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U.S. and Europe Would Support Kosovo Independence

The United States and most of the European Union will recognize Kosovo if the Balkan province declares independence from Serbia in early December, when last-ditch negotiations end, United States and European officials said Monday.

The officials spoke as Serbian and Kosovo Albanian diplomats prepared to sit down this week at the United Nations for talks billed as part of a final effort to get agreement on the issue of Kosovo’s independence. Its future status has fueled a confrontation between the West and Russia, which has threatened to veto any Security Council resolution approving independence for Kosovo.

“The game plan is set,” said a senior European diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter. “The talks end on Dec. 10. If there is no sense then that Serbia and Kosovo can agree on the province’s future, then Kosovo will make a unilateral declaration of independence,” he said, adding that “the U.S. will recognize that independence and the Europeans, as far as they can remain united, will follow too.”

On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with Reuters: “There’s going to be an independent Kosovo. It’s the only solution that is potentially stabilizing for the Balkans rather than destabilizing for the Balkans.”

Outsourcing Comes Full Circle As Indian Firms Export Jobs

Thousands of Indians report to Infosys Technologies’ campus here to learn the finer points of programming. Lately, though, packs of fair-skinned foreigners have been roaming the manicured lawns too. Many of them are recent American college graduates, and some have even turned down job offers from coveted employers like Google. Instead, they accepted a novel assignment from Infosys, the Indian technology giant: fly here for six months of training, then return home to work in the company’s American back offices.

India is outsourcing outsourcing.

One of the constants of the global economy has been companies moving their tasks — and jobs — to India. But rising wages here, a stronger currency, a demand for workers who speak languages other than English, and competition from countries looking to emulate India’s success as a back office — including China, Morocco and Mexico — are challenging that model.

Many executives here acknowledge that outsourcing, having rained most heavily on India, will increasingly sprinkle tasks around the globe. Or, as Ashok Vemuri, an Infosys senior vice president, put it, the future of outsourcing is “to take the work from any part of the world and do it in any part of the world.”

To fight on the shifting terrain, and to beat back their emerging rivals, leading Indian companies are hiring workers and opening offices in developing countries themselves, before their clients do.

Secretary-General Call for Action On Climate Change

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a meeting of world leaders on climate change here Monday stating that the scientific evidence of its global impact was sound and that the moment to act was now.

“Today, the time for doubt has passed,” he told delegates in the packed U.N. General Assembly hall.

Saying that “the scientists have very clearly outlined the severity of the problem,” Ban said their message was that the world knew enough to act, that failure to act would bring “devastating” consequences and that affordable technologies exist to start addressing the problem promptly.

“Inaction now will prove the costliest action of all in the long term,” he said.

The one-day debate on climate change, with more than 150 nations participating, was organized by Ban to prepare the ground for starting negotiations on an agreement to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the international accord that limits the emissions of greenhouse gases.

More than 80 heads of state and government are expected to attend this week’s opening of the 62nd General Assembly session, which has adopted climate change as its central theme.

The United States rejected the Kyoto conclusions, and President Bush is not participating in the day’s meeting. Instead, he is coming to New York only this evening for a dinner of major national leaders hosted by Ban.

One More Inch of the Earth to Be Covered in Advertising

With airlines turning seat backs, tray tables and even overhead bins into advertising platforms, looking out the window of an airplane has been one of the last ways to enjoy a marketing-free moment.

It looks as if that, too, is about to change — at least during that tedious time on the approach to landing, between the end of the in-flight entertainment program and touchdown on the runway.

A startup called Ad-Air, based here, said Monday that it had created what it called the “first global aerial advertising network” — giant, billboard-like ads that will be visible from the air as planes approach runways.

“What an incredible marketing opportunity — all these passengers with nothing else to do, staring down at the ground below,” said Paul Jenkins, managing director of Ad-Air.

Ad-Air said it had secured regulatory and planning approval to set up ad sites near more than a dozen major airports, including London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Denver International, Los Angeles International, Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, Haneda in Tokyo and Dubai International.