M A I N   N E W S

N-deal bogged down, Rice coming to seal it
Ashish Kumar Sen and Ashok Tuteja

Wanted: Manmohan, the economist

New York: With the world gripped in financial crisis, the expertise of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a highly acclaimed economist, was much in demand as he met various leaders, including US President George Bush. Every leader the Prime Minister met sought his opinion on how to deal with the financial meltdown, officials said. The issue came up in a big way during his meeting with World Bank President Robert B Zoellick. A World Bank economist-turned politician, Manmohan Singh is expected to speak on the subject in his presentation at the United Nations General Assembly. — PTI

Manmohan turns 76

New York: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh turned 76 today. He cut a small cake in his room at the New York Palace Hotel, where he is staying, in the presence of family members and close aides. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who called on him, presented him with a a memento on the occasion. Manmohan was born on September 26, 1932, in a village in the Punjab province of undivided India.

Washington, September 26
The US House of Representatives was expected on Friday (Saturday in India) to debate and vote on a Bill that seeks to approve US-India civilian nuclear trade, even as efforts in the Senate appeared to have been stalled on Friday afternoon after a lawmaker blocked the deal from a vote.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid said the nuke deal would be taken up next week. “It appears quite evident that we are going to be in session next week. There are a lot of things that haven't been done,” Reid said, citing the India deal as one of these unfinished matters. He said he had had a number of conversations on the nuke deal with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice will visit India early next month, during which the two countries are expected to sign the agreement.

“We are discussing the possibility of the visit of the secretary of state to India. We have been trying it for sometime and looking for possibility of dates,” foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters after talks between US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Indications are that Rice, who has been a strong votary of close Indo-US relations, will be in New Delhi in the first week of October. She is expected to sign the agreement with external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Associated Press reported that the agreement looked stalled in the Senate after at least one lawmaker anonymously blocked a Bill to approve the deal from reaching a vote. The report cited congressional aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to reporters.

Over the week, the chairman and co-chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, California Democrat Howard Berman and Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, respectively, introduced competing Bills on the nuclear deal. But on Thursday evening, Lynne Weil, communications director for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Tribune Berman’s Bill would be the only one taken up for a debate and vote.



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