Earth under attack from an invisible star?


In this image released by the European Southern Observatory, a very low-mass brown dwarf, lower left, orbits AB Pictoris, a young star located about 150 light years from Earth. The giant planet is approximately five times the mass of Jupiter

In what sounds like a chilling script of a Hollywood science fiction, scientists have claimed that an invisible star, five times the size of Jupiter, might be lurking near our solar system, occasionally kicking deadly comets towards the Earth.

According to NASA scientists, the brown dwarf star is up to five times the size of Jupiter and could be responsible for mass extinctions that occur on Earth every 26 million years.

They believe, the star nicknamed Nemesis or “The Death Star” could be hidden beyond the edge of our solar system and only emits infrared light.

It is believed to orbit our solar system at 25,000 times the distance of the earth to the sun, ‘The Sun’ quoted the scientists as saying.

According to them, as the star spins through the galaxy, its gravitational pull drags icy bodies out of the Oort Cloud – a vast sphere of rock and dust twice as far away as Nemesis.

“These ‘snowballs’ are thrown towards Earth as comets, causing devastation similar to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago,” the report said.

Professor John Matese, of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said most comets come from the same part of the Oort Cloud.

“There is statistically significant evidence that this concentration of comets could be caused by a companion to the Sun.”

Now, NASA scientists believe they will be able to find Nemesis using a new heat-seeking telescope that began scanning the skies in January.

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer – expected to find a thousand brown dwarf stars within 25 light years of the Sun – has already sent back a photo of a comet possibly dislodged from the Oort Cloud.

Scientists’ first clue to the existence of Nemesis was the bizarre orbit of a dwarf planet called Sedna.

Scientists believe its unusual, 12,000-year-long oval orbit could be explained by a massive celestial body.

Mike Brown, who discovered Sedna in 2003, said: “Sedna is a very odd object – it shouldn’t be there. The only way to get on an eccentric orbit is to have some giant body kick you – so what is out there?”

Ganguly fined USD 20,000 for slow over rate

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Sourav Ganguly has been fined USD 20,000 by the IPL for maintaining slow over rate during their 11-run triumph over defending champions Deccan Chargers at the D Y Patil Stadium here.

The Knight Riders were adjudged to be three overs behind the required rate during their last night’s IPL opener against Chargers and under the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to minimum over rate offences, match referee Andy Pycroft fined Ganguly.

The Knight Riders upset the defending champions thanks to a 130-run partnership between Owais Shah and Angelo Matthews which allowed Ganguly’s side to claw their way back onto the game after losing two early wickets.

Chargers skipper Adam Gilchrist’s breezy 35-ball 54 went in vain as Ganguly-led side restricted Deccan to 150 for seven.

India among world’s top 3 preferred investment destinations

India is among the world’s top three preferred investment destination, but equity caps limit the size of potential inflows, according to a Columbia University report.

The report cited liberalisation in FDI policy and several economic sectors, a globally competitive workforce, and rapid GDP and market growth as the main drivers of foreign investment in India.

Yet, it said equity caps limit the size of potential new inflows and national security concerns might prompt more oversight of FDI approval processes.

According to the 15-page report ‘Inward FDI in India and its policy context’ India is also the 13th largest in terms of foreign investment inflows, which have risen 15-fold since 2000.

The report said while investors initially concentrated on manufacturing, power and telecommunications, they now focus on services.

Among other visible trends, firms in developed countries dominated investment in the 1990s, but in the past decade developing country investors have also become significant, it said.

A third of the post-2000 inflow is invested around Mumbai, a manufacturing hub, and one-fifth around Delhi, a services hub.

Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad are other key destinations, the report said.

Although the global crisis slowed the rate of FDI growth in India in 2009, it also helped reinforce India’s position among global investors, it said.

Since most global firms found that their Indian and Chinese operations considerably outperformed their developed market investments, they now accord even greater strategic value to these two destinations, the report pointed out.

Noting that India’s attractive GDP growth rate and superior market performance are likely to attract growing FDI inflows, the report said CEOs consistently rank India as one of the world’s top 3-5 preferred investment destinations in recent global surveys.

“Despite the crisis, a number of leading global firms – including Volkswagen, Telenor, LG, Cairn, and a number of IT companies – have announced large-scale investments in various sectors.

In contrast to the favourable development of economic drivers of inward FDI, the security—induced tightening of approval procedures and oversight policies might limit the potential inflow of FDI, as might the difficulty in obtaining operational clearances,” it said.

Kareena Kapoor too tied up for Twitter

It has been a wonder for the people from the industry as well as fans that even though a majority of Bollywood is on Twitter, Kareena Kapoor continues to evade the microblogging site

At Shahrukh Khan’s press conference for Ra.1, she was asked why she wasn’t tweeting yet. Kareena expressed that she was still not sure about the whole idea and would need at least another month to settle on an answer. Kareena needs to think about it so carefully because at present she’s too tied up with work to sign up on the site and start using it. Also, she wonders if she will be able to stick by it regularly once she starts it.

Well, let’s give Kareena the time she needs. Maybe we’ll see her on Twitter soon!

Twitter adds location-sharing feature

Social networking site Twitter has added a geo-location feature, which allows a person to tell the ‘Twitterverse’ where a person is whenever he/she tweets, to its features options on Thursday.

The feature also helps Twitter users find where a particular area or neighborhood is. However, the feature is only available to the U.S. audience right now.

According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, the feature will soon be introduced in other countries as well.

“A recent burst of interest in location-sharing applications, games and services has many Twitter users excited about appending geographic data to some of their tweets,” said Stone in a blog post.

“People who choose to add this additional layer of context help make Twitter a richer information network for all of us — location data can make tweets more useful,” he added.

The new feature
The new feature will include a user’s location which will be linked to a Google map where users will be able to note their own location.

“Let’s say I’m at my office and I hear a loud boom. It sounded serious, so I search Twitter for “boom.” Among the first results could be someone who tweeted “Boom go the fireworks!” This could be anywhere in the world.

With the launch of the new feature, Twitter has given stringent competition to social networking site Facebook which has 400 million users. Facebook too plans to launch its own location-sharing service soon, although the company declined to comment on the same.

“However, if that person had activated the new tweet location feature, then the neighborhood data under the tweet would read, SoMa [San Francisco’s South of Market district]. Now, I know it’s just fireworks going off in my neighborhood,” said Stone.

Twitter’s 70 million users will be able to navigate ‘How to Tweet Your Location Web page’ on their respective accounts settings page soon.

The feature will work for Mozilla Firefox 3.5 and Google Chrome on Windows.

About Twitter
With the launch of the new feature, Twitter will give stringent competition to social networking site Facebook which currently has more than 400 million users. Facebook, too, plans to launch its own location-sharing service, although the company declined to comment on the same.

In January, Twitter launched its Local Trends feature, intended to help users find tweets related to specific areas.

Created by Jack Dorsey, Twitter is ranked as one of the 50 most popular websites worldwide according to Alexa’s web traffic analysis (a subsidiary of

The site is also used as a means to campaign, educate, and improve public relations across the world.

Google Launches Google Reader Player

On Wednesday the search giant released an experimental Web browsing tool known as Google Reader Player. With the help of it users are able to browse content connected with a Google Reader new feed. It is considered to be a content aggregator which is based on Web.

It collects RSS news feeds for online as well as offline reading. In case you want to take advantage of Google Reader, it necessary to have a Google Reader account.

Google Reader Play includes a range of popular videos, blog posts and photos that are based on Google Reader’s Recommended Items feature. All these items will be shown to a user as a visual slideshow that looks like Google’s visual newsreader Google Fast Flip. One should say that Play is based on a filmstrip navigation bar which is located at the bottom of the screen.

If you want to use Play, there is no need to sigh up. In case you have a Google account, but you do not use Google Reader, the Play stream will be more personalized.

If you want to try out Play, you can do that with the help of two ways. You can visit or you can select ‘View in Reader Play’ which you are able to find in the feed settings menu of Google Reader.

Google “99.9 pct” sure to shut China search engine: report

(Reuters) – Talks with China over censorship have reached an apparent impasse and Google, the world’s largest search engine, is now “99.9 percent” certain to shut its Chinese search engine, the Financial Times said on Saturday

It said in a report on its website Google had drawn up detailed plans for closing its Chinese search engine.

The newspaper cited a person familiar with the company’s thinking as saying that, while a decision could be made very soon, Google was likely to take some time to follow through with its plans.

That would be in order to bring about an orderly closure as the company takes steps to protect local employees from retaliation by authorities, it said.

China warned Google on Friday against flouting the country’s laws, as expectations grow for a resolution to a public battle over censorship and cyber-security.

Google shocked business and political circles in January when it threatened to pull out of China if it could not offer an unfiltered Chinese search engine. The threat came after cyber attacks originating from China on it and about 30 other firms.

“If you don’t respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible, and the consequences will be on you,” China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Li Yizhong, told reporters on Friday in answer to a question on what China would do if simply stopped filtering search results.

That came after the chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt, said on Wednesday he hoped to announce soon a result to talks with Chinese authorities on offering an uncensored search engine in China.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology shares oversight of the Chinese Internet with a number of other bodies. Still more bureaucracies are involved in matters of foreign investment, complicating the Chinese government’s response to Google’s challenge.

Reply to plea on ban on clippings called for

MADURAI: The Secretary to the Department of Information and Broadcasting was directed by the Madurai Bench of the High Court to file his reply to a plea seeking a ban on clippings of Swami Nithyananda in a compromising position with an actress.

S Durairaj of Ayyar Bungalow, Madurai an advocate in his petition before the Bench had said that Sun TV Network had telecast clippings of Nithayanda in the company of an actress in an obscene manner. The Cable TV Act of 1995, banned the presentation of women in an obscene manner. The network had also violated the rules of 1956 which safeguard the dignity of women.

Even the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu had condemned this practice.

The petitioner said that the Union Secretary for Information and Broadcasting and the Home Secretary should take action to ban the telecasts forthwith. He had also sought a directive to the Sun Network not to telecast these clippings.

When the petitions came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprising Justices F M Ibrahim Khalifulla and K P K Vasuki, counsel on behalf of the Sun TV network assured the Bench that the network would not telecast the sequences.

Court summons to Swami Nithyananda

SRIPERUMBUDUR: The Nithyananda sex scandal case took another twist on Friday as District Munsif- cum-Judicial Magistrate, Sriperumbudur, issued summons to the godman to appear before the court on April 2.

Advocate K Selvamani filed a private complaint against Nithyananda under section 295 (a) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief) bypassing the police.

Selvamani submitted that the saffron robe has an innate religious sanctity in the Hindu ethos, and Nithyananda’s involvement in a sexual encounter with a woman while donning the holy saffron robe has offended the sentiments of the Hindus in addition to denigrating the tenets of Hinduism.

The complainant also prayed that the case be taken up by the court without referring the matter to the police.

Magistrate S Guna sekhar after examining the complainant as a witness and other relevant documents found that there were grounds for a prima facie case.

The court at its discretion issued a summons which will be personally delivered by a messenger at the Nithyananda Gnanapeetham ashram of the guru at Bidari near Bangalore, which is his headquarters.

Selvamani told Express that if the swami is not found at his headquarters, the court may invoke the necessary clause to issue a warrant against Nithyananda

Nithyananda case lost in transit?

CHENNAI/BANGALORE: Though it has been over a week since TV channels beamed the sleaze tape allegedly involving Swami Nithyananda and a Tamil actress, mystery still surrounds the case.

While the Tamil Nadu police say the case has been transferred to the Karnataka police, the police top brass in Bangalore deny having received it.

With the case lying sandwiched between two the states, the seer continues to give interviews on CDs.

Lenin, a devotee, had lodged a compliant with the Chennai police on March 6, claiming he used a spycam to videograph the alleged affair of the godman with Tamil actress Ranjitha at Bidadi ashram near Bangalore. He also claimed that Nithayananda had threatened to kill him when he learnt about the tape.

Since all the events took place at the Nithyananda Gnanapeetham in Bangalore, Chennai city police commissioner T Rajendran said on Monday that the case would be transferred to Karnataka police. That was four days ago. The Bangalore police claim the case has not been transferred to them yet.

Letika Saran, Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu, told Express: “The case has been transferred to Karnataka police and I have spoken to the DGP of Karnataka about it. We have also assured assistance to the Karnataka police during the course of investigation.” However, Karnataka DG-IGP Ajai Kumar Singh said, “No, the case has not been transferred yet.” Inspector General of Police, central range, who is in charge of the Ramanagaram district said, “We have not received any information about the case being transferred to Bangalore, by the Tamil Nadu police.”

It was an experiment: Swami Nithyananda

Bangalore, Mar 13: In the second interview with his disciple Rajiv Malhotra, Swami Nithyananda spoke on the sex scandal involving him and a Tamil actress Ranjitha.

Almost ten days after the video showing the godman in a compromising position with the actress hit the media, Nithyananda for the first time made a direct reference to it on Friday, Mar 12 in his third online appearance.
Making a shocking statement, the Swamiji said that he was only ‘experimenting’ and promised that in the future he would refrain from experimenting with anything that was unacceptable to the society.

He said that he has also learnt a lot from the controversy.

“In 33 years of my life, I have seen two extremes. From being the most watched guru on YouTube to the most watched scandal on YouTube.

“In a way, even this abuse, defamation and attack have taught me lot of lessons about society, life and humanity, which I had never thought of and never looked into. This has made me more responsible. Now I have decided that I am not going to experiment anything which is not widely accepted by the society,” he told Malhotra, a Princeton-based researcher.

This is Nithyananda’s third appearance online. While the videos of the his two interviews with Malhotra are available online on Youtube, the video of spiritual guru’s first appearance after the sex scandal came out in the open was posted on his Dhyanapeetam mission webiste.

OneIndia News

India likely to test-fire ADD missile off Orissa coast tomorrow

Balasore (Orissa): With an eye to develop a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system, India is likely to test-fire its indigenously designed and developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Orissa coast tomorrow.
The AAD missile is capable of destroying any hostile ballistic missile at low altitude situation, defence sources said today.

Range integration work at the ITR for the proposed trial is complete and the test is likely to be conducted tomorrow, they said.

The target missile, a modified indigenously built ‘Prithvi’ posing as an enemy missile, would first be lifted off from a mobile launcher from the ITR at Chandipur-on-sea and the interceptor AAD missile using a radio frequency seeker on-board would be blasted off from Wheeler Island about 70km across the sea from Chandipur.

The missile would destroy the target in mid air over Bay of Bengal. The interception is to take place at low altitude, the sources added. The seven-meter-long ADD interceptor is a single stage solid rocket-propelled guided missile, equipped with an inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator totally under command by the data up linked from the sophisticated ground based radars to the interceptor, defence sources said.

The interceptor missile has its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and its own radars, they said.

Balasore district administration have made arrangements to temporarily evacuate about 600 families from five hamlets residing within 2km radius of launch pad-3 of the ITR at Chandipur to nearby shelter camps as a security measure, official sources said.

IT takes a bet away from Hyderabad, on Vizag

Hyderabad: Blame it on the regional unrest in Andhra Pradesh or the ambition of the companies to grow beyond Hyderabad, it’s now Hyderabad versus Vizag in developing IT and ITeS clusters.

According to sources, more than half-a-dozen IT majors have already started evaluating Vizag as their next destination.

Though the companies were worried about the growing regional unrest and frequent interruptions in operations due to the Telangana agitation, the IT honchos argue that the move towards Vizag is only to tap the potential in tier-II cities and has nothing to do with stir.

“IT industry is being promoted in tier-II cities including Vizag for the last five years, and it’s been growing slowly,” M Narsimha Rao, president, IT and ITeS Industry Association of AP, said.

However, industry sources said that the companies were indeed worried about the future and security of their assets in case the Telangana agitation intensifies and Hyderabad too becomes a bone of contention in the statehood issue.

Andhra Pradesh currently has about 1,300 big, medium and small IT and ITeS companies.

About 2.5 lakh professionals are employed in these companies with an estimated 10 lakh employed indirectly.

Interestingly, the firms that are reportedly planning to shift their base to Vizag are not willing to confirm their move at this point.
“None of us came to Hyderabad because it is united Andhra or Hyderabad being in Telangana. We had our own reasons including it being centrally located in the country.

Any destinationin India is about less than two hours away from Hyderabad. But Vizag plans by many companies are as part of preparation to face any situation including carving out of the Telangana state,” a veteran in the state’s IT sector said without willing to be quoted.

For now, not many companies are planning to shift out of Hyderabad.

They are planning to develop their development centres as part of the expansion schemes.

“If something happens contrary to the interests of the IT sector, Vizag would be ready for us to maintain continuity of service by then. If nothing happens, we will still have an additional facility to expand our operations in a new city. This might work as a de-risking strategy,” a CEO of a mid-sized IT company said.
Meanwhile, the state government is finalising the IT policy of the state.

According to IT minister K Venkat Reddy, AP would be one of those few states to include IT and ITeS under Essential Services and Maintenance Act to insulate the sector from protests.
The new policy, according to Reddy, is at a draft stage and would be finalised in about three months.

Telangana supporters disrupt Kapil Sibal meeting

HYDERABAD: Students of Hyderabad Central University tried to disrupt a meeting of all central universities’ vice chancellors meeting chaired by the union HRD minister Kapil Sibal here on Saturday.

Students raised slogans demanding the formation of Telangana state and against the Congress party.

However, police prevented them from entering into the Tagore International House where the meeting was taking place. The police and the university officials managed to take the Union minister out of the meeting hall safely.

Additional forces were called in to control the situation.

With three-day power cut, Andhra industry fears job loss

Hyderabad, March 13 : Industry in Andhra Pradesh is reeling under unprecedented electricity cuts and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has warned that workers may lose their jobs.

The around 30 percent power cut has got the industry worried at a time when it was just recovering from losses it suffered during the Telangana agitation.

“It is an unprecedented situation with 25 to 30 million units (MU) power cut daily. For the industries, it is a three-day power holiday in a week. So there is a 72-hour power cut in a week,” CII AP Chapter president Y. Harish Chandra Prasad told IANS.

“The industry is not in a position to put up with this power cut, especially small and medium industries. The workers will lose their jobs. They will be on the streets,” he warned.

The state supplies free electricity to small farmers for seven hours a day. Authorities say the demand in the state is is for 250 MU everyday while there is a shortage of 25 MU. However, the actual shortage could be much more considering the 30 percent power cut on the industry.

The agriculture sector is not getting the required electricity while authorities have imposed two-hour cuts every day in the state capital and major cities, five hours in towns and six hours in the villages.

Prasad blamed the situation on faulty planning. “We had expected that once the gas production starts there will be 10 percent increase in power production and it will be sufficient to meet the demand. The government called the tenders (for gas-based power projects) but failed to finalise it,” he said while pointing out that neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have managed things well.

Prasad noted that the industry was cross-subsiding electricity to domestic and agriculture sectors. The state government owes a whopping Rs.12,000 crore to power distribution companies, which have no funds to buy power from outside.

Earlier, Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan assured the industry that he would personally look into the problem.

The governor told the industry that the state government was exploring the option of merchant power plants, whereby players can sell power in the market, to meet industrial demand. “We are trying to see how best we can do this,” he said.

Prasad, however, told reporters that merchant power plants was a long-term plan.

He said CII was holding discussions with the government on the merchant power policy, which is currently at the approval stage.

“The developers who have no power purchase agreements with the government can set up such plants with balance sheet financing and by taking a risk. If there is demand we can buy power produced by them, otherwise they will sell it outside,” he said.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister to apprise PM, Sonia on political situation

Hyderabad, Mar 13 : Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah will apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi of the political situation in the state during their brief visit to Chennai today.

A galaxy of national leaders will be descending on the Tamil Nadu state capital for the inauguration of the new state Assembly building.

Mr Rosaiah, who will be gracing the occasion, would use the opportunity to apprise Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi of the political situation in the state, sources in the Chief Minister’s office said.

Mr Rosaiah had deftly handled the political situation in the wake of the ongoing stir for and against the division of the state, which had initially raised a question mark over the orderly conduct of the Budget session of the State Assembly and getting the appropriation Bill passed.

Mr Rosaiah had successfully presented the State Budget amid unprecedented security and curfew-like situation, with the Osmania University students’ Joint Action Committee giving a call for protest march on the Telangana issue.

The resignations submitted by TRS MLAs from the State Assembly a day before the beginning of the Budget session in protest against the ”unacceptable” Terms of Reference, had proved to be a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the Government.

With the TRS out of the State Assembly, the TDP legislators had posed themselves as ”champions” of the Telangana cause.

However, the party legislators from the Telangana region, toeing the party line, started raising other political issues, including alleged illegal mining of iron ore by the Obulapuram Mining Company, promoted by Karantaka Minister G Janardhan Reddy, leaving issues concerning Telangana in the State Assembly.

Train derailed, services disrupted

Hyderabad, Mar 13 : train services to Chennai and Bangalore, among other destinations were disrupted when a goods train derailed at Thimmapur in Kotur mandal of Mahboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh early today.

As 12 wagons of the goods train bound for Nagpur jumped off the rails, passengers of the Chennai-Egmore express from here were transported by buses to the city, according to South Central Railway (SCR) sources.

Several express and passenger trains were cancelled as railway track to a distance of over 500 metres, was damaged, while trains bound for Bangalore were diverted via Raichur.

Restoration work was on and it might take over 16 hours, the sources added

Microsoft free software for AU students, faculty

Andhra University (AU) signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IT giant, Microsoft here on Friday. The MoU entitled ‘Dream Spark’ was signed by the general manager and country head, developer platform evangelism of Microsoft Mr Moorthy Up-paluri and registrar of Andhra University Prof P.V.G.D. Prasad Reddy in the presence of vice-chancellor Prof Beela Satyanarayana.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Moorthy said that he was delighted that Micro-soft had signed the memora-ndum with one of the oldest and biggest universities in the country. The agreement would brighten the prosp-ects of university students and those studying in affiliated colleges in the region.
Microsoft under the ‘Dream Spark’ initiative would provide free software to college students and upgrade the knowledge of teachers. A free key was also given to the university under which three lakh students can access their latest software. Asked by media whether the company had any plans to develop a centre here as the city was growing fast in the IT sector, following proposals by IBM to set up their unit here, Mr Moorthy said that there was no immediate plans thought the place was promising to them.
The vice-chancellor, Prof Beela Satyanarayana, said the university had signed MoUs with three important organisations – the RINL, the holding company of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Brandix Apparel and now Microsoft. These agreements would give ample opportunities to talented and hardworking students, the vice-chancellor said.

Smaller tech firms start hiring

Techies rejoice, jobs are back. After the biggies, other tech companies are also starting to hire. Infosys, Wipro and TCS had reversed the trend during the December quarter when they added new employees in large numbers. Other players are now following.

On Friday, Mr John Chambers, CEO of Cisco said that the company’s plans to take up the total headcount in India to 10,000 were on track. Based on the current strength of Cisco in India, this would mean 4,000 new jobs.

Meanwhile, ITC Infotech, the technology arm of cigerette major ITC has said it plans to add 1,800 employees all over India by March next year. ITC Infotech is headquartered in Bengaluru but also has offices in Hyderabad and Kolkata. Cisco too, is based in Bengaluru. Infosys and Wipro added close to 4,500 employees each during the December quarter while TCS added over 7,000 employees. These firms have announced intention to hire another 50,000 in the coming year.

IT major Cognizant had added over 10,000 employees to its rolls in the same period. BPO firms too, have announced plans to resume hiring. Genpact is expected to hire 10,000 over the coming year. Nasscom expects the technology sector to add 100,000 new jobs in the coming year.

Most of the business for these companies is from outside India, and improvements in US and European economies has resulted in better growth prospects.