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Shops on Pune’s MG road woo customers with midnight shopping!

The traders all over the area have arranged for various discounts and gift vouchers, all in an attempt to bring back the glory of traditional markets.

MG road in Pune Camp area.
Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay
Wikimedia Commons
Once a popular shopping destination, the camp area of Pune suffered a setback when customers started to opt online shopping websites and malls instead of the traditional shops. To attract customers again, the Pune Camp Merchants Association (PCMA) have started a unique midnight market for three consecutive Saturdays starting December 12.Over 400-500 shop owners have agreed to keep their shops open from 9 pm to midnight, a first-of-its-kind shopping bonanza for the festive season this year. “This initiative was thought by a fellow trader Murtuza Poonawala. We have been working on it since a month and expect customers to come in for this midnight market. We have also urged shop owners to give special discounts to customers during thus period, this would help to attract more number of customers” said Parag Shah, additional chairman (PCMA).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The traders all over the area have arranged for various discounts and gift vouchers, all in an attempt to bring back the glory of traditional markets. Entertainment for kids through gifts, free popcorn and eatables and cartoon characters walking through the street will make the midnight markets more like a night out for families. “The association has organised some entertainment on the streets to make it a fun shopping event for customers,” Shah said. Horse rides, food stalls, loads of freebies and free parking are some other attractive offers arranged by the association.Applauding the innovative way of bringing customers back to camp, Rajesh Hirdaramani, owner of Maharaja Fashions, a high-end store dealing with jewellery and clothes, said,”We hope for a good footfall in the next three Saturdays. This initiative can help revive traditional markets again. Considering the tough competition due to online markets and malls, we hope such initiatives will make a difference.” He has put up discounts on purchase of more than Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 rupees and gift vouchers.A regular at the Clover Center at MG road, Camp, Sally Fergus said, “I have always shopped for Christmas at MG road. Saturday midnight shopping sounds fun and I am planning to visit with my friends.”For more such hyperlocal stories, visit iamin.in.

Manufacturing growth at 25-month low in November – Nikkei/Markit PMI | Reuters

India’s manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace in over two years in November as demand and output continued to soften, a business survey showed on Tuesday.

Nikkei’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by Markit, fell to a 25-month low of 50.3 in November from October’s 50.7. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The output sub-index fell to 50.4 from 51.2 the previous month as domestic demand remained weak.

The subdued domestic demand and competitive pressure appeared to slow new orders, whose sub-index fell to a 25-month low of 50.5, from 51.2 in October.

“Signs of the sector slowing have been building up, as growth of both new orders and output has eased in each of the past four months,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit.

India’s economic growth picked up in the July-September quarter, outpacing China on improving domestic demand and manufacturing activity, so the latest survey will make disappointing reading for the government and central bank.

The Reserve Bank of India is expected to keep policy unchanged this week as it looks to control inflation, which edged up to 5.0 percent in October, leaving it to the government to implement growth policies.

Input prices increased for a second month although firms did not pass on the cost burden fully to consumers.

(Reporting By Krishna Eluri; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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Volkswagen Group to recall 323,700 diesel cars in India | Reuters

NEW DELHI Volkswagen’s Indian unit will recall 323,700 diesel cars after a government investigation found it had flouted local pollution limits, the latest blow to a company that has admitted to cheating emission tests.

Volkswagen Group India will recall cars from Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi brands across various models equipped with the EA 189 engines, it said in a statement late on Tuesday.

In November, India found cars made by Volkswagen’s local business had surpassed nitrogen oxide emissions limits, with significantly higher variations in some Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars.

The findings came two months after the carmaker admitted to cheating U.S. diesel emissions tests and said that up to about 11 million vehicles worldwide could be affected.

The emissions scandal is the biggest business crisis in the carmaker’s 78-year history. It is facing slowing orders for new cars, its labour boss said, with consumers shunning purchases after news of the cheating broke in September.

To fix the issue in India, Volkswagen said it will update the software carried in EA 189 engines after getting an approval from the ministry of heavy industries and testing agency, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary in the ministry of heavy industries, said the voluntary recall would begin this month.

In the wake of the scandal, India will, over the next six months, test diesel vehicles manufactured by all other carmakers to assess if the problem is industry-wide, Sharma said.

Volkswagen sold 26,479 vehicles between April and October giving it less than 2 percent share of the passenger vehicle market, industry data showed, lagging carmakers such as Toyota Motor Corp, Ford and Maruti Suzuki.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; editing by David Clarke)

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Adele leaves Bieber, One Direction in dust on Billboard chart | Reuters

NEW YORK Adele beat all comers on the U.S. Billboard 200 album charts on Monday with a record-breaking debut for “25,” leaving other top acts like Justin Bieber and British boy band One Direction looking like also-rans.

The British songstress sold 3.48 million copies in the first week of release for “25,” making it the biggest-selling album of 2015 and the only album to surpass 3 million sales in one week since Nielsen began tracking sales in 1991, Nielsen Music said.

Adele’s success pushed Bieber’s “Purpose” into second place, with 290,090 sales in its second week, while One Direction had to settle for third with sales of 108,445 units of its release “Made in the A.M.,” also in its second week.

Sales of “25” comprised 41 percent of all U.S. album sales last week, Nielsen said.

Adele’s Grammy-winning 2011 album “21” also saw a boost, rising to ninth place on the Billboard 200 from 25th the week before.

But Bieber had the upper hand on the Digital Song charts, which measure online download sales. His single “Sorry” unseated Adele’s “Hello,” for the top spot, five weeks after both were released. The Canadian pop singer’s “Love Yourself” also took the No. 3 spot ahead of Adele’s new single “When We Were Young.”

The only other Top 10 newcomers to the Billboard 200 charts were American rapper Jadakiss, whose album “Top 5 Dead or Alive” debuted at No. 4 with just over 66,000 sales, and Irish singer Enya’s comeback album, “Dark Sky Island,” which landed at No. 8 with 47,700 units sold.

The Billboard 200 chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Exclusive: Shire prepares to make new bid for Baxalta – source | Reuters

ZURICH/LONDON Drugmaker Shire (SHP.L) is preparing to make a new takeover offer for U.S. biotech firm Baxalta (BXLT.N) that if successful will create one of the world’s leading specialists in rare diseases, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

The London-listed group has asked its advisers to renew its bid effort, the source said, almost four months after Baxalta rejected an unsolicited $30 billion offer that it said significantly undervalued the company.

Shire’s bid preparations come three weeks after it announced its $5.9 billion purchase of U.S. rare disease specialist Dyax Corp (DYAX.O).

Shire is working with Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Evercore (EVR.N) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) on the offer which could be structured in cash and shares, the source said, cautioning that no deal was certain and negotiations could still fall through.

Spokesmen at Shire and Baxalta had no immediate comment. Morgan Stanley, Evercore and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

Baxalta, which has a market capitalisation of $22.7 billion, would help complement Shire’s growing portfolio of high-priced treatments for rare or “orphan” diseases.

On Aug. 3 Shire valued each Baxalta share at $45.23. Its share price has dropped more than 26 percent since then, and was trading around $33 at 2000 GMT on Tuesday.

If it goes ahead, the deal will create a rare diseases company with product sales of around $20 billion by 2020 and double-digit percent annual sales growth.

Shire Chief Executive Flemming Ornskov has relentlessly pursued a merger with Baxalta for the past six months, the source said. 

“He’s never given up,” the source said, adding that Shire is keen to buy Baxalta to deliver on its goal of doubling its revenue in the next few years. On Nov. 2 Ornskov said the acquisition of Dyax had not compromised Shire’s ability to pursue a bid for Baxalta.

“Even with this transaction, we will continue to have the financial firepower to pursue other value-added strategic acquisitions, including Baxalta,” he said at the time.

Baxalta, advised by Goldman Sachs, said Shire’s bid did not reflect its potential as a newly listed company which expects its shares to rise as it becomes better known. The biotech firm was spun off by Baxter International (BAX.N) in July.

Baxalta develops biotech treatments for rare blood conditions, cancers and immune system disorders. It employs 16,000 people and had proforma revenue of $6 billion in 2014.

The transaction, however, faces several hurdles mainly due to Baxalta’s state-of-the-art takeover defences, with a “poison pill” that effectively stops unwanted suitors buying more than 10 percent of the company and a hard-to-replace board.

(Additional reporting by Carl O’Donnell in New York and Paul Sandle in London; editing by Susan Thomas)

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Ericsson sees video driving tenfold rise in mobile data by 2021 | Reuters

STOCKHOLM Swedish telecoms network gear maker Ericsson raised its forecast for mobile data traffic, in a further boost to companies that benefit from rising numbers of consumers viewing online videos on platforms such as YouTube and Netflix.

Ericsson, the world’s top mobile network equipment maker, expects a tenfold surge in mobile data traffic globally between 2015 and 2021 as the number of smartphone subscriptions rise. In its mobile industry report in June it forecast that growth would be eightfold between 2014 and 2020.

Inge Heydorn, fund manager at Sentat Asset Management, which invests in telecom and IT shares globally, said Ericsson is aiming to attract telecoms operators to invest in its networks by showing how much data traffic is expected to grow.

Heydorn said the inexorable rise in mobile data benefits telecoms operators more than it does Ericsson, which reported a 7 percent drop in sales this year despite the growth in smartphones.

But content providers, such as Netflix, Facebook and YouTube owner Google are the biggest winners from the increase in data traffic, he added. Ericsson last week trimmed its market growth forecast for the next few years, indicating no clear correlation between mobile traffic and telecoms operators’ investments.

“Technology development and price pressure move faster than the increase in data traffic,” said Bengt Nordstrom, head of telecoms consultancy Northstream.

YouTube accounts for up to 70 percent of all video traffic in many mobile networks, while Netflix’s share of video traffic can reach up to 20 percent in markets where it is available, Ericsson said.

Video is expected to grow by around 55 percent annually through 2021, increasing its share of total mobile traffic in 2021 to 70 percent, up from around 50 percent in 2015, Ericsson said.

In it twice-yearly Mobility Report, Ericsson said it expected there to be 6.4 billion smartphone subscriptions globally by the end of 2021, up from 3.4 billion in 2015, due to greater affordability in developing markets.

It repeated its expectation that fifth-generation mobile telephony, which will facilitate self-driving cars, will be commercially deployed in 2020.

“In 2021, South Korea, Japan, China and the U.S. are expected to have the fastest uptake of 5G subscriptions,” Ericsson said, predicting 150 million 5G mobile subscriptions by 2021.

The new generation of mobile phone technology is expected not only to bring higher data speeds, but also to better accommodate a wide variety of connected devices.

(Reporting by Olof Swahnberg; editing by Louise Heavens)

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Poaching case: Hearing against Salman Khan’s conviction begins in Rajasthan HC

The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate had sentenced Khan for one year on February 17, 2006

Salman Khan

PTI
Ten years after actor Salman Khan was sentenced by a lower court in two cases of killing chinkaras, hearing on his appeal against the sentence in one of these cases started in Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur on Monday. While opening the hearing, Khan’s counsel Mahesh Bora questioned the two inspections of the gypsy, allegedly used by Khan for poaching. The lawyer questioned the “difference” in the reports of both of these inspections carried out at a gap of five days. The first inspection was done by the forest officer and the second by the police, a day after filing of the FIR.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”While the first report mentioned some faded blood-like stains in the gypsy, the second report mentioned finding of hair strands and six pellets in the same gypsy, which was interestingly in possession of the forest department then,” Bora argued. He also raised question about the theory of the use of arms by Khan in the poaching and claimed that the arms in question were not with the actor. The actor’s lawyer alleged that the arms were later brought from Mumbai.”When no weapon was used in the alleged poaching, how could they be connected with the poaching,” Bora questioned. The hearing will continue tomorrow. The actor was booked for poaching of two chinkaras in Bhawad area of Jodhpur on September 26-27, 1998 during the shooting of his movie ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. There were eight accused in this case. Leaving Khan and Satish Shah rest were locals.The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate had sentenced Khan for one year on February 17, 2006. All the remaining accused were acquitted. The actor appealed against the order in the Sessions court while the state government appealed simultaneously in the High Court for the enhancement of the sentence and challenging the acquittal of other accused.”The appeal of Khan was later shifted to the High Court considering the two other appeals by the state in the High Court so that the hearing of all the appeals could progress together,” said one of the government counsels Mahipal Bishnoi. Another appeal of the actor, against his conviction for five years in the second case of chinkara killing, is also pending before the High Court.

Amitabh Bachchan speaks up on ‘growing intolerance’, says Indian films taught to banish communal prejudices

“The Indian cinema from its beginning has taught us the lessons of finding love, justice and social unity. And most importantly the banishment of communal prejudices and hatred,” Bachchan said.

Amitabh Bachchan on Saturday recalled the contribution of Indian cinema in fostering social unity, communal amity and love at a time when “cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world”. “The Indian cinema from its beginning has taught us the lessons of finding love, justice and social unity. And most importantly the banishment of communal prejudices and hatred,” Bachchan said during his inaugural speech at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival. “It is essential to recall the lessons of equality and cultural diversity taught by Rabindranath Tagore at a time when cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 73-year-old star said that Bengal’s strength always has been its intellectual integrity and open-mindedness that both writers and filmmakers have highlighted on the screen. “These age-old values are once again being highlighted in Indian cinema. These values constantly emphasise deep belief in equality and social justice,” the actor said. Quoting from Tagore’s poetry, Bachchan said the Bard’s lines should be remembered for “signifying Mother India’s unconditional love for all children and are relevant in holding together India’s diversity and the spirit of equality.” Bachchan’s comments come amid the ongoing debate on intolerance in the country which has led to several writers, filmmakers and eminent personalities returning their awards.The actor said he feels truly blessed to be born in a country which has always believed in cultural diversity and pluralism. While lauding the contributions of Bengali cinema and its various stalwarts, he said their movies uphold tolerance of diversities. “Cinema with Bengali background have always put up pan India character based on our time-tested values, the source of our core strength as a society and our tolerance of diversities. That is essential for a common mosaic of various ethnic communities and sects.”

BJP frets over growing dissent against Modi | Reuters

NEW DELHI Senior leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are growing uneasy about an internal rebellion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s leadership style, which has punctured his aura of invincibility and threatens to weaken him further.

While the 65-year-old, who swept to power last year on a wave of optimism over economic reforms, lunched with Queen Elizabeth during a high-profile, three-day visit to Britain, his lieutenants are working to keep a lid on problems at home.

One is a revolt among a handful of senior members of his nationalist BJP, the first time allies have openly questioned the direction of a leader who captured power to a degree last seen when Indira Gandhi ruled India with a firm hand.A cabinet minister and two BJP leaders told Reuters they agreed with comments made by party elders earlier this week questioning Modi’s stewardship, after a second straight regional election setback.

Tuesday’s statement by four party elders zeroed in on the centralised leadership style of Modi.

He has been accused of undermining politicians in his party by acting as chief campaigner in local elections, and bypassing cabinet colleagues by making decisions for them.

“It is clear that the unrest is more widespread,” said one BJP leader, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. “The problem is Modi has been governing this way for so long, he probably can’t, and won’t change that style.”

Doubts around Modi’s leadership raise questions about the viability of his plans to transform the world’s largest democracy into a global power and close the development gap with China.”Modi needs to delegate more responsibility, otherwise there will be more and more problems,” said S. Chandrasekharan, director of the South Asia Analysis Group in New Delhi. “He needs to undergo a course correction, or the resentment will start to build, and have an impact his ability to govern.”

REACHING OUT

BJP sources said the leadership was reaching out to party veterans, including former deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who publicly demanded that leaders be held responsible for their election defeat in the pivotal and populous state of Bihar.

Advani was one of four former ministers to author the strongly-worded statement, indirectly accusing Modi and party President Amit Shah of holding too much power.

The BJP has asked those leaders not to embarrass the party further and to discuss the issues in private, the sources said.

“It would have been better if these issues were raised in the party forum rather than in public,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday.

A central minister acknowledged that Modi needs to listen to more voices to avoid a widening rebellion.

“There is a logic in what the elders of the party pointed out,” the minister said. “The party realises the value of their observations and we started a discussion to find solutions.”

Modi will be out of India for much of the remainder of November as he travels to the G20 summit in Turkey this weekend and then has trips planned to Malaysia, Singapore and finally France for a climate change summit.

A second BJP leader said there was little chance of an attempt to unseat Modi, who remains by far the party’s most popular leader.

But the recent election defeat means the BJP is unlikely to be able to secure control of parliament in this five-year term.

This is significant, because Modi’s economic reform agenda is being blocked in the Rajya Sabha, where his party is in a minority, and seat allocations are dependent on parties’ strength in the states.

Reforms thwarted so far include the biggest overhaul of taxes since independence in 1947 and a business-friendly land bill.

“This election brings a sense of realism. You should never think you are invincible,” the second BJP leader said. “It is going to be a tough road ahead.”

(Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Britain, India sign over 9 billion pounds in deals despite protests | Reuters

LONDON Britain and India welcomed more than 9 billion pounds ($13.7 billion) in commercial deals during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but his arrival was overshadowed by protests over a perceived rise in intolerance back home.

Modi got a warm welcome by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has tried to cultivate closer ties with India to secure business opportunities in a fast-growing economy at a time when Modi has been prioritising other relationships.

For his part, Modi is seeking to restore his authority on the world stage after a defeat for his Hindu nationalist party in populous Bihar state on Sunday. He appealed to business to invest in a more transparent India in a speech at the Guildhall, a historic building in the heart of London’s financial district.

While Cameron said he wanted to support Modi in his efforts to transform India with improved infrastructure, the Indian leader signalled he wanted Britain to stay in the European Union, saying the country was India’s gateway to Europe.

“We want to become your number one partner for supporting the finance needed for this ambitious plan, making London the world’s centre for offshore rupee trading,” Cameron told him during a news conference, adding that plans were in place to issue more than 1 billion pounds in bonds.

He later said in a statement: “During this visit, British and Indian companies are announcing new collaborations, together worth more than £9 billion pounds.”

The British government listed more than 20 deals and collaborations, including a 1.3 billion-pound ($1.98 billion) investment by Vodafone (VOD.L).

The two prime ministers also welcomed a package to promote clean energy worth 3.2 billion pounds of commercial agreements, joint research programmes and initiatives to share technical, scientific, and financial and policy expertise.

Before the visit, diplomats said the Indian leader was keen to buy 20 more BAE Systems (BAES.L) Hawk trainer aircraft to be made in Bengaluru.

Cameron has visited India three times since taking office in 2010 to try to climb up the diplomatic pecking order, but Modi is the first Indian head of government to pay an official visit to Britain, the country’s former colonial ruler, in almost a decade.

His visit comes at a time when a debate is raging in India over accusations that Modi is failing to rein in Hindu zealots trying to impose their values on all Indians.

POMP AND PROTESTS

As Modi and Cameron shook hands for the cameras outside Number 10 Downing Street, a crowd of about 200 protesters could be heard shouting anti-Modi slogans nearby.

“Our main concern is that minorities are not safe in India,” said Sikh protester Kuldip Singh.

The demonstrators held up banners with messages such as “Modi you are killing Indian democracy” and “Stop religious persecution in India”.

Asked about these concerns at his joint news conference with Cameron, Modi said India was a vibrant democracy in which individual rights were guaranteed by the constitution.

“There is something that is deeply entrenched in our culture, in our traditions, which is that of not accepting anything that has to do with intolerance,” he said, adding that violent incidents would not be tolerated.

Critics have accused Modi of remaining silent about incidents such as the recent deaths of four people attacked by Hindus enraged at reports of cows being slaughtered, smuggled or consumed, and the separate shootings of two prominent atheists.

Before his arrival in Britain, more than 200 writers, including Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan, signed an open letter to Cameron urging him to raise concerns about freedom of expression in India during his talks with Modi.

About 45 British members of parliament, including opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, signed a motion to debate India’s human rights record.

The British government, however, rolled out the red carpet for Modi, who was greeted in the grand courtyard of the Treasury by a guard of honour wearing ceremonial bearskin headgear.

Modi was due to have lunch with Queen Elizabeth on Friday, before the emotional high point of his visit, a mass rally at Wembley Stadium where Modi will address about 60,000 supporters from India’s 1.5 million-strong diaspora in Britain.

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton and William James,; Writing by Estelle Shirbon,; Editing by Elizabeth Piper, Larry King)

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Never faced issues working in India, groups that work against Pak should be ignored: Fawad Khan

Peshawar: Pakistani actor Fawad Khan on Wednesday said that he never faced any issues working in India and the groups that work against Pakistan should be ignored.

Fawad Khan. Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Fawad Khan. Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Khan was attending a tree plantation event at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH) and Research Centre.

Talking about the growing cases of religious intolerance and the mood against Pakistanis in India, Fawad said one should ignore the groups that work against Pakistan.

“I have never faced any issues working in India. The groups that work against Pakistan should be ignored because there are similar groups present in Pakistan too. We as artists should ignore such groups and concentrate on our work,” he said.

The Shiv Sena has in recent weeks targeted Pakistani artists and have said they will not allow artists from Pakistan to work in India.

The party forced popular Ghazal singer Ghulam Ali to cancel his concerts in different parts of India last month.

The group has also said it would not allow Fawad and Mahira Khan to promote their upcoming films in Maharashtra.

While Fawad has completed shooting for Kapoor and Sons, Mahira will be making her much anticipted Bollywood debut alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Raees.

The Pakistani star who made waves with his first Bollywood film Khubsoorat said he would love to invite Khan to visit the latter’s native city Peshawar.

“Peshawar is very beautiful and peaceful, and I will invite Shahrukh Khan to visit his native city,” he said.

PTI

UK steelworkers march against Tata job cuts, demand govt action | Reuters

LONDONHundreds of steelworkers marched through Scunthorpe in northeast England on Tuesday to protest against Tata Steel’s planned job cuts and restructuring, calling on the government to do more to help the beleaguered steel sector.

Nearly 4,000 UK steel jobs were lost in October alone – equivalent to about one fifth of the sector’s workforce – as Tata Steel, SSI UK and Caparo Industries buckled under pressure from decade-low steel prices.

Tata Steel, the UK’s largest steelmaker, said last month it will cut some 1,200 jobs in Scunthorpe and Scotland. Last week, it said it will press ahead with restructuring and will “look at all options” for its European steel business.

The steelmaker is trying to sell its loss-making long products unit, with press reports quoting the company’s Europe Chief Executive Karl Koehler as saying that the business has no future within Tata Steel beyond the end of this financial year.

“Tata Steel needs to show that it will be a responsible seller of the business and that it won’t just abandon the steelworkers of Scunthorpe and the rest of its Long Products business,” said Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the trade union Community, said after the march.

A Tata Steel spokesman declined to comment on the press reports, saying only that the company is “still assessing all strategic options” for the business.

Nic Dakin, opposition Labour MP for Scunthorpe, who attended the march, told the BBC: “This is more than about just steelworkers jobs, its about the future of this area, this community and this economy.”

It is estimated that for every steel sector job lost, three or four jobs are lost in related sectors, and UK steelworkers fear towns such as Scunthorpe will wither without immediate and concrete government action.

EU economy and industry ministers met in Brussels on Monday to address the steel sector crisis, but failed to agree on concrete measures, particularly regarding cheap Chinese steel imports.

China produces about half the world’s 1.6 billion tonnes of steel, and is expected to export a record 100 million tonnes this year as its steel demand wanes due to a growth slowdown.

Global steelmakers pin much of the blame for plunging steel prices on what they see as Chinese steel “dumping”, though the world market is plagued by over-capacity well beyond China.

Tata Steel has cut thousands of jobs since it bought Anglo-Dutch producer Corus in 2007.

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel, editing by David Evans)

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Woman who accused ex-climate chief of harassment quits think-tank | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A woman who accused climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri of sexual harassment quit her job at a leading green think-tank on Wednesday, saying the organisation treated her in the “worst possible manner” after she complained about his behaviour.

The 29-year-old researcher, who filed charges against the former chief of a U.N. climate panel in February, said The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) – where Pachauri was Director General – had discriminated against her.

“TERI failed to uphold my interests as an employee, let alone protect them,” the woman wrote in an email sent to Dinesh Varma, head of TERI’s human resource department, and circulated to the media.

“The organisation has instead protected R.K. Pachauri and provided him with full immunity, despite being held guilty of sexual harassment at the workplace by your own inquiry committee,” said the woman, who cannot be named under Indian law.

A statement issued by TERI said the woman’s complaints about it were “completely false and baseless.”

“TERI has been completely fair and totally neutral in the matter. The organisation has till date accorded special privileges to the complainant and acceded to all her demands,” said a statement sent to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Pachauri, 75, who headed the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has denied the allegations, which police are currently investigating.

He quit as IPCC chairman over the sex harassment complaint earlier this year. In July, TERI’s Governing Council removed him from the post of head of TERI which he had held for more than 30 years.

The woman said the Governing Council had created “a hostile environment” for her.

“I refuse to be associated with an organisation such as yours for the way you have mistreated me, for not standing by the law, for not having respect for my capabilities, for doing NOTHING to ensure that my career is not harmed and instead harmed me mentally, professionally and economically,” she wrote.

Indian activists said the woman’s resignation highlighted the challenges faced by Indian women when they speak out over sexual harassment in the workplace, especially when the alleged perpetrators are powerful and influential people.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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Mashable launches its India edition with India.com

Mashable India will offer the best global coverage from Mashable.com and augment it with extensive editorial coverage from India.

Mashable, the leading media company for the digital generation, and India.com Webportal Private Limited, India’s fastest-growing and leading content publisher today announced the launch of Mashable India.This new online destination will bring together Mashable’s mission of inspiring and informing its global community about how digital and technology are changing the world with India.com’s strength in generating original content for Indian audiences and widespread reach in the Indian digital space.“As a truly global media company, Mashable is very excited to be launching Mashable India, in partnership with the incredibly talented team at India.com, to better serve both our community and brand partners in India,” said Pete Cashmore, Founder and CEO of Mashable. “With technology and digital changing almost every aspect of our world, now could not be a better time to expand to one of the most diverse and unique areas of the world, India.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India.com Web Portal currently publishes original content destinations that reach out to over 50 million unique visitors per month.“We are thrilled to be building upon our already robust growth of the PMC and ZEE joint venture in the India digital publishing marketplace and am proud to be doing so with Mashable, a brand that has so effectively attracted and maintained a global audience in other international markets,” said PMC Chairman and CEO Jay Penske. Mashable India has a dedicated editorial team based in Mumbai and New Delhi for localised content to serve the ever growing and connected Indian audiences. Mashable India will offer the best global coverage from Mashable.com and augment it with extensive editorial coverage from India. Mashable India will also leverage the audience reach of India.com network properties.”We are delighted to begin the India operations of Mashable, which will offer unique content for the connected generation. The combined offering from India.com’s wide range of content and Mashable’s expertise will give readers a global and Indian perspective on things with a refreshing take,” said Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.The addition of Mashable India continues the company’s global expansion, which has seen the launch of dedicated UK, Australia and Asia editions over the past year.

Tamil comedian Vivek’s son Prasanna Kumar passes away; actor asks for privacy

Vivek requested the media to give them some space during this time of grief.

Popular comedian from Kollywood, Vivek suffered a huge loss as his son Prasanna Kumar died on Thursday, October 29, 2015. The death has come as huge shock to his family, friends and fans.Prasanna Kumar, 13, was suffering from brain fever. He was being treated at SRM Institutes for Medical Science at Vadapalani, Chennai. But he did not respond to the treatment and died.Vivek requested the media to give them some space during this time of grief. “Due to unexpected demise of my son prasanna kumar, am physically and mentally upset. I request you to not cover the news by visual and take bytes from the people who pay homage to my son. Hope you will understand my emotion. Thank you”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prasanna Kumar is survived by his father Vivek, mother Arulselvi and sisters Amritha Nandini and Tejaswini.He was known to be good at playing the keyboard.

National Award was given by nation and not govt, won’t return it, says Vidya Balan

Mumbai: Bollywood star Vidya Balan on Thursday said she will not give back her national award as it was an honour bestowed on her by the country and not the government.

Vidya Balan. Reuters

Vidya Balan. Reuters

The comment come in the backdrop of some eminent film personalities returning their National Awards in solidarity with FTII students and against growing intolerance in the country.

“This honour (the award) is by the nation and not the government. So I do not want to return it,” Balan said at the ‘India Today’ Conclave in Mumbai.

Balan had won the National award for the best actress for her performance in The Dirty Picture in 2012.

Filmmakers Dibakar Banerjee and Anand Patwardhan were among the 10 film personalities who have returned their National Awards in solidarity with FTII students and against growing intolerance in the country.

Banerjee and other filmmakers said their decision to return the awards was taken in view of the apathy displayed by the government in addressing the issues raised by the FTII students and the general environment of intolerance against debate.

Yesterday, the FTII students ended their 139-day-old strike to return to the classes against the appointment of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the prestigious institute, but said they will continue to seek his removal.

Meanwhile, Vidya Balan said she was not interest in joining politics and would “fail miserably” at it.

She also said that working towards social causes should be an individual decision and no one should be compelled to work for a particular cause.

The 37-year-old actress will be next seen in the Marathi film Ek Albela, a biopic on actor-director Bhagwan Dada. She will be portraying golden era actress Geeta Bali in the film.

The film is scheduled for release in January next year.

PTI

India welcomes Pakistan pledge to fight militants, but still talks tough | Reuters

NEW DELHI India on Friday welcomed a joint pledge by the United States and Pakistan to fight militant groups it suspects of attacking Indian targets, but ruled out any third-party mediation to end a long-running dispute over Kashmir.

Although the Indian foreign ministry accused Pakistan of state-sponsored terrorism, New Delhi’s tough rhetoric did not preclude the possible resumption of peace talks that were derailed by recent tensions.

“India has always desired resolution of all issues with Pakistan bilaterally through dialogue and peaceful means,” Vikas Swarup, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, told a news briefing in New Delhi.

“It is Pakistan who has chosen to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy. And this visit shows that the international community is deeply concerned about its support to, and sponsorship of, terrorism.”

At talks in Washington on Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged “to promote peace and stability throughout the region and to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism.”

For the first time, Pakistan committed to take “effective action” against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan that India blames for an attack by suicide commandos on Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people died.

The joint statement also named, among other groups, the Haqqani Network that Indian and U.S. intelligence believe was responsible for an attack on its embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul in the same year.

“This is the first time that Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani Network have been specifically mentioned in a U.S-Pakistan joint statement,” said Swarup. “We would naturally hope that they deliver on these commitments.”An agreement to revive peace talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours – who have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir – was reached between Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Russia in July.

But escalating tensions over Kashmir, which both countries claim in full but rule only in part, derailed plans for the national security advisers of both countries to hold talks on containing terrorism.

Just before travelling to the United States, Sharif named a former general as his new national security adviser. Reacting, Swarup said that India “remains open” to holding talks between the two countries’ national security advisers.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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