Wednesday, October 31, 2012



The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is all set to host "National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) zonal level elocution competition" on November 1 at 9.30 a.m. at Pal Auditorium of the University. Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, will be the chief guest on this occasion.

Giving details, Dr D.S. Cheema, Director Students' Welfare, said that in view of the Golden Jubilee Year of the university, NAAS has entrusted the responsibility of hosting the competition to the PAU. He informed that the teams of nine universities will participate and express their views on the theme, "Agricultural Education: Shaping India's Future." The competition will involve the participation of National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal; Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu; YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan; Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalya, Palampur; Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar; Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Hisar; Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Bikaner; Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

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The Cotton Research and Development Association of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hissar, has conferred the "Life Time Achievement Award," upon Dr Harjit S. Kalsy, former Director of Faridkot Regional Research Station, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). Dr S.K. Dutta, Deputy Director General (Crop Science), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Dr K.S. Khokhar, Vice-Chancellor, CCASHAU, recently felicitated the scientist at New Delhi, in recognition of his significant contributions to cotton research and development.

Dr Kalsy made significant contributions in the establishment of Cotton Research Station, Faridkot, in 1970 and served there till his retirement in 1998. The development and release of first early maturing American cotton variety, F414, from this station in 1977, was lauded as a remarkable achievement of great commercial value. This added a new dimension to the agricultural economy of the state, through successful adoption of double cropping pattern i.e. cotton –wheat rotation. Subsequently, five more early maturing, high yielding and superior quality cotton varieties namely F286, F505, F846, F1054, F1378 and F1861 were developed and released from Faridkot station. Dr Kalsy also made key contribution in the development and release of LH900, LH886, LH1134 and LH1156 cotton varieties, which became popular in Punjab and adjoining states of Haryana and Rajasthan during 80s and 90s.

A recipient of several awards, Dr Kalsy was also instrumental in establishment the biggest University Seed Farm of 1220 acre in Bir Sikhanwala village at Faridkot in 1991.

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Innovative farmers from across country shares research at CIPHET

Ludhiana, October 31:

More than 50 farmers from across the country showcased their technologies in front of scientists of Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) during second National Farm Innovators meet on post harvest technology held at institute campus. The aim of the innovators meet was to provide platform to innovative farmers who have developed technologies at their own level and scientists to give their technical input for further improvements.

On the occasion, technologies like husk based steam engine developed by the Nandlal Vishkarma, a farmer from Bihar; Eco-friendly sprayer by Sagar Rawale from Gujarat and Portable water irrigation system by Prince from Damla, Yamunagar remained center of the attraction.

Inaugurating the innovators meet, Prof V.K Sehgal of Punjab Agricultural University, who was also the chief guest. said that if scientists and farmers innovate together progress in agriculture could go manifolds. "Even in the developed countries innovative farmers are developing many technologies," he said, adding that potential of more increase in farmers' income through production would not happen.

'"The production has already increased many times in past few decades and reached stage of nearly plateau, farmers need to go for processing and value addition for increasing their income," he added. Suggesting that farmers could play role in checking post harvest losses, he said that thousands of crores of rupees could be saved if we are able to reduce them by even smaller percentage.

Welcoming the participants, Director CIPHET Dr U.S Shivhare said that they attempted to provide platform to farmers through this meet so that they get better technical inputs from the scientists. "This will also help them to propagate their technologies to other parts of the country," he said, informing that idea of this meet was originally conceived by the Director General ICAR, Dr S. Ayyapoan, who wished to provide national platform to innovative farmers.

Head Transfer of Technology Division Dr Deepak Raj Rai, said that many good technologies of the farmers were just confined to their block level. "We want that through this kind of national platform they could reach to every nook and corner of the country and innovative farmers could gain by sharing experiences. Project Coordinator (PHT) Dr S.K Nanda, Project Coordinator Dr P.R Bhatnagar and Head Food Grains and Oil Seed Division Dr R.K Gupta were also present on the occasion. Dr Indu Karki, Scientist Transfer of Technology Division, coordinated the inaugural session. The event was marked with presentations from innovative farmers, technical session and feedback. An exhibition was also organized on sidelines of this function.

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The Director of Extension Education of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has informed that the monthly meeting of the PAU Kisan Club will be held on November 9 instead of November 2. The meeting will be organized at Pal Auditorium of the university, wherein farm scientists and experts from agro-processing industry will dwell upon horticulture, cultivation of vegetables, crop diversification and marketing of agri-produce, he said.

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The "Golden Jubilee Folk Festival," was organized at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), amidst great fanfare. Myriad hues of culture were showcased, last evening, by the participating teams from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalya (CSKHPKV), Palampur; Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hisar, and PAU. The student-artistes, clad in peculiar costumes and bedecked with ornaments, presented glorious and rich cultural heritage of their respective states. A renowned Bollywood singer, Labh Janjhua, enthralled the spectators with his popular numbers.

Inaugurating the fest, the Chief Guest, Dr V.K. Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU, said that all the four universities have contributed significantly to the regional growth. Hailing the large-scale contribution of PAU to the nation's food security, he said that producing 40 Vice-Chancellors of different universities, three Olympians (hockey) and stalwarts in literature, speak volumes of university's prosperity. Inspite of so many changes, the distinct identity of culture has been maintained, observed Dr Taneja, while stating that the splendid performance of the students, in various items, reflects their respect for their mother institution i.e. PAU. He exhorted the students to preserve their cultural heritage and to inculcate moral ethics and values in life.

The Guest of Honour, Mr Balmukand Sharma, Executive Director, MARKFED, Chandigarh, and PAU alumnus, remarked that coming to the university was a homecoming for him. The PAU, being an agricultural university, has played a prominent role in maintaining and promoting its rich heritage, he added. He appreciated the efforts of the organizers for providing a unique platform to all the four universities, to perform under one roof, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Year.

In his presidential remarks, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that the university has a family which comprises members CCSHAU, CSKHPKV, and GADVASU. Two universities including CCSHAU and CSKHPKV were carved out of PAU in 1970 followed by the set-up of GADVASU in 2006, informed Dr Dhillon, while applauding the enthusiastic participation of the youth in folk dances and songs. He honoured the chief guest, guest of honour and the singer with a shawl and a memento.

Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries and the participants, the Director of Students' Welfare, Dr D.S. Cheema, said that the participation of the state agricultural universities gives the glimpse of diverse culture of different states.

Dr R.K. Mahey, PAU Registrar, proposed a vote of thanks. During the fest, folk dances were presented by all the four universities, folk songs by Iqbal Singh, Dilpreet Kaur and Sunanda of PAU and mono-acting by Sarabjeet Singh of PAU. Besides, the students of PAU and GADVASU kept the audience spellbound with their power-packed performance in creative dance, group dance luddi, group folk dance giddha and bhangra.

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Haldia Bulk Terminals exits from Haldia

KOLKATA, October 31, 2012

Bringing the curtains down on its Haldia operations, Haldia Bulk Terminals Pvt Ltd, the concessionaire operating two berths at the Haldia Dock Complex of the Kolkata Port Trust, announced their decision to exit HDC.

In a statement, CEO Gurpreet Malhi said that HBT was taking this decision as the safety of its employees was at stake.

The decision comes three days after a reported abduction bid on three senior HBT employees and a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that there was no problem at Haldia.

The HBT development has already brought back, in the minds of trade and industry, memories of the exit of the Tatas small car project.
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Disney to make Star Wars films, buy Lucasfilm

LOS ANGELES, October 31, 2012

The Star Wars saga will continue with another trilogy followed by a new movie every two or three years as Disney reached a deal with Star Wars creator George Lucas to buy his production company for $4.05 billion.

The seventh movie, with a working title of "Episode 7," is set for release in 2015. Episodes 8 and 9 will follow, completing Mr. Lucas' original vision for a nine-episode saga. The three new movies will carry the story beyond Return of the Jedi, the third film released and the sixth in the saga. Mr. Lucas will serve as creative consultant in the new movies.

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said Mr. Lucas, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm Ltd. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime."

The Walt Disney Co. announced the blockbuster agreement to buy Lucasfilm in cash and stock Tuesday. The deal includes Lucasfilm's prized high-tech production companies, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, as well as rights to the Indiana Jones franchise.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement that the acquisition is a great fit and will help preserve and grow the Star Wars franchise.

"The last Star Wars movie release was 2005's Revenge of the Sith and we believe there's substantial pent-up demand," Mr. Iger said.

Kathleen Kennedy, the current co-chairman of Lucasfilm, will become the division's president and report to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn.

The deal brings Lucasfilm under the Disney banner with other brands including Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC, all companies that Disney has acquired over the years. A former weatherman who rose through the ranks of ABC, Mr. Iger has orchestrated some of the company's biggest acquisitions, including the $7.4 billion purchase of animated movie studio Pixar in 2006 and the $4.2 billion acquisition of comic book giant Marvel in 2009.
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England make steady start against India A

MUMBAI, October 31, 2012 (PTI)

The visiting England team made a slow and steady start, reaching 79 for one at lunch, in reply to India A's first innings score of 369 all out on the second morning of their opening three-day tour game in Mumbai on Wednesday.

After sending back the last home team wicket in only one ball, when James Anderson trapped Vinay Kumar (25) leg before wicket at his and the team's overnight total, England began their reply in a sedate manner and also lost uncapped opener Nick Compton cheaply.

Compton was caught behind off Ashok Dinda, who got the batsman to lunge forward and edge one to Wriddhiman Saha behind the wicket in the second over of the England first innings.

Skipper Alastair Cook and one-drop Jonathan Trott played cautiously as the visitors advanced to 79 for 1 wicket at lunch with the visiting team captain on 30 and his partner on 48.

The tourists were 290 runs behind the home team's score.

Cook had struck five fours in his 110-minute stay off 70 balls while the right-handed Trott had eight hits to the fence in his 103-minute innings after having faced 78 balls.

Both Cook and Trott were very circumspect and played each ball on merit and the score also moved at a snail's pace.

Trott was once surprised by a Dinda bouncer that he fended. The ball landed behind the 'keeper and went for four.

Later he played a firm push off the Bengal pacer for a four to mid off and then square cut left arm Irfan Pathan for another handsome boundary. He also straight-drove Yuvraj fluently to the fence.
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Chotelal outpoints Manikandan

HYDERABAD, October 31, 2012

Chotelal Yadav of Services gave his team a winning start against arch rival Railways when he outpointed K. Manikandan in the bantamweight (56 kg) first round bout on the opening day of the Sahara 59th senior National boxing championship for men at the Lal Bahadur stadium here on Tuesday.

With both boxers evenly matched the contest turned out to be an interesting one. In the first round Chotelal tried to come in close while Manikandan preferred to stay at a distance and score with his accurate straight lefts.

Manikandan's right crosses also had a telling effect on the Services boxer but towards the end of the round Chotelal's tactics paid off to some extent and he was able to garner some points.

Furious exchange

The second round saw a furious exchange of punches from both boxers and again it was only towards the end of the round that Chtoelal's superior stamina which enabled him gain an advantage.

The third round was keenly contested as Manikandan tried to counter Chotelal's stamina and power with his speed and accuracy. But when the bout ended Chotelal emerged a comfortable winner at 16-6.

But Railways had better luck in flyweight class where Sunil chalked up an easy 23-6 win over Sanjay Mishra of MP. Host Andhra had a bad day as one of its main hopes Trivikram Dev lost to Gajendra of MP in super heavyweight class. The referee had to stop the contest in the second round as Trivikram was outclassed.

Earlier, the organisers felicitated Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh, chief national coach G. S. Sandhu, Dronacharya winner I. Venkateshwara Rao and former national coach E. Chiranjeevi.

The results:

Light flyweight (49 kgs): Lal Chand Dhaw (WB) bt Prashant K.M. (Ker) 18-3.

Flyweight (52 kgs): Sunil (RSPB) bt Sanjay Mishra (MP) 24-4.

Bantamweight (56 kgs): Ashish (UP) bt Leo John (Ker) RSC second round; Amit Bisht (Raj) bt Jitender (SPSB) 15-10; Kulwinder Singh (Pun) bt Aman (SPSB) 15-10; Kamal Singh (Tri) bt Pradeep (Bih) retd first round; Chotelal Yadav (SSCB) bt K. Manikandan (RSPB) 16-6; Ajay Kumar (Har) bt Sunny (Ori) 15-12; V.D. Rao (Kar) bt Shobnath (Guj) RSC first round; Pranit Kumbhar (Mah) bt Murugen (And) RSC first round; Yudhveer (MP) bt Vikas (Del) 18-14; Anubhav (Utk) bt Vinoth Kumar (TN) RSC second round.

Light welterweight (64 kgs): Pramod (Tri) bt Rohit (Ori) 17-7.

Middlewight (75 kgs): Jaideep (SSCB) bt D. S. Sundar (And) RSC first round.

Super heavyweight (plus 91 kgs): Manjeet Singh (Pun) bt Gurpreet Singh (Del) 11-7; Gajendra (MP) bt Trivikram Dev (AP) RSC second round.
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Sandy death toll climbs, millions without power

NEW YORK, October 31, 2012

The misery of superstorm Sandy's devastation grew Tuesday as millions along the U.S. East Coast faced life without power or mass transit for days, and huge swaths of New York City remained eerily quiet. The U.S. death toll climbed to at least 48, many of the victims killed by falling trees, and rescue work continued.

The storm that made landfall in New Jersey on Monday evening with hurricane force cut power to more than 8.2 million across the East and put the presidential campaign on hold just one week before Election Day.

New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart closed for a second day. The storm caused the worst damage in the 108-year history of the city's subway system, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it could be four or five days before the biggest U.S. transit system was running again.

"This was a devastating storm, maybe the worst that we have ever experienced," Mr. Bloomberg said.

But the full extent of the damage in New Jersey was being revealed as morning arrived. Emergency crews fanned out to rescue hundreds.

A hoarse-voiced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave bleak news at a morning news conference: seaside rail lines washed away. No safe place on the state's barrier islands for him to land. Parts of the coast still under water.

"It is beyond anything I thought I'd ever see," he said. "It is a devastating sight right now."

18 killed in New York

The death toll from Sandy in the U.S. included several killed by falling trees. Sandy killed 18 people in New York City. It also killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Eastern Seaboard.

Airlines cancelled more than 15,000 flights. New York City's three major airports remained closed.

Some bridges into the city reopened at midday, but most major tunnels and bridges remained closed, as were schools and Broadway theatres.

The storm sent a nearly 14-foot (4.27-metre) surge of seawater, a record, coursing over Lower Manhattan's seawalls and highways and into low-lying streets. The water inundated tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street and sent hospital patients and tourists scrambling for safety. Skyscrapers swayed and creaked in winds that partially toppled a crane 74 stories above Midtown. A large tanker ship ran aground on the city's Staten Island.

Around midday, Sandy was about 120 miles (190 kilometres) east of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, pushing westward with winds of 45 mph (72 kph), and was expected to make a turn into New York State on Tuesday night. Although weakening as it goes, the storm will continue to bring heavy rain and flooding, said Daniel Brown of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Sandy also brought blizzard conditions to West Virginia and neighbouring Appalachian states, with more than 2 feet (0.61 meters) of snow expected in some places.

$20 billion property damage

Sandy will end up causing about $20 billion in property damage and $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business, making it one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the U.S., according to IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm.

Superstorm not yet over: Obama

President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in New York and Long Island, making federal funding available to residents of the area. He suspended campaigning for a third day Wednesday, and planned to join Christie in viewing the damage in New Jersey.

Mr. Obama, speaking during a stop Tuesday at Red Cross headquarters, warned the public that the massive storm that struck the East Coast "is not yet over." He said there were still risks of flooding and downed power lines. He called the storm "heartbreaking for the nation."

The President offered his thoughts and prayers to those affected and told them "America is with you." He said he also told government officials coordinating the response that there was "no excuse for inaction." And he said he told governors in affected areas that if they get no for an answer, "they can call me personally at the White House."

Romney resumes campaign

Republican challenger Mitt Romney resumed his campaign, but with plans to turn a political rally in Ohio into a "storm relief event."

Water cascaded into the gaping, unfinished construction pit at the World Trade Center, and the New York Stock Exchange was closed for a second day, the first time that has happened because of weather since the Blizzard of 1888. The NYSE said it will reopen on Wednesday.

A fire raged in a neighbourhood Tuesday morning in the borough of Queens, near the Atlantic Ocean, with 80 to 100 homes destroyed but no deaths reported.

"This will be one for the record books," said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Consolidated Edison, which had more than 6,70,000 customers without power in and around New York City.

'Houses swept from foundations'

In New Jersey, where the superstorm came ashore, Sandy cut off barrier islands, swept houses from their foundations and washed amusement pier rides into the ocean. It also wrecked several boardwalks up and down the coast, tearing away a section of Atlantic City's world-famous promenade. Atlantic City's 12 waterfront casinos came through largely unscathed.

A huge swell of water swept over the small town of Moonachie, and authorities struggled to rescue about 800 people, some of them living in a trailer park. Police and fire officials used boats to try to reach the stranded.

The massive storm reached well into the Midwest with heavy rain and snow. Chicago officials warned residents to stay away from the Lake Michigan shore as the city prepared for winds of up to 60 mph (96 kph) and waves exceeding 24 feet (7.2 meters) well into Wednesday.

New York in darkness

Curiosity turned to concern overnight as New York City residents watched whole neighbourhoods disappear into darkness as power was cut. The World Trade Center site was a glowing ghost near the tip of Lower Manhattan. Residents reported seeing no lights but the strobes of emergency vehicles and the glimpses of flashlights in nearby apartments. Lobbies were flooded, cars floated and people started to worry about food.

As Hurricane Sandy closed in on the Northeast, it converged with a cold-weather system that turned it into a monstrous hybrid of rain and high winds even bringing snow in West Virginia and other mountainous areas inland.

Just before it made landfall, forecasters stripped Sandy of hurricane status, but the distinction was purely technical, based on its shape and internal temperature. It still packed hurricane-force winds.

While the hurricane's 90 mph (144 kph) winds registered as only a Category 1 on a scale of five, it packed "astoundingly low" barometric pressure, giving it terrific energy to push water inland, said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of meteorology at MIT.

New York University's Tisch Hospital was forced to evacuate 200 patients after its backup generator failed. NYU Medical Dean Robert Grossman said patients among them 20 babies from the neonatal intensive care unit who were on battery-powered respirators had to be carried down staircases and to dozens of ambulances waiting to take them to other hospitals.

A construction crane atop a $1.5 billion luxury high-rise overlooking Central Park collapsed in high winds and dangled precariously. Thousands of people were ordered to leave several nearby buildings as a precaution.

Mr. Bloomberg told reporters that the storm deaths were tragic but said the city pulled through better than some people expected, considering the magnitude of the storm.

The mayor said, "We will get through the days ahead by doing what we always do in tough times by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to help a neighbor, comfort a stranger and get the city we love back on its feet."
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US presidential polls: States to watch out for

CLEVELAND, OHIO, October 31, 2012

As voters head to the polls across the United States next Tuesday, the results from some states will be watched more closely than others.

Under the U.S. election system, the presidency is determined not by who receives the most votes nationwide but by who captures the most number of weighted votes assigned to each state. Ten swing states, where the outcome is not a foregone conclusion, provide the key to reaching the 270 votes in the country's electoral college needed to win the presidency.


The state in the mountainous western United States was a longtime Republican stronghold until President Barack Obama won Colorado's nine electoral votes in 2008. Democrats control the state's congressional delegations and serve as governor, but Mitt Romney has a slight edge in opinion polls in the state. He could benefit from a strong, usually Republican-leaning, evangelical Christian community as well as anti-government sentiment in the state.


The largest swing state with 29 electoral college votes, Florida's importance was demonstrated most dramatically in the 2000 election that saw a small margin of votes in the state hand the presidency to Republican George W. Bush instead of Democrat Al Gore.

The southern sun has lured many retirees to the state, so proposals about health care for seniors and pensions are particularly hot topics for candidates. The state's large Hispanic population could also be key, with Mr. Obama seeking to woo the key voting bloc even as many older Cuban-American tend to vote Republican. Mr. Obama carried the state in 2008, but the candidates are tied in recent polls.


The central state of Iowa has just six electoral votes, but receives an unusual amount of attention from candidates in part because of its key first-in-the-nation vote during the primary season that prompts most politicians to launch their campaigns there. Mr. Obama leads in polls, but recent contests have shown the state to be narrowly divided.


The southern state, with 15 electoral votes, favours Mr. Romney with its many socially conservative voters. Mr. Obama narrowly won the state, with its large African American population, in 2008, but opinion polls show Mr. Romney leading this time around.


The small north-eastern state, like its Midwestern cousin Iowa, pulls above its weight politically despite having just four electoral votes. The state held the campaign season's first true primary contest in January and both candidates have spent considerable time here. Mr. Romney owns a summer home in the state and was the governor of neighbouring Massachusetts, but Mr. Obama crushed Republican John McCain by a large margin in 2008.


The desert western state with six electoral votes was hard hit by the financial crisis, witnessing a wave of home foreclosures and unemployment far above the national average. Some 12.1 per cent of Nevadans were unemployed in August, and dissatisfaction with the economy could help Mr. Romney. However, the state's large Hispanic population pushed the state into Mr. Obama's column in 2008 and could help him again.


The north-eastern state brings the winner a nice haul of 20 electoral votes, but has not given them to a Republican since 1988. Though the state leans Democratic, it has been competitive with narrow margins in recent elections. The large cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are strongholds for Mr. Obama, but the central rural part of the state could bring many votes to Mr. Romney.


The key state of Ohio mirrors the United States at large with its mix of cities, suburbs and rural areas. No Republican has ever won the White House without its 18 electoral votes and no candidate — Democrat or Republican — since John F Kennedy in 1960 has lost it and still become president. Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney have spent considerable time here in recent weeks and have substantial get-out-the-vote efforts.


The state with 13 electoral votes was a key part of Obama's victory in 2008 and had not supported a Democratic candidate since 1964. The state's northern suburbs outside US capital Washington have made Virginia more competitive with a more Democratic electorate than more conservative rural parts of the state.


The north central state of Wisconsin holds 10 electoral college votes and has been a Democratic prize in recent elections. But Mr. Romney's vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, hails from the state and a conservative uprising over union rights that saw the state's Republican governor survive a recall election earlier this year could mean the state is now more competitive.
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14 dead, homes burned in Indonesian ethnic clashes

JAKARTA, October 31, 2012

Hundreds of police and soldiers have been dispatched to restore security in western Indonesia after 14 people were killed and dozens wounded in ethnic clashes.

Police Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said Wednesday the three-day clash in Balinuraga village of Lampung province was triggered by minor sexual harassment among young men and girls from the Lampung ethnic group and Balinese descendants on Sumatra island.

Mr. Amar said more than 1,500 police and 500 soldiers were deployed to the area late Tuesday when the fight escalated as angry mobs set alight more than 160 houses and a dozen vehicles.

More than 1,300 villagers have evacuated their homes and moved to a police compound in the provincial capital Bandar Lampung.
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Storm shakes up presidential race

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2012

Superstorm Sandy tore into the U.S. presidential race as President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney cancelled campaign events, punching holes in their carefully mapped-out strategies for the final week of one of the closest contests in recent history.

Seven days before the election, both men and their running mates tempered their campaigns for Tuesday, eager not to appear out of sync with more immediate worries over flooding, power outages, economic calamity and personal safety. Neither Mr. Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden planned to campaign. Mr. Romney was going forward with a planned event in Ohio, but his campaign said its focus would be storm relief.

The storm will dominate the news and distract a nation of voters during the crucial handful of days that remain before November 6.

"When the nation's largest city and even its capital are endangered, when so many people are in peril and face deprivation, it's hard to get back to arguing over taxes," said historian and presidential biographer Douglas Brinkley.

Millions were left without power as the deadly storm whipped its way through presidential battlegrounds like North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire and sprawled as far as the Great Lakes, where gales threatened Ohio's and Wisconsin's lakeside regions.

Mr. Obama shifted from campaign mode to governing, abandoning a Florida event on Monday with former President Bill Clinton to return to Washington. He received a briefing from his top emergency advisers, his second in as many days. He addressed reporters at the White House, warning that recovery from the giant storm would not be swift.

Mr. Obama also expressed concern over the storm's effect on the economy, and the disruptions in New York's financial district were bound to be among those that preoccupied the administration on Tuesday. Storm damage was projected at $10 billion to $20 billion, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in the U.S. history.

Unwilling to cede the mantle of leadership to Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney spoke by phone to Deputy FEMA Administrator Richard Serino and officials from the Homeland Security Department and the National Weather Service. Addressing supporters in Iowa, he cautioned, like Obama, that the damage would likely be significant.

In the competition for attention, however, Mr. Obama held the edge. "This is going to be a big storm," he warned, as cable television broke off to carry his message live. "It's going to be a difficult storm. The great thing about America is when we go through tough times like this we all pull together."

But as president, Mr. Obama could bear the responsibility for any missteps in the government response to the storm. Obama advisers say they've learned the lessons from President George W. Bush's widely criticized response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Mr. Bush was seen as ineffective and out of touch, and his presidency never recovered.

Aides at Mr. Romney's campaign headquarters planned to scale back criticism of Mr. Obama to avoid the perception that Mr. Romney was putting politics ahead of public safety.

Mr. Romney, his wife, Ann, and his running mate, Paul Ryan, all planned to attend storm relief events on Tuesday. Mr. Romney was scheduled to be in Ohio, his wife in Wisconsin and Iowa, and Mr. Ryan in Wisconsin all of them battleground states.

Aides said Mr. Romney might visit with storm victims later in the week, much as he did when Hurricane Isaac raked the Gulf Coast during the week of the Republican National Convention.

With the race in its final full week, most national polls showed Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney separated by a statistically insignificant point or two, although some said Mr. Romney had a narrow lead for the overall popular vote.

The election will be won or lost in the nine most competitive states that are not reliably Republican or Democratic. Republicans claimed momentum in these states, but the president's campaign projected confidence. Mr. Romney's increasingly narrow focus on Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio suggested he still searched for a breakthrough in the Midwest to deny Mr. Obama the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.

The U.S. president is not chosen by the nationwide popular vote, but in state-by-state contests that allocate electoral votes. Each state gets one electoral vote for each of its seats in the House of Representatives, as determined by population, and two electoral votes for each of its two senators. That means there are 538 electoral votes, including three for Washington, D.C. The winning candidate must have 50 percent, plus one, or 270 votes.

Mr. Obama is ahead in states and Washington, D.C., representing 237 electoral votes; Mr. Romney has a comfortable lead in states with 191 electoral votes.

Mr. Obama's team had planned to kick off the final full week of campaigning with a trio of joint rallies with former President Bill Clinton. The two presidents were supposed to spend Monday dashing from Florida to Ohio to Virginia rallying Democratic supporters and trying to sway the small swath of undecided voters.

With Mr. Obama at the White House at least through Tuesday, Mr. Clinton campaigned solo in Florida, then joined with Vice President Joe Biden in Ohio. Mr. Obama's campaign booked Mr. Clinton into Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire and Wisconsin for the race's final days.
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Sandy’s aggravation spans globe for travellers

NEW YORK, October 31, 2012 (PTI)

Hurricane Sandy grounded well over 10,000 flights across the Northeast and the globe and it could be days before some passengers can get where they're going.

According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, more than 13,500 flights had been cancelled for Monday and Tuesday, almost all related to the storm. By early morning, more than 500 flights scheduled for Wednesday also were cancelled.

Major carriers such as American Airlines, United and Delta cancelled all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation's busiest airspace. About one-quarter of all US flights travel to or from New York airports each day. So cancellations here can dramatically impact travel in other cities.

Delays rippled across the US, affecting travellers in cities from San Francisco to Atlanta. Others attempting to fly out of Europe and Asia also were stuck.

Narita, the international airport near Tokyo, cancelled 11 flights today nine to the New York area and two to Washington, DC All Nippon Airways set up a special counter at Narita to deal with passengers whose flights had been cancelled.

"All flights to New York yesterday and today are cancelled. What will happen tomorrow no one knows," airline spokeswoman Megumi Tezuka said.

Sandy caused Eric Danielson to miss his first day of work at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. He thought he'd be looking at a two-hour layover in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on his way from San Francisco to Norfolk, Va.

But Sandy changed his schedule. "Now it's beginning to be a 28-hour layover until tomorrow," he said Monday.

Hurricane Sandy converged with a cold-weather system and made landfall over New Jersey on Monday evening with 80 mph winds. The monstrous hybrid of rain and high wind and even snow in some mountainous inland areas killed at least 16 people in seven states, cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses from the Carolinas to Ohio, caused scares at two nuclear power plants and stopped the presidential campaign cold.

The storm was forecast to head across Pennsylvania before taking another sharp turn into western New York by Wednesday morning, bringing heavy rain and local flooding.

The flight cancellations were on par with a major winter storm in early 2011 that forced 14,000 flights to be scrapped over four days.
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Ready to face probe, says Gadkari

MUMBAI, October 31, 2012 (PTI)

Rejecting accusations of money laundering and corruption against him, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said he was ready to face a probe but asked why the Congress was reluctant to inquire into Robert Vadra's dealings.

Mr. Gadkari also rubbished allegations made by Arvind Kejriwal of his having business links with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and controversial Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Sancheti. "I have no business links or partnership with them," he said.

Accusing the Congress of plotting to malign him and defame the BJP, Mr. Gadkari alleged the ruling party had roped in some media houses in the conspiracy.

"But my conscience is clear. I run a social enterprise to improve the lives of the farmers of Vidarbha. I will never do anything that will make the BJP worker hang his head in shame," the BJP leader said addressing hundreds of party workers from a make-shift dais erected on a tempo on his arrival at the Mumbai airport.

"I am not afraid. Eet ka jawab pathar se dena janta hoon. (I know how to give tit for tat). In the last three and half years of my tenure, BJP is on the path of progress and 2014 Lok Sabha elections will lead to formation of NDA government with a BJP leader as prime minister. This is the reason why the opponents are out to malign me through a media trial," he said.

Dubbing the Congress as a "corrupt" party, Mr. Gadkari said, "When you cannot convince, you make efforts to confuse. This is what the Congress is doing to confuse our party workers."

Mr. Gadkari said he was ready for a probe into allegations against him. "I have not taken land or money from the government nor have I misused my political position. I am ready for an inquiry by why is not the 'damaad' of the Congress party," he said apparently referring to Mr. Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, facing accusations of dubious land deals with DLF.
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Leaders pay homage to Indira Gandhi on death anniversary

NEW DELHI, October 31, 2012 (PTI)

The nation remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 28th death anniversary on Wednesday with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paying rich tributes to the departed leader.

Mr. Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Dr. Singh paid floral tributes at Shakti Sthal, the memorial of Gandhi, in New Delhi this morning.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna were also present on the occasion.

Union Ministers Sushol Kumar Shinde, Salman Khurshid, M. Veerappa Moily, Kamal Nath, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Narayana Swamy and new inductees Deepa Dasmunsi and Chiranjeevi were also present.

Devotional songs were played at the venue. A speech by Indira Gandhi was also played on the occasion.
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Let us not look back, says Khaleda Zia

NEW DELHI, October 31, 2012

"This marks a new beginning. Let's look forward and not look back in the rear view mirror." This was the former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's observation when she met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid here on Tuesday, said Syed Akbaruddin, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. She is the first foreign dignitary to meet Mr. Khurshid after he took over as External Affairs Minister on Sunday.

Mr. Akbaruddin quoted Ms. Zia when asked whether she would stay the course in improving ties, in case she was elected to the post at the general election next year, or whether she would revert to the anti-India stance witnessed during her five years at the helm from 2001 to 2006.

Ms. Zia is here for a week-long visit during which she will also visit the shrine of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.She met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday and articulated her concerns about the killing of Bangladeshi civilians by the Border Security Force and the pending Teesta River water sharing agreement, stalled because of opposition by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. At the same time she appreciated India's security-related concerns and assured that terrorists and anti-India elements would not be allowed to use Bangladesh as sanctuary.
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PM calls meeting of entire Council of Ministers on Thursday

NEW DELHI, October 31, 2012

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of the entire Council of Ministers on November 1. His object, official sources said, is to set the agenda for his new team for the less than two years that remains before the next general elections slated for mid-2014.

Official sources added that both Dr. Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram would address the gathering, a clear indication that the subject of reviving the "animal spirits" in the economy would top the government's list of priorities.

The meeting comes in the wake of the many changes made in the Council of Ministers on Sunday: indeed, the Prime Minister said, shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, which saw 22 new Ministers taking oath, that he hoped that this would be the last reshuffle before the next general elections. He had also stressed that there were many challenges ahead.

Thursday's meeting should set the ground, therefore, for more cohesion in government, a greater sense of purpose and, possibly, increased responsibilities for junior ministers. Indeed, this has been a perennial grouse of the Ministers of Sate — that they are not allocated enough work by their Cabinet Ministers.

On Thursday, after the Prime Minister and Finance Minister have spoken, the junior Ministers, who don't attend weekly Cabinet meetings, will get an opportunity to have their say.
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Modi accuses Congress of misusing CBI in Gujarat

SHIMLA, October 31, 2012

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has accused the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre of using the CBI to settle political scores, and said the BJP appeared to be fighting the agency instead of the party in the coming Vidhan Sabha polls in Gujarat.

Addressing election rallies in Kangra, Una and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP leader hit out the Centre for failing to curb price rise and for rewarding non-performing Ministers and those facing graft charges with the choicest portfolios in the Union Cabinet.

"The CBI is being used to check the development in Gujarat, which is fast coming up as a model State in the country," he said.

He appealed to the people in the hill State to vote for the BJP in the coming Assembly elections, and reverse the pattern of voting against incumbency after every five years. He assured development in states like Himachal and Gujarat, if the Dhumal government is re-elected with a bigger margin this time.

He praised the Himachal government for getting more than 70 national awards for various development indicators.

Recalling his long ties with Himachal and Mr. Dhumal, he said, it is his second home after Gujarat, and he was the party in-charge of the State when the first Dhumal government came to power in 1998.

Mr. Modi also made fun of the Prime Minister for not raising the issues of price rise and poverty and said, "The PM should be better called "Maun" [mum] Mohan Singh instead of Manmohan Singh." It was impossible to guess what he thought of the state of affairs in the country, since he was always tight-lipped regarding most things, he added.

He said that both Dr. Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi visited Himachal Pradesh, and spoke of a few things, but it would have been good if they had shown some concern for the poor, reeling under a steep price rise. The Prime Minister should have spoken of his promise of bringing down the prices, but the Congress was arrogant, and didn't care for the people, he added.

Mr. Modi said the LPG cap would affect cold-territory States, such as Himachal, the most. He said the Congress had stalled Gujarat's initiative for supplying piped natural gas to the people, and he had been forced to move the Supreme Court. According to him, 20 lakh people would have got piped gas by this time, resulting in the saving of three crore cylinders. It would have also saved a subsidy of Rs. 15,000 crore.

He criticised the UPA for promoting a 'non-performer', such as Sushil Kumar Shinde, under whom the country had faced a monumental power crisis, when 19 States and nearly 70 crore citizens had plunged into darkness.

Similarly, Salman Khurshid, who is facing allegations, has been allotted the Ministry of External Affairs. He questioned the return of Shashi Tharoor as Minister, and Virbhadra Singh as party head, in the poll-bound State.

Mr. Modi alleged the Congress had left no stone unturned to dislodge opposition governments. He accused the Congress of misusing Article 356. It was also 'misusing' Central agencies and indulging in 'character assassination' of political opponents.

On Ms. Gandhi's claims that UPA gave Rs. 10,000 crore to Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Modi affirmed that this money wasn't her personal money, but belonged to the people. He was happy when Dr. "Maun" Mohan Singh said that there was development in Himachal Pradesh, but added the rider that it was all due to Central funds.

Chief Minister Dhumal has also refuted the charges of Ms. Gandhi and Dr. Singh of underutilisation of funds by the State government, and accused them of providing wrong figures of Central aid to the fund-starved hill State.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012



Myriad hues of culture were showcased during the "Golden Jubilee Folk Festival," organized at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), here today. The teams from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalya (CSKHPKV), Palampur; Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hisar, and PAU participated in the fest. The student-artistes, clad in peculiar costumes and bedecked with ornaments, presented glorious and rich cultural heritage of their respective states. A renowned Bollywood singer, Labh Janjhua, enthralled the gathering with his popular numbers.

Inaugurating the fest, the Chief Guest, Dr V.K. Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU, said that all the four universities have contributed to the regional growth. Hailing the large-scale contribution of PAU to the nation's food security, he said that producing 40 Vice-Chancellors of different universities, three Olympians (hockey) and stalwarts in literature, speak volumes of university's prosperity. Inspite of so many changes, the distinct identity of culture has been maintained, observed Dr Taneja, while stating that the splendid performance of the students, in various items, reflects their respect for their mother institution i.e. PAU. He exhorted the students to preserve their cultural heritage and to inculcate moral ethics and values in life.

The Guest of Honour, Mr Balmukand Sharma, Executive Director, MARKFED, Chandigarh and PAU alumnus, remarked that coming to the university was a homecoming for him. The PAU, being an agricultural university, has played a prominent role in maintaining and promoting its rich heritage, he added. He appreciated the efforts of the organizers for providing a unique opportunity to all the four universities to perform under one roof and that too on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Year.

In his presidential remarks, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that the university has a family which comprises members CCSHAU, CSKHPKV, and GADVASU. Two universities including CCSHAU and CSKHPKV were carved out of PAU in 1970 followed by the set-up of GADVASU in 2006, informed Dr Dhillon, while applauding the enthusiastic participation of the youth in folk dances and songs. He honoured the chief guest, guest of honour and the singer with a shawl and a memento.

Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries and the participants, the Director of Students' Welfare, Dr D.S. Cheema, said that the participation of the state agricultural universities gives the glimpse of diverse culture of different states.

During the fest, folk dances were presented by all the four universities, folk songs by Iqbal Singh, Dilpreet Kaur and Sunanda of PAU and mono-acting by Sarabjeet Singh of PAU. Besides, the students of PAU and GADVASU enthralled the audience with their power-packed performance in creative dance, group folk dance giddha and bhangra and group dance girls luddi.

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Myriad hues of culture were showcased during the "Golden Jubilee Folk Festival," organized at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), here today. The teams from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalya (CSKHPKV), Palampur; Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University (CCSHAU), Hisar, and PAU participated in the fest. The student-artistes, clad in peculiar costumes and bedecked with ornaments, presented glorious and rich cultural heritage of their respective states. A renowned Bollywood singer, Labh Janjhua, enthralled the gathering with his popular numbers.

Inaugurating the fest, the Chief Guest, Dr V.K. Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU, said that all the four universities have contributed to the regional growth. Hailing the large-scale contribution of PAU to the nation's food security, he said that producing 40 Vice-Chancellors of different universities, three Olympians (hockey) and stalwarts in literature, speak volumes of university's prosperity. Inspite of so many changes, the distinct identity of culture has been maintained, observed Dr Taneja, while stating that the splendid performance of the students, in various items, reflects their respect for their mother institution i.e. PAU. He exhorted the students to preserve their cultural heritage and to inculcate moral ethics and values in life.

The Guest of Honour, Mr Balmukand Sharma, Executive Director, MARKFED, Chandigarh and PAU alumnus, remarked that coming to the university was a homecoming for him. The PAU, being an agricultural university, has played a prominent role in maintaining and promoting its rich heritage, he added. He appreciated the efforts of the organizers for providing a unique opportunity to all the four universities to perform under one roof and that too on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Year.

In his presidential remarks, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that the university has a family which comprises members CCSHAU, CSKHPKV, and GADVASU. Two universities including CCSHAU and CSKHPKV were carved out of PAU in 1970 followed by the set-up of GADVASU in 2006, informed Dr Dhillon, while applauding the enthusiastic participation of the youth in folk dances and songs. He honoured the chief guest, guest of honour and the singer with a shawl and a memento.

Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries and the participants, the Director of Students' Welfare, Dr D.S. Cheema, said that the participation of the state agricultural universities gives the glimpse of diverse culture of different states.

During the fest, folk dances were presented by all the four universities, folk songs by Iqbal Singh, Dilpreet Kaur and Sunanda of PAU and mono-acting by Sarabjeet Singh of PAU. Besides, the students of PAU and GADVASU enthralled the audience with their power-packed performance in creative dance, group folk dance giddha and bhangra and group dance girls luddi.

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ਪੰਚਾਇਤ ਸਕੱਤਰ/ਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਸੇਵਕ ਯੂਨੀਅਨ ਫਤਿਹਗੜ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਲਾਡੀ ਮੁੜ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਬਣੇ

ਫਤਹਿਗੜ ਸਾਹਿਬ, 30 ਅਕਤੂਬਰ (ਹਰਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਕੌਰ ਟਿਵਾਣਾ)

ਪੰਚਾਇਤ ਸਕੱਤਰ/ਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਸੇਵਕ ਯੂਨੀਅਨ ਫਤਿਹਗੜ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਮੀਟਿੰਗ ਮਾਤਾ ਗੁਜਰੀ ਸਰਾਂ ਵਿਖੇ ਹੋਈ । ਮੀਟਿੰਗ ਵਿੱਚ ਜ਼ਿਲਾ ਬਾਡੀ ਦੀ ਨਵੀਂ ਚੌਣ ਵਿਚ ਸਰਬ ਸੰਮਤੀ ਨਾਲ ਕਰਮਚਾਰੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਨਵੇਂ ਅਹੁੱਦੇ ਦਿੱਤੇ ਗਏ ਤੇ ਤੇਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਲਾਡੀ ਜ਼ਿਲਾ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ, ਗੋਬਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਗੋਗੀ ਸੀਨੀਅਰ ਮੀਤ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ, ਲਖਵਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਖੁਮਾਣੋਂ ਜਨਰਲ ਸਕੱਤਰ, ਜਸਵੰਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਖਜ਼ਾਨਚੀ, ਮੰਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਖੇੜਾ ਪ੍ਰੈਸ ਸਕੱਤਰ, ਲਖਵਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਕਮਾਲੀ, ਭੁਪਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ, ਮਨਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਸੇਵਕ ਤਿੰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਮੀਤ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਚੁਣਿਆ ਗਿਆ । ਨਵੀਂ ਕਮੇਟੀ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਬਲਾਕਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਕਰਮਚਾਰੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਪੇਸ਼ ਆ ਰਹੀਆਂ ਮੁਸ਼ਕਲਾਂ ਬਾਰੇ ਵਿਚਾਰ ਵਿਟਾਂਦਰਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਅਤੇ ਸਖਤ ਨੋਟਿਸ ਲਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਕਿ ਬਲਾਕਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਚਾਇਤ ਸਕੱਤਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਸਮੇਂ ਸਿਰ ਤਨਖਾਹਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਦਿੱਤੀਆਂ ਜਾ ਰਹੀਆਂ ਅਤੇ ਸੀ.ਪੀ.ਐਫ.ਸਮੇਂ ਸਿਰ ਜਮਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੋ ਰਿਹਾ । ਉਨਾਂ ਮੰਗ ਕਰਦਿਾਂ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਹਰੇਕ ਮਹੀਨੇ ਦੀ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਤਾਰੀਖ ਨੂੰ ਬਿਨਾਂ ਦੇਰੀ ਤਨਖਾਹਾਂ ਖਾਤਿਆਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਾਈਆਂ ਜਾਣ ਅਤੇ ਜੋ ਪਿੰਡਾਂ ਦੀ ਵਾਰਡ ਬੰਦੀ ਦਾ ਕੰਮ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਣਾ ਹੈ ਉਸ ਸਬੰਧੀ ਪੰਚਾਇਤ ਸਕੱਤਰਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਹੋਰ ਕਰਮਚਾਰੀ ਵੀ ਲਾਏ ਜਾਣ ਅਤੇ ਵਾਰਡ ਬੰਦੀ ਲਈ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਦੀਆਂ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਹਦਾਇਤਾਂ ਜਾਰੀ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ ਜਾਣ ਤਾਂ ਜੋ ਵਾਰਡ ਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਰਾਜਨੀਤੀ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ ਤੋਂ ਬਚਾਈਆਂ ਜਾ ਸਕਣ ਅਤੇ ਜੋ ਕਰਮਚਾਰੀ ਬੀ.ਐਲ.ਓ.ਲਗਾਏ ਗਏ ਹਨ ਉਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਬਦਲਵਾਂ ਪ੍ਰਬੰਧ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਵੇ । ਇਸ ਮੀਟਿੰਗ ਵਿੱਚ ਯਸ਼ਪਾਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਲਾਕ ਸਰਹਿੰਦ, ਬਲਪਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਲਾਕ ਅਮਲੋਹ, ਰਾਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਸੀ ਪਠਾਣਾਂ ਆਦਿ ਤੋਂ ਇਲਾਵਾ ਵੱਡੀ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਚਾਇਤ ਸਕੱਤਰ ਅਤੇ ਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਸੇਵਕ ਹਾਜ਼ਰ ਹੋਏ ।
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Vet. Varsity Youth festival showcased Power of words, Nib Strokes and Clay art

Ludhiana-30-Oct, 2012

3rd Youth festival of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary &Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana today witnessed literary events, Cartooning and Clay Modeling. Dr. Charan Kanwal Singh organizing secretary of festival said that in morning session Debate, Elocution, Extempore and Cartooning competitions were held. The subject for Cartooning was 'Noise Pollution'. Mr. K.R. Rohella, Comptroller of varsity was chief guest for this competition. Students expressed their thoughts on this current and important issue. Result of this competition was as:

1. Roshank (College of Dairy Science and Technology)

2. Arunbir Singh ( College of Veterinary Science)

3. Kirpal Singh (Khalsa College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Amritsar)

In the competition of literary events Dr. S. N. S. Randhawa, Director of Research was Chief Guest. Students spoke on the Debate topic of 'To improve the teaching standards in higher education students should be allowed to evaluate their teachers'. For Elocution topic was 'Co-Curricular activities should be made compulsory to every student studying in university'. The results of these events were as:

Debate: 1. Priyanka & Natasha (College of Veterinary Science)

2. Sudhanshu & Baljot Kaur (College of Fisheries)

3. Amritdeep & Jashandeep (College of Dairy Science and Technology)

Elocution: 1. Gurkaranveer Singh (College of Veterinary Science)

2. Rabia Bhardwaj (School of Animal Biotechnology)

3. Jashandeep (College of Dairy Science and Technology)

Extempore: 1. Jagpreet Singh (College of Veterinary Science)

2. Jagdeep Singh (College of Veterinary Science)

3. Navpreet Kaur (Khalsa College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences)

In the afternoon session there was competition of Clay Modelling. The Subject of this event was 'Actions of Animals and Sports actions in Human'. Dr. R.S. Brar, Librarian of varsity was Chief Guest of this session. The Results of this event were as:

1. Kamaljyoti (College of Veterinary Science)

2. Satinder Pal Singh Saini (College of Veterinary Science)

3. Rajinder Kaur (School of Animal Biotechnology)

In all the competitions three colleges of university named College of Veterinary Science, College of Dairy Science and Technology, College of Fisheries, School of Animal Biotechnology participated alongwith affiliated college, Khalsa College of Veterniary and Animal Sciences Amritsar. Dr. P. N. Diwedi, President, University Dance Drama and Music Club said that said that Prominent Persons, Mr. Navdeep Singh, Mr. Manjeet Singh both from All India Radio and Ms. Ramneek Kaur were Judges of literary events. Whereas Dr. M. S. Toor , Dr. D. S. Pooni and Mr. Harminder Boparai were Judges of fine arts events. He said that Poster Making, Rangoli, Creative Writing, Poetic recitation and Haas Ras competitions will be held on 31.10.2012.

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CIPHET to organize national innovators meet

Ludhiana, October 30

Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), Ludhiana, is organising a National Farm Innovators Meet on October 31. 2012 at its campus. The event would witness farmers/entrepreneurs from across the country displaying/presenting their innovative technologies on unique platform. This is aimed at bridging gaps between farmers working at grassroot level and scientists having expertise in latest technologies. Around 50 innovative farmers from across the country are expected to take part in the event. Dr V.K Sehgal from Punjab Agricultural University, would be chief guest on the occasion. Director CIPHET Dr U.S Shivhare and Head Transfer of Technology Division Dr Deepak Raj Rai said that it would be great learning experience for both farming and scientific community.

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A three-week advanced training programme on "Sustainable natural resource management for ecological agriculture," organized by the Department of Soil Science of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), culminated here today. The programme was held under the aegis of Centre of Advanced Faculty Training (CAFT) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. Participants from various ICAR institutes and State Agricultural Universities (representing 10 states) attended the training programme.

Speaking on this occasion, the Chief Guest, Dr D.S. Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture and officiating Dean of Postgraduate Studies, PAU, emphasized on understanding various issues pertaining to natural resource management. Pointing out that there is a lot of stress on the entire eco-system due to ever-increasing population and quest for higher production; he said that the efforts to meet food requirement has led to the indiscriminate use of farm inputs, thus, resulting in degradation of precious natural resources including soil, air and water. Dr Cheema urged the trainees not to overlook the role of maintaining the soil health and conserving water while increasing agricultural productivity. He suggested the participants to come up with the new ideas and collaborative projects to address various agrarian issues.

Earlier, Dr U.S. Sadana, Head of Department of Soil Science and Director CAFT, welcomed the guests and gave an overview of the training programme.

Dr O.P. Choudhary, Chief Coordinator of the programme, said that resource persons from PAU as well as different national institutes deliberated on need-based fertilizer management, crop residues, organic wastes and bio-fertilizers, conservation technologies, agro-forestry, fertigation and managing irrigation water quantity and quality for farm sustainability. He informed that the trainees hailed from different states like Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Gorakhpur, Gwalior, etc.

Dr G.S. Saroa, Coordinator of the programme, proposed the vote of thanks.

The participating scientists said that the training course has equipped them with a vast knowledge on different aspects of agriculture, which upon their return to respective institutes, will help them in restructuring their on-going research and teaching programmes.

The four guest speakers including Dr J.N. Raina; YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan; Dr Arvind Shukla, Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal; Dr C.S. Walia, National Bureau of Science Survey (NBSS) and Land Use Planning (LUP), Regional Centre, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi; and Dr C.L. Acharya, ICAR nominated scientist; interacted with the trainees. Besides, Dr Yadvinder Singh, Senior Scientist, Indian National Science Academy, and Dr Denish K. Benbi, ICAR National Professor, delivered lectures.

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Kingfisher revival plan: Mallya meets Civil Aviation Secretary

NEW DELHI, October 30, 2012

Ahead of submitting a revival plan to aviation regulator DGCA, Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya on Tuesday met Civil Aviation Secretary K N Shrivastava and briefed him about the steps being taken to revive the beleaguered carrier.

Mr. Mallya is understood to have been asked by Mr. Shrivastava about the plans to pay off the debts and dues to various vendors, including Airports Authority of India (AAI) which has asked it to vacate two hangars at Kolkata and Chennai airports as it owes the state—run airports body Rs 293 crore.

"I have briefed him on revival and restart plan. It would be a comprehensive plan. All hurdles will be crossed," Mr. Mallya told reporters after the meeting.

The meeting between UB Group chief and the Secretary, the first since the airline got into regulatory trouble, lasted 30 minutes, official sources said.

Kingfisher is expected to apply to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for revocation of suspension of its Scheduled Operator's Permit (SOP) or flying license in a few weeks.

For this, it has to submit to DGCA a comprehensive financial and operational plan to revive the airline and its operations, after an over three week impasse with its employees since September 30, who struck work demanding payment of overdue salaries. The strike was followed by a lockout that was lifted on October 25.

The services of Kingfisher can be restored only after the DGCA is convinced that the carrier can provide safe and sustainable operations.

The sources said the government is concerned about how the cash—strapped carrier would pay its dues to its service providers, including airport operators, aircraft leasers and oil companies.

The airline is likely to face more trouble soon with the Revenue Department deciding to move the Supreme Court to expedite recovery of tax dues worth about Rs 330 crore.

A special leave petition is to be filed jointly by the Income Tax and Service Tax departments to apprise the apex court "of the magnitude of pending dues to the government" and seek vacation of a September 26 Karnataka High Court order restraining the I—T department from making "further recovery".

Following the High Court order, the I—T department had lifted its attachment orders on the airline's bank accounts.

While the I—T department dues stand at around Rs 269 crore, the airline owes Rs 60 crore to Service Tax department.

Kingfisher is saddled with a loss of Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of an additional over Rs 7,524 crore, a large part of which has not been serviced for several months.
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We have to stand up and score runs: Cook

MUMBAI, October 30, 2012

England cricket captain Alastair Cook has said there is no quick fix to tackle spin bowling: "Gooch (Graham) sent me to India when I was 19. It's never a single fix; it's a gradual process to play spin in the sub-continent. I made my Test debut in India. I feel I have the experience to pass it on to the younger players. I have a fairly decent record here as well.

"If we have to win this series all of us will have to stand up and score runs. We always try and win these warm up games; these are first class games.

"The idea is always to get as much game-time into our players so that they are ready for the first Test," said Cook on the eve of the match against India 'A' at the Brabourne Stadium, Cricket Club of India on Monday.

Cook and the England team Director Andy Flower said the team got a great start for three days in Dubai, that Kevin Pietersen is desperate to get going and he will bat at No. 4 against India 'A', Stuart Broad will be the vice-captain and that they will try to change history that indicates that England has not won a Test series in India since the 1984-85 tour under David Gower's captaincy.

Excerpts of Cook's media interaction:

Playing in India: India is a great place to play cricket. We can't wait for the game to start on Tuesday and get ready for the first Test in two-and-a-half week's time. It's a huge challenge to change things here. History suggests how hard it is for an English side to win in the sub-continent.

On Kevin Pietersen: We landed this morning and since it's been a day of recovery. We have seen Kevin, he's desperate to get going and we are desperate to have him back in the team. It's always great to have world class players in the team. He's played a huge amount of cricket, a lot in the sub-continent and in the IPL and that experience will be invaluable for us.

Absence of Andrew Strauss: That will be one of the big changes. It will be strange for me to walk out and bat for England without Strauss. It was a pleasure to bat with him and it was great to know such a familiar face at the other end.

Presence of Gooch and Flower: That's why we have maximum coaching staff; there's lot of experience in former world class cricketers. Gooch has done some huge amount of work for me and Andy as well. I started batting with Andy when I was 18 or 19. As captain and coach we have a strong relationship and base to work together and push this England side and get some good results.

Absence of a specialist spinner in the India 'A' team: We have no right to select the India 'A' team; it's not in our control. There's Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina in the team for spin.

On the Indian team: Both sides have world class players. It's going to be a fantastic series to watch. Whichever team uses the conditions better will win the series.

Flower on Pietersen: It takes a little while to get back into your rhythm and into top form. But he's an amazing cricketer. Playing T20 cricket (in the CLT20 league) he might have been a tad rusty playing his first few innings.

But he scored a good 50 in the semifinal and with a couple of knocks in the preparatory games for the Test series I am sure he will be fine.
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Superstorm Sandy slams into Atlantic coast

ATLANTIC CITY, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline and hurled a record-breaking 4-metre surge of seawater at New York City on Monday, roaring ashore after washing away part of the Atlantic City boardwalk and putting the presidential campaign on hold. At least 10 deaths were blamed on the storm.

Sandy knocked out power to at least 3.1 million people, and New York's main utility said large sections of Manhattan had been plunged into darkness by the storm, with 250,000 customers without power as water pressed into the island from three sides.

Just before its centre reached land, the storm was stripped of hurricane status, but the distinction was purely technical, based on its shape and internal temperature. It still packed hurricane—force wind, and forecasters were careful to say it remained every bit as dangerous to the 50 million people in its path.

The National Hurricane Centre announced at 8 p.m. that Sandy had come ashore near Atlantic City. It smacked the boarded-up big cities of the Northeast corridor, from Washington and Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, with stinging rain and gusts of more than 85 mph (135 kph). The sea surged a record of nearly 4 metre at the foot of Manhattan, flooding the financial district and subway tunnels.

The 10 deaths were in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police in Toronto said a woman was killed by a falling sign as high winds closed in on Canada's largest city.

As it made its way toward land, it converged with a cold-weather system that turned into a fearsome superstorm, a monstrous hybrid consisting not only of rain and high wind but of snow. Forecasters warned of 6-metre waves bashing into the Chicago lakefront and up to 0.9 metres of snow in West Virginia.

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney suspended their campaigning with just over a week to go before Election Day.

At the White House, Mr. Obama made a direct appeal to those in harm's way- "Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Don't delay, don't pause, don't question the instructions that are being given, because this is a powerful storm."

The storm washed away a section of the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey. Water was splashing over the seawalls at the southern tip of Manhattan.

New York City authorities worried that salt water would seep through the boarded-up street grates and through the sandbags placed at subway entrances, crippling the electrical connections needed to operate the subway.

Authorities also feared the surge of seawater could damage the underground electrical and communications lines in lower Manhattan that are vital to the nation's financial centre.

Water began pooling in rail yards and on highways near the Hudson River waterfront on Manhattan's far west side. On coastal Long Island, floodwaters swamped cars, downed trees and put neighbourhoods under water as beachfronts and fishing villages bore the brunt of the storm. A police car was lost rescuing 14 people from the popular resort Fire Island.

A construction crane atop a luxury high-rise in midtown Manhattan collapsed in high winds and dangled precariously. Residents in surrounding buildings were ordered to move to lower floors and the streets below were cleared, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The facade of a four-story Manhattan building in the Chelsea neighbourhood crumbled and collapsed suddenly, leaving the lights, couches, cabinets and desks inside visible from the street. No one was hurt, although some of the falling debris hit a car.

The major American stock exchanges closed for the day, the first unplanned shutdown since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Wall Street expected to remain closed on Tuesday. The United Nations cancelled all meetings at its New York headquarters.

Authorities warned that New York City and Long Island could get the worst of the storm surge- a 3-metre onslaught of seawater that could swamp lower Manhattan, flood the subways and damage the underground network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial capital.

"Leave immediately. Conditions are deteriorating very rapidly, and the window for you getting out safely is closing," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told those in low-lying areas earlier in the day.

Defiant New Yorkers jogged, pushed strollers and took snapshots of churning New York Harbour during the day on Monday, trying to salvage normal routines.

Without most stores and museums open, tourists were left to snap photos of the World Trade Center site, Wall Street and Times Square in largely deserted streets.

As rain from the leading edges began to fall over the Northeast on Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people from Maryland to Connecticut were ordered to leave low-lying coastal areas, including 375,000 in lower Manhattan and other parts of New York City, 50,000 in Delaware and 30,000 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Mr. Obama declared emergencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, authorizing federal relief work to begin well ahead of time. He promised the government would "respond big and respond fast" after the storm hits.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was typically blunt- "Don't be stupid. Get out."

Those who stayed in New York had few ways to get out. New York's subways, which serve 5 million people a day, were shut down. The Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey was closed, as was a tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and the city planned to shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington, the Verrazano—Narrows and several other spans because of high winds.

Off North Carolina, a replica of the 18th—century sailing ship HMS Bounty that was built for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" went down in the storm, and 14 crew members were rescued by helicopter from rubber lifeboats bobbing in 5.5-metre seas. Another crew member was found hours later and was hospitalized in critical condition. The captain was still missing.
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Japanese airport closed after WWII bomb found

TOKYO, October 30, 2012

A major airport in northern Japan was closed on Tuesday after construction workers found an unexploded bomb believed to be from World War II.

All 92 flights in and out of Sendai airport were cancelled after the 250-kilogramme bomb was uncovered during construction near a runway, local police official Hiroshi Ouchi said. The bomb was identified as American-made and is believed to be a dud from World War II.

It appeared to have a working detonator, and a military bomb squad was considering whether to move the bomb or explode it on the spot. Evacuations of nearby homes were being considered, Mr. Ouchi said.

The Sendai airport, a major hub for travel into northern Japan, was closed for months due to severe damage from last year's tsunami. It is still undergoing reconstruction.

The United States heavily bombed Japanese cities during World War II, and finding unexploded bombs is not unusual, 67 years after Japan's surrender. Dozens of duds are uncovered in Tokyo each year, and even more are found on the southern island of Okinawa, which was the site of the most intense fighting during the war.

Many of them are found at construction sites. The rusty condition of the bombs can make them prone to detonate when moved, but injuries are rare. Experts say it could take several decades to remove all of the unexploded ordnance.

Last week, hundreds of residents in central Tokyo were evacuated so that bomb squads could remove a 220-kilogramme dud buried there.
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Facebook used to kidnap, traffic Indonesian girls

DEPOK, October 30, 2012

When a 14-year-old girl received a Facebook friend request from an older man she didn't know, she accepted it out of curiosity. It's a click she will forever regret, leading to a brutal story that has repeated itself as sexual predators find new ways to exploit Indonesia's growing obsession with social media.

The junior high student was quickly smitten by the man's smooth online flattery. They exchanged phone numbers, and his attention increased with rapid-fire texts. He convinced her to meet in a mall, and she found him just as charming in person.

They agreed to meet again. After telling her mom she was going to visit a sick girlfriend on her way to church choir practice, she climbed into the man's minivan near her home in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

The man, a 24-year-old who called himself Yogi, drove her an hour to the town of Bogor, West Java, she told The Associated Press in an interview.

There, he locked her in a small room inside a house with at least five other girls aged 14 to 17. She was drugged and raped repeatedly losing her virginity in the first violent session.

After one week of torture, her captor told her she was being sold and shipped to the faraway island of Batam, known for its seedy brothels and child sex tourism that caters to men coming by boat from nearby Singapore.

She sobbed hysterically and begged to go home. She was beaten and told to shut up or die.


So far this year, 27 of the 129 children reported missing to Indonesia's National Commission for Child Protection are believed to have been abducted after meeting their captors on Facebook, said the group's chairman, Arist Merdeka Sirait. One of those befriended on the social media site has been found dead.

In the month since the Depok girl was found near a bus terminal Sept. 30, there have been at least seven reports of young girls in Indonesia being abducted by people they met on Facebook. Although no solid data exists, police and aid groups that work on trafficking issues say it seems to be a particularly big problem in the Southeast Asian archipelago.

"Maybe Indonesia is kind of a unique country so far. Once the reports start coming in, you will know that maybe it's not one of the countries, maybe it's one of a hundred countries," said Anjan Bose, a programme officer who works on child online protection issues at ECPAT International, a nonprofit global network that helps children in 70 countries. "The Internet is such a global medium. It doesn't differentiate between poor and rich. It doesn't differentiate between the economy of the country or the culture."

Websites that track social media say Indonesia has nearly 50 million people signed up for Facebook, making it one of the world's top users after the U.S. The capital, Jakarta, was recently named the most active Twitter city by Paris-based social media monitoring company Semiocast. In addition, networking groups such as BlackBerry and Yahoo! Messenger are wildly popular on mobile phones.

Many young Indonesians, and their parents, are unaware of the dangers of allowing strangers to see their personal information online. Teenagers frequently post photos and personal details such as their home address, phone number, school and hangouts without using any privacy settings allowing anyone trolling the net to find them and learn everything about them.

"We are racing against time, and the technology frenzy over Facebook is a trend among teenagers here," Sirait said. "Police should move faster, or many more girls will become victims."

The 27 Facebook—related abductions reported to the commission this year in Indonesia have already exceed 18 similar cases it received in all of 2011. Overall, the National Task Force Against Human Trafficking said 435 children were trafficked last year, mostly for sexual exploitation.

Many who fight child sex crimes in Indonesia believe the real numbers are much higher. Missing children are often not reported to authorities. Stigma and shame surround sexual abuse in the world's largest Muslim—majority country, and there's a widespread belief that police will do nothing to help.

An ECPAT International report estimates that each year, 40,000 to 70,000 children are involved in trafficking, pornography or prostitution in Indonesia, a nation of 240 million where many families remain impoverished.

The U.S. State Department has also warned that more Indonesian girls are being recruited using social media networks. In a report last year, it said traffickers have "resorted to outright kidnapping of girls and young women for sex trafficking within the country and abroad."

Online child sexual abuse and exploitation are common in much of Asia. In the Philippines, kids are being forced to strip or perform sex acts on live webcams often by their parents, who are using them as a source of income. Western men typically pay to use the sites.

"In the Philippines, this is the tip of the iceberg. It's not only Facebook and social media, but it's also through text messages ... especially young, vulnerable people are being targeted," said Leonarda Kling, regional representative for Terre des Hommes Netherlands, a nonprofit working on trafficking issues. "It's all about promises. Better jobs or maybe even a nice telephone or whatever. Young people now, you see all the glamour and glitter around you and they want to have the latest BlackBerry, the latest fashion, and it's also a way to get these things."

Facebook says its investigators regularly review content on the site and work with authorities, including Interpol, to combat illegal activity. It also has employees around the world tasked with cracking down on people who attempt to use the site for human trafficking.

"We take human trafficking very seriously and, while this behaviour is not common on Facebook, a number of measures are in place to counter this activity," spokesman Andrew Noyes said in an email.


The Depok girl, wearing a mask to hide her face as she was interviewed, said she is still shocked that the man she knew for nearly a month turned on her.

"He wanted to buy new clothes for me, and help with school payments. He was different ... that's all," she said. "I have a lot of contacts through Facebook, and I've also exchanged phone numbers. But everything has always gone fine. We were just friends."

She said that after being kidnapped, she was given sleeping pills and was "mostly unconscious" for her ordeal. She said she could not escape because a man and another girl stood guard over her.

The girl said the man did not have the money for a plane ticket to Batam, and also became aware that her parents and others were relentlessly searching for her. He ended up dumping her at a bus station, where she found help.

"I am angry and cannot accept what he did to me. ... I was raped and beaten!" she said.

The girl's case made headlines this month when she was expelled after she tried to return to school. School officials claimed she had tarnished the school's image. She has since been reinstated, but she no longer wishes to attend due to the stigma she faces.

Indonesia's Education Minister Mohammad Nuh also came under fire after making remarks that not all girls who report such crimes are victims- "They do it for fun, and then the girl alleges that it's rape," he said. His response to the criticism that it's difficult to prove whether sexual assault allegations are "real rapes," drew more condemnation.

The publicity surrounding the story encouraged the parents of five other missing girls to come forward this month, saying their daughters also were victimized by people they met on Facebook. Two more girls were freed from the captors in October and are now seeking counselling.

Another case involved a 15—year—old girl from Bogor. She was recently rescued by police after being kidnapped by her Facebook "friend" and held at a restaurant, waiting for someone to move her to another town where she would be forced into prostitution.

In some incidents, the victims themselves ended up recruiting other young girls after being promised money or luxuries such as mobile phones or new clothes.

Police are trying to get a step ahead of the criminals. Detective Lt. Ruth Yeni Qomariah from the Children and Women's Protection unit in Surabaya said she posed as a teenager online and busted three men who used Facebook to kidnap and rape underage girls. She's searching for a fourth suspect.

"It has been getting worse as trafficking rings become more sophisticated and underage children are more easily targeted," she said.

The man who abducted the Depok girl has not been found, and it's unclear what happened to the five other girls held at the house where she was raped.

"I saw they were offered by my kidnapper to many guys," she said. "I don't know what happened. I don't want to remember it."
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Evacuations begin as US braces for huge storm

NEW YORK, October 30, 2012

The US East Coast braced itself to weather one of the worst storms in decades as Hurricane Sandy churned towards the densely populated areas of New York, Washington and Boston and threatened to dump inches of rain and snow, prompting evacuation of thousands of residents.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and New York and governors of the states in the path of the monster storm ordered mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas.

Over 6000 flights were cancelled across the country's northeast regions and 370,000 people were evacuated from New York city.

The hurricane was expected to make landfall in the New York/New Jersey area early. New York ordered shut down of its mass transit system, which caters to millions of passengers daily, beginning last evening, the second time in 14 months that the public transport system was brought to a halt.

Hurricane Sandy brought back memories of the hurricane Irene that had pounded the eastern seaboard last August, resulting in similar shutdowns, mass evacuations and power outages for millions.

"We have a plan to keep you and all New Yorkers safe. If you follow that plan, we'll get through this storm just fine.

If you don't, people's lives are in danger. Not only yours, but the people who might be called to rescue you in an emergency," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a press conference.

"I can't stress enough that this is for your own safety, and that if you refuse to evacuate, you're not only putting yourself at risk, but also the first responders who will have to assist you in an emergency," he said.

New York schools, offices closed

In another unprecedented move, the UN headquarters here would remain closed on Monday and possibly Tuesday due to the storm. All meeting at the UN were cancelled. The Nasdaq exchange also announced it would be closed on Monday.

The city set up 76 evacuation shelters in public schools for people from low-lying areas of Coney Island, Manhattan Beach and other areas along the East River in Brooklyn in Manhattan.

The city's public schools, which cater to 1.1 million schoolchildren, were also ordered closed for Monday and the Coast Guard closed the New York Harbour.

The city's 468 subway stations, buses, rails, were also closed as officials advised people not to venture out. Utility companies warned that the hurricane could lead to power outages across several areas leaving people without electricity and heat for anywhere between 5-7 days.

Huge lines were seen outside grocery stores as water, food items, generators and batteries and other essential items flew off the shelves with residents stocking up for possible worse days after the storm has passed.

Forecasters said the water could top 8 feet from Ocean City, Maryland to the border between Connecticut and Rhode Island. They predicted the waves would rise to 6 feet on the south shore of Cape Cod. The storm was also expected to dump inches of snow in the region around Virginia.

Obama, Romney cancel campaign

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also authorised closure of all State Offices for Monday, due to the impending impact of Hurricane Sandy and dangerous weather conditions.

Christie encouraged residents to comply with orders and guidance from their local emergency management and government officials in preparing for the storm and to avoid any unnecessary risks when the storm makes landfall.

Both Obama and Romney cancelled events in Virginia.

Romney also cancelled his New Hampshire trip, but would continue with his campaign in the battleground states of Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin — which are away from the storm.

"This is a serious and big storm," Obama said at headquarters of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington DC where he had gone to review the preparedness.

"And my first message is to all the people across the Eastern seaboard, Mid—Atlantic, going north, that you need to take this very seriously and follow the instructions of your state and local officials, because they are going to be providing you with the best advice in terms of how to deal with this storm over the coming days," Mr. Obama said.

Indian Embassy closed

The Indian Embassy in Washington and the Indian Consulate in New York announced that their offices would be closed today due to storm.

The TriVisa offices, to which the Indian Embassy has outsourced its visa services, has also closed its offices in both Now York and Washington.

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Shiv Sena on a wing and a prayer

MUMBAI, October 30, 2012

Last week, an emotive, pre-recorded video address by the 86-year-old patriarch of Maharashtra's dominant right-wing party at the annual Dussehra rally sparked off speculations about its future. The guesswork, oft-analysed in the past half decade, concerned the existence of a Shiv Sena without its authoritarian embodiment, Bal Thackeray.

Mr. Thackeray, in his address appealed to Sainiks to stand by his son Uddhav and grandson Aditya .

His call to the Marathi manoos to remain united and smash the Congress is being perceived as an appeal to his estranged nephew, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, to join forces with the Shiv Sena.

Challenges aplenty

During the 2014 Assembly elections, the Shiv Sena would be out of power for 15 years. The overworked theory of the MNS' merger with the Sena still seems a remote possibility despite a perceived thaw.

Mr. Raj Thackeray's visit to his uncle's residence 'Matoshree' (his third in four months) a day after the Dussehra rally and an hour-long closed door meeting assumes significance, while his meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is intriguing.

Mr. Uddhav Thackeray's health, after an angioplasty, is another concern for the party. "The question of leadership [a choice between Mr. Uddhav Thackeray and Mr. Raj Thackeray] has always remained a sore point that has affected the chances of a merger," a senior MNS leader told The Hindu.

Shiv Sena leaders point to a strong anti-incumbency in the ruling coalition that completes its third term.

A major problem with the Sena is that it has carried on as a monolithic party since its inception, with Bal Thackeray's shadow overwhelming all and one concerned. Other faces, except for his son have barely been given any opportunity to showcase themselves, causing a lack of visibility and a serious disconnect at the grass roots level.

String of exits

Dissidence within the Shiv Sena manifested with Chhagan Bhujbal leaving the party in 1991. Since 2005, the party has been crippled by a string of exits. First it was Sanjay Nirupam, MP who controlled the party's north Indian vote bank followed by Narayan Rane less than three months later and culminating in Mr. Raj Thackeray coming out and launching the MNS.

The Sena leadership's autocratic style, growing nepotism and corruption within the party were cited as primary reasons for their exit. In Mr. Bhujbal's case, it was the violent opposition to the Mandal commission report.

In a regional political climate, increasingly marked by shifts towards developmental agendas, the Sena lacks any such alternative. While it has managed to retain its hold over the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for the fourth time, the victory has been marked by a decline in the number of seats.

Daunting task

Compounding the Sena's woes is its partner in the 'Mahayuti,' the Bharatiya Janata Party. It has whittled down considerably since Pramod Mahajan's death in 2006. Its other important face, Gopinath Munde, who usually leads the party for the elections in the State has a daunting task, specially with the controversy over BJP president Nitin Gadkari's companies and financial affairs.

Also, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray's alliance with Ramdas Athawale's Republican Party of India (A) in a bid to get a share of the Dalit vote-bank, is unlikely to yield dramatic results, with Mr. Athawale being viewed as a fly-by-night operator by many inside the Sena.

Importantly, despite Mr. Bal Thackeray bequeathing a strong cadre-based party, a rapidly shrinking core urban base of Marathi voters is alarming for the Sena's prospects that have hinged solely on identity politics for nearly half-a-century since its inception in 1966. These are questions vexing the party as the tiger gradually ceases to roar and his followers become increasingly confused.
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We will not take any steps affecting Dhaka, PM tells Khaleda

NEW DELHI, October 30, 2012

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday assured the former Bangladesh Prime Minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, that New Delhi was committed to taking Dhaka along as it pursued the economic growth path and would not take any steps detrimental to her country's interests.

Ms. Zia, leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), is here on a week-long visit as part of India's broader outreach with Bangladeshi polity. Prominent political figures who have visited the country recently to minimise the India factor in Bangladesh's politics before elections late next year include the former President, Lt. Gen. (retd.) H.M. Ershad; general secretary of the ruling Awami League Sayed Ashraful Islam and representatives of the media and the civil society.

The BNP leader appreciated the initiatives to liberalise trade due to which Bangladesh's garment exports to India had gone up. Work is on to facilitate transfer of electricity and beef up infrastructure. Both countries are working on a proposal to set up a second power grid interconnection.

Ms. Zia was categorical that Bangladesh should be mindful of India's concerns over terrorism and insurgent groups and wanted to see both countries cooperate on these issues. She, however, expressed reservations over the firings on the border that had led to killing of Bangladeshi civilians, and sought more transparency on dams being built on the rivers common to both countries.

During the 30-minute meeting, according to official sources, Dr. Singh mentioned that India was proactive in taking measures to reassure Bangladesh on the Tipaimukh dam and border issues.

On the stalled Teesta water sharing agreement and the inability of the United Progressive Alliance government to push through the land exchange agreement, Dr. Singh said the government was trying to achieve political consensus on both issues and assured that India was aware of the importance of operationalising the both pacts for a closer relationship.

The nine-member BNP delegation includes party's standing committee member Tariqul Islam, advisers Riaz Rahman, Sabih Uddin Ahmed and Shamser Mobin Chowdhury and the former MP, Khaleda Rabbani.

Ms. Zia is scheduled to visit Ajmer Sharif to offer prayers at the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.
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