Posts tagged ‘California’

12/06/2016

Indian Home Ministry Rejects Google Street View Proposal – India Real Time – WSJ

Virtually roaming through India’s streets using Google Street View may not be possible anytime soon, after a government official said the company had been blocked from rolling out its street-mapping feature.

A spokesman for the Home Ministry said Friday that it has rejected a plan from Alphabet Inc.’s Google to expand its maps feature that provides 360-degree panoramic images in the country, citing security concerns.

The spokesman didn’t elaborate on the worries but noted that the final decision on whether to permit Street View in India could come, “hopefully during this year,” once other governmental bodies have had their say.

A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Source: Indian Home Ministry Rejects Google Street View Proposal – India Real Time – WSJ

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04/06/2016

This Spanish Company Says It Holds the Key to Speed on India’s Crooked Railways – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s trains are notoriously slow and outdated, but a Spanish train maker says it can change that with coaches that can squeeze much more speed out of the country’s crooked railways.

Talgo S.A. has been wooing India for years as the South Asian nation has one of the largest railway networks in the world and big plans to upgrade its rail infrastructure.

The Madrid-based company got its breakthrough this year when it got the go-ahead to test its coaches on few routes in India to prove its trains can slash travel times for the 13 million people who use the state-owned Indian Railways every day. Talgo claims its coaches can cut travel time by up to 30%.

The existing average maximum speed of Indian passenger trains is 110 kilometers per hour, according to Vijay Kumar, executive director for infrastructure and mechanical engineering at Indian Railways.

One of Indian Railways’ current fastest trains–the Rajdhani Express–travels between Delhi and Mumbai in around 16 hours. Talgo says the same journey with its coaches will take less than 11 hours.

India has traditionally built its own trains and Talgo is the first foreign train-manufacturer to be given permission to conduct trials, said Mr. Kumar.

The tests of the trains began last weekend between Bareilly and Moradabad in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and will be expanded to two other routes.

The main selling point of the Talgo coaches is that India won’t need to change the tracks for them.

“For any conventional train you need a lot of investment in the existing infrastructure but with Talgo train you don’t need any investment in the infrastructure and it can start going at higher speed,” said Subrat Nath, director for India and Asia-Pacific region at Talgo.

Despite India’s dependence on its railways, the system has become outdated and overburdened.

“India is unique and alone among the major countries of the world in not having a single high-speed rail corridor,” said a document presented to the Indian Parliament in 2009 titled “Indian Railways Vision 2020.”

The Congress party-led government back then said it would upgrade the current tracks and build “state-of-the-art high-speed corridors” for the trains to run up to 350 kilometers, or 217 miles, per hour.

In the latest step in that direction, India launched its first “semi-high speed” train in April–the Gatimaan Express– between Delhi and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. The train has a maximum speed of 160 kilometers, or 99 miles, per hour, cutting the fastest travel time between the capital and Agra by more than 15 minutes.

One of the biggest factors slowing down Indian Railways’ 7,000 passenger trains is the country’s long and winding railroads. There are 495 speed-killing curves in the tracks between Delhi and Mumbai alone, said Mr. Kumar at Indian Railways.

Straightening out existing tracks or building straight ones from scratch is too expensive, said Mr. Kumar, so the trains from Talgo and others which offer more speed on curvy lines could be the best option.

Talgo coaches use a “natural tilting mechanism” which allows them to go up to 20% faster on curves than conventional coaches, Mr. Kumar said.

He said the trials will test whether the trains perform as promised. India has not committed to ordering from Talgo yet.

Talgo’s Mr. Nath says the company is ready to build the coaches in India if it can get the orders.“India can be a key market for us,” he said.

Source: This Spanish Company Says It Holds the Key to Speed on India’s Crooked Railways – India Real Time – WSJ

27/05/2016

Why It Could Be a While Before Apple Can Open Stores in India – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s finance ministry has rejected a government-panel recommendation to exempt Apple Inc. from local sourcing requirements, two government officials said, in a decision that could effectively block the technology company’s plan to open its own retail stores in the country.

“We are sticking to the old policy,“ said one of the officials. “We want local sourcing for job creation. You can’t have a situation where people view India only as a market. Let them start doing some manufacturing here.”

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

India is a crucial market for Apple as it holds huge sales potential. Like China, which for years fueled the Cupertino, Calif., company’s growth, India is a large, developing economy in which more people can afford its high-end gadgets every year.

India wants to use the company’s interest in its market to attract investment and create the manufacturing facilities and jobs the country needs to sustain long-term growth.

Source: Why It Could Be a While Before Apple Can Open Stores in India – India Real Time – WSJ

02/03/2016

A look back at the 25 goals of 2015|Government|chinadaily.com.cn

Amazing achievement.  How many countries declare goals in such clear numerical form and then exceed 23, meet 1, and fail on only 1 out of 25!

A look back at the 25 goals of 2015

1 Revitalize more than 212.4 billion yuan in central finance fund stock. Fulfillment: 237 billion yuan revitalized.

2 Investment within central budget increased to 477.6 billion yuan. Fulfillment: Investment of 521.1 billion yuan.

3 Railway investment to exceed 800 billion yuan. Fulfillment: Investment of 823.8 billion yuan was completed.

4 Utilize more than 8,000 km of newly built rail. Fulfillment: Newly built rail of 9,531 km was put into use.

5 Start construction of 27 major hydro projects. Fulfillment: Construction of 28 initiated.

6 Cancel all non-administrative approvals. Fulfillment: 453 items were cancelled or adjusted.

7 Cut items limiting foreign investment by half. Fulfillment: 41 of 79 items were deleted.

8 Keep grain yields above 550 million tons and increase deep-plough land by 13.33 million hectares. Fulfillment: Grain yields reached 621 million tons, Deep-plough land increased by 13.648 million hectares.

9 Construct or reconstruct 200,000 km of highways in rural areas. Fulfillment: Rural areas saw 251,000 km of newly constructed or reconstructed highways.

10 Build bridges to replace sliding-chairs to cross remote mountainous areas in the West. Fulfillment: All 288 projects have started construction.

11 Ensure that the more than 200,000 people in the country with no access to electricity get access. Fulfillment: 238,000 got access to electricity.

12 Provide safe drinking water to 60 million rural people. Fulfillment: 64.336 million rural people got access.

13 Eliminate all the 1.162 million heavy-emission vehicles with yellow stickers put into operation before the end of 2005. Fulfillment: 1.26 million such vehicles were eliminated.

14 Reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions by 3.1 percent or more. Fulfillment: Energy use was reduced by 5.6 percent, while carbon dioxide emissions were cut by 6.6 percent.

15 Cut chemical oxygen demand emissions by 2 percent, ammonia emissions by 2 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions by 3 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 5 percent. Fulfillment: Chemical oxygen demand emissions were cut by 3.1 percent, ammonia emissions by 3.6 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions by 5.8 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 10.9 percent.

16 Return 667,000 hectares of farmland to forest and grassland. Fulfillment: 667,000 hectares of farmland were returned.

17 Plant 6 million hectares of forests. Fulfillment: 6.3245 million hectares were planted.

18 Build 7.4 million units in government-subsidized housing projects, renovate 5.8 million units in shanty-towns and 4.32 million dilapidated houses in rural areas. Fulfillment: 7.83 million units in government-subsidized housing projects were built, 6.01 million units were renovated in shanty-towns and 4.68 million dilapidated houses in rural areas.

19 Create more than 10 million jobs in urban areas. Fulfillment: 13.12 million jobs were created in urban areas.

20 Raise standard of financial assistance for basic medical insurance of urban residents to 380 yuan per person per year. Fulfillment: Average standard has been raised to 446 yuan.

21 Raise standard of financial assistance for the new rural cooperative medical system to 380 yuan per person per year. Raise standard of financial assistance for per capita funding for basic public health services to 40 yuan. Carry out pilot projects for public hospital reform in 100 cities at and above prefecture level. Fulfillment: Standard of financial assistance for the new rural cooperative medical system was raised to 390. 24 yuan per person per year. Standard of financial assistance for per capita funding for basic public health services reached 42 yuan. Pilot projects for public hospital reform were carried out in 100 cities at and above prefecture level.

22 The registered urban unemployment rate should not exceed 4.5 percent. Fulfillment: Registered urban unemployment rate was 4.05 percent

23 Cut the rural poor population by at least 10 million. Fulfilled.

24 Employment opportunities for 7.49 million college graduates. Fulfillment: The employment situation was the same as the previous year.

25 Increase imports and exports by 6 percent. Failed to meet the goal: Import and export volumes in 2015 were $3.95864 trillion, down 8 percent. Exports decreased by 2.9 percent, still making China the best performer in major economies. China is still the world’s biggest trading power and export power.

Source: A look back at the 25 goals of 2015|Government|chinadaily.com.cn

20/01/2016

Apple seeks nod to open India stores amid concerns of slowing sales growth | Reuters

Apple Inc has applied to set up its own stores in India, one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets, as the iPhone-maker looks to tap new opportunities amid worries of slowing growth in its main markets.

An Apple logo is seen inside the Apple Store in Palo Alto, California November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Apple sells its iPhones, iPads and Macs in India through third party resellers, and industry analysts estimate that the Cupertino, California-based company has less than a 2 percent share in India’s smartphone market, dominated by cheaper brands.

The company has filed an application with India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to open its own stores, Amitabh Kant, secretary at the federal trade ministry unit told Reuters.

Apple also confirmed the application filing, but declined to give details.

Its expansion plans in India come at a time when concerns about slowing growth in the United States and China, the world’s most important market for smartphones, have weighed on the company’s stock in the last few months.

Shares in Apple, the world’s most valuable company by market value, are down 28 percent from their peak in April last year. The company operates more than 450 stores in 18 countries. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in October that Apple had 25 stores in China and was opening a new one roughly every month.

Its plans for India have been held back due to restrictions on foreign investment in the retail industry, which require single brand overseas retailers to buy close to a third of the goods sold at their stores from local producers.

Apple representatives held talks with Indian government officials about a relaxation of the 30 percent local-sourcing norms before filing the application, said a source familiar with the company’s plans.

Apple’s plans come against the backdrop of initiatives unveiled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met with Apple chief Tim Cook during his U.S. visit last year, to boost foreign investments in India.

In November, the government eased foreign investment norms in 15 major sectors, including relaxing the mandatory local-sourcing rule for foreign single-brand retailers in the case of “cutting-edge technology” products.

Kant said his department would examine Apple’s application in view of the changes made for local sourcing.

For years, India has been a low priority market for Apple as spending power is weaker than in China, where the company’s iPhones swiftly became must-have devices after their 2007 launch.

But Apple is now looking to boost its market share in India’s rapidly growing market, and the company’s recent growing spend on advertising in the country has indicated an aggressive campaign to sell more.

India is likely to overtake the United States to become the world’s No. 2 smartphone market in 2017, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The local smartphone segment is dominated by Samsung Electronics and India’s Micromax.

Source: Apple seeks nod to open India stores amid concerns of slowing sales growth | Reuters

30/11/2015

Smog chokes Chinese, Indian capitals as climate talks begin | Reuters

The capitals of the world’s two most populous nations, China and India, were blanketed in hazardous, choking smog on Monday as climate change talks began in Paris, where leaders of both countries are among the participants.

China’s capital Beijing maintained an “orange” pollution alert, the second-highest level, on Monday, closing highways, halting or suspending construction and prompting a warning to residents to stay indoors.

The choking pollution was caused by the “unfavourable” weather, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Sunday. Emissions in northern China soar over winter as urban heating systems are switched on and low wind speeds have meant that polluted air has not been dispersed.

In New Delhi, the U.S. embassy’s monitoring station recorded an air quality index of 372, which puts air pollution levels well into “hazardous” territory. A thick smog blanketed the city and visibility was down to about 200 yards (metres).

Air quality in the city of 16 million is usually bad in winter, when coal fires are lit by the poor to ward off the cold. Traffic fumes, too, are trapped over the city by a temperature inversion and the lack of wind.

However, the government has not raised any alarm over the current air quality and no advisories have been issued to the public. Thirty thousand runners took part in a half marathon at the weekend, when pollution levels were just as high.

In Beijing, a city of 22.5 million, the air quality index in some parts of the city soared to 500, its highest possible level. At levels higher than 300, residents are encouraged to remain indoors, according to government guidelines.

The hazardous air underscores the challenge facing the government as it battles pollution caused by the coal-burning power industry and will raise questions about its ability to clean up its economy at the talks in Paris.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are both in Paris and both were scheduled to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to give momentum to the two-week negotiations.

Source: Smog chokes Chinese, Indian capitals as climate talks begin | Reuters

15/11/2015

How Modi Dealt With Pointed Questions From the British Press – India Real Time – WSJ

Narendra Modi hasn’t given a news conference in India since becoming prime minister last year.

So when he arrived in the U.K. on Thursday and addressed the media with his counterpart, David Cameron, British reporters seized the opportunity to ask a few pointed questions.

Referring to recent incidents of religious violence, BBC correspondent Justin Rowlatt kicked off by asking Mr. Modi: “India is becoming an increasingly intolerant place. Why?”

Mr. Modi answered, in Hindi: “India is the land of Buddha. India is the land of Gandhi. And so, it is in our culture and blood that we don’t accept anything against the basic values of society.”

He continued: “For us, every incident is serious. We don’t tolerate it under any circumstances. Law takes strict action and will continue to do so. India is a vibrant democracy, and its constitution provides for the safety of people from all strata of society. We are committed to protecting freedom of thought.”

A little later in the news conference, Guardian reporter Nicholas Watt asked Mr. Cameron what he felt about the visit. “How comfortable do you feel welcoming Prime Minister Modi to this country given that for the first two years of your premiership he was not permitted to visit this country because of his record as chief minister of Gujarat?”

The U.K. distanced itself from Gujarat and Mr. Modi after religious riots in the state that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in 2002, when Mr. Modi was the state’s top official. Mr. Modi has denied wrongdoing and court investigations have said there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute him.

Mr. Watt then asked about Europe’s migrant crisis and the U.K.’s referendum on European Union membership before turning back to India.

“Prime Minister Modi, can I ask you: Tomorrow night you will obviously have a rapturous reception at Wembley Stadium. But there are a number of protesters out today who are saying—and I am wondering what you say to them—that given your record as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, you do not deserve the respect that would normally be accorded to the leader of the world’s largest democracy.”

Mr. Cameron answered by citing Mr. Modi’s “record and historic majority” in the Indian parliament after the 2014 election. Mr. Modi then said he was never denied entry to the U.K. The U.S. refused him a visa in 2005 based on his response to the riots but issued him one in 2014, after he became prime minister.

“To keep the record straight, I would like to give some information,” Mr. Modi said. “I came here in 2003 and received a big welcome and respect, and participated in several programs. The U.K. has never stopped me from coming here, has never imposed any restrictions. I couldn’t come here due to a lack of time. That’s a different issue. So this is a wrong perception. Please correct it.”

Mr. Modi then spoke on the British referendum and proceeded to take a question on trade and economic cooperation from an Indian reporter. He never directly addressed the last part of Mr. Watt’s question.

Source: How Modi Dealt With Pointed Questions From the British Press – India Real Time – WSJ

12/11/2015

LIVE: PM Modi arrives in UK – The Hindu

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Air India aircraft made touchdown this morning at 10 a.m. in Heathrow for his long-awaited bilateral level visit to the United Kingdom — his first since becoming Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart David Cameron with their delegations during talks at 10, Downing Street in London on Thursday. Photo: PMO

He was met at the airport by Hugo Swire, Minister of State for the Foreign Office, and Priti Patel, Minister for Employment and Diaspora Champion in the David Cameron government. His visit carries expectations for agreements and partnerships worth billions of dollars across defence, security, finance and sectors like education, research and health.

Mr. Modi is accompanied by a high power business delegation that included Cyrus P. Mistry, chairman, Tata Sons, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Enterprises Limited and N. Chandrasekaran, CEO and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services.

Mr. Modi will be greeted by a Guard of Honour at Westminster,which will be followed by delegation level talks at 10 Downing Street with Mr. Cameron. The two Prime Ministers will address a joint press conference after which Mr. Modi will deliver his speech in parliament. He will also garland the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square. The evening will see important agreements between the two country delegations finalised at Guildhall, City of London. Mr. Modi will stay the night at the Prime Minister’s country residence at Chequers.

The pomp and ceremony attached to the visit is expected to include a special tricolour flypast by the Red Arrows Royal Air Force (RAF) Aerobatic Team over the Buckingham Palace before the Prime Minister sits down for lunch with Queen Elizabeth II ahead of his mega diaspora address at the iconic Wembley Stadium in north London.

Source: LIVE: PM Modi arrives in UK – The Hindu

07/11/2015

Modi pledges 800 billion rupees in relief and development for Kashmir | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged 800 billion rupees ($12.10 billion) in funds to bolster development and economic growth in Kashmir, a year after the worst flooding in more than a century destroyed half a million homes there.

Addressing several thousand people in a cricket stadium in the northern state’s capital of Srinagar, Modi said he wanted to go beyond helping flood victims. He promised to create jobs for Kashmiri youth by improving education and promoting industries, including tourism and cashmere wool.

“The biggest task at hand here is to find work for the youth of Kashmir and Ladakh … our youth should get the cheapest and the best education, and of global standards,” he said. Ladakh is another mountainous region in the north.

Saturday’s visit is Modi’s first this year to the disputed territory which has been plagued by militant violence for years. Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part.

Violence in India’s only Muslim-majority region has eased significantly from levels in the 1990s, when armed revolt against Indian rule erupted.

Kashmiris have been protesting against a lack of central aid for last year’s floods that the state government estimates caused $16 billion of damage.

Security forces in Kashmir detained nearly 400 separatists on Friday to prevent them from holding an anti-government protest march during Modi’s visit.

Hours before Modi’s rally, in footage screened on national television, police detained an independent parliamentarian, Engineer Rashid, for protesting with black flags.

Security was tight with paramilitary forces and sharpshooters deployed, while schools and colleges were shut. Internet services were suspended hours before Modi arrived.

In his 40-minute speech, Modi highlighted progress, promising improved road and rail networks, as well as branches of India’s prestigious management and technology institutes.

“Kashmir has suffered a lot … the dreams of several generations have been shattered, but I have the confidence that my Kashmir will rise again,” he said.

Comparing the devastation from the floods to that in his home state of Gujarat after an earthquake in 2001, Modi said: “thousands died … homes were destroyed … nobody believed we would be able to rebuild so quickly.”

India accuses Pakistan of backing the separatist militants fighting security forces in Indian Kashmir. Pakistan denies that saying it only offers diplomatic support to Kashmir’s suppressed Muslims.

Source: Modi pledges 800 billion rupees in relief and development for Kashmir | Reuters

06/10/2015

China’s New Nobel Laureate: New Attention to an Old Science Problem – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Chinese pharmacologist Tu Youyou, who won a share of the Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday for her discovery of a game-changing malaria treatment, did her seminal work when China was in the midst of the radical movement known as the Cultural Revolution. Her pathbreaking Nobel win is renewing discussion of the way China’s scientific community does research.

The award to Ms. Tu ticks a number of firsts: She’s the first citizen of the People’s Republic to win a science Nobel, the first Chinese citizen to win a Nobel for medicine and the first female Chinese citizen to win a Nobel of any kind.

In marveling at that feat, Chinese media have dwelled on Ms. Tu’s lack of academic credentials. The 84-year-old chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine is without a PhD, without an overseas education and without the title of yuanshi (or academician) given to the country’s top scholars. For that reason, she has been referred to as China’s “three withouts” scientist. Prior to her winning the prestigious Lasker Prize for Medical Research in 2011, she was an obscure figure.

That a future Nobel laureate could be ignored for her lack of traditional accomplishments has renewed attention to an academic system already criticized by many as bureaucratic and unimaginative.

“It seems like every headline I’ve seen today says ”Three-Withouts’ Scientist Tu Youyou Wins Nobel for Medicine.’ That’s not a headline, but a question we should all ponder,” cinematographer Wang Peishan wrote in one of many similar comments on the Twitter-like Weibo social media platform.

Source: China’s New Nobel Laureate: New Attention to an Old Science Problem – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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