Intel to pay AMD $1.25B in legal settlement


An Intel sign is shown in front of Intel Corp. headquarters in Santa Clara, California

 Intel Corp. is paying $1.25 billion to Advanced Micro Devices Inc., its largest rival in the market for computer processors, to settle all antitrust and patent suits, the companies said on Thursday.

Intel said it has agreed to abide by a set of “business practice provisions.” In return, AMD is dropping suits in the U.S. and Japan, and withdrawing complaints to antitrust regulators worldwide.

AMD has been complaining to regulators for five years that Intel has broken antitrust laws to limit AMD’s market share.

In May, the European Union fined Intel a record $1.45 billion, and last year, Korea’s Fair Trade Commission fined Intel $18.6 million. Intel is appealing both rulings.

EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said the European Commission “takes note” of Intel’s settlement with AMD but that it does not change Intel’s duty to comply with European antitrust law.

In 2005, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission found that Intel violated antitrust rules there. Intel accepted that ruling without admitting wrongdoing.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also is investigating.

Intel has previously defended its sales practices — which include rebates to big Intel customers — as legitimate and good for customers because it can lead to lower prices.

Intel said that the $1.25 billion settlement means its spending in the current quarter will now be $4.2 billion rather than the $2.9 billion it had previously forecast. It also expects its tax rate to be 20 percent rather than 26 percent. All other expectations are unchanged, Intel said.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, owns about 80 percent of the worldwide microprocessor market, while AMD, based in Sunnyvale, owns most of the remaining.

New test can rapidly trace pesticides in food

Scientists have come up with a fast, inexpensive dipstick test which can identify traces of pesticides in food and beverages.
Their paper-strip test is more practical than conventional tests, producing results within minutes rather than hours by means of an easy-to-read colour-change, the scientists said.
John D. Brennan, chemist and chemical biologist at McMaster University in Canada who conducted the research with colleagues, noted that existing tests for detecting pesticides rely on expensive and complex equipment, taking hours to produce results.
The test strips, which produced results in less than five minutes, could be particularly useful in developing countries or remote areas that may lack access to expensive testing equipment and electricity, an American Chemical Society (ACS) release said.
These findings were published in the November issue of the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry

Kerala Tourism offers online training to U.K. travel agents

Kerala Tourism has launched an online training programme for the travel trade in the United Kingdom to get them acquainted with the unique tourism products as part of the efforts to increase tourist arrivals into Gods Own Country.
Thus, for the first time in the U.K., travel agents will be able to become Indian destination specialists by joining the initiative titled Kerala Specialist programme.
A first of its kind by any State tourism department and corporation in the country, this novel venture of Kerala Tourism was launched by the Union Minister for Tourism Kumari Selja, at the prestigious World Travel Mart (WTM) 2009 in London on Tuesday.
The aim of the online training programme is to help travel agents and tour operators in the U.K. get acquainted with Keralas unique tourism products and use this added knowledge to increase tourism in the State.
The programme had been designed to tap the market further by reaching out to 40,000 travel agents throughout the U.K., says Kerala Tourism Secretary, V. Venu.
The U.K. is the largest source market for international tourist arrivals to the State. As many as 1,41,147 British arrivals were registered in the State in 2008 which is a 17 per cent growth over the previous year.
Increasingly more and more Tourism Boards are reaching out to the trade in key markets by assisting sellers increase their knowledge, capability and sales to their respective destinations, said Dr. Venu, who led the Kerala delegation to the four-day WTM that concluded on Thursday, said.
U.K.-based travel agents who participate in the online programme and who successfully complete the training will be awarded an official certificate by Kerala Tourism, and will be referred to as a Kerala Specialist.
The online programme could serve as a template for other tourism boards to emulate. Kerala Tourism will extend the training programme to other markets soon, Dr. Venu said.
Kerala Specialist programme has been developed in conjunction with Travel Uni, the leading online training provider in the UK specialising in providing destination, cruise, resort and product-based training to travel trade.
Six modules on Kerala includes in-depth knowledge about the history, culture and geography of the State; Keralas tourist attractions; tips and hints on how to sell Kerala; Keralas uniqueness and how to get to Kerala.
The advantages to the U.K. sellers enrolling in the programme include increased knowledge of the regions in Kerala; each region’s unique selling points and how to build them into an itinerary; improved capability to plan, promote and sell quality Kerala holidays and knowledge and confidence to up-sell Gods Own Country.

Over 11,000 H1-B visa slots still to be filled

Over 11,000 H1-B visa slots, once the most sought-after among Indian professionals, are still vacant against the Congress-mandated cap of 65,000 for the 2010 fiscal, according to U.S. immigration authorities.
“As of October 30, approximately 53,800 H1-B cap-subject petitions had been filed,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said.
This is against the congressionally-mandated cap of 65,000 H1-BB visas for this year.
This is the first time in several years that thousands of H1-B slots are still up for grabs. In previous years, the entire visa slots used to be filled on day one.
In the past, USCIS had to resort to a computerised lottery to determine the successful candidates.
USCIS also announced that it has approved sufficient H1-B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees to meet the exemption of 20,000 from the fiscal year 2010.
“Any H1-B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H1-B cap of 65,000,” it said.
“USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H1-B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn,” it said.

India on alert as Cyclone Phyan hits 5 States

Rescue forces deployed

Disaster relief response forces have been sent by the Home Ministry to five coastal states and three Union Territories as Cyclone Phyan hit India on Wednesday.

The Indian Air Force has also been alerted by the Ministry of Defence. Advisories have been sent to Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra besides Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep by the Home Ministry upon assessing the impact of the movement of the cyclone.

According to a a Home Ministry spokesperson, eight such advisories have been sent to the states and UTs so far. A school has been marooned following heavy rains in Kothagiri in the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu; a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been sent to the area for rescue operations. Also on alert are the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalions in Maharashtra and Gujarat following the movement of this cyclonic depression and the consequential heavy rainfall caused by it.

According to officials, ‘To meet any emergent requirement of rescue and relief, the NDRF teams comprising about 400 trained personnel with boats and other equipments, have been pre-positioned in Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Another 200 men have been kept in readiness for Mumbai’.

The India Meteorological Department is keeping a close eye on the movement of a depression in the central Arabian sea region since early Wednesday morning.

PM, Obama in Forbes list with Dawood, Osama, Mexican druglord

New York: The US President, Mr Barack Obama, and the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, find themselves in the unusual company of the world’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden and fugitives Dawood Ibrahim and the Mexican druglord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in a list of the World’s Most Powerful people compiled by Forbes.
Mr Obama was named most powerful, while the Chinese President, Mr Hu Jintao, and the Russian PM, Mr Vladimir Putin, complete the top three.
The list features three resident Indians – Dr Singh and the industrialists Mr Mukesh Ambani and Mr Ratan Tata, and two non-residents – fugitive Dawood, and Mr Lakshmi Mittal who lives in London and heads the world’s largest steel company.
Dr Singh has been ranked 36th, while the country’s top corporate house Reliance Industries’ chief Mr Mukesh Ambani finds himself ranked 44th ahead of the Tata Group chief, Mr Ratan Tata (59).
Ranked very next to Dr Singh is al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden at 37th place, while Indian underworld don Dawood Ibrahim is at 50th position.
Dawood, head of the infamous ‘D-Company’, is wanted by India in connection with the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai and has been listed by the US as ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’ for funding al-Qaeda.
Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11 terror strike on US, too has been eluding US-led multi-national armed forces.
Dalai Lama is ranked 39th and Pope Benedict-XVI 11th.
Forbes also named drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman a fugitive reputed to be hiding in the mountains of northern Mexico — to its list.
At No. 41 on the list, Guzman is ahead of Presidents like Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Forbes noted Guzman’s profession as “drug trafficker” on the list.
“This ranking is intended to be the beginning of a conversation, not the final word,” the magazine said in accompanying article. “Do despicable criminals like billionaire Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman … belong on this list at all?”
Guzman reputedly heads one of Mexico’s most powerful drug gangs and is considered one of Mexico’s most wanted fugitives. The government has offered a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.3 million) for information leading to his capture.
As head of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman purportedly has legions of hit-men and enforcers at his command. Violence associated with Mexico’s drug war has cost more than 13,800 lives since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels.
The magazine took into consideration the influence of the person, whether they control relatively large financial resources compared with their peers and are they powerful in multiple spheres.

Shocker: Terrorists may attack five Indian cities

David Headley involved

The government of India has issued advisories to the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Agra and Ahmedabad for an impending terror strike on 26th of this month, the first anniversary of Mumbai terror attacks.

The alert came following the interrogation of American terrorist David Headley who was nabbed by the FBI earlier this month. Headley was boarding a flight from Philadelphia to Pakistan when he was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. FBI also arrested his accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, who is a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin.

Headley, who was involved in a conspiracy with the LeT to carry out terror strikes on India and the US, had allegedly the NDC in Delhi on his radar. Haldey was also recruiting fresh blood for Pakistan-based terror group Lashker-e-Taiba, for sending them to a Gulf country using the services of his immigration business set up in Mumbai. It is suspected that Healdey has established sleeper cells in the above states, and it was revealed that 50 terrorists could be targeting various Indian cities to launch multiple attacks from the Western coast of India.

Headley had visited Mumbai several times before, and according to Home Minister P Chidambaram, it is still being investigated if he had any links with the 26/11 attacks in the city last year. According to an official ‘A similar warning was issued last week but it was not specific. This time, sources say, the intelligence is very specific and the Government has asked all the above cities to remain on alert against any mysterious activities.’

The other reveal is that that Pakistani nationals in the guise of local fishermen are trying to infiltrate into India. Reports have also revealed that during the past one month, they have tried four times to penetrate the borders albeit in vain.