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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Index



United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January 13, 2012


Sreedharan to handle Kochi Metro project

: India's ‘Metro Man' E. Sreedharan will associate with Kerala's first metro rail project covering Kochi city and its suburban centres.
The uncertainty over whether Mr. Sreedharan, who has a celebrated record as a leader capable of beating deadlines, would lend his leadership to Kerala's dream project ended here on Thursday with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announcing that Mr. Sreedharan had consented to “lend his experience and expertise” to his home State.
The Chief Minister announced this at a press conference after a meeting of the State Planning Board. On a request from the State government, Mr. Sreedharan, who had stepped down as Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in 2011, is now serving as a member of the State Planning Board to oversee the planning of transportation-related projects in the State.

Coastal Security Group boats too took a beating in cyclone ‘Thane'

Two high-speed interceptor boats of the Coastal Security Group (CSG) have been damaged in the ‘Thane' cyclone. The vessels anchored at the Cuddalore Port got a beating when the cyclone pounded Cuddalore on December 30.
Now both the crafts are in-operational and could be made sea-worthy only after necessary repair works are carried out. The boats are now secured to the metallic-holds placed on the concrete pavement near the port and guarded by police personnel.
T. Shanmugham, Inspector and Cuddalore CSG Unit Officer, and R. Gunasekaran, Sub-Inspector and Technical Port Staff, told The Hindu that the Cuddalore Marine Police were provided with two boats of five-tonne capacity and 12-tonne capacity.
It was the smaller boat that got the maximum damage as its motor mounted on the rear was ripped off and the sides and the bottom were razed. The bigger one got its rubber coverings on the sides torn and the paint at many places peeled off, signifying that the waves tossed it around and dashing it against the jetty.
Mr. Gunasekaran said that the higher-ups had been informed of the mishap and arrangements had been made to bring in experts from the Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd.
Only after the Garden Reach team inspected the boats the full extent of damage would be known and so also when the boats could be put back to the sea.
The sources said that since the fishermen community had been on strike for the past few days, protesting against non-receipt of relief ever since the cyclone struck, there was virtually no seafaring activity in the 57.5-km long coastline of the district. Hence, the CSG personnel could relax till the damaged boats were set right, the sources added. Besides the CSG boats, one of the two barges, belonging to a private party got detached from its mooring by the sheer velocity of the wind and was carried away farther into the Paravanar (that has a confluence point near the port) towards the Sothikuppam bridge.
Now the barge stands grounded and it cannot be put to immediate use because of shallow depth at that point. Sisupal Kumar, Navigational Watch-keeping Officer, told this correspondent that the barges had arrived from Vietnam for maintenance.
It could be tugged only on the New Moon day, 10 days away, when there would be high tide.
He hoped that by then the fishermen would also resume work and be of help in getting the grounded barge back into the sea. Till then, the crew staying in another barge is provided with provisions by the owner to prepare food, Mr. Kumar added.

Memorial for Pennycuick to have a replica of Mullaperiyar

The memorial proposed by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa as a mark of gratitude to the British engineer would not be complete without a replica of Mullaperiyar dam

January 13, 2012


State inks MoUs for Rs.1,00,000-crore investment

Andhra Pradesh government signed agreements for investments to the tune of a staggering Rs.1,00,000 crore on Thursday for different projects, including two oil refineries in the State.
These Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed in the presence of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on the opening day of the two-day ‘CII Partnership Summit 2012' inaugurated by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) here. Trade delegations from 43 countries are taking part in the summit where the State government will sign many more MoUs.
The two refineries are proposed to be set up with an investment of Rs.30,000 crore each at Kakinada and in the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region near Visakhapatnam (PCPIR). The GMR Holdings Private Limited will set up a 15 million tonnes per annum greenfield refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex, including an integrated investment park at Kakinada. G. Kiran Kumar, Business Chairman, GMR Group, said the company was looking for strategic partners. GMR Infrastructure Limited would invest an additional Rs.3,000 crore in a multi-product Special Economic Zone in the PCPIR.
B.R. Shetty and Group inked the MoU to set up the other refinery in the PCPIR, Visakhapatnam, by employing about 3,000 persons. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, hailing from Karnataka is the CEO and MD of the Abu Dhabi-based New Medical Centre Group of Companies, signed the MoU.
Sports city
The Yash Birla groups also announced its maiden foray into Andhra Pradesh by investing Rs.13,000 crore. Chairman of the Group Yash Birla said an amount of Rs.10,000 crore would be invested in a poly-silicon plant to make advanced, solar photovoltaic cells and panels, and Rs.1,000 crore in the Global Integrated Ayurvedic village by the Birla Wellness and Healthcare division. The Group would also promote a first-of-its kind sports city at a cost of Rs.2,000 crore.

India leads the world in recognising right to food, says Stiglitz

Pointing out that nearly one out of seven Americans face food insecurity, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said here on Thursday that by recognising the right to food as a basic human right, India is leading the way for the rest of the world.
“India has recognised the right to food as a basic human right, leading the way for the rest of the world, and is on the verge of a historic implementation of the world's largest social protection programme against hunger,” Professor Stiglitz said delivering the Convocation Address at the 46{+t}{+h}Convocation of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).
Citing the work of fellow Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, he said hunger is not caused by an absolute shortage of grain, but by the lack of income of those in poverty to get access to it.
While one out of every seven Americans today is on food stamps, almost an equal number still face food insecurity, he said, ruing that “while India debates whether there should be basic economic rights, like the right to food, such debates are still not part of the discourse in America.”
Speaking of the challenges that lie ahead for India, Professor Stiglitz questioned that while it prides itself on its democracy, “can there be real or meaningful democracy with the large economic divides that are emerging today in the U.S. and elsewhere, where the wealthy use their money to have an undue influence in shaping perceptions and beliefs, and thus the outcome of the electoral process?”
“Too much of the world has been in pursuit of what I have called GDP (Gross Domestic Product) fetishism – the belief that development is simply the increase in GDP,” he said. The assessment of the success or failure of programmes should not only depend on their impact on GDP or income, but on broader measures of well-being, he added.

State planning youth budget

The State Government is planning to introduce a ‘youth budget' to enable young people to meet their aspirations, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda has said.
However, he did not make it clear if it would be introduced from 2012-13.
The Chief Minister was speaking after inaugurating the 17th National Youth Festival at Mangala Stadium here on Thursday.
He said the Government would constitute a special task force to implement the policy recommendations of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) on youth and strengthen existing youth-centric policies of the State.
Mr. Gowda said more opportunities would be created for the youth to take part in transforming the State into a knowledge society by 2020.
The KKC had recently conducted a survey on perception, aspirations, expectations and attitudes of youth of Karnataka. This revealed that young people continued to respect family and social values, while keeping pace with the changing world, the Chief Minister said.
Youth awards
Ajay Maken, Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, said the Union Government had increased the number of national youth awards from 25 to 30, which included 28 individual awards and two for organisations, from 2010-11, as it was the International Year of Youth. The 30 awards were presented at the inaugural session on Thursday.
Union Minister for Corporate Affairs M. Veerappa Moily and dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala D. Veerendra Heggade spoke.
The National Youth Festival is held to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

Connectivity will generate economic vibrancy: Hasina

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the connectivity between India and Bangladesh, particularly with the northeastern States, including Tripura, would generate tremendous economic vibrancy, leading to peoples' empowerment and overall development of the region.
Ms. Hasina, who was on a two-day visit to Tripura, urged India, Nepal and Bhutan to make the best use of the Chittagong and Mongla ports, which Bangladesh had already opened for these neighbouring countries, to access the sea route for their trade and commercial activities.
“Physical connectivity with countries in the South Asian region and beyond has become a major drive of my foreign policy,” Ms. Hasina said in her speech after being conferred an honorary D. Litt ( honoris causa ) degree at the 9th convocation of Tripura University. The degree was formally handed over to her by Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari.
She expressed confidence that the initiative with Tripura, including the Akhaura-Agartala rail link; operation of Ashuganj as a multimodal trans-shipment point under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade for transportation of Indian goods to Agartala; transportation of Over Dimensional Cargo for the Palatana power project; the bridge over the Feni river; use of the Chittagong and Mongla Ports by India, Nepal and Bhutan; operation of the Ramgarh-Sabroom Land Custom Station; and four new border haats (markets); when implemented would enhance Tripura's development.
Later at the civic reception accorded to her by the Agartala Municipal Corporation on the Assam Rifles ground, Ms. Hasina said Bangladesh was keen to undertake a joint venture project for power generation through utilisation of the vast natural gas reserve in Tripura. Once such projects were realised, her country would also buy power from them. She also said that four new border haats would be set up by India and Bangladesh to facilitate trade.
Identifying poverty as the biggest common enemy of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, the Bangladesh Prime Minister said although national efforts to eliminate it were important, it would not be possible without regional prosperity and economic development, which, in turn, would not be possible without an excellent network of connectivity of roads, railways, waterways and close people-to-people contact.
In his address, at the convocation, Mr. Ansari said Bangladesh provided critical links to the economy, ecology and environment of the northeast region. He said India was committed to fashioning economic and trade arrangements, not only for ensuring closer integration of the region with the national economy, but also with the neighbouring economies.
Vice-Chancellor Arunoday Saha said the conferment of the honorary D. Litt on Ms. Hasina was in acknowledgement of her contribution to peace, development and women empowerment in the sub continent. The convocation was also addressed by Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Tripura Governor D.Y. Patil, and Chancellor A.K. Bagchi.

Recalls sacrifices of Tripura people during liberation war\

When Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's plane touched down at the airport here on Tuesday evening a flush of emotions overwhelmed her as she recalled the tremendous sacrifices by the people of Agartala and help provided by Tripura in the form of food, shelter and support to Bangladesh liberation war heroes and lakhs of refugees.
On Thursday, when she was greeted by a capacity crowd at the huge Assam Rifles ground, where a civic reception was accorded to her by the Agartala Municipal Corporation, and earlier in the day, when she was conferred the honorary D. Litt. degree by Tripura University, Ms. Hasina was overwhelmed with emotions of memories and historical affinity of people of her country and Tripura.
Saying that the campus of Tripura University was the site of a training camp of Mukti-joddha during the Liberation War of 1971, Ms. Hasina said she was proud to visit the same place after 40 years.
“An occupation force had brutally cracked down on a defenceless people all over Bangladesh on March 25, 1971, setting in motion a large human exodus of the last millennium. As they streamed across the border with only their lives, starving and lost, they were welcomed by you with open arms,” she said.
She recalled: “Tripura was in those days flooded with refugees, who were more than its own population. It was indeed a unique situation. Nevertheless, through the nine months of our liberation war, the people of Tripura and India stood by our side and helped selflessly the forsaken millions, giving them food, shelter and other basic necessities. Our freedom-fighters also received training and support on this side of the border, and eventually fought with our Indian friends to the final surrender of the occupation forces and liberation of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971. How can we not remember with gratitude our friends in need in Tripura and India?”
The Bangladesh Prime Minister said that after the brutal assassination of her father — Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman — and 18 close family members on August 15, 1975, as the elder of the two surviving sisters, (her younger sister is Sheikh Rehana), she was determined to carry forward her father's struggle to establish democracy and give people their fundamental rights, including freedom from poverty.
She said she would always be thankful to late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for providing her and sister shelter from 1975 to 1981. When her father was implicated in the so-called ‘Agartala conspiracy case' in 1966, a conspiracy was hatched to hang him to death, but massive uprising by the people that followed foiled the con

$220 million Panasonic plant for Jhajjar

The Panasonic Corporation will invest $220 million at Jhajjar by setting up a plant there. This was disclosed by Panasonic India President Daizo Ito in a meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here on Thursday.
Mr. Daizo said the plant will be set up over 76 acre in the Model Economic Township at Jhajjar and will function as headquarters of Panasonic in India.
In the first phase, it will manufacture air-conditioners, washing machines and welding systems, while in the second it will make refrigerators, automotive systems, flat panel TVs, microwave ovens and other electronic components besides setting up a research and development centre.
The units will provide employment to 1,500 people in the first phase and over 2,000 in the second.
Mr. Hooda urged him to give priority to locals in employment and said Panasonic should set up a skill development centre in the area so that

Grocer-archaeologist discovers Gupta-era temple near Bundi

An amateur archaeologist has discovered the remains of a temple supposed to have been built in the 5th Century A.D. during the Gupta period, when the concept of installing statues of deities in temples was introduced, in dense forests 35 km away from Bundi district town in Rajasthan. The temple has a ‘Shivalingam' with the face of Lord Shiva engraved on it.
The temple, found near Bhimtal village, has the remnants of a square sanctum and pillared porch. Built with bricks, the temple makes a significant addition to the handful of sites in the country where the remains of places of worship from the Gupta era have been unearthed.
Archaeologist Om Prakash Sharma alias Kukki, who has spent two decades discovering the pre-historic rock art in Bundi, Kota and Bhilwara districts, told The Hindu on Wednesday that the latest discovery had confirmed the presence of the thriving ancient empire in Hadoti region of Rajasthan during the 5th Century, when magnificent temple architecture was gradually evolving.
The Gupta empire, that existed approximately between 320 and 550 A.D. and was described by historians as the golden age of ancient India, covered much of the Indian subcontinent and was marked by scientific and cultural creativity, including the outstanding architecture and sculptures, and crystallisation of the elements of Hindu culture.
Mr. Sharma said the presence of the dilapidated Shiva temples of the later period amid thick vegetation in surrounding areas such as Jalindri, Nathun, Deojhar, Banganga, Umarthuna and Kheruna indicated that the Shaivite religion held sway over much of the Hadoti region for several centuries.
“The characteristic elements of Shiva temple [that] emerged in the Gupta period are found even in the present-day shrines.”
The five-foot long and two-foot thick ‘Shivalingam' is reportedly the third of its kind from the Gupta era found in the country so far. Similar statues were earlier discovered at Udaigiri in Vidisha and Bhumra in Satna district of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
Mr. Sharma said the ‘Shivalingam,' built of white sandstone, has embellishments like earrings and ornaments with Lord Shiva's face, while the sanctum where it was installed is encircled with hundreds of undamaged and broken bricks. In the local parlance, this statue is called ‘Mukhling.'
There are traces of a covered processional path in the temple for circumambulation, which formed part of the worship ritual. A methodical study of the Bhimtal temple could provide important clues to various dimensions of early Hindu architecture in ancient India, said Mr. Sharma.
The gradual evolution of the Gupta style architecture led to the construction of shikhara (dome) in the temples and ornamentation on the pillars and door-frame. Later, the decorative motifs like goblins, couples, flying angels, door-keepers and a figure relief in the centre of the lintel emblematic of the deity consecrated in the temple were introduced.
A barely-literate grocer with a passion for history and archaeology, the 54-year-old has discovered rock paintings and objects and tools of the Copper Age and Mauryan and post-Gupta period in the vast hilly tracts of the Hadoti region in south-east Rajasthan over the past two decades.
Mr. Sharma said his latest discovery had demonstrated that Hadoti did not merely have a pre-historic human habitation, but was also rich in archaeological wealth which could throw a new light on the evolution of Hinduism with the dissemination of Vedic civilisation by Aryans.

January 12, 2012


Rs. 152 crore allocated for Virudhunagar

: The Tamil Nadu Assembly Petitions committee, led by MLA, Mohan, reviewed the process of petitions received by officials from the public on important issues, here on Wednesday.
Mr. Mohan said that Virudhunagar was the 11{+t}{+h}district in the State the panel was visiting. The panel took up 45 out of the 133 petitions received from the people for review. The members instructed the district administration to process all the petitions.
A total of Rs. 152 crore had been allocated for Virudhunagar district for various works, he said.
The committee inspected the railway level crossing gate on Ramamoorthy Road where a road over bridge had been proposed. It also inspected the underground drainage work and the Government hospital in Virudhunagar town and the bus stand in Tiruthangal.

New president of ISTE

: The Vice-Chancellor of Anna University of Technology, Madurai, R.Murugesan has been elected as the president of Indian Society for Technical Education, New Delhi, for 2012 to 2014.
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Dr. Murugesan said the election for the post was held during the 41{+s}{+t}ISTE Annual National Convention hosted by Baba Bandha Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab on December 16, 2011. Dr.Murugesan now joins the elite group of G.R.Damodaran and V.C. Kulandaisamy by becoming the third person from the state to hold that position after a gap of 15 years. He is also the 15th president of the society.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi frowns on over-celebration of icons

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Tuesday disapproved of the tendency to “contradict heritage at every step of celebrating the country's heritage” and overdoing the commemoration of national icons.
Launching a set of four books on Rabindranath Tagore by scholar-lawyer K. Chandrasekharan re-published to mark the 150{+t}{+h}anniversary of Tagore, Mr. Gandhi said one of the four ways in which people gratified their sense of indebtedness to individuals was by oversimplifying the object of commemoration — thus Tagore becomes a national poet and universalist, Mahatma Gandhi becomes the apostle of non-violence and Jawaharlal Nehru the architect of modern India.
The other means were to over-decorate — by erecting statues, issuing stamps and instituting memorial orations — over-celebrate (starting centenaries a year late and going on after “zero-point”), and overwhelm (through extravagance, exaggeration and excess), Mr. Gandhi said.

Tsunami scare in Cuddalore

The much harried coastal community was in the grip of panic on Wednesday when the news broke out that an earthquake that occurred off the Sumatra coast might trigger tsunami.
The residents of Singarathope coastal village collected their belongings and took their children to places of safety. Many of them went to the high-level bridge there that saved hundreds of lives during the December 2004 tsunami. Most of the residents stayed outside for the better part of the day.
Some of the fishermen said that the early symptoms they witnessed before the tsunami strike was that the sea waves advanced well into the shore, much beyond the usual level.


January 12, 2012


EC halts minorities sub-quota in five poll-bound States

The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered the Union Ministry of Personnel not to give effect to the December 22, 2011 office memorandum, providing a 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities within the 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes in Central government jobs and educational institutions, in the five poll-bound States.
The direction will be applicable until after the completion of the Assembly election process in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. The EC took into account the fact that the decision on sub-quota was announced by the Centre on December 22, before the model code came into force, i.e. on December 24, when the poll schedule was announced.
The EC said it was brought to its notice that the order had been issued in violation of the model code, and that it took the decision to ensure a free and fair poll.
Model code
Sources in the EC drew attention to the Sections in the model code relating to parties, candidates and the State/Central governments. Para 1(3): There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.
Para VII: The party in power, whether at the Centre or in the State or States concerned, shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for purposes of its campaign.
Para VII (vi): From the time elections are announced, Ministries and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof ......, which may have the effect of influencing voters in favour of the party in power.
Many parties, particularly the BJP, had strongly opposed the Cabinet decision and said the announcement was made as an inducement to Muslims, who are in sizable numbers in Uttar Pradesh. The decision would benefit Muslims more than other minorities as there were many Muslim communities designated as OBCs, the parties said.
Even some Muslim organisations felt that the Cabinet decision would betray their interests. Earlier, the various Muslim communities listed for the 27 per cent OBC quota managed to get 2.3 per cent. Now OBC Muslims would have to compete with Christians, Sikhs and Parsi OBCs for the 4.5 per cent quota, they claimed.

Hasina in Tripura

Landmark visit:Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who arrived in Agartala on Wednesday, is seen with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. In the city to receive an honorary doctorate from Tripura University, she will also hold trade talks. This is the first visit by a Bangladesh Prime Minister to Tripura, which played an important role in Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971.— PHOTO: RITU RAJ KONWAR (REPORT ON PAGE 13)

Landmark visit:Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who arrived in Agartala on Wednesday, is seen with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. In the city to receive an honorary doctorate from Tripura University, she will also hold trade talks. This is the first visit by a Bangladesh Prime Minister to Tripura, which played an important role in Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971.

NMDC signs pact with SEPC

The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) signed a contract with a consortium led by Shriram EPC Limited (SEPC) on Tuesday for By-Product Plant (BPP) package for the upcoming three million tonnes per annum integrated steel plant at Nagarnar in Chattisgarh.
According to a release, the total cost of the package is Rs.509 crore. The contract was signed by ED (NISP) G. Viswakarma on behalf of NMDC and V-P of A.B.Paul for SEPC.

Forest fire at Chamundi Hills; handiwork of miscreants suspected

A forest fire broke out at Chamundi Hills on Wednesday, but the damage to the vegetation is reckoned to be minor. This is the first forest fire to be reported this season. Shrub jungles and dry forests are prone to fires in the run up to summer.
Staff of the Department of Forests were at the spot extinguishing the flames. Officials suspect the fire to be the handiwork of miscreants.

National Service Scheme awards

The Higher Secondary National Service Scheme awards for programme officers, units, and volunteers for 2009-10 and 2010-11 have been announced.
T.P. Mohammed Basheer, Himayathul Islam HSS, Kozhikode, Rajan Thomas, S.N.V.HSC, N.R.City, Idukki, have been selected as the best officers and NSS units at the State level for 2010-11.
The regional level winners are P.S.Joymon, C.K.M.HSS, Korothodu, Kottayam, R.Gopalakrishnan, Government Girls HSS, Thazhava, Kollam, and the unit at Government HSS, Sreekantapuram, Kannur.
The best district-level officers and units for 2010-11 are Benny V.Varghese, M.K.M.HSS, Piravom, Renjith Jacob, St. Mary's HSS, Mullenkolly, Wayanad, M.K.Faizal, Calicut Girls HSS, Kozhikode, Shaji N.Raj, R.R.V.GHSS, Kilimanoor, K.K.Manoj Kumar, GHSS, Peelikode, Kasaragod, Pintu D.Kalariparambil, Lourdes Mata HSS, Pacha, Alappuzha, G.Gopakumar, Government HSS, Thankamom, Pathanamthitta.
M.Satheesh Kumar, Naduvannur HSS, Wakayad, Kozhikode, is the best officer and unit at the State level in 2009-10.
P.K.Anita, A.K.M.HSS, Poochatty, Thrissur, is the winner at the regional level. The district-level winners in 2009-10 are R.Jaya, SNDP HSS, Venkurinji, Pathanamthitta, B.Najeeb, Government HSS, Venjaramoodu, C.S.Gopalan, Government HSS, Chathannur, Palakkad, K.C.Muralidharan, Nirmala HSS, Erumamunda, Malappuram, K.M.Subair, M.J.HSS, Ilayattil, Kasaragod, Rafeeq, T.P.N.A.M.HSS, Peringathur, Kannur, and Muhammed Sherief, Government Fisheries HSS, Cheruvathoor, Kasaragod.
The best volunteers for 2010-11 are Bipin Sunny, Valayanchirangara HSS, S.Abhijith, government HSS, Thengamam, Pathanamthitta, V.Priyaraj, Government GHSS, Thazhava, Kollam, Aswathy Satyan, L.M.HSS, Pacha, Alappuzha, K.M.Suhail, St.Mary's HSS, Mullenkolli, Wayanad, Dhanya Johnny, S.N.V.HSS, N.R.City, Idukki, T.M.Raisanus, Government Fisheries HSS, Cheruvathoor, Kasaragod, N.Habib Rehman, P.K.K.S.M. HSS, Kayamkulam, Justin Joy, Government HSS, Sreekantapuram, Kannur, B.K.Anaswara, Naduvannur HSS, Wakayad, Kozhikode.
The winners for 2009-10 are Awathy Elizabeth, S.N.HSS, Thrikanarvattom, Ernakulam, R.Anu Krishnan, Government Boys HSS, Adoor, J.Ebeneezer, Government HSS, Kulasekharapuram, Kollam, S.Sabujan, Government GHSS, Thazhava, Kollam, K.Subash, GMHSS, Vellamunda, Wayanad, K.V.Nihas, Himayathul Islam HSS, Kozhikode, P.Reshma, Government HSS, Pulamanthole, Malappuram, Venisha, Socarso CGHSS, Kottakkal, Thrissur, R.Manuraj, GHSS, Kudamaloor, Kottayam, T.S.Anoop, SNDP HSS, Venkurinji, Pathanamthitta, P.P.Dhanyasree, Palora HSS, Palora, Kozhikode, and A.S.Shyam Kumar, C.K.M.HSS, Koruthodu, Kottayam.
Education Minister P.K.Abdu Rabb will present the awards at Cotton Hill HSS here on January 11.

Protect Thirumalai hills: High Court

: The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday directed Additional Solicitor General M. Ravindran to take notice on behalf of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in a public interest litigation petition seeking to protect Thirumalai hills at Thirumalai Koneripatti village in Sivaganga district under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R. Karuppiah also recorded the submission of Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian that he would ask the local police to verify the petitioner's allegations of large scale vandalism in the hillock, boasting ancient Jain abodes, and file a status report within two weeks.
M. Ayyannar (26), a resident of Thirumalai Koneripatti, had filed the PIL petition through his counsel R. Alagumani.
According to them, the hillock was situated about 54 kilometres from here. It contained rock paintings dating back to 5{+t}{+h}century and Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions of the Sangam Age. Several Jain beds (billow lafts) were also hewn out of the rock floor of the caverns. The hillock also boasted of a Swasthika, a sign incised on Jain beds; a rock cut Malai Koluntheeswarar Bakampiriyal Temple of 8{+t}{+h}century A.D. and a structural 3{+r}{+d}century temple.
It was also one of the fourteen popular Jain abodes situated around Madurai, the other being those in Tirupparankundram, Samanarmalai, Kongar Periyankulam, Vikramangalam, Antipatti, Anaimalai and so on.
“Except Thirumalai, all other popular Jain abodes were now declared as protect monuments by the ASI though Thirumalai hill is also an equally important monument which contained 30 Tamil inscriptions of Pandya kings such as Jadawarman Kulasekaran, Maaravarman Sundara Pandiyan, Jatawarman Parakrama Pandiyan belonging to 13{+t}{+h}and 14{+t}{+h}centuries A.D.,” the petitioner's affidavit read.
It went on to state: “Each and every rock painting of Thirumalai hills has been defected with names scrawled on them. The inscriptions and Jain beds have been vandalised and discredited… On one bed, the election symbol of a political party has been carved. 



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jan/11/2012


Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina arrives in Agartala

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina inspects the Guard of Honour at the State Guest House, Agartala on Jan. 11, 2012. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived here on Tuesday by a special aircraft on a two-day visit to Tripura.
She was received at the airport by Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal as a special emissary of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, State Governor D Y Patil and Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.
In the evening, Ms. Hasina will participate in a discussion with business delegations of both the countries.
Tomorrow she will be conferred D Litt by the Tripura Central University at its ninth convocation.

No respite from cold in Valley

A view of snow covered residence in Srinagar on Tuesday. A cold wave tightened its grip in Jammu and Kashmir for the past three days. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

There was no respite for residents of Kashmir as mercury across the Valley remained below the freezing point for the third consecutive day on Wednesday.
In the summer capital Srinagar, the minimum temperature was recorded at minus 3.3 degrees Celsius, an decrease of 0.5 degrees from last night, a MeT official said.
Srinagar city on Tuesday recorded the maximum temperature of minus 1.0 degrees Celsius which was the coldest day in many years.
North Kashmir’s Gulmarg resort recorded a low of minus 14.8 degrees Celsius, an increase of 1.4 degrees from last night.
In Pahalgam resort of south Kashmir, mercury touched a low of minus 10.7 degrees Celsius, the official said.
The south Kashmir gateway town of Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 5.4 degrees Celsius, while north Kashmir’s frontier Kupwara town recorded a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.

Slow start to Punjab Assembly polls

Shiromani Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal filing nomination papers from Lambi Assembly seat in Malout, Muktsar on Tuesday. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and depty Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal are also seen.

With Thursday being the deadline for filing nomination for the coming assembly elections in Punjab and political heavy-weights like Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and State Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh having filed their nominations, other candidates from all political parties are lining up to file their papers. However, campaigning is yet to pick up to attract voters to their respective sides.
Elections to the 117 assembly constituencies in Punjab is scheduled for January 30 and the date for completing the process of scrutiny of nomination papers and withdrawal of candidature is still five days away.
Under the strict eye of the Election Commission monitoring all electoral activities, including expenses of prospective candidates in the run up to the polls, major political parties are exercising all caution. Political parties need to inform the returning officers about placing of advertisements, putting up hoardings and even organizing rallies in their respective assembly segments. With the expenditure limit put at Rs. 16 lakh for an assembly seat, candidates have to maintain their log books in a register on expenses incurred in organizing meetings, hiring vehicles and tents and even for offering refreshments to the party workers.

Four People's Principles

Markandy Katju. File photo: R.V.Moorthy

Only modern science can solve the many problems that India's masses face.
When we discuss science, we must ask what its purpose is. The answer, to my mind, is: to make our lives better and happier. Science is that knowledge by which we understand nature and harness it for our benefit.
Some people may oppose this view, saying that the atom bomb destroys lives, and that science has created weapons of destruction. Scientific knowledge can be misused, but also used to benefit mankind. But without science we will be living precarious, wretched lives.
An objection could also be raised that it is only the applied sciences (technology) that benefit people, not the fundamental sciences. It is true that a scientist doing fundamental research does not care whether his discoveries are of any utility or not. Newton and Einstein did not bother whether their discoveries would benefit mankind. However, these benefit mankind in the long run.
Today India faces huge problems; only science can solve them. Some 80 per cent of its people live in poverty, with unemployment, sky-rocketing prices, problems of healthcare, education and housing, and so on. Forty-eight farmers commit suicide on an average each day. And 47 per cent of the children are malnourished. Our national aim must be to abolish these evils and make India prosperous for all.
To address the problems, I present Four People's Principles (following Sun Yat Sen's Three People's Principles). These should be our guiding principles: Science, Democracy, Livelihood, and Unity of the People.

SCIENCE

When India was on the scientific path, it prospered. With the aid of science we built mighty civilisations thousands of years ago when most people in Europe (except in Greece and Rome) lived in the forests. We made outstanding scientific discoveries. However, we subsequently took to the unscientific path of superstition and ritual. The way out is to go back to the scientific path shown by our ancestors — Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta, Sushruta and Charaka, Ramanujan and C.V. Raman.
Here are three examples of Indian scientific achievements in ancient times.
1. The decimal system was perhaps the most revolutionary and greatest scientific achievement in the ancient world. The Europeans called the numbers in the decimal system Arabic numerals, but surprisingly the Arabs called them Hindu numerals. Were they Arabic or Hindu? The languages Urdu, Persian and Arabic are written from right to left, but if you ask any speaker of these languages to write a number, he will write it left to right. This shows the numbers were taken from a language that was written left to right. It is accepted now that these numbers came from India, and were copied by the Arabs.
The decimal system has revolutionary significance. Ancient Rome was a great civilisation, but its people were uncomfortable with numbers above 1000. They wrote their numbers in alphabets, I standing for 1, V for 5, X for 10, L for 50, C for 100, D for 500 and M for 1000. There was no alphabet expressing a number higher than 1000. If one would have asked an ancient Roman to write the number one million, he would have gone crazy: to write one million he would have to write the letter M, which stands for millennium (or one thousand), one thousand times. On the other hand, under our system, to express one million we have just to write the number one followed by six zeroes. We could thus express astronomically high numbers by adding zeroes. In the Roman numerals there is no zero. Zero was ancient India's invention.
2. Five thousand years ago in the Indus Valley civilisation was created the system of town planning, with covered drains and the sewage system.
3. Plastic surgery was invented in India in the 6th century B.C.; Westerners discovered it about 200 years ago.
I am not going into our other great scientific achievements (for details, see ‘Sanskrit as a Language of Science' at the website, www. kgfindia.com).
However, today we are far behind the Western countries in science; that is the real cause of our poverty and other social evils. We must spread science — not physics, chemistry and biology alone: it is the entire scientific outlook. We must spread rational and logical thinking among our masses and make them give up backwardness and superstition. The mindset steeped in casteism, communalism and superstition must change. Science is not the natural sciences alone, but also the social sciences. A worldwide recession is on. This can only be solved by knowledge of economic theory, not of natural sciences or engineering.

DEMOCRACY

The second principle is Democracy. When King Ajatashatru of Magadha was planning to attack the Vajjian democracy, he sent a messenger to the Buddha for advice. Instead of speaking to this messenger, the Buddha told one of his disciples: “Have you heard, Anand, that the Vajjians foregather often and frequent the public meetings of their clan? So long, Anand, as the Vajjians so foregather and so frequent the public meetings of their clan, so long they may be expected not to decline but to prosper.
Similarly, Avadan Shatak, a Buddhist Sanskrit text of the second century A.D., mentions that a group of merchants went from North India to the Deccan and were asked by the Deccan King, who was the king who ruled over North India. The merchants replied: Deva, kechit deshah ganadheena, kechit rajaadheena, iti, which means “Your Majesty, some regions are under democratic rule, while others are under kings.” So, democracy is nothing new to India.
The method of shastrarthas was developed in ancient India, which permitted free discussion in the presence of a large assembly. This resulted in growth in philosophy, law, grammar and so on, and also in science, including medicine, mathematics and astronomy.
Some people say democracy is not good for India. I disagree. The problem in India is not that there is too much democracy but too little. We need more democracy, not less, and that means educating the masses, raising their cultural level, and involving them actively in national reconstruction.
Democracy and science go hand in hand. Scientific growth requires certain supportive values, namely, the freedom to think, criticise, and dissent, tolerance, plurality, and free flow of information. These are the values of a democratic society.

LIVELIHOOD

The third principle is livelihood for the masses. Today, 80 per cent of Indians are poor, and there is massive unemployment, lack of healthcare, housing and good education. In the recent period, the rich have become richer, and the rich-poor divide has increased. Economic growth has benefited only a handful.
The French thinker, Rousseau, wrote: “It is obviously contrary to the law of nature for a handful of people to gorge themselves on superfluities while the starving multitudes lack the necessities of life.” (Discourse on the Origins of Inequality)
Using our creativity we must find ways to raise the standard of living of the masses. Ultimately, that is what matters. Let the system we adopt be called capitalism or socialism or communism, the real test is whether the standard of living of the masses is going up or not. Surely, a system in which a quarter million farmers have committed suicide in the last 15 years and vast masses live in poverty is unacceptable.
Before the Industrial Revolution, which began in Western Europe in the 18th century, there was feudalism everywhere. In the feudal system the methods of production were primitive and very little wealth was generated, and only a handful of people could be rich. In contrast, modern industry is powerful and big, and enough wealth can be generated to meet everybody's basic needs. Nobody needs to be poor. It is the state's duty to ensure that.

UNITY OF THE PEOPLE

India has great diversity, with a number of castes, languages, religions and ethnic groups, as it is broadly a country of immigrants (see the article, ‘Kalidas Ghalib Academy for Mutual Understanding,' and the video, ‘What is India,' at www. kgfindia.com). So the only policy that will work here is secularism, giving equal respect to all communities. This was the policy of Emperor Akbar, who was really the architect of modern India. This policy was continued by Jawaharlal Nehru and his colleagues who created our secular Constitution.
In 1947, religious passions were inflamed; Pakistan had declared itself an Islamic state. There must have been tremendous pressure on Nehru and his colleagues to declare India a Hindu state. It is not easy to keep a cool head when passions are inflamed, but our leaders said India would not be a Hindu state but a secular one. It is for this reason that there is more stability in India than in the neighbouring country.
Powerful vested interests are trying to destroy the unity and make us fight one another on the basis of religion, caste, region, language, and so on. It is the duty of all patriotic people to expose these designs and maintain the unity of the people; without that we cannot progress.
(Justice Markandey Katju is Chairman of the Press Council of India. This is an edited version of the address he delivered on January 11 at an international conference organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, on ‘Science Communication for Scientific Temper,' in New Delhi)

Intel enters smart phone market

Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini introduces the Intel smart phone during his keynote address at the 2012 International CES tradeshow, on Tuesday, in Las Vegas.
Intel Corp on Tuesday announced plans to team up with Motorola Mobility Inc and Lenovo to make the first smart phones running on Intel chips.
Lenovo will use a 1.6GHz Atom z2640 chip on a phone to debut in China in the second quarter, Intel chief executive Paul Otellini said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Motorola has also entered into a multi-year, multi-product agreement with Intel, Otellini said.
"The best of Intel computing is coming to smartphones," the Intel chief said. "Our efforts with Lenovo and Motorola Mobility will help to establish Intel processors in smartphones and provide a solid foundation from which to build in 2012 and into the future."
The devices from the two manufacturers represent Intel's belated entry into the surging smartphones market. In contrast to the computer world, where Intel's dominant X86 chip is dominant, most smartphones run on the rival architecture of chips by ARM Holdings Plc, which is thought to be use less power than Intel's chips.


Jan/11/2012


Jayalalithaa launches new health insurance scheme

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa handing over the approval letter for treatment to a beneficiary, after inaugurating the medical insurance scheme at the State Secretariat in Chennai on Wednesday.

A new health insurance scheme for providing free medical and surgical treatment to 1.34 crore families in Tamil Nadu was on Wednesday launched by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at an annual outlay of Rs. 750 crore.
Under the “Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme”, replacing the previous DMK regime’s insurance cover, a family would get a health insurance cover up to Rs. one lakh per annum for four years, an official release said.
In the case of certain diseases, the insurance cover could go up to Rs. 1.50 lakh. The scheme, to be implemented by public sector United India Insurance Company, would be applicable to every member of a family whose annual family income is less than Rs.72,000.

Jarawa footage: Andaman administration to serve notice to TV channels

NOT A TOURIST ATTRACTION: Members of the Jarawa tribe in the Andaman Islands. A Handout Photo.

The Andaman and Nicobar administration on Tuesday said that it would serve legal notice on two Delhi-based TV channels telecasting a video footage showing a group of tribal women being ordered to dance for tourists by a policeman.
British newspaper, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Observer’, a weekly, had released video footage of police involvement in ’human safaris’ in the Andaman Islands. The videos were recently aired on the two Delhi-based channels.
The policeman had allegedly taken a bribe of £ 200 to take tourists into the protected Jarawa reserve.
While Andaman and Nicobar police remained tight-lipped about the incident, administration sources told PTI that legal notice would be served on the two TV Channels regarding this matter as the footage was one-sided and they had not taken the version of administration or cross-checked with it.
The sources said the administration was “totally against Jarawa tourism” but ruled out closure of the Andaman Trunk (ATR) road ordered by the Supreme Court a decade ago to protect the Jarawa habitat. The road cuts through South Andaman where the Jarawa reserve is located, linking Port Blair with Diglipur in North Andaman.
The official said any decision on closure of the road, the lifeline of the Middle and North Andamans, would take time as it was a policy decision but said an alternative route via sea was being chalked out to bypass the Jarawa reserve.
A Supreme Court ruling in 2002 on the Shekhar Singh Commission report had ordered closure of the ATR road to protect the Jarawas.
The scandal, first exposed by Survival International, an NGO in 2010, involves tourists using an illegal road to enter the reserve of the Jarawa tribe.
Tour companies and cab drivers ‘attract’ the Jarawa with biscuits and sweets, The Guardian and The Observer had said in their report published in January last year.
The video showed a group of Jarawa women being ordered to dance for tourists by a policeman, who had reportedly accepted a £200 bribe to take them into the reserve.
One tourist had previously described a similar trip to the newspapers. “The journey through tribal reserve was like a safari ride as we were going amidst dense tropical rainforest and looking for wild animals, Jarawa tribals, to be specific”, he said.
Survival International has called for tourists to boycott the road.
Working with a local organization, SEARCH, Survival has distributed leaflets to tourists arriving at the Islands’ airport warning of the dangers of using the road.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said, “This story reeks of colonialism and the disgusting and degrading ‘human zoos’ of the past.”
“Quite clearly, some people’s attitudes towards tribal people haven’t moved on a jot. The Jarawa are not circus ponies bound to dance at anyone’s bidding,” Mr. Cory said.
The lone Member of Parliament from the Islands, Bishnupada Ray told PTI that the video tapes were very old and government should take immediate action against this.

Nobel laureate economist stresses on holistic sustainable development

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi felicitating renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz during a seminar on

Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has stressed on the need for a holistic approach to sustainable development and removing the inequalities and disparities that have been on the rise in different parts of the world.
The Columbia University Professor, in his interaction with Lord Meghnad Desai here on Tuesday night, pointed out that governments would have to play a more proactive role in shaping the economic policies that are more tuned to the hopes and aspirations of the people.
“Economic reforms have to address the key issues affecting people and have to bring about qualitative changes in their economic conditions,” he pointed out.
Mr. Stiglitz stressed on the need for harnessing natural and human resources in a proper way for the benefit of the people and restructuring the economy through a slew of reforms aimed at bringing about changes in the living conditions of the common man.
Mr. Stiglitz said the driving force behind the success of any economy is the participation of people in a big way and civil society.
NGOs and SHGs in the development process can catapult any state or nation toward the path of economic prosperity, he said.
Highlighting the economic emergence of Asian giants China and India in the global economy, Mr. Stiglitz said to ensure continued momentum, more emphasis should be given to investment in human capital, infrastructure development and capital knowledge coupled with high savings.
“The gap in per capita income between the Asian countries and the West has to be narrowed down considerably,” he added.
Mr. Stiglitz said the International Monetary Fund would have to play a proactive role like the World Bank on reducing poverty and inequalities that can cause economic and political upheaval.