Sunday, July 31, 2011



The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) will be organizing the Research and Extension Specialists Workshop on Rabi Crops on August 18-19 at the university campus. The officers of Department of Agriculture, Punjab and extension functionaries of PAU working at its outstations, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and different departments at the main campus will participate in the workshop. The PAU subject matter specialists will share their new findings and recommendations on crop production, protection, postharvest handling, mechanization, marketing, etc. The event will discuss the Package of Practices for Rabi crops and gather feed back from the field level functionaries as it helps to reorient research and technology transfer programmes at PAU. The workshop is an annual feature at PAU where the Director of Agriculture, Punjab shares the production targets for the crops.
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The maize crop is becoming suitable alternate for reducing area under paddy, and its cultivation is recommended by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) in spring summer, kharif and winter seasons. According to maize experts of PAU, Dr.Surjit Singh, Dr Jasbir Singh Gill and Ms Gurpreet Kaur maize crop can be successfully grown in August for profitable grain yields. August seeding of maize is required when there are some dilatory factors which delay sowing of kharif maize, as in fields vacated by early kharif/summer fodders, etc. Dr. Singh informed that after intensive research, university have approved the successful cultivation of August sown maize for grain purpose also. So to ensure desirable profits from August sown maize the following recommendations should be adopted to obtain good yields.

According to experts university had recommended three varieties of maize for August sowing viz. PMH-1, PMH-2 and JH 3459. The average yield of these varieties is 21q,18q and 17.5q/acre, respectively. Amongst these varieties PMH-1 takes 115 days while the other two varieties matures in 100 days. As the sowing time succeeds towards the end of August, crop duration increases gradually due to fall in temperature near maturity. Eight kg seed is sufficient for one acre and seed should be treated with Bavistin/Agrozim/Derosel @ 3/kg seed.

The scientists further informed that flat sowing or seeding on slope of 60 cm apart ridges at the height of 6-7cm should be adopted. This method saves from the damage of stagnant water. Line to line spacing should be 60 cm and plant to plant 20 cm in PMH-1 and 15 cm for other varieties. If the plant density is more than the recommended spacing, thinning should be done at the time of hoeing. To vacate the field of maize for timely sowing of wheat, this crop should be sown in the second fortnight of August.

The scientists further elaborated that Weeds can be controlled by giving two hoeings at 15 and 30 days after sowing with the help of kasoala or khurpa, or bullock/tractor cultivator. To control weeds with herbicides, Atrataf 50 WP (Atrazine) is recommended for use as pre emergence @ 800 g/acre for medium to heavy textured soils and this dose should be reduced to 500 g/acre for light textured soil. This herbicide should be sprayed within two days of sowing using 200 litres of water by using with flat fan or flood jet nozzle. Where motha and other broadleaf weeds are a problem, post emergences application of 2,-4 D Amine salt at rate of 400 ml/acre is recommended to control these weeds. Where is a problem of hardy weeds like bans patta, Arechne gha and Koan makki mixture of 600 g/ Atrataf+ one litre Stomp or Treflan or Lasso (pre emergence) within 2 days of sowing.

Scientists advised to give preference to alternate nutrient resources like green manure, FYM, poultry manure vermicompost, etc. at least for the basal dose. Before sowing field should be green manured with dhaincha or cowpea or sunhemp by using a seed rate of 12,20, 20 kg/acre, respectively. If both green manuring or organic manure application is not possible then fertilize the crop with 50 kg N, 24kg P2 O5 and 12 kg K2O respectively which can be fulfilled through 110 , 55 and 20kg urea, DAP and muriate of potash, respectively.

Harvest the crop when colour of cobs turns brown but the plant leaves are still in green. The cob can be shelled with thresher when there is 15% moisture is grains. By following the recommendations made by the scientists of university a good yield can be made by sowing Maize in the month of August.

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Laurels at International Symposium GADVASU Students win

Ludhiana-29-July 2011

Post graduate students of Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology, GADVASU participated and presented clinical papers in the recently concluded International Symposium on "Clinical Skill Development for the next generation Veterinary Practice" and 3rd National Clinical Case Conference in Farm and Companion Animal Practice jointly organized by TANUVAS and Michigan State University, USA, held at Madras Veterinary College, Chennai.

The paper entitled "Successful management of generalized peritonitis in a dog" presented by Dr Ketki Raje, M.V.Sc. Student and co-authored by Dr J. Mohindroo and T. Singh was adjudged the best paper in the Companion Animal Surgery Section. Another clinical paper entitled " Successful management of Bilateral tibia fracture in a dog using interlocking nailing and POP cast" presented by Dr Varun Prabhakar, M.V.Sc. Student and co-authored by Dr A.K. Bishnoi and M. Raghunath was ranked third in the Companion Animal Surgery Section. Both the presenters were conferred with trophies and Best Student Clinical Presentation Certificates. Dr N.S. Saini, Head, Department of Surgery and Radiology, congratulated the winners and said that such awards will encourage the students and faculty members to work harder for the welfare of the animals.

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Video - Watch Salman & Kareena groove to ‘Desi Beat’ in Bodyguard. Which song is your favourite in the Bodyguard soundtrack?

By Malaika Mehta

Sat, Jul 30, 2011

Watch Salman Khan turn rocker and Kareena Kapoor rock her desi look in the peppy song video 'Desi Beat' from their upcoming movie Bodyguard.

Four songs from the movie are riding high on buzz, I Love You by Ash King, the beautifully sung Teri Meri by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal, the title track Bodyguard sung by Salman himself, and Desi Beat.

'Desi Beat' has been composed by Himesh Reshmmiya and sung by Mika Singh and Amrita Kak. Enjoy the video and watch Salman Khan totally rock the song with his moves.

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Yeddyurappa & SonsShare

In September 2008, barely five months after B S Yeddyurappa had become the first BJP chief minister in southern India, his sons B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijayendra, struck a land deal. It was probably the first major deal where they had used their father's new position to further the family's wealth.

They got Yeddyurappa to release 1.20 acres of prime land in Bangalore, acquired by the government for Rs 17 lakh in 2004, back to its original owners. The brothers bought the land—originally meant for a residential colony—for Rs 20 lakh when it was valued in the market at Rs 1.34 crore.

It is this land deal that ultimately played a role in bringing to an end Yeddyurappa's tenure as chief minister.

After this first successful land transaction, Yeddyurappa's sons went on to complete 12 other similar land de-notification deals for which, according to complaints pending before anti-corruption courts in the state, they either received circuitous payments in their companies or got portions of valuable land around Bangalore at dirt cheap prices.

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PM under Lokpal not advisable: Manmohan

New Dheli(K.V. Prasad)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talks to the media after an all-party meeting at Parliament House on Sunday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Stormy monsoon session starts today; Lokpal Bill to be introduced in Lok Sabha by August 3

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said bringing the office of Prime Minister under the ambit of the Lokpal would "not be advisable."

The government took the decision after "taking all factors into account," Dr. Singh told journalists in the Parliament House.

Earlier he had said he was not opposed to the office of Prime Minister being brought within the Lokpal\'s purview.

"Well, our government has taken a view taking all factors into account. It would not be advisable to bring the Prime Minister within the purview of the Lokpal, except when he demits office," Dr. Singh said.

His remarks come on the eve of the monsoon session of Parliament. The Lokpal Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha by August 3.

Referring to social activist Anna Hazare\'s threat to go on fast from August 16 in protest against a "weak" Lokpal Bill, he said the Bill\'s fate would be decided by Parliament. "As you know, we are ready with the Lokpal Bill and its fate will be decided by Parliament. In a democracy, Parliament is a sovereign body; it should be allowed to function and discharge its duty."

Indications from the Opposition signal a stormy Parliament session as it plans to corner the government on 2G scam, price rise, Telangana, relations with Pakistan, terrorism and an ailing Air India.

The Prime Minister said the Opposition too had "many skeletons in its cupboard." "We are not afraid of discussing issues of corruption. The Opposition also has too many skeletons in its cupboard. We are not afraid of discussing any issue," he said when asked whether the government apprehended a tough session.

Price rise, corruption

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said it would be seen in Parliament "who attacks whom" in the five-week session. "We would like the House to function so that the issues are discussed. The issue of price rise concerns the common man; the issue of corruption too is there and so is the issue of internal security relating to Mumbai blasts. The situation in Telangana has taken a big shape, Naxalism is raising its fangs. Air India is in a bad shape," she said.

The Opposition had given notice on international issues such as the pre-conditions set by the Nuclear Suppliers Group and attacks on Indian fishermen in the Sri Lankan waters.

While the Opposition had no differences on the issues, there appears to be a divergence of the modalities, with the Left and few other parties deciding to give a notice to the Speaker on moving an adjournment motion on price rise.

"This is one way of Parliament expressing how concerned it is on a burning issue that it has decided to keep aside all other business and discuss price rise that is affecting everyone," CPI Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta told

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Will complete 5-year term: Yeddyurappa

Bangalore, Aug 1:PTI

Beleaguered Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr B.S. Yeddyurappa, facing indictment in the illegal mining report by Lokayukta, today asserted his government would complete its five-year term, and the question of his successor does not arise now.

"Central leadership has not asked me to step down. Only (H.D.) Deve Gowda, (H.D.) Kumaraswamy (JDS leaders) and Siddaramaiah (Congress leader) and you people (media) are asking," Mr Yeddyurappa told reporters.

The Chief Minister said he is working for the development of the State "day and night", and had also been praised for fiscal management and then posed a question to the media: "Are you happy or not?".

He said he has not been summoned by BJP's central leadership but pointed out that as a national party, he "talks to them daily".

Asked if he would dissolve the Assembly, the Chief Minister said, "After two years (when the term of the Government ends)....we will go for elections (after two years).

Asked if it would be amenable to him if the central leadership asks him to name a successor, Mr Yeddyurappa said: "So far that question does not arise at all. Don't presume things".

The Chief Minister said once the Lokayukta submits the report, he would hold consultations with Cabinet colleagues and legal experts and take appropriate action.

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One dead as trains collide head-on in India


Two passenger trains collided head on in eastern India on Sunday, killing at least one person and leaving many trapped in the wreckage, a local official said.

The engine of the Guwahati-Bangalore express derailed as it collided with a local train in the Malda district of West Bengal, around 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of state capital Kolkata.

Malda district magistrate Rajesh Sinha told AFP the engines of the trains caught fire after the collision and some carriages tumbled into a paddy field next to the line.

\"Some of the carriages are twisted and many passengers are trapped,\" he said, adding that one person had been confirmed dead.

So far 12 passengers had been pulled out of six mangled coaches and rushed to the government hospital in Malda district, he said.

A relief train has been sent to the scene.

Anxious relatives and friends of the passengers gathered at Howrah railway station in Kolkata, further along the line, seeking information about their loved ones.

The crash came three weeks after a packed express train travelling from Kolkata to New Delhi derailed at high speed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, killing 63 people.

India\'s state-run railway system -- still the main form of long-distance travel despite fierce competition from new private airlines -- carries 18.5 million people every day.

Its worst accident was in 1981 when a train plunged into a river in the eastern state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people.

The railway is the country\'s largest employer with 1.4 million people on its payroll and it runs 11,000 trains a day.

Experts say the system, the world\'s second largest under a single management, is desperately in need of new investment to improve safety and help end transport bottlenecks.

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England v India: MS Dhoni\'s captaincy found wanting as tourists are made to suffer in second Test

(7star News)1/8/2011

It is a truth universally acknowledged in India that Mahendra Singh Dhoni stands as master of the captain's art. Given his record of leading his country to their titles as World Cup winners and No 1 Test side, who are we to argue?

Too cool: India captain MS Dhoni is in pensive mood as he leaves the field after Sunday\'s play at Trent Bridge Photo: ACTION IMAGES By Oliver Brown

10:30PM BST 31 Jul 2011


Even the most casual observer, though, would be entitled to question the leader's oddly detached attitude to his side's ritual slaughter on Sunday.

Dhoni derives his exalted reputation largely from an ability to impart great calmness to his team-mates. This has tended to work brilliantly in the one-day arena, not least when he arrested a tense passage in the World Cup final with a free-swinging 91 off 79 balls.

But Test captaincy, especially when pitched against a batting line-up as remorseless as England\'s, demands a sustained intensity.

While it might appear perverse to criticise Dhoni after his intervention in the Ian Bell imbroglio, his role in allowing India to succumb so abjectly in the field cannot be overlooked.

True, he guarded the sanctity of the game's ethics by admirably withdrawing an appeal for the Bell run-out. But otherwise he suffered quietly through 90 overs of punishment as his seamers toiled and the spinners performed with a weary toothlessness.

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Bare statistics alone reflect the extent of India's predicament here. Not since July 1954 had a Test side shipped 400 runs in a single day at Trent Bridge, before Dhoni's men were swiped for 417 as England surged through the gears.

One moment in particular conveyed their crumbling resistance: in the first action after tea, with all eyes still on the reinstated Bell, Eoin Morgan promptly clattered a short long hop from Suresh Raina to the midwicket fence.

How did Dhoni let the unravelling happen? To a point, he could claim that the third-day pitch rendered batting conditions more benign than at any stage during this compelling duel. But some of his decision-making behind the stumps was unfathomable.

Throughout a listless afternoon session, he persisted far too long with the underwhelming Harbahjan Singh, who was struggling with a stomach strain. Equally, the taking of the second new ball was hardly the moment to deploy the part-time left-arm spin of Yuvraj.

Dhoni has been renowned for his poise ever since he played with a taped-up ball on the streets of his native Ranchi, in the deprived Jarkhand province. Such were the privations he endured in his youth, his leadership for his country has often given the impression that no obstacle is too great, no run chase target too high.

That idea looks a little suspect as India confront a total likely to be well over 400 to salvage the match. They are yet to register an innings of even 300 in this series.

To recover any realistic hope, India needed to be batting by the end of the third day. Instead, the momentum of three quick wickets was lost as Matt Prior and Tim Bresnan forced the pace once more. Dhoni, quite simply, surrendered the advantage.

Where Andrew Strauss had helped inspire Stuart Broad's second-day hat-trick by demanding an instant reaction to the new ball, his counterpart, perhaps too laid-back for his own good, elicited no such reaction from his bedraggled troops.

Despite a flawed display at Trent Bridge, Dhoni remains unimpeachable in the eyes of his players. Sachin Tendulkar believes the 30 year-old is the most accomplished captain he has ever had to serve.

Sourav Ganguly argues he is the finest talisman in the history of Indian cricket: a claim owing much to Dhoni's gesture in handing him the reins for a couple of overs in his farewell Test.

But watching this India team retreat last night, you wondered how they could even begin to justify their No 1 Test ranking. The bowling of Ishant Sharma, committed throughout, or of Praveen Kumar — trying desperately to achieve some late away swing — was workmanlike at best. The fielding, as exemplified by an immobile VVS Laxman in the slips, was not exactly athletic, either.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Sebi goes for big-bang reforms, makes it easier to take over companies

MUMBAI: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has announced a slew of measures that can have far-reaching implications for the market, making it easier to acquire a company, helping mutual funds get more retail investors and making it easier and safer for small investors to access the markets.

The game changer for India Inc, however, is the change in the almost 15-year-old takeover rules, which would now enable companies to buy up to 25% in another company without triggering the mandatory open offer. Currently this trigger is at 15%. The regulator also said that after the new takeover rules become effective, the acquirer will have to buy a further 26% stake in the acquiring company through an open offer, up from 20% now. In effect, under the new rules if the open offer is successful, the acquirer will get a controlling 51% stake in the target company, something which analysts say could give a boost to M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity and ownership changes in the country.

The new rules will also allow companies which hold 14.9% in another company, which is just below the open offer trigger limit, to acquire a further 10% in that company without going for an open offer. For instance, ITC holds just below 15% in Oberoi group\'s East India Hotels and Hotel Leela Ventures. The increase in the open offer trigger price from 15 to 25 % could potentially increase the demand for shares of companies where investors have already acquired 14.9 % and therefore their prices could go up, analysts suggested.

The increase in the open offer size from 20% to 26% was mainly because of industry pressure which was against the 100% offer size recommended under the Achutan Committee set up by Sebi in 2010 to look into changes in the takeover rules, said Pavan Kumar Vijay, MD, Corporate Professionals, a securities and corporate laws advisory firm. \"The move is good for domestic promoters and the industry as the cost concerns related to 100% stake buy under the earlier recommendations and funding of offers of such large sizes have been addressed to a large extent,\" said Vijay, a former president of ICSI.

Besides, the Sebi board, which met here on Thursday, has also done away with the controversial non-compete fees that an acquirer has to pay to the promoters of the target company. In a number of recent takeovers, the acquirer had paid about 10-20% more to the promoters of the target company in the name of non-compete fee but had denied the same to the non-promoter shareholders. The change in rules will allow every shareholder the same price per share in all the acquisitions. A non compete fee also ensures that the seller does not enter the sector in which it was working.

According to Abhishek Dalmia, who made some visible hostile takeover bids in the past, the change in takeover rules would give investors flexibility and leverage to invest more in a company. \"Though the new rules definitely provide for more M&A activity, it may not lead to any substantial increase in hostile takeovers because institutions are not dispassionate and are almost always pro-incumbent promoter,\" Dalmia told TOI.

The market regulator also said that mutual fund distributors will get Rs 150 per new investor they bring into a fund, provided such investments are worth Rs 10,000 or more. Distributors will also get Rs 100 for every new subscription of Rs 10,000 or more from existing investors, the regulator said. Speaking about this move by the regulator, UK Sinha, chairman, Sebi said that the decision was taken after it was observed that after the entry load was abolished in the fund industry from August 2009, the number of fund investors has dropped as also sales of MF schemes in smaller towns have gone down. The new incentive structure \"will help MFs penetrate into retail segment in smaller towns,\" Sinha said.

Sebi also simplified the process of opening a demat account by making the forms simpler. Sinha said that once the new form is in place, the number of signatures one needs to put in to open a trading account will drop from more than 50 to just about one or two. The Know Your Client (KYC) requirement, a process that allows the market regulator to keep track of every investor in the market, will also be simplified. Currently, an investor has to complete separate KYC processes for investing in mutual funds and stock market although both are regulated by Sebi. Now the regulator will allow setting up KYC authorities, and once a KYC requirement is fulfilled at any one of these, the same will be valid for all market transactions.

Sebi also made the IPO process easier by reducing the size of IPO application forms much smaller and said that the information most relevant to the investors will be given in a set format. In a recent interview with TOI, Sinha had said that the information which is available in the 100-200 pages of IPO documents do not help retail investors to take an informed investment decision.
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Pak leaders & Sufi shirnes, an old link

ISLAMABAD: The visit of most Pakistani leaders to shrines has customary significance which continues unabated despite Saudi Arabia\'s investment in propagating their strict version of Wahabi Islam across the country.

The construction of mosques and recruiting their preachers as \"Imams\" in these mosques on handsome salaries, the Saudis have so far not succeeded to overpower the traditional followers of Sufism which emerged in the seventh century as a reactionary force against the worldliness of the early Ummayad Caliphs.

In the sub-continent, according to historians, Sufis (Islamic mystics) played an important role in the spread of Islam. Hence, the Sufi saints have special reverence among its followers. Several Pakistani leaders, including former Pakistani PM Benazi Bhutto, had strong inclination towards the saints and shrines but for others visiting shrines could be merely symbolic. At Makkah, observers say, they will follow the Saudi line of Islam rather than what they practice at the shrines in Delhi, Ajmer or Lahore.

Pakistan\'s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar who visited and offered prayers at Nizamuddin Auliya\'s shrine in Delhi and Khwaja Moiunuddin Chisti\'s at Ajmer, did not come from a family having any spiritual connection with the saints and shrines.

A thorough account of her family has been narrated by her aunt Tehmina Durrani in her book \"My Feudal Lord\". Durrani who was married to Hina\'s uncle Ghulam Mustafa Khar and now happens to be the wife of Punjab\'s chief minister Shahbaz Sharif explained at length the politics of the family, its values, mentalities and views on women and religion. She wrote that Khar ruled the house like a tyrant and his fists did the talking.

\"Khar was the breed of the feudal system where women are no more then mere material objects. There are many reasons for that school of thought. The important ones are lack of education, the cultural values, and finally, one\'s family upbringing and personality.\"

\"Khar was a man obsessed with power; that power had to be practiced to confirm its existence. The \'safest\' domain was his own home, where no one dared to question his authority. He would beat up the servants if the food was not hot enough, me (Tehmina Durrani) if I was late after his first call and his children if they threw a tantrum,\" she wrote.

Luckily, Hina Rabbani Khar is exceptional to the ordeal of the womenfolk of Khar family as narrated by her aunt. To link her association or leaning towards saints and shrines, unlike PM Yusuf Raza Gilani or former FM Shah Mehmud Qureshi, would be an exaggerated narrative. Gilani and Qureshi claim to be the direct descendants and heirs of saints.
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After Tri-Valley, University of Northern Virginia under probe for visa fraud

WASHINGTON: US has assured to protect the interests of hundreds of Indian students at the University of Northern Virginia (UNVA), which was raided by investigating and law enforcement agencies on suspected charges of alleged visa fraud.

In a day-long exercise, which was continuing late in the evening, dozens of officials, from different federal agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI)), entered the Annandale campus of the university and took away with them a large number of boxes full of documents and computer hard drives from its administrative division.

\"Today, officials from ICE\'s Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) served UNVA with a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) UNVA\'s authorisation to admit foreign students,\" ICE spokeswoman Cori W Bassett in a statement.

Based in Annandale, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, the university is believed to have 2,400 students of which 90 per cent are from India, of which an overwhelming majority are said to be from Andhra Pradesh.

The university declined to make any comment, neither did it communicated with its students and staff, except for posting a notice on its entrance informing that the university is still open, but students have the choice to move to other varsities or look for other options if they want.

Informed sources said UNVA was authorised to issue I-20 form to about 50 students, but had issued and enrolled a much larger number.

However, based on the experience of the Tri-Valley case, and given that India had strongly objected to the manner in which its students were treated, US authorities are believed to have informed their Indian counterparts that they would be handling the present investigation and follow up action somewhat differently.

Unlike Tri-Valley University, the focus of investigations here is not on students but on the schools itself. No arrest, detention or electronic monitoring would be done on students, officials said.

Further, the university would not be immediately shut down. The university has been given a months\' notice for explanation.

The present students would have one of the three options: continue at the university while it functions, seek transfer to another university and seek voluntary return to India.

In another major relief, visa status of the students would not be terminated, they would remain valid for their present duration, which would also provide time for seeking transfers while continuing in a valid visa status.

In another notice, ICE has informed the UNVA students that they have two choices - continue to attend classes and maintain their active status, seek transfer to another SEVP-approved institution.

\"UNVA students must immediately depart the country if they are unable to continue to attend classes and maintain their active status in a manner required by the regulation or if they are unable or do not wish to seek transfer to another SEVP-certified institution,\" it said.

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At Rs 20 crore, Taj Mahal remains a top draw

NEW DELHI: The government earned Rs 87.03 crore from entrance fee at 116 centrally-protected monuments in 2010-11, out of which Rs 19.89 crore - the highest - came from footfalls at the Taj Mahal. Eight monuments in the Agra circle contributed the maximum, Rs 37.85 crore, to the kitty.

The overall income is an improvement on 2009-10 figure of Rs 78.23 crore. Agra circle\'s income has also gone up by more than Rs 3 crore from 2009-10.

After Taj Mahal, Agra Fort had maximum visitors as it earned Rs 10.42 crore from tickets, followed by Qutub Minar in Delhi that reported earnings of Rs 10.05 crore. In Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was the third-highest earner (Rs 5.73 crore).

As centrally-protected monuments are divided into various circles, Delhi circle, which boasts of 10 monuments, is the second-highest earner at Rs 22.95 crore. In Delhi, Humayun\'s Tomb earned Rs 6.15 crore, followed by Rs 5.9 crore from the Red Fort. Jantar Mantar raked up Rs 30.25 lakh, Purana Qila (Rs 37.63 lakh), Tughluqabad (2.92 lakh), Feroze Shah Kotla (Rs 2.91 lakh), Safdarjung Tomb (Rs 10.16 lakh) and Sultangiri Tomb (a paltry Rs 1,650).

Aurangabad circle that has six monuments, including Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad Caves, earned Rs 4.27 crore. Ellora, alone, contributed Rs 1.99 crore followed by Ajanta\'s Rs 1.08 crore. Bhopal circle\'s nine monuments, including legendary ones like Bhojshala, Khajuraho, Sanchi and Mandu, contributed Rs 3.69 crore.

Circles of Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore and Hyderabad earned Rs 2.97 crore, Rs 2.59 crore, Rs 2.53 crore and Rs 1.98 crore, respectively. Income from the entrance fee has gone up steadily over the years.
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Hasan Ali\'s wife told to appear before ED

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the wife of Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan, arrested for alleged money laundering, to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for recording of her statement.

A division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and U D Salvi was hearing a petition filed by Khan\'s wife, Rheema, seeking to quash the proceedings initiated against her under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The judges said they cannot entertain the petition when the Supreme Court is monitoring the investigations. \"Today we cannot grant you any relief as the topmost court of this country is seized of the matter,\" said Justice Marlapalle. Rheema also asked that the directorate be restrained from taking coercive steps against her. \"What do you mean by coercive action? It means arrest,\" asked an amused Justice Marlapalle.

Rheema\'s advocate I A Bagaria argued his client is being harassed because she is Khan\'s wife. \"I am shown as a suspect when I have not committed any offence. Inclusion of my name is void ab initio,\" she said.

Additional Solicitor-General Darius Khambata said, \"We have issued 23 summons to this lady. She has come just once in 2009.\" He said the special court, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, had directed Rheema to appear before the agency on Thursday. \"Why don\'t you cooperate with the investigations,\" asked Justice Marlapalle. Bagaria then submitted that Rheema will appear before the ED.

The judges directed Rheema to appear before ED between 3-5 pm on Friday and on August 1, 3 and 5. The judges said Rheema will be permitted an escort to accompany her and wait outside the room while her statement is recorded alone. They also directed compliance of SC\'s order by ED for audiography and videography during recording.

Bagaria argued that since the SC has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case, ED is no longer competent to probe it. To a query from the court whether the SIT has been set up, Khambata replied that a notification will be issued soon.

The judge has directed ED to file a reply to Rheema\'s petition within two weeks and adjourned the matter until then.
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Gambhir ruled out of second Test against England

NEW DELHI: The Indian team received a major setback on Friday when opener Gautam Gambhir was ruled of out of the second Test against England at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

In Gambhir\'s absence, Rahul Dravid may again be forced to step up to open the innings and Yuvraj Singh will get another chance to resurrect his Test career.

Gambhir had taken a nasty blow on his elbow in the first Test, fielding at forward short-leg. He went out of the field immediately and didn\'t even open the second innings.

Dravid did the honours along with Abhinav Mukund. Gambhir did come back on the final day and batted quite comfortably too; the swelling had, however, not subsided.

Gambhir took rest on Wednesday even though he did participate in the football game; he also hit a few balls without actually taking any strain on his arms.

On Thursday, though, he came all padded up and had a go at the nets.

India are already without the swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, as both are nursing injuries.
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Hina Rabbani Khar pitches for Indo-Pak cricket series

NEW DELHI: Pakistan\'s young foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar was quickly on to the front foot as she broached the topic of sports diplomacy during her meeting with SM Krishna on Wednesday. Batting for resumption of cricketing ties, Khar told Krishna that the game had the potential to bring closer the two countries at a time when people were keen on peace.

Khar made the point that the time was particularly ripe for resuming Test series between the two nations. There has been no bilateral series since the Mumbai attacks in 2008. In fact, no international team has toured Pakistan since March 2009 when the Sri Lankans were attacked in Lahore by terrorists.

Krishna responded, saying India was keen on resuming sporting ties and hoped India would soon host the Pakistani cricket team and vice versa. While cricket did not find specific mention in the joint statement, it said the two ministers emphasized on holding sports tournaments. Khar is also learnt to have pitched for cricket matches between the women\'s teams of the two countries.

The idea played on throughout her visit. At Wednesday\'s dinner in the Pakistan high commission, she asked BCCI vice-president and MoS for parliamentary affairs Rajeev Shukla to work towards initiating an India-Pakistan cricket series.

BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla is learnt to have assured visiting Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar that resumption of an Indo-Pak cricket series would be discussed at the BCCI meeting scheduled for next month. A series is said to be tentatively scheduled for next year but it has not been confirmed yet.

The BCCI and the Pakistan cricket board recently held a meeting in Hong Kong on the sidelines of the ICC annual conference in which resumption of bilateral cricketing ties was discussed.

Khar, a polo enthusiast herself, may have taken some tips from her 11-year-old son, a cricket enthusiast who accompanied her to India. For a Pakistan cricket board that is struggling to remain afloat, it is imperative to engage India in a bilateral series not just to generate revenues but also to give the right message to other Test nations who are shying away from playing there.

In India though, it is likely to be seen by many, including opposition parties, as a major concession to Pakistan. Krishna had said in April that India had agreed to play matches with Pakistan while going ahead with peace talks, leading to BJP condemning the statement. The opposition party maintains that cricket ties should be revived only if there is a change in Pakistan\'s attitude towards terror.
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University of Oxford to launch merchandise in India

BANGALORE: This could be some solace for those who have made it in life but still regret missing out on an Oxford badge, and a chance for youngsters to wear their destination: TheUniversity of Oxford plans to launch its merchandise in India.

Oxford Limited-which runs University of Oxford Shop and manages the global brand licensing programme of the 800-year-old hallowed British University- has signed upBradford License India to find partners to adapt Oxford brand into apparel,educational toys, stationery, gifts and home linen in the country. \"The Indian consumer market is growing very fast at the moment and we feel it is an ideal time to introduce the brand,\" Oxford Limited MD Chris Evans said.

\"The Oxford alumni in India is certainly a factor which will be used as an advantage to make it a consumer brand in India,\" he said. Bradford License India VP Chitra Johri said the products would be introduced in India next year. She said her company has begun talks with 4-5 retailers and apparel makers. The Oxford brand is popular even across tier II and tier III cities because of the eponymous dictionary, Johri said.

Oxford merchandise sale is estimated 20-30 million pounds across Europe, North America, Japan, China and South Korea. The University, which earns a royalty from its partners, has been aggressively expanding this business to newer territories. The university\'s colleges and vintage halls have served as the backdrop of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter films.

Its Botanic Garden, manuscripts from the Bodleian library and artwork from the Ashmolean Muesum of Art too lend the canvas for lifestyle products across apparel & accessories, educational games and back-to school categories.

Bradford License India, a joint venture between Franchise India and US-based Brandford Licensing, is also sewing up partners for Donald Trump\'s high-end fashion brand and merchandise for Paramount Pictures\' film Adventures of Tintin in November.

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For high-spirited youngsters, Hyderabad offers many varieties to choose from

HYDERABAD: Cocaine could be making headlines, but it\'s definitely not the only drug giving the `high-spirited\' Hyderabadi junta a high. Their addiction list includes a range of other `stuff\' that starts from the cheap and easily available weed (ganja) to the more potent and expensive ecstasy and LSD.

There is also hashish (made from cannabis), charas (another version of hashish) and heroin (derived from opium) that have a huge clientele in the city. Besides our Tollywood stars, a significantly large number of young professionals and college students too are hooked on to these substances.

And this, despite the rising cost of these addictives. Apart from some `diluted\' versions of marijuana (ganja), that are found for a nominal Rs 100 or so (per gram), the rest of the stuff come at astronomical prices. Here\'s a quick look at the rate card. Hashish: Rs 1,500-Rs 2,500 (per tola), ecstasy (pill): Rs 1,600- Rs 2,500 per piece, LSD: Rs 2,000 or more (per drop). \"Even good quality weed comes for nothing less than Rs 500 a sachet,\" said a reveller from the city adding how it has increasingly become a fad to smoke among young pub-goers. \"Especially boys are looked down upon if they don\'t smoke. There is a huge peer pressure behind the rising rate of drug addicts,\" the reveller said.

Predictably, this tremendous surge in the number of addicts is leading to a rapid expansion of the drug market in Hyderabad. Found only in select pockets until a few years ago, they are now sold in places across the city. Topping the charts in this trade are areas such as Dhoolpet, Begum Bazar and Sitaphalmandi among other small `dope joints\'. \"These markets are well-known hubs for marijuana (ganja). The dealers here also sell other drugs, but that is done very discreetly,\" said an observer noting how in earlier days ganja trading was more blatant in Hyderabad. \"In every nook and corner of the city one could find these peddlers. It is only after the hard drugs started to flood the market and drew the police\'s attention, did they go underground,\" the source said. But while the dealings are now kept under wraps, these drugs are available in abundance across Hyderabad, insiders claim adding how the police seem to be little bothered about this.

In fact, even official records show how the men in khaki in the last two years have largely busted cocaine gangs and seized very small quantities of ganja, charas and brown sugar. No action has been taken to curb the use of major drugs like LSD and ecstasy. In 2009 for instance, the city police booked 24 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, arrested 43 persons and seized 264.5 kilos of ganja and 28 grams of brown sugar. In 2010, the number of cases under the same Act jumped to 51 and 98 persons was arrested in these cases. A total of 556 grams of cocaine, 440 kg of ganja, 900 grams of ephedrine (a chemical used in drugs) and 400 grams of charas was seized from the accused. \"These numbers, though look impressive on the face of it, are very small when compared to the growth of the trade in the city. Every day, several kilos of ganja are brought into the city from neighbouring districts. The police need to do much more to check the menace,\" said an observer of the drug `industry\' of Hyderabad.

Apart from local consumption, ganja from Andhra Pradesh is even exported to other states in south and central India too. \"The ganja available here is considered to be of very high quality and is, therefore, smuggled out in huge quantities\" said a police official while maintaining silence on the department\'s role in addressing the issue. In fact, those doing marijuana in Hyderabad say that the men in uniform have even turned a blind eye to the rising number of ganja peddlers roaming the streets of the city. In Dhoolpet for example (the hub of ganja peddlers), several pan shops have ganja stocks that are sold to any interested party that approaches the shop. That this is done without the knowledge of the police is hard to belief, observers say. Many of them are also LSD and ecstasy suppliers who have never been nabbed by the police who only seem to be running behind coke peddlers.

\"Cocaine and ganja are dealt with by two different peddler groups. We have information about the synthetic drugs dealers also and hear that these substances are available even at city pubs. We are now cracking down on coke peddlers and will soon focus on the other network too,\" said a Task Force inspector, in his team\'s defense.

(This is the concluding part of a series on drugs in the city)
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Boy spends one year in jail for stealing Rs 200

NEW DELHI: On Thursday, a metropolitan magistrate convicted Shamsuddin Fakruddin of theft, making it the happiest day of his life. As his lawyer explained to him that the court had just declared him guilty, Shamsuddin\'s boyish face broke into a smile. He was finally free.

For 12 months now, Shamsuddin (19) has been lodged in Tihar Jail despite the fact that his alleged crime, that of stealing Rs 200, would usually carry a sentence of three months\' imprisonment. After being denied bail once, he was granted bail three months ago, but did not have the Rs 10,000 in property needed for a bail bond.

Shamsuddin changed his initial not-guilty plea to a guilty plea when he learnt that his father had passed away two days ago. \"I\'ll say I am guilty. I just want to get out. I just want to go home to my village,\" he whispered to his lawyer.

After migrating to Delhi four years ago from his village in Uttar Pradesh\'s Bahraich district on the border with Nepal, Shamsuddin sold vegetables at a street corner near Okhla mandi. On August 5 last year, Shamsuddin was picked up by the Amar Colony police on charges of taking a wallet containing Rs 200 and an ATM card from the pocket of a complainant.

Shamsuddin maintains that he did not commit any theft, and that the wallet in his pocket was his own. He was arrested and charged under sections 379 (theft) and 411 (dishonestly keeping stolen property) of the IPC, and sent to Tihar Jail for judicial custody. Boy jailed for a yr for .

Despite his alleged crime typically carrying a sentence of three months, Shamsuddin was first denied bail on February 26, 2011, because of the \"seriousness\" of his crime. He had by then already completed six months in judicial custody.

Then two months later, he was granted bail by metropolitan magistrate Mona Tardi Kerketta, provided he furnished a bail bond of Rs 10,000 and that someone could stand surety for him.

By this time, lawyers of the Human Rights Law Network, an NGO that fights human rights cases and represents the poor pro bono, had met Shamsuddin in Tihar Jail, and started representing him. However, Shamsuddin\'s family could not be located, and he did not have property or savings that he could show as collateral against the Rs 10,000 bail bond. So, he was forced to remain in judicial custody.

On Thursday morning, police officers brought Shamsuddin to the magistrate\'s court. Just over five feet tall, he wore a cream-coloured shirt and black trousers and looked holloweyed, casting nervous glances at his lawyer. He had hurt his leg, he said, and asked if he could sit as he awaited his turn, a request that was turned down. Half an hour after he was produced in court, metropolitan magistrate Kerketta heard Shamsuddin\'s lawyer\'s plea. They had decided to plead guilty as the surest way of getting released.

The magistrate convicted Shamsuddin and ordered his release. He did not understand what had just happened until it was explained to him by his lawyer. \"She is releasing you,\" his lawyer said. Shamsuddin was taken back to Tihar Jail by the policeman who had brought him there.

After a copy of the order reaches jail authorities, Shamsuddin will be released. \"Tell him not to do something like this again,\" the policeman told Shamsuddin\'s lawyer as they waited for the lift. \"But I didn\'t do anything in the first place,\" Shamsuddin said to no one in particular. Unfortunately, Shamsuddin\'s case is not rare. HRLN is currently handling 17 other cases of petty theft where the accused is between 18-22 years old and has been in judicial custody for over six months.

In most of the cases, bail has been granted but the accused remains in custody either because he is unable to show property or savings for the bail bond, or because the police have not been able to verify his correct address for his release on a personal bond.

Times View

As per rulings of the Supreme Court, those who have spent more time in jail as undertrials than the maximum sentence for the crime they are charged with should be granted bail. As this case shows, granting bail can often become meaningless if the accused does not have the means to come up with the bail amount. We, therefore, suggest that in such cases bail should be given without any surety. The accused should then be told that if he or she absents himself from future hearings of the case, guilt will be presumed and he or she will be convicted as charged. Since the maximum possible punishment has anyway been extracted, the prosecution and society lose nothing if the person absconds. So why insist on surety?

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Train travel to get faster with electrification of rail routes

LUCKNOW: The electrification of rail routes, currently underway in the state, will make train travel faster. The work is already on some of the busiest rail routes. The 30 km Barabanki-Burhwal section has been charged with 25 KV.

Besides, the Central Organization for Rail Electrification (CORE) has sanctioned electrification for newer routes like Burhwal-Sitapur. The electrification work is expected to be over by December 2013.

\"It is a time taking project but once done it will make operation of trains much faster,\" said Alok Srivastava, PRO, Lucknow, North Eastern Railway. The electrification on the routes will improve the pickup of trains. Apart from speed enhancement, electrification of routes will also make running of trains pollution-free and environment-friendly as there would be no dependence on fossil fuels. The electrified routes will not require change of engine from the diesel to electric. Secondly, electric engines might also reduce engine failures.

The electrification work on Barabanki-Burhwal section began in 2008. In UP, 24.56% of rail route has already been electrified. According to railway electrification directorate, electrification work is underway on routes like Moradabad-Lucknow and Gorakhpur-Lucknow. Different deadlines have been set for the completion of works. Two portions of the said section are being electrified - 254 km long Barabanki-Gorakhpur and 179 km long Gorakhpur-Chhapra.

Presently, trains run at the speed of 110 kmph. After electrification this speed will increase to at least 120 kmph. The faster trains will reduce congestion on tracks.

According to railway electrification directorate, electrification work is on in six other rail routes of the state. After electrification work is over on Moradabad-Lucknow route, operation of trains between Lucknow-New Delhi will improve.
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Lokpal Bill row: Delhi Police deny Team Anna permission to hold fast

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police on Friday denied permission to veteran social activist Anna Hazare to hold an indefinite hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on August 16.

The Delhi Police referred to the Supreme Court\'s 2009 order to deny team Anna permission for the indefinite strike anywhere in Delhi, the Times Now channel reports.

The police, in its letter to Hazare, said that as Parliament would be in session, no group could be allowed to capture the entire space at Jantar Mantar, as many groups come out for protests during that period.

The letter further states that if team Anna wished they could hold their strikes in Delhi\'s outskirts, or give a definite time limit during which they would be allowed a sit-in protest.

Charging the government of bringing a fractured Lokpal Bill, Hazare had said on Thursday in Maharashtra\'s Ralegaon Siddi town that he would protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on August 16.

\"The entire country will protest with me at Jantar Mantar on August 16...This is not Hazare\'s protest but the entire country\'s. The people need to look at this as a second fight for their freedom and they should all come out on the streets,\" Hazare said.

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the official draft of the Lokpal Bill and trashed the key proposals moved by Anna\'s team.

The bill provides for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The bill envisages setting up the institution of Lokpal consisting of a chairperson and eight members with the stipulation that half of the members shall be judicial members.

It will have its own Investigation Wing and Prosecution Wing with such officers and staff as are necessary to carry out its functions.

The Lokpal shall inquire into allegations of corruption made in respect of Prime Minister, after he has demitted office; a Minister of the Union; a Member of Parliament; any Group \'\'A\'\' officer or equivalent; Chairperson or member or officer equivalent to Group \'\'A\'\' in any body/ Board/ corporation/ authority/ company/ society/ trust/ autonomous body established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly financed or controlled by the Central Government; any director, manager, secretary or other officer of a society or association of persons or trust wholly or partly financed or aided by the government or in receipt of any donations from the public and whose annual income exceeds such amount as the Central Government may by notification specify.

However, the organisations created for religious purposes and receiving public donations would be outside the purview of Lokpal.

The Lokpal shall not require sanction or approval under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in cases where prosecution is proposed.

The Lokpal will also have powers to attach the property of corrupt public servants acquired through corrupt means.
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Speak Asia\'s COO Tarak Bajpai arrested

INDORE: The Mumbai police has arrested the chief operating officer of an online survey company for alleged financial irregularities, police said on Friday.

Tarak Bajpai, the chief operating officer (COO) of Speak Asia, was arrested late last night in connection with a forgery case from the Vijay Nagar police station area, City Superintendent of Police Amarinder Singh said.

Singh, who refused to give further details, said that Bajpai was being taken to Mumbai for detailed interrogation.

The Singapore-based company Speak Asia, which is yet to be incorporated as a company in India, charges a membership fee of Rs 11,000 for a year. The members are expected to conduct online surveys for clients of the firm. Members are paid for conducting the surveys.

Following a controversy in May this year over the company\'s operations, an investors protection group filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court.
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Barack Obama losing sleep as debt deal goes down to wire

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal and his White House was working flat out, aides said, pushing back against any impression Congress had sidelined the administration.

\"He\'s getting absolutely no sleep. He\'s working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise,\" top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said.

White House officials have blanketed US cable television in the last few days to get their message over that Republicans were harming the US economy by refusing to compromise over measures to cut the deficit and lift the borrowing ceiling.

Lawmakers must lift the country\'s $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling by an August 2 deadline to act or risk a devastating default and downgrade of its vital AAA credit rating.

Obama\'s chief of staff Bill Daley, key adviser David Plouffe and Jarrett herself have been almost constantly on air, while also reaching beyond the Beltway to regional press and radio.

\"I don\'t know how you can get more actively involved,\" Daley told CNN when charged that the White House has been relegated to the sidelines in the deficit debate by Congress. \"I\'m in constant conversations, as are many of our staff, with people on the Hill,\" he said.

Vice-President Joe Biden, who led bipartisan negotiations to explore a deal, has been a key conduit to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, with whom he has a rapport.

White House budget chief Jack Lew and top Obama economic aide Gene Sperling have also reinforced Obama in reaching out to Congress. Daley and Jarrett, both with business backgrounds, have been the president\'s top emissaries to the business community, where concerns over the debt ceiling have grown.

\"Today they are very nervous. My phone was ringing off the hook all day long,\" said Jarrett, who said she cancelled several meetings just to be able to field incoming calls.

Several press conferences and a prime-time televised address to the nation by the president from the stately East Room, plus a background briefing by senior Obama aides that went late into Friday night, have added to the controlled frenzy at the White House.

This has translated into even longer days than normal at the White House, which already begin in the early hours of every morning as senior staff prepared for their daily 7.30am meeting in the office of the chief of staff..
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Pakistani Taliban say they have Swiss tourists

SHAWAL: The Pakistani Taliban\'s No 2 commander says his group has custody of two kidnapped Swiss tourists, and that it will free them if the US releases an imprisoned female Pakistani scientist.

The Swiss pair were abducted in the southwest Baluchistan province earlier this month.

Taliban commander Waliur Rehman said his group ordered the kidnapping in order to gain freedom for Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated mother of three who is serving 86 years in an American jail for trying to kill US officials in Afghanistan.

Rehman says the Swiss have not been tortured.

But he says that if Siddiqui is not freed, a Taliban court will decide the fate of the pair.
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SC suspends mining activity in Bellary

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has suspended with immediate effect the mining of iron ore in 10,868 hectares in Bellary district of Karnataka.

\"We are of the view that the mining of iron ore in Bellary be suspended immediately till further orders,\" a special bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kadia said.

The court said the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) will, meanwhile, come out with an interim report on the requirement of the iron ore for the country\'s steel industry.

Secondly, the bench said, the MoEF will also spell out as to how much of iron ore is required for the domestic industry and how much needs to be imported.

The court issued the directions accepting attorney general GE Vahanvati\'s submission that the MoEF will come out with the report in consultation with other ministries concerned -- mines, steel and commerce.

The bench passed the order after perusing the latest report of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which had said that the illegal mining was going on not only in a rampant manner, but it was also causing irreversible environmental degradation.

The court took environmental degradation into account for suspending the mining activities in Bellary.
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Mystery shrouds actress Srabonti Das\' death

KOLKATA: Mystery shrouds the death of Tollywood actress Srabonti Das. Better known as Dona in the industry, she had sustained burn injuries on Monday night and was rushed to Medical College and Hospital Calcutta (MCHC). But the 34-year-old passed away on Wednesday afternoon. Police has registered a case of unnatural death.

Ambitious and hard working, Srabonti shot to fame in Tollywood with the role where she played a same sex partner to Locket Chatterjee. A lip-locking scene in Chhoye Chhuti instantly won her recognition. Though she has not had any big release in the past one year, she was working on a few films that are due for release. She had also worked in few serials and jatras.

\"Dona was a jolly, lively and fun-loving human being. She was also an eager learner who always asked me for suggestion during the shooting of Chhoye Chhuti. I am shocked to hear the news of her death,\" said Locket.

Srabonti, who has a teenage son from her first marriage, is married to Sukanta Das for almost 10 years now. Das runs a production house and also acts in plays. The two have a seven-year-old son. Rohit, Dona\'s son from the first marriage, lived with his father in Bagbazar. He had committed suicide last month. According to Das, Srabonti was depressed after losing her son.

\"In fact, she had paid a visit to her ex-husband\'s place on Monday to attend the last ritual of her son. She looked disturbed after coming back. That night, I had gone to bed after dinner. Soon after, around 11.45pm, I heard her scream from the kitchen. I rushed to find her in flames,\" said Das.

Das added that Srabonti was first taken to a nearby nursing home and then to MCHC. She died around 12.40pm. on Wednesday. Before her death, she apparently told police that she had gone to the kitchen to boil milk. But it is not yet clear on how the fire caught her.

\"She had sustained 40% burn injuries. But with parts of her face and her limbs burnt, she seemed worried that she would not be able to go back to the showbiz world. We were even planning to shift her to a nursing home after she got better in MCHC,\" said Das.Dona was looking forward to the release of \'Proxy\' where she played the lead role. Apart from that, she was also working for jatras with her husband.
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Jailed MPs want to attend Parliament, government has nothing to do with it

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday steered clear of the issue of granting permission to jailed MPs to attend the monsoon session of Parliament.

\"Government has nothing to do with it. The issue of permission is between the concerned MP and the Lok Sabha Speaker or Chairman of the Rajya Sabha,\" parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters here.

His comments came close on the heels of Congress MP and sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi saying he will approach the Delhi high court for such permission.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had recently said that Kalmadi would be able to attend Parliament only if a competent court allowed him to do so.

If allowed, Kalmadi won\'t be the first MP to attend Parliament while in custody.

In the past, RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin and independent MP Pappu Yadav were convicted in separate cases for murder but were shifted from a Bihar jail to the Tihar Jail to participate in Parliament proceedings after securing permission from the courts.

Former telecom minister A Raja and his DMK colleague Kanimozhi are also lodged in Tihar jail.
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Rebellion in Karnataka BJP; MLAs, MPs back BSY

BANGALORE: The BJP\'s crisis in Karnataka seems to have worsened with some party MPs and MLAs coming out in support of sacked chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and asking party high command to reconsider his resignation.

According to Times Now, 75 MLAs and 19 MPs have come out in support of Yeddyurappa and have asked him not to resign.

Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh are in Bangalore and have spoken to Yeddyurappa.

The central leaders are here to elect a new leader amid reports that Yeddyurappa is pressing hard for having a say in the choice of his successor.

Yeddyurappa reluctantly agreed to resign on Thursday following the party high command\'s decision in the wake of his severe indictment by the Lokayukta in the illegal mining scam. He said he will be officially submitting his resignation to Governor HR Bharadwaj on July 31.

DB Chandre Gowda, an MP said, \"Karnataka BJP MPs are of the unanimous opinion that Yeddyurappa should not resign.

He is not an individual. He is an institution as CM. He should have taken the opinion of all elected representatives. We appeal to the high command to reconsider.\"

Gowda also said, \"The Lokayukta report has lost its sanctity--it leaked.\"

Housing minister V Somanna said, \"You all know he has said he will resign on 31st. But it is not the right time. Lok Sabha MPs have expressed their opinion. Deve Gowda has said his party won\'t survive if Yeddyurappa stays for another two years as CM.\"

Revenue minister G Karunakara Reddy, who has also been indicted along with his brother and minister G Janardhana reddy, slammed Lokayukta Santosh Hegde saying allegations against him were untrue and demanded a public apology.

Yeddyurappa while breaking his silence after the party asked him to step down said he has agreed to resign as a \"disciplined worker\" of BJP.

In his first comments after keeping the party on tenterhooks, Yeddyurappa said in a statement he had toiled for 40 years to build the party in Karnataka from scratch and it was his \"committed desire\" to work for its development in future also.
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Dairy industry is growing fast in Punjab and commercial units having hi-tech and mechanized facilities are being developed in the state. The feeding alone involves up to 65-70% of the recurring expenditure in these farms. For being successful, the dairy farmer must be aware about the economical and balanced ration formulation, emphasized PAU scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendras of Sangrur, Bathinda and Ropar. The scientists suggested useful tips for the preparation of domestic ration for dairy cattle and buffaloes, feeding schedule for dairy heifers and rations for lactating animals, dry cows/buffaloes and for pregnant cows/buffaloes.

Educating the dairy farmers, Mr Bharat Singh from KVK Sangrur, told that water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins are well organized feed nutrients. He added that they are to be ingested by the animals mainly for providing necessary elements for repair/maintenance of the body, raw materials for the synthesis of the body tissues in growth and for generating heat necessary for maintaining body temperature. Besides, they also serve as source of energy for vital processes in the body like growth, work, production, etc., and as a raw material for the production of milk. Mr Singh highlighted that the feeding of balanced ration achieves optimum growth rate, milk, production and reproductive efficiency of the animal. The animal can also have a sound health, free from nutritional deficiencies and related disorders, when fed with balanced ration.

Dr APS Dhaliwal, from KVK, Bathinda said "Dairy animals with a potential for milk production need to be fed judiciously with a balanced ration consisting of dry roughage, green fodder and concentrate." Accordingly, in cows for every 2.5 kg of milk produced one kg of concentrate has to be fed, said he, telling that for buffaloes, because of higher fat content in milk, for every two kg of milk produced, one kg of concentrate has to be fed. Laying emphasis on feeding of dairy animals, Dr Dhaliwal impressed upon the diary farmers to maintain regularity in feeding the animals with the balanced ration. Asking the farming community to be kind and liberal in feeding the animals, the scientist told them to feed the green fodder throughout the year and the food should contain straw, concentrates and greens for balanced feeding.

Elaborating further, Ms Aparna Gupta from KVK, Ropar, suggested the dairy farmers, "Avoid any sudden change in ration as it upsets the digestion and intake of animals, provide laxative ration to keep normal digestion and fodder having off-smell must be fed after milking so that the off flavour may not be imparted to the milk." As the dairy animals can consume dry matter 2.5 to 3.0 % of their body weight, the total need of dry matter may be calculated and 66% of it may be supplied through roughages and the rest by concentrates, said she and advised the dairy farmers to make clean and fresh drinking water accessible to cows/buffaloes in summer, to clean the feeding manger before giving fresh feed to the animals and told that leguminous green fodder not be fed on empty stomach to dairy animals as it may upset the digestion and cause bloat. The PAU scientist also emphasized that concentrate provided to dairy cow must have 15-17% CP and 70% TDN.

Asking the dairy farmers to take precautionary measures, the PAU scientists told them to remove grains and fodder always from the manger before new feed is given, make all changes in the diet gradually and give the largest feed of the day when the animal is resting. Suggesting the farmers to give coarse fodder and roots chopped so that they may be utilized efficiently, they also asked them to feed concentrate according to the requirements and do not overfeed the animals. All these efforts are helpful to dairy farmer to achieve enhanced output and lowers down the investment on feeding, said they.
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A Big Push to the Livestock Sector through GADVASU Extension Services


Dr. H.K. Verma, Head, Veterinary & animal husbandry extension education GADVASU revealed that Ministry of Agriculture, and cooperation Govt. of India has sanctioned an eight day "Model training course" to this department on "Eco friendly & Modern dairy farming practices for field personnels and the funds will be released soon. Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University was established with the aim to upliftment the livestock sector by impacting the scientific knowledge to the livestock farmers through various means. Since the inception of GADVASU, Directorate of Extension is striving its best for transfer of technologies to the livestock farmers. In the present scenario, extension wing seems to be in full swing. In this connection it is pertinent to mention that this department had recently organized "Twin animal welfare camps in village Umadpur and Akalgarh of District Ludhiana. Scheduled Two week dairy farmers training was started on 25th July 2011 & 29 trainees are undergoing training. Further, this department will be organized a knowledge updating programme for dairy farmers from different states like Rajasthan, Bihar, U.P. and the skill updation training programme for Veterinary officers of others states from 1st August onwards.

Likewise this department is going to organize a three days training programme on "Quality & Balanced feed Manufacturing" for the feed manufacturer of Punjab state from 2nd Aug. to 5 Aug. 2011.

Dr. Kulbir Singh Sandhu, Director of Extension Education, GADVASU revealed that more and more farmers including unemployed youths are opting the livestock farming paving the way for high demand of livestock product and this livestock revolution. He further revealed that inspite of various tough field conditions the extension wing is doing its best for the upliftment of socio-economic status of rural people as livestock is a source of self employment, regular income along with a way for diversification of traditional agriculture.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

More than One million Students participated in ABVP’s Nationwide anti-corruption Protest

\"Dismiss Corrupt Central Government\" : Gen. Sec. Umesh Dutt

Today on 27th July more than one million students participated in the protest call given by ABVP against corrupt central government. Gen. Sec. Umesh Dutt termed this as a mere beginning. In coming future central government has to face huge outrage of students. Government which is badly indulged in corruption should step down otherwise ABVP will start agitation with slogan "Bhrashtachariyon Satta Chhodo".

ABVP has blamed Prime Minister who is directly responsible for corruption with Smt. Soniya Gandhi & Shri. Rahul Gandhi. Instead of taking action on corrupt people he has always lied to protect A. Raja, Kalmadi & CVC Thomas. On the other hand efforts are being made to torture & defame the people fighting against corruption. For this he has openly used government machinery & CBI.

ABVP holds this government untrustworthy & incompetent to curb corruption & to punish corrupt people. ABVP has appealed in his memorandum sent across the country to Hon'ble President to tight rein on government otherwise this agitation will be intensified.

ABVP has propagated a mandate containing 13 points to control corruption. This will guide common man to have corruption free access to government machinery.

Today students in thousands protest on road in every metro as well as small district centre. In almost all provinces there was good participation of students in protests. In the leadership of ABVP, in Bengaluru, more than 20000 students formed human chain. The same spirit was seen in Guwahati, Assam where around 1000 students participated. In Silchar 3000 students were there. On different places in Bihar 31470, Jharkhand 23231, Karnatak 148400, Rajasthan 52850 students participated. In Port Blair also students protested on road. In Delhi more than 2000 students were agitating & shouting slogans against corruption. News of huge demonstrations has received from various parts of the country.

Various ABVP leaders Shimla Gen. Sec. Umesh Dutt, in Thane (Maharashtra) National President Prof. Milind Marathe, in Ahmedabad National Org. Sec. Sunil Ambekar, In Delhi National Jt. Org. Sec. & Convener of YAC Sunil Bansal, in Bhopal Jt. Convener of YAC Vishnudutt & in Bengaluru N. Ravikumar led the agitation.

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Dewan meets Mr Charak

LUDHIANA, July 27:

Ludhiana District Congress Committee president Pawan Dewan met the party general secretary and incharge for Punjab Thakur Gulchain Singh Charak in Chandigarh yesterday.

Mr Charak congratulated Dewan for being appointed the DCC president and asked him to work hard and come up to the expectations of the party. He said, all the appointments had been approved by the party President Ms Sonia Gandhi with the confidence that they will work hard to ensure the victory of the party candidates in the coming elections.

Dewan assured Mr Charak that he will ensure that all the six assembly segments in his area are won by the Congress. He also briefed him about various activities of the party including the mass contact programme being carried out by the DCC, Ludhiana. He said, the party was preparing the booth committees also.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

School Students visit at Vet. Varsity

Ludhiana-27- july-2011

To provide Practical Knowledge and experience to children for the life related livestock activities is must for their overall development. These views were expressed by Dr. Kulbir Singh Sandhu Director of Ext. Edu. when a group of students of Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar visited the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary And Animal Sciences University. About 275 students of ninth standard of this School interacted while their visit to different farms of university. The urbanite background students showed keen interest in the daily functioning of the farms.

Students were explained the system of milk, egg & fish production during practical demonstrations at Dairy, Poultry & Fisheries units. At college of Fisheries activities about netting of fish, feeding, breeding related demonstrations and culture of ornamental fishes were explained. Teacher incharge of the School Madam Kusum Sharma told that animal Husbandry is a chapter of their curriculum and practical hand on information is very useful for their studies. Dr. Kulbir Singh Sandhu, Dr. M. S. Ball, Dr. Meera Ansal and Dr. Puneet Malhotra narrated them all the different activities in details of farm operations. Whereas students watched the complete cycle from the chaff-cutter of fodder to the machine milking they also witnessed the Bio Gas plant of university who is producing environment friendly electricity with a daily saving of Rs. 1000/-. / Dr. Kulbir Singh Sandhu said that these types of visits inculcate feeling of affection and care towards the animals. Students may also develop the taste of Veterinary & animal husbandry related professions from these inputs.

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Press Note

A deputation of the Association of the Punjab School Education Board, Affiliated Schools, Punjab (Regd.) met Hon'ble S. Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Education Minister, Punjab, and S. Dalbir Singh Dhillon, Chairman, Punjab School Education Board, Mohali & other members of the board authorities under the Presidentship of Sh. Rajinder Sharma, along with Sh. I.M. Dutta, Sh. Sukhpal Singh and others representatives from the various distt. of the state and put the difficulties confronted by the affiliated schools before him.

The deputation discussed the various problems with the Education Minister & Chairman. Sh. Rajinder Sharma informed the Education Minister that those schools are affiliated up to VIII class with PSEB must be upgraded to X class and those are affiliated up 10th class with PSEB they must be upgraded up to 10+2 class. There should be no step motherly treatment with the affiliated schools for the up-gradation. They had also demanded the rules for getting affiliation from the Punjab School Education Board should be amended so that private schools can get affiliation easily. On this occasion S. Sewa Singh Sekhwan said that those schools will clear the condition for upgradation must be upgraded as early as possible. He further said that in the beginning of the upgradation only Arts & Commerce stream will be permitted.

Sh I. M Dutta Said that it is the weak point of the semester system that if there is compartment in the first semester then students have to appear in compartment paper on the same day of the second semester exam with same subject in morning& evening session respectively. He further said that it is most difficult for the students to appear in two papers on the same day. The worthy Chairman said that this problem will be sort out and compartment paper will scheduled before or after the commencement of second semester examination.

Sh. Rajinder Sharma said that Punjab School Education Board has charged Rs. 50000/- as late fee for the renewal of study centre of Punjab Open School. It is a heavy burden on the meager resources of the schools.

Hon'ble Chairman, said that it will be reconsidered and genuine renewal fee will be charged from the next session, but it is also duty of the school authorities to fill the renewal Performa with in the specified time period. He further said that admission dates for IX, X, XI & XII classes is extended up to 1st August 2011 so that more and more students can get admissions.

Hon'ble Chairman, PSEB said that Registration return & Examination Forms will be submitted with late fee up to 3rd August 2011 at the Head office of the Punjab School Education Board, Mohali.

The worthy Education Minister & Chairman, PSEB, listened to the delegation and assured them to take due action to sort out their problems. They assured the delegation that these problems will be solved as soon as possible.

In the end all the members of the association heartily thanked to Chairman to listen them and to sort out their problems. The members present on the occasion were : S. Kuljeet Singh, S. Balwinder Singh Kaler, Sh. R.L. Mansotra, S. Nagin Singh, S. Harbhajan Singh Kang, S. Avtar Singh Mahal, S. Parminder Singh Sandhu, S. Jasbir Singh, S. Gurjeet Singh, Baba Mahant Ji, S. Baldev Singh, Sh. Manmohan Prasahar, Sh. Vijay Sagar, S. Narinder Singh Grewal, S. Jaswinder Singh, S. Harnek Singh, S. Amanpreet Singh, S. Tejinder Kaur, Smt. Parminder Kaur, S. Inderjeet Singh, S. Jagmohan Singh , Sh. S S Sandu, Sh. K. K Choudhary etc.

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The scientific management of honey bee colonies is the key to the success of beekeeping. Proper and effective management influences colonies' performance and productivity. Weather conditions and availability of flora vary from place to place and time to time, said PAU bee-keeping expert Dr Pardeep Chhuneja, and cautioned the bee-keepers that monsoon brings, in general, the floral dearth in major parts of Punjab. Telling that many enemies including wax moths, predatory wasps, ants predatory birds, etc. invade the colonies during this season, the entomologist said that the attack of enemies, if not checked, results in heavy toll of bees.

Apprising the bee-keepers of the monsoon conditions, problems and colonies management, Dr Chhuneja referred to floral dearth and told that it results in dwindling of bee colonies sometimes, to the extent, that they are unable to exploit the ensuing flora. To tide over the dearth, preferably, colonies should be migrated to prevalent flora, advised he, saying that if migrated on khair, colonies may be fed on stored pollen collected with the help of PAU pollen trap or on PAU pollen substitute/supplement to allow the colonies to continue brood rearing. To avoid any attack of predatory wasps during migration on khair, the colonies should be moved from there by the end of July to transgenic American cotton belt as the cotton provides both nectar and pollen. Dr Chhuneja suggested that the small bee-keepers interested in migration may make truck load of colonies by united efforts to reduce the migration cost otherwise. The stationary bee-keepers need to feed the colonies on artificial diet including sugar syrup (sugar: water 1:1) and PAU pollen substitute/supplement, told he.

The bee-keeping expert said that high humidity due to frequent rainfall and standing water adversely affects foraging activity of honey bees. In case of such problem, the simplest way is to keep the bee colonies in low lying areas or near water ponds or rice cultivation. Emphasizing that the colonies must be ensured to be kept at raised place so that the colonies are more ventilated and are free of high humidity problem, Dr Chhuneja asked the bee-keepers to clean off all the unwanted vegetative/weed growth from the surroundings. Further, even ventilation slots in the crown/inner cover of the hive should not be clogged. In view of the frequent rains that cause washing away of the colonies in the case of heavy downpour, the colonies must not be kept in low lying areas prone to stagnation of water and rather be kept at upland areas, suggested the entomologist, adding that some heavy bricks may be kept on top covers to prevent their blowing away due to heavy storms.

Pointing to the menace of robbing among the bee colonies, Dr Chhuneja told the bee-keepers that the dearth of bee flora during this season triggers robbing, which is a serious menace because of scanty availability of nectar in the field. Suggesting the preventive measures, the expert stressed that the feeding should be given only late in the evening in some suitable feeders inside the hive. The feed should not be prepared in the apiary itself and care should be taken that the sugar syrup does not get split in the apiary or on any hive. In case of any spillage, the place should be thoroughly washed, told he, advising that the hive should be kept bee proof, except the main entrance, using mud, etc., so that no cracks and crevices are present in the hive to allow the robbers to intrude. The main entrance of the colony should also be narrowed down to single bee space so that only one bee enters at a time. If robbing starts in the apiary, Dr Chhuneja told that the entrance of colony being robbed be closed with wire gauge and 1% solution of carbolic acid be sprinkled around it to repel the robbers.

Dr Chhuneja said that another appropriate measure is that the robber colony should be spotted out and this can be done by dusting wheat flour or sulphur powder on the bees at the entrance of the colony being robbed. Such robbers can then locate their hives/colonies, told he, adding that as a last resort the robber colony should be removed about 3 km away from the apiary. For more information, honey bee scientists in the Department of Entomology, PAU, may be contacted at phone number 0161-2401960 extension 320.

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The Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has nominated Dr K.K. Singh, Assistant Director General (Post-harvest Engineering) as the ICAR representative, on the PAU Board of Management, for the tenure of three years, informed Dr R. K. Mahey, PAU Registrar. He said that this is to ensure the effective implementation of ICAR policies and programmes for the quality and excellence of higher agricultural education.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011



Punjab Agricultural University\'s role for ushering in an era of green revolution and transforming the food deficit country into food sufficient one has been well recognized. This was stated by the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon, while addressing the felicitation function organized by PAU Employees Union, today. Dr. Dhillon said that to sustain the outstanding name of the University everybody must contribute by way of working devotedly with dedication and discipline. He gave a call to the participants that everyone should endeavour making PAU indispensable.

Mr. Harbans Singh Mundi and Mr. Avinash Kumar Sharma, respectively, the President and General Secretary of the Union while welcoming Dr. Dhillon to the function highlighted the concerns of the welfare of the employees and put forth certain demands pertaining to employees. Dr. Dhillon agreed to the genuine demands and said that the PAU fraternity is like a family and suggested them to bring to his notice the ideas for bringing improvement in the work culture and to apprise him how the things could be made better. Dr. Dhillon interacted with the members of the Executive Council of the body. He lauded the contribution by the non-teaching employees in research, teaching and technology transfer programmes and said that it was the team spirit that was required for attaining success. Earlier, Mr. Mundi and Mr. Avtar Singh Guram presented Dr. Dhillon and Mrs. Dhillon floral bouquets on this occasion. The Deans, Directors and Officers of the University were present on the occasion. The queries of the participating employees were passed on to the Officers for redressal within stipulated time.

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Green-leafy vegetables are naturally packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are vital for health. To acquire all-round health benefits, one must include greens in the daily diet and say goodbye to the munching of French fries, burgers, pizzas, etc., expressed PAU scientists of the Department of Food and Nutirtion. Calling upon the farmers, farm women, rural youth and the public at large, the scientists told that uncommon green leafy vegetables such as drumstick, amaranth and beet leaves contain unique components which are beneficial for health. Highlighting that greens are a rich source of potassium and magnesium as they regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, the home scientists added that leafy vegetables are ideal for weight management for being low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals and bio-active compounds.

Equipping the farming community and the general masses with the useful knowledge about drumstick leaves (Suanjana), PAU scientist Dr Shalini Kushwaha, said that these leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked, or stored as dried powder for many months without refrigeration. Where starvation is prevalent, consuming the drumstick leaf powder can be life-saving. "Drumstick leaves contain more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas," told Dr Kushwaha, adding that the leaves can be used as a wonderful tonic for infants, growing kids and teens to promote strong and healthy bones and for purifying the bloodstream. It is also beneficial for pregnant women as it can help them overcome sluggishness of the uterus, ease delivery and reduces post-delivery complications.

Referring to amaranth leaves (Chulai), another scientist Dr Paramjit Chawla said that the regular use of these leaves in food items prevents the deficiency of vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, calcium, iron and potassium. Protecting against several disorders such as defective vision, respiratory infections, recurrent colds, retarded growth and functional sterility, Dr Chawla highlighted that regular use of amaranth during pregnancy and lactation is highly beneficial. One cup of fresh juice of amaranth mixed with honey and a pinch of cardamom powder should be taken during the entire period of pregnancy, advised he scientist. It will help the normal growth of the baby, prevent the loss of calcium and iron from the body, relax the uterine ligaments and facilitate easy delivery without much pain.

Providing useful information about beet leaves (Chukandar), the scientist Dr Uttara Singh, told, "The leaves are bitter to taste but rich in chlorophyll, protein, calcium, magnesium, copper, sodium, fiber, beta carotene and vitamins A, B and C." Having more nutritional value than their roots and higher content of iron than spinach, beet greens have been found to contain large amounts of vitamin K which is an important element that aids in blood clotting. Dr Singh said that vitamin A is also found in beet greens and one of its health benefits is the maintenance of good vision.

The PAU home scientists also highlighted that greens containing beta carotene (vitamin A), lutein and zeaxanthin, strengthen the immune system and prevent degenerative eye diseases like cataract. Telling that greens contain folate, which plays an important role in the repair of damaged cells, the scientist added that vegetables like cabbage and broccoli protect against colon cancer for they are rich in indoles and isothiocyanates. Dark leafy vegetables are a rich source of vitamin C, K, E and B complex, as well as minerals like iron, calcium and fiber. The scientists disclosed, "Studies have shown that vitamin K plays a key role in preventing osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Vitamin E has been shown to prevent skin cancer."

They advised everyone that in view of the health benefits associated with green leafy vegetables, one must eat dishes made from spinach, lettuce or turnip greens.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Press Note

A general meeting of the Association of the PSEB Affiliated Schools Punjab (Regd.) was held at Ludhiana under the Presidentship of Sh. Rajinder Sharma, along with Sh. N.K. Bangia, Sh. I. M. Dutta and others representatives from all the distt of the state.

In the meeting Sh. Rajinder Sharma said that we are going to meet Hon'ble S. Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Education Minister, Punjab on 26.07.2011 at 11:00AM at Punjab School Education Board, Mohali. He further said that in the meeting the burning problems of the affiliated schools Punjab will be discussed.

All the representatives heartily thanked the Hon'ble S. Sewa Sigh Sekhwan, Education Minister, Punjab to provide the time for meeting and to sort out the problems of the affiliated schools of Punjab.

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The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is introducing a new part-time Certificate Course on "Interactive Skills and Personality Enhancement" in the current academic session i.e. from August. According to the Dean College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, Dr R.S.Sidhu, the prime thrust of 'one semester' course, would be on honing the skills of the generation Y for interview, group discussion and public speaking. The other focus areas include tuning the confidence, attitude cultivation, decorum and protocol, business etiquettes, time management, stress management, ethics and values, etc. Dr Sidhu also underlined the need to master the art of communication, writing, reading and comprehension to gain an edge over their competitors.

To kick off in the first week of August, the classes will be held in evening hours, said Dr Sidhu. Informing that pre-final year undergraduates or graduates with minimum 50% marks are eligible for the enrolment in this course, he told that the course is also open to PAU students and staff as well as to outsiders. The interested students can seek more information from the office of the Dean College of Basic Sciences and Humanities at telephone No. 0161-2401960/Ext. 323.
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The future of the mushroom industry lies in its diversification with emphasis on specialty mushrooms. Punjab, today, has the credit of producing about 50% mushrooms for the country including local consumption as well as export, highlighted Dr P.K. Khanna, Coordinator of Research (Basic Sciences), while stating that PAU has carved a creditable niche for itself in the mushroom production. Telling that four varieties of mushrooms namely, button mushroom, dhingri, paddy straw mushroom and milky mushroom are being cultivated by the growers under the indoor condition in the state, he disclosed, Now, PAU has recommended a fifth variety of edible mushroom Lentinus edodes (Shiitake) for cultivation during the winter period. This edible variety has big demand due to its manifold medicinal benefits, told the expert and added that the technology has been standardized that enables round the year cultivation of mushrooms.

Highlighting the importance of Shiitake, Dr Khanna said that the variety is the second most cultivated and consumed edible mushroom in the world. Having the production of about 3 million metric tons, Lentinus edodes is second only to the button mushroom. The expert told that the variety is grown mainly in East Asia and is gaining popularity throughout Asia, Europe and North America for nutritional and medicinal products.

Sharing tips with the growers about the cultivation technology for Shiitake, Dr Khanna said that PAU has recommended a simple technology based on the use of wheat straw which yields fruiting bodies in a comparatively much lesser time. He added that wheat straw is spread on a pucca (cemented) floor and is wetted overnight to have final moisture content in the substrate of about 65 %. Wheat bran is mixed with the wetted substrate (10% on dry weight basis), said Dr Khanna, while telling that the supplemented substrate is then filled in polypropylene bags (30x45 cm) at 2 kg wet substrate per bag. The bags are initially loosely filled and later by putting pressure, cylindrical shape is given to the bags. The microbiologist suggested the growers that for spawn inoculation, a central hole of about 15-20 mm diameter and about 200 mm length can be made in the substrate before sterilization or alternatively holes can be punched on the sides of the bags after the heat treatment for spawn inoculation. The bags are then sterilized by autoclaving at 20 pounds per square inch pressure for about one hour.

Dr Khanna told the mushroom growers that the bags are cooled to room temperature and inoculated aseptically with grain spawn at 4% on wet weight basis. Spawning can be carried out by removing the cotton plugs or through the side holes, advised he, adding that in the latter case, the substrate is pressed back on the spot of inoculation side. The bags are then incubated in a covered cross-ventilated room at 22±2˚ in 12 h light/day cycle. Dr Khanna told that relative humidity is maintained at 75±5 % by sprinkling water on the floor and the sides of the walls. Referring to completion of the spawn run, he said that it is marked by the bags turning brown and initiation of mycelial bump formation. At this stage, polypropylene bags are removed and cold shock treatment is given to the blocks of substrate by dipping in water (4-5 ˚ C) for about 5 minutes. Bags are then incubated at 16±2˚ and 12-16 h light/day cycle with increased level of relative humidity (about 80%), said Dr Khanna, advising that more aeration should be provided during fruiting phase. Pinning starts after two weeks of cold shock treatment. About 350-375 g fresh fruiting bodies can be harvested in a total crop period of three months, told the PAU experts and elaborated that 50% of biological efficiency can be obtained under natural indoor growing from October to February end.

Telling the growers that fruiting bodies of Shiitake are buff to brown coloured, large sized, pigmented with characteristic aroma and good shelf life, Dr Khanna said, Shiitake when cooked imparts a pleasant favour to the dish, maintaining its own original colour and chewing texture.
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