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Honda plans to launch over 10 two-wheeler models in 2015

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India on Thursday said it plans to launch over 10 new models in the country during the next year. These launches will include seven new products and a few refreshed models.

“During the course of next year we plan to launch over ten models,” HMSI President & CEO Keita Muramatsu told reporters at the sidelines of the launch of CB Unicorn 160.

The two wheeler manufacturer presently sells a over 20 motorcycle and scooter models in the country.

Out of over 10 product launches planned for the next year, seven would be completely new platforms while others would be upgrades of the existing models, he added.

Asked about company’s plans to launch low-cost models in the country, Muramatsu said, “We are working on two models, a bike and a scooter, but there is no definite time frame set for the project.”

The low-cost bike for India will be developed with the help of local R&D. The Japanese two-wheeler major already sells low-cost bikes in Africa priced at around $600.

Meanwhile, the CB Unicorn 160 is the company’s fourth launch of 2014 after Activa 125, CD110 and Gold Wing.

“With this launch, Honda is strengthening its portfolio in the 150-180cc segment, which is the fastest growing segment in the motorcycles. We already have significant

presence in the commuter segment,” HMSI Vice President Sales & Marketing YS Guleria said, adding HMSI has a market share of around 20 per cent in the segment.

The company sells CB Unicorn 150, CBR 150 R and CB Trigger models in the 150-180cc range.
  • Published in Automotive
  • 0

US air war on ISIS : Obama wants $3.2bn more

Nov 7, HT : President Barack Obama will ask lawmakers on Friday for an additional $3.2 billion to pay for the war against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, including funds to train and arm Baghdad government forces, officials said Thursday. 

The funds will help cover the cost of replacing bombs in the weeks-long US-led air campaign against IS jihadists and assistance for Iraqi army troops and Kurdish forces battling the IS on the ground, two defense officials told AFP.

The air war in Syria and Iraq -- which commanders say could last years -- has involved thousands of sorties and hundreds of bombing raids, at a daily cost of $8.3 million, according to the Pentagon.

But independent analysts say the price tag is higher if the full cost of the air operations are taken into account, particularly numerous flights by sophisticated surveillance aircraft.

According to the Pentagon, the air war -- dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve -- cost $580 million as of October 16.

The proposed funding also would pay for the roughly 600 US military advisors who are working with Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Baghdad and Arbil, as well as about 800 other American troops providing security for the US embassy and Baghdad airport.

The request to approve money for the air campaign follows comments by Obama on Wednesday saying he will ask Congress to approve new legal authority for the war. The White House had said previously there was no need for Congress to weigh in on war power authorities.

Both moves will offer Congress a chance to debate the president's war strategy, amid criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum questioning the administration's approach.

The funding request will come as an amendment to the Pentagon's de facto war budget, known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, officials said.

In June, the administration requested $58.6 billion for the war operations budget for the current fiscal year, which began October 1, but since then the United States launched a major air campaign in Iraq on August 8 and in Syria on September 23.

The OCO fund is often described as a "credit card" to cover the cost of wars and is separate from the regular defense "base" budget that is supposed to cover weapons programs, wages and other items not directly associated with fighting wars.

At the current pace of air strikes, the widening war against the IS group will cost more than the 2011 Libya conflict, which came to one billion dollars, and could add up to several billion dollars for one year, experts say.

The rising cost still pales in comparison to the astronomical price tag for the protracted counter-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, which came to trillions of dollars.

  • Published in World
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Umrah package down to SR100 from SR250

Umrah travel operators in the capital have drastically reduced the weekend pilgrimage package to SR100, down from the Haj season price of SR250.

This year, the Haj season coincided with the summer holidays and a large number of vacationers could be seen with their families in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah during the season.

A return fare from Riyadh to Makkah by luxury coach, including accommodation in the holy city, will cost SR100 per pilgrim.

Accommodation can be upgraded to four-star standard on an additional payment of SR50.

A travel operator in the city said the weekend package to Makkah and Madinah starts at 4 p.m. from Riyadh on Thursday and ends midnight Saturday.

Each family is given a large room, while bachelors are accommodated on a sharing basis with three pilgrims in one room.

Children under 12 get 50 percent off the original price. Accommodation is provided in a three-star hotel.

There are nearly 300 Umrah travel operators spread out in the capital, largely concentrated in Batha. During the journey, the buses stop over at three points for the Maghreb prayer, Isha prayer and dinner and at the Meeqat in Taif for allowing the pilgrims to don the Ihram (the attire for the pilgrimage).

Local hotels in Madinah, in liaison with local tour operators, have arranged city tours to historical sites for the benefit of those who come to Madinah to visit the Prophet’s Mosque.

Places of interest include Quba Mosque, the first mosque built by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Madinah, the Qiblatain Mosque, where the Qibla was shifted from the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the Kaaba when the Prophet (pbuh) was leading the prayer, and the graveyard on the foothills of Mount Uhud, where soldiers martyred in battle during the Prophetic period are buried.

Meeqat points include Dhul-Hulayfah, 9 km from Madinah, Juhfah, 190 km northwest of Makkah, Qarn Al-Manazil, 90 km east of Makkah, Dhat Irq, 85 km toward the northeast side of Makkah, and Yalamlam, 50 km southeast of Makkah.

A senior official from the Ministry of Health said that it is advisable for Umrah pilgrims to take a flu shot before their departure to the holy cities.

He noted that the vaccination service is available free of charge for citizens, as well as residents in hospitals and public health care centers located throughout the Kingdom.

  • Published in Saudi Arabia
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