Mission to the Moon


AZUZ: One day after that historic trade, India's focus turned to the skies, when the nation launched its first lunar mission. But as the country jumps into the space race, some people there are questioning the project's price tag. Sara Sidner takes us into orbit.

LAUNCH COUNTDOWN: ...3...2...1...0.
SARA SIDNER, CNN REPORTER: India is soaring to new heights. This is the country's first unmanned mission to the moon. At 6:21 in the morning, the Indian-made spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1, shot into space with no problems. Members of India's space program congratulated each other as they watched the send-off.
MADHAVAN NAIR, INDIAN SPACE ORGANIZATION CHAIRMAN: Today, what we have started is a remarkable journey for India spacecraft to go to the moon and try to unravel the mysteries of the moon.
SIDNER: This mission puts the developing nation firmly in the exclusive club of space exploring countries. To some here, it's another sign India is on an unstoppable upward projectory.
PERSON ON THE STREET: We should be proud of it.
SIDNER: But if you think all eyes were glued to TV sets watching this historic launch, you'd be mistaken. In fact, some school children and teachers we spoke with after take-off didn't even realize the mission had already taken place. We met these children and their educators on a visit to the planetarium.
VIKAS JUNEJA, PHYSICS TEACHER: India is trying our best, and still there is a launch. I remember that Chandrayaan, which is going to launch very soon.
HARSHIL, STUDENT: Yes. India is going to perform a launch to moon on 22nd September.
SIDNER: India is spending about $79 million on this mission, far less than what China paid for its moon shot last year. We told vendor Sandeep Kumar about the launch and the cost. He wasn't impressed.
SANDEEP KUMAR, MARKET VENDOR (TRANSLATED): It would be better to spend money on providing electricity and water supply. The government should think about it, but it's spending money on useless activities. There can be nothing better than improving conditions in cities.
SIDNER: In a country of 1.1 billion people, where more than a third is desperately poor and barely able to feed themselves, some wonder if $79 million would be better spent helping these people out. Especially since this is a feat other counties have conquered decades ago. Still, some Indians argue this program could yield important scientific data, as well as bolster the country's reputation. If it's a complete success, the Indian space establishment plans to step it up. By 2020, India is planning to send a manned mission to the moon. Sara Sidner, CNN, New Delhi.

Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, which of these things is not like the others? Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin, gorilla. They may not fit in with the festive fruit, but these hairy beasts are getting into the Halloween spirit. Of course for them, that means devouring pumpkins stuffed with tasty treats. But the trick is getting the food out. Watch the guy at the top there. Once he's done dumping out the goodies, he sends the pumpkin plummeting.

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Obama Chides Biden Over Remark About a World Crisis Testing His Presidency


RICHMOND, Va. — Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr. seldom see each other as they campaign for the Democratic ticket. And they talk only occasionally. But on Wednesday, Mr. Obama delivered a long-distance message to his running mate.

“I think Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes,” Mr. Obama said, gently chiding the vice-presidential nominee as he sought to sweep aside a dustup Mr. Biden touched off when he predicted that a world crisis would test Mr. Obama during his first six months in office.
“A period of transition in a new administration is always one where we have to be vigilant, we have to be careful,” Mr. Obama said. “We have to be mindful that as we pass the baton in this democracy that others don’t take advantage of it — that’s true whether it’s myself or Senator McCain.”
In his remarks, Mr. Biden told supporters at a Seattle fund-raiser on Sunday that if Mr. Obama was elected, the world’s leaders would test his mettle as a young president, just as they did John F. Kennedy. The comment from Mr. Biden fanned a new line of criticism from Republicans that Mr. Obama is not ready for the presidency.
Mr. Obama convened a meeting of his foreign policy advisers here on Wednesday, which he said was not intended to address that remark, but rather to expand the campaign conversation beyond the economic crisis. Mr. Biden participated in a private portion of the meeting by telephone from Colorado, but did not appear on stage with Mr. Obama.
“I think that his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested, regardless of who it is,” Mr. Obama said, placing his interpretation on Mr. Biden’s comments. “The next administration is going to be inheriting a host of really big problems.”
He added, “The question is, Will the next president meet that test by moving America in a new direction by sending a clear signal to the rest of the world that we are no longer about bluster and unilateralism and ideology?”
Mr. McCain kept up his criticism of the Democratic ticket for Mr. Biden’s remarks. At a rally on Wednesday in Green, Ohio, Mr. McCain told the crowd, “Senator Biden guaranteed that if Senator Obama is elected, we will have an international crisis to test America’s new president!”

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Govt may provide Air India Rs 2,500 cr to see through crisis


HYDERABAD: The government may provide flag carrier Air India up to Rs 2,500 crore in the absence of funds from the market route, to help it stay in the skies right through the global financial crisis.

"It is owned by the government and as like any owner of a company, government should be ready to infuse liquidity into it. Air India has a very small liquidity base of Rs 145 crore and with an estimated aircraft of Rs 40,000 crore it is absolutely unacceptable.

"There is need to infuse further liquidity to make Air India a viable entity," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters here.

The 77-year-old airline, which initiated a fleet renewal programme three years ago and merged with its sister airline Indian last year, has proposed infusion of Rs 1,000-1,500 crore of equity capital.

It is also looking for soft loans to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore from the government that can be repaid over a period of time.

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President Bush vows action on financial crisis


WASHINGTON -- With stock markets tumbling all over the world, President Bush issued a statement from the Rose Garden today promising aggressive action in concert with other nations to shore up banks and stabilize markets.

"We are a prosperous nation with immense resources and a wide range of tools at our disposal," he said in a nine-minute speech. "We can solve this crisis and we will."

With the credit crunch still threatening to choke world economies, Bush's words had little immediate impact on the Dow Jones, which continued to drop even as he spoke. In the past 10 days, since Congress gave final approval to a $700-billion rescue plan for the nation's financial services sector, Bush has issued six public statements while the market has continued to lose money.

Outlining a series of steps the U.S. government is taking to try to stanch the credit freeze and restore confidence that is battered after historic losses in stock value, Bush acknowledged that this is "an anxious time," but said the American people "can be confident. We know what the problems are, we have the tools to fix them and we're working swiftly to do so."

Calling the American people "innovative and resourceful," Bush also suggested that much of the "startling drop" in the stock market has been driven by fear. "The anxiety is understandable," he said, adding, "Anxiety can feed anxiety and that can make it hard to see all that's being done to solve the problem."

Bush's comments come as leaders of the world's leading industrial economies -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- are meeting in Washington to coordinate a concerted strategy.

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The financial crisis: China's role - and responsibilities?


The superpower of the East (ouch - they really don't like the sound of that phrase in Washington!) is so big and so rich that it's just about everywhere nowadays. As the cash-strapped U.S. government's second-largest creditor after Japan, it would seem that China would or should have some cards to play in the completely unpredictable game and drama of the still-unfolding, banking-and-credit-crunch crisis that started in the U.S. and has spread and spread and spread around the world. Now, apparently, it may be ready to play some of them.

The headquarters of China's central bank in Beijing: Will China buy up billions of dollars more of U.S. debt in order to help Washington combat the deepening financial crisis?
The headquarters of China's central bank in Beijing: Will China buy up billions of dollars more of U.S. debt in order to help Washington combat the deepening financial crisis?
» Inter Press Service, in a report published in the Asia Times (Hong Kong), reports: "The Wall Street fire-sale has prompted economic pundits in China and elsewhere to call on Beijing to snap up stakes in United States financial institutions and further China's influence on global financial power." Chen Jie, an economics professor at Shanghai Fudan University, commented: "China cannot easily afford to pass up such an opportunity....We have been anxiously trying to find investment opportunities for our financial capital, but before the crisis, there existed a myriad of visible and invisible barriers for Chinese investment overseas, particularly in the United States."

An investor watched stock prices on an electronic board in Hubei province, China, earlier this week; on Monday, China's stock market fell sharply in response to sliding share prices overseas and fears of a global economic slowdown
An investor watched stock prices on an electronic board in Hubei province, China, earlier this week; on Monday, China's stock market fell sharply in response to sliding share prices overseas and fears of a global economic slowdown

However, so far, "China's response to expectations at home and abroad has been unassuming. Although fortified with great liquidity and large reserves, Chinese banks and government investors have preferred to sit on their hands rather than go on a shopping spree of tumbling Wall Street firms....Chinese bank officials have dismissed as groundless reports that China plans to buy up to $200 billion worth of U.S. Treasuries to help Washington combat the deepening financial crisis....Some of Beijing's conservatism stems from the fact that the global credit crisis has walloped the value of the Chinese government's initial batch of investments in U.S. financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley and Blackstone Group."

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Online investors can react immediately to shifting markets


200 px

Some might jest that online investors are spending less time trading during these days of unprecedented market volatility and more time on Google Maps, searching for the nearest and highest bridge to jump off.
In reality, however, many DIY investors are relishing the control they have over their portfolios as markets see saw back and forth, and they wouldn't have it any other way. Volatility is opportunity for any [online] investor who is willing to respond to the market as opposed to predicting the market, says Ron De Appolonia, general manager of the Online Trading Academy, a school that teaches the craft of online investing.

``If you want to put your money in and close your eyes, that doesn't work,'' he says. ``Investing online is not for the buy and `hope' individual.''

De Appolonia believes that the ability of self-directed investors to take control of their investments and react immediately and intelligently to the market's ebbs and flows is a key advantage in tough times, like now, that gives them a leg up on those who employ a financial adviser or planner to manage their money.

He says a financial adviser's interests are rarely aligned with an investor's best interests, noting nowadays, as losses mount on Bay Street and elsewhere, most advisers are telling their frustrated clients to hold their stocks and sit tight. ``It doesn't make sense in any business to hold a loser. There is a good time to get in and good time to get out. The notion of holding forever is silly,'' he said.

John See, president of TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage says the number of investors joining the online ranks continues to grow despite the difficult trading year its been. Not only are volumes growing due to the volatility in the markets, but so too, See says, are account openings. Year-to-date account growth is up 25 per cent to 30 per cent from the previous year, he says, with asset inflows exceeding that growth.

``Retail investors continue to recognize the Internet gives them access in a cost effective manner to products, tools and research that was once only available to professional money managers. They realize that they can easily create a diversified portfolio on their own.''
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