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Dr Harsh Vardhan dedicates supercomputer ‘Pratyush’ to nation

Union Minister of Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan yesterday dedicated India’s fastest and first multi-petaflops supercomputer to the nation in Pune.
The supercomputer named as ‘Pratyush’ meaning the Sun, established at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, will be a national facility for improving weather and climate forecasts and services under the umbrella of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
While inaugurating the facility at IITM, Pune, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that it will be India’s number one HPC facility in terms of peak capacity and performance.

Agusta,Giuseppe Orsi,Bruno Spagnolini,acquitted

An Italian appeals court has acquitted Giuseppe Orsi, the former president of defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, over charges of alleged bribes paid in exchange for a Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal to sell 12 AgustaWestland helicopters to the Indian government.
The court also acquitted Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of the company’s helicopters subsidiary AgustaWestland, who had also been handed a four-year jail term on the same charges.
In December 2016 Italy’s highest court had ordered a retrial of the case after the former executives of the Rome-based group had been found guilty on corruption charges related to a 672 million Dollars contract to supply a dozen helicopters to New Delhi.
After yesterday’s acquittal Orsi’s lawyer said the judge found no evidence of corruption, of the passage of money or that Indian officials interfered with the tender.
A separate investigation into suspected corruption and money laundering is still open in India and involves individuals alleged to have worked as intermediaries in the deal.
India cancelled the helicopter contract in 2013 after Orsi was arrested, but AgustaWestland opposed India’s decision and the contract remains suspended and the subject of international arbitration in Paris.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has said the acquittal of the two officers in Italy will not affect the agency’s independent probe into more than 360 crores rupees bribe case. CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said in Delhi yesterday, that CBI had a completely different probe and a very strong case.
In India, the CBI last year charged former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi in a Delhi court along with nine others for bribery in the case. The contract was scrapped by the previous UPA Government in 2014.

Indian origin lawmakers can be catalysts in India’s growth:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Indian origin lawmakers from across the world to be partners in India’s development and act as catalysts in the country’s economic growth.
Addressing the first Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Parliamentarians Conference in New Delhi this morning, Mr Modi said, they can help attract more Foreign Direct Investment to India by spreading India’s growth story globally.
The Prime Minister said, a record 16 billion dollars of FDI came into the country in the recent past.
Mr Modi said, his government has made far-reaching policy changes, with reform and transform being its guiding principle.
The Prime Minister said, India has moved far ahead and people can see the results of change in every sphere. He said, GST is a huge reform and government has eliminated multiple taxation system.
Mr Modi also said, the government is committed to eradicating corruption focussing on infrastructure and transport. He conveyed to the persons of Indian origin that the values of Indian culture and civilisation can guide a world gripped in increasing instability.
The Prime Minister added that India has always played a constructive role and persons of Indian origin can take pride in the country’s increasing strength worldwide.
Commending all the NRI Parliamentarians for their feat, the Prime Minister said, wherever the migrants of Indian origin went, they made that place their home, and kept Indianism alive.
Mr Modi said, today the people of Indian origin are the Prime Ministers in Mauritius, Portugal and Ireland. He said, he can see how a Mini World Parliament of Indian origin is present in front of him.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, India plays a key role today in shaping global agenda on key issues including black money and terrorism. She said, her Ministry received overwhelming response from other countries for the conference.
Our correspondent reports that 124 sitting MPs and 17 mayors of Indian descent from 23 countries are participating in the day-long conference. The countries from which the MPs are participating include the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
There are two thematic plenary sessions during the conference.

USCIS: No policy change for H-1B visa holders

United States today said, it is not considering any proposal that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the country this give immense relief to Indian techie in US
The announcement by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) came days after reports emerged that the Trump administration was considering tightening H-1B visa rules that could lead to deportation of some 7 lakh 50,000 Indians.
The reports had said, it was mulling ending extensions for H-1B holders. In a statement, Chief of Media Relations at USCIS, Jonathan Withington said, they were never considering such a policy change, adding that any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false.
Mr Withington said, the agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out President Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment based visa programmes.
The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

Train delays due to fog worst in last 4 years

Even Rajdhanis delayed beyond 24hrs
New Delhi – 9th January, 2018-  In the first 15 days after the advent of fog this winter, it is turning out that train delays in the current fog season will be the worst in the last 4 years. This is according to the live train tracking data accumulated by RailYatri as reported by the train travellers. With the temperature in North India expected to drop further in coming days, the situation is not expected to improve anytime soon and RailYatri has issued a special advisory to all its travelers along with special alerts on trains most affected by the fog.

The National Train Delay Index as measured by RailYatri this fog season in the last 15 days of December 2017 stands at 87 mins with the worst of the typical fog days still to arrive in the northern part of the country. In general, the peak fog season is between December 15 to January 15. The National Train Delay Index as published by RailYatri over the last three years has been as follows – 72 mins (2014-15); 47 mins (2015-16); 96 mins (2016-17).
While the foggy winter is phenomenon a typically attributed to the northern part of the country, the train delays gets spread across the country due to its cascading effects.
Some of the top severely affected trains due to fog this season are–
1) Guwahati – New Delhi Poorvotor Sampark Kranti Express –  Nearly 52 hrs delay
2) Anand Vihar – Sealdah West Bengal Sampark Kranti Express – Nearly 48 hrs delay
3) New Delhi – Bhubaneswar Duronto Express – Nearly 34 hrs delay
4) Anand Vihar – Agartala Rajdhani Express – Nearly 30 hrs delay
5) Gorakhpur – Trivandrum Raptisagar Superfast Express – Nearly 29 hrs delay

EU calls Iran Foreign Minister to hold talks

EU has called Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks in Brussels on Thursday along with the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany in efforts to preserve the hard-fought deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The meeting between Zarif and the three European parties to the landmark 2015 agreement comes after Iran warned the world yesterday to prepare for the withdrawal of the United States.
It also follows the high political tension in Iran following recent protests which claimed 21 lives, though Zarif has dismissed the idea the unrest would be on the agenda.
Iran signed the accord with six world powers, agreeing to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of many international sanctions, but US President Donald Trump has condemned the deal and threatened to pull out.

May’s Gov Reshuffle

Prime Minister Theresa May busy Monday night reshaping her government team, keeping virtually all of her big-name ministers in place.
Day long procession of politicians strode along Downing Street to enter through the black-glossy door of Number 10 to hear their fates.
Former government minister Rob Wilson described the day’s events as the “most low-key, boring reshuffles for some years.”
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Wilson added: “That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you are a prime minister with little room for manoeuvre and a clear need not to put more malcontent ex-Ministers on the backbenches.”
The main opposition Labour Party described the re-shuffle as “re-arranging the deckchairs”.May started her re-shuffle when it was announced that Education Secretary Justine Greening was resigning. It was reported that Greening decided to go after refusing May’s offer as Works and Pensions Secretary.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, all kept their jobs.
MP Matt Hancock was promoted to become the new culture secretary, replacing Karen Bradley. Bradley has been made Northern Ireland Secretary succeeding James Brokenshire who announced earlier Monday he was resigning on health grounds.
The change in personnel, which formed part of a wider cabinet reshuffle by May, could complicate moves to restart talks in the coming weeks to avoid a return to direct rule from London for the first time in a decade.
Northern Ireland has been without a regional government for almost a year, destabilising the delicate balance between Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists that has been shaken by Britain’s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union.
David Lidington has switched from his role as Justice Secretary to become Damian Green’s replacement as Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Gauke, the former secretary of state for work and pensions, takes over as justice secretary. Brandon Lewis was promoted, becoming the chairman of the Conservative Party, replacing veteran politician Patrick McLoughlin who resigned from the government.

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