data. 
 
"They can also rapidly deploy systems in production and get to market faster, improve forecasting, predict and prevent problems, and optimize their business Infosys will accelerate its efforts to design frameworks, tools and accelerators to improve end user productivity for the digital workforce on Microsoft cloud platforms. These platforms, including Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, complement Azure solutions," it said.
 
Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft, said: “Our mobile-first, cloud-first world provides a unique opportunity to help customers accelerate and transform their business. Working together, Infosys and Microsoft will bring the benefits of enterprise-grade cloud computing to customers with Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online.”
 
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Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President, Machine Learning, Microsoft, said:
“In today’s fast-paced world, enterprises can gain a significant competitive advantage through data and advanced analytics. Our expanded partnership with Infosys will deliver game-changing capabilities to our joint customers in the speed of delivery and deployment of analytics. It will allow businesses to unlock the incredible value in their data and build operational systems to reduce expenses, grow revenue, fine tune their business operations, and improve service to their end customers.”
 
Ravi Kumar, Executive Vice President and Global Head, Alliances, Infosys, said, "“Software is changing the world and Microsoft is a longstanding partner in this revolution. Together we have transformed businesses and redefined the way enterprises use computing technologies. Now, our customers are asking us to help them tap the power of new opportunities in areas such as analytics and mobility as they set the course for their growth. Expanding our partnership at this crucial time will allow us to take the best of Microsoft technologies to help enterprises craft their strategies for a new era.”
 
According to the release, the solutions offered in partnership with Huawei would target enterprise customers looking to modernize their operations by leveraging cloud infrastructure.
 
"Both parties will build reference architectures and standardized solutions for big data platforms, on Huawei hardware infrastructure, for joint go-to-market efforts. Huawei's customer contact technologies will be integrated with communication services from Infosys to offer enterprise customers a best-in-class communication experience like call centre. 
 
"Huawei and Infosys will explore setting up a joint lab in China to enable better delivery in all areas of the partnership In addition, Infosys and Huawei will further strengthen their existing partnership in the Huawei Business Process and Information Technology space," it said.
 
Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys, said, "Infosys is focused on helping customers succeed with software and services to both grow their business in new ways and to achieve operational efficiencies. We are really excited to partner with Huawei to bring the power of Huawei’s cloud infrastructure and communication technologies to our joint customers, so that they can efficiently achieve this dual objective."
 
Eric Xu, Rotating Chief Executive Officer, Huawei, said: "We are very excited to enter into this global partnership with Infosys. Combining the world-renowned service capabilities of Infosys with our expertise in information and communication technologies, we can build a more harmonious and mutually beneficial industry ecosystem for our customers."
 
The release said the new new data centre transformation solutions, developed by Infosys and HDS, are tailored to meet refresh cycles of enterprise data centers. The two partners will also create reference architectures and solution frameworks to accelerate private cloud deployments.
 
Infosys and HDS will create several private cloud offerings to be delivered as-a-service related to ERP, CRM, Exchange and Collaboration, with flexible pricing models. This will help enterprises reduce capital expenditure on their cloud infrastructure and optimize their private and public cloud investments, it said.
 
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Brian Householder, Chief Operating Officer, Hitachi Data Systems: "Hitachi Data Systems and Infosys have a long history of collaboration. We are pleased to take our relationship to the next level by delivering the latest Hitachi Data Systems 'Continuous Cloud Infrastructure' solutions to help our mutual customers, around the world, deploy the most available, automated and agile environment for next-generation data centers and cloud solutions."
 
U B Pravin, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Board, Infosys: "Growing our partnership with Hitachi Data Systems will enable us to bring together our complementary capabilities around cloud and big data to help our customers enhance their IT infrastructure with new technology solutions. Infosys and Hitachi Data Systems will help enterprises implement infrastructure and data center solutions faster, and at lower costs. Our partnership will also give enterprises the much needed flexibility to plan and progress their transformation to next-generation IT infrastructure seamlessly, and without being daunted by huge capital outlays."
 
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Investment firm KKR to provide $164 million in long-term financing to GMR Holdings

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Leading global investment firm KKR today said it would provide Rs 10 billion ($ 164.2 million) of structured long-term financing, with co-investors, to Indian infrastructure major GMR Holdings Pvt Ltd, the holding company for GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL).
 
The transaction is subject to customary transaction documentation, a press relese from the company said, without disclosing further terms of the transaction.
 
The GMR Group has interests in the airport, energy, highway and urban infrastructure sectors. 
 
GMR Holdings will infuse funds in GMR Infrastructure in the form of equity capital which will help GIL to further strengthen its balance sheet, support the funding requirement for projects and meet its financing obligations, the release said.
 
Mr Grandhi Kiran Kumar, Group Director, GMR Holdings, said, “The infusion of additional equity from promoters of GIL is a testimony to the promoters’ confidence in the long-term value of the group’s business. The rights issue, after successful conclusion, will improve the net worth of GIL and bring down the net debt-to-equity ratio to around 2.85 as against 3.50 prevailing as of March 2014. In addition, it will reduce the corporate debt of GIL. This partnership with KKR helps GMR to strengthen its foundation for the next phase of growth.”
 
Mr B V Krishnan, Managing Director, KKR Capital Markets, said, “We are delighted to have entered into this partnership with GMR, which has been at the forefront of high-quality infrastructure development in India. GMR represents a significant opportunity for KKR to partner with committed infrastructure groups which have developed world-class, highly relevant assets to build India.”
 
In India, KKR provides structured financing solutions through multiple capital pools, including a non-banking finance company, alternative investment funds and special situations capital pools. The firm looks to provide flexible, long-term capital which can help companies achieve their objectives of balance sheet consolidation, deleveraging and long-term growth. 
 
KKR has executed more than $2 billion of structured financing to 21 business groups in India through its credit and capital markets business over the past five years, the release added.
 
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SilkAir adds supplementary flights from Bangalore to Singapore

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SilkAir, the regional full-service carrier of Singapore Airlines, today said it would operate with variable frequency from Bangaore to Singapore upto five times weekly from December 14, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
 
Apart from flying on select weekdays, the airline will also fly on Sundays to match the anticipated travel demand, a press release from Silk Air said.
 
Furthermore, travelers from Bangalore will get to fly the airline’s latest aircraft – the new Boeing 737-800 from October 2014. The new aircraft features a 162-seat configuration, with 12 Business Class and 150 Economy class seats.
 
SilkAir’s new 737 features the Boeing Sky Interior - modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of space and larger pivoting overhead stowage bins. It is also equipped with SilkAir Studio, the airline’s wireless entertainment system. 
 
SilkAir currently offers four weekly services to Bangalore using Airbus A320s. 
 
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Infosys Foundation launches Spark-IT to enhance employability of engineering graduates

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IT services major Infosys, launched Spark-IT, a programme to enhance the skill levels of engineering graduates in the country, at Mysore near here today.
 
Spark-IT is a three month programme to enhance both technical and communication skills of unemployed engineering graduates.
 
Those candidates who have graduated in 2014 and met the eligibility criteria were shortlisted for selection. The eligibility criteria included graduation in specific engineering disciplines and consistently good academic performance. 
 
"While the programme aims to enhance employability of these graduates, it does not guarantee employment at Infosys," a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, the programme received more than 35,000 applications from 27 states. In fiscal 2015, Spark-IT plans to train 1,800 graduates spread over 11 batches, at the Infosys campus in Mysore, Mangalore and Chennai. 
 
Infosys Foundation has committed Rs 9 crore for this programme. Candidates will be given a monthly stipend of Rs 10,000 and an accommodation allowance of Rs 5,000 per month. On completing the programme, they will be given a certificate of participation.
 
Speaking at the launch of the programme, Ms. Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation said, “Many engineering graduates in India find it difficult to gain meaningful employment due to inadequate skills. Through Spark-IT we are imparting technical and communication skills to prepare candidates for future employment. The overwhelming response for the programme demonstrates the need for such an initiative.”
 
Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys said, “At Infosys, we are deep believers in education and in people’s ability to learn, and its power to amplify the human potential. I am delighted that the Spark-IT programme by the Infosys Foundation is helping us extend our expertise in IT to a large pool of unemployed engineering graduates.”
 
The foundation has several programmes aimed at alleviating hunger, promoting education, improving health, assisting rural development, supporting arts and helping the destitute. For fiscal 2015, it plans to deploy Rs 249 crore towards these initiatives.
 
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Columbia Asia announces $150m expansion of its Southeast Asia and India hospital network

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Columbia Asia, one of the largest hospital systems in Southeast Asia and India, today announced plans to invest another $150 million to expand its network to 34 hospitals and one clinic by 2018.
 
In the next four years, the company will open eight more hospitals -- three each in India and Malaysia and two in Indonesia, a press release from the company said.
 
The company currently has more than 8,000 employees serving more than two million patients a year in 26 hospitals and one clinic in Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, it said.
 
Columbia Asia opened four new hospitals just in the last few months – in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, in the Indonesian city of Semarang and in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, India.
 
"Columbia Asia’s strategy is to create clusters of hospitals in large urban areas.  This allows the group to achieve operational and brand leverage across the market in each large city.  Around the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, for example, the company currently has five hospitals, a sixth to open in 2016 and a seventh to open in 2017," it said.
 
To manage the growth of Columbia Asia, John Northen was recently hired to serve as CEO of the 4-country hospital network. Northen comes to Columbia Asia with several decades of experience in the hospitality industry, including six years as Vice President for Marriott International in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
 
“Since opening our first hospital in 1994, Columbia Asia has grown to become one of the most trusted names in healthcare across Asia,” said Northen, CEO of the Columbia Asia Group of Companies.  “No other healthcare provider in Asia has hospitals in as many countries operating under a single brand.  Our goal is to continue to ensure all patients leave our hospitals cared for medically as well as feeling satisfied, respected and comforted.”
 
The Columbia Asia hospital system, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, was created two decades ago with an innovative business model focused on modern, efficient and affordable multispecialty hospitals located close to where patients live and work. 
 
Columbia Asia’s parent company, Columbia Pacific Management, has experience in delivering healthcare to Asia and the United States.  Besides Columbia Asia, the company has three senior living facilities in China through its China senior care affiliate, Cascade Healthcare. 
 
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Wipro wins 5-year Strategic Infrastructure Management contract from Philip Morris International

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Information technology services major Wipro Limited today said it had won a five-year Strategic Infrasructure Management contract from international tobacco company Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI).
 
As a part of the agreement, Wipro will provide a full suite of IT infrastructure management services to PMI, a press release from the company said.
 
The IT infrastructure services will support a host of functions at PMI including management and support of its servers, storage, backup and applications infrastructure, it said.
 
"The PMI relationship is strategic to Wipro and we are excited to embark on this journey. We aim to foster a successful partnership with PMI and deliver the IT innovation that will support their business needs." said Srini Pallia, Chief Executive, Retail, Consumer Goods, and Transportation & Govt. (RCTG) Business Unit, Wipro Limited. 
 
"Wipro's ServiceNXT Operations Framework will be utilized to manage PMI's technology and applications infrastructure," he said.
 
 "We are pleased to be working with Wipro", said Patrick Brunel, Senior Vice President and CIO, PMI. "With Wipro supporting our technology and application infrastructure we look forward to strengthening efficiencies, managing costs and being better able to serve and support our workforce around the world."
 
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Wipro says will double headcount in Oman

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IT and business process services major Wipro today said that it planned to expand its workforce in Muscat, Oman, by doubling the headcount over the next 12 to 18 months, to meet increasing business requirements.
 
Wipro Gulf LLC, the entity established in 2011 in Oman to serve local clients, has been growing rapidly over the last three years, delivering critical projects across oil & gas, aviation, engineering, banks and government sectors within the Sultanate, a press release from the company said.
 
"The recent consulting and implementation projects done by Wipro for clients in these sectors have been well appreciated. Wipro Oman currently employs 70 professionals and has provided services to more than 25 clients across sectors. Buoyed by the rising demand for services, Wipro plans to double the headcount over the next 12 - 18 months," it said.
 
Mr Mukund Seetharaman, general manager and business head - Gulf, Wipro Ltd. said, “In continuation of our long term business outlook for Oman, we are seeing a lot of interest from clients in the region for services around business enablement, simplification and analytics. We are committed to delivering world class solutions and building on our existing footprint to create new job opportunities in the local market.”
 
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Irani sets 13-point agenda for IIMs to use their expertise to meet national goals

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Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani today set a 13-point agenda for the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as part of an effort to use their management expertise in various areas, including national development goals.
 
Addressing a conclave of the Chairpersons and Directors of 13 IIMs at IIM Bangalore, Ms Irani urged them to come up with strategies for making the country both manpower ready and teacher ready.
 
She said that, along with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and the Central Universities, the IIMs should create a mechanism for a global talent pool of eminent persons, who could then contribute their expertise not only to IIMs but to other institutions in the country as well. 
 
She said the IIMs needed to create a knowledge consortium, based on efforts by IIM Ahmedabad, by bringing together various institutions so as to make possible ideas like credit transfer and twinning programmes. 
 
An official press release said the interaction focused on issues related to national development goals, admission process in IIMs, review of the institutes, National Ranking Framework for the management institutions, ICT and other pedagogical innovations and initiatives to scale up research in IIMs, especially the socially relevant research as also to have greater impact on national policy implementation. 
 
Ms Irani asked the IIMs to develop a special programme for students of the North-Eastern states on the lines of a similar programme developed by IITs, called Ishan Vikas. 
 
She said the IIMs needed to work with local industries and local communities with a view to enhance their management capacity. She also asked IIMs to contribute their management expertise to such national projects as development of Smart Cities and Green Cities.
 
Ms Irani also asked IIMs to develop a framework for ranking management institutions with a view to rank institutions world over as per priorities of the developing countries as also help domestic institutions pursue academic excellence to achieve the goalposts set by the National Ranking Framework. 
 
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UMumba to face Jaipur in final of inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi

Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Hosts UMumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers will clash in the final of the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League after beating Bengaluru Bulls and Patna Pirates, respectively, in the semi-finals here tonight.
 
While Jaipur stormed into the final by trouncing Patna Pirates 38-18 in the completely one-sided first semi-final, UMumbai managed to get past Bengaluru 27-23 in the second semi-final.
 
U Mumba led through most of the match, with the Bulls managing to get ahead for a few minutes in the first half but surrendering the advantage soon after when their skipper was sent packing by all-rounder Rishank Devadiga.
 
The ouster, which provided the much needed breakthrough for the Mumbai boys, was followed up with Rajesh Mondal’s exit and two points as Rishank escaped Bengaluru’s four-man defence. 
 
Even Ajay Thakur’s heroics could not help the Bulls as they gifted Mumbai the first LONA points of the match in the 12th minute. With a seven-point lead and an insatiable hunger for points, U Mumba scored their thirteenth point, leaving Bengaluru high and dry towards the end of the first half. With seconds to go for the break, Mumbai’s best raider and the top raider amongst the finalists, Anup Kumar did what he did best, taking the score to 15-9 by half-time.
 
The second half began with Rishank walking out, reducing the Mumbai team to three. Despite the stacking odds towards an all out, Bengaluru’s star raider Ajay was captured by Anup Kumar and Mohit Chillar in the 34th minute, allowing them a chance at redemption. 
 
Mohit’s brilliance as a defender shone through as he executed the perfect tackles against Manjit and Ajay Thakur. 
 
Mumbai’s best defender Surender Nada also joined the party by single-handedly sending the Bull’s captain back. Re-introduced for the second time in the 33rd minute, Mumbai’s Pawan Kumar failed yet again, reducing the Orange brigade to four. After denying Bengaluru Bulls LONA points for a long time, Mumbai gave in, conceding their first LONA in the 37th minute. Though it offered two vital points to Bengaluru, it was a little too late as the Bulls were tamed 27-23.
 
Earlier, Jaipur established themselves as the stronger team within the first 15 minutes of the first semi-final and went on to dominate the proceedings for the rest of the match.
 
Both teams began cautiously before Patna began the fireworks when their best raider Ravi Dalal scored an outstanding three-point raid, sending back Rajesh Narwal, Navneet Gautam and Prashant Chavan of the Panthers.
 
The league got its first chance to use a TV referral, as a turbo-charged Maninder Singh slammed into Rakesh Kumar, knocking them both clear out of the lobby. The referees gave both teams points.
 
Moments later, a brave attempt from Sandeep Narwal failed against Jaipur’s impenetrable defence and Patna was left a four-man army by the seventh minute. 
 
After tying at five, Jasvir Singh clawed down Patna’s defence, earning a crucial one-point lead. The lone man standing, Rakesh Kumar, revived his team but gave away the first LONA points of the night, with a hope of a better, stronger comeback. 
 
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Nursing an injury, Rakesh was ousted by an easy tackle from the Panthers immediately after. With an escalating lead and a diminishing team, Patna’s inability to handle pressure showed as Maninder reduced them to two men, prompting Patna’s second all-out in the 17th minute. The Pirates were able to derive some satisfaction before halftime by taking out the juggernaut Maninder Singh, but with the first-half clearly dominated by Jaipur, the score was 20-7 at the break.
 
As the second half began, Patna was denied yet another chance to come back as, one by one, Rakesh, Ravi and Sandeep were sent back, the latter tackled just a few centimetres away from the centre line. As the Panthers continued to race ahead, their lead extended to twenty points as Ravi failed against the strong defence of the Panthers, granting them their third LONA. 
 
With seven minutes to go and a lot of ground to cover, Rakesh’s lack of form put his team on the back foot again, setting them back by 11 points. Playing his first game, Bashimov was able to gain a point which did not help much as Patna conceded their fourth LONA, giving Jaipur an unassailable lead. 
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Bengaluru Bulls snatch 27-26 win over Telugu Titans

A scene from the match between Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 26, 2014.
A scene from the match between Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 26, 2014.
Hosts Bengaluru Bulls snatched a 27-26 victory over Telugu Titans in the final moments of their match in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League here tonight.
 
In a must-win game for both sides, Titans were cautious in their approach throughout the match but Bengaluru maintained calm in the crucial dying seconds to record a famous win.
 
The Visakhapatnam team got off to a good start as Sukesh Hegde sent the Bulls’ captain Manjeet Chillar back to the dugout. His teammates Rajaguru and Gopu then captured Ajay Thakur, making way for their second point of the night. 
 
Back on full-charge mode, Bengaluru Bulls sent out Vizag’s best raiders Rahul Chaudhari, Deepak Niwas Hooda and Sukesh Hegde, one after the other. Crumbling under pressure, Titans conceded their first LONA points, allowing Bengaluru a six-point lead in the 11th minute. 
 
With a strong defence easing Bengauru’s challenge, Rahul and Deepak were tackled easily and sent back, leaving the yellow army in a spot of bother. The Bulls’ defence continued to dominate for the rest of the first half, saving Bengaluru from one of Rahul’s signature multi-point raid by stopping him just centimetres short of the centre line.  
 
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The Telugu Titans started the second half with a lot of ground to make up. Having been decimated by the Bulls tackles, the score stood at Bengaluru 17, Vizag 10. A successful raid by Sukesh Hegde followed by a tackle by Ajay left Bengaluru with only two players remaining, a perfect scenario for Rahul. 
 
Stepping across the centre line, it took him only seconds to tag one Bull out and escape the grip of another, giving Vizag 4 points, an all-out and bringing them only one point behind. 
 
Soon, the teams were level at 17-17 and they remained tied until the final minute. At one moment, Sukesh was able to tilt the scales towards Telugu, scoring an amazing 3 touch raid against the Bulls. But this was immediately countered by Ajay, scoring a 2 touch raid and once again tying the scores. 
 
Chillar seemed content with this tie, wasting a number of his raids by strolling the centre line. This continued until only seconds remained in the match, but Vizag saw their dreams come crashing down as Sukesh went too deep into the Bull’s territory, and as the Bulls piled on top of the lone Titan, the match decisively went to Bengaluru. 
 
Vizag can still nurse some hopes in the tournament. With Bengaluru winning by only one point, the damage to Vizag’s Score Differential is marginal, and a loss by more than 9 points for Bengaluru tomorrow would bring Vizag back into the reckoning.
 
But it is unlikely that their rivals Jaipur, the leaders in the league table, would go out for a big win and risk injuries just days before the semi-finals.
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Patna Pirates enter last four with 33-31 win over Bengaluru Bulls

Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal was the hero as Patna Pirates qualified for the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League by beating Bengaluru Bulls 33-31 in front of their home crowd in a thrilling encounter here tonight.
 
Bengaluru Bills will now take on the Telugu Titans in tomorrow's game and both teams need nothing less than a victory to book their tickets to Mumbai for the play-offs.
 
The match was a keenly fought affair, especially in the first 35 minutes of play. The tone was set when, right at the start, a lightning raid from Ajay Thakur gave the edge to Bengaluru, taking out Ravi Dalal.
 
Narwal led the counterstrike, pulling himself out of the Bulls' grip. Ajay Thakur was not so lucky, and found himself sandwiched in between the full weight of Pirate defensive power. Trading blows, keeping the scores orbiting around dead equal, the two teams gave it everything they had. 
 
A masterful raid by Bengaluru left the Pirates with only Mandeep Kumar, who made his team proud by scoring a 2 touch do-or-die raid, giving Patna 3 points and 2 additional players.
 
Together, they were able to bring down Ajay in his following raid. But the Bulls’ assault was relentless, and the Patna Pirates were once again reduced to Mandeep. His second do-or-die ended in failure, giving Bengaluru an all-out at the 15th minute. This victory brought the Bulls the confidence they needed to briefly surge ahead, and with multiple A-grade raids and a halting tackle of Narwal brought the halftime score to 18 – 13.
 
The beginning of the second half witnessed a similar pace to the beginning of the first. The Pirates, despite two whisker-close raids from Ravi and an artful wraparound tackle of Thakur, were unable to close the gap. But a 2 touch raid from Dalal changed everything. 
 
Narwal took this as a challenge to his raiding excellence, and followed this with an absolutely astounding 3 touch raid that brought the Pirates ahead with a score of 26 – 25.
 
It took only another minute to bring Bengaluru down to their skipper, and Manjit’s raid was met with the same vicious kabaddi competency, giving Patna Pirates their first all out. It was all they would need. The final two minutes would yield no fruit for the Bulls, and as Narwal ran out the clock in the last 30 seconds, the Bengaluru team saw the writing on the wall. 
 
Finishing his raid with a somewhat ostentatious but absolutely warranted cartwheel (perhaps a tribute to his incapacitated captain), Narwal won the match, and secured Patna a place in Mumbai.
 
It will now be a fight for the fourth spot in the semi-finals between the Titans and the Bulls tomorrow.
 
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Renowned Kannada writer U R Ananthamurthy passes away

U R Ananthamurthy
U R Ananthamurthy
Renowned Kannada writer and Jnanpith Award winner U R Ananthamurthy passed away in a private hospital here this evening after a prolonged illness.
 
He was 81. He is survived by his wife Esther, son Sharat and daughter Anuradha.
 
Sources at the Manipal Hospital said Ananthamurthy was admitted there two weeks ago for treatment of renal problems. He had been under dialysis for some years and had developed cardiac and respiratory complications when he was hospitalised.
 
His condition deteriorated over the past two days with renal complications and the end came around 6.30 pm today after he suffered a cardiac arrest, they said.
 
Ananthamurthy was outspoken on many issues and found himself at the centre of a controversy when he said before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that he would leave the country if Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi won the polls and became the Prime Minister.
 
Later, he changed his stand and explained that he was emotionally overwhelmed when he had made the statement.
 
Mr Modi was among those who condoled the passing away of the writer. "Shri U R Ananthamurthy's demise is a loss to Kannada literature. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace," he said.
 
Udupi Rajagopalacharya Ananthamurthy was born on December 21, 1932 in melige in Shimoga district of Karnataka. He began schooling in a traditional Sanskrit school in Doorvasapura and went on to study in Tirthahalli and Mysore. He comlpleted his M.A. in English from the University of Mysore and went to England on a Commonwealth Scholarship, where he earned a doctorate from the University of Birmingham in 1966.
 
Ananthamurthy began teaching in the English department of the University of Mysore in 1970 and served as the Vice-Chancellor of the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, Kerala from 1987 to 1991.
 
He served as the Chairman of the National Book Trust of India in 1992 and was elected as president of the Sahitya Akademi in the following year. He served as a visiting professor in many Indian and foreign universities, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and the University of Iowa in the United States.
 
He served twice as the Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and was the first Chancellor of the Central University of Karnatka.
 
Ananthamurthy is best known for his novels such as Samskara, Bharathipura, Avasthe, Bhava and Divya and a play, Avahane. His works have been translated in several Indian and European languages and won several important literary prizes. He has written several short stories also. Many of his works have been made into movies.
 
A staunch critic of the BJP who grew up as a "Gandhian socialist", he had contested unsuccessfuly for the Lok Sabha in the 2004 elections.
 
The Government had honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1998. He had won the Jnanpith Award in 1994.
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Jaipur Pink Panthers beat Bengaluru Bulls 36-31 to top table

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Jaipur Pink Panthers capitalized on the advantage of a vociferous home crowd to get the better of Bengaluru Bulls in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League at the Sawai Man Singh Indoor Stadium here tonight.
 
After a series of entertaining matches in the beautifu port city of Visakhapatnam, the league moved to the historic city of Jaipur today.
 
Both teams were looking for a win, Bengaluru after a draw in their last match and Jaipur after a drubbing.
 
After going tooth and nail in the first half, Jaipur clearly dominated the second, getting the better of the Bulls taking the final score to 36-31 in their favour. With this win Jaipur Pink Panthers also claimed the top spot in the league table.
 
The match began with a bitter news for Bengaluru, who had to play without their best raider Ajay Thakur. However, they did not let that stop their charge as Jaipur was left with two men by the second minute. 
 
But Jasvir Singh had his own plans for the Bulls as he mauled two Bengaluru defenders soon after. 
 
Rajesh Mondal, with a brilliant raid, took down Jasvir Singh, leaving Jaipur in a spot of bother yet again. By the eighth minute, Jaipur’s problem escalated as they conceded their firs LONA points. 
 
Mondal, in an unstoppable mood, ousted Rohit Rana, his fourth victim up till the twelfth minute. But Panthers’ Rajesh Narwal decided to stop the charging Bulls by bringing down three of their players including captain Manjit Chillar. 
 
Following it up in the very next minute, Jasvir Singh did his bit by ousting two Bengaluru players. A closely fought round, the scores at half-time were 17-20 in favour of the visitors.
 
The second half saw a three-man Bengaluru army taking down the smiling Jasvir Singh. Rejuvenated by the crowd’s thunderous cheers, Jaipur earned their first LONA points as they overthrew the lone standing Bull Gurpreet Singh. By the 26th minute both the teams were tied with a score of 24. 
 
Earning his seventh raid point Rajesh Narwal got rid of the Bengaluru skipper, and another Pink Panther Maninder followed it up by getting two points off his raid. 
 
As Bulls’ Pramod Singh left the field of play, Bengaluru was yet again a one man army and consequently they conceded their second set of LONA points. 
 
With the pressure mounting on them, Bengaluru captain Manjit Chillar got into an argument with the referee and was suspended from the match. Soon after, Jaipur started their home run on a winning note and prevailed by five points.
 
The win has taken Abhishek Bachchan’s team to 40 points; two ahead of U Mumba who they face tomorrow in what will be a thrilling encounter.
 
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Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft on track, no correction manoeuvre in August

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said that its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft Mangalyaan would not need the trajectory correction manoeuvre (TCM) planned for August on its 300-day journey to the Red Planet.
 
"MOM is closely following its trajectory and the mission managers have just ruled out the need for a Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM), originally planned for August 2014," a post on ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission Facebook page said.
 
"Which means MOM needs only three out of four TCMs originally planned for the entire heliocentric journey," it added.
 
On July 3, the spacecraft had crossed the three-fourths mark of the 690 million km journey to Mars.
 
The spacecraft, which is India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, on the east coast of the country.
 
On December 1, ISRO scientists had successfully conducted the Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre, setting it on course for Mars through a helio-centric trajectory.
 
Soon after the spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a TCM was performed successfully on December 11. As the spacecraft was on its designated trajectory, the TCM planned for April was not considered essential and the next one was carried out on June 11 by firing its 22 Newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds.
 
The Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre will be performed on September 24, 2014, ISRO has said.
 
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Bangalore: Two gym instructors arrested in case of rape of six-year-old schoolchild

 
Two gym instructors arrested for allegedly raping 6-year-old
The Bangalore police today said they had arrested two gymnastics instructors in connection with the recent rape of a six-year-old student of a school and, in a major turnaround, also made it clear that the skating instructor held earlier as the prime suspect was not involved in the crime.
 
Police Commissioner M N Reddy told reporters that the skating instructor, who had been arrested earlier on the basis of circumstantial evidence, was found to have not been near the scene of the crime when it happened.
 
At that time, police had said that they had found child pornography video clips on his computer and mobile telephone.
 
The girl was said to have been assaulted on July 2 but the incident came to light only on July 14 after a complaint was lodged with the police.
 
The incident had led to widespread protests against the school for the manner in which it had handled the matter and calling for tighter security measures in schools.
 
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Infosys reports 21.6% rise in net profit in Q1, says employee attrition rates worrisome

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Software services exporter Infosys Limited today reported a 21.6 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) increase in net profit at Rs 2,886 crore in the first quarter (Q1) ended June 30 this year.
 
The company said in a press release here today that the quarter-on-quarter growth in net profit in Q1 was 3.5 per cent.
 
The revenues for the quarter were Rs 12,770 crore for a YoY growth of 13.3 per cent and QoQ growth of 0.8 per cent.
 
The company, which recently appointed Dr Vishal Sikka, former member of the Executive Board of enterprise software maker SAP, as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) with effect from August 1, said FY15 revenues were expected to grow between 7% and 9% in US dollar terms and between 5.6% and 7.6% in rupee terms.
 
The company had liquid assets including cash and cash equivalents, available-for-sale financial assets, certificates of deposits and government bonds worth Rs 29,748 crore as on June 30, 2014 as compared to Rs 30,251 crore at the end of the previos quarter.
 
Infosys and its subsiiaries added 61 clients and 11,506 employees (gross) during the quarter. As on June 30, they had 161,284 employees.
 
“We continue to enjoy the confidence of our clients by demonstrating superior execution capability and value realization.” said Mr S. D. Shibulal, CEO and Managing Director of the company. 
 
“As I transition the CEO mantle to Vishal, I am confident that he will leverage this strong foundation to take Infosys to greater heights. I wish him the very best," he said.
 
“We saw positive trends in our large deal wins during the quarter. We believe that this momentum will hold us in good stead as we focus on increasing volumes.” Mr U. B. Pravin Rao, COO of Infosys, said. 
 
“Employee attrition rates are worrisome and we are implementing various initiatives to retain good talent," he said.
 
“We improved operational performance as a result of our cost optimization initiatives and a focus on increasing productivity and utilization. This partially offset the impact of compensation increases for our employees this quarter.” said Mr Rajiv Bansal, CFO. “It will help us invest in areas that will accelerate growth.”
 
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India's Mars orbiter spacecraft completes 75 % of its journey to Red Planet

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Mangalyaan, India's Mars orbiter mission (MOM) spacecraft, has completed 75 per cent of its historic 300-day journey to the Red Planet, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
 
A post on ISRO's Facebook page said on Thursday that the spacecraft had covered 510 million km of the total 680 million km distance on its heliocentric arc towards Mars.
 
"With this, three-fourth of the journey has been completed. MOM and her payloads are in good health," it said.
 
The spacecraft, which is India's first inter-planetary probe, was launched onboard its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) on November 5, 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, about 90 km from Chennai, on the east coast of the country.
 
On December 1, scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had successfully conducted the Trans Mars Injection manoeuvre, setting it on course for Mars through a helio-centric trajectory.
 
Soon after the spacecraft crossed the sphere of influence of Earth, a Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM) was performed successfully on December 11.
 
As the spacecraft was on its designated trajectory, the TCM plannd for April was not considered essential and the next one was carried out last month.
 
The Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) manoeuvre would be performed on September 24, 2014.
 
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Air Marshal Ramesh Rai takes over as AOC-in-C of Training Command, IAF

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Air Marshal Ramesh Rai took over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Training Command at Bangalore yesterday.
 
He was commissioned in the fighter stream on December 29, 1976. He has over 4500 hours of flying to his credit and has commanded a Jaguar Squadron. He is an experimental test pilot, flying instructor and recipient of the Majithia trophy and Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) trophy for standing first in pilots course and ‘best in flying’. 
 
He has held important command and staff appointments including Joint Director Air War Strategy Cell (AWSC), Director Air Staff Requirements at Air HQ and as the Defence Attaché at the Embassy of India in Tel Aviv, Israel. 
 
Air Marshal Rai has commanded the Advance HQ at Kolkata and Air Force Station, Bidar. The Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs) were inducted during his tenure at Air Force Station Bidar. He has held various important staff and instructional appointments including as Senior Air and Administration Staff Officer of Maintenance Command, and as the Chief Instructor (Air) at Defence Services Staff College(DSSC), Wellington prior to his elevation to the rank of Air Marshal on June 1, 2012. He served as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Central Air Command before taking over as AOC-in-C, Training Command. 
 
He was awarded the Vayusena Medal(VM) by the President on 26 January, 1999. 
 
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PSLV-C23 to put French earth observation satellite Spot-7 in orbit on June 30

PSLV-C23. Image Courtesy: ISRO
PSLV-C23. Image Courtesy: ISRO
India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23) will be launched on January 30 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota with the 714 kg French earth observation satellite Spot-7 as its main payload.
 
The vehicle is scheduled to lift off at 0949 hours IST on June 30, a press release from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said today.
 
PSLV-C23 will also be carrying the 14 kg Aisat of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) & NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada, each weighing 15 kg, and the 7 kg Velox-1 of Singapore as co-passengers.  
 
These five satellites will be launched under commercial arrangements that Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, has entered with the respective foreign agencies.
 
All the five satellites have been integrated with PSLV-C23 and the final phase of checks is progressing. The Mission Readiness Review (MRR) Committee and the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) will meet on June 27 to review the progress of prelaunch activities.  After the clearance from LAB, the 49-hour countdown for the mission will commence at 0849 hours IST on June 28, the release added.
 
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1 killed, 9 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

 
1 dead, 9 injured in twin blasts on train at Chennai Central station
One woman was killed and nine others suffered injuries in twin blasts that occurred in two coaches of the Bangalore-Guwahati Express after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters on the spot that two of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while the others had minor injuries.
 
He said the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train had arrived on platform number 9.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati, 22, who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said.
 
Official sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under the seats.
 
Mr Mishra said the train was running slightly late and had arrived at the station at 7.05 am instead of its scheduled time of 5.45 am.
 
The injured were rushed immediately to the Rajiv Gandhi government hospital near the station.
 
Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passenger, Rs 25,000 for those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for those with minor injuries.
 
Police officials, accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal squads, rushed to the scene of the blasts immediately and platform number 9 was cordoned off.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and the train would continue its journey after about an hour after the two affected coaches are detached.
 
The Railways have set up a helpline at Chennai on telephone number 044-25357398 to provide information to relatives of the passengers of the affected train.
 
Operations on other platforms as well as on the nearby suburban section continued to remain normal, Mr Mishra said.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will arrive here later today to probe the incident, sources added.
 
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Arun Chandavarkar appointed as CEO & Jt. MD of Biocon

Dr Arun Chandavarkar
Dr Arun Chandavarkar
Biotechnology major Biocon Ltd today announced the appointment of Dr Arun Chandavarkar as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Joint Managing Director as well as his induction on to its Board.
 
Dr. Chandavarkar has been the Chief Operating Officer of Biocon since 2006. He joined the company as General Manager – Operations in 1990. 
 
Under his leadership, Biocon has established expertise in diverse technology platforms spanning microbial fermentation, cell culture, chemical synthesis and purification to develop a wide range of products from specialty enzymes to active pharmaceutical ingredients to recombinant therapeutic proteins. 
 
“I am extremely happy to have Arun join the Board of Directors and take on the mantle of CEO & Joint MD," Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman & Managing Director, Biocon, said.
 
"Arun has been a core member of the leadership team at Biocon and has worked very closely with me over the last 24 years. He has played a pivotal role in the evolution of Biocon and I am confident that, in his new role, he will build immense value for Biocon and its stakeholders.”
 
Dr. Chandavarkar said, “I am delighted and honoured to join the Board of Biocon. These are exciting times and I look forward to steering the Company to the next level.”
 
Dr. Chandavarkar has a B. Tech from IIT, Bombay and earned his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA.
 
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