Tuesday, May 31, 2011


LUDHIANA, MAY 31:-------

Dr A.K.Dhawan, Head, Department of Entomology-cum-Additional Director Research( Agriculture) retired today, upon attaining the age of superannuation. He was given a warm send-off by his colleagues and students. A largely attended farewell function was held in the Dr Norman Borlaug Wheat Auditorium in which the PAU Officers, Heads of various departments, the faculty members, students and employees of Entomology Department participated.

Since 1973, Dr Dhawan worked at PAU in various capacities. He did his B.Sc from Panjab University Chandigarh and , M.Sc and Ph.D from PAU. He is well versed with tools and techniques in the use of bio-pesticide in pest management. With a professional career spanning over three decades on management of insect pests on cotton, Dr Dhawan specializes in Integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated resistance management (IRM) in various crop pests and has handled research projects aimed at developing IPM/IRM strategies, validation and dissemination of IRM strategy in cotton and other crops. Dr. Dhawan received ICAR award and National Award to implement IPM using innovative technique of outreach through street plays. Dr Dhawan holds membership of Society for Sustainable Cotton Production, Indian Ecological Society, Plant Protection Association of India, Cotton Research & Development Association and Pesticide Science Association, etc.

The Registrar, Dr. R.K.Mahey described Dr. Dhawan as a dedicated and hard working scientist who had a visionary leadership to usher development in the department. He said that people in the country and abroad recognized Dr. Dhawan for his contribution in IPM of cotton, management of mealy bug and popularization of Bt cotton through training of scouts.

The Director of Research, Dr. S.S.Gosal mentioned the research contribution of Dr. Dhawan adding that he had a potential to tap funds from industry through promoting a large number of need-based research projects.

The Dean, College of Agriculture, Dr. D.S.Cheema appreciated Dr. Dhawan for his scientific temperament and to organize events such as honey festival, expression of interest in entomology, national conferences, successfully.

The former colleagues of Dr. Dhawan including Dr. N.S.Butter and Dr. V.K.Dilawari also shared their reminiscences with him. Earlier, Dr. Balwinder Singh highlighted the specific developments had by Dr. Dhawan in the department.

Dr. Dhawan was honoured by the department, the Entomology Club, Ph. D students, M. Sc. students and the employees. Mrs. Dhawan and their family members were also present.

In his remarks Dr. Dhawan thanked his seniors, colleagues and students for the support that he received from them. He said that there were a great support from his family that made him to contribute significantly towards science.
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India Should invest in Renewable Energy Resources and Not Nuclear Power

Date: 31.05.2011,

Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) while welcoming the decision of the German government to phase out nuclear power plants by 2022 has appealed to the Government of India to reconsider its policy on the nuclear power plants. The Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change in its meeting of world renowned scientists held at Abu Dhabi on 5-8th May 2011 has said that "renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world\'s energy supply within four decades - but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power". The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world\'s leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations, said that if the full range of renewable technologies were deployed, the world could keep greenhouse gas concentrations to less than 450 parts per million, the level scientists have predicted will be the limit of safety beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

According to Physicist Sowmya Dutta the world has potential for 17 terra watt nuclear energy, 700 terra watt wind energy and 86,000 terra watt of solar energy. Alternatives to nuclear energy are thousand times more abundant and million times less risky. To push nuclear plants after Fukushima is pure insanity.

Dr L S Chawla – President, Dr Arun Mitra – General Secretary and Dr Bharti Uppal – Finance Secretary have said that India has tremendous resources of renewable energy which can be used to meet our needs.

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LUDHIANA, MAY 31:-----

The PAU Director of Extension Education, Dr. M.S.Gill said that a training camp on the management of micro-nutrients in crops for the members of PAU Kisan Club will be held on June 2 at Dr. Borlaug Wheat Auditorium. Sharing the programme, he said that during this camp, the subject matter specialists of PAU will deliberate on important topics relevant to the theme. The topics to be covered will include role of zinc in human health, improving crop productivity by use of micro-nutrient fertilizers, etc. Dr. Gill added that special talks on agronomic bio-fortification of zinc in foodgrains by Dr. Ismail Cakmak, scientist from Turkey; on role of zinc associations for farming community by Dr. D.A.S.Sumitra of International Zinc Association; on role of farm innovations toward farm productivity by Mr. Mohinder Singh Grewal, a progressive farmer will be organized on the occasion. He said that the credit policies for farmers will be shared with the club members by the experts. The registration of members for the event will be held at 9.30 a.m. in the office of PAU Kisan Club in the Kairon Kisan Ghar. Mr. P.P.S.Pangli, President of the Club will share the club activities. The programme coordinator is Dr. T.S.Riar.

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LUDHIANA, MAY 31:-----

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has a strong research and development programmes on development of hybrids. The PAU Director of Research, Dr. S.S.Gosal said that the University is one of the leading centers of the country which is credited with the development of several single cross hybrids (SCHs) of maize adding that during the past decade several SCHs have been released at the national and state level. He disclosed that recently PAU has formulated a policy to offer its maize hybrids for their hybrid seed production on commercial scale under the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode. The Head of Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Dr. M.S.Gill said that a field demonstration is being organized at PAU to demonstrate the potential and relative agronomic performance of PAU bred maize hybrids such as PMH-1 in comparison to private hybrids of maize such as 31-Y-45 of Pioneer, 9108 of Monsanto and NK-6240 of Syngenta. Senior Maize Breeder and Incharge of the Maize Section at PAU, Dr. S.P.S.Brar said that private seed companies and other stake holders are participating in this interactive programme which will be held right on field, near PAU Petrol Pump on June 1 from 10.00 a.m. onwards. The PAU farm literature will be put on sale on this occasion, he said.
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The Director of Extension Education, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Dr M.S. Gill presiding over the quarterly meeting of the program to be telecast by Parsar Bharati (Doordarshan) and broadcast by All India Radio (AIR), said that along with the tremendous contribution of farm scientists and extension workers in ushering in an era of green revolution, Doordarshan and AIR have also played a significant role in this direction. With the objective of disseminating the field-worthy scientific knowledge and new innovative agricultural practices to the un-reached corners in the state, there is a need to gear up efforts toward the strengthening of farm oriented Radio and Television programmes, observed he and emphasized that Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Farmers' Service Centre and vernacular and English dailies and other concerned areas will be focused on to achieve this mission. There are several local TV channels and agricultural supplements of newspapers that help transmit the need-based recommendations generated by PAU for the benefit of farmers and farm women, he said.

Dr Gill disclosed that efforts are being made to set up KVKs at Tarn Taran, Mohali, etc. and with the support of state government; the extension programs will also be further strengthened in the near future. Highlighting that agriculture is the key to development and PAU has left no stone unturned in equipping the farming community with latest techniques and technologies, he stated that the support of the PAU Centre for Communication and International Linkages will be useful for the benefit of the farmers.
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ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਤੋਂ ਰਿਹਾਅ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਆਏ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਦਾਸ ਨੇ ਵਸਾਇਆ ਘਰ ਪੰਚਕੂਲਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਹੋਇਆ ਵਿਆਹ

ਪੰਚਕੂਲਾ, 31 ਮਈ : ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦੀ ਜੇਲ੍ਹ \'ਚ ਜਾਸੂਸੀ ਦੇ ਦੋਸ਼ ਹੇਠ 27 ਸਾਲ ਸਜ਼ਾ ਕੱਟ ਕੇ ਆਏ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਹੋਮ ਗਾਰਡ ਦੇ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਮੁਲਾਜ਼ਮ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਦਾਸ ਦਾ ਅੱਜ ਇਥੇ ਸੈਕਟਰ 12 ਦੇ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਆਹ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ। ਅੱਜ ਇਸ ਮੌਕੇ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਪਰਿਵਾਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਕਰੀਬ 50 ਰਿਸ਼ਤੇਦਾਰ ਹਾਜ਼ਰ ਸਨ ਅਤੇ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੇ ਦੇ ਹੈੱਡ ਗ੍ਰੰਥੀ ਦੀਦਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੇ ਗੁਰਮਰਿਆਦਾ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਆਨੰਦ ਕਾਰਜ ਕਰਵਾਇਆ।

ਗੋਪਾਲ ਦਾਸ ਦਾ ਵਿਆਹ ਪਿੰਕੀ ਨਾਲ ਹੋਇਆ। ਪਿੰਕੀ ਲਾਲ ਪਾਣੀ ਸ਼ਿਮਲਾ ਦੀ ਵਸਨੀਕ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਮੁਲਾਜ਼ਮ ਹੈ। ਗੋਪਾਲ ਦਾਸ ਗੁਰਦਾਸਪੁਰ ਦੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਭੈਣੀ ਮੀਆਂ ਖਾਨ ਦਾ ਵਸਨੀਕ ਹੈ। ਅੱਜ ਵਿਆਹ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਦਾਸ ਨੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਬਾਰੇ ਵੇਰਵੇ ਹੋਮਗਾਰਡ ਦੀ ਨੌਕਰੀ ਦਾ ਸਰਟੀਫਿਕੇਟ, ਦਸਵੀਂ ਦਾ ਸਿੱਖਿਆ ਬੋਰਡ ਦਾ ਸਰਟੀਫਿਕੇਟ ਅਤੇ ਵਿਆਹ ਦੇ ਕਾਰਡ ਦੀਆਂ ਫੋਟੋਆਂ ਕਾਪੀਆਂ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਰਿਕਾਰਡ ਦੇ ਤੌਰ \'ਤੇ ਹੈੱਥ ਗ੍ਰੰਥੀ ਦੀਦਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੋਲ ਜਮ੍ਹਾਂ ਕਰਵਾਈਆਂ।

ਹੈੱਡ ਗ੍ਰੰਥੀ ਦੀਦਾਰ ਸੰਘ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਵਿਆਹ ਸਮਾਰੋਹ ਸਵੇਰੇ 10 ਵਜੇ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ ਹੋਇਆ ਅਤੇ 11 ਵਜੇ ਤੱਕ ਵਿਆਹ ਦੀਆਂ ਰਸਮਾਂ ਹੋ ਗਈਆਂ ਸਨ। ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਦਿਖਾਏ ਰਿਕਾਰਡ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ 26 ਜੁਲਾਈ 1984 ਨੂੰ ਉਹ ਗਲਤੀ ਨਾਲ ਭਾਰਤ ਦੀ ਸਰਹੱਦ ਪਾਰ ਕਰਕੇ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਚਲਾ ਗਿਆ ਸੀ ਜਿੱਥੇ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਫੌਜ ਨੇ ਉਸ ਨੂੰ ਜਾਸੂਸੀ ਦੇ ਦੋਸ਼ ਵਿਚ ਗ੍ਰਿਫਤਾਰ ਕਰ ਲਿਆ ਸੀ। ਭਾਵੇਂ ਹੁਣ ਉਹ ਨੌਕਰੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਦਾ ਪਰ ਹੁਣ ਉਹ ਆਪਣੀ ਨਵੀਂ ਜ਼ਿੰਦਗੀ ਆਪਣੀ ਪਤਨੀ ਦੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਵਿਚ ਬਿਤਾਉਣਾ ਚਾਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ।
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Five killed in Afghan suicide blasts

KABUL, May 31, 2011 (AP)

A suicide bomber blew up an explosives-packed car at the gates of an Italian military base Monday in one of two attacks on the relatively secure western city of Herat, killing at least five Afghans in a major commercial centre slated to be handed over by NATO to Afghan control in July.

The bombings claimed by the Taliban were the second major attack in three days as insurgents expand their targets outside the southern and eastern theatres that were the focus of American offensives last winter. In other violence around Afghanistan, four NATO service members were killed Monday.

Taliban attacks inside Herat are rare, though there are violence-prone districts on the city's outskirts. But insurgents have been increasing attacks around the country since the group announced its spring offensive in late April and reaching into areas that had been fairly quiet until now.

The expansion of Taliban assaults into new areas suggests that the insurgents are making a statement about their reach just as NATO is trying to shift some more secure areas of the country to Afghan control. The international alliance aims to transition cities or provinces piecemeal to reach the goal of total Afghan control by 2014.

Herat, western Afghanistan's largest city, is one of seven areas scheduled to be handed over to Afghan control in July as the first step of the transition of nationwide security responsibility to Afghan troops. Support for the Afghan war has been waning in allied countries after nearly 10 years of fighting and many NATO nations are sketching drawdown plans. Some have argued that the death of Osama bin Laden means that there is less need to spend money and lives in Afghanistan.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said last week that plans for handing over control of the seven areas to Afghan soldiers in July remain on course, despite the new attacks. But attacks like those Monday could undermine international support even for the existing plan of gradual withdrawal.

The first explosion hit at the gates of the Italian base in a residential area of the city. Police said more than 30 were wounded. Five Italian soldiers were among the wounded, one of them seriously injured, Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said. A second explosion ripped through a bus stop at a busy downtown intersection and a third explosion was heard near the Italian base, officials said.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said both attackers were aiming for the Italian base but the second explosion occurred when the bomber couldn't get to his target.

"That blast may have had some civilian casualties," Ahmadi said. "Our aim was not to kill civilians."

The bombings followed close behind another major attack on Saturday, when an explosion struck inside the governor's compound in northeastern Takhar province. It killed two top Afghan police commanders and wounded the German general who commands NATO forces in the north. Two Germans and two other Afghans died.

Among those killed was Gen. Daud Daud, a leader in the Northern Alliance group of minorities who fought against the Taliban. Daud was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics and a former bodyguard of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Northern Alliance commander who was killed in an al—Qaida suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that provoked the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Leaders in the Northern Alliance say they want peace, but they are afraid of any deal that would give power to the Taliban, their former foes comprised mostly of ethnic Pashtuns from southern Afghanistan. Also, the Afghan government is concerned that Daud's death -- one in a spate of killings targeting Northern Alliance figures -- could further erode ethnic Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek group support for its efforts to make peace with the Taliban.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai rushed back from a trip abroad after learning of Daud's death, while his former presidential challenger issued a statement saying that it was a loss for those pushing for peace in the country.

"He was the strongest advocate of preserving Afghanistan's security, sovereignty and territorial integrity," Abdullah Abdullah wrote in a statement.

In Herat, an Afghan policeman and four civilians were killed in the explosions, said Raouf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the regional police commander.

Gunfire followed the attack at the Italian base and the police spokesman said two assailants holed themselves up in a nearby residential building. Sporadic shooting followed for hours before Afghan security forces shot them dead, he said.

The second explosion was about a mile from the base at an intersection packed with businesses and traffic. Ahmadi, the police spokesman, said most of the casualties were from the second blast but did not provide a specific breakdown.

While Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi offered his "encouragement" to all Italian soldiers Monday, a prominent member of Berlusconi's Freedom Party, Margherita Bonniver, said the Herat attack should speed efforts to negotiate a pullout.

"A political solution will have to be effective to permit the international contingent to make an agreed upon withdrawal in the briefest time possible," Bonniver said.

Four NATO service members died on Monday- two in a bomb attack in the east, one when a helicopter made a hard landing in the south and one when an Afghan soldier turned his gun on his NATO colleague.

The turncoat attack happened at an Afghan army base in southern Uruzgan province and the shooter escaped, said Abdul Hamid Wardak, the Afghan army commander for southern Afghanistan.

NATO confirmed that one of its service members was killed by a man in an Afghan army uniform but did not provide further details. Both NATO and the Afghan government said they are investigating.

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Seminar on terrorism opens in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, May 31, 2011

Sri Lanka protected civilians in the face of a ruthless terrorist group using civilians as part of its military strategy, its Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya said here on Tuesday.

"Victory came with many sacrifices… [this is a] saga to be shared with the world. A saga of epic political resolve… National security is no longer confined to the borders as we see in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya," he said in his opening address on 'Defeating Terrorism, Sri Lanka Experience,' organised by the Sri Lankan Army to share its experience in eradicating the LTTE.

Calling for a global alliance to defeat terrorism, he said that only such an alliance could succeed. He encouraged countries facing terrorism challenges to face it head on.

Indian participation

India sent three Colonels to take part in the seminar. One more Major from the Indian Army, now attached to the Staff College here, also attended the seminar. A team headed by a Major General represented Pakistan while a Lieutenant General led the Bangladesh delegation.

The LKR 45 million seminar is sponsored to a large extent by two Chinese companies, Chinese Poly technologies and China Electrical and Technologies Corporation.

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Manmohan, Merkel discuss terrorism, AfPak

New Delhi, May 31, 2011 (PTI)

Terrorism in the region and security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan were among the host of issues discussed during the first Indo-German Inter-governmental meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserting that terrorism will have to be fought "on all fronts and not selectively".

Led by Dr. Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arrived in New Delhi this morning, the Cabinet meetings between the two sides saw wide-ranging talks on bilateral, regional and international issues such as cooperation in the strategic areas of defence and security, trade and UN Security Council reforms.

"We discussed the developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Terrorism is a serious challenge which will have to be fought on all fronts and not selectively," Dr. Singh told a joint press conference with Ms. Merkel.

Conference on Afghanistan

"India and Germany have the same goal in Afghanistan, as an independent country with security in its hands. Afghanistan should develop an independent security architecture," Ms. Merkel said.

She said Germany will be hosting the next conference on Afghanistan by the end of the year in which the issue of reconciliation process will be discussed in detail.

After the talks, India and Germany also inked four pacts to expand their cooperation in areas relating to education, research and high-tech areas like nuclear physics.

'Safety norms world class'

Asked about nuclear energy safety norms, Dr. Singh said every effort would be made to ensure that all safety norms in the generation and utilisation of nuclear energy are "world class".

"Today our nuclear energy is three per cent of our total energy generation. Our capacity is less than 5,000 MW. We want to raise it to 20,000 MW by the year 2020," he said.

He said if India has to meet the emission targets, the country will have to have a combination of nuclear energy and renewable energy sources.

Stressing the need for "broad—based" mix of nuclear energy and other sources of energy, Ms. Merkel said for many years Germany also had mix of both sources of energy and talked about power plants being built in India with the German help.

On UNSC reforms, Dr. Singh said both India and Germany were of the opinion that the body should reflect the contemporary reality of the world and were hopeful of a positive result.

"Germany and India are members of G4. We have been arguing for a long time that the global system needs to be brought up to date in tune with contemporary realities. The new realities of the global scene have to be taken into account in looking at reform of the global structures of governance," Dr. Singh said.

On her part, Ms. Merkel said Germany and India will work together for getting a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and stressed on "speeding up the process of the UN reforms". Both Germany and India have currently non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council.

Strong bilateral relations

Noting that Ms.Merkel's visit coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Germany, Dr. Singh said, "It is fitting that this should be so. Chancellor Merkel has been an ardent advocate of our strategic partnership."

The Prime Minister also congratulated Chancellor Merkel on the conferment of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for the year 2009.

On the trade front, Dr. Singh noted that Germany was India's largest trading partner in Europe and was one of the most important partners for technological collaboration and joint research and development.

"It is also amongst the largest foreign investors in India. Our bilateral trade was more than 15 billion Euros last year, and is on course to reach the target of 20 billion Euros per year by 2012," he said.

Dr. Singh also reiterated India's desire to have greater German investment in India, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, high technology, energy and basic and applied sciences.

"We wish to expand our production and R&D base and encourage more technology transfers. India offers a stable and friendly investment climate and a large growing market. I welcome the progress that is being made on the issue of high technology exports from Germany to India. This will benefit both economies," the Prime Minister added.

He said their discussions also covered views on the situation in West Asia and North Africa, including developments in Libya and how they impact on regional peace and stability.

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Centre keen on dissuading Ramdev

New Delhi, May 31, 2011

Slew of anti-black money measures unveiled to make him drop fast plan

Four days ahead of Baba Ramdev\'s threatened hunger strike on June 4 on the issue of black money and corruption, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) met to discuss the unfolding situation.

Informed sources said the government had decided to respond to the yoga guru\'s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, listing the measures the government had taken to tackle the issue of illicit funds, and to impress upon him that there was no need for him to launch an agitation.

Fearing a situation similar to the one that the government had faced in April when social activist Anna Hazare went on hunger fast on the issue of corruption, the CCPA on Monday discussed what course of action it should adopt, and the possible political fallout of the agitation. The role of RSS-affiliated organisations in whipping up public sentiment and fuelling the anti-government agitation on corruption also figured in the deliberations.

Given the beating the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has taken in recent months on the graft issue, it has, over the last week, unrolled a slew of measures in the hope of appeasing Baba Ramdev, who has threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike at Delhi\'s Ramlila Maidan unless the authorities take some convincing steps to facilitate the return of black money stashed away in tax havens abroad.

These included a meeting of senior Finance Ministry officials with Baba Ramdev, and the announcements over three successive days, May 28, 29 and 30, of measures by the government, indicative of its seriousness to deal with black money. They include the creation of a committee to advise the government on how to strengthen the laws dealing with illicit funds, commissioning a study on the generation of black money and the setting up of a special Directorate of Income Tax (Criminal Investigation).

Baba Ramdev\'s object is to compel the authorities to facilitate the return of black money to the country; the UPA\'s is to persuade him to abandon his fast.

Mr. Hazare\'s fast ended with the government capitulating to his demand for a joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill, but not before the issue had resonated throughout the country. With Baba Ramdev\'s publicists claiming that around one crore people from across the country will join him in his protest against corruption, the prospect is unnerving.

So a week ago, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Sudhir Chandra — accompanied by a team of revenue officials — met Baba Ramdev to explain the steps the government had taken to tackle the problem, as well as the legal difficulties they faced in bringing back unaccounted money from the various tax havens. The yoga exponent had described the talks as "very positive," but refused to change his plan until he saw some action.

Next on May 28, the government set up a committee under Chairman, CBDT, to examine the existing legal and administrative framework to curb the generation of black money, its illegal transfer abroad and its recovery. The committee, a government release said, would consider declaring wealth generated illegally as a national asset; enacting/amending laws to confiscate and recover such assets; and providing for exemplary punishment. The report should be ready within six months.

Fresh study

Then on May 29, the government announced that the Finance Ministry had commissioned an "in-depth and fresh study," engaging three top national-level institutions to estimate unaccounted income and wealth held within and outside India, to throw light on the nature of activities that encourage money laundering and its ramifications on national security.

Curiously, this is not a new measure, as the same release says the study had commenced in March 2011 and was expected to be completed within a period of 18 months. Indeed, the information was first given by Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam in a written reply to a question raised in the Rajya Sabha on March 1, 2011.

New directorate

Finally, on Monday, May 30, the government announced yet another measure to deal with corruption and black money: it said it planned to create a new Directorate of Income Tax (Criminal Investigation), to be headed by an officer of the rank of Chief Commissioner of Income Tax 'to look into criminal matters having any financial implication and which could be punishable as an offence under any direct tax law.\'

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Anderson extradition: CIC directs MEA to reveal details

New Delhi, May 31, 2011 (PTI)

The External Affairs Ministry should disclose all information related to the Bhopal gas tragedy, including the communication exchanged between it and the Central Bureau of Investigation on the extradition of the then Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, the Central Information Commission has held.

Overruling the Ministry's argument that the information could not be disclosed since the issue of Mr. Anderson's extradition is sub judice, Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit said the matter is of significance to the general public especially to the families of the victims who have been awaiting justice for the past 26 years.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by Delhi's Batla House resident Afroz Alam 'Sahil' who wanted details of the communication exchanged between the Ministry and the CBI on Mr. Anderson's extradition and the details of the money spent till date by the Ministry in the Bhopal case.

The Ministry said disclosure of correspondence exchanged between it and the CBI could adversely affect its extradition case of Mr. Anderson as the matter is still sub judice. It also said that it has not spent any money in the case.

"It is also a matter of general awareness that the case related to the extradition of Mr. Warren Anderson has been heard and judgment reserved by the Supreme Court recently. Therefore, no question of impeding the process of extradition arises," Ms. Dixit said in her order.

She said a sub judice matter cannot be enough ground for denying information.

"The commission directs the public authority to provide all the information as available with them in their official records relating to the matter, and as sought by the complainant, by or with in the June 10, 2011," she said.

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Contentious issues bog down Lokpal Bill panel

New Delhi, May 30, 2011

UPA government for excluding PM, higher judiciary and acts of MPs in Parliament from scrutiny

The Joint Drafting Committee on the Lokpal Bill on Monday for the first time got bogged down by contentious issues. The UPA government opposed scrutiny by the Lokpal of the Prime Minister, the higher judiciary and acts of MPs inside Parliament — in the context of seeking cash for votes and for raising questions — and, as a way out, embarked on wider consultations.

Both Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal, who briefed the media on behalf of the government, and representatives of civil society Arvind Kejriwal and advocate Prashant Bhushan separately said the next meetings on June 6 and 10 would be an attempt at resolving these issues after eliciting the opinions of the States, political parties and the general public.

Both sides admitted divergence of opinion on four of the five contentious issues discussed at the fifth meeting of the committee, and the expression of the two sides on the deliberations was equally at variance.

Mr. Sibal stressed the guiding principle of the exercise was the supremacy of the Constitution and any Lokpal Bill had to be consistent with the Constitution.

On the other hand, both Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Bhushan pointed out the government\'s opposition to most of their proposals and expressed disappointment at the government\'s "not very reasonable" response at the meeting.

But the civil society members took a tough stand later and issued a warning to the government that they would attend the next few meetings in a bid to persuade the government to agree to a strong and effective Lokpal Bill, but if disagreement persisted they would take to the streets.

In a statement, they described Monday\'s meeting as "quite disastrous" and expressed shock at the stand taken by the Ministers on various issues. "Definitely, the government\'s intentions are suspect," they charged and issued an appeal to the people to be prepared "for the next huge movement in the country." Anna Hazare, whose indefinite fast forced constitution of the JDC on the Lokpal Bill, was apprehensive of the government meeting the deadline of formulating the Bill by June-end and regretted the slow approach of the government.

Refusing to divulge details of the discussions, Mr. Sibal said the issues centred on Parliament, the judiciary and the Public Service Commission, and the opinions were divergent. It was regarded necessary to elicit the opinion of the States and political parties before seeking to resolve them at the next two meetings of the JDC.

He contended that since the States appointed the Lokayukt, it was necessary to know the States\' perception on the Lokpal.

Stressing on a practical approach for taking forward the exercise for a strong legislation, as corruption was an issue that concerned the people, Mr. Sibal said the government was committed to an effective Lokpal.

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Monday, May 30, 2011


LUDHIANA, MAY 30:-----

A delegation of Beer Swaraj Conference today met the registrar of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Dr R. K. Mahey and the directors and heads of various departments of the university. Various issues concerning soil health, Bt cotton, genetically modified (GM) crops, pesticides and herbicides and hybrid varieties were discussed in the meet.

Dr Mahey, Dr S.S. Gosal and Dr M.S. Gill, Directors of Research and Extension Education, PAU, speaking on this occasion said that science is a continuous process. Stating that the mission of PAU is to serve the farmers in particular and the nation at large, they emphasized on the diversification of agriculture. They added that the university experts and farmers work hand in hand and all the feedback is taken into consideration in formulating the strategies for the future research and extension programs. The Director (Seeds), Deputy Director of Research, varsity heads of the departments of agronomy, plant breeding and genetics and entomology responded to the queries of the delegation members and divulged that a database survey of soil health has been conducted by PAU and that the university has been imparting training to the farmers in seed production also. The Director (Biotechnology) said that alongwith biodiversity, bio-safety measures are taken into account. They highlighted that PAU has and would continue to contribute lucrative agriculture to farming community and the country.

Led by the Executive Director of Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), Umendra Dutt, the delegation members said that seed is the most vital component of agriculture and the basis for food security. Being critical input in farming, there is a need to address issues like increasing prices, monopoly and control by private companies, unavailability of good quality seeds, loss of biodiversity and decline of public sector seed enterprise. Hailing the contribution of PAU in making the country self-sufficient on food front, they highlighted that for the benefit of the farmers and assured availability of seeds for agriculture and food security of the country, PAU can play a vital role.

They disclosed that Industry data shows that the Indian seed industry value is currently worth US$ 2 billion, within the global commercial seed market of US $ 30 bn. This is around Rs 9000 crore. They stressed that nation's food sovereignty as well as farming communities' livelihoods are closely linked to seed sovereignty. Remarking that farmers have become totally dependent on the market for their seeds, the visiting delegation said that private seed industry has become a thriving business, with no control over prices and quality and bemoaned that farmers have become victims of this. They added that PAU scientists can contribute significantly in addressing the issues of seeds, ecological agriculture and agrarian crisis.

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LUDHIANA, MAY 30:-----

The Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering (FMPE), PAU, in collaboration with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Fatehgarh Sahib, organized a field day on "Paddy transplanting technology" in the farm of Amritraj Singh at village Bhamarsi Zer. Involving the participation of hundred farmers, Dr Jaskaran S. Mahal, Head, FMPE and Dr CJS Pannu, Coordinator Research (Engineering), PAU, observed that due to decrease in the availability of farm labour, the rates of manual transplanting have gone up to the tune of Rs 2500/- per acre. As the farmers cannot start transplanting before June 10, the prevailing conditions have forced to adopt mechanical transplanting of paddy. PAU has carried out a research on the development of technology for raising of mat type nursery, development of manual paddy transplanter and engine operated paddy transplanters, for the last 35 years. In 2009 and 2010, farmers and cooperative societies purchased 550 paddy transplanters in the state, divulged varsity experts.

Advising the farmers on the field day, Dr MK Narang, Agricultural Engineer, asked them to adopt paddy transplanter for transplanting of paddy during the season. Informing the agriculturists about the detailed adjustments and providing tips for the operation of various machines, he said that self propelled machine costing about Rs 10 lakh can transplant 10-12 acres per day, the walk behind type machine costing nearly Rs 2.50 lakh can transplant about two and half acres per day and the engine operated machine costing approx. Rs 2 lakh can transplant 3 acres per day.

Dr Harinder Singh, Deputy Director Training), KVK, Fategarh Sahib, gave the tips for minimizing cost of the production of paddy and shed light on the facilities available for the farming community.

Dr Tarinder Kaur, Assistant Prof (Soil Science), told the farmers about the use of leaf colour chart (LCC) technology in paddy and balanced use of fertilizers while Dr Reet Verma, Assistant Prof (Plant Protection) dwelt on the diseases of paddy and their management.

Evincing keen interest in raising mat type nursery, the farmers were provided hands on training by Er Arshdeep Singh, Research Fellow, who also demonstrated equipments used for raising mat type nursery like sowing roller, water sprinkler, etc., whereas Er Rohit Sharma from KVK, Fatehgarh Sahib, explained about the farm machines such as paddy straw chopper, pulverizing roller, maize threshers, etc.

For safe operation of farm machines and to reduce road accidents, the slow moving vehicle emblems (SMVE) were distributed among the farmers by FMPE for fitting on tractors and trailers.
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LUDHIANA, MAY 30:-----

Keeping in view the scorching heat in the month of June, the home science experts of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) brushing up skills of the farm women about the household practices, laid emphasis on home cleaning, maintenance of clothes, care of children and diet.

Dr Surinderjit Kaur, referring to the home cleaning, asked the farm women to pour kerosene oil in all the drains in the house, spray it in the corners of the rooms and underneath furniture items after 2-3 days to keep away the insects. To germ proof the bathroom, daily clean the mirrors, sink, floor and faucets with soap solution. Similarly disinfect your kitchen and burn dried neem leaves in a corner of the house once a week to drive away mosquitoes and flies, added she. Thoroughly, clean brass or copper decoration pieces with salt or lemon juice or vinegar.

Pointing to the diet issue, Dr Kiran Grover stressed that nutrient rich and balanced food including whole grain cereals, pulses, soy products, eggs, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables be given to children during summer vacations to keep them healthy, active, fit and immune to diseases. Do not allow them to eat in between meals, said she adding that the frequency of the meals can be increased upto 5-6 times a day i.e. start of the day with heavy breakfast followed by mid-day meal like fruits and lunch time. The fourth meal can be before evening which may comprise nutritious snacks, the fifth meal can be served at the time when children come back from play such as milk and sixth one will be of course the dinner. Dr Grover elaborated that fruits in puddings such as custard, water melon/plum punch, mixed fruit punch, mango panna, and fruit drinks like milk shake, etc. can be served in this season.

Stressing that care of clothes is must, Dr Harinder Saggu advised to wash clothes with good soap/bar/detergent powder and put 3-4 drops of some disinfect in the last rinse. Also wrap the neck and head with a damp cloth/towel while going out in the sun and keep changing the bed sheets, pillow covers, curtains, etc. from time to time as dirt/dust is likely to accumulate on them due to dusty weather. Dr Saggu suggested the farm women to take a medical advice for allergic reactions such as itching, boils, rashes cause due to ill effects of some of the soaps and detergents and mosquito bites in this month.

Educating the farm women about the care of the children, Dr Sukhminder Kaur emphasised on developing the culinary skills in children such as preparing coffee, lemon water, sandwich, etc. As children become destructive if not busy during holidays, give indoor and creative activities to them such as making use of empty match boxes, spools, bottle, old clothes, dupattas to make mats, dolls, etc. Besides this, block play, drawing and painting, clay modeling, carom board and other constructive games can keep them busy. Prepare the time-table for their home work and allow them to play outside in the evening only to avoid heat stroke, added she.
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LUDHIANA, MAY 30:-----

Aiming at improving soil health and crop productivity, there is a need for retaining rice residues in-situ by surface mulching or by incorporating it in soil, said PAU agronomists namely Dr Amandeep Singh Brar and Dr U.S. Walia. The research carried out by the scientists on "Influence of rice residue management techniques on physical properties of soil and root density of wheat (Triticum Aestivum L.)" observes that residues can be used for improving soil health and productivity in the long run as the rice –wheat is the most predominant cropping system of India. They added that wheat straw is not surplus as it is use as dry fodder for animals, whereas, rice straw (residues) is very low profile dry fodder for cattle and becomes surplus in the fields. Rice straw is a potent source of organic carbon and plant nutrients for improving soil organic matter dynamics, nutrient cycling and soil physical environment. The incorporation of residues is not popular amongst the farmers because of the various problems such as requirement of heavy machinery, problem of seed placement, nutrient immobilization, variable plant population, increased number of pests, etc.

An experiment was conducted by PAU experts at the experimental farm of the Department of Agronomy during the rabi season. The varsity scientists stated "zero tillage is commonly advocated as a preferred practice to conventional tillage as it results in minimum compaction and improves natural structural formation. Zero tillage by retaining crop residues on soil surface or incorporation of residues can improve soil physical properties."

The research findings by agricultural scientists reveal that in rice residue incorporation, lower bulk density and soil strength were observed in the surface layer due to pulverization caused by tillage and addition of organic matter as a result of which higher water infiltration at initial stages and higher root density in upper layers were also observed under this treatment. It means incorporation of rice residue improves soil physical conditions. Dr Brar and Dr Walia elaborated and told that however, in lower layers, values of bulk density and soil strength were higher and water infiltration and root density were lower in rice residue incorporation treatment than with or without rice residue treatments under zero till conditions due to compaction created by traffic farm machinery. The study highlights that where more farm machinery is used to prepare fields, deep ploughing should be done after few years to break the compact layer beneath the plough layer. Increase in load of surface application of rice residue from 5-7 ton per hectare improved the soil physical properties.
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Ex-naval commando among 3 arrested in Pak naval base attack case

Lahore, May 30, 2011 (PTI)

Pakistani intelligence agencies have taken into custody a former naval commando, who was court martialled earlier, and two other persons for their alleged involvement in a terrorist attack on a naval airbase in Karachi that killed 10 security personnel.

Kamran Ahmed, a former personnel of the elite Special Service Group-Navy, was picked up with his younger brother and a friend from Gulberg area of Lahore on Friday, sources said.

Mr. Ahmed was posted at the Pakistan Navy's Mehran and Iqbal bases before he was court-martialled about eight years ago for his involvement in a brawl with his superiors.

Since then, he had operated several petty businesses in Lahore.

TV news channels beamed pictures of Mr. Ahmed's military identity card and a photo of the former commando, which showed him with a beard and wearing a camouflage uniform.

Sources said Mr. Ahmed and the two others were taken to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

There were unconfirmed reports that he might have provided maps and important information about the PNS Mehran naval airbase that was targeted by a group of heavily armed Taliban fighters on May 22.

The attackers blew up two P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and killed 10 security personnel, including a naval officer. Four of the terrorists were killed or blew themselves up.

Authorities had earlier arrested six persons in connection with the attack. Intelligence sources have said they believe that the attack on PNS Mehran could not have been carried out without "help from insiders."

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Abbottabad on May 2.

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Apa Sherpa bids adieu to Mt. Everest

Kathmandu, May 30, 2011.

Record Mount Everest climber Apa Sherpa said will not climb the world's highest peak again, local media reported Monday.

"I have declared that from now onward, I won't climb beyond the base camp," the Republica quoted the 51-year-old mountaineer as saying.

He made his first ascent of the 8,848—metre Mount Everest in 1990 and climbed the mountain for the 21st time earlier this month, raising his own record.

"However, I will fully support the Eco Everest Expedition and its initiatives for the protection of the mountain environment." Apa Sherpa has been involved in the annual Everest clean—up campaign for the past three years.

Mount Everest has been become increasingly polluted as people leave behind empty cans, bottles, oxygen canisters and climbing equipment.

Bodies of deceased climbers have also been left on the summit. Since 1953, 250 deaths of climbers have been reported from the mountain and more than 5,000 people have ascended it.

Apa Sherpa, born in the Everest region, moved to the United States in 2006.

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Germany decides to abandon nuclear power by 2022

Berlin, May 30, 2011 (AP)

Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed through measures in 2010 to extend the lifespan of the country's 17 reactors, with the last one scheduled to go offline in 2036, but she reversed her policy in the wake of the Japanese disaster.

Germany's coalition government agreed early Monday to shut down all the country's nuclear power plants by 2022, the environment minister said, making it the first major industrialized power to go nuclear—free since the Japanese disaster.

The country's seven oldest reactors already taken off the grid pending safety inspections following the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March will remain offline permanently, Norbert Roettgen added. The country has 17 reactors total.

Mr. Roettgen praised the coalition agreement after negotiations through the night between the governing parties.

"This is coherent. It is clear," he told reporters in Berlin. "That's why it is a good result."

Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed through measures in 2010 to extend the lifespan of the country's 17 reactors, with the last one scheduled to go offline in 2036, but she reversed her policy in the wake of the Japanese disaster.

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, stands alone among the world's major industrialized nations still using nuclear power in its determination to gradually replace it with renewable energy sources. Italy decided to stop producing nuclear power after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Through March - before the seven reactors were taken offline - just under a quarter of Germany's electricity was produced by nuclear power, about the same share as in the U.S.

Energy from wind, solar and hydroelectric power currently produces about 17 percent of the country's electricity, but the government aims to boost its share to around 50 percent in the coming decades.

Many Germans have been vehemently opposed to nuclear power since Chernobyl sent radioactive fallout over the country. Tens of thousands repeatedly took to the street in the wake of Fukushima to urge the government to shut all reactors.

A centre—left government a decade ago first penned a plan to abandon the technology for good because of its inherent risks by 2021. But Ms. Merkel's government last year amended it to extend the plants' lifetime by an average of 12 years.

But the conservative chancellor reversed her pro—nuclear stance after the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Dai—ichi plant on March 11, triggering nuclear meltdowns.

Ms. Merkel's government ordered the country's seven oldest reactors, built before 1980, shut down four days after the Fukushima incident. The plants, which will now remain offline, accounted for about 40 percent of the country's nuclear power capacity.

Germany used to be a net energy exporter, and the agency overseeing its electricity grid said on Friday that the country remains self—sufficient even without the seven reactors and another plant that has already been offline for more than a year for maintenance work.

The coalition government's decision broadly follows the conclusions of a government—mandated commission on the ethics of nuclear power, which delivered its recommendation to abolish the technology by 2022 on Saturday. Details of the final report are to be presented later on Monday.

Shutting down even more reactors, however, will require billions of investment in renewable energies, more natural gas power plants and an overhaul of the country's electricity grid.

The government of neighbouring Switzerland, where nuclear power produces 40 percent of the country's electricity, also announced last week that it plans to shut down its reactors gradually once they reach their average lifespan of 50 years, which would mean taking the last plant off the grid in 2034.

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Palin can beat Obama, says McCain

Washington, May 30, 2011 (PTI)

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has the potential to beat Barack Obama in 2012 presidential elections, top Republican leader Senator John Mccain has said.

"Of course, she can. She can. Now, whether she will or not, whether she'll even run or not, I don't know," McCain told the Fox news in an interview.

Ms. Palin was Mr. McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential elections. Mr. McCain lost to Mr. Obama.

While she has not made any formal announcement yet, Ms. Palin is widely expected to seek Republican candidacy to fight against Mr. Obama in the 2012 elections.

"A lot of things happen in campaigns. You remember, I was written off a couple of times and were able to come back. So, there's going to be a roller coaster ride for all of them before we finally arrive at our nominee," he noted.

"But she certainly is a major factor. And I believe that she can be very competitive," Mr. McCain said.

"That's what campaigns are all about. I've never seen anyone as mercilessly and relentlessly attacked as I have seen Sarah Palin in the last couple of years. But she also inspires great passion, particularly among Republican faithful," said Mr. McCain.

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Mladic won’t live to see a trial, says Lawyer

Belgrade, May 30, 2011 (AP)

Bruno Vekaric, Serbia's deputy war crimes prosecutor, says Mladic is employing a delaying tactic and that nothing should prevent his extradition to the international war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The lawyer for war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic says the former general is so ill he won't live to see the start of his trial on genocide charges.

Attorney Milos Saljic asked on Monday for a battery of doctors to examine the 69—year old. Mladic was arrested last week after 16 years on the run, and is said to have suffered at least two strokes.

But Bruno Vekaric, Serbia's deputy war crimes prosecutor, says Mladic is employing a delaying tactic and that nothing should prevent his extradition to the international war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The U.N. tribunal charged Mladic with genocide in 1995, accusing him of orchestrating the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and other war crimes of Bosnia's 1992—95 war.

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Obama tours tornado-hit areas in Joplin

JOPLIN, Missouri, May 30, 2011 (AP)

President Barack Obama on Sunday toured the apocalyptic landscape left by Missouri's killer tornado, consoled the bereaved and homeless, and committed the government to helping rebuild shattered lives.

After days of focusing on the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world, Mr. Obama pivoted to the intimate domestic task of acting as healer-in-chief. He was visiting survivors from the worst tornado in decades, which tore through Joplin a week ago leaving more than 130 dead and hundreds more injured. At least 39 remain unaccounted for, and the damage is massive.

"We're not going to stop 'til Joplin's back on its feet," Mr. Obama vowed. A memorial service where Mr. Obama spoke punctuated a day of remembrance one week after the disaster, as authorities pressed on with the task of identifying the victims and volunteers combed through wreckage of neighbourhoods where nothing was left whole.

The service erupted in cheers when Mr. Obama said, "I promise you your country will be there with you every single step of the way," a pledge he extended to all parts of the nation raked by violent storms this season.

Air Force One flew over a massive swath of brown, a land of flattened houses and stripped trees, on its approach to Joplin. On the ground, the destruction was even more stark and complete. Mr. Obama confronted painful sights at every turn and said nothing in his life measured up to what he saw this day.

Yet he spoke, too, of redemptive moments, the stoicism of the community and tales of plain luck. He told a story of a man he talked to who apparently put a pot pie in the oven, heard the storm was coming, hid in a closet and "came out without a scratch." Mr. Obama celebrated the spirit of volunteers who have flocked to Joplin to help, the pickup truck owners who ferried people to the hospital and the citizens who lined up for hours to donate blood to people they didn't know.

"You've demonstrated a simple truth," he told the service, "that amid heartbreak and tragedy no one is a stranger. Everybody is a brother. Everybody is a sister. We can all love one another."

The crowd of hundreds at the service reflected a community in the midst of rebuilding - people in shorts and baseball caps, and plenty of babies who occasionally burst out crying. The President talked over the screeching until a baby was hurried out by the mother.

Mr. Obama got a notably warm reception in this conservative part of Missouri. His remarks were tailored for a religious service, with quotes from scripture, references to the love that binds people to each other, and comments on the essential goodness of humanity. The stories of the storm lead us to "put aside our petty grievances," the president said. "There are heroes all around us, all the time. So, in the wake of this tragedy, let us live up to their example- to make each day count."

Known for his cool, even-tempered demeanour, Mr. Obama offered his own brand of comforting - eloquent words, plentiful handshakes, some hugs, pats on the heads of children, offers of "God bless you." Not for him the raw emotion Americans saw in his predecessors George W. Bush or Bill Clinton.

Before the service, Mr. Obama's motorcade pulled into a neighbourhood where downed trees cleaved open houses, roofs were stripped or blown off, cars were cratered and splintered wood was everywhere. He saw nothing intact, but rather small domestic sights, a view into a room with a TV still in place, a recliner sitting amid rubble, a washer-dryer standing next to a decimated house. American flags were planted here and there in the mess.

"Sorry for your loss," Mr. Obama told an anguished woman, hugging her twice as they talked. Another woman told him that her uncle lives up the road, he survived but his house did not. "Tell your uncle we're praying for him," the President said.

To those working at the scene, the President said, "We appreciate everything you guys are doing. God bless you." One volunteer told him that people were coming in from other states to help in any way they could.

"This is not just your tragedy," Mr. Obama said. "This is a national tragedy, and that means there will be a national response." He said, "We are going to be here long after the cameras leave."

Hours after Mr. Obama's speech at 5-41 p.m. Central time, to mark the first report of the tornado, hundreds stood in Joplin's Cunningham Park, in between wrecked cars and twisted poles, for a moment of silence.

Mr. Obama returned to the U.S. on Saturday from a six-day European tour of Ireland, Britain, France and Poland. After days of focusing on the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world, Sunday was about an even more critical connection - his own, with the American people.

Consoling his fellow Americans is a task Mr. Obama has had to assume with increasing frequency of late, after the mass shooting in Arizona in January in which U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was wounded; when tornadoes struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last month; and, more recently, when flooding from the Mississippi inundated parts of Memphis, Tennessee.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and local clergy, some of whose churches were ravaged, spoke at the service. Some people said it will help them grieve and move forward with rebuilding.

"You need to talk about it," said Dorothy Iwan, 67, whose granddaughter was caught in the storm but uninjured. "You need to process it. You need to know people are behind you."

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Shuttle Endeavour leaves space station forever

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, May 30, 2011 AP

Endeavour and its crew of six departed the International Space Station late Sunday and headed home to wrap up NASA's next-to-last shuttle flight.

The space shuttle undocked, for the very last time, close to midnight as the two spacecraft soared more than 322 kilometres above Bolivia.

"Fair winds and following seas, guys," space station resident Ronald Garan, Jr. called out as he rang the ship's bell.

"Appreciate all the help," replied shuttle commander Mark Kelly.

Garan: "It was a pleasure serving with you boys."

Endeavour is due back on Earth early Wednesday. It will be retired to a California museum after this 16-day journey, its last. Before leaving the neighbourhood of the space station, Endeavour took off on a photo-taking victory lap around the station early Monday. Kelly and his crew also planned a test of a navigation system intended for future spacecraft.

Kelly got a special musical send-off late Sunday night from his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She's recuperating in Houston from a gunshot wound to the head.

The wakeup call was a song by a Tucson, Ariz., band. Kelly said the song, "Slowness" by Calexico, is about two people reaching across a distance, and references places in Tucson, the Congresswoman's hometown.

"I know she really, really wants to get back there," he radioed. "It's an appropriate song because that's coming soon."

The two space crews said their goodbyes earlier in the day, right before the hatches closed between them.

Kelly was the last to leave the space station, lingering for a few seconds with the three space station residents.

"We're looking forward to getting home," Kelly said, "and we're going to leave these guys to some peace and quiet and not disturb their space station any more."

The station's skipper, Russian Andrey Borisenko, wished the six shuttle astronauts a "soft landing."

Endeavour will return to Florida in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, never to fly in space again.

On its final journey, Endeavour delivered a $2 billion cosmic ray detector that will remain on the space station for the next decade.

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer already is collecting 25 million to 40 million cosmic particles a day worthy of analysis. It's searching for antimatter and dark matter, and scientists hope the findings will shed light on the origin of the universe.

Kelly and his crew also provided the space station with a platform full of spare parts and an extension boom for future repair work. The boom, installed Friday on the fourth spacewalk of the mission, marked the completion of the U.S. portion of the space station.

The astronauts also worked on some of the critical life-support systems inside, in an effort to leave the orbiting outpost in the best possible shape for the shuttle-less years ahead.

Astronauts Mike Fincke and Gregory Chamitoff, who spent months living on the space station in years past, pretended they didn't want to leave Sunday morning. They were dragged into the shuttle by their crewmates. Garan joined in on the joke, waving goodbye as if he were heading out aboard Endeavour as well. He's just two months into his five-month station stay.

All told, the hatches between the two spacecraft were open 11 days.

Only one more shuttle flight remains for NASA.

Atlantis will blast off July 8 with a load of space station supplies to close out the 30-year shuttle program.

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NATO apologises for Afghan civilian deaths

KABUL, May 30, 2011 (AP)

The top U.S. generals in Afghanistan are apologising for an airstrike that killed civilians in south-western Afghanistan.

Gen. David Petraeus, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez and the commander of the southwest say NATO's top priority is to prevent civilian casualties and it takes such cases very seriously. In a joint statement issued early Monday by U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. John Toolan, they said the airstrike took place after a U.S. Marine was killed and five insurgents took cover in a compound and kept fighting. It said the compound had civilians inside.

Mr. Toolan said the airstrike resulted in nine civilians deaths. The number differs from that given by some Afghan officials, who say as many as 12 children and two women were killed.

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Gilani hopeful of moving forward

Lahore, May 30, 2011 (PTI)

Hillary warned against repeat of Abbottabad, says Pakistan Prime Minister

Pakistan is hopeful of moving forward through dialogue with India as responsible nations resolve their outstanding issues through talks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told journalists here on Sunday.

"I personally have very good relations with the Indian leadership. Responsible nations believe in talks and dialogue and I hope we will move forward through the talks."

Pakistan\'s ties with India were hit by the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks but were now improving, he said. "The relations between the two countries remained suspended for a while after the Mumbai attacks but when I met with [India\'s] leadership in Thimphu, they started improving."

"We are also engaged in talks with India on the Siachen issue," he said, referring to the next round of talks, on the military standoff on the Himalayan glacier, to be held in New Delhi from Monday.

Asked about Pakistan\'s soil being used for terrorist attacks on other countries, he said: "We have ensured that our soil is not used for terror attacks in any country. Both the military and political leadership are on the same page on this issue.

"Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to use our territory for terror attacks in other countries. We have lost 36,000 people in the war on terror and I want the elimination of terrorists from my soil to make my country peaceful."

CIA-ISI relations

Relations between the CIA and Pakistan\'s powerful spy agency ISI, strained by recent events including the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid, have now been repaired, Mr. Gilani said.

"In the backdrop of recent incidents, relations between the CIA and the Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] were strained but now they stand repaired," he said.

Both spy agencies had a decade-long relation of intelligence cooperation and it could not be damaged by one or two incidents, Mr. Gilani said.

Mr. Gilani said he had made it clear to the U.S. that Pakistan did not want a repeat of the attack in which Osama was killed. The U.S. unilaterally carried out a commando operation in Abbottabad, 120 km from Islamabad, and killed the al-Qaeda leader on May 2. "We do not want the U.S. to go in for another operation in our country and I have made this clear to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry," he said.

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‘Denied\' vaccine, boy dies of rabies

KHAMMAM, May 30, 2011.

The 16-year-old had to run from one hospital to another for ARV in Khammam

A 16-year-old boy, who was bitten by a stray dog and allegedly denied anti rabies vaccine at the district headquarters hospital over three weeks ago, succumbed to rabies at a private hospital here on Sunday.

Five more persons were attacked by stray dogs at different places in and around Khammam. Sources said that Anjaiah and Biksham of B. K. Bazar sustained multiple injuries after being attacked by stray dogs on Sunday morning. Another person was injured when was attacked by the stray dogs while he was accompanying his daughter to a DIET-CET centre near Rotary Nagar. Ironically, the boy breathed his last just a few minutes after Minister for Horticulture R. Venkat Reddy enquired about his health and assured "all help" from the government.

The incident set off protests from the relatives of the boy who accused medical officials concerned of negligence.

Challa Balu, 16, a native of Danavaigudem village in Khammam rural mandal, suffered injuries along with his parents Narsimha and Savithramma besides two others after they were attacked by a stray dog near a dumping yard in the village on May 1.

They approached the doctors concerned at the district headquarters hospital on the same day. However, a lady doctor reportedly sent them away after giving some medicines without administering ARV. Later, the boy was forced to run from one government health centre to another to get the vaccine in vain, sources said.

Balu was admitted in a town-based private hospital on Saturday when he developed rabies symptoms. However, he died at the hospital on Sunday morning. Earlier, heartrending scenes were witnessed at the private hospital when Balu cried for help and pleaded with the doctors to save his life.

He succumbed to rabies even as the doctors at the private hospital watched helplessly. Devastated over Balu\'s death, his sister Sirisha broke down. When some officials assured financial help to their family, she shot back: "We don\'t want money. You bring my brother back".

Crying inconsolably Savithramma, the mother of Balu, alleged that her grown up son died due to the negligence of a doctor at the civil hospital in Khammam. "The lady doctor denied us anti-rabies vaccine citing shortage and sent us away when we approached her for vaccination," she charged.

Magisterial probe

Meanwhile, Khammam RDO V Venkateshwarlu said that a magisterial inquiry would be conducted into the incident. Proposals would be sent to the government to ensure adequate financial help, house site and other needy assistance to the family of the victim, he said.

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News From S7news.com May 30, 2011

सिंगापुर अस्पताल में रजनी

दक्षिण भारतीय फिल्मों के सुपरस्टार रजनीकांत को सिंगापुर के माउंट एलिजबेथ अस्पताल के आईसीयू में भर्ती कराया गया है। रजनीकांत शनिवार को इलाज के लिए सिंगापुर रवाना हुए थे।

चैनलन्यूल एशिया के मुताबिक रजनीकांत को इंटेसिव केयर यूनिट पर रखा गया है जहां उनकी हालत स्थिर बताई जा रही है।
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India, Pakistan resume Siachen talks

New Delhi, May 30, 2011 (PTI)

After a gap of three years, defence secretaries of India and Pakistan on Monday met here to discuss the long-pending Siachen issue.

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is leading the Indian delegation at the two-day talks with his Pakistani counterpart Lt General (Retd) Syed Ather Ali.

India and Pakistan decided to resume the talks last year after Prime Ministers of both the countries met in Thimpu and decided to take forward the dialogue process.

While the Pakistani delegation has two civilian officials and four military officers, the Indian side includes Special Secretary R.K. Mathur, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. General A.M. Verma and Surveyor General S.Subha Rao, defence officials said.

After the talks, the Pakistani Defence Secretary will call on Defence Minister A.K. Antony this evening.

Siachen, the world's highest militarised zone, has been a long pending issue between India and Pakistan over differences on the location of the 110-km long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) which passes through the Soltoro Ridge and Siachen Glacier.

"The AGPL is not clearly marked beyond the grid reference point of NJ—9842. The two countries have decided to de-militarise the Siachen Glacier, but the matter is stuck as there are apprehensions on both sides," officials said.

India wants Pakistan to authenticate the AGPL, both on the maps and the ground, as it occupies most of the dominating posts on the Saltoro Ridge, they said.

Pakistan, in turn, has been insisting on maintaining the pre-1972 troop positions as agreed in the Simla Agreement.

On Pakistan Army's advances in the glacier in 1984, India launched Operation Meghdoot and deployed its troops in most of the dominating features in the area.

The defence secretary-level talks between the two countries on Siachen dates back to 1985.The decision to hold joint talks was taken by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Pakistan President General Zia-ul-Haq.

The Pakistani delegation arrived in India on Saturday.

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TRS hits out at TDP stand on Telangana

HYDERABAD, May 30, 2011

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has taken a strong view of Telugu Desam\'s position on separate Telangana at the Mahanadu and blamed the latter for washing its hands off the issue by turning the focus on Central government.

By stating that it was left to the Centre to take a decision, the TDP conveniently tried to absolve itself of the responsibility to achieve Statehood for the region, TRS legislator Koppula Eashwar told a press conference on Sunday.

He said it was public knowledge that only the Centre can form the State. However, the leaders of TDP debated at Mahanadu as if they have discovered something new. It amounted to deceiving people of the region, Mr. Eashwar said.

He also criticised the TDP leaders for targeting TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao and said it exposed their craving for power. They believed that they had a political future only when the party was strong.

Another TRS MLA T. Harish Rao said TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu never mentioned throughout Mahanadu proceedings that the latter\'s party would stick to its earlier resolution supporting separate Telangana. Mr. Naidu only harangued on his achievements during his nine-year rule.

He challenged the TDP for a debate on the development that took place in Telangana during its regime. People have not forgotten several steps taken to the detriment of the region like sale of lands.

TRS polit bureau member G. Sravan Kumar accused the TDP leaders of launching an attack against KCR as they were no way near the latter in the struggle for Statehood. The TRS students\' wing president Balki Suman said the TDP leaders played to the tunes of Mr. Naidu at the Mahanadu. The TDP exposed that it had no concern for students who ended up their lives for separate Telangana.

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News From S7news.com May 30, 2011

शेयर बाजार में तेजी

देश के शेयर बाजारों में सप्ताह के पहले कारोबारी दिवस सोमवार को शुरुआती कारोबार में तेजी का रुख देखा गया। प्रमुख इंडेक्स सेंसेक्स 53.64 अंकों की बढ़त के साथ 18319.74 पर जबकि निफ्टी 17.65 अंकों की बढ़त के साथ 5493.75 पर कारोबार कर रहा था।सुबह करीब 9.30 बजे बम्बई स्टॉक एक्सचेंज (बीएसई) का 30 शेयरों वाला इंडेक्स सेंसेक्स 85.64 अंकों की बढ़त के साथ 18351.74 पर कारोबार कर रहा था।
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Telangana State at any cost: KK

KARIMNAGAR, May 30, 2011.

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP, K. Keshava Rao, said that the Telangana Congress leaders were prepared to go to any extent to achieve separate Telangana State and uphold their promise made to the people of the region.

Mr. Keshava Rao was in Karimnagar district to attend a private function in Jagtial town on Sunday and had a brief halt at R&B guest house. Talking to newsmen, he said that the government had already announced formation of separate Telangana State on December 9, 2009. "However, my own friends (seemandhra leaders) have sabotaged the carving out of separate State", he said.

"We have spoken a lot about Telangana. Now, it is time to get back our own State by any cost and uphold the image and self-respect of the Telangana region," he said. To a query, he said that he had opposed the second States Reorganisation Committee for Telangana when he was APCC president. The party high command had already respected the first SRC recommendations for the formation of Telangana State.

Reiterating that the Congress party high command was for Telangana, he said that the party not taking any action against the Congress leaders for demanding separate Telangana State indicates its stand on Telangana. On the other hand, the TDP had sacked its legislator Nagam Janardhan Reddy for raising the voice for separate Telangana State, he said and alleged that the TDP was trying to sabotage the Telangana movement. He demanded that the TDP president, N Chandrababu Naidu, write a letter to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram disclosing his stand on Telangana .

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Autorickshaw driver\'s son sets sights on space


It is sheer grit and determination which have given him the recognition as a young scientist.

Proving that where there is a will there is a way, Nidrabingi Ramesh Reddy, who recently completed plus two from a city college, wants to become a space scientist notwithstanding his financial background.

Son of autorickshaw driver N. Ranga Reddy and home-maker Kondamma, who stay in a small tenement in Peda Waltair, Ramesh, 18, recently returned from his second tour of the United States. He attended ISDC (International Space Development Conference) in Alabama after a presentation on life in space. He has been invited as a speaker (co-scientist) for the ISDC-2012 to be held at Washington DC to deliver a talk on nanotechnology. He could make it to the ISDC from May 18 to 22 due to funding by Rotary Club Visakha Valley, Dr. P. Raghuram of Hyderabad and other donors.

Ramesh could win second prize in the Annual NASA AMES Space Settlement Contest in 2010 and got prize money of $2,000 — for Galileo Space Settlement to create another living space for human settlement other than the earth.

Teacher\'s support

"Because of encouragement from geography teacher M. Ramadevi, I could develop fascination towards space science from eighth standard. I want to become a space scientist and work for ISRO one day. I will also set up a space foundation for R&D," he tells The Hindu.

Thinking big has become his passion. He has already got an offer for admission in B.Tech (Aerospace) at the National Aerospace University (Kharkir Aviation Institute), KhAi in Ukraine. The institute is reputed for aviation and space engineering.

After B.Tech, Ramesh wants to study M.Sc. (astronomy) in the University of Arizona and get a doctorate in pure astronomy.

His aim now is to work on a Google Lunar X project on sending the most feasible robot to the moon and win the major chunk of the prize money of Rs. 90 lakh.

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Pranab promises all help to West Bengal

KOLKATA, May 30, 2011.

State\'s financial position "almost an Emergency," says Mamata

The Centre will provide all help to the West Bengal government to overcome its financial difficulties, Union Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Mr. Mukherjee at his residence here to discuss the State\'s finances and the possibility of the Centre releasing funds. State Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee were present.

"I have promised that all sorts of help will be provided to the State to overcome the difficult situation," Mr. Mukherjee told journalists after the meeting, describing the State\'s financial condition as a "difficult situation."

"Whatever short-term assistance is required will be provided, and after discussions, a long-term plan for the State\'s financial recovery will be worked out," he said.

However, neither of them provided any detail of a special economic package. "The details will be worked out in Delhi in consultation with officials of the State and the Central governments," Mr. Mukherjee said.

Describing the State\'s financial position as "almost an Emergency" and a "disaster worse than Aila," Ms. Banerjee said she had the faith that the State and Central governments would together be able to overcome the crisis. Short-term, medium-term and long-term measures were required to revive the State\'s financial health and further discussions would be held in New Delhi.

"The treasury was absolutely closed since November last year. This is a very serious situation. Embargoes had been placed on certain social sectors and no money was given out," Ms. Banerjee said.

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Munde skips rally held to mark RPI\'s entry into alliance

Pune, May 30, 2011

The appointment of corporator Vikas Mathkari as the new city president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sparked off protest from the camp of senior party leader Gopinath Munde.

Mr. Munde skipped the BJP-RPI-Sena rally on Saturday. Party MLC Vinod Tawade attended in his place. The rally was held to promote the entry of the Republican Party of India (RPI) into the saffron alliance.

Tension between camps

The move laid bare, yet again, the factions in the party.

The BJP\'s politics in the city is ridden with tensions between two camps — one led by Nitin Gadkari and the other by Gopinath Munde. Mr. Munde was upset by the decision to appoint as party chief Mr. Mathkari, a Gadkari loyalist, over his own associate Yogesh Gogawale.

Mr. Munde\'s followers stated that they were not consulted before the new appointment. "There was a lack of transparency in the election process," Mr. Gogawale told reporters here.

Mr. Gogawale demanded that the report which senior party leader Venkaiah Naidu had submitted in February be made available to the rest of the party.

"No division in party"

Meanwhile, Mr. Mathkari and other members of the Gadkari camp chose to downplay the controversy. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Mathkari said: "There is no division in the party. Mr. Munde has given me his blessings."

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News From S7news.com May 30, 2011

भारत और पाकिस्तान के बीच सियाचिन वार्ता

पिछले साल दोनों देशों के प्रधानमंत्रियों ने थिंपू में मुलाकात के दौरान वार्ता प्रक्रिया को आगे ले जाने का निर्णय लिया था, जिसके बाद भारत और पाकिस्तान ने बातचीत फिर से शुरू करने का फैसला किया। रक्षा अधिकारियों के अनुसार, पाकिस्तानी प्रतिनिधिमंडल में दो असैन्य अधिकारी और चार सैन्य अधिकारी हैं, वहीं भारतीय पक्ष में विशेष सचिव आर.के माथुर, सैन्य परिचालन के महानिदेशक लेफ्टिनेंट जनरल ए.एम. वर्मा और महा सर्वेक्षक एस. शुभा राव शामिल हैं।

बातचीत के बाद पाकिस्तानी रक्षा सचिव, रक्षा मंत्री ए.के एंटनी से मुलाकात करेंगे। सियाचिन का मुद्दा भारत और पाकिस्तान के बीच लंबे समय से लंबित है और दोनों के बीच 110 किलोमीटर लंबी \'वास्तविक जमीनी स्थिति रेखा\' (एजीपीएल) को लेकर मतभेद है, जो सोल्टोरो रिज तथा सियाचिन ग्लेशियर से गुजरती है।

अधिकारियों ने कहा कि दोनों देशों ने सियाचिन ग्लेशियर से सेना हटाने का फैसला किया है , लेकिन दोनों पक्षों में आशंकाओं के चलते मामला लंबित है। अधिकारियों के अनुसार , भारत चाहता है कि पाकिस्तान एजीपीएल की नक्शे और वास्तविक भूमि दोनों जगह पुष्टि करे।

दूसरी तरफ पाकिस्तान 1972 से पूर्व की सैनिकों की स्थिति को बनाए रखना चाहता है, जिस पर सहमति शिमला समझौते में हुई थी। ग्लेशियर क्षेत्र में 1984 में पाकिस्तानी सेना के आगे बढ़ने के जवाब में भारत ने ऑपरेशन मेघदूत शुरू किया था और इलाके के अधिकतर प्रभुत्व वाले जगहों पर सैनिकों को तैनात किया। सियाचिन पर दोनों देशों के बीच रक्षा सचिवों की बातचीत इससे पहले 1985 में हुई थी। तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री राजीव गांधी और पाकिस्तानी राष्ट्रपति जनरल जिया उल हक ने संयुक्त वार्ता का फैसला किया था। पाकिस्तानी शिष्टमंडल शनिवार को भारत पहुंचा और कल ताज महल देखने आगरा गया।
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2G scam: Vinod Rai appears before JPC

New Delhi, May 30, 2011 (PTI)

Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai on Monday appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) examining the 2G spectrum scam to explain how the government auditor quantified the losses in the spectrum allocation at Rs. 1.76 lakh crore.

Mr. Rai was asked to brief the Committee, chaired by Congress leader P. C. Chacko, on the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to 2009.

The CAG, in a report to Parliament last year, had pegged the presumptive loss to the exchequer on 2G spectrum allocation at Rs. 1.76 lakh crore.

The findings triggered a political storm and subsequent events led to the resignation of the then Telecom Minister A. Raja.

"Today the talk is of a Rs. 1.76 lakh crore scam. We want to know from the horse's mouth how he had arrived at the figure," Mr. Chacko said after the last meeting of the committee on May 18.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had dubbed "utterly erroneous and without any basis" the estimated loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore, arrived at by the CAG on account of 2G spectrum allocation.

According to the CBI charge sheet in the 2G spectrum allocation case, the loss to the exchequer is pegged at Rs. 30,984 crore.

Earlier this year, Mr. Rai had made a similar presentation before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on how he arrived at the figure. PAC examines the CAG reports and tables its findings to Parliament.

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TDP gives ‘free hand\' to Telangana leaders

HYDERABAD, May 30, 2011

We will continue to fight for the cause under party banner, says Errabelli Dayakar Rao

Setting at rest speculation that Telangana issue may be avoided, Telugu Desam\'s Mahanadu that ended on Sunday discussed it as part of its political resolution which was adopted later.

Supporting the political resolution convenor of TDP Telangana Forum, Errabelli Dayakar Rao, asserted that the party had given the leaders of the region a free hand on the issue. It would continue to fight for the cause under the party banner.

There was applause from the delegates when he along with Chevella MLA, K. S. Ratnam lambasted TRS president K. Chandrashekhar Rao and TJAC convenor M. Kodandaram for asking TDP leaders to keep aside party flag and asked suspended party leader, Nagam Janardhan Reddy, to come for debate over the issue.

The party had made its stand clear long ago on Telangana and there was no change in its stand warranting another resolution, Mr. Rao said. There were loud cheers when Mr. Ratnam asked the party delegates to raise their hands in support of TDP and its stand on Telangana.

Significantly Mr. Rao ruled out the party\'s alliance with any party in future except the Left and said they were confident of doing well even in Telangana as it was TDP that had developed the region. Stating that Telangana TDP leaders did not hurt the sentiments of other regions, he requested them to reciprocate.

Mr. Rao raised the slogan of "Jai Telangana" ending his speech, apparently sending a signal to the party\'s rank and file in the region that the party has not dithered on separate Statehood and it need not toe Dr. Janardhan Reddy\'s line.

Introducing the political resolution polit bureau member Y. Ramakrishnudu said it was for the Centre to take a political decision on Telangana. Instead of blaming others to exert pressure on their leadership for moving a Bill in Parliament, he suggested Congress leaders to complete the task. He criticised PRP president K. Chiranjeevi for forgetting his social justice plank and making rounds of Delhi finding justice for himself and YSR Congress Party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy for floating party to satiate his thirst for power. He reiterated party\'s promise of 40 per cent representation to youth in the party machinery and in elections.

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News From S7news.com May 30, 2011

बाबा रामदेव का अनशन

दिल्‍ली का रामलीला मैदान का बाबा रामदेव के अनशन के लिए तैयार है। हजारों लोग बाबा के समर्थन में आगे आ रहे हैं, लेकिन ये कौन लोग हैं, जो बाबा के समर्थन में आ रहे हैं। लेकिन आम जनता का क्‍या? क्‍या वो इस लड़ाई में शामिल है? नहीं! क्‍योंकि आम आदमी तब तक बाबा रामदेव और अन्‍ना हजारे की लड़ाई में शामिल नहीं होगा, जब तक उसका खुद का जीवन बेहतर नहीं हो जाता।

शायद आप यहां कुछ भटक से गये होंगे, लेकिन सीधे शब्‍दों में बात करें तो बाबा रामदेव का 6 जून से शुरू होने वाला अनशन उस काले धन को वापस लाने के लिए है, जो विदेशी बैंकों में जमा है। इससे पहले अन्‍ना हजारे का अनशन भ्रष्‍टाचार को कम करने के लिए लोकपाल विधेयक बनाने के लिए किया गया था। लोकपाल विधेयक को बनाने की तैयारियां जोरों पर है। देश उसका इंतजार कर रहा है।

काले धन के मामले पर विपक्षी दलों के दबाव और योग गुरू बाबा रामदेव के सत्‍याग्रह को देखते हुए केंद्र सरकार ने भी अब तेजी दिखानी शुरू कर दी है। देश में कितना काला धन है, इसका पता लगाने के लिए सरकार ने एक स्‍टडी कराने का फैसला किया है। वैसे आज लोकपाल ड्रॉफ्ट कमेटी की भी बैठक होने वाली है।
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Nitish visits exam topper\'s house to reward her

Patna, May 30, 2011 (PTI)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said the bicycle scheme had given an impetus to girls\' education as reflected in their outstanding performance in the matriculation examination in which a Patna girl Shalini Kumari emerged as the joint topper.

Girls had taken up education in right earnest since the State government launched the bicycle scheme for them a few years ago, he said felicitating Ms. Kumari at her residence in Phulwarisharif locality in the State capital.

Observing that there was no shortage of talent in the State, Mr. Kumar said the government was committed to providing incentives to students to help them succeed.

Noting that the enrolment rate in schools had increased during the NDA rule, he said the State government was committed to achieving cent per cent target in school enrolment.

The authorities should ensure that once a child joined a school for studies, he/she should leave it only on completion of education, the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Kumar also directed the officials to set up a 'Bal Parishad\' comprising the first and second toppers in the matriculation examination over the past five years. Regular interactive meetings should be held by the HRD Minister and officials with the students for ensuring quality education.

The Chief Minister also gave a cheque for Rs. 15,000 and a laptop to Ms. Kumari and wished her well for her future career.

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Behind the Pakistan F-16 deal, a tale of many wheels

NEW DELHI, May 30, 2011

The sale was considered only 'symbolically important\' by the U.S., but had many strings attached

The sale by the United States of F-16 military aircraft to Pakistan, announced in 2005, was celebrated as a sign of deepening strategic ties between Islamabad and the Bush administration in Washington. Described by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as an attempt to "break out of the notion that [India and Pakistan are in] a hyphenated relationship," the decision was met with anguish in New Delhi. But leaked U.S. diplomatic cables suggest that the sale was used only to further America\'s broad strategic interests, with Pakistan standing to gain little from the deal.

The despatches, from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, indicated that the deal was, among other things, meant to assuage Pakistan\'s fears of an "existential threat it perceived from India." The diplomatic cables, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, suggested that the purpose of the sale was to divert Pakistan\'s attention from "the nuclear option," and give it "time and space to employ a conventional reaction" in the event of a conflict with India (151227: confidential). Privately, however, the U.S. acknowledged the "reality" that the F-16 programme would not change India\'s "overwhelming air superiority over Pakistan." In fact, the cables bluntly assert that the F-16s would be "no match for India\'s proposed purchase of F-18 or equivalent aircraft."

Given India\'s "substantial military advantage," one cable (197576: confidential) even surmised that the F-16s would at the most offer "a few days" for the U.S. to "mediate and prevent nuclear conflict."

Fully aware of such limitations, the U.S. continued to press ahead with the deal, and cables document hectic parleys to bring it to fruition. Before the agreement was signed in September 2006, the U.S. played hardball to make Pakistan sign the Letter of Acceptance (LoA). Islamabad had threatened to delay it further, raising additional demands. The U.S. Ambassador to Islamabad, Ryan Crocker, suggested that Washington "convene" the Pakistani Ambassador, Ali Durrani, to remind him that "missing the deadline [to sign the LoA] would have serious ramifications."

"Do not think there is a better deal out there if this one expires," was one of Ambassador Crocker\'s suggested bargain lines for Washington to use (77877: confidential/noforn). The agreement was inked two weeks after the cable was sent.

At the time of signing the LoA, Major General Tariq Malik, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Defence Production, had expressed reservations about the payment schedule as an "immense strain on Pakistan\'s fiscal and foreign exchange reserves…, jeopardising growth." But Mr. Malik\'s memo was dismissed by Mr. Crocker as "separate from the valid, legal contract" (80337: confidential/noforn).

But when "a cash-strapped" Pakistan government approached the U.S. two years later for Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to perform mid-life updates for the existing F-16 fleet, the succeeding Ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, was concerned that Washington would be "rewarding economic mismanagement." The annual disbursement of FMF had "produced a culture of entitlement within the Pakistani military," according to the diplomat (151227: confidential).

Why, then, did the U.S. push hard to realise the agreement, apart from the stated objective of "additional business for U.S. defense companies"?

If, according to American diplomats, the threat from India was the primary consideration for the Pakistan military, the F-16 sales would not tilt the strategic balance by their own admission. However, the cables suggested that the U.S. was confident that Pakistan would "still fully invest in its territorial defense, despite current economic challenges." On the other hand, "our [U.S.] cancelling the sale would emphasize that we favor maintaining Indian superiority at Pakistan\'s expense and feed anti-Americanism throughout the military" (197576: confidential).

Another reason to sell F-16s, according to the same cable, was to "exorcise the bitter legacy of the Pressler Amendment" in the 1990s, when the U.S. refused to deliver F-16s that Pakistan had paid with "national money." Pakistan was even made to undertake costs for storing the fighters in Arizona. For the Pakistan military, the new deal would be tangible proof of the "post-9/11 bilateral relationship.

Avoiding a blow-up

"The bottom line is that Pakistan cannot afford the $2 billion required to complete this F-16 program," wrote Ambassador Patterson in 2009 (189129: secret). "At the same time, nothing is more important to good military-military (and overall U.S.-Pakistani) relations than avoiding a blow-up over the F-16 case."

Even if the sale was considered only "symbolically important" by the U.S., the deal came with many strings attached.

The U.S. was more interested in the use of F-16s by Pakistan for counter-terrorism purposes along the Af-Pak border.

Although the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) had been disinclined to use F-16s "due to the risk of collateral damage in civilian areas," Ms. Patterson suggested linking the FMF for mid-life updates to "explicit commitments by the PAF that accept Close Air-Support training" (151227: confidential).

A year after the agreement was concluded, Pakistan learnt that mid-life updates for the F-16s could only be performed in a third country. Since the LoA did not bear any references to "cryptokeys" for the aircraft, officials were also worried that the U.S. would withhold the capability of the F-16s. When these concerns were raised by President Pervez Musharraf and Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood, the U.S. response was hardly comforting.

"We know many in Washington are dismayed by what they consider a juvenile reaction on Pakistan\'s part. The Pakistanis do not fully understand our requirements for sharing encrypted devices and need to be reassured that the aircraft will still fly without the cryptokeys." (122429: secret)

Eventually, it was agreed that Pakistan would pay $80 million to perform the updates in Turkey. The U.S. also expressed concerns about basing the F-16s in Pakistan due to "concerns about potential technology transfer to China." The outcome? Pakistan was made to fork out another $125 million to "build and secure a separate F-16 base" (197576: confidential).

The purported aim of selling the F-16s to Pakistan was to "yield foreign policy benefits for the U.S.," but the cables reveal that these benefits were gift-wrapped almost always at Pakistan\'s expense.

News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DCC asks authorities to provide clean drinking water


Ludhiana District Congress Committee President Pawan Dewan today asked the authorities to ensure the supply of clean drinking water to people across the city. He said, with the onset of summers it was important to ensure that people got clean drinking water as otherwise there was risk of the spread of various water borne diseases.

Speaking at a function organised at Durgapuri in Haibowal area after inaugurating a tube-well today, Dewan said, there were a number of areas in Ludhiana city which did not have access to the clean drinking water. He said, it was important that these areas were provided drinking water.

Congratulating the local councillor Hemraj Aggarwal, who had organised the function, he said, every councillor should ensure that the basic amenities are provided to people.

News From: http://www.7StarNews.com
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