Thursday, January 31, 2013


Ludhiana-31-January, 2013

Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana and National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a period of 5-years in areas of collaborative Research, sharing of faculty for teaching, exchange of academic information, curriculum development and training of students, informed Registrar, GADVASU Dr. P.D.Juyal..

Dr. V.K.Taneja, Vice-Chancellor GADVASU stated that the objectives of the MoU is to encourage and facilitate cooperation between Veterinary University and NDRI in the fields of common interest in Dairy Science and Technology, Biotechnology and Animal Production Sciences related education research and trainings. The priority will be given to train undergraduate, postgraduate students and faculty. The MoU will further help in hosting study tours, implant trainings and imparting knowledge and skills. He opined that the MoU will prove to be a milestone in achieving excellence in potential areas. Both the institutions will achieve the common goal for the benefit of society at large. GADVASU is further exploring the possibilities of MoU with national and international partners.

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Aiming at generating awareness and sensitizing the youth towards the issue of declining social and moral values, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has initiated the process of promoting values and culture that fitsto the needs of the modern times. Eminent speakers from different disciplines are being invited to become a part of weekly interactive sessions. Three guest lectures have already been delivered by S. Hardeep Brar, Founder of Maheeda Organization and by Brahmkumari Sister Sushma on various aspects of human values, morals and ethics.

Giving details, Dr Neelam Grewal, Dean, College of Home Science, said that the activity is a part of a PAU course entitled "Human Values in Education."

"There is growing universal concern over the erosion of values in the present times because of unprecedented social changes, dislocating traditional values and conflict between traditional and new values," she observed. The course lays emphasis on generating conviction and commitment to moral values for improving quality of life, highlighted Dr Grewal. The course has been greatly appreciated by the students and those who have delivered guest lectures.

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The Directorate of Extension Education of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has announced the dates for the series of seven Kisan Melas, slated to be held in March 2013 in different parts of the Punjab state. According to the decision taken during the meeting, held under the chairmanship of PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, the series will begin with Regional Kisan Mela at Ballowal Saunkhri (District Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) on March 1, followed by the mela at Khalsa College, Amritsar; on March 5 and at Gurdaspur on March 7. The fourth Regional Kisan Mela will be held at Rauni (Patiala) on March 11 whereas the two-day mela at PAU campus will be organized on March 15 and 16. The Regional Kisan Melas at Faridkot and Bathinda will be held on March 19 and 21, respectively.

Divulging contours, Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, said that the melas will acquaint and equip the participating farmers and farm women with the farm innovations, technical know-how of scientific farming and need-based agri-technologies for forthcoming Kharif season. Besides, the melas will provide an opportunity to the farmers to visit exhibitions, interact with farm experts, discuss their agrarian problems and seek queries for the same. Dr Gill told that the farmers can also purchase new seeds, planting material, and farm literature, depicting latest agri-technologies during the melas. Apart from spreading awareness about conservation of natural resources, and judicious use of agro-chemicals, the melas will create awakening, amongst the farming community, against the prevailing social evils like drug abuse, female foeticide, dowry system, etc., he added.
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Govt college for Girls celebrated the Natonal Youth day


The National youth day was celebrated in the premises of G.C.G, ludhiana here today.The function was organized by swami vivekanada study circle organized a lecture with the copration of Philosophy, Pol.Sc, and Psychology deptt. The chief guest of Mr. Chander Shekhar Talwaar IAS (Retd) , Commissioner MC Jalandhar, DC Mansa, special sec. finance Punjab Government and Dr. Anupam Talwaar was welcomed by the worthy principal Mrs. Gurminder Kaur.

The respected chief guest also congratulated the students and inspired them to perform exceedingly well in the coming future. He also mentioned that Vivekananda was the intellectual genius of the country. He was the pride of the entire humanity.

He was a great orator. His magnetism made the people around him spell bound. He also inspired the students to follow the footsteps of Vivekananda as he crystallized the national ideal.

The following students were awarded on this auspicious occasion:


1. Hargunpreet Singh ,Punjabi University, Patiala.


1. Satyam Malhotra , Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana.

2. Shivjot Gill, Mahatma Hansraj Mahila Mahavidyalya, Jalandhar.


1. Sahil Duggal , College of Agril. Engineering and Technology, PAU, ludhiana.

2. Manpreet Kaur , Govt. Home Science College, Sector 10, Chandigarh.

Appreciation Award:

1. Mehak Dhand, Govt. College for Women, Ludhiana

2. Harpreet Kaur, Doraha College of Education, Doraha.

Consolation Award:

1. Arshdeep Kaur, Govt College for Girls, Ludhiana.

2. Gurpreet Kaur, Doraha College of Education, Doraha.

3. Shruti Bector, Doraha College of Education, Doraha.

4. Amanpreet Kaur , Doraha College of Education, Doraha.

Dr. Anupam Talwar introduced the students about the activities of s.v.s.c. Mrs Chander Prabha soi:- the president of the study circle, Gen. sec. Dr. sanjeev Dawar, Patron – Dr. Vijay Ardhir, Co- ordinator – Dr. AK jain addressed the audience with teir enlightened speech.

Mr. D.p. Grover, Mr. Surinder Aggarwal, Mr. T.S. Bakshi, Mr. Satish Soi former president, Ms. Kamlesh kaur dept of philosophy also graced the occasion with their presence. The vote of thanks was proposed by the president of the S.V.S.C. Mrs. Chander Prabha Soi.

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Press Note

Ludhiana -31.01.2013

A delegation of UCPMA under the leadership of S. Gurmeet Singh Kular, President UCPMA had a meeting with the Sh. Karan Avtar Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Labour, Industries & Commerce on 30.01.2013 at Chandigarh. He was apprised of the difficulties faced by the industry i.e. regarding developing a NEW FOCAL PONIT, waiving of SAC APPROVAL, ZONING OF INDUSTRY and No Extension No Expansion in Mix Land use Area were discussed in detail. In addition to the above it was made known to the Principal Secretary that Phase-1 to 3 and Phase- 4 to 8 are being controlled by two different government agencies i.e. by GLADA and by PSIEC respectively which cause hindrance to the industry for getting their difficulties removed.

It was suggested that to the Principal Secretary that Phase- 1 to 3 may also be transferred to PSIEC so as to enable the industry to get their work done from the one window i.e. PSIEC which will give relief to the industry.

S. Gumeet Singh Kular informed the Principal Secretary that Mix Land use area has been placed under Category feeder No-1 which causes hindrance to get the new electricity connection by the old as well as new industries situated in Mix Land use Area. He was requested that this area should be transferred to industrial area feeder.

The following members were present in the meeting Sh. Jagatvir Singh, President Ludhiana Bicycle Engineering Park, Sh. Rajeev Jain, President Laghu Udyog Bharti, Sh. Rajnish Gupta, Chairman Ludhiana Bicycle Engineering Park, Mr. B.S Dhiman, President Avon Cycles Ltd.

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Jet, Ethihad top-brass meet Ajit Singh

NEW DELHI, January 31, 2013 PTI

Top Etihad Airways and Jet Airways executives on Thursday met Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh here amid the possibility of the Abu Dhabi-based carrier picking up 24 per cent stake in the premier Indian airline.

The Etihad delegation was led by its CEO James Hogan at the meeting, which was also attended by Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal.

While neither Mr. Hogan, nor Mr. Goyal spoke about the meeting, Mr. Singh said both airlines have been "in consultation (over possible stake sale). So the Etihad delegation was here on Thursday. They were discussing details with Goyal."

Replying to questions, the Minister said, "Any foreign airline investing money has many concerns -- what's the policy, what's the cost structure (so that) you make money out of that. They have been discussing this deal for over a month. Since the government allowed FDI (by airlines), talks have been going on."

Asked by when the deal would be finalised, Mr. Singh merely said, "It is up to them." He said whatever agreement was arrived at between the two carriers "should be within the regulatory framework."

The government changed its FDI policy in aviation in September last year to allow foreign airlines to acquire up to 49 per cent stake in an Indian airline.

Earlier this month, Jet had informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it was in talks with Etihad "regarding a potential investment...The discussions are in progress but no terms have been firmed up at present. Various structures are being explored by the legal and commercial teams."

Reports have said that Etihad may buy 24 per cent equity in Jet Airways valued at about Rs 1,800 crore.
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Australia names 17-man squad for India tests

MELBOURNE, January 31, 2013 AP

Allrounder Glenn Maxwell has been included along with specialist spinners Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty in Australia's 17-man squad for the four-test series in India starting next month.

Selectors on Thursday announced a large and diverse range of bowling options, including five pacemen, two specialists spinners, uncapped allrounder Maxwell who bats in the middle order and bowls offbreaks and medium pace allrounder Moises Henriques.

Vice-captain Shane Watson was picked as a specialist batsman and opener David Warner was included despite a thumb injury which has ruled him out of the five-match limited-overs series against the West Indies starting Friday. Batsmen Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith have also been included as Australia searches for long-term replacements for recently-retired veterans Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.

James Pattinson returns to the test lineup after injury to join a five-strong pace attack including Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson.

The Australians will play two warmup matches in Chennai before the first test starts Feb. 22.

"We have a good opportunity for members of the squad to get well acclimatized to the conditions," selection committee chairman John Inverarity said. "This squad has the flexibility that will be required for the varying conditions expected in India and it will provide valuable experience to a number of young players."

The 24-year-old Maxwell has played only seven limited-overs internationals for Australia, scoring 146 runs at an average of 24.33 and not taking any wickets, but is considered a player of the future after setting a domestic record with a half century from 19 balls for Victoria against Tasmania in a limited-overs match.

Doherty hasn't played test cricket since his two tests in the Ashes defeat at home in 2010-11, while Smith also played the last of his five tests in that series loss to England.

"It's a long tour and a very important one as we look to continue our improvement in test cricket and our quest to return to the top of the ICC test cricket rankings," Inverarity said. "We are also building toward back-to-back Ashes series."

The squad

Michael Clarke (captain), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird.
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U.S. assistance to Pak should not be unconditional: Hagel

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2013 PTI

America's assistance to Pakistan should not be unconditional, U.S. Defence Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel has told lawmakers ahead of his confirmation hearing.

The U.S.-Pak military relationship should be underlined by a realistic, pragmatic approach to enhancing those areas of cooperation that are dictated by their common interests and to ensuring accountability for actions that detract from these interest, Mr. Hagel stressed.

"U.S. assistance to Pakistan should not be unconditional. At the same time, any conditions should be carefully examined to ensure they advance U.S. strategic interests," Chuck Hagel, the two-time former Senator from Nebraska said on Wednesday in answers to a 112-page questionnaire for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"If confirmed, I will work to ensure that our security assistance and other support to Pakistan both serves US interests and is cost effective," Mr. Hagel added.

Mr. Hagel has been nominated by the U.S. President Barack Obama as his next Defence Secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Leon Panetta as the Defence Secretary.

India does not find any mention in his answers.

"I believe the U.S. and Pakistan share common interests in disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qaeda, and in long-term regional stability, including a durable political settlement in Afghanistan and the safety and security of the Indian Ocean," Mr. Hagel said when asked what would he consider to be areas of shared strategic interest between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Mr. Hagel said the U.S. and Pakistan often diverge over Pakistan's approach to the militant and terrorist networks that operate in Pakistan's territory and do not overtly threaten the Pakistani state.

"However, in my view, these networks threaten Pakistani stability, endanger the prospects for a settlement in Afghanistan, and undermine regional stability -- so that in fact, while the relationship is challenging, I believe our long-term strategic interests are in alignment," he said.

Noting that U.S.-Pakistan military-to-military ties have been marked by periodic ups and downs, Mr. Hagel said in his view, the military-military relationship should be underlined by a realistic, pragmatic approach to enhancing those areas of cooperation that are dictated by their common interests and to ensuring accountability for actions that detract from these interests.

"If confirmed, I will make accomplishing that goal a priority," he asserted.

Responding to a question on effectiveness of U.S. aid to Pakistan, Mr. Hagel said as the President has said, more terrorists have been killed in Pakistan than anywhere else since 9/11-and that would not be possible without Pakistani cooperation.

"Security assistance for Pakistan has helped Pakistan press this campaign against the militant and terrorist networks that threaten us all," he said.
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Need to visit Cinematograph Act: Tewari

NEW DELHI, January 31, 2013 PTI

Against the backdrop of controversy surrounding Kamal Haasan's film 'Vishwaroopam', Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Thursday said there was a need to "revisit" the Cinematograph Act to ensure decisions of the Censor Board are implemented.

"Time-cinematographic act revisited to ensure implementational integrity (of) certification decisions, otherwise each state would be its own censor (board)," Mr. Tewari posted on the social networking website Twitter.

Mr. Tewari had said on Wednesday that states should implement the decisions of the Censor Board regarding screening of films but refrained from commenting on 'Vishwaroopam', saying the matter was in court.

"Since the High court has once again taken the matter within its purview, it would be inappropriate to comment on it. We would allow the High court to take cognisance of the matter holistically and come to whatever conclusion it considers appropriate. Because it's been a tradition that we do not comment on matters which are sub-judice," Mr. Tewari had said.

Mr. Haasan on Wednesday suffered a setback as the Madras High Court stayed the screening of "Vishwaroopam".
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Kamal Haasan not to move Supreme Court

CHENNAI, January 31, 2013 PTI

A day after an emotional outburst on his self-exile over hurdles in the release of "Vishwaroopam", actor Kamal Haasan on Thursday said he is "still hurt", but would wait before moving the Supreme Court against the state government's ban on its screening.

The actor also sought to stay clear of the talk of politics being played out in placing impediments for release of his film, saying "Please leave me out of that."

He was replying to a query on DMK chief M Karunanidhi's statement, suggesting a political angle to the ban on the spy thriller, made at a budget of nearly Rs 100 crore.

"I am still hurt, but calm," Mr. Haasan said to a question on the developments surrounding the film, which made him declare he would exile himself from Tamil Nadu and even the country if he does not find a secular place.

The actor's remarks came as the interim relief granted by a single judge permitting release of the film was set aside by Madras High Court on Wednesday.

On Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari's suggestion that there was a need to "revisit" the cinematograph Act to ensure decisions of the Censor Board are implemented, Mr. Haasan said, "He has spoken his (view).... The matter is sub-judice."

Mr. Haasan, meanwhile, left for Mumbai to promote the Hindi version of the film. The actor's brother Chandrahaasan said "politics is not behind" the developments.

The trilingual movie first courted controversy when screen-owners red-flagged his decision to release it on DTH platform.

Muslim groups opposed the movie saying Haasan had depicted Islam in an objectionable way and moved the state government to ban the movie.

Subsequently, District Collectors evoked legal provisions to ban screening of the movie.
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Jayalalithaa justifies ban on Vishwaroopam

CHENNAI, January 31, 2013 PTI

Breaking her silence over the controversy surrounding the ban on Tamil film 'Vishwaroopam', Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday said her government was willing to facilitate resolution of the crisis if Muslim outfits and actor Kamal Haasan could hammer out an agreement.

Coming under all-round attack over the two-week ban imposed in the wake of protests by Muslim outfits, Ms. Jayalalithaa defended the government's decision, saying it was based on intelligence inputs about likely violence and to maintain law and order.

Making it clear that she had no "personal grudge" against Mr. Haasan or "personal interest" in banning the movie, she said there was no question of curbing freedom of speech.

"Even at this stage, if Muslim organisations and Kamal Haasan are willing to sit and arrive at an amicable agreement, the Tamil Nadu government is willing to facilitate that," she said after holding talks with top officials.

Squarely blaming the actor for the developments, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, "If Kamal Haasan had shown Muslim leaders the movie in the beginning, all this could have been avoided."

The chief minister said over the last few days, there has been lot of "hysteria" whipped up in the media over 'Vishwaroopam' and "reckless" and "wild charges" had been levelled.

She said the threat to law and order was "very real" and many Muslim outfits had announced a series of agitations. The primary objective of the government was to maintain peace and tranquility. "We relied on Intelligence inputs," she said.

"As Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, my first and foremost priority is maintenance of law and order and to ensure public peace in which people can carry on with their daily lives and work," Ms. Jayalalithaa said, citing inadequate police manpower to provide security at all 524 theatres where the movie was to be screened.
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There is liberty for artists, says Shinde

NEW DELHI, January 31, 2013

The Union government is committed to ensuring freedom of expression and liberty for artists, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said on Wednesday amid the controversy over Kamal Haasan's film Vishwaroopam.

Asked about the Tamil Nadu government's ban on the film, Mr. Shinde literally supported the actor, saying: "We are a free society. There is freedom of expression. There is liberty for artists. We have a Constitution."

All should respect the Constitution. Artists should have full liberty to continue their choice of work. The Centre would enquire into why there were problems in the release of the film in Tamil Nadu and other States, he said.

Refusing to give any fresh deadline on the Telangana issue, Mr. Shinde said the process of consultations on statehood was still on. "It may take little more time to reach a final decision."

Last month, Mr. Shinde said a final decision on the controversial issue would be taken by January 27. But this past Sunday, the Centre and the Congress said there was need for further consultations with stakeholders.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013



The Director of Seeds of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Dr H.S. Randhawa has informed the farmers of the Punjab state that the seeds of the PAU recommended sunflower hybrids including "PSH 996" and "PSH 569" are available at the Seed Sale Centre (SSC) of the University. The seed of new sunflower hybrid "PSH 996" is also available at Farm Advisory Service Scheme (FASS), Hoshiarpur (Kheti Bhawan). Therefore, the interested farmers can purchase the seeds of both the sunflower hybrids from the SSC of PAU (main campus) and FASS of Hoshiarpur.

Giving details of the characteristics of hybrid PSH 996, Dr Randhawa said that it is a medium duration hybrid with high seed and oil yielding potential. It takes about 96 days to mature and its average yield is nearly 7.8 q/acre. About PSH 569, he said that it is a tall hybrid, taking about 98 days to mature. The plant height of PSH 569 is slightly taller than PSH 996 and its average yield is nearly 7.4 q/acre, he told. For high yield, the sowing of sunflower should be done by the end of January, advised the expert, suggesting the use of 2 kg seed per acre. Dr Randhawa stressed that the seed of sunflower should be treated with Thiram @ 2 g/kg of seed before sowing.

Meanwhile, the PAU is also producing the foundation seed (stage-II) and certified seed of potato variety "Kufri Pukhraj," at University Seed Farm, Ladhowal, which will be ready for distribution in mid- February. The interested farmers/growers can book the seeds of the said variety of potato in advance to PAU Director (Seeds). For further information, the farmers/growers can contact Director of Seeds at phone no. 0161-2401960/Ext. (438).
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The Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC) of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has predicted the sunflower prices in the range of Rs 3500 - 3700 per quintal during May and June, 2013. The In-charge of AMIC, Dr Jagrup Singh Sidhu said that the Centre gathered and analyzed the market intelligence regarding sunflower from various sources to help the farmers to take sowing decisions. The government increased the minimum support price (MSP) of sunflower from Rs 2800 per quintal in 2011-12 to Rs 3700 per quintal in 2012-13, he told, informing that the prices of sunflower in the major markets of the state ruled around the MSP during 2011-12. Therefore, farmers should keep this information in view to plan their area under sunflower vis-a-vis other alternative crops like spring maize, moong, early summer vegetables, etc. by comparing their relative returns, he emphasized.

Revealing that in India, sunflower occupies the fourth place among oilseed crops in terms of acreage and production, Dr Sidhu said that the area under sunflower in the country was 2.50 million hectares with a production of five lakh tonnes during 2011-12. He further disclosed, "The major producers of sunflower are Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh which account for about 81 per cent of the area and about 90.27 per cent of production of the country. The total oilseed production in the country during 2011-12 is estimated at 35.6 million tonnes and total edible oil production during the same period was 11.5 million tonnes."

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The Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC) of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has predicted the sunflower prices in the range of Rs 3500 - 3700 per quintal during May and June, 2013. The In-charge of AMIC, Dr Jagrup Singh Sidhu said that the Centre gathered and analyzed the market intelligence regarding sunflower from various sources to help the farmers to take sowing decisions. The government increased the minimum support price (MSP) of sunflower from Rs 2800 per quintal in 2011-12 to Rs 3700 per quintal in 2012-13, he told, informing that the prices of sunflower in the major markets of the state ruled around the MSP during 2011-12. Therefore, farmers should keep this information in view to plan their area under sunflower vis-a-vis other alternative crops like spring maize, moong, early summer vegetables, etc. by comparing their relative returns, he emphasized.

Revealing that in India, sunflower occupies the fourth place among oilseed crops in terms of acreage and production, Dr Sidhu said that the area under sunflower in the country was 2.50 million hectares with a production of five lakh tonnes during 2011-12. He further disclosed, "The major producers of sunflower are Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh which account for about 81 per cent of the area and about 90.27 per cent of production of the country. The total oilseed production in the country during 2011-12 is estimated at 35.6 million tonnes and total edible oil production during the same period was 11.5 million tonnes."
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Old Students Day Celebrated at GCG


The Old students' Association provides an ideal opportunity to all the old students to rekindle their association with their alma mater and to renew the contacts with their teachers. Keeping alive the tradition of previous years, a get together of old students and the faculty of uthe college, was organized here to-day. Three eminent old students were honoured for their achievements in their respective fields and tremendous contribution to the society. Bibi Satinder Kaur Beesla President Istri Akali Dal Nawan Shehar. Miss Khushpal Kaur Rtd. Principal and Ms Manmeet Kaur Sodhia an educationist and Director Ivana Institute of Hotel Management, Rtd. Principal Mrs. Iqbal Kaur were the worthy guests. Principal Mrs. Gurminder Kaur accorded a warm welcome to the guests. Bibi Satinder Kaur Beesla could not reach because of unavoidable circumstances and was honoured in absentia. A cultural programme was also performed to mark the occasion.

Compeering was done by Mrs. Sumeet Brar from the department of English, Presidents' of the Student Council Swati Bhandari and Ziart Priya Kaur. Distinquished Guests included Rtd. Mrs. Manjeet Sodhia, Principal Dr. Mohinder Kaur ,Mrs. Viney Dhanda, Mrs. Neelam Kapoor Executive member Spic Macay, Prof. Jindal , Rtd. Principal Kusum Ahuja, Rtd. Ms. Balbir Bajaj, Dr. Usha Dhingra,Mrs. Santosh, Dr. Kumad Ghai,Mrs. Swarn Grewal. Speaking on the Occasion for Ms. Manmeet Sodhia Director Ivana Institute. Prof. Dharamvir Jindal appreciated and congratulated the college for having produced this gem in form of well developed social, intelligent and fully confident personality. 'Ms. Manmeet sodhia is a great lady She is the icon as a girl let every body follow her'.

Press Incharge

Govt. College for Girls,


Phone No.9814654078

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More elbow room for banks to cut rates

MUMBAI, January 30, 2013

As widely expected, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reduced the indicative policy rate (repo rate) by 25 basis points from 8 per cent to 7.75 per cent. This is likely to help banks reduce their lending rates.

Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow funds from the central bank.

The central bank also cut the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), the portion of the deposits that the banks are required to maintain with the RBI, by 25 basis points from 4.25 per cent to 4 per cent, pumping in a liquidity of Rs.18,000 crore into the system from February 9.

The policy rate cut together with the CRR cut is expected to give more elbow room for banks to lend money at lower rates. This is likely to benefit retail borrowers immediately more than industrial sectors, where growth is subdued.

However, the rate cut does not mean that the RBI is comfortable with the macro-economic indicators which would allow it to cut rates.

"There is some space, but limited….. we use it with lot of judgement," said D. Subbarao, Governor, RBI, on reducing the rates, while addressing a press conference to announce the third quarter review of the monetary policy.

This is the second policy rate cut in this financial year. The RBI front-loaded the cut with a reduction of 50 basis points from its peak of 8.50 per cent to 8 per cent in April 2012. Since then, ballooning inflation prevented the RBI from cutting rates. Meanwhile, slowing growth made RBI's job much more difficult.

The RBI Governor said that this cut would "provide an appropriate interest rate environment to support growth as inflation risks moderate." Dr. Subbarao also expected that investment would be encouraged, "thereby supporting growth".

"With headline inflation likely to have peaked and non-food manufactured products inflation declining steadily over the last few months, there is an increasing likelihood that going into 2013-14, inflation will remain range-bound around the current levels,'' the RBI said. The apex bank revised downwards the wholesale price inflation for the March-end 2013 from 7.5 per cent to 6.8 per cent.

"While the series of recent policy initiatives by the government has boosted market sentiment, it will take some time to reverse the investment slowdown and reinvigorate growth," said Dr. Subbarao adding, "We have revised downwards our projection of GDP growth for the current year from 5.8 per cent to 5.5 per cent."

\"While the rate cut signals a monetary policy stance that is more supportive of growth, the CRR cut complements the same by seeking to address liquidity conditions and will facilitate transmission of the monetary policy stance into lending rates," said Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank. She hoped that these measures would contribute to a recovery.

"The widening current account deficit (CAD) to historically high levels, especially in the context of a large fiscal deficit and slowing growth, exposes the economy to the twin deficit risk…..Large scale deficits will accentuate the CAD risk, further crowd out private investment and stunt growth impulses,'' RBI warned.

"What economy needs most of all and most urgently is new investment. This will step up currently flagging aggregate demand and also ease the supply constraints so that existing capacity is fully utilised and new capacity is built up," Dr. Subbarao added.
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New racket, bigger business - Nadal in comeback mode

MADRID, January 30, 2013 DPA

Rafael Nadal who is set to fly to Chile on Thursday to return to the ATP tour seven months later is a different man: he has a new racket, a new approach to his business interests and a lot of questions open regarding his tennis.

Can the former world number one go back to being the player he once was? As soon as Nadal confirmed his return to the tour after a long injury break, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) proceeded to test him for doping four times in two weeks, according to sources close to the player. Overall, Nadal was tested "six or seven" times ahead of his return, ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti told DPA.

However, since he recovered from a double knee injury and started to play again in November, the Spaniard has spent most of his time trying to adapt to the new tool of his trade: Babolat's Aeropro Drive racket.

Like most players, Nadal is conservative when it comes to his play; he does not like to change what appears to be working. But that is precisely what coaches are there for.

"Uncle Toni put pressure on Rafa to change. If you want to be better, you have to take risks," Eric Babolat, the owner of the firm that makes the racket Nadal has been playing with since age 12, told DPA.

"I don't agree with what you're saying, but I'll give it a try," Babolat said Nadal usually tells his uncle-coach.

According to the Frenchman, the new racket and new strings give "more power and more control" to the Spaniard's shots.

"More top spin, he already has a lot of that but he wants more," said Babolat.

The racket manufacturer admits it is "a nightmare for rivals," usually overwhelmed by the height that Nadal's strokes attain due to this top spin effect.

By the end of the year, the racket could be even closer to science fiction, because the plan is to put on it a chip that will collect data about every stroke.

"It could become a habit, something usual after sport: sitting with your friends to compare each one's technical data," Babolat says enthusiastically.

And while Nadal adapts to his racket ahead of the Vina del Mar, Sao Paulo and Acapulco tournaments he is set to play in February, his business activities are taking on a new dimension.

Carlos Costa, a former top 10 tennis player who has been Nadal's manager for years, left the agency IMG, the world's biggest in the field, to create a family company with Sebastian Nadal, Rafael's father.

The move is just like one that Roger Federer and his manager, Tony Godsick, undertook a few months earlier. Godsick left IMG and now manages along with Federer all the business generated by the former world number one. There are no longer any commissions to pay or anything to debate: they have control of everything.

The same thing is to happen with Nadal from now on.

Once he has chosen his racket and set his business interests on a new track, questions focus on the winner of a record seven titles at the French Open: at 26, will he be able to replicate the form and results of his best years? Several top commentators have doubts.

"I don't think he necessarily needs time to be Nadal, but I think he needs some time for the other players to think of him as the old Nadal, because I think players lose a lot of respect: not respect for him as a person, but respect for his level," Mats Wilander told DPA.

The Swede, a three-time French Open winner, is sure that even if his name is Rafael Nadal, "he's still an outsider" in Paris this year, with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Federer the men to beat.

"This is the year of and Novak and Andy's chance to win the French, and Roger's already won it, but it's obviously his chance too," Wilander said.

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T20: India maintains No. 3 spot in ICC rankings

DUBAI, January 30, 2013 PTI

India managed to retains its number three position among T20 teams, while Virat Kohli has slipped a position to sixth in the ICC rankings for Twenty20 batsmen issued on Tuesday.

India is placed at third with 119 points in the team rankings, which was being led by reigning T20 champions Sri Lanka followed by the West Indies.

Sri Lanka, with 131 points, has further consolidated its number one position following its 2-0 series win over hosts Australia, which is placed seventh in the chart.

Meanwhile, star India batsman Kohli has dropped a rung to the sixth spot in the T20 batsmen list with 731 points. Suresh Raina also slipped a position to the ninth place.

Other Indians in the top-20 list includes Yuvraj Singh (13) and opener Gautam Gambhir at the 17 position.

New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum leads the T20 batting chart with 794 points, followed by destructive West Indian opener Chris Gayle (792), Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene (768) and Australia's Shane Watson (767).

In the T20 bowlers category, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashiwin, ranked 16, is the only Indian to have found out a place in the top-20 list.

Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal leads the bowlers' table with 756 points followed by Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka (731) and England's Graeme Swann (720).
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John Kerry to head US State Department

WASHINGTON, January 30, 2013

The US Senate on Tuesday approved John Kerry as the next Secretary of State in a bipartisan 94-3 vote.

Mr. Kerry, who will replace Hillary Clinton as the nation's top diplomat, stood on the floor of the Senate to receive congratulations from his colleagues as the votes were cast.

"I speak on behalf of everyone here that we so admire the job (Kerry) has done in his past life in so many phases," Senator Chuck Schumer said after the vote. "We're excited for his time as Secretary of State and we think for John Kerry the best is yet to come."

The three no votes came from Republican lawmakers, senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Ms. Clinton has said her last day on the job will be Friday, when Mr. Kerry is expected to be sworn in. He is to give a farewell address to the Senate on Wednesday. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will name a temporary successor to fill his seat before a special election set for June 25.

"We have to deal with the immediate crises that come across our desk every day," Clinton said of the challenges of the office. "We have to work on the long-term challenges, like security in North Africa. And we have to deal with what I call the trend lines, not the headlines." She told an international town hall forum that her greatest regret from her time as secretary was the death of four Americans in the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, 2012.

The department's handling of the incident came under intense political scrutiny and scuttled UN ambassador Susan Rice's chance to become Secretary of State after her characterisation of the attack was challenged.

The issue is likely to continue to simmer during Mr. Kerry's first days in office, with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham accusing Ms. Clinton in a television interview of "getting away with murder."
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U.S. shutters Guantanamo prisoners’ resettlement office

NEW YORK, January 30, 2013

The clearest sign that U.S. President Barack Obama may have no immediate plans to make good on his promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison for "War on Terror" detainees came on Friday when the State Department quietly released a statement that "special envoy Daniel Fried [in charge of the prisoners' resettlement office] had been reassigned, his office closed, and his responsibilities... given to the... legal adviser."

Marking almost four years exactly since Mr. Obama promised to shutter the controversial prison, the latest moves brings the curtain down on the resettlement office that was set up in 2009 aiming to assist detainees who were cleared for release but unable return to home owing to the risk that they would face torture or persecution there.

The significant but under-the-radar indication of policy shift was highlighted by Reprieve, a United Kingdom-based legal action charity, which also noted that three of its clients, Yunnus Chekkouri, Abu Wa'el Dhiab and Nabil Hadjarab, were among those still held and seeking resettlement. "All three were hoping for the assistance of Ambassador Fried's office to find a home outside the prison; all have been cleared for release for several years," Reprieve said in a statement.

Hilary Stauffer, Reprieve's Deputy Legal Director added, "By closing Ambassador Fried's office the President has broken his promise to close the prison and shattered the hope that these men might ever be able to leave. Government resources... must be in place and have the authority to negotiate transfers with potential host governments."

While the Obama administration argues that it will continue press for closure of Guantanamo Bay 166 men still remain incarcerated there and, according to a statement by Reprieve, 86 of them have been cleared for release.

The announcement also came as five detainees including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed appeared before a before a military tribunal this week. They face the death penalty if convicted.

Reports however quoted officials denying a policy shift. The New York Times quoted Ian Moss, a spokesman for Mr. Fried's office, saying, "We remain committed to closing Guantánamo, and doing so in a responsible fashion... The administration continues to express its opposition to Congressional restrictions that impede our ability to implement transfers."
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No dearth of leadership in BJP, says Venkaiah

PANAJI, January 30, 2013 PTI

Senior party leader Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said that there is no dearth of leadership in BJP, if it was to project its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

"There is no dearth of leadership in BJP. Advaniji (L K Advani), Sushmaji (Sushma Swaraj), myself... all have set of records," Mr. Naidu told reporters here.

"The party will discuss the issue of the PM candidate at an appropriate time," he said, responding to a query seeking his reaction on Yashwant Sinha's support for Narendra Modi.

"Modi is voted to work as a Chief Minister of Gujarat. He is a national leader. He has all qualities of national leader but the question is that the party is yet to have discussion on the PM candidate," Mr. Naidu said.

The party after discussing the PM candidate, will have further deliberations with its allies before announcing the name, he said.

Responding to yet another question, Mr. Naidu ruled out any impact of dissidence within the BJP in Karnataka on the prospects of the party in that state.

"There is some affect on the party due to the statements and counter statements by the leaders but people will vote back BJP to power there," he said referring to the developments in Karnataka.
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Hazare invokes JP to fight corruption

PATNA, January 30, 2013

Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday invoked the vision of 'total revolution' of the JP movement in the fight against corruption.

"Jayaprakash Narayan gave a call for total revolution, but his dream remained unfulfilled. We have resolved to fulfil the vision of Jayaprakash Narayan and Gandhiji and work towards it till the last breath. We have to bring about a complete transformation in the system. We are beginning our struggle to change this system," he said.

Mr. Hazare dismissed a letter written to him by Congress president Sonia Gandhi assuring him of passage of the Lokpal Bill in the budget session. "We have been getting these assurances for the past two years. Does it take two years to pass the Bill? The government is only betraying us with empty promises. The fact that they have taken two years indicates that they have no real intention or political will to create a corruption-free India," he said.

Asked if he had more faith in Rahul Gandhi, he said: "They are all the same."

Beginning a nation-wide yatra from Gandhi Maidan here on Wednesday, Mr. Hazare will mobilise people on various issues, besides corruption.

The rally would also take up demands such as decentralisation of power to the gram and mohalla sabhas and the 'right to reject' option in elections.

"There are 120 crore Indians. I am hopeful that at least six crore could be mobilised to put pressure on the government. The issue is not limited to corruption. Today, justice eludes the poor. Some live to eat and some eat to live, society is caste-ridden, law and order is a concern in many places and inequality between the rich and the poor is rising. What we have today is not democracy. Now, the issue is bringing about a total change in the system. We have to strike at the root of corruption," he said. This "change" was more important that a mere change in the power structure, he added.

Asked if the anti-corruption movement lacked lustre in the absence of the former 'Team Anna' member, Arvind Kejriwal, Mr. Hazare said, "Do not try to start a fight between us."

Mr. Hazare said he would hold four sabhas in four States in February and tour every other State in March. The former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, who is associated with Mr. Hazare's movement, accompanied the activist.

Gen. Singh said an exhibit of mud, stained with Gandhiji's blood, which was auctioned in the U.K. and purchased by an Indian citizen, would be brought to the rally on Wednesday.
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President to open The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy

NEW DELHI, January 30, 2013

President Pranab Mukherjee will on Thursday inaugurate The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, to be located in Chennai. The event will be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The founding spirit of The Hindu Centre is the firm conviction that the publishers of The Hindu, a major force for public good and which has had a stellar role in building India's democratic life, can help revive ebbing public confidence in parliamentary democracy," a statement said.

"Public confidence in India's democratic institutions and political processes are at an all-time low and there is a rising danger of the Indian public becoming alienated from the electoral process, angered by the failure of politicians to deliver on basic expectations."

The Centre will function as an independent platform to explore ideas and public policies. It will contribute to rebuilding public faith in India's democratic process.

It will seek to establish stronger and credible roots for parliamentary democracy, pluralism and economic betterment, and seek to increase understanding of the challenges of the day. It will be involved in research that will revisit key constitutional concepts and examine the validity of the post-Independence set of political values to assess their relevance and utility in terms of the crisis of confidence besetting the system.

Malini Parthasarathy, the former Executive Editor of The Hindu, will be the Director of the Centre. Dr. Parthasarathy, along with N. Ram and N. Ravi, will comprise the Centre's board of management. Mr. Ram is former Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The Hindu, Frontline, Business Line, and Sportstar, all group publications. Mr. Ravi is a former Editor of The Hindu.

The advisory board will comprise scholars and public intellectuals: Zoya Hasan, Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President and CEO, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi; Sunil Khilnani, Director, King's India Institute, London; and Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago.

Other members will be Yogendra Yadav, Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi; Navin Chawla, former Chief Election Commissioner and Gurcharan Das, management expert, author, and commentator.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Ludhiana-29-January, 2013

In recognition of his contributions to different techniques for increased Livestock Production Dr. A.L. Saini, Professor-cum-Head, Department of Livestock Production Management, GADVASU, Ludhiana has been bestowed with a prestigious award i.e. National Fellow by the Indian Society of Animal Production Management (ISAPM) at the XXth Annual Convention and National Symposium on "New paradigms in Livestock Production : From traditional to commercial farming and beyond" from 28-30th January, 2013 at NDRI Karnal. Dr. Saini started his career as ICAR Scientist after completing his Ph.D in Livestock Production Management. In his illustrious career he did his research work on Animal housing, Animal behaviour, Livestock judging etc. His major contribution in the research is convertible Animal housing module which was appreciated at national and international level. He has 48 original research papers, 2 books, 8 Manual of practical and 155 other articles to his credit. Earlier in his service period of more than 30 years, he was awarded fellowships and travel grants to attend advanced trainings on Livestock Production in Germany and Israel. Recently he attended international conferences on goats in Spain. He guided both Doctoral and Master's Students. He coordinated a very popular radio programme "School on Dairy Farming". He delivered 22 Radio talks, 14 TV talks and a large numbers of invited lectures on various topics. He is Principal Investigator of one of the major World Bank Funded Scheme under National Agricultural Innovation project. He acted as resource person to produce 2 Videos for UGC telecast and one for NAIP Project.

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CIPHET develops technology for high nutritious products from pearl millet

Ludhiana, January 29:

Now, high nutritious value extrudates, pasta, weaning mix, instant mixes for halwa and upma could be made from pearl millet . Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) has developed processing techniques under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) on value chain composite dairy foods with enhanced health attributes.

"The products are quite comparable to commercially available products like Kurkure, puffs and infant foods available in the market. However, the products developed have more nutritional value with added advantage of fibers. Since, these products are based on pearl millet, they are also glutton free and are especially suitable for allergens and celiac patient," revealed Dr D.N Yadav, Senior Scientist at CIPHET, who has standardized these technologies, adding that upma and halwa mix has extended shelf life upto six months.

Notably, pearl millet is the staple food of low income people in arid regions of India and the country is the largest producer of the crop, both in terms of area (9.3 million hectare) and production (7.97 million tons). Pearl millet is considered as nutri-cereal due to its well-balanced protein, with high concentration of tryptophan and adequate leucine. Pearl millet possesses high iron and zinc content with better mineral profile than many other cereals.

However, the food uses of pearl millet is presently restricted to due to rancidity of flour and lack of appropriate processing technologies. "Taking the initiative, CIPHET has now standardized the technologies for development of high value food products from pear millet," added Dr D.N Yadav.

Saying that technology developed could provide viable business opportunity, Director CIPHET Dr U.S Shivhare and Head Transfer of Technology Dr Deepak Raj Rai said that the unit for production of above products could be set up with a cost from Rs 12 to 15 lakhs as initial investment. The commercialization of these products has the potential to provide stability, reliability and higher value for millet and millet products. This will also improve the income of poor farmers adopting agro food industry.
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Yellow rust is one of the serious fungal diseases of wheat affecting the yield of the crop tremendously. For the last 4-5 years, the disease is regularly appearing in the sub-mountainous districts of the Punjab state," informed Dr P.P. Singh, Head, Department of Plant Pathology, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The yellow rust disease, if not checked, can cause yield losses to the tune of more than 60 per cent, he cautioned.

The scientists of the Department of Plant Pathology and Wheat Section of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics are regularly monitoring the appearance of yellow rust in the fields of the farmers of sub-mountainous areas of Punjab, told Dr Singh. Till date, the disease has been observed in three villages namely Mahindpur (Block Saroya) of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Surewal in Anandpur Sahib block, and Mothapur in Noorpur Bedi block of district Ropar.

About the symptoms of the yellow rust disease, Dr Singh said that the disease appears in the form of elongated yellow coloured powdery stripes on the leaves of the wheat crop. When touched with hands, the yellow coloured powdery mass sticks to the fingers which confirms the identity of the disease, he told. Under serious conditions, the disease can affect the ears of the crop. Initially, the disease appears in patches in the field from where it spreads further to the same and adjoining fields under favorable weather conditions of high relative humidity and a temperature range of 10-15 ˚C, said Dr Singh.

As the weather is becoming congenial for the appearance of initial infection foci of the disease, the farmers are advised to monitor their fields regularly for the appearance of the disease and spray the infected foci with fungicidesTilt/Shine/Bumper or Folicur or Bayleton @ 1 ml in 1 litre of water. Dr Singh further advised the farmers that if the fields are free from the disease, then there is no need to spray the crop with fungicides. For further queries, the experts of Plant Pathology can be contacted at phone no.0161-2401960/Ext. 319.

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To acquaint the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir with the "Production, Marketing and Post-Harvest Management of Fruits, Vegetables and Flower Crops," the Directorate of Extension Education of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has organized a five-day training course under the auspices of Horticulture Technology Mission (HTM). Nearly 60 farmers from Jammu and Kashmir are participating in the training course.

Addressing the participants, Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, said that the Punjab farmers are leading in agriculture and allied sectors. At the same time, Jammu and Kashmir farmers are also progressing in floriculture and vegetable production, he said, adding that the cultivation of horticultural crops holds enormous scope in terms of crop diversification and income generation. The training will be of immense benefit to all the trainees and will boost the processing of horticultural crops, stated Dr Gill.

Giving course details, Dr T.S. Riar, Course Coordinator, said that the subject-experts of PAU will highlight the scope of vegetable and fruit cultivation in addition to floriculture and landscaping. Besides, the participating farmers will be familiarized with flower seed production of annuals and chrysanthemum, disease management of ornamental plants, cultivation of capsicum and tomato in net and poly houses, cultivation of vegetables in low tunnels, and management and latest production technologies of mango and litchi. Dr Riar further told that apart from dwelling upon pruning, rejuvenation and intercropping in orchards, the experts will shed light on harvesting, grading, packaging and storage of fruits; and canning of fruits and vegetables. The trainees will be visiting PAU nursery, vegetable farm, Department of Food Science and Technology, and Punjab Horticulture Post-Harvest Technology Centre (PHPTC) for practical experience.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Morsy declares emergency in Egypt’s restive cities

CAIRO, January 28, 2013 DPA

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy on Sunday declared a state of emergency and a nightime curfew for one month in three restive cities after days of deadly violence.

Mr. Morsy, facing his worst crisis since taking office in June, said the measures would take effect on Sunday night in the cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia.

The three coastal cities have been the scene of clashes for days between police and protesters, leaving dozens dead.

"Let everyone know that the state institutions are capable of protecting the nation, installations and people," said Mr. Morsy in an address shown on state television.

He added that he had instructed the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police, to deal "strongly and firmly" with what he called "deviation from law."

Seven people were killed on Sunday in Port Said, bringing to 38 the number of deaths in the city in two days, according to government figures.

The latest deaths occurred in clashes between police and angry mourners during a mass funeral for dozens of people killed in rioting the day before, reported local media.

Carrying the coffins of people killed in fighting with police on Saturday, the mourners chanted: "The people want to bring down the regime," said witnesses.

On Saturday, 31 people were killed and hundreds were wounded in Port Said in rioting sparked by the sentencing of 21 local people to death over involvement in deadly football riot.

In Sunday's address Mr. Morsy offered condolences to families of the dead, but said that respect for court rulings was obligatory.
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Brazil nightclub fire kills 245

BRASILIA, January 28, 2013 AP

A fire swept through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil early on Sunday, killing at least 245 people and leaving at least 200 injured, police and firefighters said.

Police Major Cleberson Braida told local news media that the 245 bodies were brought for identification to a gymnasium in the city of Santa Maria.

That toll apparently would make it the deadliest nightclub fire in more than a decade.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, officials said. Officials earlier put the death toll at 180.

Civil Police and regional government spokesman Marcelo Arigoni told Radio Gaucha earlier that the total number of victims is still unclear and there may be hundreds injured,

The newspaper Diario de Santa Maria reported that the fire started at around 2 a.m. at the Kiss nightclub in the city at the southern tip of Brazil, near the borders with Argentina and Uruguay.

Rodrigo Moura, whom the paper identified as a security guard at the club, said it was at its maximum capacity of between 1,000 and 2,000, and partygoers were pushing and shoving to escape.

The fire led President Dilma Roussef to cancel a series of meetings she had scheduled at a summit of Latin American and European leaders in Chile's capital of Santiago, and was headed to Santa Maria, according to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.

Santa Maria is a university city with a population of around a quarter of a million.

A welding accident reportedly set off a December 25, 2000, fire at a club in Luoyang, China, killing 309.

At least 194 people died at an overcrowded working-class nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2004.

A blaze at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, Russia, broke out on December 5, 2009, when an indoor fireworks display ignited a plastic ceiling decorated with branches, killing 152

A nightclub fire in the U.S. state of Rhode Island in 2003 killed 100 people.
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FIR filed against Shinde over his \'Hindu terror\' remark


A Delhi court on Monday might take up a petition seeking criminal complaint against Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde over his recent statement \"linking terrorism with Hindu religion\".

Professor Ved Prakash Sharma has filed the petition seeking direction to the police to register an FIR against Shinde over his \"Hindu terror\" jibe made earlier this month during the Congress\'s national summit in Jaipur.

The Saket court was expected to take up the matter in the afternoon.

Shinde had courted controversy with his remarks at the Congress\'s Chintan Shivir that BJP and its parent organisation RSS were promoting terror.

- With inputs from Headlines Today

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BJP will play the role of a constructive Opposition and focus on public interest, says Rajnath Singh


Barely five days into his second term as BJP president , Rajnath Singh has his game plan clear. Speaking to Mail Today on Sunday, Singh indicated that the BJP would not let partisan politics upset matters of public interest.

He said that despite the party\'s anger at the comments made by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on saffron terror, the BJP would continue to cooperate with the UPA on matters of public interest, playing the role of a \"constructive\" Opposition where crucial reform Bills are concerned.

\"On issues which are directly connected with the interests of the people, we will render all possible help to the government,\" he said. The Centre\'s plans to legislate on financial sector reform are critically dependent on the BJP\'s support. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has been maintaining that the government will attempt to pass the insurance and pension reform bills in the upcoming budget session of Parliament.

In view of this, Singh\'s statement indicates that the BJP will play ball with the government if it agrees to incorporate its suggestions in the two Bills.

Talking about the assembly elections due in nine states this year, the BJP president acknowledged the need to field credible faces to counter the Congress, especially in Delhi and Rajasthan.

\"In Delhi, for instance, there is a yearning for change. And we need a credible face to facilitate this change. We will decide on it soon,\" Singh said.

The Delhi BJP has been hamstrung with infighting and has not been able to internalise the changed profile of the electorate. And then there is Karnataka, the sole southIndian state with a BJP government, and where B.S. Yeddyurappa\'s revolt has left the party teetering on the edge. Elections in the state are bound to prove a major test for Singh\'s leadership mettle.

And he has already begun working on his strategy: \"I will be convening a meeting of state leaders soon to finalise the party\'s strategy for the coming polls,\" he said, adding that he will be touring all poll-bound states in the coming two months.

The BJP chief though identified Uttar Pradesh, where it has been pushed to the margin since 2002, as the state most critical to the party\'s plans to stage a comeback at the Centre.

Many in the party are hoping that a face-off between Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will deny major gains to the two regional players - SP and the BSP.

But Singh is confident: \"People in Uttar Pradesh will vote for the BJP in the next national election. We will be the chief beneficiary of the popular disenchantment with the Congress in the state.\"

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Age is no bar for sex crimes, suggests NCRB report


In what should give some food for thought to criminologists and psychiatrists involved in research on deviant behaviour in children, data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that the number of juveniles apprehended on charges of committing rape exceed those held for murder.

The number of juveniles held in 2011 on charges of murder was 1,168 as against 1,231 held on charges of rape, according to the 2011 NCRB report. The report further reveals that an overwhelming majority of the juveniles apprehended were in the 16-18 age group. Statistics for 2012 are yet to be compiled.

The report - Crime in India 2011 - shows that the number of juveniles apprehended for rape, kidnapping women and molestation was 2,505 as against 2,056 held for murder, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and attempt to murder put together.

But a comparison of these figures to the overall figures pertaining to offences under the penal code committed by juveniles shows that the proportion of juveniles involved in crimes less serious than murder or rape is higher than those involved in serious crimes. Theft, hurt, burglary and rioting were generally the offences committed by juveniles.

For psychologist Aruna Broota, these figures call for a review of the definition of adolescence. \"The report submitted by the Justice Verma Committee has wriggled out of the adolescence debate. The committee should also have had psychologists to throw ight on the mental health of juveniles apprehended for rape which would add weight to the debate on whether the age of trial should be lowered form 18 years to 16 years,\" she said.

The figures also show that most juveniles apprehended for offences under the penal code were above the age of 16. This assumes relevance as the age for juvenile was raised from 16 years to 18 years under the new juvenile justice law enacted in 2000.

According to the report, about 20,000 of the 30,766 juveniles apprehended in 2011 for various offences under the Indian Penal Code were in the 16-18 years age group. The figure for the 12-16 bracket was about 10,000 and it was about 800 for the 7-12 age group.

Anti-child labour activist Shanta Sinha warns that the data should not be used to add to the demand for increased punishment for juveniles. \"What these figures actually indicate is the failure of the protection and rehabilitation network. We should focus on strengthening rehabilitation measures,\" Sinha said.

Another crucial figure pertained to the ratio between boys and girls found on the wrong side of law. Of the 30,766 juveniles apprehended, 29,234 were boys and merely 1,532 girls.

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Telangana decision delayed as Centre seeks more time

NEW DELHI, January 28, 2013

With the month-long time deadline set by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to resolve the vexatious Telangana issue having ended on Sunday, he sought more time stating that the decision might get delayed as consultations with stakeholders were still on and it might take a little time to reach a final decision.

Earlier, echoing the same view, Congress general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party wanted to go in for further consultations by interacting with leaders of the Telangana and Seemandhra regions, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and APCC president Botcha Satyanarayana.

Asked for the deadline within which the decision would be taken, Mr. Azad said: "There is no deadline but the talks will be held as soon as possible."

The announcement of the Ministers disappointed Telangana protagonists who were hoping that this time the Centre would honour its promise of announcing the decision on the separate State demand . Mr. Shinde, after an all-party meeting on the subject here on December 28 last, said the Centre's decision would be taken in a month's time.

As the stir for the separate State restarted in Hyderabad and elsewhere on Sunday by the Telangana Joint Action Committee as well as those who are for continuation of a united Andhra Pradesh, informed sources said the Centre wanted to tread very carefully on the issue as it involved not only of tackling the law and order problem but also the survival of the UPA-II regime at the Centre and the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh.

While MPs from Telangana had threatened to quit the post and the Congress and join the Telangana Rashtra Samiti if Telangana assurance was not honoured, those from the Seemandhra region have threatened to join hands with the YSR Congress if the State was divided.

Considering the catch-22 situation faced by the Centre as well as the Congress, there was no other alternative except to drag the issue further, the sources said.
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Rajnath meets Shettar, says no crisis in Karnataka

NEW DELHI, January 28, 2013

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, whose government is battling a political crisis after 13 MLAs announced to quit their Assembly membership, on Monday, met BJP chief Rajnath Singh who expressed confidence that the state government will complete its tenure.

The BJP government in Karnataka also launched a counterattack on the 13 party MLAs by deciding to seek their disqualification for 'anti-party' activities.

Sources in Karnataka BJP said a petition would be filed with Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopahiah, seeking their disqualification on the charge 'anti-party' activities.

In Delhi, Mr. Shettar met Mr. Singh and discussed the future course of action in the wake of MLAs loyal to B.S. Yeddyurappa announcing their decision to resign.

Asked about the crisis in the State, Mr. Shettar said, "Till now, no MLA has resigned. So, we have to wait and see what is going on.... Let us see."

The Chief Minister, however, said that his meeting with Mr. Singh was a "courtesy call" after he became the BJP chief and he, as the leader of the State legislative party, had come to take the new leader's wishes for Karnataka.

"There is no crisis in Karnataka government. Our Karnataka government will definitely complete its full term," Mr. Singh told reporters.
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Press Note

Ludhiana- 26.01.2013

Today on Republic Day, Office Bearers and the Honb'le Members of the Managing Committee of United Cycle & Parts Manufacturers Association celebrated the 64th Republic Day in United Cycle & Parts Mfrs Association complex. Sh. Harmohinder Singh Pahwa, Managing Director of M/s. Nova Bicycle Industries unfurl the national Flag.

Sh. Pardeep Wadhawan, Secretary, welcomed and wished the present members on this occasion. He requested to the respected Sh. S.S Bhogal, guest of honour to preside over the function.

Sh. Onkar Singh Pahwa Chief Guest was also present and wished to the present members on this occasion.

Sh. S.S Bhogal, Managing Director of M/s. Bhogal Sales Corporation also welcomed the members and he remembered the sacrifices of those who laid their life for the independence of the nation and laid stress that we should not forgot the "HEROS" and should understand the value of the Independence. He again congratulated the members on this occasion for celebrating the Republic Day and requested to the Secretary Sh. Pardeep Wadhawan to precede the function. If we should know fundamental rights then we should have the knowledge of our duties also.

First of all he requested to the president Sh. Gurmeet Singh Kular give his views about the value of the Republic Day. On this occasion President, S. Gurmeet Singh Kular welcomed and congratulated the members. On this day, he said let us promise we will try our best to make our nation perfect one.

Further the secretary Sh. Pardeep Wadhawan requested to Sh. K.K Seth, CMD M/s. Seth Industrial Corporation to say something about this historical day. Sh. K.K Seth, CMD, M/s. Seth Industrial Corp. wished everyone on the Republic Day and congratulated the office bearers and the staff of the association for celebrating this day. Sh. Seth said that the industry should put all its efforts to bring the nation in sector of developed countries.

Sh. Harmohinder Singh Pahwa, Managing Director of M/s. Nova Bicycle Industries, welcomed and wished the present members on Republic Day and said some words about the importance of this historical day.

Sh. Manmohan Singh Ubhi Director LETS, Sh. Varinder Kapoor Vice Chairman UCPMA, Sh. Iqbal Singh Nelson, General Secretary Whole Sale Cycle dealers Association, also gave their views on this occasion.

The secretary informed the present members that India International Cycle Expo 2013 is being held on 22 February to 24 February at Government College for Girls Ludhiana and it was announced that an amount of Rs. 12 Lac has been sanctioned by the NSIC and 7.80 Lac by the MSME department as subsidy for show. The secretary congratulated the president for his efforts in this respect and as well as for the development of the bicycle industries. Further he also informed the members that Our president S. Gurmeet Singh Kular met our Honb'le Prime Minister of India Sh. Manmohan Singh under the leadership of Honb'le Chief Minister of Punjab S. Parkash Singh Badal and Honb'le Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab S. Sukhbir Singh Badal and submitted a memorandum regarding the difficulties being faced by the bicycle industries at present.

Further he requested to the president to inform the present members about the meeting with the Honb'le Prime Minister of India. S. Gurmeet Singh Kular informed the members about the memorandum submitted to the president in detail. He informed that the excise duty on complete bicycle should be abolished and the prime minister promised to look into the matter sympathicaly in the new budget 2013-14.

Sh. Pardeep Wadhawan, Secretary, pay vote of thanks and invited everyone for the brunch.

Amongst present were Sh. Inderjit Singh Navyug, Sr. Vice President, Sh. Harjit Singh Sondh, Vice President, Sh. Baljit Singh Lotey, Joint Secretary, Sh. Ajit Kumar, Prop. Secretary, Sh. Achhru Ram Gupta, Finance Secretar, , Sh. S.K Lakra, Sh. Jagdev Singh Kular (Vicky Kular), Sh. Balbir Singh Mankoo, Sh. Jagatvir Singh Director LETs (Ason Inds), Sh. Rajeev Jain, President of Laghu Udyog Bharti , Sh. Bachittar Singh, Sh. Swaran Singh Darera, Sh. Rajesh Bansal Prop Secretary of Whole Sales Cycle Dealers Association , Sh. Varinder Kapoor, Sh. Jagmail Singh Mankoo , Sh. Inderjit Singh Birdi, , Sh. D.P Singh , Sh. Surinder Singh (Hiankan Bikes), Sh. Satinderjit Singh Autom, Sh. Valayati Ram, Sh. Rajnish Gupta, Sh. Varun Kapoor, Sh. Tarlochan Singh Sondh, Sh. Sohan Singh Goga, Sh. Lalit Sharma Director PPCB, Sh. Kamilinder Kumar Singla Convener Constitution Sub Committee, Sh. Jiwan Kumar Sood, Sh. Parveen Kumar (K.G Sales), Sh. Harminder Singh (TRIM),Sh. Sukhdial Singh Basant, Sh.Gurdial Singh Mankoo, Sh. Rajinder Singh Pappu, Sh. Sanjeev Pahwa CMD of Ralson (India) Ltd,

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Gajdosova-Ebden take mixed doubles title

MELBOURNE, January 27, 2013 AP

Wildcard entrants Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden combined to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Czech pair Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak on Sunday.

The Australian pair ousted second-seeded Elena Vesnina and Leander Paes in the second round and fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova and Mahesh Bhupathi in the quarterfinals.

They had two service breaks in each set and dropped twice in the match.

"As Australians it's incredible to play here," Ebden said. "We've had an incredible time the last couple of weeks and we'll see you next year."
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News Analysis - RBI in a fix as growth concerns rise

MUMBAI, January 27, 2013

While inflation and inflationary pressures are major concerns of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), bankers and the market expect a rate cut of 25 basis points to balance growth and inflation as envisaged by the government.

The RBI had asked the government to cut subsidies and help fiscal consolidation but coalition politics made the decision-making difficult for the government for some time. Now a determined government, since the change of guard at the Finance Ministry, has taken some bold decisions. The government expects that the measures announced by it and the central bank will stimulate the economy and reduce fiscal and current account deficits (CAD).

Since Mr. Chidambaram took over the Finance Ministry last August, he was able to cheer up the stock market substantially. The benchmark 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) shot up from 17257.38 on August 1, 2012, to 20103.53 on January 25, 2013. In this period, more than $16 billion foreign institutional investor (FII) inflow was recorded. A rate cut by the RBI would provide an essential euphoria in the market. The departure of Subir Gokarn, the former Deputy Governor of RBI, who guided the policy rates, has raised expectations of a cut much before the end of the fourth quarter. Dr. Gokarn had always maintained that inflation was a major worry for the central bank as he had said "Runaway inflation could be much worse in the long-run."

Rate cut hopes

Inflation rate, especially the wholesale price index (WPI), is not in the comfortable level of 5-5.5 per cent which the central bank was anticipating for a long time. This is at present hovering around a "stubbornly high" level of 7-7.5 per cent. Retail inflation (based on consumer price index) is above 10 per cent.

The recent statement of the RBI Governor D. Subbarao that "inflation remained too high" hit the hopes of a sharp cut of 50 basis points in policy rate, after nine months.

The RBI's last rate cut was in April 2012 when it reduced the repo rate by 50 basis points from 8.5 per cent to 8 per cent. Meanwhile, the RBI had brought down the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) from a high of 6 per cent to 4.25 per cent pumping liquidity to the banking system.

The repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow funds from the central bank. Cash Reserve Ratio is the portion of deposits banks are required to maintain with the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI had forecast — which was unusual and surprised market participants — in the second half of monetary policy review in October that there was a "reasonable likelihood of further policy easing in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year".

The central bank reiterated that in its mid-quarter review in December "Inflation patterns and projections provide a basis for reinforcing our October guidance about policy easing in the fourth quarter." The yield of benchmark 10-year Government Securities (G-Sec) has fallen below 7.9 per cent from above 8 per cent prevailed in mid-December in anticipation of a rate cut.

However, the RBI said risks to inflation remained. Even though it said that "the policy emphasis shifts towards growth", the policy stance would remain sensitive to two risks: falling growth and rising inflation.
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Young Palestinians re-define grammar of protests

JERUSALEM, January 27, 2013

In a cyber-connected world of instant communication, the powerful message from the Arab world that idealistic waves of youthful protests can sweep aside encrusted regimes and governments has homed in well in the Palestinian territories.

An ever-growing body of youth, inspired by blazing uprisings that toppled fossilised regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, are getting organised to instill change as never before.

An unprecedented movement driven by young people is taking root in the West Bank that has the rejection of the feuding Palestinian factions -- Fatah and Hamas -- as its starting point. "The Arab awakening -- I won't call it the Arab Spring -- has surely and distinctly spread to the Palestinian territories," says Mahdi F. Abdul Hadi. Dr. Abdul Hadi runs the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA), the intellectual power-house that is helping provide cerebral inputs that encourage young Palestinians to re-interpret their history, culture, art and identity, through the medium of open debate. "As of now there is no grand design, but there is a spontaneous demand for dignity which is an astonishingly powerful force for change," observes Dr. Abdul Hadi.

Outside the learned and open environs of PASSIA where intellectuals and practitioners freely mingle, the activists are having a hard time, torn between the heavy demands of bringing bread on the table, and the onerous call for reclaiming their land through creative protests. Hanadi Kawasmi, a young activist and working woman who does not fit into any stereotype, exemplifies the aspirations of the new generation of Palestinian youth. A blogger, cyber-activist, and a grassroots worker all rolled into one, her demand for gender rights and grassroots democracy is as passionate as her advocacy for Palestinian cultural rootedness.

Between sips of Cappuccino in a trendy East Jerusalem restaurant, she explains how the new Palestinian movement has been imbued with a strong cultural component. She points to the emergence of Zedni, a cultural group that has made a significant contribution in the "Palestinian awakening". "In 2011 Zedni began in Nablus as a student society that focused on book reviews. The idea went viral over the social media," she explains. The success of Zedni in Nablus triggered a demand for its new branches, which have now cropped up in Jerusalem and Gaza. Zedni's politics is subtle, for in the discussions over books, films and videos, the focus on their political content is inescapable.

"In the Zedni experiment, the social media has played a critical role," says Ms. Kawasmi. "It has brought in new hope, confidence and a sense of connectedness with larger Arab communities in countries like Egypt that are undergoing broadly similar experiences".

Empowered by the cyber revolution, a group of young people last year decided to form Saned, a self-sustaining musical group. The band emerged as a form of protest against a musical event that was sponsored and micro managed by the European Union (EU), says an activist. Saned's maiden performance announced over Facebook turned out to be a huge success, as people thronged the venue in Ramallah paying an inexpensive $6 ticket. More importantly, in an economy dependent heavily on foreign aid and funding, it sent a strong message of self-reliance and financial independence within the community.

As they explore unchartered territory, fresh confrontations with the state have also begun. The omnipresence of the Israeli police and an increasingly antagonistic relationship with mainstream Fatah is adding to the pressures. Both the Israelis and Palestinian Authority, for instance, swiftly dismantled the encampment in Bab-Al-Sham -- a village near Ramallah where young Palestinians had converged with their tents to engage in cultural pursuits. They also experimented with new techniques of agriculture that would be relevant to the local communities.

Nearly 6,000 young Palestinians languish in Israeli jails, says Dr. Abdul Hadi, the academic. Major drawbacks are also emerging within the movement itself. Despite is creativity, the absence of a leadership, generated from below, that would help channel novel protests into tangible political accomplishments is yet to emerge. "It is still work in progress but the feeling to bring about change -- a longing to be free, to feel the flesh and the soul is strong," says Dr. Abdul Hadi.
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Why Headley may be released before he’s 80

WASHINGTON, January 27, 2013

Following Thursday's sentencing of David Coleman Headley for masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, it has become evident that he is likely to serve less than 35 years from the moment his sentence was pronounced in a Chicago courtroom.

The first factor mitigating the time Headley will serve is the requirement under U.S. federal law that convicted persons may serve only 85 per cent of the total sentence awarded to them. This was indeed confirmed in both the U.S. Department of Justice press release to media after Judge Harry Leinenweber passed the sentence, and also in statements made by Headley's attorney John Theis and lead prosecution attorney Gary Shapiro.

In the press release the DOJ said, "Headley, 52, was ordered to serve 35 years, followed by five years of supervised release... There is no federal parole and defendants must serve at least 85 per cent of their sentence."

However a second mitigating factor too exists, one that media reports thus far have failed to highlight prominently – that the time that Headley has spent in prison thus far, 40 months, will be deducted from the total sentence that he will serve.

In an exclusive comment to The Hindu Mr. Theis said, "Mr. Headley has served approximately 40 months, and he receives credit for that time." He reiterated on email that Headley would be eligible for release after serving 85 per cent.

However although The Hindu pressed Mr. Theis further on the matter, at the time of going to press he had not yet provided an answer to further question on the "mathematics" of Headley's sentence calculation: will the 40 months be deducted from the total sentence period of 35 months and then the 85 per cent factor be applied, or would it be the other way around? That is, would the 85 per cent factor be applied to 35 years and then the 40 months deducted?

Before looking at the implications of this it, a word on motivation for this line of reasoning is appropriate.

The overall difference between the final tallies of both methods may not be significant. But it could be argued that to the loved ones of victims of the Mumbai attacks, and indeed to those who may have been affected if the attack against the Danish publication Jyllands-Posten had been carried out, every marginal reduction in Headley's sentence makes what has been described by some as a light sentence even harder to bear. Thus it is worth looking at even the minute differences in the sentencing numbers.

The first calculation is as follows. Thirty-five years is 420 months. If 40 months is first deducted from that and 85 per cent is applied to the reduced amount of 380 years, the total is 26 years and 11 months.

Under the second calculation 85 per cent of 420 months is 357 months, and 40 months less is 317 months, or 26 years and five months. This is 6 months less than the result of the first calculation.

Headley is 52 years and seven months old, or 631 months, at the time of sentencing. Under the first calculation at the time of his hypothetical release he would be 79 years and 5 months old, and under the second he would be exactly 79 years old.

Life expectancy in the U.S., based on 2010 data from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is 78 years and eight months
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‘The government has to choose between politics and the Constitution’

January 27, 2013

Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor-General of India, a member of the Justice J.S. Verma-led Committee that was constituted last month in the aftermath of the gang rape and murder of a young student in the national capital, to recommend amendments to laws relating to offences against women, speaks to Sandeep Joshi on how it went about its tasks, the rationale behind some of its key recommendations and its expectations of the outcome.

What challenges did the Committee face?

When we started, we thought we were only going to deal with laws related to criminal offences... But we slowly saw that this involved the issue of successful prosecution, investigation and … bringing people to book.

So it took us to the second chapter: why is it that there is certain kind of apathy in relation to crimes against women? That led us to the question: how do we view this offence in relation to women; is it just simply a criminal offence?

We found that it [rape] is a gender-targeted offence — and that's the most important point. And if it is because a person is a woman, then there is a certain degree of constitutional protection which is also violated. So we wanted this to be treated on [the basis of] constitutional principles. That is how we first began with the constitutional theory of equality.

Then we have to view this in the light of our patriarchal society. We have to see existing trends in our society — where the sex ratio is skewed. We have to take into account female foeticide. We have to take into account negative messages that young girls… get early in their life, sometimes in the rural areas: Oh my god, you're born! How the boy is treated as superior to the girl. And the process of socialisation of schools being very difficult for girls. There are any number of handicaps through which they have to progress in life. All these lead to a cultural asymmetric…this needs to be corrected.

And this is important as a part of a preventive culture, so that you don't need to have rapes. And to lead to that position was also within the domain of our [terms of] reference. So we treated the subject from a manifold point of view. From the point of view of teaching children, of removing stereotypes of masculinity in the mind to enable even men to feel compassionate, caring.

We're moving towards a new India which needs to be liberated… transparent, which needs security.

What are they [youth] asking for? What are the women asking for? They're asking for a simple translation of their constitutional guarantees in real life – which is that they must have security of person and space. That, I think, is a constitutional obligation of the state. So we decided to devise a method by which this could be ensured.

Public sentiment was in favour of death for rape. Even the government suggested it would consider capital punishment in the rarest of the rare cases. But the Committee did not recommend that.

The question is that if you have a rape followed by murder, the death sentence is available, [under Section] 302 [of the Indian Penal Code]. But [a person convicted under] 376 going straight to death sentence is very different. We did debate this closely, and we came to the conclusion that there should be no politics of reprisal… when we actually alter punishments.

Women's organisations were content with life [sentence] with remissions — that is, 14 years. They did not ask for enhancement. We're the ones who said: no, we have to go somewhere further to make it more deterrent... But we stopped short of death.

Women said we cannot disown the fact that even the victim is a part of society, and so is the accused… They showed far-sightedness and maturity in recommending to us this course.

Another point is that when you have the death sentence there could be arbitrary sentencing. That is why we went to the second highest [jail for the entire natural life].

The Committee recommended a review of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Do you think the government will touch this sensitive issue?

It's not a sensitive issue at all. The armed forces are highly respected. But we're not talking of the armed forces in general; we're talking of some individuals who commit crimes of rape. Why should not they be held accountable? I don't think this is any reflection on the armed forces.

More importantly, it is [about] the culture of militarisation. When armed [forces] personnel commit rape, it is a culture of militarisation. Rape is one of the techniques in militarisation, and you should not practise militarisation with your own people, it's terrible.

The Committee has talked about diktats of khap panchayats and religious leaders and their anti-women sermons, and said the government does not touch them due to political reasons. How is this affecting society?

The government has to choose between politics and the Constitution. The Constitution means the people of India. This is the message the Committee wants to give.

You want to play politics, but remember, politics is not about defeating the Constitution and hoodwinking the Constitution. Politics is [meant] to be compliant with the Constitution and to care for people. If you don't want to care for your people, then what kind of care are you showing? When a young man and woman fall in love and want to get married, they're so brutally treated by these institutions.

The Committee has touched upon the issues of stalking and 'eve-teasing' in a strong manner, and recommended that these be made punishable offences.

We've come to know how our women in rural areas drop out of schools and colleges because of stalking… and how much harassment they undergo. There are so many things which are not reported in our society. Young girls commit suicide because of stalking. So we have to make a law.

We have enough rules and laws, the problem lies in implementation. How do we address this?

We seek psychological transformation from political institutions, from the police, from civil society. This psychological transformation is possible. There have been iconic police officers… a constable was an honest man just because he saw the top man was honest. You need to have heroes in the services.

We've to create a culture of recognising honesty. The recognition of honesty by the government must be the most fundamental value of governance in accordance with the Constitution. We must understand this truth. Honesty is the bedrock of civilisation.

Among your recommendations, which are the ones that should be implemented immediately?

The criminal law amendment bill and the suggestions we have made should be done immediately. There should be no immunity to police officers or army officers in cases related to rape. [There should be] zero tolerance for offences relating to trafficking.

The Committee was not very appreciative of the response of the government and the police departments to it...

DGPs and others did not make available information because nobody [thought] this Committee [would] dig deep… to find a solution. So, even the expectation of the government itself of such a committee is that it will act like some sort of a whitewash committee.… They shouldn't have thought this committee is simply a whitewash or will not go deep…

There have been various reports and recommendations from committees and commissions on police reforms, safety and security of citizens, legal and electoral reforms. Do you think the government will implement your recommendations?

This report talks of the anger of India… we've taken into account a certain measure of public opinion. If the government decides to ignore the recommendations… we have cautioned them they'd be doing so at their own risk.

Speaking for myself, the government will respect this report. We've put the report in the public domain. We welcome criticism. We've touched new ground, we've made far-reaching changes. It's perfect to criticise in a democracy, but we made our best effort.
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A freedom parade for victims of sexual violence

NEW DELHI, January 27, 2013

Barely a few hours after the Republic Day Parade ended, a large number of protesters gathered a few hundred metres away at Jantar Mantar demanding freedom and justice for all victims of sexual violence.

Under the aegis of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), protesters owing allegiance to organisations such as the All India Students' Union, Swastik Mahila Samiti, Revolutionary Youth Association, NAPM and the New Socialist Initiative, gathered at Mandi House around 2 p.m., from where they took out a march to Jantar Mantar demanding justice for all victims of sexual violence.

Although the protesters carrying placards and banners welcomed the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, they questioned the sincerity of the government in implementing them. The committee, headed by the former Chief Justice, J.S. Verma, was appointed to look into various aspects of women's safety and suggest measures to curb gender-related offences.

Demanding bekhauf azadi or freedom without fear, AIPWA secretary Kavita Krishnan said: "This report is a measure of the success of the ongoing movement against sexual violence, because it has redefined women's violence from the perspective of women's autonomy and freedom. This is precisely what the ongoing movement has been demanding, as is evident from its slogans of 'Azaadi' with its countless variations."

Protesters said that the 'Freedom Parade' was organised on Republic Day since the republic comprises of the 'public,' whose role is not that of mute spectators.

"The Freedom without Fear" campaign also presented 'Mardangi Maryada' medals as well as 'Laxman Rekha' medals to people who have been making atrocious, sexist, misogynist and victim-blaming statements. These medals were presented to President Pranab Mukherjee's son and Congress MP Abhijeet Mukherjee; Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat; self-styled spiritual leader Asaram Bapu; Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Minister Kailash Vishvavargiya; Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi; Chhattisgarh Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg and Andhra Pradesh Congress unit president Botsa Satyanarayana.
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