Monday, December 28, 2009

India\'s First Android Device Soon

Hyderabad based Notion Inc, a startup formed by six IITans and an MBA graduate, might just be the company that would make the country\'s first Android device.

The tablet PC from the company will feature Nvida\'s Tegra processor and will run Android as mentioned earlier. The yet unnamed device will feature a writable 10.1-inch touchscreen and will weigh in at just 770grams. It will be feature packed with technologies like Blue tooth, a 3 megapixel camera, video recording, USB charging and a data storage capacity of 32GB all crammed in. Then, there is the much sought after Wi-Fi connectivity as well.

It\'s Lithium Ion batteries would be able to power the device for almost 48 hours, claims the company. The Notion tablet PC is expected to cost less than $400 (Rs. 18,640 approx.), and could be in your hands by June 2010, if all goes as planned.
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Punjab to establish IT Park in Rajpura

CHANDIGARH : In a major decision, the Punjab government has decided to establish a self-contained Integrated Information Technology and Knowledge Industry Park spread over an area of 1276 acres at Rajpura.

A decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here on Monday morning.

Badal gave in principle approval for acquisition of common land in contiguity of six villages in Sehra, Pabra, Sehri, Takhtu Majra, Akri and Akar in one go for the setting up of the prestigious industrial park for IT/IT enabled services industry.

It was informed in the meeting that the upcoming industrial park would house the companies operating in Business Process Outsourcing, Knowledge Process Outsourcing, Legal Process Outsourcing and Engineering Process Outsourcing.

Besides software companies, software testing companies etc., hardware manufacturing companies, multimedia, graphic, animation and gaming industry, eAdvertising, eMarketing and ePublishing houses, consultancy firms and education & training institutions etc would also come up in the IT park.

The Chief Minister asked the Punjab Information & Communication Technology Corporation Ltd. which was the nodal agency to implement this project to engage the services of some renowned international consultant for designing and developing the project and suggested to invite a global tender for seeking expression of interest from the interested consultants .

Briefing the Chief Minister about the prospects of the IT park, Principal Secretary Industries & Commerce SS Channy informed the project would be developed in a phased manner with residential and social infrastructure facilities such as healthcare, recreation, health clubs and hotels. He said that efficient and reliable power, water, waste management and technology facilities would be provided to the prospective entrepreneurs.

A comprehensive network of logistic system encompassing road, rail and air linkages would be ensured besides adequate focus on security and disaster management systems.

It had also been proposed to install internet tower with satellite connectivity for direct software export and communication and Wi-max technology for high speed wireless connectivity in SEZ. Exhibition centers including IT-BPO and international trade facilitation centre would also be set up there.

The Chief Secretary SC Agrawal informed the Chief Minister that this project would involve a huge investment and be developed through a special purpose vehicle to ensure its expeditious implementation as discussed in the IT infrastructure task force under his chairmanship.
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Salman throws a stag party

Mumbai : Salman Khan is well-known in Bollywood circles for his wild parties. If the party happens to be his birthday bash and that too at his farmhouse at Panvel, it promises to be double the fun.

However, yesterday night, Salman had a low-key celebration for his 45th birthday. He had a stag party.

A source says, "Bhai is known to have fun during his parties at Panvel. His parties are much awaited and talked about by his guests. Salman's large-heartedness ensures that all of them have a blast. However, this year, Salman is not in one of his merry moods. After his break-up with Katrina Kaif, he is not in the mood to go all out and celebrate. So, on his special day, he did not send invitations to any female. He did not feel the need to have a girlfriend by his side or even bask in the glory of any other female company. Incidentally, Katrina is in London to celebrate Christmas and New Year with her family. Salman has invited only his close male friends. Also, unlike every year, the celebration this time is not on a lavish scale. Yesterday's party was held only for his close friends music composers Sajid Wajid, hairstylist Aalim Hakim, his bodyguard Shera, his close associate Nadeem, his filmmaker friends Vijay Galani and Sajid Nadiadwala among others. Salman has already celebrated his birthday with his family on Saturday night."

Let's hope that by next year, the tide turns and the large-hearted Khan gets back to hosting lavish parties.
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Sheila Dikshit is the \'only man\' in Congress: Bal Thackerary

MUMBAI : Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has earned praise from an unlikely quarter - Bal Thackeray. The Shiv Sena supremo has said she was the \"only man\" in the Congress as she has raised the politically touchy issue of how the burgeoning population of migrants was overwhelming Delhi and stretching its resources to the limit.

In an editorial in Monday\'s Saamna, the party newspaper, Thackeray lauded Dikshit for her bold views on thorny issues and her administrative acumen. An example was Dikshit\'s view on how waves of migrants from the neighbouring states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, etc - have swelled Delhi\'s population and caused a run on its resources and facilities, something similar to what was happening in Mumbai, the editorial noted.

Dikshit had expressed concerned over unchecked migration from neighbouring states like Bihar and said she wanted a common economic and taxation zone, comprising Delhi and the satellite towns, to cut down the flow of migrants to the city.

Thackeray said that people from neighbouring states created a big headache for the Delhi state administration where the population has multiplied from 1.4 million at the time of independence in 1947 to 16 million now.

\"Despite this massive growth in population, the size of Delhi has remained the same while the neighbouring states are not willing to concede even an inch of space,\" he pointed out.

The editorial added that when the Shiv Sena was founded 45 years ago on similar principles, of safeguarding and saving Mumbai from the migrant problems, everyone opposed it. He said that because of the heavy influx into the island city, even festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri were being celebrated on the roads since all government land was usurped by squatters.

\"The principle here seems to be: \'Go and Come, It\'s Your Home,\' and the Congress keeps on regularizing these illegal slums with new cut-off dates. But where are the basic amenities like water supply and collecting taxes from these slum dwellers,\" he asked.

Referring to Dikshit\'s observations that another 100-200 new townships would be required to accommodate the population of Delhi state, Thackeray said that even that has failed in Mumbai.

\"Look at the condition of (neighbouring areas like) Thane and Navi Mumbai,\" he said of these areas which were intended to be alternatives to decongest Mumbai.

\"The population of Mumbai, which was barely 4 million in the 1960s, today stands at 13 million, but there is no corresponding increase in infrastructure, roads, water supply, health care facilities, etc,\" the editorial said.

Complimenting Dikshit for raising concern about the plight of Delhi, Thackeray asked: \"Mumbai\'s \'vastraharan\' (disrobing) continues, who will save this city from sinking?\"
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Triple murder in Ludhiana

Ludhiana : A middle-aged women and her two minor daughters, residents of Karnal district in Haryana, were found murdered in the fields at Haibowal here today, police said.

All the three bodies bore multiple stab wounds and were found lying in a pool of blood near the Civil City locality, police said.

They were identified as 35-year-old Simran, whose parents live in Ludhiana city, and her two daughters Pooja and Divya aged eight and five respectively.

The three hailed from Karnal district and were in the city in connection with distribution of invitation cards for a wedding ceremony in the family.

Police said they were working on various leads to solve the triple murder case.
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Gold, diamonds worth Rs.50 mn stolen in Ludhiana

Ludhiana : Gold jewellery and diamonds worth Rs.5 crore (Rs.50 million) were stolen from a jewellery shop on College Road of this industrial hub of Punjab Sunday, police officials said here.

The theft came to the notice of the owner of Forever Jewellers Sunday when he opened the shop for some work.

The jewellery stolen included over 18 kg of gold and several diamonds.

Police officials said that the role of a former employee of the jewellery shop was being suspected in the theft.

\'According to the manager of this shop, gold jewellery studded with diamonds and other precious stones, weighing around 18 kg, is missing. We suspect that it is the work of some employee of this shop as the robbers seemed to be well versed with the place,\' Ludhiana\'s Superintendent of Police (City) Harsh Kumar Bansal said.

He said the manager has expressed suspicion about Sandeep Sharma, an employee in the shop.

\'We are trying to nab him but he is missing from his home and even his family members are unaware about his whereabouts,\' Bansal said.

According to the police, there were no signs of forced entry inside the shop and all the locks were opened by using keys. There was a security guard deployed outside the shop but he had left the place unguarded for some time in the early hours Sunday.

CCTV cameras were installed in the shop but they were switched off during night.

\'From the preliminary investigation, it seems to be the work of two-three people. We have sent police teams to nab the accused at various possible hideouts. We are hoping to make some arrests very soon,\' Bansal said.
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68 new swine flu cases in Delhi

NEW DELHI: There were no fresh deaths due to swine flu in the capital but at least 68 more people were infected with the contagious virus on Monday, authorities said.

\"We have reports of 68 fresh cases of swine flu of which 30 were children,\" Anjana Prakash, deputy nodal officer in charge of swine flu in Delhi, told IANS.

With these the number of infections in the capital has reached around 9,200. Of these, over 55 per cent are children.
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Delphi to showcase number of auto components in Delhi Expo

NEW DELHI : Global auto component maker Delphi on Monday said it will showcase a number of its automotive technologies during next month\'s Delhi

Auto Expo including SD card-based navigation and generic body control module designs.

The Troy (Michigan)-based firm will also display other products like advanced engine management systems for cars and two-wheelers, battery monitor for lower energy consumption, alternate refrigerant solutions, and enhanced vehicle security, consumer safety and accident prevention products.

\"We are excited about the opportunities offered by the Indian market and we are committed to grow our businesses with both domestic and international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Our exhibit at Auto Expo will showcase comprehensive technology portfolio relevant for the India market,\" Delphi Asia Pacific President Majdi Abulaban said.

He said the displays are a precursor to the company\'s plans for expanding its product portfolio in the country.

The company\'s Electronics and Safety division will demonstrate SD Card-based Navigation which can support over one million searchable point of interests.

Its Powertrain Systems division will showcase Evaporative Emission Canisters, Gas EMS product portfolio and Fuel Handling Systems, while the company\'s Thermal division will feature an alternate refrigerant solution.

Delphi has more than One lakh employees at 270 locations in 32 countries. In India, its major customers include OEMs like Maruti Suzuki

India, Tata Motors, Toyota Kisloskar and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India.
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IIM study suggests deregulation of oil sector

NEW DELHI : An Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, study on the oil sector has suggested radical reforms, including complete

deregulation, where private and public sector firms are free to price fuel as they deem fit.

\"Reform of the oil sector is long overdue. The problems in the sector emanate from the structure of central taxes and the system of subsidisation through prices,\" the study said.

Currently, the government controls prices of petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene and compensates public sector firms through a complex mechanism that has squeezed out liquidity with the retailers and drained resources of upstream firms.

It gives oil bonds to make up for a part of the revenue lost on selling fuel below cost and asks upstream operators like ONGC to bear the rest. \"The social and fiscal costs arising out of the current method of subsidisation, and taxation are very severe,\" it said

Suggesting radical reforms, the study said, \"Complete deregulation of the sector allowing oil producers, oil refiners, marketing companies, and integrated operators to price their products as they deem fit\" is needed.

It said the fiscal costs were very large and much larger than that reported in the budget since they do not include the costs of diversion and tax avoidance that result from differential pricing. \"Thus in the case of kerosene the cost of delivering Rs 2000 crore to the BPL consumers was in excess of Rs 24,000 crore.\"
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Congress believes in integrating the country: PM

New Delhi, : Stating that the Congress was a party which believes in integrating the country socially and politically, Dr Singh appealed to the partymen to take the Congress to the common man as any political party derives its strength from grassroot level.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country has faced major challenges of terrorism, communalism, naxalism and regionalism which only the Congress was capable of facing as it accommodates people of all ideologies and tries to solve their problems and complaints through dialogue.

While addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of Congress Headquarters \'\'Indira Gandhi Bhavan\'\' by party president Sonia Gandhi to mark the 125th formation anniversary of Congress Prime minister said \'\'If the Congress weakens, the country would become weak. So our first responsibility is to strengthen the Congress as a political party. We have a lot of challenges to face. But we have faced challenges earlier also and our quality is that we change with changing time. I believe that with fast changing time, we will bring changes in our party. We are fortunate that to do so, we have got a leader like Sonia Gandhi,\'\' the Prime Minister said. Laying the foundation stone, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the 125th anniversary was the occasion to remember the leaders who made the Congress a great party and commit to \'build a golden future on the foundation of glorious past, adding that the Congress has valuable heritage and she would endeavour to safeguard it for the future generation and try to build a strong nation. Ms Gandhi said the Congress has always worked for the social and economic development of people and make a secular, democratic, just and equitable society and the nation. It has been working to empower the deprived and weaker sections of the society and bring tradition and modernity together. She said during the next one year, Congress would try to fulfill the expectations of the people who have supported the party throughout.
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Bomb attack on Shia march in Pakistani city of Karachi

Karachi : At least 20 people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide bomb attack on a Shia Muslim march in the Pakistani city of Karachi, officials say.

Hundreds of people had been part of the procession at the time of the blast.

In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, irate marchers turned their anger on security forces, journalists and ambulance workers.

Pakistan\'s security forces were on high alert as Shia Muslims marked the holy month of Muharram or Ashura.

Monday was the climax of the holy period, which commemorates the death of the Prophet Muhammad\'s grandson.

There have been numerous attacks on such processions across the country over the last few days, says the BBC\'s Aleem Maqbool.

On Sunday eight people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a Shia march in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Television footage showed a large plume of smoke over the site of the blast in Karachi and ambulances rushing to and from the scene.

The blast unleashed further chaos as angry Shia mourners fired shots in the air. There have also been unconfirmed reports of mourners torching vehicles and buildings.

Some marchers pelted the security forces who had been guarding the march with stones, the Associated Press news agency said.

Television footage showed severely damaged police vehicles and ambulances.

As the backlash intensified, the mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal, made an appeal for calm.

\"I want to appeal to the people, to my brothers, my elders to stay calm. I am hearing people are clashing with police and doctors. Please do not do that. That is what terrorists are aiming at. They want to see this city again on fire,\" the AP news agency reported him as saying.

Our correspondent says an incident like this had been feared by the authorities. Stringent security measures had been put in place across the country over the last month.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in bomb attacks in recent months as Pakistan\'s army pursues an offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan and surrounding areas.

Pakistan also has a long history of violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
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Seven opposition leaders arrested as Mousavi nephew\'s body \'missing\'

Iranian security forces today rounded up at least seven prominent activists amid reports that the body of the opposition leader\'s nephew, killed on Sunday as hundreds of thousands took to the streets, had gone missing

Clashes had been expected at a funeral ceremony for Seyed Ali Mousavi, whose uncle Mir Hossein Mousavi was defeated in hotly disputed elections earlier this year.

Instead police fired teargas to disperse Mousavi supporters who had gathered outside the hospital that his body had been taken to, an Iranian opposition website said.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council said that eight people were killed on Sunday in anti-government protests across Iran that erupted during the religious festival of Ashura. Iran's Health Ministry said that over 60 people had been injured in Tehran, with around 300 people reportedly arrested.

A report on the website of state television put the number of dead as high as 15 and quoted the Ministry of Intelligence that more than 10 were members of \"anti-revolutionary terrorist\" groups.

The other five who reportedly died during the bitter clashes in the Iranian capital were killed by \"terrorist groups,\" Iranian TV claimed.

State television said unknown assailants killed Mr Mousavi, 35. A Mousavi ally described his death as martyrdom.

"A group of Mousavi supporters have gathered in front of Ebn-e Sina hospital where his nephew's body was kept ... Police fired teargas to disperse them," the Norooz website reported.

A moderate website said today the body of Mr Mousavi's nephew was missing from the hospital.

"We can not hold a funeral until my brother's body is found," said another of Mr Mousavi's nephews said, according to parlemannews. Clashes were expected at the funeral ceremony.

Opposition websites and activists said security forces raided a series of opposition offices today, making at least seven arrests.

The parlemannews site said that three of Mr Moussavi's top aides were rounded up, including his top adviser, Ali Riza Beheshti.
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BCCI response required over perilous pitch

New Delhi : The Board of Control for Cricket in India have been given 14 days to respond to match referee Alan Hurst\'s report after Sunday\'s fifth and final one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned.

The wicket at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi was deemed \"too dangerous\" and a switch to a second pitch labelled \"impractical\".

The International Cricket Council sought an explanation from the Indian board, with four matches in the 2011 World Cup scheduled to be held at the stadium.

Play was temporarily suspended midway through Sri Lanka\'s innings yesterday, following a midfield conference between Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, his India counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the on-field umpires and match referee Hurst.

The officials, who were joined by members of the staging association, headed for the pavilion for a closed-room discussion before the match was eventually called off.
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At least 15 dead in Tehran street battles

Tehran : At least fifteen anti-government protesters, including a nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Iran's opposition leader, were shot dead yesterday as the smouldering confrontation between the regime and the so-called Green Movement finally erupted.

Early reports put the number of dead at five, but as clashes continued late into the night, Iranian state television reported that the number of dead had risen to 15. The Ministry of Intelligence said more than 10 were members of \"anti-revolutionary terrorist\" groups.

The other five who died during the bitter clashes in the Iranian capital were killed by \"terrorist groups,\" Iranian TV claimed.

Analysts heralded the start of what could be a bloody endgame as hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters poured on to the streets of Tehran and other cities and fought running battles with the security forces. Opposition websites claimed that some policemen had refused to fire on demonstrators.

Foreign journalists have been banned from Iran but Western newsrooms were inundated with mobile telephone footage of astonishing scenes: jubilant demonstrators attacking riot police and Basij militiamen, protesters gleefully setting light to a police station, Basiji building and motorbikes being captured from the security forces, detained protesters being freed from a police van while colleagues are carried away with blood pouring from gunshot wounds. Dozens were injured and more than 300 arrested. "The gloves are off. There is no question about that," said one analyst. Ali Ansari, Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews, said: "No one can now doubt that change is coming."

A leading opposition activist claimed: "The regime is on borrowed time. The entire country is beginning to rise."

The demonstrators' fury was no longer directed solely at President Ahmadinejad, whose alleged theft of the presidential election triggered protests in June, but also at Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader and embodiment of a theocratic government that has lost legitimacy. Passions were bound to be high because yesterday was not only Ashura, when Shias commemorate the martyrdom in the 7th century of Imam Hossein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, but also the seventh day since the death of Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, the opposition's spiritual leader, an important date in Shia mourning rituals. Few predicted quite such fury or aggression.

Opposition websites said that demonstrators broke through cordons, blocked streets to thwart squads of baton-wielding motorbike police, hurled stones, stripped captured police officers of their uniforms and weapons, and burnt state-owned banks. Mobile telephone footage showed them holding aloft captured Basiji crash helmets as onlookers cheered. "People no longer fear," one activist told The Times.

They compared Ayatollah Khamenei to Yazid, the Sunni caliph who killed Imam Hossein. Film clips showed demonstrators trying to tear down Ayatollah Khamenei's portrait and trampling on a street sign bearing his name. At least five protesters were shot in Tehran and reportedly four more in Tabriz — one of several other cities that witnessed huge demonstrations. They were the first shootings of demonstrators since June 20, eight days after the disputed election.

The opposition website Rahesabz said that the security forces opened fire on a crowd near Enghelab Square in Tehran after failing to disperse it with teargas, baton charges and warning shots. A witness told The Times: "The person we saw killed was a young man, I am guessing early twenties. He was shot in the head from a rooftop. It happened so quickly that we did not know what happened. A couple of minutes later the Basiji came rushing in and fired teargas and used batons to disperse us and then they took his body."

It was unclear whether Seyed Ali Mousavi, 35, the opposition leader's nephew, was one of those killed, though he, too, was shot near Enghelab Square. Footage showed him lying on a pavement as blood oozed from his chest. There were reports last night that security forces had surrounded the hospital where he died.

Tehran's police chief initially denied any killings. State television later reported several deaths on both sides. Iran's deputy police chief then claimed that one protester fell off a bridge, two died in car accidents and one was shot, but not by the police.

Another witness told The Times how a middle-aged woman emerged from a cornered crowd and yelled at the police: "Aren't you ashamed to beat and kill your own people?"

"To our surprise two of them admitted they were ashamed and were doing this only for money. The head of the squad then asked that we go home because he did not want to have to give the order to have us beaten," the witness said.

Gangs of pro-government vigilantes increasingly appear to be taking the law into their own hands. On Saturday night a group broke up a meeting addressed by Mohammad Khatami, the reformist former president, and attacked nearby offices used by the family of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. Leading members of the Khomeini family now support the opposition.

The opposition claims that the unrest is spreading across Iran, and to every social class. It senses victory, but activists fear a bloodbath first. "The security forces, especially the Revolutionary Guards, are prepared to fight until the end as they have nowhere to go," one member said.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vindoo Dara Singh wins Bigg Boss 3

Mumbai : Vindoo Dara Singh, son of legendary wrestler Dara Singh, has won the third edition of reality show Bigg Bos 3.

Vindoo, 45-year-old and having made his film debut in 1994 with the movie Karan but without much success, also took home a cash prize of Rs 1 crore.

He defeated model Pravesh Rana and Bollywood actress and another strong contender Poonam Dhillon to emerge as the winner.

He also won Chevrolet Cruise as the award for most stylish and bold inmate in the house.

From 13 participants only three managed to survive for three months in the Bigg Boss house.

The three were Vindoo, Dhillon and Rana. While Rana was second, Poonam came third in the reality show.

Thirteen participants entered the Colors channel reality show Bigg Boss house on October 4 and had to stay inside without any contact with the outside world.

Rana and former cricketer Vinod Kambli made surprise entry into the Bigg Boss on November 5. While Kambli was evicted from the house soon, Rana in the end proved to be a formidable contender

Vindoo began his film career with the movie Karan in 1994.

The finale was hosted by Amitabh Bachchan and saw some scintillating performances from all the evicted Bigg Boss housemates including Vinod Kambli, Claudia Ciesla, Rohit Verma, Raju Srivastav, Kamal Rashid Khan, Sherlyn Chopra, Shamita Shetty, Aditi Govitrikar, Tanaaz Irani and Bhaktyaar Irani.

Jaya Sawant and Ismail Durbar were also present in the finale.

Locked in a house for past three months with 40 cameras watching them 24X7, the contestants had their share of controversies too be it Kamal Rashid Khan\'s outbursts or Sherlyn Chopra\'s drama queen act.

Kamal was once thrown out of the house by the Bigg Boss for indulging in physical violence. He was given a second chance but failed to take advantage of it and was evicted for the second time.
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BSF repels Pak intruders in Kutch after 3-hr battle

Ahmedabad : Border Security Force personnel exchanged fire with trespassers at Harami Nala on Saturday that lasted for three hours.

However, the attempt to enter Indian territory was foiled by the BSF, whose officials have confirmed the incident. There have not been many incidences of cross-border firing in Kutch in the past.

According to BSF sources, fishermen from Pakistan tried to enter Indian territory in their boats near Harami Nala.

\"Our jawans on duty opened firing to stop these fishermen and the latter fired back.\" The exchange of firing continued for three hours. However, there were no injuries or casualties on the BSF side\", said an official.

The official added, \"We have no information about injuries on the other side. They scaped by taking cover of darkness.

However, the BSF has seized two boats which were used by the intruders.\"
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Ruchika case will be reinvestigated: Govt

New Delhi : Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has said the Centre will direct reinvestigation into the Ruchika molestation case.

The Government has been facing public outcry as many believe that former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore - convicted in the Ruchika molestation case - got away with a light punishment in the case and should be charged with abetment to suicide.

"The Centre will request for reinvestigation of the Ruchika case," Moily told reporters in Mangalore.

On Saturday, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had said in New Delhi that the Ruchika case should be "revisited".

"After examining (the case) legally, I think it should be revisited. It needs revisitation on the whole issue. I am fully sympathising with the family (of Ruchika)," Hooda told reporters.

The court had sentenced Rathore to six-month imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1000 on him.

However, he was bailed out on the very first day after the sentencing.

This 'light and unsatisfying' sentence given to 67-year-old former top cop led to a public uproar.

The Central Government has also initiated steps to withdraw the police medal awarded to Rathore in 1985 and reduce his pension.

"The matter will be placed before an award committee on January 4, when the committee will meet. Thereafter the recommendation will go to the President," Union Home Secretary GK Pillai told reporters.

The Home Ministry on Saturday slapped showcause notices on Rathore asking why his police medal should not be taken away and pension reduced for allegedly abusing power.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bihar progeria victim dies without meeting Big B

Patna : Ikramul Khan, who was suffering from progeria, a disease that accelerates the ageing process, died in Bihar's Saran district Friday with an unfulfilled wish of meeting Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

\"My brother Ikramul died without fulfilling his last wish of meeting Amitabh Bachchan,\" Khan's brother Ali Hussain, who is also suffering from progeria.

Khan, 22, was a resident of Dumri village in Saran district, about 80 km from Patna.

\"We were living together and sharing with each other. Now I will have to live without him. I will miss my friend-cum-brother,\" an emotional Hussain said.

Early this month, Khan had expressed his wish of meeting Big B and acknowledging him for creating awareness about the disease. Recently in his Hindi film Paa, Amitabh played the character of a 13-year-old boy suffering from progeria.

Hussain said ever since the film released, he and Khan wanted to meet the superstar.

\"It was our last wish to spend some time with Amitabh Bachchan,\" said Hussain, who looked middle-aged despite being in his early-20s.

Khan's mother Razia Khatoon had said: \"How can we approach Amitabh Bachchan, who is such a big star, to request him to share a few moments with my sons.\"

Khatoon's three elder daughters - Guriya, Rehana and Rubina - too died of progeria at 17, 24 and 13, respectively. She said of her eight children, five suffered from progeria while three others are healthy and normal.
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Memories of tsunami still haunt the living in Tamil Nadu

Chennai : With tears in their eyes, family members Saturday remembered those swallowed by the deadly tsunami on the Tamil Nadu coast five years ago that left over 8000 dead.

Candlelight processions and ceremonies to offer prayers to the deceased were held all over the state.

The giant waves triggered by undersea tremors in Indonesia had caused the tsunami, one of India\'s biggest post-Independence natural calamities, both by the number of lives lost, and the magnitude of the disaster.

Even before the fisher folk residing along the sea and morning walkers on the black Sunday in Chennai could realise what was happening, the gushing sea had turned the beach into a watery grave.

The government has pumped in crores of rupees towards rehabilitation of the affected, with many not for profit organisations also doing their bit.

In Nagapattinam, one of the worst-hit by the killer waves which claimed over 6000 lives and rendered about a lakh homeless in the district, painful memories of the tsunami still linger, but people have moved on.

The district now is bustling with activity and the economy thriving with gainful employment for the youth in both organised and unorganised sectors.

There is a sea change in the livelihood, as well as lifestyle of the people. Large-scale employment opportunities have been generated for the youth of the district in both organised and unorganised sectors.

Children of tsunami-hit areas now have access to high quality English medium education, which was absent earlier, while the youth have taken up entrepreneurial ventures.

The fishing community, the worst-hit, are a happy lot having fibreglass boats and other fishing equipment. More than 19,000 families have been provided with permanent houses.

According to NGO volunteers engaged in rehabilitation of the affected, the people of the area did not attach much importance to education earlier. Most children dropped out from schools to take up fishing, but post-tsunami the situation has changed. Lured by the facilities provided by the schools, the children are happily attending schools, they said.

Top multinational companies have started English medium schools. Consumer electronics giant Samsung India has opened a school at Chinnangudi village near Tarangmabadi.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar\'s International Association for Human Values (IAHV) has opened an integrated education complex at Anaikoil village near Porayar.

The Mata Amirtanandamayee Math is providing free computer training for youths and children and free hostel accommodation for college students in various parts of the district.
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Death toll in Kota bridge collapse rises to 12

Kota : The death toll on Saturday rose to 12 in the collapse of an under-construction bridge over Chambal river with recovery of three more bodies even as two officials arrested in connection with the mishap were remanded in police custody for five days.

\"Three more bodies were today recovered. With this, the death toll has risen to 12,\" IG Kota Range Rajeev Dasot said.

He said efforts were still underway to locate missing labourers.

The two arrested officials J Y Hue, Chief Project Manager of Hyundai Engineering and construction and R Chatopadhyay, deputy project manager of Gamon India--were produced before a local court here which sent them to five-day police remand.

Kota Police has also registered a case against 14 officials of Gammon and Hyundai in connection with the incident.

Meanwhile, authorities were today mulling whether to demolish a hanging portion of the structure or give it support to expedite rescue efforts.

A rescue team comprising 200 labourers, 200 policemen, 50 officials, 80 army jawans, 20 experts from calamity relief management of Gujarat besides six naval divers are engaged in the rescue work to find those missing including an engineer working with Hyundai.
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Another rape attempt on Russian women in Goa

Panaji : A Christmas party in Goa for two Russian women turned out to be a horrifying ordeal when a taxi driver they had engaged tried to rape them at Anjuna.

The two victims had to hide in a jungle for six hours to escape being raped and robbed by the taxi driver and his accomplices on a night when police claimed security in the state was at its peak.

In a complaint filed with the Anjuna police station, the two women said the incident took place after they hired a taxi near Club West End in Saligao at 0220 hours IST on December 25 after attending a Christmas party at the popular night club.

\"We had hired a taxi GA-01-L-9613 for Rs 300 to travel from Club West End to our hotel Charleston in Baga. But the driver told us that he wanted to avoid bribing the police picket on the main road and said he would take an alternative route,\" one of the women said in her complaint.

\"Instead of Baga, he took us to Anjuna and said he wanted Rs 1,000 for the ride and instead of money, he wanted to have sex with us. When we protested, he tried to attack us forcing us to jump out of the car and run into the jungle nearby," she said.

\"We had to hide till 7 am in the morning in the jungle before we complained to the police,\" she added.

Officials attached to the Anjuna police station have confirmed the complaint.

A senior police officer said that a case has been filed against the unknown taxi driver for attempt to rape and assault.

\"He is on the run. We are in the process of tracking him down,\" the officer said.

Goa, a popular tourism destination for Russians, has seen several instances of crime against foreigners. A Goan politician is already absconding for allegedly raping a 25-year-old Russian woman earlier this month.
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Mumbai tighten grip around Haryana

Rohtak : Off-spinner Romesh Powar scalped four wickets as defending champions Mumbai consolidated their position with a 355-run lead against Haryana on the third day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal here today.

Powar spun the web around Haryana batsmen with figures of four for 42 from his 22 overs, while pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (2/26), Usman Malvi (2/28) and Iqbal Abdullah (2/34) picked up two wickets each to bundle out hosts for 164 in their first innings in reply to Mumbai\'s 400.

At stumps on the penultimate day, Mumbai were 119 for three in their second essay. Opener Sahil Kukreja remained unbeaten on 63 while Rohit Sharma celebrated his recall to the Indian team with 51 off 66 balls that included eight fours before he fell prey to Pacer Sanjay Budhwar (2/21).
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Airports raise security on U.S.-bound flights

London : The Dutch National Coordinator for Counter terrorism said in a statement that U.S. authorities had asked airlines worldwide to take additional security measures for flights to the United States.

Security at Amsterdam\'s Schiphol Airport had been tightened, it said.

In Britain, airports operator BAA said the Department of Transport had issued a notice to all British airport operators to tighten security.

\"Passengers traveling to the United States should expect their airline to carry out additional security checks prior to boarding,\" BAA said in a statement, adding that passengers should leave more time to check in.

In Brussels, Jacques Barrot, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of justice, freedom and security, said the EU executive was in contact with all relevant authorities to make sure rules and procedures were being followed in Europe.

\"I am horrified by the attempted terrorist attack on a flight between Amsterdam and Detroit on Christmas Day,\" he said.
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Indonesia commemorates tsunami

Indonesia : Thousands of Acehnese flocked to mosques and other places to commemorate the tsunami which killed over 230,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Maldives on Dec. 24, 2004.

In Aceh province at the northern tip of Sumatra island, over 170,000 people were killed or missing in the tsunami, which also caused massive destruction to infrastructures.

In Aceh, the commemoration centered in mosques and fields by conducting mass pray for the spirits of the victims and the progress of Aceh.

Indonesian Vice President Boediono is to lead the commemoration in one of the hardest-hit areas of Ulee Lheu in the capital of Banda Aceh on Saturday.

He visited the tsunami museum in Banda Aceh and along with hundreds of Acehneses led pray in Sireun mass grave for the goodness of Aceh.

Over the past five years, Aceh has completed its four-year reconstruction and rehabilitation valued at 7.1 billion U.S. dollars donated by the international community.

Hundreds and thousands of houses and scores of roads, education and health facilities, sea ports, airports and a number of other infrastructures, have been rebuilt in the province.

\"I expect that the development of infrastructure can be sped up, particularly roads, because it could make economy run well,\" Darmasiah, a 43-year-old housewife, told Xinhua in Calang of Aceh.

The province has registered over 4 percent economic growth, much higher than during the conflict which was at minus 3 percent, Aceh Vice Governor Muhammad Nazar said.

Indonesia, which is laid on the vulnerable quake-hit area called the \"Pacific Ring of Fire,\" has installed tsunami warning devises along its coastal areas, which could warn people to escape before tsunami occur.

Drill on the possible dangers have also been carried out. A task force which can move fast for emergency assistance at the scene of disaster has been established.

The province has built tsunami evacuation centers.
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Spider-Man\'s Mary Jane to be killed?

New York : Hollywood actress Kirsten Dunst\'s red-headed character Mary Jane from the Spider-Man franchise is reportedly going to be written off after the fourth instalment.

Insiders claim Dunst\'s character will be written off in the next movie and replaced by Anne Hathaway as Spider-Man\'s new love interest, reports

\"The plan is for her character to be written out, probably by dying. Anne will take over as Peter Parker\'s new love interest for this project and for Spider-Man 5 and 6 which are being written now,\" said a source.

\"Anne\'s in Los Angeles doing a lot of meetings on the movie, because filming is right around the corner,\" the source added.

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Centre lists its objections on GST draft paper

New Delhi : The views of the Centre and the states don't seem to be in congruence regarding the modalities of the Goods and Services Tax. The Centre wants a common threshold for both goods and services and a single rate for the Goods and Services Tax. Also, it wants the electricity duty, purchase tax to be subsumed in the GST along with bringing in goods like natural gas, alcohol, diesel and petro products in the ambit too.

These are a few among various other comments and objections the Centre has raised on the first draft discussion paper released by the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers regarding the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Centre is likely to send it soon to the Thirteenth Finance Commission, which is going to submit its report by December 31.

The Centre has clearly stated that the new indirect tax regime would not be possible without a single threshold for both goods and services and the threshold could be anywhere between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 50 lakh, official sources told t2tn.
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U.S. Says Flight Incident Terrorism Related

USA : U.S authorities say an incident Friday involving a small explosion on a flight from Amsterdam to the U.S. city of Detroit was \"an attempted act of terrorism.\"

Law enforcement sources said a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 -- operated by Delta -- attempted to ignite an explosive device aboard the aircraft as it was landing.

The plane arrived safely at Detroit Metropolitan Airport carrying 278 passengers, some of whom sustained minor injuries.

Counterterrorism officials say the suspect, a 23-year-old Nigerian named Abdul Mudallad, is being treated in a local hospital.

Some U.S. media have reported that Mudallad claims to be acting on behalf of al-Qaida but officials say it is too early to tell.

White House spokesman Bill Burton said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama has \"instructed that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel.\"

Burton said Mr. Obama is is \"actively monitoring\" the situation from Hawaii where he is vacationing with his family.

U.S. Representative Peter King, a senior member of the congressional Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that Mudallad began his trip in Nigeria and that his name appears in a U.S. intelligence database.

Dutch officials say he arrived at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport on a connecting flight.

A hospital spokeswoman said that one person who had been aboard the aircraft was taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. It is not clear if that person is the suspect.

Airline officials originally thought Mudallad had attempted to light firecrackers.
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Will teen-molester cop lose medal, pension?

New Delhi : Nineteen years after he molested a teenager, a former police officer, one of the most senior in Haryana, is finally being treated like a criminal.

On Monday, a court sentenced SPS Rathore to six months in prison. National outrage followed because of what is accepted among experts as a light sentence, and over the fact that the charges against Rathore were mild, given that the girl he molested killed herself three years after he abused her.

Now, the Home Ministry is reacting to the public campaign against Rathore, who retired as Director General of Police in Haryana is 2002. The Home Ministry is using a showcause notice to Rathore, asking why he should not be stripped of his pension, as also a police medal that was given to him in 1985.

Rathore was an Inspector General and the President of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Federation when he met Ruchika Girhotra, a 14-year-old tennis player. Ruchika\'s friend, Aradhana, was a witness to Rathore molesting Ruchika.

After Ruchika filed a complaint against Rathore, he retaliated for three years by harassing her family. Her brother was framed for theft and put into prison. In 1993, Ruchika, now 17, couldn\'t handle the pressure anymore. She killed herself. Investigating officials and policemen agreed at the time that Rathore should be charged with abetment of suicide amounting to murder. Rathore fought this opinion in court, and won. He was then charged with molestation, which holds a maximum punishment of two years in prison.

Sources say the CBI is now considering an appeal for harsher punishment for Rathore.

Ruchika\'s family lawyer also wants to ask the Supreme Court to reopen the case against Rathore, and include abetment of suicide charges.
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Great to win the series in Kolkata: Sehwag

Kolkata : A jubilant Indian stand-in captain Virender Sehwag Thursday night praised Virat Kohli and other youngsters in the team and said he was happy to finish the series in Kolkata.

\"This team has lot of bench-strength. We did not have Yuvraj Singh and M S Dhoni in the team. It\'s a good sign for India that the youngsters are playing well. Virat Kohli proved his worth,\" he said after India successfully chased an imposing Sri Lankan total of 315 for six to win with seven wickets and 11 balls in hand at the Eden Gardens.

\"We wanted to finish the game in Kolkata because here we had a good wicket to bat on. We don\'t know what kind of wicket we will get in Delhi,\" Sehwag said after clinching the five match series against Sri lanka.

Sehwag, who led the team at Cuttack and Kolkata following the two match ban slapped on regular captain MS Dhoni for slow over rate, said now the team will not be under any pressure in the fifth and last match in Delhi.

He added that faced with such a huge total, the Indian did not want to lose wickets.

\"Our thinking was we should not lose wickets in the first ten overs. We had beaten Pakistan earlier at the Eden after putting up a big total. We knew the dew factor becomes important as the evening progresses. Them bowlers cannot spin or swing the ball. They have problems in gripping also\".

\"So we thought if we do not lose early wickets, we can finish off the game. We lost two, but then Kohli and Gambhir finished it off\".
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Cold tightens grip in Northern region

New Delhi : Cold conditions intensified in parts of north India today and dense fog engulfed many states as mercury plummeted by up to three notches in Punjab even as Leh and Kargil districts were freezing below minus 18 degrees Celsius.

Foggy conditions prevailed in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand.

Most parts of Jammu and Kashmir continued to reel under intense cold as the night temperature dropped further owing to clear skies.

Leh and Kargil districts in the cold desert of Ladakh were freezing at minus 19 and minus 18 degrees Celsius, respectively, Met office said. The two places also registered a dip in the day temperature which settled at minus 2 in Leh and minus 4 in Kargil.

In Kashmir valley, the famous hill resort of Pahalgam was the coldest place with a low of minus 7.6 degrees.

In the plains of Punjab and Haryana, Amritsar was coldest with a low of 1.4 degrees, three notches below normal. While Rohtak shivered at a low of 3.2 degrees, three notches below normal, Ambala registered 3.8 degrees, also three units below normal.

The ongoing spell of cold conditions have so far claimed three lives, including two in Bathinda and one at Yamuna Nagar in the past one week, officials in Punjab said.

Normal life was affected as mercury dipped to one degree at the hill resort of Mount Abu in Rajasthan last night. Upper air layer of amous Nakki Lake in Mount Abu showed thin frost in the wee hours today.
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Tiwari\'s office denies scandal, urges respect

Hyderabad : Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari's office on Friday denied a Telugu TV channel's allegation that he was involved in a sex scandal and rejected footage of him in bed with three women as a "tissue of lies".

The Raj Bhavan approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court with a petition and got an order restraining the ABN Andhra Jyothi channel from further airing the footage, which was allegedly taken inside Raj Bhavan (Governor House).

The channel stopped telecasting the footage after airing it for an hour from 10 am on Friday.

\"The Governor is 86 years old and in the evening of his life. It is sad and unfortunate that constitutional functionaries are dragged into needless controversies,\" said a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan.

\"There is absolutely no truth in the alleged news story, which is nothing but sensation mongering,\" said Ravishanker Jandhyala, a lawyer for the Raj Bhavan.

\"The alleged news story is nothing but a tissue of lies and is denied,\" said Jandhyala. \"We will definitely file a defamation case. Already I have issued a notice in the afternoon (to the channel).\"

State Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu, president of the Telugu Desam Party, demanded that Tiwari, a veteran Congress leader, be sacked. \"The only way for him is to resign or the Centre should sack him,\" Naidu said.

Andhra Jyothi, the newspaper which owns the ABN Andhra Jyothi, carried an advertisement in is Friday edition urging people to watch the channel for exclusive visuals allegedly Tiwari in a compromising position.

Tiwari, a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, recently got relief from the Delhi High Court in a paternity case filed by man who claimed to be his son. The court dismissed the petition on the grounds of time limitation.
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Pope Benedict gives Christmas message after assault

Pope Benedict has delivered his traditional Christmas message at the Vatican, hours after a woman vaulted a barrier and knocked him to the ground.

The Pope spoke in a firm voice in front of thousands of pilgrims, appearing undaunted by the earlier incident.

He said the Church was a \"source of unity\" for many people across the world and called for those in conflict zones to show respect for one another.

The Vatican said the woman who jumped at the Pope had been taken to hospital.

Vatican officials said she appeared to be mentally unstable, and that she had attempted to get to the Pope at the same event last year.

French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, 87, who was standing a few metres away, fell and broke his hip during the incident.

The assault took place as the pontiff was about to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at St Peter\'s Basilica.

The BBC\'s David Willey, in Rome, says the Vatican is trying its best to play down the incident.

But our correspondent says the Pope\'s security is a very difficult issue as the pontiff has to interact with the congregation and many Catholics would be angry if he was only ever seen from behind a screen.

As he emerged on to the balcony overlooking St Peter\'s Sqaure, the Pope seemed unsteady on his feet, but did not waver during his message or prayers.

The 82-year-old pontiff made no mention of the incident during his Christmas message.

Instead he focused on the world\'s needy and praised the work of the Church in places like the Philippines, Korea and Sri Lanka.

He said there should be an \"attitude of acceptance and welcome,\" for \"all those who migrate from their homelands and are driven away by hunger, intolerance or environmental degradation\".

The Pope deplored the continuing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and spoke of the problems facing people in Madagascar, Guinea, Niger and Honduras.

He urged people to \"abandon every logic of violence and vengeance and engage with renewed vigour and generosity in the process which leads to peaceful coexistence\".

He then wished pilgrims a happy Christmas in 65 languages drawing delighted cheers from the crowd.
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Under-construction bridge collapses near Kota, 4 killed

JAIPUR : Four people were killed and over 20 feared trapped after an under-construction bridge over the Chambal river collapsed on the Kota-Udaipur highway near Dabi on Thursday evening.

According to district officials, who rushed to the spot, eight persons have been rescued. They were admitted to MBS Hospital in Kota with serious injuries.

\"Legal action will be taken against the construction companies after a detailed investigation,\" said a senior police officer.

According to reports, nearly 50 persons, mostly engineers and labourers, were working at the site when the bridge collapsed. The site is nearly 30 kilometres from Kota. \"Four bodies have been recovered and eight people have been rescued. However, many more are missing. There is a possibility that a few labourers might have fallen into the river or are still under the debris,\" said an official.

District collector T Ravikant told TOI that the priority was to take out those trapped under the debris. Rescue workers had a hard time sifting through the debris as several metal structures blocked their path.

Though senior officials including the district collector reached the spot, rescue operation could not be launched immediately as there was no light in the area. Cranes and other equipment have been requisitioned from Kota Thermal Power Plant and Rawatbhata, said authorities. Army's help has also been sought, they said. However, by late evening, the district administration managed to get divers besides arranging halogen lamps. \"The rescue operation is likely to continue through the night and we have also alerted the nearby hospitals,\" said Ravikant.

Inspector general of police Rajiv Dasot said cases would be registered against the construction companies — Gammon India and Hyundai — if any negligence is found on their part.

Meanwhile, chief minister Ashok Gehlot expressed concern over the incident. He announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of the kin who died in the incident. Those who suffered serious injuries would be given Rs 1 lakh and other injured would be given Rs 50,000 each.

PWD minister Pramod Jain Bhayya also rushed to the spot. He said that the state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
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Vajpayee turns 86

New Delhi : Former Prime Minister and BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee turned 86 on Friday with several leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, turning up at his residence in New Delhi to greet him.

The Prime Minister reached Vajpayee\'s Krishna Menon Marg residence to wish him on his birthday.

Earlier, former BJP president Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley greeted him.

Former Union Minister Vijay Goel and former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra also met Vajpayee.

Former Union minister and Rajya Sabha MP Arun Shourie was the first senior leader to reach Vajpayee\'s residence.

Rajesh Gehlot, a fan of Vajpayee, came with a 186-feet long roll of 160 posters to greet the BJP leader.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yedyyurappa also met Vajpayee on the occasion. Vajpayee\'s nephew Anup Mishra, who is a minister in Madhya Pradesh, also greeted the veteran leader.

Rajnath Singh later told reporters that he greeted Vajpayee on his birthday and wished him speedy recovery.

Vajpayee has not been keeping well for sometime now and did not contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Marry Christmas

239 Marry Christmas

Emerson Network Power Forays Into Entreprise Inverter Segment

Emerson Network Power has announced its foray into the enterprise inverter segment with the launch of breakthrough technology 'In Pulse' with output rating of 30 kVa.

In Pulse inverters are high capacity industrial back-up solutions that offer an alternative to cumbersome and noisy diesel generators sets that industries use for high-capacity power back-up. In Pulse offers various benefits over traditional generators such as low operational cost, no manual intervention required, no noise or air pollution, low total cost of ownership and payback period, unbalanced load distribution is possible and many more. Various verticals and applications where In pulse can be used include real estate (lift, water motor, staircase lighting), retail (air conditioners, telecom (shelters), battery and electrical contracts.

The go-to-market strategy for In-Pulse is 100 percent channel-centric. This product category has lucrative service revenue opportunities for partners. This extensive network will also provide sales and service support to its clients

Commenting on the launch, Jitendra Sonar, Sr. Product Manager Monitoring and Inverter, ENP said, "Enterprise inverter market stands at around Rs 2000 crore and is growing significantly. Currently, the sector is dominated by players that provide solutions with limited capacity. With introduction of In Pulse, we aim to bridge this gap and offer customers world class advance solutions that can positively impact the bottom-line of the clients."

LG Targets SMB Customers

LG is now eying the Indian SMB market with a complete range of products. The Korean electronics giant has a firm strategy to capture 10 percent of the $400 million market in India within the next one year. The range of products in the SMB portfolio include network monitors, projectors, laptops, digital signage, surveillance security, water purifiers, air conditioners, refrigerators and microwave.

"In terms of the number of SMBs, India is the second largest country in the world totaling to 35 million. Since more than 70 percent of the Indian SMBs prefer one stop shop buying for all their office equipment, this sector provides immense opportunity and potential for growth," Moon B Shin, Managing Director, LG Electronics India. The LG SMB Solution is an attempt to provide full range of electronics, appliances & computing solutions to SMB owners at 'one-stop'.

Shin added, "We would support our reseller partners by organizing promotional activities to raise awareness on LG SMB Solutions among both target users (SMBs) and potential users (general customers). We intend to build SMB experience zones for customers to visit and explore the right products."

The wants to increase its focus on IT and it feels that the commercial segment would be the key to its growth in the next year. The company has now added a slew of products to its enterprise portfolio, launched this year, to lure the SMB.

The company also plans to spend Rs 200 crore in R&D and other activities over the next three years for its Business Solutions division, which includes about Rs 28 crore ($6 million) investment plan for marketing activities in 2010. By April 2010, LG also plans to launch an SMB finance program with 0 percent finance and deferring payments up to three months and lease program.

Kashmiris asked to decide on state\'s special status IANS

Jammu : The fifth working group on Jammu and Kashmir set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has submitted its report and recommended that the people of the state decide whether it should retain the special status under Article 370 of the constitution or not.

\"It is for the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to decide how long to continue Article 370 in its present form and when to make it permanent or abrogate (it),\" the first recommendation of the group said.

\"The matter being 60 years old should be settled once and for all,\" it added.

The report was submitted by Justice (retd) Sageer Ahmad, heading the working group, to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday evening.

The group recommended that the \"the question of autonomy and its demand can be examined in the light of the Kashmir Accord or in some other manner or on the basis of some other formula as the present prime minister may deem fit and appropriate so as to restore the autonomy to the extent possible\".

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in 2006 set up five working groups on confidence building in Jammu and Kashmir and to improve relations between the state and the central government.

The group also called for a \"consensus\" on the term of the state legislative Assembly.
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US Senate votes through \'historic\' health reforms

WASHINGTON : Senators gave President Barack Obama a huge political boost by passing a sweeping remake of the US health care system that aims to extend coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans.

A feverish atmosphere prevailed in the storied Senate chamber as one of the most important pieces of social legislation in decades was passed by a 60-39 vote that strictly followed party lines.

\"Ever since Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform in 1912, seven presidents -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- have taken up the cause of reform,\" Obama said after the vote.

\"Time and time again, such efforts have been blocked by special interest lobbyists who\'ve perpetuated a status quo that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people.

\"But with passage of reform bills in both the House and the Senate, we are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the American people.\"

The legislation ushering in a 10-year, nearly one-trillion-dollar reform program must now be reconciled with a separate House of Representatives version before going to Obama\'s desk to be signed into law early next year.

Attention now focuses on negotiations to forge a compromise between the two bills, with Republicans hopeful that differences over key provisions might lead to damaging Democratic infighting ahead of crucial 2010 mid-term elections.

But Democrats were united and celebrating victory after months of tough maneuvering on a hot-button political issue that Obama had made his top domestic priority.

The Republican Party had sought to kill the bill or at least delay the battle well into 2010, when the legislative elections would have made it more difficult for centrist Democrats to support the reforms.

No Republican senator voted for the health care package.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell\'s reaction summed up the bitterness throughout a months-long political battle, which earlier this summer saw Obama under fire at a series of angry town hall meetings.

\"I guarantee you the people who voted for this bill are going to get an earful when they finally get home for the first time since Thanksgiving. They know there is widespread opposition to this monstrosity,\" McConnell said.

\"This fight isn\'t over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law. That\'s the clear will of the American people and we\'re going to continue to fight on their behalf.\"

But Obama, hours before departing for Hawaii on his Christmas break, hailed the \"historic vote\" and vowed to \"finish the job.\"

\"With today\'s vote we are now incredibly close to making health insurance reform a reality in this country,\" he said.

\"We can\'t doom another generation of Americans to soaring costs and eroding coverage and exploding deficits. Instead, we need to do what we were sent here to do and improve the lives of the people we serve.\"

The headline battle looms over the provision of a government-backed \"public option\" to compete with private insurers. This measure was stripped from the Senate bill but remains in the House version.

Another potential problem is the House bill\'s tougher restrictions on federal funds subsidizing abortions: while pro-choice lawmakers denounce the limits, centrist Democrats say they will withhold support without them.

Centrist senators have also warned that they will doom the measure if the compromise talks lead to drastic changes to the Senate\'s hard-won compromise.

Obama rebuts critics who say the United States, recovering from a painful recession and with double-digit unemployment, cannot afford the reforms that will extend coverage to 31 million of the 36 million Americans who lack it now.

He points to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which found the bill would reduce the federal deficit by 132 billion dollars over the first 10 years and as much as 1.3 trillion in the next decade.

The United States is the world\'s richest nation but the only industrialized democracy that does not provide health care coverage to all of its citizens.

As a nation, the United States spends more than double what Britain, France and Germany do per person on health care.

But it lags behind other countries in life expectancy and infant mortality, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
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Chandigarh to have four more subsidised drug stores

Chandigah : In a bid to provide medicines at subsidized rates to poor people, Chandigarh administration would open stores where drugs would be available at cheap rates, an official said here Wednesday.

\'The facility of Jan Aushadhi will be provided at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Government multi-specialty hospital, Sector 16 and at two other civil hospitals. They will provide generic medicines at one-fifth to one-tenth rate of the branded medicine,\' said a government spokesperson.

\'This scheme is already in practice at PGIMER (Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research) and at various locations in Punjab,\' he said.
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India\'s Baba Ramdev is guru, TV star and source of controversy

HARIDWAR : At the crack of dawn, 4,000 people sitting on yoga mats silently watched the renowned guru Baba Ramdev on stage. After his introduction as the one who will dispel the darkness of ignorance, the orange-robed Ramdev chanted \"Om\" into a microphone. The audience followed with a reverential hum.

\"Eat this every morning to prevent cancer,\" he said, holding up four holy basil leaves.

\"No blood pressure and asthma problem if you do this daily. Be free from medicines!\" he exclaimed after performing a few yoga postures and demonstrating six breathing techniques. The crowd cheered.

Ramdev\'s daily two-hour session has been the most-watched show in India since 2003, drawing an average of 26 million viewers and beating news programs, soap operas, movies and reality shows. Thousands of people travel to the New Age tele-guru\'s ashram every day to catch a glimpse of him or to touch his feet.

His mission is to promote yoga and rid people of their dependence on expensive modern medicines. Through controlled breathing, he says, people can increase their intake of oxygen 10 times, making their bodies \"pure as fire\" and immune to illnesses.

But his concerns include both the body and the body politic.

\"Yoga is my battle against untruth, injustice and sin. I want to clean the nation of its corrupt and poisonous ways,\" Ramdev said in an interview at his four-acre ashram, called Patanjali Yogpeeth.

The center, in northern India, includes a yoga school, a hospital, and a factory that manufactures herbal medicine based on ancient Indian texts. Now, he wants to create a cadre of about 600,000 people who will abide by his austere ways, remain unmarried and teach yoga in every village in India. \"It will be the biggest platform to unite Indians and restore national pride,\" he said.

Ramdev was born into a family of farmers. He is a vegetarian, ties his long hair in a bun, wears wooden footwear, does not take pills and sleeps on the floor. But an armed bodyguard accompanies him everywhere, a sign of VIP status in India. He hobnobs with politicians, businessmen and Bollywood stars. And he expresses his opinion on almost everything.

He likens homosexuality to drug addiction and claims yoga can \"cure\" it. He calls Pepsi and Coke \"toilet cleaners.\" He supports throwing foreign companies out of India. He says that Western civilization is going downhill and that India will rule the world with yoga.

The clamor around Ramdev represents Indians\' endless search for gurus and holy men they can revere, finding an escape from worldly tensions and pains. His diatribes against corruption, multinational companies, changing lifestyles and urban stress resonate with the social anxieties accompanying the awkward but rapid transition of an ancient land into a 21st-century economic powerhouse.

\"What Baba Ramdev preaches is simple: If you control your body, you can control the world,\" said Shiv Viswanathan, a social anthropologist with the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Ahmedabad. \"His message is \'Breathe well, eat well and live well,\' whether you have a digestive block or an impending divorce.\"

Ramdev is not without critics. The Indian medical community, in particular, does not approve of him. When the swine flu panic gripped India this year, Ramdev said yoga and breathing exercises could prevent infection.

\"Under Indian law, nobody can make tall claims about curing diseases. Yoga is good, but Ramdev should not say he can cure this and that,\" said Anil Bansal, the joint secretary of the Indian Medical Association. \"But he is a very powerful man, and many politicians are his followers. Nobody can say anything against him.\"

During his daily television performances, he pontificates on terrorism, water contamination, colonialism, tax laws, black money and cow protection, while instructing people to raise their legs, tie their hands behind their backs and breathe deep.

He even launched a political manifesto this year.

\"I will not fight elections, but I will endorse and offer good, honest candidates to political parties,\" he said.

In response to a recent ban on yoga by Islamic clerics in Malaysia, Ramdev told Muslims that they can do the exercises chanting Allah\'s name instead of \"Om.\" He demonstrated health benefits of breathing techniques and yoga postures at a gathering of 500,000 Muslims last month at one of India\'s oldest Islamic seminaries.

He has held public meetings in Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles and runs 15 yoga and herbal medicine centers in the United States. A gleaming ashram is under construction in Houston. In September, his followers bought him a remote Scottish island called Little Cumbrae, near Glasgow, to set up a center for yoga.

Sampoornam Palaniswamy, 59, is overweight and has knee pain. She cannot understand Hindi, the language that Ramdev speaks. But she watches him on television and traveled from southern India to the ashram in the north.

\"He teaches very simple exercises aimed at specific ailments. It is easy to follow and is not time-consuming,\" she said.

Another patient came from Britain.

\"I want to learn the correct breathing exercises for diabetes,\" said Eric Ross, 64, a management consultant from Manchester. \"I have escaped from the medical mafia at home.\"
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ਪੰਜਾਬ ਲੋਕ ਸੰਪਰਕ ਆਫੀਸਰਜ ਐਸੋਸੀਏਸ਼ਨ ਦਾ ਪੁਨਰਗਠਨ, ਹਰਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਗਰੇਵਾਲ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਚੁਣੇ ਗਏ

ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ 23 ਦਸੰਬਰ: ਪੰਜਾਬ ਲੋਕ ਸੰਪਰਕ ਅਧਿਕਾਰੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਪਿਛਲੀ ਐਸੋਸੀਏਸ਼ਨ ਭੰਗ ਕਰਨ ਉਪਰੰਤ ਇਸਦਾ ਪੁਨਰਗਠਨ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਸ. ਹਰਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਗਰੇਵਾਲ ਡੀ.ਪੀ.ਆਰ.ਓ ਰੂਪਨਗਰ ਨੂੰ ਅਗਲੇ ਦੋ ਸਾਲਾਂ ਲਈ ਸਰਵਸੰਮਤੀ ਨਾਲ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਚੁਣਿਆ ਗਿਆ।
ਇਹ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਵਾ ਕਰਦੇ ਹੋਏ ਅੱਜ ਇਥੇ ਪ੍ਰੀਜ਼ਾਇਡਿੰਗ ਅਧਿਕਾਰੀ, ਡਿਪਟੀ ਡਾਇਰੈਕਟਰ ਸ. ਸੁਖਦੇਵ ਸਿੰਘ ਰੰਧਾਵਾ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਇਹ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਵਾਰ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਪੂਰੀ ਟੀਮ ਦੀ ਚੋਣ ਸਰਵਸਮੰਤੀ ਨਾਲ ਹੋਈ। ਇਸ ਮੌਕੇ 'ਤੇ ਸ਼੍ਰੀਮਤੀ ਸਿਖਾ ਨਹਿਰਾ ਨੂੰ ਸੀਨੀਅਰ ਮੀਤ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ, ਸਤਨਾਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਛੀਨਾ ਮੀਤ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ, ਸ. ਅਜੀਤ ਕੰਵਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਪੀ.ਆਰ.ਓ/ਮੁੱਖ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਨੂੰ ਜਨਰਲ ਸਕੱਤਰ, ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਕੇ.ਐਲ ਰੱਤੂ ਨੂੰ ਵਿੱਤ ਸਕੱਤਰ ਅਤੇ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰਮੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਧੁੱਗਾ ਨੂੰ ਪ੍ਰਚਾਰ ਸਕੱਤਰ ਚੁਣਿਆ ਗਿਆ। ਵਿਭਾਗ ਦੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਜਾਇੰਟ ਡਾਇਰੈਕਟਰ ਅਤੇ ਡਿਪਟੀ ਡਾਇਰੈਕਟਰ ਇਸ ਐਸੋਸੀਏਸ਼ਨ ਦੇ ਸ

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Chandigarh December 23: The Punjab Public Relations Officers Association has been reconstituted after the dissolution of the previous Association.
The entire team headed by Mr. Harjeet Singh Grewal DPRO Rupnagar was elected unanimously for a period of two years.
Disclosing this here today, the presiding officer, Mr. Sukhdev Singh Randhawa, Deputy Director said that it was for the first time that the entire team was elected unanimously. 
Mrs. Shikha Nehra PRO has been elected as Senior Vice President, Mr. Satnam Singh Chinna DPRO Tarn Taran Vice President, Mr. Ajit Kanwal Singh PRO to Chief Minister Punjab General Secretary, Mr. K.L. Rattu PRO (Production) Finance Secretary and Mr. Gurmeet Singh Dhugga DPRO Jalandhar would be the Press Secretary . All the Joint Directors and Deputy Directors of the Department would be the Patrons of the Association, he added.
He further said that an execution committee, comprising of Mr. Ishwinder Singh Grewal DPRO Patiala, Mr. Kuljit Singh DPRO Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr. Pal Singh IPRO, Mr. Dalbir Singh DPRO Kapurthala, Mr. Gopal Singh Dardi DPRO Barnala and Mr. Jai Kishan Additional DPRO Anandpur Sahib,  had also been constituted instantaneously.
Speaking on the occasion, the newly elected President Mr. Harjeet Singh Grewal said that with the active support of all the officers, the long pending demands of the officers and the difficulties being faced by them, both at district levels and Head Quarters, would be taken up time to time for the consideration of the government.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Sat Narain, Mrs. Senu Duggal, Mr. Megha Singh all Joint Directors and Mr. P.S. Kalra, Mr. Anil Sharma and Mr. Sukhdev Singh Randhawa all Deputy Directors. IPROs, DPROs and APROs from all over the state were also present on the occasion.

Prince William nearly run over on London street

London : Britain\'s Prince William was nearly run over by a road sweeper vehicle when he spent the night sleeping rough in minus four degrees celsius for a charity in London this week.

William, 27 and the second line to the British throne, curled up inside a sleeping bag on cardboard boxes next to plastic rubbish bins to highlight the plight of the homeless.

But a local council cleaning vehicle almost ran over him as he slept in a central London alleyway.

\"I cannot, after one night, even begin to imagine what it must be like to sleep rough on London\'s streets night after night,\" said the prince, clearly shaken by the experience.

\"Poverty, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependency and family breakdown cause people to become and then stay homeless.\"

Seyi Obakin, head of the homeless charity Centrepoint who joined William on the challenge, said later sleeping rough is \"scary\".

\"The hairiest moment was when we were almost run over by a road sweeper which didn\'t see our small group huddled together, which shows how vulnerable rough sleepers are,\" Obakin said.

At 6 am William went to a homeless centre, where he cooked breakfast for some young homeless people.

His interest in Centrepoint, which has its 40th anniversary this year, was inspired by his mother Diana, who was its patron and often took William and his brother Harry on her visits to the homeless.
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After air, President takes to water

MUMBAI : After flying a Sukhoi fighter aircraft, President Pratibha Patil arrived on board INS Viraat on Wednesday to witness a steampast by naval

ships, submarines and a demonstration by helicopters and Sea Harriers. India\'s only aircraft carrier is celebrating its golden jubilee year.

The President said efforts taken by the Navy and allied forces after 26/11 would give positive results. Addressing sailors and officers inside INS Viraat, she said, \"Mumbai terror attacks are a grim reminder of the harm that can be perpetuated through sea by elements inimical to India. I am aware that numerous measures have been initiated to enhance coastal security. The Indian Navy and other stakeholders in the maritime domain are playing a proactive role to bring about synergy and establish Standard Operating Procedures to prevent the re-occurrence of such an incident. I\'m confident that these efforts would ensure positive results.\"

She said the government was committed to the process of modernising the Navy in keeping with the changing requirements of the 21st century. The launch of \'Arihant\' in July this year was an important milestone in this regard for an equitable balance of power in the region, she said, adding, \"I am informed that many new ships, submarines and aircraft construction and acquisition projects are at various stages of completion and would help transform Navy to even more reckonable force.\"
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Andhra camps step up pressure, call on Sonia

New Delhi : The government continued to grapple with the Andhra imbroglio on Tuesday as pro and anti-Telangana lobbies stepped up pressure on the Centre and the Congress High Command. The pro-group even warned of "disastrous consequences" if the decision on a separate state is diluted.

In a day marked by hectic parleys, growing uncertainty and rising passions, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Law Minister Veerappa Moily met, reportedly to thrash out a draft statement that is expected to cater to the sentiments of the warring camps.

Accosted by mediapersons in Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remained non-committal about the statement, saying, "right now nothing can be said".

The government's main effort would be to dispel the impression that the initiative for creating a state lay with the Centre though the move has to be made by the assembly.

But in anticipation of a statement, the two camps intensified their pressure, and called on Mukherjee, Moily and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel.

On Tuesday, 11 pro-MPs, in strongly-worded but identical letters to Singh and Gandhi, alleged that the Andhra agitation is "sponsored". They cautioned against "obnoxious attempts by Andhra friends to dilute the historical decision" on creating Telangana.

"Needless to say, any going back on the matter will be disastrous," said G. Vivekanand and four other MPs. "We cannot but stand by the sentiments of Telangana…. It will be people vs people, which needs to be avoided."

The letters came a day after the anti-Telangana Congress MPs urged the PM for an amicable and early resolution. Singh, they claimed, assured of a decision in a "day or two".

The pro-Telangana MPs demanded equal representation in any discussion on the issue. "There is a hurt in Telangana that only Andhra counterparts are getting your ear. The impression must go," they told Singh and Gandhi.

"We need to buy peace and not fall prey to the canny designs and scary stories of few MPs. Their vested interests are not hidden. (All contractors, bankers, real estate builders)," they charged.

More specifically, they alleged: "The stir is mostly focused in Anantapur, thanks to Galli Janardhan Reddy (BJP) of Oblapuram and his mentor and colleagues in Andhra Pradesh."

Janardhan and his brothers, with a stake in mining in the region, had virtually brought the BJP's government in Karnataka to the brink.

The letter writers also alleged that the people of Telangana felt that they were being "ruled and exploited" for more than 40 years.
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UP BSP MLA\'s son opens fire at bar staff, arrested

New Delhi : The son of a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday opened fire after an altercation at a Delhi cafe.

Vivek Singh, son of Sardana MLA Chandraveer Singh, accompanied by his wife and sister went to Delhi\'s upmarket Mocha Bar in Nehru Place on Wednesday afternoon to reportedly look for a wallet lost on Tuesday night.

Singh allegedly opened fired following a quarrel between her sister Manisha and the bar staff over the lost wallet. The bullet missed the security guard of the bar and hit the wall.

He fled from the spot after the firing incident but later in the evening surrendered before the police.

Delhi Police have registered a case of attempt to murder. Police also recovered the weapon of offence from Singh.

The women had reportedly returned to the bar to retrieve a wallet lost on Tuesday night.

Police have detained both the women for questioning.

It was only Manisha who had gone inside the bar and got involved in the argument.

Singh\'s wife was in the car during the entire incident.
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Jayasuriya likely to play Kolkata One-dayer

KOLKATA : After being dropped in the last two matches, veteran Sanath Jayasuriya may return to the Sri Lankan playing XI in the do-or-die fourth One-dayer against India at Eden Gardens on Thursday.

In the absence of in-from all-rounder Angleo Mathews, Sri Lanka struggled in Cuttack in the third One-dayer and the visitors might be forced to bring in the once explosive opening batsman.

The team management gave a lot of focus on the 40-year-old left-hander in the practice session on Wednesday and he spent a considerable amount of time batting at the nets.

Team coach Trevor Bayliss was, however, non-committal when asked whether a Sachin (Tendulkar) vs Sanath Jayasuriya battle is on the cards on Thursday.

\"There is always a chance. But, we have not finalised the team yet. In the last two games, we wanted to play with two genuine spinners. Unfortunately, that meant Sanath missing the spot there,\" he said.

\"The pitch seems to be a very good batting wicket, promising plenty of runs,\" Bayliss said.

Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan did not attend the optional practice on Wednesday.

With Dilshan effectively doing the job Jayasuriya had been doing earlier -- giving Sri Lanka an explosive start, the latter could be used in the middle order once again after the first ODI at Rajkot.

But Jayasuriya, it seemed, is yet to relish the role of a middle-order batsman.

Jayasuriya has some good memories at the Eden with the left-hander scoring a breezy 63 not out before rain washed out the match against India that the stadium hosted last on February 8, 2007.

And not to mention his 1996 World Cup semifinal outing when he foxed the Indian batsmen with his left-arm spin taking three for 12 to reduce the home team to 120/8 before unruly crowd behaviour handed Sri Lanka the match and final berth.
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Nifty rallies to 5150; RIL, ICICI, NTPC surge

MUMBAI : The series of choppy sessions came to end Wednesday, as equity benchmarks surged to end near intermediate resistance levels for the first time in one and half months.

Indices opened in the green taking cues from the positive economic news from the US housing market. Sustained buying activity in index-heavyweights like Reliance Industries, NTPC, and ICICI Bank propelled the benchmarks to higher levels.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's comment on India's economic growth boosted sentiments further. The minister said the Indian economy can grow 7.75 per cent in the fiscal year 2010 and 9-10 per cent growth is within reach.

According to dealers, domestic institutions and funds entered the markets taking by surprise retailers who were expecting the indices to drift lower.

"Foreign funds are usually silent towards end of the year. Buying in selected heavyweights appears to be from the domestic institutions and mutual funds. Retail participants have been left out as they were waiting for further correction to enter at lower levels," said Jatin Shah, head of dealing desk, Techno Stock Broking.

National Stock Exchange's Nifty ended at 5144.60, up 158.75 points or 3.18 per cent. The broader index touched a high of 5150.60 and low of 4990.05.

Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex closed at 17231.11 up 539.11 points or 3.23 per cent. The 30-share index hit intraday high of 17252.09 and low of 16723.96.

"Market outlook will change if Nifty closes above 5120. The index is likely to test 5350-5470 levels. Traders who had gone short were caught off-guard. Indices will find good support as traders try to square-off shorts," said Huseini Vadharia, vice president, technical team, Techno Stock Broking.

The BSE Midcap Index was up 1.57 per cent and BSE Smallcap Index moved 1.51 per cent higher.

Amongst the sectoral indices, BSE Metal Index was up 4.05 per cent, BSE Oil&gas Index gained 3.43 per cent and BSE Power Index moved 3.37 per cent higher.

Hindalco Industries (7.23%), NTPC (6.56%), Sterlite Industries (5.05%), Tata Steel (4.76%) and ICICI Bank (4.71%) were amongst the top Nifty gainers.

NTPC surged on reports that the government may allow power producers to sell up to 50 per cent of unallocated electricity from new plants in the open market. The other possible beneficiary NHPC ended 6.75 per cent higher.

Reliance Industries shot up after reports of third successive gas discovery in the D3 deep-sea block in the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the east coast. The stock ended 4.59 per cent higher.

Shares of Hindalco and NALCO rose on reports that they have increased aluminium prices in line with global market.

Hero Honda (-0.07%) was the lone index loser.

Market breadth was positive on the BSE with 1,907 advances and 924 declines.

European markets were in the green and US stocks are also expected to open higher. At 4:50 pm IST, Dow Jones stock futures was up 0.27 per cent, S&P 500 moved 0.39 per cent higher and Nasdaq 100 gained 0.35 per cent.
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Osama bin Laden\'s wife and six children \'in Iran\'

DUBAI : Six of Osama bin Laden\'s children and one of his wives, missing since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, are under house arrest in Iran, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper said Wednesday, quoting a family member.

\"Until a month ago we did not know where the siblings were,\" Omar bin Laden, 29, the fourth son of the Al-Qaeda chief, told the Saudi-owned newspaper.

Omar bin Laden, who lives in Qatar, said he only learnt that family was in Tehran after receiving a call from his brother Uthman about a month ago. A young Iranian had lent his mobile phone to his brother to make the call.

Saad, 29, Uthman, 25, Fatima, 22, Hamza, 20, and Bakr, 15, along with Hamza\'s mother Khairiya are under house arrest in Tehran, Omar said.

Omar\'s brother Saad had reportedly been killed in a US drone strike a year and a half ago in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a sixth sibling, Omar\'s sister Iman, 17, recently sought asylum at the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

\"Iman has lived for more than 25 days inside the Saudi embassy,\" Omar said.

Fuad Qassas, the Saudi charge d\'affairs at the kingdom\'s embassy in Tehran, confirmed that Iman was staying there, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Efforts to allow her to leave Iran have so far proved unsuccessful.

Omar said that five of his father\'s other children are currently in Saudi Arabia, while three, along with his mother Najwa, are in Syria.

Iran\'s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast did not deny that six members of the bin Laden family were in Tehran, at a weekly press conference on Tuesday.
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US Embassy website carries complaints about Indian visa rule changes

New Delhi : In an unusual move, the US Embassy here has put on its website several complaints emanating from recent changes in visa regulations made by India in the aftermath of the arrest of terror suspect David Headley who was issued multiple-entry visa by the country.

\"The US Embassy and Consulates in India have received reports from individuals about inconsistent implementation of the new rules which have not been widely publicized and are subject to change,\" the US mission here said.

Observing that the revised regulations primarily affect travelers who wish to enter India within two months of their last departure from India on tourist visa, the US Embassy said it has received reports about the problem being faced by other visa holders also.

In a bid to tighten visa norms, India recently made changes in travel regulations for foreign passport holders following the arrest in Chicago of two terror suspects American-Pakistani Headley and Canadian-Pakistan Tahawwur Rana who visited India on multiple-entry visa issued at the discretion of the then Indian Counsel General in Chicago.

\"To date, these changes have mostly affected tourist (T) visa holders but the US Mission has also received reports pertaining to other visa types,\" the Embassy said, adding initial information indicated that revised norms would mainly affect those who had been in India for more than 90 days before travel abroad

or more than 180 days in the past year.

\"However, the US Mission has received confirmation that foreign passports are now stamped on exit to indicate that the bearer cannot re-enter India within two months of exit unless special permission is obtained from an Indian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission abroad, regardless of the validity of visa or length of stay in India,\" the US Embassy said.

The Embassy also said the travelers have reported being denied re-entry after exiting India for business or family emergencies or for tourist travel to nearby countries even if their initial visit to India was for only a few days and prior guidance and procedures that allowed re-entry to India after stays of up to 180 days are no longer in effect.

Some Americans entering or re-entering India on tourist visas have been instructed at the port of entry to register with the local Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) and the procedures and requirements for registration can be complex, it added.

It also advised travelers to follow directions as stipulated on their visas regarding registration procedures, irrespective of their visa category.

The Embassy also cited on its website some examples of problems Americans have had trying to navigate the recent visa changes which included experience of one American family, visiting India on a ten-year multiple entry tourist visa for several weeks, which had to return briefly to the US to attend a funeral and were not permitted to re-enter India.

Another family from the US, taking a side trip to Sri Lanka from India, was told that they needed to apply for permission at the Indian High Commission in Colombo to re-enter India, according to the US.
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