Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Congress ridicules Sukhbir\'s Mission Ludhiana

The Ludhiana District Congress Committee on Tuesday ridiculed the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for \"day-dreaming\" about launching his \'Mission Ludhiana\' development project worth Rs. 700 crore for city on November 15, when the government had no money to pay pension to people.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Ludhiana District Congress Committee (urban) president Pawan Dewan asked the deputy chief minister: \"Where is the money for the mission?\"

He said it was not for the first time that the deputy CM had made such claims as he had been saying it for past seven years without any resources or intent to do anything on ground.

The district Congress president pointed out that the state government did not have any money to pay the salaries, pensions and other outstanding dues and was only trying to befool people by making announcements devoid of any substance or credibility.

Referring to the Rs. 700 crore Mission Ludhiana claims being made by the deputy CM, Dewan said: \"It is not for the first time that such claims have been made. He is the same Sukhbir Badal, who had claimed to make Ludhiana look like Paris. But what have they made of the city is for everybody to see.\"

The Congress leader said, the Akali-BJP government in state has been completely exposed for its failures and that they were now waiting for an opportunity to teach them a lesson.
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DC move on Senior Citizens Act bears fruit, gets 15 complaints

Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal\'s initiative to implement the Senior Citizens Act in the city is bearing fruit. After the new DC took charge about one and a half month back, implementation of this Act was his top priority.

\"Apart from the instructions issued to the revenue department, we have also started spreading awareness among senior citizens through our staff members. Any transfer of land among blood relations will be subject to Section 23 of the Senior Citizens Act as per which the property can be taken back by the parents in case they are being troubled by their children,\" he said.

Aggarwal had launched this initiative as a pilot project during his tenure in Amritsar and wants to follow it in the industrial town of Ludhiana. \"So far, I have received about 15 complaints from senior citizens from different parts of the city, and officers concerned have been told to redress these complaints,\" he said.

The complaints relate to children not giving monthly expenses to parents, not taking care of ailing parents, and ignoring the parents after division of property.

The DC said their aim was to get monthly expenses for such aggrieved parents. He added that already instructions had been issued to the revenue department to implement Section 23 of the Senior Citizens Act in letter and spirit.

Apart from this, a monthly medical check-up camp has been made mandatory in all the senior citizen homes of Ludhiana so as to maintain good health of the senior citizens.

The deputy commissioner believes that moral education is lacking in the young generation due to which senior citizen homes were mushrooming. He finds it shocking when parents plead for expenses with their own children. He says that this will continue to remain his top priority in Ludhiana and he will spread awareness among the masses in this regard.
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3 school friends get together, bring Quiznos to city

The US-BASED sub chain Quiznos opened its first outlet in Ludhiana at BRS Nagar on Tuesday.

The outlet has been brought to the city with the efforts of three school friends, Simranjeet Dhillon, Shavinder Sandhu and Jagjot Pangli.

The three, who stayed in touch after graduating from Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, had this vision to give Ludhiana world-class cuisine, which culminated in bringing Quiznos to the city. This is Quiznos\' 19th outlet in the country, including two in Chandigarh.

The menu at the new outlet has been designed to suit every pocket. Starting from Rs 50, the price tag on the menu goes up to Rs 290.

\"Our menu is a collection of chef-inspired recipes, high-quality ingredients with which we create our hot toasted subs, signature soups and tasty salads. After having pioneered oven-toasting nearly 30 years ago, we continue to lead in it,\'\' said Dhillon.
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Philippines typhoon death toll climbs to 1,833

The super Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday left nearly150,000 houses partially or totally damaged

Manila: The number of deaths in the Philippines caused by typhoon Haiyan jumped to 1,833, with the initial cost of damage increasing to $17.4 million, a government official said on Wednesday.

The additional fatalities coming from Western Visayas reached 103, while the number of those who perished in Eastern Visayas remained at 1,660; Xinhua quoted Eduardo del Rosario as saying. He is the executive director of the Philippines\' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Some 2,623 people were injured and 84 people were missing, he added.

A total of 1.387 million families or 6.937 million people were affected by Haiyan and out of them, 127,733 families or 582,303 persons were displaced and being served inside and outside evacuation centres, the NDRRMC official said.

Nearly 150,000 houses were either partially or totally damaged.
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Ghazis and Shaheeds are our benefactors: PM

RAWALPINDI: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said the nation held the army in high esteem for always displaying professional excellence in times of war and peace.

He said this while visiting the General Headquarters (GHQ) here. During a meeting with the Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and principal staff officers‚ the premier said the army had set a historic example by sacrificing lives in defending the motherland.

"Those who have fought for Pakistan‚ Ghazis or Shaheeds‚ have sacrificed their today to ensure a better tomorrow for our future generations and all of them are our benefactors," he added.

He said: "Each soldier of the Pakistan Army enters the battlefield with the passion to lay down his life for the country and the desire to attain martyrdom. It is this passion and high morale that is the biggest strength of our forces. Those who have laid down their lives in the fight against terrorism will be remembered forever," Nawaz said.

He said Pakistan was a democratic and peace-loving country and wanted stability in the world. "The people of Pakistan repose complete trust in democracy and believe that a strong defence and stable democracy are essential for the country," he added.

The prime minister said he had utmost confidence in the professional capabilities of the Pakistan Army and hoped that Pakistan would soon be recognised as a peaceful and developed country among the comity of nations.

The COAS and principal staff officers briefed the premier on the operational environment‚ spectrum of threat‚ national security issues‚ contributions of the Pakistan Army to nation-building and support to the civil administration in law and order situations and natural calamities.

He was also apprised of the engagements of Army battalions in border areas and the level of preparedness for external and internal threats.Nawaz Sharif visited various sections of the GHQ and expressed satisfaction over their performance.

Earlier, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani received the premier at the headquarters and a smartly turned out contingent of the army presented guard of honor.The premier also placed a floral wreath at the Martyrs Monument and prayed for the Shuhada (martyrs).
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CHOGM Summit: PM seeks to assuage feeling of Tamil Nadu people

Chennai: Seeking to assuage the feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu opposed to India\'s participation in the CHGOM meet in Sri Lanka, Centre today detailed its relief and rehabilitation efforts for minority Tamils in the war-torn island nation.

Print advertisements issued by Ministry of External Affairs listed out implementation of \"Indian Assisted Projects for Tamil people in Sri Lanka since 2009\" and recalled that even before the \"30-year armed conflict\" came to an end, India had sent emergency relief assistance for internally displaced Tamils.

The statistics detailing Indian efforts in Sri Lanka were accompanied by pictures of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid meeting recently elected Chief Minister of Northern Province C V Wigneswaran and the Minister giving away certificates to beneficiaries under an Indian housing project among others.

\"India\'s development projects in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka now encompass virtually all sectors of economy, including housing, infrastructure development, education, health, agriculture, fisheries, industry, handicrafts, culture and sports,\" it said.

External Affairs Ministry\'s full-page advertisement comes a day after Tamil Nadu Assembly expressed \"regret\" over India\'s participation in CHOGM, with the country\'s delegation being led by Khurshid himself even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has chosen to skip the event in the backdrop of stiff opposition against his participation in the multi-country summit.
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Barack Obama\'s popularity at all-time low: Survey

Washington: US President Barack Obama\'s popularity has slumped to an all-time low, with a majority of Americans for the first time believing him to be dishonest and untrustworthy, a new survey showed on Tuesday.

The respected Quinnipiac University Poll found that Obama\'s approval rating had nosedived to the level of unpopularity faced by Republican predecessor George W Bush at the same stage of his presidency.

Overall, the poll said 54 percent disapproved of the job Obama was doing against 39 percent who approved.

The findings mark a significant downturn from an October 01 survey which put Obama\'s disapproval rating at 49 percent to 45 percent approval.

It caps a turbulent few weeks for Obama, whose administration has come under heavy fire for the chaotic roll-out of his signature health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

American voters had also reacted strongly against Obama\'s misstated pledge to allow voters to keep the health care plans they already had, the survey revealed.

\"Like all new presidents, President Barack Obama had a honeymoon with American voters, with approval ratings in the high 50s,\" said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

\"As the marriage wore on, he kept his job approval scores in the respectable, though not overwhelming 40s. Today for the first time it appears that 40 percent floor is cracking.\"

Malloy said the plunging approval amongst women voters was also a concern for Obama. Only 41 percent of women approved of the job he was doing against 51 percent who disapproved.

The survey indicated that most Americans remain deeply pessimistic about the effect the Affordable Care Act, or \"Obamacare\" as it has become known, will have on their health care choices.

Only 19 percent of voters expect the quality of care to improve in the next year as a result of the legislation, 43 percent expect it to get worse and 33 percent say it will make no difference.

Obama\'s image had also taken a battering after he said people could keep their existing health insurance plans if they wished.

\"President Obama\'s misstatement, \'If you like your health plan you can keep it,\' left a bad taste with a lot of people,\" Malloy said. \"Nearly half of the voters, 46 percent, think he knowingly deceived them.\"

The poll was conducted amongst 2,545 registered voters nationwide between November 6-11, with a margin of error of plus-minus 1.9 percentage points.

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Pakistan court sets Nov 18 for Musharraf\'s plea to leave country

Pakistan\'s Sindh High Court has set November 18 for a decision on former president Pervez Musharraf\'s plea against a government ban on him travelling out of the country.

Mushraff\'s legal team on Tuesday filed the petition pleading the court to strike off Musharraf\'s name from the Interior Ministry\'s Exit Control List as in earlier order the court had restrained him from leaving the country without permission of trial courts.

His chief lawyer Raza Kasuri said that the ex-military ruler wanted to leave for Dubai to enquire on the health of his 95-year-old mother, who is seriously ill and unable to travel.

Musharraf, after returning home before the May elections has faced several cases in trial courts and managed to get bail in all of them including the murder case of former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

The former president, who remained under house arrest for more than six months in his sprawling Chak Shahzad farmhouse outside Islamabad, got bail last week in the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rasheed Ghazi.

Kasuri said the legal team was confident that Musharraf\'s appeal on the ECL would be accepted when the hearing is held on November 18.

Musharraf\'s legal counsel A Q Halepota, who filed the petition in the court, told reporters that placing the name of the former general on the ECL was a violation of his fundamental rights. Therefore, he pleaded to the court to modify its earlier order.

He said Musharraf would definitely come back to Pakistan if he gets permission to go to Dubai or any other country.
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Typhoon Haiyan: Ships head to Philippines amid devastation

US and British vessels were heading to the Philippines as the UN appealed for aid amid the large-scale devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

The US has deployed an aircraft carrier and navy ships, while the UK is sending a naval destroyer.

At least 10,000 people are feared to have been killed and thousands of survivors desperately require aid - but reports say little is getting through.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity.

In a statement, he said the two worst affected provinces, Leyte and Samar, had suffered massive destruction and loss of life.

He authorised the release of emergency relief funds and deployed troops to affected areas.

A huge international relief effort is also under way, but journalists and rescue workers at the scene say reaching areas affected by the storm is difficult.

Bernard Kerblat, who is overseeing the UNHCR response to the crisis, said some aircraft had landed in Cebu but distributing aid was difficult because of bad weather and damaged infrastructure.

\"The rain is further complicating the effort for light vehicles, including trucks, to penetrate in areas wherever there\'s still a bridge left intact.

\"The other bad news is that within the next 72 hours, we should see the arrival of yet another typhoon.\"
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Fodder scam: Lalu appears before special CBI court through video-conferencing

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, now in a prison following his conviction in a fodder scam case last month, on Tuesday appeared before a special CBI court through video-conferencing in connection with another fodder case.

Lalu registered his appearance through video-conferencing from the jail before the court of Sitaram Prasad in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 97 lakh from Deogarh Treasury when he was at the head of RJD government during undivided Bihar in the 1990s.

Besides Lalu, former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, former JD(U) MP Jagdish Sharma and 27 others are accused in the case. Mishra is now on provisional bail on medical ground.

Fodder scam: Lalu appears before special CBI court through video-conferencing

Lalu is also facing charges in three other cases pertaining to fodder scam cases in different treasuries in the Rs 950 crore AHD scam, known as fodder scam.

He is now lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi after being found guilty by the CBI court of Pravas Kumar Singh on September 30 in a case of fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from the Chaibasa treasury.

The court had on October 3 sentenced him to jail for five years and fined Rs 25 lakh. In all, 45 were convicted and sentenced to varied prison terms in the case.
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\'Narendra Modi poster child of India\'s failure to punish the violent\': US commission

Washington: Two top members of a commission on religious freedom constituted by the US Congress have said it is sad that the BJP has picked Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate and have described him as the \"poster child for India\'s failure to punish the


\"It was another son of Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi, who once offered a broad, tolerant vision for the country and its multi-religious society,\" wrote Katrina Lantos Swett and Mary Ann Glendon, in a special op-ed on the CNN website yesterday.

\"So, as 2014 draws nigh, whose vision will be embraced? Which India will prevail - that of religious freedom or religious intolerance? Time will tell,\" they wrote.

While Swett is Vice Chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Glendon is a USCIRF Commissioner.

The op-ed \"The two faces of India\" was published on the blog of the popular CNN program \"Global Public Square\", which is run by eminent Indian American Fareed Zakaria.

\"The poster child for India\'s failure to punish the violent remains Narendra Modi, who is Gujarat\'s chief minister - a post he held during the 2002 riots,\" they wrote.

\"Gujarat\'s high court rapped the Modi administration for inaction and ordered compensation for religious structures that suffered damage. In 2005, the US State Department agreed with the recommendation of USCIRF and others to revoke Modi\'s visa,\" they said.

\"True, in April 2012, the highest court\'s Special Investigative Team failed to prove guilt against Modi and others in a case involving the deaths of nearly 70 people. But he remains implicated in other Gujarat-associated cases that have yet to be investigated or adjudicated,\" the op-ed said.

\"That is why, more recently, 65 members of India\'s parliament wrote to President Barack Obama, requesting that he not issue Modi a visa. Sadly, despite all this, Gujarat\'s most controversial resident is the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in India\'s 2014 prime ministerial election,\" Swett and Glendon wrote.

It was at the recommendation of USCIRF that the then Bush Administration had revoked the US via of Modi, based on the allegation about his involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The USCIRF has maintained that the Obama Administration should continue the same policy.
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Nitish Kumar to unveil model of world\'s largest Hindu temple in Bihar


This evening, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will unveil the model of the Viraat Ramayan Mandir temple, 120 kilometres from the state capital of Patna in the Motihari district.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Ram and will cost Rs. 500 crore.

The temple in Bihar, when completed, will be about 400 feet high, twice that of the world\'s largest Hindu temple complex at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

The complex in Bihar is being built over 190 acres and will run five-storeys high. 18 different temples will have idols of Lord Krishna, Shiva and others.

Officials say the temple will be funded by donations from people across the country.

The temple is being built at a site which was reportedly visited by Lord Ram and his wife Sita after they got married.

The project is being developed by the Bihar State Board of Religious Trusts, which reports to the state government and acts as the custodian of all Hindu religious structures in the state.

It is meant to be ready in five years.

Just days ago, the Bihar Chief Minister\'s political rival, Narendra Modi, laid the foundation stone for the world\'s largest statue - that of founding father Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. That project will cost xx crores.

Earlier this year, the Bihar Chief Minister ended his 17-year alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party over its decision to give Mr Modi the lead role in its campaign for the national election. Both leaders have traded acerbic charges.
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Salman Khurshid-Sartaj Aziz dialogue is inconclusive, again

The third bilateral meeting between external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz since June, when elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office in Islamabad, ended here inclusively.

Both sides, still struggling to put in place a mechanism to resume a dialogue process, chose to play to the galleries. While India expressed displeasure at Aziz's meeting with Kashmiri separatists, lest it is exploited by the opposition on the eve of elections, Pakistan repudiated the progress made between 2004 and 2006 during president Pervez Musharraf's tenure and returned to parrot implementation of UN resolutions and right to self-determination in Kashmir.

Taking a tough stand and insisting that restoration of peace and tranquility on the Line of Control (LoC) is a precondition to resume the stalled dialogue process, Khurshid, said officials privy to the meeting, conveyed India's displeasure to Aziz for meeting with Kashmiri separatist leaders and stressed the need for respecting Indian "sentiments and sensitivities". Both sides, however, agreed to conduct talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMO) of the two armies as soon as possible.

Briefing reporters, official spokersperson Syed Akbaruddin said the timing and modalities of this meeting has been left to the army chiefs to work out whenever they talk. "They need to try and workout what would be the modalities of meeting at an early date," he said.

At the 30-minute interaction, Khurshid also raised the issue of slow pace of the judicial trial against perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. "The external affairs minister did articulate again that as far as we were concerned, all the evidence that was required by the Judicial Commission was provided including transcripts etc., and this was acknowledged by the Pakistani side that they had received everything that they had asked for from us and now they are proceeding with the trial," the spokesman said.
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Artists backing politicians should return awards: Janardan Chandurkar .

MUMBAI: The head of the Congress party in Mumbai has demanded that artists who publicly back political leaders should be stripped of their Padma awards, a comment that appeared aimed at legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar for backing Narendra Modi, and, predictably, drew a sharp rebuke from the BJP.

Janardan Chandurkar, a senior Congress MLA and the president of the party\'s Mumbai unit told a rally on Tuesday that artists who were revered by millions must not use their popularity to support leaders, \"especially those who are accused of communal violence\".

\"Some artists have exhibited support to such leaders. They should first give up their Padma awards or else the government should strip them of their Padma awards. They should not be biased and if they want to really support certain politicians they should enter politics. If some of these artists make such public comments again, we will launch an agitation against them on the roads,\" he said.

While Chandurkar did not name Narendra Modi or Lata Mangeshkar, the reference to the two was clear. At function in Pune some days ago, Mangeshkar had extended her support to the Gujarat chief minister and expressed a wish that he becomes the country\'s prime minister, much to the discomfiture of the Congress.

The BJP took strong objection to Chandurkar\'s comments. \"This is nothing but narrow minded vindictive politics. This is directly suppression of freedom of expression. Doesn\'t every citizen of this country have the right to support any party that he or she wishes? The Congress should not treat Padma awards as their personal property and should not be so narrow in their approach,\" said BJP leader and former MLA Atul Shah said.

While Mangeshkar\'s statement created a stir among the political class, experts feel her statement and the fight over it is a non-issue. \"There seems to be some confusion among the politicians about cultural icons and political icons. The comments coming from a cultural reference point cannot make much impact on the voters. Unless the celebrity or the artist in question, is politically very active, the statements are no likely to make much difference to the people,\" said analyst Suhas Palshikar.

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CBI chief clarifies his \'enjoy rape if you can\'t prevent it\' remark

New Delhi: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Ranjit Sinha has sparked a controversy by saying that if you can\'t prevent rape, enjoy it. He made this comment while pushing that why betting should be legalised in India.

\"What is the harm if we legalise betting, above all do we have enforcement agencies? It is very easy to say... It\'s like if you can\'t prevent rape you enjoy it, so its better to have it legalised and earn some revenue,\" said Sinha on Tuesday in the backdrop of the conference held in New Delhi to celebrate 50 years of the CBI.

ALSO SEE No harm in legalising betting, says CBI

However, he later clarified his position saying that it was a proverb and his statement has been taken out of context.

\"Statement was made in context to voice vote taken by Shekhar Gupta, Editor of Indian Express on legalising batting in sports. I gave my opinion that batting should be legalised and that if law can\'t be enforced that doesn\'t mean that law can\'t be made. It is as erroneous as if rape is inevitable one should lie back and enjoy it,\" clarified Sinha.

ALSO SEE PM praises CBI, but says it must distinguish between error and crime

The Opposition and women activist have come out strongly against Sinha\'s comment and asked him to resign from his post. \"It shows perverted mindset. The statement from the CBI director is absolutely outrageous,\" said CPI leader Brinda Karat.

\"He has made an insensitive comment. If the head is talking like this than he should resign,\" said National Commission for Women chief Mamta Sharma.

ALSO SEE CBI not a caged bird or Congress Bureau of Investigation: Chidambaram

\"The CBI director should be asked to go, he has no business to talk like this,\" added Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Sharma.

While activist and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi has asked him to apologies publicly. \"The CBI director should issue public apology,\" said Bedi.
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Delhi polls: AAP cashes in on Shinde’s funds remark, generates massive donations

Hours after Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said donations made to AAP were being looked into, the party used social media tools to generate more funds.

One its posts read: "As a show of support to AAP, please donate Rs. 10 or multiples of Rs. 10 today as a fitting reply to those levelling false allegations."

"All Indians living abroad, studying and working are Indian citizens and it is a shame to call them foreign sources. They carry Indian passports in their hand and India's best interests in their heart. They have all the right to participate in a political movement in India," the message said.

The effect was widespread. Against the normal Rs. 7 lakh donation by 400 parties in one day, Tuesday (till 10 pm) saw Rs. 28 lakh being donated by more than 2,000 people.

On Tuesday, the party on its website uploaded a large number of donation receipts. One its receipts read that one Mrinal donated Rs. 200 at 11.05am on Tuesday and "took a positive step in transforming India's politics". The party also "thanked" Shinde for "making the political revolution earn Rs. 200 more".

AAP has insisted its funds from abroad had come from non-resident Indians, not foreign citizens. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act only bars political parties from receiving funds from foreign sources.

"AAP is 100% transparent in receiving donations and will use this investigation as an opportunity to challenge and expose all hidden donations in crores of rupees made to the Congress and BJP," said a party statement on the social networking site Facebook.

The party has so far collected nearly around Rs. 19.39 crore from approximately 67,700 individuals so far as donations. The party has received Rs. 13.56 crore from donors in India and the rest Rs. 5.77 crore has come from NRIs based in the US, UK, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, UAE and even Saudi Arabia.

The party has received most overseas donations of around Rs. 2 crore from NRIs based in the US, while it has got about Rs. 1.14 crore from Hong Kong-based NRIs, followed by Singapore, UAE and UK based NRIs.
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Mumbai Police breaks down Campa Cola housing society main gate

Mumbai: A day after Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials failed to enter into the Campa Cola compond, the Mumbai Police on Wednesday broke down the main gate of the housing society. The BMC has started the eviction forcibly. There have also been clashes between the residents of the society and the BMC officials.

Four residents of Campa Cola society have been served notice under the Section 149 (obstructing a government servants work) on Wednesday. This the second notice served to the residents of the society in two days time.

ALSO SEE Campa Cola compound case: Residents remain adamant, refuse to move out

Meanwhile, the state government has said that is is only following the apex court\'s order.
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No pvt security guards to be posted at IFFI this year as well

Organisers of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here have decided to continue with its last year\'s move of not posting any private security personnel at the venue during the upcoming event.

\"We have discontinued with the private security bouncers from last year,\" Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) Vice Chairman Vishnu Surya Wagh told reporters here.

He said that Goa police would frisk the guests entering all the venues during the festival.

The presence of private guards at the gate was objected by the guests in the last few editions of the festival due to their alleged unruly behaviour towards the artistes.

The organisers held a review meeting yesterday to oversee the security preparations for the event.

Meanwhile, ESG has formed a three-member committee to screen the movies produced by Goans, which would be given special slots during the festival.

Wagh said that the movies would be given different slots.

The committee comprising Shiva Naik, Shantaram Kundaikar and Director of Information and Publicity Swapnil Naik will shortlist the movies.

The ten-day festival that begins on November 20, will witness 74 countries participating and showcasing 325 films.
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‘Bigg Boss 7’: Ego, temper, it’s an all out war!

It's a show that deals with all kinds of human emotions. Moments of agony and ecstasy are sporadically spread across the show as audiences witness a high voltage drama not knowing what may unfold in future.

Friends may turn foes overnight. Such is the format for the show where everyone tries to be at their diplomatic best. Grape juice doesn't take too long to turn into wine here!

Fourth time host Bollywood superstar Salman Khan rightly tweeted, "The format of the show is such that every week the games to win get complicated, contestants g upset, fans hurt but this is the show."

"its v complicated dealing vit slf respect,ego`s, anger, games, language,lies,drama,nominations,evictions every day it teaches u (sic)."

Audiences witnessed a masaledar drama last Saturday when they saw animated Armaan Kohli and Ajaz Khan indulging in a preposterous argument as they constantly tried to put each other down.

Ajaz called Armaan a "flop hero" and took pride in being a self made personality.

'Bigg Boss' season 7 began with a luke warm response with minimal drama but with time it is turning out to be a sensational show that promises entertainment aplenty.
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HC stays conviction in poaching case, Salman Khan can now go abroad

JODHPUR: The Rajasthan high court on Tuesday stayed the five-year jail term awarded to actor Salman Khan in a black buck poaching case. The stay will allow Salman to apply for visa to any country including those who have, after the recent amendment in immigration rules, prohibited visa for any person who has been convicted for more than four years.

Salman was convicted by a CJM court on April 10, 2006 for poaching a black buck in Mathania in Jodhpur on the intervening night of September 28-29, 1998. He was tried under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and was sentenced to five years in jail with a fine of Rs 25,000.

\"We had moved an application in the high court seeking a stay on the conviction after Khan\'s visa for UK expired recently and when he filed for fresh visa, he was denied the same because of the conviction order,\" said his counsel Lekh Raj Mehta.

His assistant Ramit Mehta said that they argued in the court that Khan\'s profession demanded him to visit foreign countries and huge money was at stake. \"If he is not allowed to visit foreign countries scheduled for shooting, the films cannot be shot and his right to livelihood violated,\" Mehta argued.

Objecting to these arguments, additional advocate general R L Jangid argued that this was not a rarest of the rare case and also the Section of CrPC under which the application has been moved was not maintainable. The prosecution also raised the point over Khan\'s conduct referring to two cases in Jodhpur and one case in Mumbai pending against him.

But rejecting the arguments of prosecution, Justice Nirmal Jeet Kaur allowed the application of defence seeking stay on the conviction and said that it would no more come in his way of seeking visa for any country and travel abroad.
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Poonam Dhillion returns to TV

Poonam Dhillion last seen in the reality show Bigg Boss is all set to return to the small-screen with a serial that revolves around a strong-minded, independent woman. Says Poonam, "I found the character very interesting and motivational. It's the kind of role that is rarely seen on television." Ask her if it is based on Sridevi's character in English Vinglish and she avers that the thread of it is inspired from the film, but the detailing and the portrayal are different. "It's about a woman wanting to educate herself in the later years of life. Even my mother finished her graduation and went on to do her Masters after her marriage.

The serial conveys a message that it's never too late to do anything in life. That's what I liked, it's positive and I am a positive person in life too," smiles the actress who had made her TV debut with Andaz and followed it up with Kitty Party. "I have been kind of a pioneer, did TV when people looked down upon filmstars doing TV — today everybody is clamouring to be a host, acted in plays etc. Both my shows were not the saas-bahu kind, in fact Kitty Party was quite ahead of its times ," says Poonam.

Having been a part of Bigg Boss, ask her what she thinks about the current season and Poonam says she is scandalised. "In the season that I participated, except for a couple of them, most of the housemates were calm. Here everybody is on the edge and ready to fight," she observes.

Recently, there were reports about her 21-year-old son Anmol readying for a Bollywood debut, but Poonam says he is too young and can wait for another year-and-a-half before he forays into films.

"He is getting several offers but he is focussed and will do so when the time is right," says the proud mother.

Krystle plays Poonam's bahu

The yet-to-be-titled serial to be aired on Sony is produced by Jay Mehta and it will have Krystle Dsouza playing the daughter-in-law who encourages Poonam's character to study. Avers Jay, "Poonam has worked with me in my film Police Public and when I thought of this role, she was perfect. As for Krystle, she is a good actress and suited the character. Basically, the story is about two women with contrasting personalities, who uplift each other." He added that the serial is based on a play Sharda scritped by Varsha Adalja.
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Shahrukh Khan Nostalgic As Baazigar Turns 20 Today

Superstar Shahrukh Khan became nostalgic to realise that 1993 film Baazigar, which was his breakout role, is two decade old. The 48-year-old actor, who experimented with an anti-hero role in the film opposite Kajol and Shilpa Shetty, took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the director Abbas-Mustan and his co-stars including veteran actress Raakhee. \"And yes 20 years of Baazigar. Thanks Abbas Mastan, Kajol Shilpa and Rakhiji,\" posted SRK on his Twitter handle today, November 12. He also wrote the famous Hindi dialogue from the movie, \"Abhi bhi haarkar jeetne wale ko Baazigar kehte hain...(sic)\", he tweeted. The movie Baazigar garnered much praise for the SRK, who later went on to play a negative role in Darr and Anjaam. It has been a long and fruitful career for Shahrukh Khan. Although there have been ups ans downs, Srk has always learnt and evolved with each movie. Over the years, the 48-year-old has experimented by acting in different genres.. He has even played versatile roles and tries his best to entertain his audiences. After his recent blockbuster Chennai Express, many consider him as the master of mass entertainers. We look forward to SRK making us smile in his next movie as well. He is currently working with Farah Khan for his upcoming film titled Happy New Year. We hope to see him many more movies as successful and famous as Baazigar.

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Jaya Bachchan set to make telly debut next year

Actor-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan will make her small screen debut in a fiction show on Sony TV, shortly. The show produced by Endemol will go on air in 2014, and will see the veteran star in a strong character. Jaya has earlier been associated with TV as a producer and an anchor; this show will mark her first outing as an actor of a daily soap.

\"The show is based on a very strong subject and will have Jaya playing a prominent character. Though the storyline is under wraps but it will be based on a new theme and will not be run- of- the mill,\" a source said.

In the past, Jaya had produced the sitcom Dekh Bhai Dekh under the banner Saraswati Audio and Visuals Ltd, which has since merged with Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd ( ABCL).

The year 2014 will mark the appearance of the Bachchan couple on daily soaps.

Amitabh Bachchan is currently shooting for a daily, directed by Anurag Kashyap, in which he portrays the role of a construction baron.

The show which is reportedly inspired by American telly drama The Sopranos is jointly produced by Bachchan\'s Saraswati Creations and Endemol.

Amitabh recently shared the picture of his look in the show on Facebook and wrote,\" At the shoot today there were wild and desperate attempts to make me look 20 years younger for a sequence that desired it so... this is for my TV serial.\" After wrapping up KBC season 7, Big B has been focusing on the shooting of the show which is about a rich extended business family, and how they deal with their share of complications in life and relationships.

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Court restrains release of Ram-leela

A Delhi court has restrained Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali from releasing his latest film Ram-leela starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone.

The court considered the plea that Ram-leela, slated for an all-India release on November 15, allegedly hurt the religious

sentiments of Hindus as it contains sex, violence and vulgarity.

The Delhi high court had earlier refused to ban the movie and also imposed a cost of Rs. 50,000 on an NGO which had moved the plea against the film.

Additional district judge AS Jayachandra, in an ex-parte interim order, restrained Bhansali and Eros promoters from releasing the movie till further orders.

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India must make best use of technology, says Ambani

Emphasizing on wide use of technology, noted industrialist Mukesh Ambani today said education, livelihood and health are the three most important issues facing India, which aspires to be a superpower. \"If I think about re-imagined India, to my mind education, livelihood - the ability to earn today- and health are the three most important things before the country,\" he said. The Reliance Industries Chairman was speaking at a discussion on \'Re-imagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia\'s Next Superpower\' . Embracing technology in a big way will help India to transform itself into a new India in a very short span of time, he maintained. \"Take broadband technology - it is providing access to opportunities irrespective of geographies. So, you can access them in all the 5,432 small towns and cities, and 6,00,000 villages in a matter of a couple of years and then scale up. That is what gives me optimism and positivity.\" Stressing on importance of education, the billionaire- industrialist said it enables people to embrace tools of technology. \"Today we have a current account deficit. Bulk of it is because of import of energy (oil & gas). For a country like India, there is no other option but to rely on technology, even to solve our energy problems. \"But a pre-requisite to that is education - to make 250 million young Indians acquire skills and make most of available technology,\" Ambani added. The Asia\'s third largest economy has an efficient education system but there was a need to make it more effective, he said. Speaking on the occasion, Mahindra and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said India has a chance to create a completely new template. He said smaller states are better to manage. \"I have no problem about more states coming up. If size is the issue, make it (states) more manageable,\" Mahindra said.

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What IT professionals are doing to fight job cuts

BANGALORE: Rohit Malik, a mid-level executive at India\'s largest software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services, recently signed up for an online course in data analytics which helped open up more opportunities within the company. Malik, 39, has been working for about 14 years, but was finding it increasingly difficult to find projects which needed his skill in the Tibco software which helps integrate enterprise applications.

Not much different is the case of Ganapathy Govindan, who used to rely on his knowledge of traditional programming languages like Java and C++ for close to a decade at Cognizant Technology Solutions.

Govindan too has jumped onto the data analytics bandwagon by enrolling for a programme that teaches Hadoop, a software platform that corporations rely on to analyse vast amounts of data in the most efficient way.

Malik and Govindan represent a growing community of mid-career at software services companies such as TCS, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies who are scrambling to re-skill themselves in newer technologies to combat the threat of obsolescence and job loss.

\"Your relevance in the company depends on your skills and the demand for those skills,\" Malik said. Technologies such as cloud computing, enterprise mobility and data analytics becoming more mainstream has raised the stakes for professionals who for a long time were content with basic skills in software programming and managing computer networks.

Among the skills in demand now are Hadoop as well as new-generation database query languages such as NoSQL and Cassandra, an open-source software used to manage large databases. Similarly executives with skills software that enable cloud computing, especially from vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft and VMware are also much sought after.

Technology market researcher IDC expects market for cloud computing-based services to grow a little over 18% in 2013 to $131 billion (Rs 8.25 lakh crore). It is expected to grow at an average rate of 23.5% till 2017. A recent study by EMC and Zinnov said that India would require at least one lakh skilled professionals in private cloud alone by 2015, while globally there will be a shortage of roughly two lakh data scientists by 2019.

According to human resources consultancy Ranstad, technical expertise is an advantage when there is a short supply of such skills. Once supply rises or demand falls, however, the value of such professionals diminishes.

\"A lot of senior executives with 10-15 years of experience face this and live constantly in the fear of job loss. And changing technology throws another challenge at them,\" said Aditya Narayan Mishra, managing director and CEO at Ranstad India.

According to him when companies look to cut costs, the axe falls first on the experienced but expensive employees.

Online training institutes such as Edureka are finding that at least 60% of their students are mid-level industry executives with seven or more years of experience. \"A lot of them want to upgrade skill to fight layoffs. These courses increase their employability,\" said Lovleen Bhatia, cofounder and chief executive officer of Edureka.

Industry body Nasscom said that the software industry, which employs over 3 million professionals, will see a 17% decline in annual hiring in the current financial year as companies focus more on just-in-time hiring of professionals with specific skills.
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Mount Everest to merge with Tata Global Beverages

NEW DELHI: The boards of directors of Tata Global Beverages (TGBL) and Mount Everest Mineral Water (MEMW) on Tuesday approved a proposal a merger. MEMW is a subsidiary of TGBL, which holds a 50.07% stake in the former.

\"This merger will enable increased operational efficiencies and better synergy between both businesses... The proposed merger will facilitate the growth of the Himalayan natural mineral water brand owned by MEMW,\" a company statement added.

TGBL is a global beverage business and the world\'s second largest tea company. The group\'s annual turnover is $1.4 billion and it employs over 3,000 people worldwide.
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Volatile R: Punters will suffer huge losses, warns FinMin

On a day the rupee dropped to a near nine-week low, extending its losses for a fifth session on the back of continued greenback demand from importers amidst a strengthening US currency in global markets, the finance ministry launched a strong defence of the currency, saying punters are likely to suffer \"heavy losses\".

\"I think a crazy, irrational kind of a sentiment is (prevailing in the forex market) ... Whoever is punting on the rupee will lose very heavily. I feel very sorry for their families,\" economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram told reporters here.

Traders largely attribute the rupee\'s weakness to the return of state-run oil refining firms, which are now sourcing around 40 per cent of their dollar requirement from the forex market instead of getting it over the special window provided by the RBI in late August. Referring to the special swap windows, Mayaram said, \"(inflows) could cross $25-30 billion by the end of it (November 30, when swap windows close)\", and the rupee will stabilise soon.

The market plunged even as finance minister P Chidambaram held a meeting with foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who were \"bullish\" on India. After his meeting with FIIs, Chidambaram said, \"everyone was here, everyone was bullish, there were no concerns\".

On Tuesday, the currency resumed lower at 63.35 and moved in a range of 63.30 to 63.84 against the dollar before settling at 63.71, a fall of 47 paise or 0.74 per cent. The rupee has plunged 209 paise, or 3.39 per cent, in five straight sessions. It is at the lowest level since closing at 63.84 on September 10.

On the other hand, continuing its freefall for the sixth day in a row, the Sensex slid 209 points to a one-month low of 20,281.91 before the release of industrial production and consumer inflation data. It has shed over 957 points since ending at the record close of 21,239.36 on November 3.
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Etihad starts talks with Airbus as it nears Boeing deal closure

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways is in talks to buy jets from Airbus even as it puts the finishing touches to a reported deal with rival Boeing, people familiar with the matter said.

At least one of the deals could be announced at next week's Dubai Airshow, marking the first time the Abu Dhabi carrier has played a significant role at the showcase event hosted by its closest rival, Emirates airline, the people said.

The number of plane orders being discussed and the possible value was not immediately clear.

Etihad's potential interest includes the Airbus A320neo, a fuel-saving version of the European planemaker's best-selling medium-haul jet, as well as a modified or expanded order for its long-haul A350 aircraft, one source said.

Etihad and Airbus both declined to comment.

It was reported last month that Etihad was close to ordering Boeing jets including 25 to 30 777X mini-jumbos, the new 777 version which is expected to be launched at next week's air show, and a repeat order for about 30 787 Dreamliners.
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Retail inflation in double digit to 10.09 per cent

Costlier vegetables and fruits, such as onions and tomatoes, drove retail inflation to 10.09 per cent in October, entering double digits after seven months.

Inflation as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) was 9.84 per cent in September and 9.52 per cent in the previous month.

Vegetable prices rose 45.67 per cent in October from a year earlier, compared with a 34.93 per cent increase in the previous month, according to government data released on Tuesday.

Fruits were dearer by 12.84 per cent.

CPI-based inflation remained in double digits for several months until March this year before it declined to 9.39 per cent in April.

Inflation in the food and beverages segment was 12.56 per cent in October compared with 11.44 per cent in September.

The data showed that the corresponding provisional inflation rates for rural and urban areas for October were 10.11 per cent and 10.2 per cent, respectively.

For CPI inflation, price data are collected from select towns by the National Sample Survey Organisation and from select villages by the Department of Posts.

Data on inflation based on the wholesale price index will be released later this week.
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