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          VOL XI ISSUE No. 295

                                Friday  July 6, 2012

 Kolkata, India

*     CERN closer to Higgs boson
Geneva, July 5: At a seminar held at CERN yesterday as a curtain raiser to the year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP2012 in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV, said a Press statement issued by CERN,
the European Organization for Nuclear Research. CERN headquartered  in Geneva, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. “We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage,” said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, “but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.”

"The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” said CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. “The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks."

“It’s hard not to get excited by these results,” said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci. “ We stated last year that in 2012 we would either find a new Higgs-like particle or exclude the existence of the Standard Model Higgs. With all the necessary caution, it looks to me that we are at a branching point: the observation of this new particle indicates the path for the future towards a more detailed understanding of what we’re seeing in the data.”

The results presented today are labelled preliminary. They are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 data still under analysis.  Publication of the analyses shown today is expected around the end of July. A more complete picture of today’s observations will emerge later this year after the LHC provides the experiments with more data.

The next step will be to determine the precise nature of the particle and its significance for our understanding of the universe. Are its properties as expected for the long-sought Higgs boson, the final missing ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics? Or is it something more exotic? The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them. All the matter that we can see, however, appears to be no more than about 4% of the total. A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96% of the universe that remains obscure.

“We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.”

Positive identification of the new particle’s characteristics will take considerable time and data. But whatever form the Higgs particle takes, our knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter is about to take a major step forward.

SAARC Tour Operators Conclave today
New Delhi, July 5: Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai will inaugurate SAARC Tour Operators Conclave here on July 6. The conclave has been organised by the Ministry of Tourism and is the follow up of action by India since the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh had made an announcement in Maldives during the 17th SAARC Summit on 10th-11th November, 2011 that India will host a Conclave of the top dozen tour operators from SAARC Region to boost tourism exchange. 

It is expected that five top tour operators alognwith one official from each SAARC member country will participate in the proposed Conclave. So far 26 tour operators from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Maldives have confirmed there participation. Prominent Tour operators from India have also been invited for the conclave.  

Indo-Pak dialogues to continue
New Delhi, July 5: During the second-round of the resumed dialogue process, the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi on July 4-5, 2012 for bilateral talks on Peace and Security including CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir and Promotion of Friendly Exchanges. The talks were held in a frank and constructive atmosphere. Both sides reiterated their desire to carry forward the dialogue process in a purposeful and result-oriented manner. The issue of Peace and Security, including CBMs, was discussed in a comprehensive manner. Both sides emphasized the need to promote greater trust and mutual understanding through constructive dialogue. 

The Foreign Secretaries reviewed the ongoing implementation of the already adopted Nuclear and Conventional CBMs. It was decided that separate meetings of the Expert Level Groups on Nuclear and Conventional CBMs will be held to discuss implementation and strengthening of the existing CBMs and suggest additional mutually acceptable steps that could build greater trust and confidence between the two countries, thereby contributing to peace and security. The dates for the meetings of Expert Level Groups will be determined through diplomatic channels. 

The Foreign Secretaries noted that both countries recognize that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security. They reaffirmed the strong commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate terrorism in an effective and comprehensive manner so as to eliminate the scourge in all its forms and manifestations. 

The Foreign Secretaries had a comprehensive exchange of views on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences. Both sides recognized the need to strengthen the existing Cross-LoC CBMs for streamlining the arrangements to facilitate travel and trade across LOC. They decided to convene a meeting of the Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs on July 19, 2012 in Islamabad to recommend steps for strengthening and streamlining and effectively implementing the existing trade and travel arrangements and propose modalities for introducing additional cross LoC CBMs. 

Both sides underlined the importance of greater people to people contacts and friendly exchanges in building a relationship of trust and friendship between the two countries. They noted that the text of a revised bilateral Visa Agreement has already been finalized and decided to work for its early signing. They emphasized the importance of greater parliamentary exchanges; promotion of cooperation in various fields including facilitating visits to Religious Shrines and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other. 

The Foreign Secretaries also emphasized the need to promote media and sports contacts. 

During his visit the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan will be calling on Indian Minister of External Affairs of India S.M. Krishna and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon. The Foreign Secretaries will meet again in Islamabad, on a date to be decided through diplomatic channels, to prepare for the meeting of the External Affairs/ Foreign Ministers in September 2012.  

 EAS: Call for greater educational cooperation

New Delhi, July 5: Indian minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr. D. Purandeswari led the Indian delegation at the First East Asia Summuit Education Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM), held in Yogyakarta, Indonesiatoday. The Indian delegation comprised Mr. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Indonesia and the ASEAN; Dr. R. Govinda, Vice Chancellor of National University for Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA); Ms. Radha Chauhan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development; Mr. K. Gunasekaran, Additional Secretary, University Grants Commission of India and Mr. Nikhilesh Giri, First Secretary (ASEAN), Embassy of India, Jakarta. 

In her statement at the EAS EMM, the Minister stated that time had come to evolve a strategy to promote educational cooperation among the EAS countries to harness credit transfer, mutual recognition of degrees, free flow of highly qualified people, earmarking of seats for students from member countries in reputed institutions in the region, setting up corpus fund to promote research, etc. 

Dr. Purandeswari conveyed India`s proposal to establish an EAS Regional Leadership Development Programme, with the objective of providing access to higher education for the generation of future leadership in the areas of regional importance. India also expressed its interest in linking its National Qualification Framework (NQF) to regional framework development. This will usher in Regional Inter-Operability of National Qualification Frameworks and ensure mobility within the EAS participating countries. 

Regional integration and harmonization of skills are considered the overarching intervention needed in TVET to address the major issues brought about by the emerging economic, social and technological trends. A flexible approach with different pedagogy and more focus for employers` engagement and ownership are the key success factors for TVET for which sharing of best practices across the region can be integrated to leverage the potential of skill development and competitiveness. Facilitating TVET Teacher and Student Mobility would benefit from a regional approach and India will take the lead in this project. 

On the margins of the EAS EMM, Dr. Purandeswari also held bilateral meetings with the Ministrer of Education and Culture of Indonesia H. E. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nuh; Minister of Education of Australia Hon’ble Christopher Evans; Minister of Education of New Zealand Hon’ble Steven Joice; and the US Deputy Secretary for Education Senator Anthony Wilder Miller to review progress in bilateral cooperation in the field of education. They also exchange notes on the approaches of the respective countries on future plans for educational cooperation under the EAS framework. 

India and Indonesia also held their second meeting of the Joint Working Group on Education in Yogyakarta on 4 July. The Indian and Indonesian delegations were led by Dr. R. Govinda, Vice Channcellor, NUEPA and Dr. Harris Iskandar, Secretary at the Direcorate General for Education. Both sides agreed on concerete plans for exchange of students and faculty under various scholarship schemes; research collaboartion; and twinning of universities.  

D.D. Verma new Secretary of Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
New Delhi, July 5: Desh Deepak Verma IAS (UP: 78) has taken over charge as Secretary Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs with effect from the 2nd of July 2012. The President appointed Shri Desh Deepak Verma as Secretary, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved his appointment in the vacancy of S. Chandrashekaran who has superannuated.  Verma, an IAS officer of 1978 batch of UP cadre was the Director General, Sports Authority of India in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports since May 2011. He has also worked as Additional Secretary in Union Ministry of Food and Public Distribution. An MSc in Physics and MBA in International Business from an Australian University, Shri Verma was the Principal Secretary of Transport and then Food and Drugs Department in Uttar Pradesh before moving on to Central Government in April 2010. Earlier he had a five year stint at the centre between 2001 and 2006 as Joint Secretary in the Ministry Environment and Forests.  

Spectrum auction: Govt. may not be able to meet SC deadline
New Delhi July 5: The government may not be able to meet the Supreme Court (SC) deadline of August 31 to complete the process. An indication to this was given by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) set up to supervise auction of spectrum for telecom services. IMC, according to a PTI report, has reportedly conveyed that it is difficult to complete the auction exercise by August 31 due to delay in final decision from Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM). 

The IMC has already extended the date for submitting bids by auctioneer (agency that will operate auction process) from July 5 to July 20. The auctioneer can be selected only after final guidelines are issued by EGoM. "The selected auctioneer would need some time to prepare the auction design due to its complexity. Further, compliance certification will be required. Hence, it would not be possible to meet the SC set deadline," government sources told PTI. The panel has also suggested that these "constraints be brought before the court". The views were taken by IMC in its fifteenth meeting on June 29, sources said. The panel includes representatives from the ministries of Finance, Commerce, Communications & IT and a senior adviser from the Planning Commission. 

After cancelling 122 telecom licences, Supreme Court has asked government to complete auction by August 31 and extended validity of quashed licences till September 7. 

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