Friday, November 30, 2012



A state level training-cum-workshop for the members of Progressive Beekeepers Association will be held on December 5 at Kairon Kisan Ghar of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The workshop will be organized under the aegis of the Directorate of Extension Education of PAU.

Divulging details, Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, said that the trainees will be equipped with the schemes of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in addition to the quality improvement of honey. An interactive session will also be held amongst the progressive beekeepers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Entomology of the PAU will be organizing a "Special Basic Beekeeping Training Course for SC/ST" from December 3-7 at the University Bee Farm. The course will be supported and facilitated by Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna. The Head of Entomology Department, Dr Balwinder Singh said that the farm experts will delve upon honey bee colonies, colony organization, lifecycle of honey bees, and management of honey bee colonies during summer, monsoon, autumn, spring and winter seasons. Besides, experts will highlight the importance, scope and utility of beekeeping and bee-flora; bee enemies and their management; diseases of honey bees and their management; identification and management of bee mites and diseases; and technologies for products of bee products. Dr Singh added that the trainees will be imparted training in the composition, processing, storage and use of honey; honey extraction and wax purification; and strategies and avenues for honey and bee products marketing. The experts will also educate the participants about economics of beekeeping, financing schemes of banks for beekeepers and beekeeping schemes under National Horticulture Mission, he told.

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A monthly training camp for the members of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Kisan Club will be organized on December 6 at Dr Borlaug Wheat Auditorium. Giving contours, Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, said that the subject-matter specialists will educate the trainees about the cultivation of seasonal flowers, maintenance of lawns, and value addition to cereals. Besides, dwelling upon prospects for the investors in India and abroad, the experts will shed light on women's health and hygiene and provide tips for safe drinking water. He told that the experts from PAU, WWICS (World Wide Consultancy Immigration Services Ltd.) and Lady Irwin College of New Delhi will be the resource persons. The review of the activities of the Club will also take place during the camp. Dr. Gill informed that the registration for the camp will be held on December 6 at 9.00 a.m. at scheduled venue.
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International pig seminar at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University

Ludhiana – 30 Nov, 2012

Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension Education, GADVASU, Ludhiana has organized a technical seminar for pig farmers of Punjab State on 30th November 2012 in Silver Jubliee Block. Dr Harish Verma HOD revealed that Dr.R.S.Sahota, Director of Extension Education was the Chief Guest of the occasion. Dr. Sahota said that there is a need to increase production and productivity of swine and pork. As the population grows, more food is needed, as more consumers move into the middle income sector, they will demand more meat in their diet, compared to carbohydrates. Mr. Alferd Wahl, Pig expert, Polar Genetics, Canada, delivered a lecture on Artificial insemination in swine and adaptability of Canadian pigs. He discussed in detail about semen collection, semen evaluation, semen handling and artificial insemination technique in swine. He stressed that by adopting artificial insemination, there can be maximum utilization of excellent germplasm as well as fast multiplication of the same and additionally the spread of various diseases such as Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome , Pseudorabies, Swine fever, Foot and mouth disease and many more can be checked. Further, the boars are kept at boar station and semen is collected by adopting hygienic measures. Further, the Polar Genetics experts provided valuable information regarding transportation biosecurity and swine health and stressed on the importance of washing, cleaning and disinfection of trucks, trailers for transportation of live animals. It is important to mention that Polar Genetics is supplying live animals as well as semen to the different countries like China, USA, Chile, Equador etc. This seminar was sponsored by Polar Genetics, Alberta (Canada). Dr Harish Verma delivered his lecture on status of pig farming in Punjab: constraints and opportunities. Dr Jaspal Singh Hundal was the technical coordinator of the seminar and overall coordinated the proceeding of the meeting. S. Sukhwinder Singh Kotli, President, Progressive Pig farmers Association, presented vote of thanks. This seminar was sponsored by Polar Genetics, Alberta (Canada). Approximate 100 farmers of Progressive Pig Farmers Association, Punjab and doctors form state department of Animal Husbandry attended the meeting and interacted with experts regarding new technologies and superior germplasm. Seminar and monthly meeting was a great success and the company promised the member farmers to provide all support and technical knowhow to train farmers for Artificial insemination in pigs.

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Conference on \'Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security’

Ludhiana-30 – Nov ,2012

Animal husbandry being an integral component of agriculture economy a special session was organised with the theme on Advances in Veterinary and Animal Sciences for Sustainable Livestock Development in the International Conference on \'Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security' by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. The session was chaired by Dr V K Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University and co-chaired by Dr A S Nanda, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Government of India, New Delhi.

Eminent Key Speakers including Dr C S Prasad, Director, National institute of animal nutrition and physiology (NIANP), Bangaluru; Dr R Venkantaraman, Joint Director, Indian veterinary research institute (IVRI), Bangaluru; Dr D Swarup Director, Central Institute for Research on goats (CIRG) Makhdoom and Dr Baljit Gill Associate Dean, University of Saskatchewan, Canada discussed the Advances in Veterinary and Animal Sciences for sustainable livestock development. Speakers laid emphasis on the impact of climate change and animal health challenges on livestock production and productivity, concept of one health which integrates various aspects of animal, human and environmental health, disease diagnosis, prevention and control strategies. Considering world as a global village, appropriate sustainable livestock management practices are required to be introduced for benefits of livestock keepers in the situation of changing socio-economic conditions and increasingly variable climates which is leading to mergence and emergence of infectious and non-infectious diseases. They emphasised that there is need to develop a cohesive livestock health delivery system to provide better healthcare and control inimical impact of infectious diseases. Dr V K Taneja Vice Chancellor, GADVASU stressed the need for all India network program on mastitis keeping in view the high economic losses due to mastitis. They called for increased collaboration among agricultural, animal and human health specialists to tackle the emerging and re-emerging diseases affecting plants, animals and human beings in an integrated and holistic manner.

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GDP growth declines to 5.3% in Q2

NEW DELHI, November 30, 2012 PTI

The Indian economy grew by 5.3 per cent in the July-September period of the current financial year (2012-13), pulled down by poor performance of manufacturing and agriculture sectors, showing persistent signs of slowdown.

The gross domestic product (GDP) had expanded by 6.7 per cent in the same period of last fiscal.

It had grown by 5.5 per cent in the first quarter (April-June) of 2012-13.

During the three-month period ended September 30, 2012 the manufacturing sector grew marginally by 0.8 per cent, against 2.9 per cent growth in the same period of 2011-12, according to data released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) on Friday.

Farm sector output expanded by just 1.2 per cent in the July-September period this fiscal against 3.1 per cent in the same period last year.

Mining and quarrying sector, however, showed some improvement and recorded a growth of 1.9 per cent during the quarter, as against a contraction of 5.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2011-12.

The economic growth in the first six month of this fiscal (April-September) is 5.4 per cent, lower than 7.3 per cent growth clocked in the year-ago period.

In the July-September quarter, trade, hotels, transport and communications segment also witnessed lower pace of growth at 5.5 per cent compared to 9.5 per cent expansion in the same quarter in year ago.

The growth rate of electricity, gas and water supply also dipped to 3.4 per cent in the second quarter, from 9.8 per cent witnessed in the same quarter of 2011-12.

Construction sector expanded by 6.7 per cent Q2 of 2012-13, as against 6.3 per cent in the year-ago period.

Growth rate of services sector, including insurance and real estate, stood at 9.4 per cent in the second quarter, against 9.9 per cent recorded in same quarter last fiscal.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had earlier said that the economy faces a "difficult situation" and the way to overcome this difficult situation is through innovation and increasing the production of goods and services.
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Indian economy to grow at 6.5% in 2013: Goldman Sachs

NEW DELHI, November 30, 2012

Indian economy is likely to grow by 6.5 per cent in 2013 driven by favourable external demand outlook and domestic structural reforms push, a Goldman Sachs report said on Thursday.

According to a research note by the investment banking major, growth is likely to pick up gradually to 6.5 per cent in 2013 and further to 7.2 per cent in 2014.

This is on the back of "easing financial conditions, in part driven by some reduction in policy rates, a continuation of reforms boosting confidence, and a normal agricultural crop," it said.

The report further noted India's GDP growth is likely to accelerate from 5.4 per cent in 2012 to 7.2 per cent in 2014, and remain high through 2015-2016, provided government continues with its reforms push.

A continuation of structural reforms is an important assumption underlying these views, it said.

"While allowing FDI in retail, the Goods and Services Tax, direct cash transfer of subsidies, and dedicated freight corridor will help, we believe further reforms on fiscal consolidation, financial liberalisation and infrastructure growth will be needed to sustain an improvement in trend growth," the report said.

The government's recent reforms include allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, aviation, hiking diesel price, capping the number of subsidised LPG cylinders, opening up pension sector to foreign investment and raising the FDI cap in insurance to 49 per cent.

The reforms "which have begun in earnest", and are likely to progress on a number of different fronts, should help in boosting trend growth.

However, the near-term outlook remains "difficult" due to still weak growth, high inflation, and the twin deficits, Goldman Sachs said and added that quick upturn in the investment cycle is "unlikely".

India had been growing around 8-9 per cent before the global financial meltdown of 2008. The growth rate in 2011-12 slipped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent and in the quarter ended June 30, 2012, the economy grew by 5.5 per cent.

The government expects the economy to expand by 5.5 - 6 per cent this fiscal.

On inflation, the report said headline inflation is likely to remain high through Q3 of 2013, before gradually coming off due to a waning of food and oil shocks.

The WPI Inflation declined marginally to 7.45 per cent in October, from 7.81 per cent in September but was way above the RBI's comfort zone of 5-5.5 per cent.

"We forecast the Reserve Bank of India to cut policy rates by 50 bp in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015," Goldman Sachs said adding that "elevated core inflation prevents a more aggressive near-term easing".

The next mid-quarter review of monetary policy for 2012-13 would take place on December 18.
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Ricky Ponting announces retirement

PERTH, November 30, 2012

Ricky Ponting's famously hard-nosed demeanour softened a bit with emotion, as he called time on a majestic 17-year-long career in Perth on Thursday.

The 37-year-old announced his decision to retire at the conclusion of the third Test match against South Africa, which begins on Friday. But he will play for Tasmania and represent Hobart Hurricanes this season in the Big Bash League, Australia's domestic T20 tournament.

Much speculation had surrounded Ponting's future over the past few days after he failed in Brisbane and Adelaide against South Africa, scoring 0, 4, and 16.

Honest assessment

The man himself was characteristically honest in his assessment of himself. "It's a decision I thought long and hard about. At the end of the day, it was about my results and my output in this series so far," said the Launceston-born batsman. "If you look back over the last 12 or 18 months, I haven't been able to perform consistently."

Noting that he had first discussed his retirement with his wife [Rianna], the former Australian captain admitted to the difficulty involved in breaking the news to his teammates. "I tried to tell them a lot, but I didn't get much out. They've never seen me emotional, but I was this morning."

Australian skipper Michael Clarke struggled to hold back tears. "I didn\'t have a feeling it was coming. Ricky spoke to me after the Adelaide Test and made his decision, I guess, over the last few days. He's been an amazing player for a long time.… and that'll do me for today."

Ponting acknowledged the support of Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur. "There's been all sorts of things in the papers the last couple of days and I know certainly with my captain and my coach I couldn\'t have had any more support from those guys. "

"This is not a decision that's been made by the selectors, this is a decision that's been made by me. I'm glad I've got the opportunity to finish on my terms. I know I've given cricket my all, " he said.

Ponting's shimmering career saw him stack up a plethora of records, right from leading Australia to two World Cup titles (in 2003 and 2007) to being a part of more than 100 Test victories (108) — the only cricketer to do so. He is also the second highest scorer, after Sachin Tendulkar in Tests and One-Day Internationals.

The ultra-competitive spirit of Ponting, with tigerish zeal for fitness and fielding, constantly bordered on ruthlessness. Regarded as the best Australian batsman since Don Bradman by legends such as Allan Border and Steve Waugh, Ponting will go down as one of the game's finest.
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Sri Lanka fight hard to save 2nd test

COLOMBO, November 30, 2012

Angelo Matthews weathered 106 deliveries for just 27 runs as a dogged Sri Lanka worked to save the second test against New Zealand on the final day Thursday.

Sri Lanka dug in to reach 107-5 at lunch, still trailing New Zealand by 256. The hosts lost just one wicket in the extended morning session and have two more sessions to salvage a draw and win the series 1-0.

Thilan Samaraweera (7) was the only batsman to be dismissed Thursday morning when he pushed one to covers and attempted a risky single. He was sent back by Mathews, but was run out before making the crease.

Prasanna Jayawardene was 23 not out batting with Mathews at the interval at P. Sara Oval.
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Egypt approves new Constitution

CAIRO, November 30, 2012

Egypt's Constituent Assembly on Friday approved a final draft of the country's first Constitution since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The Assembly sent the draft to President Mohamed Morsy, who is expected to submit it for public approval in a referendum.

Tempers frayed in the early hours of Friday as the body, after voting through most of the 234 articles with few or no objections, returned to consider the few contentious issues.

The marathon session, which started before 3 p.m. (6.30 p.m. IST) on Thursday, comes ahead of a hearing scheduled on Sunday before the Supreme Constitutional Court to hear a case calling for its dissolution.

Liberal and leftist members and church representatives withdrew from the Assembly in protest at what they saw as attempts by the body's Islamist majority to force its views through.

In an interview broadcast late Thursday on state television, the Mr. Morsy said that enacting the new Constitution was the way out of Egypt's current political crisis.

Rival demonstrations and violent clashes have been taking place since Mr. Morsy issued a Constitutional declaration on November 22, 2012 barring the courts from reviewing his decisions — or from dissolving the Constituent Assembly.

Opposition groups and Coptic organisations were planning to rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday in opposition to the Assembly as well as to Mr. Morsy's decrees.
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Serial blasts kill 43 in Iraq

BAGHDAD, November 30, 2012

Back-to-back explosions tore through tents housing Shiite pilgrims in southern Iraq on Thursday, the deadliest in a wave of bombings that killed at least 43 people nationwide, officials said.

The attacks in Hillah began with a roadside bombing near tents set up for Shiites commemorating the 7th century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein. That was quickly followed by a car bomb targeting emergency response teams.

The explosions, which occurred in a busy commercial area, killed at least 29 people and wounded as many as 90, a police officer said, making it the deadliest attack in the city this year.

Twisted and charred vehicles were left outside damaged stores as shopkeepers collected their strewn merchandise from the bloodstained pavement. Hillah is 95 kilometers south of Baghdad.

Ali Hussein, 44, was walking near his house when he heard the two thunderous explosions near the commercial area about 200 meters from his house. "I rushed to the blast site and I saw burning cars and pieces of flesh everywhere," said Mr. Hussein, who owns a grocery store. "There were small blood pools all around the place," he added, blaming the security forces who "should do better in order to protect the innocent people."

Just hours earlier, a parked car exploded near the shrine of Imam Hussein in the Shiite city of Karbala, killing six people and wounding 20, another police officer said.

Karbala, 90 kilometers south of Baghdad, is one of the holiest cities in Shiite Islam and the place where Imam Hussein and his brother, Imam Abbas, are buried. Hundreds of thousands of Shiites flock to their golden-domed shrines every year.

Such religious ceremonies have often been targeted by Sunni insurgents seeking to foment sectarian violence and undermine the Shiite-led government.

A suicide bomber also drove his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint in the mainly Sunni city of Fallujah, 65 kilometers west of the capital, killing three policemen and wounding 11 others, a police official in the city said.

And in the northern city of Mosul, a parked car bomb went off as a police patrol passed, killing two people and wounded two, police said. Another police patrol was hit by a roadside bomb in the town of Balad Ruz, 70 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding six others.

In other violence, a roadside bomb killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded five others in Taji, north of Baghdad, and a parked car bomb struck a restaurant in Madain, southeast of the capital, killing a civilian and wounding 12 others, according to police.

Five health officials confirmed the casualty figures. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

The nationwide death toll was the highest since October 27 when 40 people were killed in a string of bombings and other attacks around the country.

Although violence has ebbed since the peak of insurgency several years ago, attacks are still frequent against security forces, government officials and civilians. No one claimed responsibility for Thursday's bombings, but car bombs, shootings and roadside devices are the hallmark of al-Qaida in Iraq.
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U.N. vote recognises state of Palestine; U.S. objects

UNITED NATIONS, November 30, 2012 PTI

Palestine overwhelmingly won a historical UN General Assembly vote which will upgrade its status to non-member observer state at the world body, despite intense opposition from the US and Israel.

India was among the 138 nations in the 193-member body that voted in favour while nine countries opposed the resolution that sought upgrading the status of Palestinian Authority from 'entity' to 'non-member observer state.

Forty-one countries abstained from the voting which took place on Thursday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said "an important vote" has taken place in the General Assembly. "Today's vote underscores the urgency of a resumption of meaningful negotiations. We must give new impetus to our collective efforts to ensure that an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel," Mr. Ban said in his remarks after the votes were cast.

The symbolic vote signified the huge international backing for Palestine and came as a stinging defeat for Israel and the US.

The vote could enable Palestine to access bodies like the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which prosecutes people for genocide, war crimes and major human rights violations. Some nations like the UK have said Palestine could use access to the ICC to complain about Israel.

In his address to the General Assembly before the vote, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the vote will "issue a birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine".

"Our people have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalises the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement," Mr. Abbas said.

"The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: enough of aggression, settlements and occupation," he said.

"We did not come here seeking to delegitimise a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine," Mr. Abbas told the Assembly before the vote.

The Palestinian Authority President said with the vote the world was being asked to undertake a significant step in the process of rectifying the "unprecedented historical injustice" inflicted on the Palestinian people since 1948.

"Your support for our endeavour today," he said, "will send a promising message - to millions of Palestinians on the land of Palestine, in the refugee camps both in the homeland and the Diaspora, and to the prisoners struggling for freedom in Israel's prisons - that justice is possible and that there is a reason to be hopeful and that the peoples of the world do not accept the continuation of the occupation."

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said his delegation could not accept the resolution "because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn't advance peace, it pushes it backwards," he stated, adding that peace could only be achieved through negotiations.

Mr. Prosor said the resolution would do nothing to advance the peace process.

"Today the Palestinians are turning their back on peace," he said. "Don't let history record that today the UN helped them along on their march of folly."

"There's only one route to Palestinian statehood and that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah that will lead to a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians," he added. "There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No instant solutions."

The Israelis and Palestinians have yet to resume direct negotiations since talks stalled in September 2010, after Israel refused to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

In the resolution, the Assembly also voiced the hope that the Security Council will "consider favourably" the application submitted in September 2011 by Palestine for full UN membership.

The vote comes on the same day that the UN observed the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Established in 1977, the Day marks the date in 1947 when the Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning then-mandated Palestine into two States, one Jewish and one Arab.
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Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife to take on Modi

AHMEDABAD, November 30, 2012 PTI

Suspended Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife Shweta on Friday announced that she will contest the State Assembly elections on a Congress ticket against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar constituency in the city.

"Yes, I will be fighting against Modi from Maninagar on a Congress ticket," Ms. Bhatt said.

"We have moved far away from democracy in Gujarat and to restore it, everyone has to do whatever they can. Fighting election against Modi is the logical step in our quest for democracy and to curb anti-democratic forces," she said.

Ms. Bhatt said she will be filing her nomination papers on Friday, the last day for filing of nominations for the second phase.

Mr. Bhatt, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2011, had alleged complicity on the part of Mr. Modi in the 2002 riots. He also deposed against Mr. Modi before the Nanavati Commission, probing the riots.

Mr. Bhatt, who was the Principal, SRP Training School, was later suspended by the State government.
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Yeddyurappa leaves BJP with ‘deep sadness’

BANGALORE, November 30, 2012 PTI

Estranged Karnataka BJP strongman B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is set to resign from the primary membership of the party, on Friday became emotional as he recalled his long association with the party even as he trained his guns at the BJP leaders for hatching a "conspiracy" against him.

"The party has given everything to me. And I have sacrificed my life to build my previous party (the BJP)", he said, fighting back tears.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said he is leaving the party "because of our own people. They don't want me to continue in the party; that's why I am resigning from the primary membership as also MLAship (sic)".

He is slated to tender his resignation to Speaker K.G. Bopaiah on Friday afternoon. Mr. Yeddyurappa would also fax his resignation from the primary membership, sources said.

"Some people (in the BJP) did not want me to continue as Chief Minister. They tried to put me in the dock. I tolerated in the past one year with a lot of patience", Mr. Yeddyurappa said. "I am leaving the party with deep sadness".

Without naming anybody, he said some State leaders "stabbed me in the back".

Mr. Yeddyurappa said he resigned as Chief Minister following the direction of the party high-command in 2011 as the "disciplined soldier" of the party. "They mistook my goodness as a weakness".

He said he would formally join the Karnataka Janatha Paksha at a public rally in Haveri on December 9, 2012.

Mr. Yeddyurappa urged MLAs and Ministers in the Jagadish Shettar Cabinet supporting him not to resign as he wants the government to complete its full term and he does not want to rock the boat.

"I have asked them not to resign for the time being," he said.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said he is not leaving BJP for any selfish reason. He wants to develop Karnataka as a model and welfare state.

The 70-year-old leader is credited with bringing the BJP to power in Karnataka, making it the first ever party government in the south.
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BJP, CPI(M) will have another chance to block FDI in retail

NEW DELHI, November 30, 2012

Even if the motion is defeated in Parliament, the BJP and the CPI(M) will make another attempt to stall the decision when the notification on the FDI in retail and the amended foreign exchange regulations are tabled in Parliament.

Hearing a public interest litigation petition against the FDI recently, the Supreme Court said foreign investors could not get into multi-brand retail unless the government amended the regulations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and placed them in both Houses of Parliament.

Following this ruling, the Reserve Bank of India amended the FEMA regulations; subsequently, the government notified the decision to permit foreign investment in multi-brand retail on October 3.

At separate press briefings here on Thursday, BJP chief spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said they would press for a vote in both Houses on the amended regulations. Mr. Prasad wanted the government to explain why it had not tabled the notification yet. Any amendment to the FEMA regulations could be altered or disapproved by both Houses.

Mr. Yechury said any amendment to regulations under Sections 47 and 48 of the FEMA should be placed before the 15th sitting of the first session after the amendments were made. "That means, by December 13. Once these are tabled, they have to be disposed of through voting within 30 days."

Owing to its obduracy, the government would have to face a vote on the issue twice — when the FDI issue came up for voting after a debate, and again after the RBI amendments were tabled in Parliament to amend the FEMA regulations to allow FDI in retail, he said.

The amendments, once tabled, had to be disposed of through voting in 30 days. "The government cannot escape bringing an amendment. We do not know why it is not agreeing to it [voting]," Mr. Yechury said.

Scheduling the next hearing for January 22, the Supreme Court told the petitioner: "You are assuming that it [the amendments] won't be placed before Parliament. Your assumption is ill-founded. We would know about it only after the winter session of Parliament… Let's see whether it is placed before Parliament or not and then we will see."

"They are at their own peril. They can take risk. If their action does not stand in Parliament, they made the policy at their own peril," the court further said, when the petitioner argued that it should intervene as a parliamentary committee had opposed FDI in retail.
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Maharashtra told to explain Facebook arrests

NEW DELHI, November 30, 2012 PTI

The Supreme Court on directed the Maharashtra government to explain the circumstances under which its police arrested two girls from Palghar in Thane district for posting comments on Facebook on the November 18, 2012 shutdown for Bal Thackeray's funeral.

"The Maharashtra government is directed to explain the circumstances under which the two girls — Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan — were arrested for posting comments made by them on Facebook," a bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar said.

The bench asked the State government to file its response within four weeks on the public interest litigation filed by Shreya Singhal, a Delhi student.

The bench also made as parties the governments of West Bengal and Puducherry where similar incidents had happened in the recent past.

It also issued notice to the Delhi government along with them and sought their response within four weeks and posted the matter for hearing after six weeks.

Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati, whose assistance was sought by the court, said, "Please examine section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and I will assist the court on this issue."

The AG also referred to the guidelines which say that cases to be registered under the provision of the IT Act has to be decided by senior police officials of the ranks of DGP for cases pertaining to rural areas and IGP for metros.

"This can't be done by the head of the police stations," the AG said, adding that this was a matter which required the court's consideration.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ms. Singhal, sought a direction from the court that no cases be registered across the country unless such complaints are seen and approved by the DGP of the state concerned.
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Pandya’s wife plunges into electoral battle

AHMEDABAD, November 30, 2012

In what may be a major embarrassment to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain Bharatiya Janata Party leader Haren Pandya, has plunged into electoral battle, seeking "justice" for the murder of her husband.

What is more, she will contest the Assembly polls next month on the ticket of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), floated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi's bête noire Keshubhai Patel.

"Justice for Haren," is my slogan, declared Ms. Pandya here on Thursday, reminding how her family has fought a losing legal battle to get the killers of her husband to book. She will contest the polls from Ahmedabad's high profile urban constituency of Ellis Bridge that her husband once represented and refused to vacate for Mr. Modi.

It was in the August of 2011 that the Gujarat High Court acquitted all the 12 accused in the murder case for want of evidence and pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation for a botched up investigation. The CBI subsequently challenged the order in the Supreme Court through a special leave petition that is pending.

"I fought a long court battle for 10 years for justice and now I am going to the people's court. I have a long fight ahead in the court. All these years, I never got support from any leader in the BJP for which my husband laid his life. We never knew we would be stabbed in the back," said Ms. Pandya.

An archrival of Mr. Modi, former Minister Haren Pandya was hardly in his mid-forties when done to death in March 2003 after a morning walk in Ahmedabad's plush Law Garden area.

Ever since, his family has been calling it a "political murder" and his father Vitthal Pandya (now dead) went to the extent of blaming Mr. Modi for it. The Pandya family has been seeking a re-investigation into the murder to get the "real killers and conspirators" of Haren Pandya.

The rivalry of Mr. Modi and Haren Pandya dates back to early 2002 when the latter refused to vacate his seat to enable the Chief Minister to contest from there. Mr. Modi was forced to seek his first election – a by-election – from Rajkot II constituency because of this. Later, Mr. Modi stripped Pandya off the Home portfolio to give him Revenue, months before he was denied ticket for the 2002 Assembly elections.

Pandya remained the only challenger — after Keshubhai Patel was eased out —to Mr. Modi in the State BJP.

Ms. Pandya's entry in the political arena promises a high-voltage, high-sound byte campaign that will keep the entire Ahmedabad city with its 16 seats glued to the television.

"Vote to me is vote to Haren Pandya, who was loved by one and all, I am the shadow of my husband, I am sure the people of Ellis Bridge will pay true homage to Haren Pandya by voting for me," Ms. Pandya said

The Ellis Bridge constituency has been a pocket borough of the BJP since 1993 irrespective of the candidate and there is little reason it can swing otherwise. But Ms. Pandya will give anxious moments to the BJP during the campaign for the party will have little to counter her. So far, the ruling party has been silent to an aggressive campaign against Mr. Modi by the GPP.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012



A three-day international conference on "Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security – ICSA 2012," organized by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) concluded here today. Earlier, the technical session on "Joining Hands for Economic Development" was held. A panel discussion among the farm experts took place which was chaired by a well-known scientist, Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis, USA, and co-chaired by Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU.

In his remarks, Dr Khush said that monoculture is not good for farm sustainability. The water resources of the Punjab state are being affected and that there is no substitution for the rice crop, he observed. Saying that there is one crop which could substitute rice i.e. "hybrid maize," he emphasized the need to suggest government to provide minimum support price for this particular crop. Dr Khush expressed that even GMO (genetically modified organism) maize will be an excellent substitution for the rice crop. Stressing that the value addition of food products is also vital for agri-sustainability and income enhancement of farmers, he said that vegetables and fruits hold a lot of scope and have the potential to replace the rice crop. He impressed upon the PAU to impart training to the young entrepreneurs for the agro-industry. Dr Khush said, "The PAU has completed first milestone of 50 years. The University is known all over the world and I proudly tell that I am alumnus of PAU. The University has trained numerous scientists who have been instrumental in heralding the green revolution and evolvement of new varieties and technologies. They have contributed abroad through their expertise in agriculture and won various outstanding awards."

Addressing the participants, Dr Dhillon laid special thrust on the value addition and processing of farm produce. He appreciated the presentations of the delegates, and stating that such interactions are useful for the agricultural research and development, he Emphasizing on strengthening the cooperation and coordination between the farm varsities, Dr Dhillon exhorted the scientists to "work hard and think innovatively."

Presenting the recommendations emerging out of the session "Natural Resource Conservation: A Key to Sustainable Agriculture;" Dr J.S. Dhiman, Additional Director of Research (Natural Resource and Plant Health Management), said that it was stressed that urgent remedial measures in the form of technology and policy decisions are required to deal with soil degradation and erosion. As the water is getting scarce and the demand for water is increasing, a shift from stressed agriculture to specialized agriculture is essential. He told, "In view of the global climate change, transfer of atmospheric carbon into soils and vegetation need to be focused."

Referring to the key highlights of the session "Breeding Crops for Food and Climate Resilience," Dr Kulwinder Gill from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA; said that the strategies ranging from classical to molecular breeding need to be adopted in order to feed the anticipated 5 billion rice consumers in 2030 and beyond. The experts suggested that ideotype breeding besides genomic and physiological approaches can provide answer for enhancing rice productivity, said he. The need for targeted and precision breeding aimed at developing designer varieties was highlighted. He added that the experts also advised that innovative marker assisted backcross programme can be an effective approach for crop improvement.

Dr S.S. Chahal, former Vice-Chancellor, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur, presenting the recommendations of the session "Crop Protection," said that the experts underlined the need for development of a sustainable pest management system giving due recognition to various ecological interactions. "Proper management of pests and diseases is required for the production of high quality and nutritious food to feed the growing world population," he told. The experts also stressed the need to lay focus on detection of plant pathogens and their biology, population dynamics of pathogens, soil bacteria and efficient strains of bioagents, he said.

About the recommendations of the session "Food Processing and Nutritonal Security," Dr K.S. Minhas, Head of Food Science and Technology Department, said that controlled atmosphere (CA) storage is a practical option for international trade in mango. The experts noted that the development and availability of functional foods can provide health benefits to the consumers and that nanotechnology and biotechnology could provide several health benefits through food manufacturing sectors. It was also highlighted that processing improves the availability of bioactive compounds and therefore needs to be promoted, told he.

Dr SNS Randhawa, Director of Research, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), highlighted the recommendations of the session "Advances in Veterinary and Animal Sciences for Sustainable Livestock Development." He said that the experts impressed that there should be collaboration between crop scientists and animal scientists to assess the quality of different fodder in term of methane production. It was also observed that appropriate sustainable livestock management practices are required to be introduced for the benefit of livestock keepers in changing socio-economic conditions and increasingly variable climates.

Highlighting the recommendations of the session "Joining Hands for Economic Development" Dr R.S. Sidhu, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU, said that the issues of food security should be addressed through partnership involving graduate training, collaborative research exchanges, technology sharing and building strong research-stake holder linkages. The experts noted that the research system collaboration at various levels is important for improving the production surface frontier and that there should be reform in the subsidies for the agriculture sector. This session was chaired by Dr David Hansen from The Ohio State University (OSU), USA. Dr M. Erbaugh from OSU, and Dr Ramesh Chand from National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, from were key speakers of the session.
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Press Note


Science Society of Govt. College for Girls Ludhiana organized an awareness programme in view of WORLD AIDS DAY on Nov.29th 2012 in the form of Slogan Writing and Poster Making Competition. Over 40 students participated Mrs. Gurminder Kaur . Principal of the College by the Chief Guest on this occasion. Mrs. Kirpal Kaur Head of the Physics Deptt welcome the Chief Guest. Principal of the College said that AIDs is a very facing world particular India. We should adopt the prevention methoud from the illness . So the girls should be tell in their Areas about the aids. On the occasion a Slogan Writing Competiton regarding the Aids.

Slogan Writing

Kriti Sharma Ist

Simran Kaur IInd

Devinder Kaur IIIrd

Shivagi IIIrd

Shivangi Consolation

Poster Making

Amrinder Kaur Ist

Manpreet Kaur IInd

Sonia Verma IInd

Manpreet Makker IIIrd

Manpreet Kaur IIIrd

Chandni Consolation

Harpreet Kaur Consolation

On the occasion Mrs. Sudarshan Mehta, Prof. Krishan Singh,Dr. Mohinder Kaur Grewal,Mrs. Varinderjit Kaur,Mrs. Kripal Kaur, Prof. Baldev Singh Dr. Mamta Kochhar were also Present.

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Prestigious fellowship and awards to GADVASU scientists

Ludhiana-29-Nov, 2012

Dr. Harish Kumar Verma, Professor cum Head, Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension Education, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences university (GADVASU) has been awarded prestigious fellowship by Indian Society for Study of Animal Reproduction (ISSAR) on Considering his rich experience and contribution in the field of Animal Reproduction for over three decades. He was awarded Fellow of Indian Society for the Study of Animal Reproduction (FISSAR) at the 28th annual convention and National Symposium on "Addressing Animal Reproductive Stresses Through Biotechnological Tools" held at Assam Agricultural University, Khanapara, Guwahati. He is actively involved in dissemination of knowledge and demonstration of technologies for the benefit of livestock farmers and is working as editor of monthly magazine "Vigiyanak Pashu Palan".

Dr Navdeep Singh, Deparment of Veterinary Gynaecology and Obstetrics got Young scientist award in clinical case presentation ( Pre-pubic tendon rupture leading to extensive ventral edema during late pregnancy) co-authored by SPS Ghuman, A Anand and PS Brar. Dr Gh Rasool Bhat got young scientist award for oral presentation of research paper and also poster presentation award co-authored by GS Dhaliwal, SPS Ghuman and M Honparkhe "Impact of estradiol on Synchrony of follicular wave emergence and subsequent ovulation, estrus manifestation and conception rate in buffalo" Dr VK Gandotra, Professor, Deparment of Veterinary Gynaecology and Obstetrics chaired one session in the conference, Dr. Sarvpreet Singh Ghuman Associate Professor, presented a lead paper, 'Improving fertility in the repeat breeder cattle', while Dr Honparkhe, Assistant professor was rappporteur in one session

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The second day of the International Conference on "Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security," underway at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), saw discussions amongst the eminent scientists on food processing and nutritional security; and advances in veterinary and animal sciences for sustainable livestock development. Earlier, deliberations on cop protection were also held.

Presenting a world perspective of the contribution of plant pathology, Dr Richard E. Falloon, Scientist from Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, New Zealand; said that plant pathology faces considerable challenges as a contributor to food, clothing and shelter for the world's burgeoning population. Stating that the development of effective integrated disease management requires multidisciplinary research, beyond traditional plant pathology expertise, he stressed that new solutions will increasingly rely on the judicial application of modern biotechnology.

Dr Parwinder S. Grewal, Scientist, Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, USA, said that although integrated pest management has provided an attractive framework for the development and application of sound pest management practices, yet it still relies mainly on judicious use of chemical pesticides. He underlined the need for ecosystem management approach in which ecological interactions and processes are recognized; and carefully engineered to obtain desirable services while sustaining eco-system composition, structure and function.

Dr R. Paul Singh, Professor of Food Engineering, University of California, Davis, USA, said that optimum efficacies of many healthy nutrients in the food are realized only when those nutrients are released in a desired region of the human gastrointestinal tract. He emphasized that there is a need in the food industry to develop predictive capabilities, useful in guiding the development of structural properties of a food during manufacturing and controlled release of embedded nutrients upon digestion.

Dr Zora Singh Khungura from International Institute of Agri-Food Security, Curtin University, Perth, Australia, disclosed that the king of fruits, "mango" is grown over 5.1 million hectare in 94 countries with annual production of 35.9 million tonnes and worth US$ 2150 million. He told that in mango, quantitative post-harvest losses amount to 8.6 million tonnes worth US$ 335.2 million per year, which equates to 30 per cent loss of fresh horticultural produce. Dr Singh said that controlled atmosphere storage seems to be promising in extending storage life, controlling of post-harvest diseases and maintaining fruit quality of mango, thus, offering opportunities to export mango fruit to distant markets using sea freight.

Dr Harjinder Singh from Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, said that in the developed world, the production-to-consumption food system is largely safe, nutritious, and readily accessible, but the only problem is of over-consumption of food, resulting in food-related health issues like obesity. Suggesting new category of foods i.e. "functional foods" for providing health benefits, he said that continued developments in nanotechnology could provide several benefits through the food manufacturing sectors.

Dr Baljit Singh Gill, Professor and Associate Dean (Research), Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, said that contamination of food and water with chemicals, fertilizers, insecticides and industrial discharge, compromises food safety and adds significantly to the global social and economic burden. He suggested that the problems require application of the concept of One Health, which integrates various aspects of animal, human and environmental health to enable effective responses to associated health challenges of infectious diseases and food safety.

Dr C. S. Prasad, Director, National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Bangalore; pointed out that the important concerns around livestock production are emergence of large scale industrial production units, declining grazing base, and increasing relevance of livestock towards climate change. At both community and international levels, it has been recognized that methane reduction policy is a vital element of the overall climate change strategy, said he, while stressing that the abatement strategy for methane in the Indian context with reference to livestock needs to be cost -effective.

Dr R. Venkataraman from Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Hebbal, Bangalore, said that infectious diseases are the major threat to the livestock industry due to their direct effects on productivity. Disease prevention by vaccination has been routinely practiced and is the most beneficial intervention, as it directly activates the animal immune system to fight the infections, he told. At the same time, disease diagnosis is equally important to efficiently apply the therapeutic strategies and intervene in disease spread, he added.

Dr S.S. Chahal, former Vice-Chancellor, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur, highlighted the role of plant pathology in sustainable crop production. He advocated more stress on work related to detection of plant pathogens and their biology, population dynamics of pathogens and work on soil bacteria and development of efficient strains of bio-agents. Considering the importance of molecular techniques in plant pathology, he emphasized on developing their correlation with conventional field studies.

Dr Jagbir Singh from Punjabi University, Patiala, dwelt upon the appearance of new disease vectors, six new mosquito species and vector-borne diseases, during last two decades, as a consequence of climate change. Some insect pests like rice leaf roller, stick bug, autonomal moth and European great moth have expanded northward, he informed, while underlining the need for research to study the effect of climate change on the geographical distribution of various insect-pests.

Dr D. Swarup from Central Institute for Research on Goats, Mathura, India, said that the efficient livestock production in Asian and African countries faces several challenges, especially in the form of the climatic stress, poor nutrition, unscientific animal husbandry practices and emerging health problems. He emphasized the need for empowering professionals and farmers, reviewing legal and policy frameworks, strengthening the capacity of state veterinary services, ensuring quality control monitoring of the private system and promoting professional training and education.

Earlier, in a special symposium lecture, Dr R.S. Paroda, Former Director General of Indian Council Agricultural Research (ICAR), shed light on the post-green revolution farm problems such as declining productivity, deteriorating soil health, depleting under ground water table, increased incidence of diseases and insect-pests, and environmental pollution. To cope up with the challenges, he laid thrust on policy support, institutional infrastructure facilities, competent human resource, technology evolvement and public-private partnership.

Dr Thomas Lumpkin, Director General, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Mexico; chaired the technical session on "Crop Protection" while Dr R.Paul Singh, Professor of Food Engineering, University of California, Davis, USA; chaired the technical session on "Food Processing and Nutritional Security." Dr V.K. Taneja, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), was the chairman of the session "Advances in Veterinary and Animal Sciences for Sustainable Livestock Development."
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maldives decides to scrap GMR contract, India says it will send negative signals


India on Tuesday said the Maldives government\'s decision to cancel the GMR contract to develop an airport near Male would send \"a very negative signal\" to foreign investors and urged it to ensure the safety and security of Indian interests and Indian nationals in that country.

The Maldives cabinet on Tuesday annulled the agreement made with GMR Group to operate the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), at Hulhule Island nearby capital Male.

The $500 million contract awarding the airport to GMR Group for 25 years was signed on June 28, 2010, by then president Mohamed Nasheed\'s government.

The GMR contract \"represents the single largest FDI in the history of Maldives\", India said, adding the decision to terminate the contract \"without due consultation with the company or efforts at arbitration provided for under the agreement sends a very negative signal to foreign investors and the international community\".

In a statement, the ministry of external affairs said the Indian government \"would continue to remain engaged with the Government of Maldives on this issue, and would expect that the Government of Maldives would fulfil all legal processes and requirements in accordance with the relevant contracts and agreement it has concluded with GMR in this regard\".

India also called upon \"the government of Maldives and all concerned parties to ensure that Indian interests in Maldives and the security of Indian nationals are fully protected\".

The statement said that India \"proposes to monitor the situation in Maldives closely and is prepared to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of its interests and its nationals in the Maldives. The Government of India will continue to be seized of the matter.\"

It said that the consortium consisting of GMR and MAHB (Malaysian Airport Authority) had been awarded the contract through a global tender conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Washington, a member of the World Bank.

\"As the Advisor to the Government of Maldives, the IFC has stated that it has complied with Maldivian laws and regulations and followed international best practices at each step of the bidding process to ensure the highest degree of competitiveness, transparency and credibility of the process.\"

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said: \"Whatever legal decision is taken (by Maldives) will have repercussion here.\"

Maldives Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor announced cancellation of the contract and revealed that the decision has been conveyed to Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL). GMR has also been informed of the decision, Azima added, according to haveeru online.

The $500-million project was hanging in balance ever since the regime change in the Maldives earlier this year.

After the civil court in the Maldives ruled that GMR cannot charge $27 from passengers as Airport Development Charge (ADC) and insurance surcharge, the Indian infrastructure giant had taken the case to Singapore for arbitration.

GMR was deducting $27 from each passenger since January.

The cabinet\'s decision came in the wake of increasing pressure from the pro-government political parties to annul the agreement.

The agreement signed between GMR and former president Mohamed Nasheed\'s government to develop INIA has been labeled as \"illegal\" by pro-government political parties, who allege it was signed despite objections from the island nation\'s parliament.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan told an Indian newspaper that the agreement is a \"bad contract\" signed \"conceivably under dubious conditions\" by the previous government, the daily said.

Meanwhile, GMR Male International Airport Ltd (GMIAL) said the \"unilateral and completely irrational move\" of the Maldives government \"is void\".

\"This unlawful and premature notice on the pretext that the Concession Agreement (CA) is \'void\', is completely devoid of any locus standi, and is, therefore, being challenged by the Company before the competent forums. The Company disputes that the CA is \'void\',\" it said in a statement.

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Telecom companies using 2G spectrum after Feb 2 verdict may have to pay: SC


Telecom operators who were allowed to operate to ensure that consumers did not suffer because of the delay in auction of 2G spectrum that was freed following cancellation of 122 licences by the Supreme Court (SC) on February 2 may have to pay higher spectrum usage charges (SUC).

A Bench comprising Justices G. S. Singhvi and K. S. Radhakrishnan observed on Tuesday that the court will consider directing such operators to pay for using the radio waves on the basis of current price. The observation could give an extra lease of life to the operators.

The observation came after the apex court was informed that the government had enhanced the rate of SUC for operators getting spectrum at the recently conducted 2G auction .

The SC, while quashing the licences, allotted under tainted former telecom minister A. Raja, had given a grace period of four months to beneficiary telecom companies who were supposed to seize operations on June 2 as per the judgment.

Expressing inability to conduct auction by the cut-off date, the Centre had sought extension of time for reallocation of spectrum as it did not want phones to go dead on June 2.

Justice Singhvi observed that the court will consider asking them to pay SUC at the higher rate for the period beyond June 2.

The court also asked senior advocate P. P. Rao, who was appearing for the Centre, as to under what circumstances the entire 2G spectrum quashed by it was not put for auction. The court sought information after the Centre submitted that it had not auctioned all spectrum in the band of 1,800 MHz in furtherance of its decision to refarm 900 MHz band.

\"You should have informed us.

If there is a policy of refarming and the court permits it, there is no problem,\" the court observed.

The government had informed the Bench that it had gone by the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which had been directed by the court to give recommendations on modalities for auction keeping in view the 2011 policy.

The government had admitted in its affidavit that it withheld some spectrum but justified it in public interest.

Meanwhile, the apex Court asked senior CBI, Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department officials to meet every fortnight to discuss the progress made in the 2G spectrum scam probe.

The order came in the wake of a suggestion by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

The court had on the last day of the hearing asked the agencies to consider the suggestion made by CVC to ensure co- ordination among investigators probing the matter.
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Vettel: Comparing me with Schumacher is nonsense

BERLIN, November 28, 2012

Sebastian Vettel said he wept after winning his third Formula One world title in a row in Sao Paulo at the weekend.

"I cried under my helmet," he told the daily Bild, adding: "Thank God the radio was broken so nobody could hear my wailing like in 2010." "Right up until the end I really didn't know if it would be enough," the 25-year-old German added. He became the third Formula One driver to complete the hat-trick on Sunday.

In the final stages of the race "I saw images from much earlier, when I was a child sitting in a go-kart ... it was like in Abu Dhabi in 2010," the Red Bull driver said. "And at the same time you're still in the middle of the race."

Two years ago Vettel won the final race of the season to secure the world title — his first — while on Sunday he came sixth, enough to push Ferrari's Fernando Alonso into second place.

He rejected media comparisons with Michael Schumacher, who won the world title seven times. "Schumacher's records are still unbelievably far away. Comparing me to him is nonsense," he said.

Vettel also said he did not want to be a role model. "Of course I'm in the spotlight and of course people have expectations. I'm not a saint but I was brought up to be honest ... I want to look in the mirror and say: 'I like what I see' and I can do that."
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BCCI unaware of talks between Tendulkar, selectors

MUMBAI, November 28, 2012 PTI

The Indian Cricket Board on Wednesday claimed it was unaware of any talks between senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar and national selectors on his future in the wake of a prolonged form slump.

"I am not aware of it," said BCCI secretary and senior selection panel convener Sanjay Jagdale when contacted in Indore for his reaction to media reports that Tendulkar spoke to chief selector Sandeep Patil before yesterday's selection meeting at the Board headquarters here.

Media reports claimed that Tendulkar was asked about his future plans, specifically about his retirement from the game which he has played for over two decades. The selectors were reportedly told by the record-setting batsman that it was their call to decide on his future.

The 39-year-old, who has completed 23 years in international cricket, is among those who are under the fire for the humiliating 10-wicket defeat in home conditions against England here two days ago that helped the visitors level the four—match series 1-1.

Tendulkar, who is the only batsman to score 100 international hundreds and holds the world record for the maximum number of runs in Tests and ODIs as well as the highest number of tons in these two formats, is going through a lean patch dating back the Sydney Test in January in Australia.

He has been bowled or fallen leg before five times in his last four home Tests, prompting experts to say his reflexes have slowed down because he's pushing 40.
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Thai PM survives no-confidence vote

BANGKOK, November 28, 2012

Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra comfortably survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Wednesday following a heated debate on the government's rice-pledging scheme and flood management budget.

Wednesday's vote came after a three-day censure debate, and four days after a demonstration by thousands of protesters who called for the overthrow of the government, citing corruption as one of the reasons.

The opposition was outnumbered in parliament, however, and lawmakers voted 308 to 159 to keep Yingluck in power. One deputy premier and other two ministers also comfortably survived no-confidence votes.

Yingluck won a landslide election victory last year, and has led Thailand through one of its longest peaceful periods in recent years. The country has suffered bouts of political instability since a 2006 coup ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother.

The opposition Democrat Party blamed Yingluck for putting Thailand at risk of losing its spot as the world's top rice exporter and for alleged widespread corruption in the rice-pledging programme, in which the government paid farmers at prices higher than market prices.
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20 killed in Damascus car bomb blasts

BEIRUT, November 28, 2012

Syrian state-run media say two car bombs have exploded in a Damascus suburb, inflicting several casualties.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights says 20 people were killed in the blasts. The activist group relies on reports from the ground.

The SANA state news agency says the Wednesday morning explosions targeted Damascus' eastern Jaramana suburb, which is mostly populated by Christians and Druse.

Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad are predominantly members of the Syria's Sunni Muslim majority. They have frequently targeted the country's minority communities, perceived to be allied with Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot Shia group that dominates the regime.

Damascus suburbs have become opposition strongholds since March last year, when the uprising began.

At least 40,000 people have been killed in the civil war, according to activists.
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Morsy-judiciary truce may stoke crisis

DUBAI, November 28, 2012

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy appears to have edged closer to a truce with the judiciary on terms that would still allow him to steer the Constitution framing process as before and face an incensed opposition on a much stronger footing.

Mr. Morsy's spokesman Yasser Ali clarified that powers endowed to the President by last week's constitutional declaration, which were interpreted by critics as a hasty power grab, were not all encompassing. Mr.Morsy would be immune to judicial intervention on "sovereign" issues alone Mr. Ali said, late on Monday, following talks that lasted several hours between the President and top judges.

Analysts say that the President's authority on "sovereign issues" implies that courts would not be able to dissolve the Constituent Assembly and Shura Council, while other presidential decisions could be challenged before the courts.

It appears that Mr. Morsy has achieved a compromise with Egypt's judiciary, which may have persuaded the President to yield ground only on peripheral issues, without touching the core elements of his new powers.

On Sunday, the apex Supreme Judicial Council, had signaled its intention to the meet the President half-way. It said in a statement that Mr. Morsy's decree should apply to "sovereign matters," stopping well short of an outright rejection of the President's position.

Details are still sketchy, but if a rapprochement between the President and the judiciary materialises fully, it can deliver a heavy blow to the anti-Morsy protesters, who would no longer be able to pursue the judicial route to attack the existing Constituent Assembly.

Mr. Morsy's critics say that the current Assembly is unrepresentative of the country\'s social mosaic, as it is packed with Islamists — a charge that its affiliates and the Muslim Brotherhood,

Mr. Morsy's parent organisation, has vigorously denied.

Following the meeting with the judges, the Muslim Brotherhood has decided to postpone Tuesday's mass demonstrations in support of the presidential decree, probably to avoid clashes with anti-Morsy protesters, who have been converging in considerable strength at Tahrir Square, Cairo's anti-establishment icon. The brushes in the streets have already cost teenage lives, and hardened animosities between the two camps.

Islam Masoud, a 15-year-old Muslim Brotherhood supporter was killed during recent clashes with rivals in Damanhour, a city along the Nile Delta. Separately, the 16-year-old Gaber Salah has

died of his injuries sustained during earlier protests with the police — his funeral feeding into the outrage against President Morsy's decree.

Mr. Ali said that during the meeting with the judges, Mr. Morsy expressed his appreciation for the judiciary, whose independence, he said, must be maintained because it is "the last resort for the people to get their rights". The President also stressed that those accused of killing protesters would face re-trials only if new evidence was produced against them.

While the polarisation between the Islamists and the Liberals have hogged the headlines, there were some advocating a fair compromise that stood on middle-ground. Abdel-Moneim Fotouh, a former Brotherhood activist, and founder of Strong Egypt Party, had urged the President to amend the declaration and start a process of national dialogue. The former presidential candidate had also advocated avoidance of rival rallies, in order to cool-off the country's rising political temperature.
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Yasser Arafat’s remains exhumed

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK, November 28, 2012

Palestinian authorities on Tuesday opened Yasser Arafat's grave and foreign experts took samples from his remains as part of a long-shot attempt eight years after the iconic leader's mysterious death to determine whether he was poisoned, as relatives and some political successors have claimed.

The exhumation began before dawn, under the cover of huge sheets of blue tarpaulin draped over Arafat's mausoleum in his former government compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

By mid-morning, the grave was reclosed, said Tawfik Tirawi, a former Palestinian intelligence chief who heads the investigation into Arafat's death.

Arafat died in November 2004 at a French military hospital, a month after suddenly falling ill at his Ramallah compound, which was at the time besieged by Israeli troops. The immediate cause of death was a stroke, but the underlying reasons were unclear, leading to widespread belief in the Arab world that Israel poisoned the 75-year-old symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Israel has denied involvement in Arafat's death.

An investigation was launched at the time, but it then lay dormant for years, only to be revived this summer when a Swiss lab detected elevated traces of a lethal radioactive substance, polonium-210, in biological stains on his clothing.

The lab said the tests were inconclusive and that it needed to examine the remains for a clearer picture. Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, authorised the exhumation despite strong cultural and religious taboos against disturbing a gravesite, apparently to avoid any suggestion that the current leadership was standing in the way of a thorough investigation.

Since mid-November, workers have been drilling through thick layers of concrete encasing the tomb.

The grave was opened before dawn on Tuesday, according to a Palestinian official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the details of the exhumation with the media.

The official said some of the remains were moved to a nearby mosque, but that the team then encountered technical difficulties. He would not elaborate. The experts decided to return the remains to the grave and take the samples without moving what was left of the body, the official said.

The exhumation was attended by experts from Switzerland, France and Russia who will examine the samples in their home countries, the official said. Earlier, samples were also taken from Arafat's bedroom, office and personal belongings, he said.

Public reaction in the West Bank was mixed.

Nidaa Younes, a Palestinian government employee, said it was unnecessary to dig up the remains. "Our religion forbids exhuming graves. It is not nice at all to do this, even if religion permits it in some cases," she said, adding that she believes Israel was responsible for Arafat's death.

Ramallah resident Tony Abdo said he supports the exhumation, expecting it to prove that Arafat did not die a natural death.

Suspicions about Arafat's death flared again over the summer, when the Arab satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera took some of Arafat's belongings, provided by his widow Suha, to a Swiss lab for testing. The belongings being tested included what Ms. Arafat said were her husband's fur hat and a woollen cap with some of his hair, a toothbrush, and clothing with his urine and blood stains.

The Institute of Radiation Physics discovered elevated traces of polonium-210, the same substance that killed Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB officer turned Kremlin critic, in 2006.

Mrs. Arafat urged the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank-based self-rule government headed by Abbas, to exhume her husband's remains and also asked the French government to launch a separate investigation. Eventually, Abbas also requested that Russia join the probe.

But the exhumation and the testing of the remains might not resolve the mystery. Polonium-210 decomposes rapidly, and some experts say it is not clear whether any remaining samples will be sufficient for testing.

Israel accused him of ordering attacks against Israelis, and confined him to his Ramallah compound. He stayed there for more than two years before falling ill.

In his later years, Arafat also faced criticism at home, with some accusing his political circle of corruption and the pocketing of large amounts of aid. But he remains a widely revered figure in the Palestinian territories, and his portrait frequently appears in government offices and street posters.
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Ehud Barak retired, but may return

November 27, 2012

Ehud Barak, who on Monday announced that he was quitting politics, has been the chief author of Israel\'s national security policy for a generation. He has served as military chief of staff, foreign minister, opposition leader, prime minister and defence minister, and his ideas underlie most war and peace decisions. Mr. Barak\'s failed peace proposal to Yasser Arafat is still widely considered to be the basis for any future deal, while his pullout from Lebanon in 2000 serves as the model for Israeli unilateralism. For better or worse, his conclusion of the Camp David debacle - \"We have no Palestinian partner\" - continues to be the mainstream political thinking in Israel - which makes him the anathema of Israel\'s dwindling peace camp.

Mr. Barak made his name in the Special Forces, where his daring, cunning and salesmanship propelled him to the highest ranks. He took his love of secretive schemes to politics, where he perfected the art of wrong footing the media and the public. He did it again on Monday, announcing his withdrawal from the current election campaign less than a week after leading the IDF in Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas in Gaza.

A mathematician by training, Mr. Barak is the least emotional of Israel\'s leaders. Unlike Binyamin Netanyahu, Mr. Barak would rarely mention the Holocaust as the basis for policy, or ask the Palestinians to accept Israel\'s narrative. Mr. Barak\'s worldview is built around power. He views Israel as a western bastion in a hostile, Arab Middle East - \"a villa in the jungle\". In his mind, the conflict is perpetual. \"Those who cannot cope with the situation here should move to Switzerland or Finland,\" he said during the latest round of fighting.

Alas, Mr. Barak\'s lack of emotion also makes him the worst politician. Never a team player, he collected enemies throughout his career. Several years ago he bought a luxury apartment in one of Tel Aviv\'s most expensive high-rises. It was a smart move financially (he sold it for a fortune) but a political own goal at a time when most Israelis complained about the rising cost of living. The arrogant nouveau riche from Akirov Towers became unelectable.

One Israeli, however, couldn\'t care less about Barak\'s personal taste, and valued his strategic advice more than any other. Mr. Netanyahu was a junior officer under Mr. Barak and remains in awe of him. He kept him at his side as defence minister, giving him full authority over military affairs, and using Mr. Barak as his personal emissary to Washington.

Since taking office in 2009, Mr. Netanyahu has focused on preparing Israelis and the international community for a historic confrontation with Iran. He found Mr. Barak a willing partner in making the case for the destruction of Iran\'s nuclear facilities. So far their threats have rung hollow in the face of American opposition and an unenthusiastic public. But Mr. Netanyahu has warned that next spring or summer will mark the end of Israeli patience with diplomacy or sanctions, and it is widely speculated that Mr. Barak will join Mr. Netanyahu\'s post-election cabinet as a \"professional\" defence minister (i.e., not a Knesset member.) So they could still pull off their ultimate trick together.

If Mr. Barak leaves the scene after the 22 January election, the leading aspirants for his job will be Avigdor Lieberman, the current foreign minister, and Moshe Yaalon, the deputy prime minister. Both are hardliners on the Palestinian issue and less hawkish than Mr. Barak on Iran. Mr. Lieberman lacks military experience, but has more political clout than Mr. Yaalon, the former chief of staff. Both aim for the leadership of Likud after Mr. Netanyahu, and would therefore steer the government further to the right, to appease their voter base. Barak was often criticized as \"Bibi\'s fig leaf\", but his departure is bad news for Israel\'s moderates.
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Gujarat polls: Congress, BJP find few women candidates, only 16 women in fray


Only 16 women candidates have been fielded by the ruling BJP and opposition Congress for phase one of the Gujarat Assembly polls though both the parties back the Women\'s Reservation Bill that provides 33 per cent reservation.

While the BJP has fielded 11 women candidates, the Congress has named just five candidates for the 87 assembly seats that will go to polls on December 13 across Saurashtra, South Gujarat and four seats in western Ahmedabad district.

The Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), a new entrant into the political battlefield this year, headed by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, has fielded only one woman candidate.

Explaining the rationale behind very few women taking to politics, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Gujarat University, Gaurang Jani said, \"Political awareness is less among women from rural areas and in urban areas, only the successful women candidates are repeated.\"

Congress workers protesting in Gujarat as they failed to get tickets ahead of Gujarat assembly elections 2012.

According to Jani, the state government, on its part, has not undertaken measures to empower women and create educational awareness about political participation, adding that, Gujarat lags behind on key social indicators like female foeticide, infant mortality rate, high malnutrition rate, among others.

Highlighting that elections have not been held in state universities for many years, Jani said that student politicians are nurtured in colleges and universities.

Echoing similar views, Gujarat Mahila Federation (GMF), an organisation working for women\'s empowerment, president Ila Pathak said that women are not allowed to dabble into politics because it is considered a \"taboo\" to do so.

She added that male politicians are well-connected locally and in rural areas, there are not enough women candidates who can enter the fray and that is why, political parties have less number of seats for women to contest.

In the 2007 state assembly elections, 88 women contested the polls with 16 of them emerging victorious. 15 of the 16 elected women legislators belonged to the saffron party while one woman legislator was from the Congress.

Back then, the BJP had fielded 22 women candidates for the 182 assembly seats, while the Congress had fielded only 14 women candidates across all the constituencies.

The BSP and LJP had fielded 5 and 3 women candidates respectively. While 29 women contested as independent candidates, the rest were fielded by registered unrecognised political parties.

When asked why the BJP was reluctant in giving assembly tickets to more women candidates, BJP media cell convener Jagdish Bhavsar said, \"The BJP has already implemented 33 per cent reservation policy within its party. Once the bill is passed by Parliament, we will give more seats to women candidates.\"

\"Let the UPA government first pass the bill in Parliament. Their party president is a woman and still they are struggling to get the Bill passed,\" Bhavsar said, adding that the BJP had always given more tickets to women than other parties in previous polls as well as this time.

When asked why the Congress party had given tickets to only five women candidates for the first phase of polls, state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, \"Congress was the first party to introduce 33 per cent reservation for women in local bodies and today many women head gram panchayats.\"

The BJP might have given more tickets to women candidates, but under their rule, women\'s security has not been ensured and women belonging to backward communities have been completely neglected, he alleged.

According to Sonal Patel, president of Gujarat Pradesh Mahila Congress, one of the reasons why the high command had given fewer tickets to women candidates in the assembly elections as that women politicians \"lack preparedness\" for the assembly polls.
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Ram Jethmalani\'s salvo on Arun Jaitley, questions his role in CBI\'s chief row


Two days after being suspended from the BJP, Ram Jethmalani stepped up his attack on party leaders in a letter written to his favourite punching bag - BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

Besides launching a tirade against Gadkari, Jethmalani also raised questions over the role played by Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, in the row surrounding the CBI director.

He alluded that Jaitley was involved in the litigation filed by Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar, who lost out in the race to Ranjit Sinha. He claimed that Kirtiman Singh, the lawyer appearing for Kumar was virtually Jaitley\'s junior. However, Singh happens to be the junior of a lawyer who is Jaitley\'s junior.

\"It is very improbable that the litigation before CAT was not known to him. I did not know until I learnt from the press that the appointment of the new incumbent (to the post of CBI director) was opposed by our leaders on some different grounds,\" Jethmalani said. He further accused Jaitley of impressing upon Gadkari to get him suspended.

This is perhaps the first time that Jaitley has openly been questioned by a party colleague in such a stinging manner. The attack is also significant in the context of the internal dissensions of the BJP, as both Jaitley and Jethmalani are seen to be close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Jaitley, however, refused to react to his fellow lawyer\'s charges. \"I don\'t think he (Jethmalani) deserves a reply anymore,\" he said in Jammu.

Of course, Jethmalani\'s primary target remained Gadkari. \"I am convinced you are firmly set on the path to suicide and are determined to drag the whole party with you,\" he said.

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Congress eyes NREGA repeat, Rahul Gandhi to cash in on direct cash transfer ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls


In a concerted bid to bolster Rahul Gandhi \'s chances of becoming the Prime Minister in 2014 or earlier, the Congress has drawn up plans to cash in on the direct cash transfer scheme announced by the Prime Minister\'s Office on Monday.

Smelling a NREGA-type electoral windfall from the landmark scheme, the Gandhi scion has convened a meeting of Congress presidents from 51 pilot districts spread across a dozen states (selected to implement the scheme in the first phase) in New Delhi next month to coach them about the advantages of the scheme and its immense electoral potential.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will be on hand to explain the nitty-gritty of the scheme being launched from January 1.

Terming it a \"gamechanger\" and \"path-breaking\" programme from the point of view of ordinary citizens and that its benefits will be longlasting, Chidambaram said the scheme is aimed at plugging leakages and ensure efficient delivery of benefits.

Rahul, who was made head of a high profile six-member election coordination committee to fine tune the party\'s poll strategy ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls, on Tuesday attended a meeting of UPA allies chaired by Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior cabinet ministers.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh with the party manifesto at a press meet.

This is the first time Rahul attended a meeting of allies that comprised senior leaders such as Sharad Pawar.

Sources said after the Gujarat elections, Rahul is expected to hold a series of huddles with senior party leaders and cabinet ministers to discuss the election strategy.

Away from public glare, he has appointed 50-odd observers across the country to collect feedback from each Lok Sabha constituency so as to select winnable candidates at least a couple of months before the polls.

The party is already with a catchy slogan to sell the scheme to the aam admi. If in the 2004 elections, the party captured the imagination of the voters with the catchy slogan \"Aam admi ka haath, Congress ka saath,\" the slogan in 2014 appears to be \"Aapka paisa aapke haath\" which is bound to have some emotional connect with the marginalised sections of society.

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Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, the architect of the 2004 slogan, indirectly linked the new slogan to the concern expressed by Rahul\'s father and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had 25 years ago, lamented that \"out of Rs.1 only 15 paise reached the intended beneficiaries\".

\"We decided to cut down leakages... it is the haq (due) of the people,\" he said on Tuesday.

Giving top billing to the \"landmark\" scheme, Chidambaram, Ramesh and AICC spokesperson P.C. Chacko addressed a joint press conference at the AICC headquarters.

\"The Congress is a political party, not an NGO. We had promised cash transfer of benefits and subsidies in our election manifesto of 2009. Where is the talk of elections?\" Ramesh asked.

Chidambaram denied the Opposition charge that the scheme amounted to bribing the people or it was launched with an eye on early elections.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury alleged that the government was reducing subsidies without saying so.

After getting Parliament\'s stamp on FDI, the government is expected to push a few key reform Bills and pass the antigraft Lokpal law. Chidambaram is also gearing up to present a populist budget.

These steps will help the government in the event of an early election, sources said.

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Zee says its executives’ arrest illegal

NEW DELHI, November 28, 2012

Zee News on Wednesday denied all allegations of extortion levelled against its two executives and said police were being forced to act on the matter under pressure from Congress MP Naveen Jindal and his associates.

Sudhir Chaudhary, head of Zee News, and Samir Ahluwalia, head of Zee Business, were arrested here on Tuesday on charges of attempting to extort Rs.100 crore from Jindal's company in exchange for not filing news reports linking his firm to the coal blocks allocation.

"Our executives' arrest is illegal. We strongly condemn arrests of our two executives," Zee News Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alok Agarwal told reporters at a press conference here.

He alleged that Mr Jindal had offered money to Zee journalists.

"Our channel raised fundamental questions about coal blocks allocated to the Jindal Group. Jindal's mother pleaded with us to play down the coalgate," he said.

Mr Agarwal alleged that police were being forced to pursue the matter against them and make illegal arrests.

Mr Jindal last month released a CD which purportedly showed footage in which the Zee journalists were trying to strike a deal with his company officials, telling them that their TV news channel would not air negative stories on Jindal Group if the money was paid to them.

Mr Jindal, who is chairman of Jindal Power and Steel Ltd, (JPSL), had earlier claimed that the Zee executives had demanded Rs.20 crore for four years and they secretly filmed the meetings. They later raised the demand to Rs.100 crore for not broadcasting stories against the company in relation to the allocation of coal blocks, Mr Jindal alleged.

JPSL is among the companies named in the Comptroller and Auditor General's report as one of the beneficiaries of the controversial coal blocks allocation.

Zee News last month sent a Rs.150 crore defamation notice to the Congress MP, who too had filed a Rs.200 crore suit against the media conglomerate, claiming that the TV channel had tried to extort money from his company.
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Facebook row: Bandh in Palghar over cops\' suspension

THANE, November 28, 2012 (PTI)

A bandh was on Wednesday observed in Palghar town in adjoining Thane district following a call by Shiv Sena against suspension of two senior police officers in connection with the arrest of two girls over a Facebook post, criticising shutdown during Bal Thackeray's funeral.

Commercial establishments, schools and colleges at Palghar remained shut and there was no vehicular traffic in the town, party sources said.

No untoward incident was reported so far, police said.

The Palghar Bar Association had also called for a bandh in the courts today to protest the transfer of the local Judicial Magistrate First Class (JFMC) who had "promptly" granted bail to the two girls.

The girls Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan, both 21, were arrested after Dhada had lamented in a Facebook post the November 18 shutdown due to Thackeray's funeral. Ms Shrinivasan had 'liked' the post.

Though Ms Dhada didn't name Thackeray, the local Sena leader complained against the girls and police arrested the duo on November 19, sparking an outrage.

On November 20, police arrested the vandals who had damaged Ms Shaheen's uncle's hospital on November 18, despite her removing the post and apologising that day itself.

Maharashtra government had on Tuesday suspended the two police officers, SP (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012



The eminent farm scientists from USA, Germany, and India gave detailed presentation on diverse theme areas of the "International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security – ICSA 2012," organized at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Chairing the technical session, "Natural Resource Conservation- A Key to Sustainable Agriculture" Dr R.S. Paroda, former Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); said that sustainable agriculture cannot be ensured without natural resource management. Stating that protected cultivation is the most efficient system for productivity, he emphasized on managing the natural resources and addressing the climate change issues. He also spoke on the importance of farm diversification, water, soil, energy, power, cropping systems and intensity.

Dr M.S. Bajwa, Co-Chairman of the session, said that Punjab is making substantial contribution of paddy to the central pool at the cost of the depleting water resources and the Centre should compensate by giving royalty to the state. He also emphasized on adequate storage facilities for the management of farm produce.

Dr R.S. Zeigler, Director General, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines; chaired the technical session on "Breeding Crops for Food and Climate Resilience" whereas Dr D.S. Brar, Adjunct Professor at PAU School of Agricultural Biotechnology (SAB) and former Head of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Division, IRRI, Philippines.

A well-known rice breeder, popularly known as "Paddy Daddy," Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis, USA and PAU alumnus; divulged that between 1966 and 2011, the population of densely populated low-income countries grew by 110 per cent. But the rice production increased by 180 per cent from 257 million tonnes in 1966 to 718 million tonnes in 2011. In spite of these advances in rice production, 800 million people still go to bed hungry every day and most of them are poor rice consumers, he pointed out. As population of rice consumers will continue to grow, it is vital to meet the increased demand from less land and with less water, less labour and fewer chemicals. Various strategies for increasing the rice yield potential include conventional hybridization and selection procedures, ideotype breeding, hybrid breeding, wide hybridization and genetic engineering, suggested he.

Speaking on the topic "Managing Soils for Feeding the Carbon Civilization," Dr Rattan Lal Sharma, Professor of Soil Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA; said that impact of the so called "Carbon Civilization" on the environment is likely to increase drastically with increase in population from 7 billion in 2011 to 9.2 billion in 2050 and 10 billion in 2100. He added that the finite resources are being jeopardized by severe soil degradation, urbanization and industrial uses, brick making and use for growing biofuel plantations. If soils are not restored, crops will fail and hunger will perpetuate, said he, while stressing on prudence governance and sustainable development for dealing with land and soil degradation.

Dr D.J. MacKill, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis, USA; observed that rice production is under pressure due to water shortages, climate change, reduced arable land area, increasing cost of inputs, and pollution. Changes in the current rice production practices are urgently needed to enable farmers to adjust to these pressures, he emphasized, saying that tolerance to abiotic stresses submergence, drought, salinity and high temperature are readily available in particular rice varieties. Transferring these tolerances into high-yielding and productive varieties is necessary to provide protection to future varieties from climate change, said he.

Dr Hans-Peter Piepho from University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany; spoke on "Using series of experiments to identify adapted cultivars for sub-divided target regions." He stated that breeding for local adaptation may be economically viable provided there is sufficient genotype-by-sub-region interaction. If the targeted sub-region is part of a larger region covered by a testing network, information from neighboring sub-regions can be exploited in order to gain more precise estimates for the targeted sub-region, he said. For balanced data, the simplest approach is to use genotypic mean estimates for the whole target region, he added.

Dr Kulwinder Gill from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA; disclosed that about 25 per cent of wheat crop is lost to various types of pests even though ample resistance genes are available. He said, "To protect and maintain yield potential of popular variety, we optimized a marker-assisted background selection (MABS)-based gene introgression approach in wheat where 97 per cent or more of a recurrent parent genome can be recovered in just two backcross (BC) generations. Marker assisted forward breeding (MAFB) was also optimized with the objective to improve upon the recurrent parent. This includes selecting plants with single plant yield analysis, selection for plant type, and single plant grain quality analysis."

Dr J.S. Samra, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority, New Delhi; revealed that nearly 8.2 per cent of India's population of tribals and forest dwellers are major concern of inclusive growth and conservation of natural resources. He noted that demographic growth, change in food habits, urbanization, industrialization, climate changes and environmental needs are putting tremendous challenges on the natural resources. Dr Samra also dwelt upon over exploitation of groundwater, flood prone agro-ecologies, rainfed agriculture, climate change and protected agriculture.

Dr B.R. Sharma, Principal Researcher (Water Resources), International Water Management Institute, New Delhi; said that regional land and water productivity of both rice and wheat is one of the highest in the country. However, the large positive benefits have also created alarmingly high negative hydrological conundrums, he observed, while voicing concern over widespread decline in water tables. He emphasized on bringing more area under fruits and vegetables, reducing rice production, intensifying milk production and promoting processing of cereals, milk, etc.

Dr R.S. Kanwar, Vice-Chancellor, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, said that one of the major challenges for agricultural scientists in the 21st century is how to produce enough and safe food to feed the increasing population of the world. Stressing on making the students aware of water conflicts, water pricing and water laws, he said that the development of sustainable agri-production system is needed to protect the eco-system.

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