Renu Khator became the first woman of Indian origin to be appointed the president of the University of Houston, USA, and the chancellor of the UH system early this year. She will head a system which is considered one of North America's biggest with a faculty of 3,000-plus and over 50,000 students. On a recent visit to India, she talked to Meenakshi Kumar about the differences between American and Indian education system: You studied in India before moving to the US? What major difference do you find between the Indian and American education systems?

Dubai: In a renewed effort to achieve a global trade deal under Doha Round of multilateral talks, trade ministers of India and the US will meet next week to bridge differences on farm subsidies and opening markets for industrial and agricultural products. "I am meeting USTR (Susan Schwab) on May 6. We are trying to see how we can converge,' commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said during his recent visit here.

Contradicting the BJP's views on the nuclear deal with the U.S., the former National Security Adviser, Brajesh Mishra, has said India should go ahead with the agreement, failing which the country would suffer a "severe loss of face' and its atomic programme a setback. Mr. Mishra, who served in the previous BJP-led government, said the deal should be concluded during the tenure of Bush administration as change of government in the U.S. would make things difficult.

Washington: Some stores have begun rationing rice, the price of wheat flour has gone through the roof, there's no butter on store shelves, and petrol at the pump is at an all-time high. The usual developing country woes from Asia, Africa and Latin America? Try again. These are stories from the US and Japan, the world's most advanced nations that stand for prosperity and plenitude. Astonishing accounts of panic buying and rationing are surfacing from Tokyo to New York as world leaders are breaking out in cold sweat over tightening food supply chain.

Precious commodity: Residents with subsidised rice in Manila recently. President Gloria Arroyo has declared war on hoarders and is using the military to move supplies of subsidised rice. The global food crisis reached the U.S. on Wednesday as big retailers began rationing sales of rice in response to bulk purchases by customers alarmed by rocketing prices of staple foods.

The United States has said that the civilian nuclear initiative with India is bound by the 123 Agreement and not the Hyde Act. It also saw no inconsistency between the two. "We don't see any inconsistency between what we were allowed to do and required to do under the Hyde Act, but what binds India and the United States together is the 123 Agreement, not the Act,' Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher said here.

It is rather unusual, if not unimaginable, to expect the world's mightiest and the richest nation face the prospect of isolation. Yet that is what the United States of America, the sole super power of the world, faced at the two-week conference on climate in the holiday island of Bali in mid-December. The fear of becoming a pariah nation forced the US delegation at Bali to fall in line with the wishes of the majority of the 190 nations that had assembled in the hope of preparing the roadmap for a new climate treaty after the Kyoto protocol ends in 2012.

In recent months, China has taken center stage in the international debate over global warming. It has surpassed the United States as the world's largest source of greenhouse gases, and it became developing nations' diplomatic champion at the recent United Nations climate negotiations in Bali. Now China may become the target of a full-fledged trade war that could destroy

World's breadbasket faces food crisis Food Shortages, An Unthinkable Phenomenon In US, Have Hit Many Parts Of The Country Mountain View (California): Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks, the New York Sun reported on Monday.

Washington: Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has been thinking a lot about the cosmic question, "Are we alone?' The answer is probably not, he says. If there is life elsewhere in the universe, Hawking asks why haven't we stumbled onto some alien broadcasts in space, maybe something like "alien quiz shows?' Hawking's comments were part of a lecture at George Washington University on Monday in honor of Nasa's 50th anniversary. He theorized that there are possible answers to whether there is extraterrestrial life.