Sunday, March 31, 2013


Ludhiana - Today, JANTANTAR MORCHA

(Sh. Anna Hazare's organization) held a Press Meeting regarding that

on 1st April, 2013 this organization is going to organize rally

(non political ) Whereas the in JANTANTAR Yatra Sh. ANNA HAZARE, Rtd.

General V.K. Singh are coming from Amritsar via Jalandher, entering

Ludhiana at 11 AM.

regarding Route of Jantantar Yatra.

Schedule of JANTANTAR YATRA Ludhiana will be-

Entering Ludhiana-11AM from Jalandher Byepass paying Homage

to Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, then to Ghanta Ghar

to Shaheedi Smark, LANGAR by Aan Jal Sewa Trust

via Laxmi Cinema, Subani Bldg.- 12 Noon

Then to Partap Chowk via Cheema Chowk - 1.00 PM

Then via , Kwality Chowk, Shimlapuri - 1.30 PM

Then United Cycle Hall Gill Chowk Public Meeting-2 PM to 5 PM

Afterwards via Arora Palace Dana Mandi, Gill Road, Pakhowal Rd Sarbha

Nagar Puli, then Gadari Saheed Baba BHAN SINGH Sunet Memorial Behind

Orient Cinema to pay Homage – 5.00 PM

To Moga via Convent School, Ferozepur Rd.

As per schedule this rally will depart on the same day i.e. on 1st

April / 2013 towards Moga.

Schdule has been made as per numerous People's NGO's Sabha's like

Citizen Action Forum, Ex-servicemen Welfare Soiecty, Small Scale

Industrilists & Traders Association, Vishav Guru Ravidass Mission, AAN

JAL SEWA TRUST, United Church of Northern Punjab synod, Hindu Uthan

Prishad, Maha Sabha Ludhiana, Chaura Bazar Shopkeepers Association,

Kwality Chowk Shopkeepers Association, Muslim Bhaichara, All Tempo

Union & many more are wishfull to welcome their beloved Leaders.

News From:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Beni Prasad remarks spark fresh SP ire

LUCKNOW, March 30, 2013 PTI

Reacting sharply to Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma's remark on its poll prospects, the Samajwadi Party on Saturday said the Congress would suffer due to such "baseless" statements and demanded his removal from the Union Ministry.

Talking about the poll prospects of various parties in U.P., Mr. Verma had on Friday said that Mulayam Singh Yadav's party would win only four seats in the next Lok Sabha polls and there would be a "funeral procession for the party."

Flaying the Congress leader's statement, SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI, "He has stooped down too low and is making baseless statement which are far from truth."

He noted that Mr. Verma's son had lost his security deposit in Barabanki and Mr. Verma too had lost his deposit in Faizabad in the last elections.

"He will be nowhere in the next Lok Sabha elections and Congress will have to suffer due to such baseless statement," he said, adding, "He is an ungrateful person. Initially, he was just a worker of 'netaji'(Mulayam Singh Yadav)."

SP general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha said, "He (Beni) has lost his mental balance." He said that as per Mr. Verma's calculation, all parties combined would get 90 seats, whereas there are only 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

"Media and people should not take cognisance of his statement," Mr. Kushwaha said while demanding removal of Mr. Verma from the Union Ministry.

He said that it was "unfortunate" that a person like him was made a minister.
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Hazare calls on fasting Kejriwal

NEW DELHI, March 30, 2013

Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare met his former protégé Arvind Kejriwal here on Friday to express solidarity with the Aam Aadmi Party leader's ongoing campaign against inflated power bills.

AAP sources said it was not only out of health concerns for Mr. Kejriwal, who has been on fast for seven days now, but also to express support to him that Mr. Hazare visited his Sunder Nagri campaign site in North-East Delhi late in the evening.

This development comes after Mr. Kejriwal's "civil disobedience movement" got support from Justice (retd.) V.R. Krishna Iyer, human rights activist Binayak Sen, the former Chief Election Commissioner J. M. Lyngdoh and the former Naval chief Admiral Ramdas.

According to the AAP, eminent citizens have in a letter urged the Delhi government to "take note of the irregularities brought to its notice by the civil disobedience movement and take urgent corrective action."

Underscoring that Mr. Kejriwal called for the movement when his pleas to end corruption by instituting a CAG inquiry into electricity bills "fell on deaf ears," the eminent citizens said: "The citizens of Delhi, most of whom struggle to make both ends meet and simply cannot afford the hiked bills, seek to exercise their right to disobey. They seek to do so in a non-violent manner and are willing to face the consequences including penalties and punitive action."

Mr. Kejriwal "has made public disclosures with documentary evidence detailing how unjustifiably tariffs are being imposed on the people by private electricity distributing companies which are inflating their costs by buying equipment at highly inflated prices from sister companies; showing reduced recovery from consumers; and by selling excess electricity at artificially reduced rates to sister companies," said their letter.

The AAP claimed that 3,75,040 people supported Mr. Kejriwal's campaign. "Around 3,000 volunteers would turn their homes into mini asahyog kendras (non-cooperation centres), in addition to the 264 asahyog kendras that already exist,'' said the AAP statement, which also underscored that Mr. Kejriwal\'s health has stabilised.
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North Korea says it\'s in state of war with South Korea

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, March 30, 2013 AP

North Korea issued its latest belligerent threat on Saturday, saying it has entered "a state of war" with South Korea a day after its young leader threatened the United States because two American B-2 bombers flew a training mission in South Korea.

Analysts say a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely and North Korea's threats are instead aimed at drawing Washington into talks that could result in aid and boosting leader Kim Jong Un's image at home. But the harsh rhetoric from North Korea and rising animosity from the rivals that have followed U.N. sanctions over Pyongyang's Feb. 12 nuclear test have raised worries of a misjudgment leading to a clash.

In a joint statement by the government, political parties and organizations, North Korea said on Saturday that it will deal with all matters involving South Korea according to "wartime regulations." It also warned it will retaliate against any provocations by the United States and South Korea without "any prior notice."

The divided Korean Peninsula is already in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty. But Pyongyang said it was scrapping the war armistice earlier this month.

South Korea's Unification Ministry released a statement saying the latest threat wasn't new and was just a follow-up to Mr. Kim's earlier order to put troops on a high alert in response to annual U.S-South Korean military drills. Pyongyang sees those drills as rehearsals for an invasion; the allies call them routine and defensive.

In an indication North Korea is not immediately considering starting a war, officials in Seoul said South Korean workers continued on Saturday to cross the border to their jobs at a joint factory park in North Korea that's funded by South Koreans

On Friday, North Korean leader Mr. Kim warned his forces were ready "to settle accounts with the U.S." after two nuclear-capable U.S. B-2 bombers dropped dummy munitions on a South Korean island range as part of joint drills and returned to its base in Missouri.

North Korean state media later released a photo of Mr. Kim and his senior generals huddled in front of a map showing routes for envisioned strikes against cities on both American coasts. The map bore the title "U.S. Mainland Strike Plan."

At the main square in Pyongyang, tens of thousands of North Koreans turned out for a 90-minute mass rally in support of Mr. Kim's call to arms. Small North Korean warships, including patrol boats, conducted maritime drills off both coasts of North Korea near the border with South Korea earlier this week, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing on Friday. He didn't provide details.

The spokesman said that South Korea's military was mindful of the possibility that North Korean drills could lead to an actual provocation. He said that the South Korean and U.S. militaries are watching closely for any signs of missile launch preparations in North Korea. He didn't elaborate.

Experts believe North Korea is years away from developing nuclear-tipped missiles that could strike the United States. Many say they've also seen no evidence that Pyongyang has long-range missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland.

Still, there are fears of a localized conflict, such as a naval skirmish in disputed Yellow Sea waters. Such naval clashes have happened three times since 1999. There's also danger that such a clash could escalate. Seoul has vowed to hit back hard the next time it is attacked.

"The first strike of the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will blow up the U.S. bases for aggression in its mainland and in the Pacific operational theatres including Hawaii and Guam," the North said on Saturday in the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

Pyongyang uses the U.S. nuclear arsenal as a justification for its own push for nuclear weapons. It says that U.S. nuclear firepower is a threat to its existence.
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Landslide buries 83 in Tibet gold mine area

BEIJING, March 30, 2013 AP

No signs of life have been detected at a gold mining site in a mountainous area of Tibet more than 24 hours after a massive landslide buried 83 workers, Chinese state media said on Saturday.

The state-run China Central Television said more than 2,000 rescuers have been dispatched to Lhasa's Maizhokunggar county to search for the buried.

About 2 million cubic meters (2.6 million cubic yards) of mud, rock and debris swept through the area as the workers were resting and covered an area measuring around 4 square kilometres (1.5 square miles), CCTV said.

The miners worked for a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp., a state-owned enterprise and the country's largest gold producer. A woman who answered the call at its Beijing headquarters on Saturday said she could not provide any information.

The reports said at least two of the buried workers were Tibetan while most of the workers were believed to be ethnic Han Chinese.

The more than 2,000 police, firefighters, soldiers and medics deployed to the site, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) east of Lhasa, the regional capital, conducted searches armed with devices to detect signs of life and accompanied by sniffer dogs, reports said.

Around 30 excavators were also digging away at the site late on Friday as temperatures fell to just below freezing.

The reports said the landslide was caused by a "natural disaster" but did not provide specifics. It was unclear why the first news reports of the landslide came out several hours after it occurred.

China's President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang ordered authorities to "spare no efforts" in their rescue work, Xinhua said.

Doctors at the local county hospital said they had been told to prepare to receive survivors but none had arrived. "We were ordered to make all efforts to receive the injured," said a doctor who gave only her surname, Ge, in the hospital's emergency section.

On Saturday morning, a hospital staff member who gave her surname of Wu said it had received no one from the landslide, dead or alive.
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FDI in defence sector would be an effective catalyst for self-reliance

March 30, 2013

BAE Systems, a defence, aerospace and security company, employs 93,500 people worldwide. Its wide-ranging products and services cover air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology, and support services.

With a presence that goes back over 60 years, BAE Systems has developed India as a home market with a strategic vision to become a major and integral part of the domestic Indian defence and security industry, leveraging its global expertise to develop technologies and solutions in India for both the Indian market and for export.

It has a joint venture in India with Hindustan Aeronautics – BaeHA. Based in Bangalore, it is focused on providing engineering and business solutions services. BAE Systems has a long-standing association with HAL on aircraft programmes such as Jaguar, Harrier, and now, the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer which HAL manufactures under licence for the Indian Air Force and Navy.

The board of BAE Systems, led by its global chairman Dick Olver, visited India for the first time. In this e-mail interview to The Hindu, he outlines the company's plans for India.

What is the Board's overall impression of the market in India?

BAE Systems has a long association with India in many areas of aerospace and defence, with all three of the Indian Armed services — dating back to pre-independence times. I have personally had an opportunity to visit India many times — most recently in February as part of Prime Minister Cameron's delegation. And, I am thrilled to lead the visit of the BAE Systems plc Board here this week. India is an incredible country. It is a key market for our company. So, I was keen that my fellow directors had the opportunity to see and experience that first hand. We have a solid team here, who are privileged to work with some exceptional people across the customer community and through our relationships with Indian companies. The Board has been impressed with what we have seen and experienced during our visit.

The Indian market holds considerable opportunities for us, and I and the other directors are very excited and energised by the potential that exists here, illustrated by the steady trend in defence expenditure at around 2 per cent of GDP, a stated intent of $100 billion worth of acquisitions over the next five years, and the focus on self-reliance in defence.

A personal highlight was the launch of the mobile mini hospital called 'Smile on Wheels' that will provide primary healthcare services to underserved communities in Bangalore. The mini hospital is part of the company's corporate social responsibility programme in India through which we support development programmes in the areas of primary education and healthcare in rural and urban communities across seven states of India. .

BAE has had a longstanding association with HAL on the India Hawk and even has a JV with the aerospace major. How do you view the future of the relationship?

Our relationship with HAL for the Indian Hawk programme is the cornerstone of our operations in India today. We are privileged to enjoy a strong relationship with HAL, and our latest collaboration is for the licence to build Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer. India has ordered a quantity of 123 aircraft with another 20 in negotiation.

Having the experience of working together to create advanced fast jets built in India, both HAL and BAE Systems would like to progress the relationship and broaden the collaboration between our respective organisations. We also have an engineering services and business solutions joint venture with HAL called BAeHAL. Although relatively small in size, we believe this is strategically important, and both partners have ambitions to grow the JV over time.

Building domestic capabilities in partnership with Indian companies will remain a cornerstone of our strategy in India.

BAE Systems has been an advocate for the relaxation of the FDI rules in defence. But it hasn't happened so far. Recently Raghuram Rajan, Chief Economic Advisor to the Government, has suggested liberalisation of FDI norms in the sector. Does that make you hopeful that the voice of companies such as yours will be heard soon?

I have noted that there has been increased emphasis in recent weeks in India on the growing importance of more rapid indigenisation of the defence sector. In addition to the economic benefits, increased jobs, improved capability and the development of critical technology , indigenisation would ensure India has ready access to the best available defence equipment.

In support of that objective, in my view, an appropriate increase in FDI in the defence sector would be the most effective catalyst for self-reliance, and, for that reason, I am hopeful that liberalisation in FDI will occur. We understand and respect the Government's position, and we are here for the long-term regardless of changes in FDI to fully support a more rapid development of a vibrant, indigenous defence sector in this country.

What should India be doing to develop a strong domestic aerospace and defence industry?

The FDI issue we just discussed is obviously a part of that equation. I also think international companies need to be cognizant of and able to address the complexities of technology transfer, and we need the Indian industrial base to work with us on this.

I am also a strong believer in the importance of education and the investment that is needed in order to sustain a country's ability to grow and remain competitive. For India, this is a fascinating opportunity and challenge given its young population and its fast-growing economy.

A strong domestic aerospace and defence industry needs to be underpinned by world-class productivity and powered by high-value engineering skills and education. To do this, you need the right skills in the right places at the right time and in the right quantities.

Getting all that right is not easy. But when you do, the effect is electrifying. Look at Silicon Valley in the U.S. or the U.K.'s high-tech and biotech cluster around Cambridge. Closer to home, the Indian IT services sector is a world-class example of skill development, training and education coming together to provide competitive advantage to the country.

How does the Indian market compare to other markets for BAE Systems? What are your expectations from India in the next 5-8 years?

India's ambitious plans for modernisation, expansion and indigenisation are the market's core drivers, setting it apart from the mature markets, where budgets are either flat or declining. However, this is a market which requires a long-term perspective. We have set ourselves a target one billion pound of order intake across 2012 and 2013, and are making good progress on this.

Our long term vision for our business in India is to be an integral part of the country's defence, aerospace and security industry by supporting the country's goal of creating a domestic industrial base.
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India not to halt imports from Iran

NEW DELHI, March 30, 2013

Notwithstanding the tightening of sanctions by US and European Union (EU), India does not intend to halt imports of crude oil from Iran. Instead the government is working on a scheme to insure oil import shipments from the Islamic nation to maintain smooth supply of energy supplies and also expand trade in other commodities.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Veerappa Moily had earlier this week stated that India had no intentions to put a halt to imports from Iran. Officials in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry said that although imports from Iran had witnessed a dip as compared to last year, there is no move to completely phase out such crude oil imports.

The Petroleum Ministry, the Shipping Ministry and the Finance Ministry are holding consultations on establishing a special fund that would insure oil imports from Iran. It is learnt that the state-run national insurance companies, the Petroleum Ministry and the Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) are working on a plan for the new fund to ensure that Indian oil companies continue to get safe shipments of crude oil from Iran. State-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) is one of the biggest importers of oil from Iran.

"Any kind of permanent halting of oil shipments from Iran is not feasible at this point of time. The Iran-India trade relations apart from oil are on the rise. The Iranians have shown interest in import of various business commodities including agricultural products and any adverse decision on the crude oil front will jeopardise that great opportunity," a senior Commerce Ministry official stated.

Figures from the Commerce and Industry Ministry show that India\'s crude oil imports from Iran fell by 24 per cent in the first 11 months as Indian companies continued to face insecurity on the insurance of shipments from the sanctions hit nation. India imported around 259,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran, a decline of nearly 43 per cent from a year ago. The re-insurance issue has come back to haunt the refiners who are importing oil from Iran as insurance companies are reluctant to provide cover for such shipments.

In 2012 when a similar situation arose, the government had stepped in to provide insurance to local ships carrying Iranian oil. India is the second biggest importer of crude from Iran and has imported 271,200 barrels per day (bpd) oil from Iran between April and February period 2012-13 which is below the government's target of 310,000 bpd for this fiscal year ending March 31. India has reduced Iran\'s role as one of the biggest supplies of crude oil a supplier and the imports came down to around 7.3 per cent in the period from last April to February, compared to 11 per cent last year. In order to compensate the decline in crude oil imports from Iran, India has stepped up imports from Latin American countries more than doubling them in April to February period accounting for about 17.3 percent of overall imports, up from about 9.5 percent a year ago.

A number of trade and business delegations including the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) have made business trips to Iran and have returned back with lot of promise. In fact, the Commerce Ministry has also lined up a \"India Show\" in Iran during 2013 if all goes well.
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Murray, Ferrer advance to Sony Open final


Andy Murray returned to the final of Sony Open with a 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 8-seeded Richard Gasquet.

Murray lost a set for the first time in tournament when Gasquet played a brilliant tiebreaker. But Gasquet appeared to hurt his right foot and received treatment from a trainer after the second set, and he limped at times in the latter stages of the match.

Murray's opponent on Sunday will be No. 3-seeded David Ferrer, who beat No. 15 Tommy Haas, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Murray won the tournament in 2009 and was runner-up last year.

The Scotsman overtook Gasquet despite twice double-faulting on break point. He had a 38-19 edge in winners and converted seven of eight break-point chances. He's ranked No. 3 and would climb to No. 2 if he wins the title.

The No. 3-seeded Ferrer won the last five games of his semifinal and improved to 25-4 this year. He leads the tour in victories and is trying to become the first Spaniard to win the Key Biscayne men's championship.

Rafael Nadal is a three-time runner-up, and Spaniards are 0-5 in the final.

"I will try to do my best to win Sunday," Ferrer said. "It's going to be very difficult."

The path to the title was made easier because Nadal and Roger Federer skipped the tournament, and Novak Djokovic was upset by Haas in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, No. 1 plays No. 2 in the women's final on Saturday, with five-time champion Serena Williams facing four-time runner-up Maria Sharapova.

The 34-year-old Haas, the oldest man in the top 50, took a 3-1 lead in final set but appeared to tire and was undone by a flurry of errors down the stretch.

The 5-foot-9 Ferrer doggedly chased down shots as usual, winning the majority of long rallies and taking advantage of a poor serving day by Haas.

"He started playing more solid," Haas said. "He made life pretty tough on me. I started missing a little bit and came up a little too often. He didn't miss at all anymore."

The No. 18-ranked Haas put only 43 percent of his first serves in play and was broken six times. Ferrer's serve was better, and he held the last game at love.

"I tried to fight every point," Ferrer said. "I know Tommy, in the third set, was a little bit more tired than me." Ferrer had lost in his two previous appearances in the semifinals in 2005 and '06.

Haas, who is projected to crack the top 15 next week for the first time in five years, raced to a 5-2 lead in the opening set but after that looked nothing like the player who upset Djokovic on Tuesday. He shanked half a dozen backhands and blew several easy volleys, which left him cursing and waving his arms in frustration.

Ferrer showed little emotion until the last game. When Haas' final shot fell out of play, Ferrer collapsed on his knees at the net, raised his fists in triumph and fought back tears.

He hopes to do it all over again on Sunday. Ferrer seeks his second Masters 1000 title after winning his first at Paris in November. He has been a top-10 player since 2010 but rarely receives the attention of other top players.

"I'm very happy with me, with my career of tennis," he said this week. "I don't mind a lot whether I am an important player or not. I enjoy a lot my job."
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Rajasthan Royals believes in collective performance

March 30, 2013

Winner of the first Indian Premier League (IPL) crown, Rajasthan Royals (RR) brings a lot of flair to its cricket but often loses direction. It has a fairly encouraging record at home and will be one of the key sides in this edition too.

When Shane Warne taught the winning ethics to RR in the inaugural edition, he only underlined the strength of a team that believed in a collective charge. The dressing room was a great learning place for some of the star-struck youngsters.

To share space with stalwarts such as Warne and Graeme Smith meant the world for fledgling cricketers like Ravindra Jadeja, Swapnil Asnodkar, Yusuf Pathan, Niraj Patel, Pankaj Singh, Mahesh Rawat, Siddharth Trivedi. The magical Warne swung the contests with his individual brilliance and also motivated the rest to raise their game.

Driving force

The Australian was the driving force of a team that understood its limitations well in time. Not many big names but many big performers on big occasions.

The fact that Rahul Dravid chose to devote one more season, his third with RR, augurs well for the team.

The professionalism that Dravid brings to the job will make the difference. Not the best promoter of this brand of cricket, Dravid has lent his experience and expertise to RR. One saw some compelling knocks from him, some astonishing shots that did not form his repertoire in Test and one-day cricket. It is a tribute to his flexibility that Dravid slips into the role of a Twenty20 batsman at 40.

Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane, 16 years younger, make an exciting opening pair for RR. One of the most successful batsmen of the last IPL editions, Rahane was RR's top run-getter at 560 and Dravid next with 462.

Obviously RR will expect Dravid and Rahane to come good consistently and make the most of Shane Watson's availability for the entire period. Last year, the Australian all-rounder played just seven matches and it would be interesting to see if he agrees to bowl in the IPL after failing to do so for Australia in the recent Test series against India.

RR will have a few new faces. Australian youngster James Faulkner is a sound investment. So is a fully fit S. Sreesanth, who has the ability to settle a contest even in four overs. Kerala batsman Sachin Baby and wicketkeeper Sanju Samson will benefit from playing alongside quite a few stalwarts.

The Sawai Man Singh Stadium is a cauldron most days and yet commands a full house with the fans braving the heat to back their heroes. It is laudable that the team continues to receive the backing of its supporters even though it has failed to finish higher than sixth in the last four editions of the IPL. Dravid and Co. have the potential to emulate the Warne model of triumph.

Coach upbeat

Meanwhile, coach Paddy Upton is upbeat.

"It is essential to work out a fine balance between team and individual performance. Our focus is to play at our level best and deliver top performances throughout the season. We as a team provide space to our players to take their own decisions, judge their performance and together we all help each other to execute these decisions on field. We try to not only improve the sporting skills in our players, but also help and groom their overall personality."
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Anna Hazare’s organization Today, JANTANTAR MORCHA

Ludhiana - 29.03.2013

(Sh. Anna Hazare's organization) held a Press Meeting regarding that on 1st April, 2013 this organization is going to organize rally

(non political ) Whereas the in JANTANTAR Yatra Sh. ANNA HAZARE, Rtd. General V.K. Singh are coming from Amritsar via Jalandher, entering Ludhiana at 11 AM.

regarding Route of Jantantar Yatra.

Schedule of JANTANTAR YATRA Ludhiana will be-

Entering Ludhiana-11AM from Jalandher Byepass paying Homage

to Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, then to Ghanta Ghar

to Shaheedi Smark, via Laxmi Cinema, Subani Bldg.- 12 Noon

Then to Partap Chowk via Cheema Chowk - 1.00 PM

Then via Bhagwan Chowk, Kwality Chowk, Shimlapuri - 1.30 PM

Then United Cycle Hall Gill Chowk Public Meeting-2 PM to 5 PM

Afterwards via Arora Palace Dana Mandi, Gill Road, Pakhowal Rd Sarbha Nagar Puli, then Gadari Saheed Baba BHAN SINGH Sunet Memorial Behind Orient Cinema to pay Homage – 5.15 PM

To Moga via Convent School, Ferozepur Rd.

As per schedule this rally will depart on the same day i.e. on 1st April / 2013 towards Moga.

Schdule has been made as per numerous People's NGO's Sabha's like Citizen Action Forum, Ex-servicemen Welfare Soiecty, Small Scale Industrilists & Traders Association, Vishav Guru Ravidass Mission, AAN JAL SEWA TRUST, United Church of Northern Punjab synod, Hindu Uthan Prishad, Maha Sabha Ludhiana, Chaura Bazar Shopkeepers Association, Kwality Chowk Shopkeepers Association, Muslim Bhaichara, All Tempo Union & many more are wishfull to welcome their beloved Leaders. Meeting was attended Major General Narendra Bahadur,

National convener,SSSM, Gurwant Singh, Col. Darshan Dhillon S. Brar, Gain Singh Mankoo were Present.

News From:

ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਅਜ ਪਹੁੰਚਣਗੇ ਕਾਦੀਆਂ, ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਾਸਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਜੋਸ਼ ਠੰਡਾ

ਕਾਦੀਆਂ 29 ਮਾਰਚ (ਤਾਰੀ)

ਪੰਜਾਬ ਪ੍ਰਦੇਸ਼ ਕਾਂਗਰੇਸ ਆਈ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਕਲ ਦੁਪਹਿਰ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਜਦੀ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਕਾਦੀਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਪਹੁੰਚ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ। ਜਦਕਿ ਪੂਰੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ ਇਕ ਵੀ ਸਵਾਗਤੀ ਗੇਟ ਨਹੀਂ ਬਣਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ ਸਿਵਾਏ ਇਕਾ ਦੁਕਾ ਹੋਰਡਿੰਗਜ਼ ਜਿਨਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਪੂਰੀ ਕਾਂਗਰੇਸ ਦੀ ਲੀਡਰਸ਼ਿਪ ਦੀ ਤਸਵੀਰਾਂ ਹੀ ਗ਼ਾਇਬ ਹਨ ਵੇਖਣ ਨੂੰ ਮਿਲੇ ਹਨ। ਪੂਰੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ ਉਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਆਉਣ ਦੀ ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ੀ ਦੀ ਕੋਈ ਲਹਿਰ ਵੇਖਣ ਨੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਮਿਲ ਰਹੀ। ਦੂਜੇ ਪਾਸੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਦੇ ਮਾਮਾ ਰਿਟਾਇਰਡ ਕਰਨਲ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਖਹਿਰਾ ਦਾ ਆਪਣੇ ਸੈਂਕੜੇ ਸਮਰਥਕਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਦਲ (ਬਾਦਲ) ਵਿਚ ਸ਼ਾਮਿਲ ਹੋਣ ਕਾਰਨ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ ਕਾਂਗਰੇਸ ਦੀ ਰੀੜ ਦੀ ਹਡੀ ਟੁਟਣ ਕਾਰਨ ਸਮਰਥਕਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਮਾਯੂਸੀ ਹੈ। ਅਕਾਲੀ ਦਲ ਬਾਦਲ ਦੇ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਕੈਬਨਿਟ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੇਖਵਾਂ ਦਾ ਕਹਿਣਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਜੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਘਰ ਨੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਾਂਭ ਸਕਦਾ ਉਹ ਪ੍ਰਦੇਸ਼ ਨੂੰ ਕੀ ਸੰਭਾਲੇਗਾ। ਹਾਲਾਂਕਿ ਕਾਦੀਆਂ ਹਲਕੇ ਦੀ ਐਮ ਐਲ ਏ ਉਨਾਂ ਦੀ ਧਰਮਪਤਨੀ ਚਰਨਜੀਤ ਕੋਰ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਹਨ ਪਰ ਉਹ ਆਮ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਕੰਮ ਕਰਵਾਉਣ ਵਿਚ ਅਸਫ਼ਲ ਹਨ। ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਹੋਣ ਜਾਂ ਉਨਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਤਨੀ ਚਰਨਜੀਤ ਕੋਰ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਇਹ ਆਮ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਚਰਦੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਹਨ। ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਸਮਸਿਆਂ ਸੁਣਨਾ ਤਾਂ ਦੂਰ ਉਹ ਆਮ ਜਨਤਾ ਦੇ ਫ਼ੋਨ ਤਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਅਟੈਂਡ ਕਰਦੇ। ਨਾ ਹੀ ਆਮ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਉਹ ਮੀਟਿੰਗਾ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਨ। ਜਦੋਂ ਆਮ ਜਨਤਾ ਨੇ ਆਪਣੀ ਇਨਾਂ ਮੁਸ਼ਕਿਲਾਂ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਾਵਾ ਮੀਡੀਆ ਨਾਲ ਕੀਤਾ ਤਾਂ ਮੀਡੀਆ ਨੇ ਇਨਾਂ ਤਥਾਂ ਦੀ ਸਚਾਈ ਜਾਣਨ ਲਈ ਕਈ ਵਾਰ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਅਤੇ ਉਨਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਤਨੀ ਚਰਨਜੀਤ ਕੋਰ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਨਾਲ ਸੰਪਰਕ ਕਰਨ ਦੀ ਕੋਸ਼ਿਸ਼ ਕੀਤੀ। ਜੋ ਅਸਫ਼ਲ ਰਹੀ। ਦੂਜੇ ਪਾਸੇ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਆਗੂ ਅਤੇ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੇਖਵਾਂ ਆਪਣਾ ਅਧਾਰ ਕਾਦੀਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਬਣਾਉਣ ਵਿਚ ਸਫ਼ਲ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਜਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ।

ਹਾਰਨ ਦੇ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਉਹ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਸਮਸਿਆਂਵਾ ਦਾ ਨਿਪਟਾਰਾ ਕਰਵਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ। ਆਮ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਭੀੜ ਉਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਨਿਵਾਸ ਸਥਾਨ ਤੇ ਡੇਰਾ ਪਾਈ ਵੇਖੀ ਜਾ ਸਕਦੀ ਹੈ। ਉਹ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਸਮਸਿਆਂਵਾ ਰੋਜ਼ਾਨਾ ਸੁਣਦੇ ਹਨ। ਜਿਸਦੇ ਕਾਰਨ ਉਹ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ ਲੋਕਪ੍ਰਿਅਤਾ ਹਾਸਿਲ ਕਰਦੇ ਜਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ। ਇਹੋ ਕਾਰਨ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ ਕਾਂਗਰੇਸੀ ਸਮਰਥਕਾ ਕਾਫ਼ੀ ਮਾਯੂਸ ਹਨ। ਕਾਦੀਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਕਾਂਗਰੇਸ ਦੇ ਇਕ ਹੋਰ ਕਦਾਵਰ ਨੇਤਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤ ਰਾਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਜੋਕਿ ਅਜਕਲ ਫ਼ਤੇਹਗੜ ਚੂੜੀਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਕਾਂਗਰੇਸੀ ਵਿਧਾਇਕ ਹਨ ਦੇ ਵੀ ਕਿਸੇ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਦੇ ਹੋਰਡਿੰਗ ਬੋਰਡ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਦੇ ਸਮਰਥਨ ਵਿਚ ਵੇਖਣ ਨੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਮਿਲੇ। ਰਾਜਨੀਤਿਕ ਜਾਣਕਾਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਕਹਿਣਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਕਾਦੀਆਂ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ 80 ਫ਼ੀਸਦੀ ਲੋਕ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤ ਰਾਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣਾ ਲੀਡਰ ਮਣਦੇ ਹਨ ਅਤੇ ਉਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਇਥੇ ਕਾਫ਼ੀ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ ਹੈ। ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਦਾ ਖ਼ਾਮੋਸ਼ ਰਹਿਣਾ ਵੀ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਦੇ ਸਵਾਗਤ ਵਿਚ ਮਾਯੂਸੀ ਲਿਆਵੇਗਾ। ਕੁਲ ਮਿਲਾਕੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਦਾ ਆਪਣੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਕਾਦੀਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਅਧਾਰ ਨਾ ਦੇ ਬਰਾਬਰ ਹੋਕੇ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ। ਜਿਸਦੇ ਕਾਰਨ ਸਮਰਥਕਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਕਾਫ਼ੀ ਮਾਯੂਸੀ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਉਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਜੋਸ਼ ਠੰਡਾ ਪਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ।
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Two students of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) namely Khushmeet K. Bains and Shruti Chopra have brought laurels to the University by bagging awards and honours at the national and the state level.

Khushmeet K. Bains, an M.SC (Botany) student of the PAU, has bagged "Shaheed-e-Aazam Bhagat Singh State Youth Award" in recognition of her active participation in the youth activities. Mr. N.K. Sharma, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab Government; Sh. Ashok Gupta, Secretary, Sports and Youth Services, Punjab; and Mrs Hirdai Pal Kaur, Director, Youth Services, Punjab; presented a medal, citation, and a cash prize of Rs 20,000 to the University student during the award giving ceremony, organized by the Department of Youth Services, Punjab, Chandigarh, on March 28, at Shivalik Public School, Mohali. Khushmeet Bains is also a recipient of Indira Gandhi NSS Award 2011, presented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. Dr S.K. Thind, Head, Department of Botany, and Dr Pushp Sharma, Major Advisor of Khushmeet Bains, congratulated her for this big achievement.

Meanwhile, a Ph.D (Agri-Economics) student of the PAU, Shruti Chopra won third prize during the National Student Research Convention "ANVESHAN 2013," organized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Dr Ram Pani, Chairman, AIU, and Dr Parshuram, Director, TISS, presented the University student a cash prize of Rs 10,000 for her poster and power point presentation on the topic entitled, "Changing Pattern of Consumption and Implications for Food Security in India."

Dr Gursharan Singh, Dean, Postgraduate Studies and President of PAU Science Club; Dr B.S. Sohal, Secretary of PAU Science Club; Dr M.S. Toor, Professor of Economics-cum- Major Advisor of Shruti Chopra; and Dr Kamal Vatta, Associate Professor of Economics, lauded the accomplishment of the student.

Dr Singh highlighted that earlier, the PAU students namely Meenakshi (Ph.D-Biochemistry) and Shruti Chopra (Ph.D Agri-Economics) won second and third prizes, respectively, during the zonal level competition of "ANVESHAN," held at Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Haryana. He further said that the visit of the students to Mumbai and Kurukshetra was sponsored by the PAU Science Club. Shruti Chopra thanked her advisors and the PAU Science Club for their kind support in the competition.


Photo caption : Shruti Chopra and Khusmeet K-Bains

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A three-month training course on "Crop Production" organized for the rural youth, concluded today at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). Nearly 45 participants from various parts of the Punjab state participated in the course, which was supervised by the PAU Directorate of Extension Education.

In his address, the Chief Guest Dr M.S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, PAU, exhorted the youth to inculcate scientific spirit and temper in life. The youth must make key contribution to the field of agriculture and its allied sectors, he emphasized, while calling upon the trainees to maintain regular liaison with the PAU experts and use their technical expertise during the need of the hour. He distributed the certificates to the participants.

Dr T.S. Riar, Course Coordinator, said that this course is organized twice a year wherein the subject-matter specialists impart knowledge to the trainees about agriculture and subsidiary occupations. He informed that during the course, the University experts educated the trainees about crop production, horticulture, bee-keeping, mushroom cultivation, vegetable cultivation with focus on their insect-pests and disease management, marketing of farm produce, animal husbandry, and various other agri-activities. The participants were also taken to the farms of the progressive farmers for practical exposure.

The team of PAU experts was also present on this occasion.

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Sanjay Dutt to surrender, says he has not applied for pardon

MUMBAI, March 29, 2013

Actor Sanjay Dutt on Thursday broke down in tears as he made it clear that he had not applied for pardon and will surrender to the authorities as per the Supreme Court order in the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts case. He has been sentenced to five-year jail term for illegal possession of weapons.

"I am a law abiding citizen and respect the law with highest respect for the Supreme Court and its decision. I will abide by all the terms and conditions put forward in the court order and I will surrender in a time frame given in the court order," he said in Mumbai in his first public appearance after the court verdict.

Mr. Dutt, accompanied by his sister and Congress MP Priya Dutt, could not control his emotions while addressing journalists outside his residence. He hugged his sister, hiding his tears and left without answering any questions. "I love my country and I love the citizens of this country," he said before leaving.

\"I have not applied for pardon. There are others who deserve pardon. Since I am not going for pardon, there should not be any debate over this," he said, bursting in to tears.

The actor said he and his family were shattered after hearing the verdict and it had been a tough time since then. "I have very few days left and I will be finishing all my commitments in the remaining time. I request you with folded hands to let me spend my time in peace," he pleaded.

Mr. Dutt had spent 18 months in jail and will have to serve three-and-half years in prison as per the court verdict.

Katju to seek pardon

PTI reports from New Delhi:

Notwithstanding Mr. Dutt's statement, Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju on Thursday said he would still go ahead and seek pardon for the actor and blasts case convict Zaibunnisa. "Mr. Dutt's statement makes no difference to me; I am going to apply for pardon to the President and to the Governor [of Maharashtra]. I think he and Zaibunnissa deserve pardon," he said. On what grounds he was demanding pardon, he said: "public good is one of them; there can be many other considerations like humanitarian considerations for grant of pardon."

Last week, Mr. Katju wrote to Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, requesting him to exercise his powers and pardon the actor.
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Elections next year as scheduled, says PM


Despite the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) becoming the latest ally to pull out of the ruling coalition at the Centre, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is confident that the general elections will be held as scheduled towards the middle of next year.

But the Prime Minister dismissed as hypothetical a question from mediapersons accompanying him back from the Fifth BRICS Summit in Durban on whether he would accept a third term if the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in a position to form the government after the elections. "We will cross that bridge when we reach there," he replied.

Answering questions on the mercurial behaviour of the Congress' allies in the UPA — the pull out by DMK, the uncertain nature of support from Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, besides the off and on support by Mamata Banerjee — the Prime Minister did not share the view that the Congress leadership had lost the ability to keep the allies together for good.

Dr. Singh admitted coalitions face turbulence, sometimes giving the impression that these are not very stable arrangements. But he expected the government to pull through its full five year term.

The perceived vulnerability of the government, he assured, will not derail the reforms process he had re-started about a year back.

"Alliances do have compulsions which have to be taken into account. We will not allow these compulsions to derail the reforms process or to create a situation where the essential task of governing the country can be put aside," he observed.

"... we are certainly dependent on the goodwill of our allies and I would be the last to deny that there are uncertainties," Dr. Singh said. Still, he was sanguine about pushing through reforms.
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Centre will stand by UP, says Chidambaram

LUCKNOW, March 29, 2013 PTI

In the midst of talk over Samajwadi Party withdrawing support to UPA government, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Friday appeared to woo the party, saying the Centre will stand by Uttar Pradesh in its development.

"I want to take this opportunity to assure the Chief Minister and his team, as well as the president of their party that Government of India is committed to stand by Uttar Pradesh in its development," he said while inaugurating 300 new bank branches in the state.

Noting that 24 central projects were being implemented in the state worth Rs 18,500 crore, Mr. Chidambaram said, "In every way we are committed to helping UP and every other state. He is a young chief minister (Akhilesh Yadav) and I am sure that they will do their best to bring the state up in every single way."

The Finance Minister's statement assumes significance in the context of repeated attacks by SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav against the Congress and UPA government triggering speculation whether it would withdraw support.

The Samajwadi Party has been attacking Congress and the government in the last few days.

Samjawadi Party with 22 MPs and BSP with 21 are providing crucial outside support to the government and bailing it out in times of crisis.

Mr. Chidambaram also noted that Uttar Pradesh has large financial needs.

"This morning the CM and officials sat with me and went over a number of proposals. I promised them that when I get back to Delhi, I would look into each of the proposals.

"In about one or two weeks, we will be able to get an idea where the proposal stand after that I will invite the CM to come and meet us in Delhi," he said.

The Minister said Uttar Pradesh's annual plan was rising every year.

"It was Rs 42,000 crore in 2010—11 and Rs 57800 crore in 2012—13. UP is a big state and the more we will be able to spend from planned expenditure, it is good for the state," he said.

Mr. Chidambaram said the Centre devolved taxes to the state and it was shared.

\"In 2009-10 the total amount devolved was Rs 77,137 crore and in 2011-12 it was 96,224 crore. I am sure that as India grows and as we have more tax revenues, more funds will be devolved to the states and UP will get its fair and rightful share,\" he said.

He said that 24 central sector projects were being implemented in the state worth Rs 18,500 crore.

\"In every way we are committed to helping UP and every other state. He is the young chief minister and I am sure that they will do their best to bring UP up in every single way,\" he said.

Speaking on the occasion state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said that UP would be benefitted in a big manner with opening of new branches.

\"We have launched a number of schemes which directly benefit the poor people and for that bank branches would be needed. I hope that we will continue to get cooperation of the centre and the state would extend all possible cooperation,\" he said.
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Yahoo’s stand on ‘work from home’ culture triggers debate

BANGALORE, March 29, 2013

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's recent decision to put an end to the 'work from home' culture in her company has sparked a debate, globally, on the pros and cons of this HR strategy, one that is used sparingly in Indian companies.

The all-or-nothing approach by the former Google executive, tasked with the job of cutting losses at the beleaguered Internet firm, has drawn flak from not just employees and HR strategists, but also feminists who term it "wholly regressive". Her critics argue that her strategy completely overlooks the fact that working women, particularly soon after childbirth, use this option to keep their jobs. And given that globally, technology continues to be male-dominated, a blanket ban on such arrangements could only worsen the already 'leaky' pipeline.

Since Mayer's announcement, several research reports and studies have surfaced that engage with the issue. Many indicate that there's less stress and hence more productivity among stay-at-home employees. While some agree with the leaked Yahoo memo that "hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting people and meetings" are a valuable part of ideating, others feel that "socialising" over tea and even in formal meetings eat into productivity.

Some flexibility

Indian companies, though hardly as liberal as their overseas counterparts when it comes to 'flexi' work options (HR parlance for working from home) have, in recent years, put in place new policies that leave room for some flexibility.

"We never use it for the junior roles, but in many mid-level positions people are allowed flexi hours or to work from home," says a team lead at a prominent tech MNC. In fact, he says, multinationals are far more open to such arrangements, where Indian companies "are stuck with notions of this leading to indiscipline".

And it isn't that you can slack off when exercising remote work options, he adds.

Dheeraj Valsan, who along with his wife works partially flexi hours to take care of his ailing father and their pre-schooler, says: "Deadlines are tighter, stricter when people work from home and companies enforce them far more rigorously. It's actually stressful, but then you avoid the commute, so it evens out," says .

Retaining new mothers

These options become all the more crucial when it comes to retaining women, particularly new mothers who may not want a break in their career. Plugging the leaky pipeline for women is a key concern even for the industry, given the women's workforce in the IT/ITeS sector averages amounts to around 30 per cent and closer to 22 per cent in the non-BPO jobs.

Aarthi R., a legal consultant with an IT firm, says, she goes to office only once a week for meetings. This allows her to nurse her one-year-old child, while keeping her job. "I did not want a break as getting back is always difficult," she says, and adds that however, that such options are not extended to all women in the company. "It's on a case by case basis."

Interestingly, a majority of flexi strategies in Indian companies are not full-fledged. Very few companies actually allow complete work from home. Most companies have a set number of days per month (three to five) and it is left to the managers' discretion.

At Kronos India, for instance, engineers are allowed up to five days a month of work from home, including night shifts. Ashok Saxena, Head, India Engineering Centre, Kronos, says the company feels it often enhances productivity "because there are less distractions from their official social circle".

Companies speak

Most companies The Hindu spoke with said they were in no hurry to go the Yahoo! way. Many HR managers said that offering flexi work hours does not get in the way of productivity, and helps ensure "work-life balance". Many have firm policies in place to ensure uniformity in practice.

At Dell India, its HR strategy, titled Çonnected Workplace, allows for people to work in mobile or remote work solutions, says Vijay Bharadwaj, vice-president, HR, Dell India. "This allows them to realise their personal objectives and positively impacts careers."

At GE India Technology centre, three types of flexible work arrangements (FWA) are offered: employees can choose their work timings, or work a day or two from home every week, or work part-time. Introduced in 2008, this policy has found wide acceptance, a GE HR spokesperson said. In fact, contrary to perceptions that working women who are raising families, are more likely to opt for these, at GE India more than 40 per cent of those who have opted for FWA are males.

New age cloud-based technologies facilitate access across a range of devices, points out Bhuvaneswar Naik, vice-president, HR, SAP Labs India, allowing employees to collaborate easily. In general, SAP allows all employees to work from home one day every week. This, he says, is "good strategy, provided the employees respect the freedom and do not misuse the trust".
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Karnataka Labour Department writes to HCL seeking explanation on job delays

BANGALORE, March 29, 2013

The State Labour Department has formally written to HCL Technologies seeking an explanation regarding a complaint filed by a section of engineering graduates whose jobs have been deferred for nearly a year after they were recruited on campus by the tech major.

The letter gives the company time till April 5 to respond to the complaint and sought specific written responses on the matter. The letter states: "A complaint filed by software (sic) engineers who have been promised jobs in 2012 states that the company has delayed their recruitments. In this regard, we are seeking a factual report and written explanation from you on the matter." The letter, signed by Deputy Labour Commissioner Sripad S.B., is addressed to the management of HCL Technologies, on Ulsoor Road.

'To look deeper'

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Sripad said the department has initiated action after going through the detailed complaint by the industry freshers. "I have also asked labour officials to look into the matter in offices under their jurisdiction. The future course of action will be decided upon after we see the explanation. We will have to look deeper into the matter to see what laws could apply to the case. We did this because under current laws a simple petition cannot be used to initiate conciliation procedures."

Hunger strike

Meanwhile, the recruits, who have organised two protests in the city till date, are planning to go on a daylong hunger strike on Saturday. "All our pleas are yet to yield any concrete action from the company. Most of us have education loans to repay and cannot afford to wait any longer for our promised jobs," a recruit told The Hindu . We are hoping that all individuals and organisations that empathise with our situation will join us."

Company response

Responding to The Hindu's queries on the matter, an HCL spokesperson said that the past year has seen "significant uncertainty and constrained growth in the IT services industry exhibiting the lowest growth rates in recent years".

'Industry-wide delay'

The statement added that this reduction in growth as well as the shift in services mix has had an impact on the recruitment of freshers across the industry. "There has been an industry-wide delay in the openings for new [recruits] in the companies. A challenge that freshers face is that higher-end discretionary services will increasingly require experienced and onsite resources."

It reiterated its commitment that it "anticipates further acceleration in onboarding from August 2013", adding that starting March 1 the company has released openings in its infrastructure services business.
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Hollande stands firm on tax-the-rich policy

PARIS, March 29, 2013 DPA

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he will continue to push for a new tax on the rich even after it was ruled void by the country's highest authority on constitutional issues.

Mr. Hollande said, however, he would change his strategy slightly and require companies to collect the tax.

"Enterprises will pay the tax of 75 per cent on income of more than 1 million euros," Mr. Hollande said in an interview with the television station France 2. Beyond that Hollande ruled out additional taxes for this year and next.

Mr. Hollande's Socialist Party came to power last year promising to increase taxes on the wealthy.

Mr. Hollande's proposed tax on the rich was ruled void in late December by the 12-member Constitutional Council shortly before it was to go into effect. It criticized the tax because it applied to individuals as opposed to an entire household. Top earners like Gerard Depardieu went into exile to avoid the heavy taxes.

An estimated 1,500 French taxpayers would be affected and they would have to pay on average an additional 150,000 euro in taxes annually. The special tax would raise about 210 million euro per year.

Mr. Hollande also supports a radical simplification of the administration in France to reduce the number of requests authorities make on French companies. Contributions to pensions should be stretched out over a longer time, he said, adding this is necessary because life expectancy has increased.
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We risked getting isolated internationally, says Italy PM

ROME, March 29, 2013 PTI

Outlining the reasons for sending back to India the two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast, the outgoing Prime Minister, Mario Monti, said Rome faced a serious risk of being isolated internationally and could have opened a crisis of "serious proportions" with New Delhi.

As for the abrupt resignation of his Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Mr. Monti said he quit with motives not limited to the marines issue.

The Premier, who himself was sworn in as interim Foreign Minister to replace Mr. Terzi, said Italy, in its diplomatic row with India, risked ruining relations with key trade allies in the developing world but denied that economics was a factor in the decision-making process.

Mr. Monti said he was "stunned" by Mr. Terzi's decision, adding his former chief diplomat gave no warning of his quitting, and that his real aim was "to achieve another end that may become clearer in the near future," Italian news agency INSA reported .

On Tuesday, Mr. Terzi resigned claiming that his voice went "unheard" as the caretaker Cabinet decided to send back Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone to India, 10 days after Italy reneged on a pledge to return the marines, who had been granted a four-week leave.

Mr. Monti, addressing Parliament on Wednesday night, stressed the diplomatic stakes. "There were serious and objective risks that Italy would find itself isolated in the international community," if it had failed to ensure that the duo returned to India. "It would have opened a crisis of serious proportions with India".

Since the marines returned, relations had improved between the two countries and that should lead to "a quick solution."

Insisting that economic interests did not influence the decision, Mr. Monti said, "Let me reject forcefully any speculation about possible exchanges or agreements with India." Some media outlets have linked the marines' case to bribery allegations surrounding the Rs. 3,600-crore VVIP helicopter deal that is being probed by the CBI.

Speaking before the Senate, Mr. Monti said Italy had faced "measures" from India and fellow BRICS countries as a consequence of its choosing not to return the marines to face trial. "We had word from Foreign Undersecretary Staffan de Mistura that the possibility of measures being taken against Italy was being considered."
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As CAD widens, govt hints at more steps to bridge gap

NEW DELHI, March 29, 2013

Even as the country's current account deficit (CAD) widened to a record high of 6.7 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) in the October-December quarter this fiscal, the government appeared undaunted and asserted that it would put in place more measures to bridge the 'large' gap.

"The number (6.7 per cent) is large though not surprising... Both the RBI and the government will continue to monitor CAD and will take additional steps whenever warranted," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

As per the data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) earlier during the day, CAD, which in effect is the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign capital, "widened from 5.4 per cent in the second quarter (July-September) to a record high of 6.7 per cent of GDP in the third quarter, driven mainly by large trade deficit."

In monetary terms, CAD widened in the October-December quarter to $32 billion, markedly up from $20 billion (4.4 per cent of GDP) in the same quarter of 2011-12, mainly on account of a significant increase in oil and gold imports at a time when exports have remained particularly subdued in the wake of an uncertain global environment and recessionary conditions prevailing in the U.S. and Europe.

During April-December of 2012, CAD stood at $71.7 billion, which worked out to 5.4 per cent of the GDP as compared to $56.5 billion, or 4.1 per cent of the GDP in the like period of 2011. Significantly, gold imports during the April-December period stood at $ 38 billion while in fiscal 2011-12, imports of the commodity was valued at $ 56 billion.

Clearly, while gold imports appeared to be on a decline, it was the trade deficit during the third quarter that widened to $ 59.6 billion, up from $ 48.6 billion in the same quarter a year ago, mainly driven by higher imports which were up by 9.4 per cent during the period.

CAD, the Finance Ministry said, was being financed through capital inflows without dipping into foreign exchange reserves and hoped that gap would narrow down in the coming months on account of a likely improvement in exports.

"It is a matter of satisfaction that it has been financed without drawing upon the foreign exchange reserve. Going forward, we hope to be able to finance CAD through sufficient foreign inflows…CAD for fourth quarter is expected to be smaller.

The government is committed to bringing down CAD over the time, as well as ensuring that it is financed safely," it said.

Over the last few months, the government has been taking steps by way of imposing curbs on import of gold by hiking the duty in its effort to contain the ballooning CAD. Alongside, it has also taken steps to improve availability of gold.
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Nokia India\'s Shivakumar disconnects

CHENNAI, March 29, 2013

Nokia's operations head for India, West Asia and Africa, D. Shivakumar, has quit the Finnish mobile handset maker after spending eight years with the company.

Mr. Shivakumar, who led Nokia's India operations from 2006 to 2011, before moving to Dubai to head the region, will continue in a consultancy role till June before coming back to India. Before joining Nokia India in 2006, he headed the consumer electronics business of Phillips.

While Mr. Shivakumar is credited with building the Nokia brand in India from number 71 to number 1 on the most trusted list, big misses under his watch were the slow adoption of dual SIM card phones among others.

He was also the 'de facto HR manager' at the company, and ingrained many HR processes to encourage learning among the next generation of leaders.

His exit, however, comes at a time when Nokia is facing tough global competition from rivals Apple and Samsung—making the emerging markets the new battleground. "Since 2006, Shiv has been fully dedicated to the company, playing an integral role in Nokia's growth in India and beyond. But it's not just what Shiv has done for Nokia externally – his personal convictions on the importance of leadership have resonated throughout the company, and he has sponsored many leadership programs throughout the region," Chris Weber, Global Sales And Marketing, EVP, Nokia said.

"On behalf of Nokia, I thank Shiv for his contributions, and wish him all the best in the future. He will stay with us in a consultancy role until end-June," he added.
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Sunrisers Hyderabad could prove the surprise package

HYDERABAD, March 29, 2013

K. Srikkanth (mentor), V. V. S. Laxman (mentor and ambassador) and former Pakistan paceman Waqar Younis (bowling coach) join hands with the chief coach Tom Moody in an effort to shape the destiny of Sunrisers Hyderabad — the new franchisee in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly said the other day that the Hyderabad franchisee could well be the surprise package of the IPL, given the formidable line-up.


The Sunrisers bowling has plenty of variety. Two top level fast bowlers such as South Africa's Dale Steyn and India's Ishant Sharma are backed by some experienced spinners like Amit Mishra and Nathan McCullum.

In batting, the presence of former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara, South African Jean-Paul Duminy, Australian T20 specialist Cameron White and India's latest batting sensation Shikhar Dhawan, along with Parthiv Patel, gives the team a solid look ahead of its opening match at home against Pune Warriors on April 5.

The opponents have also to take into account the threat of talented youngsters such as Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Bharat Chipli, Akshath Reddy and the gritty all-rounder Ashish Reddy who are all capable of making a big impact. Ashish was a significant revelation for Deccan Chargers in the final game of the 2012 edition. Laxman says that the balance of the Sunrisers squad should take it a long way. "The key lies in the way we start the campaign. There is no better feeling than starting on a winning note. It is bound to get the momentum going," he says.

During the auction it was obvious that the think-tank of Sunrisers avoided big names and focused on all-rounders who are more suited to the T20 format.

Lot of planning

"There was a lot of planning before we went there. And we were really happy with the way it went for us," said Laxman. "What we looked in the selection of the players was their attitude.

"We picked those who had the spirit to put the team's interests ahead of their personal goals.

"This factor, I believe, should take the Sunrisers outfit a long way in this IPL," he said.

"We will come up with the right kind of strategies as we all know what it takes to forge a winning combination," Srikkanth said at the unveiling of the Sunrisers logo a few weeks ago.

"I am a big devotee of Sun God and the new identity encapsulates the valour, endurance and fearlessness of the eagle combining with energy and radiance obtained from the sun," he said.
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For Olympic hero Manuel Fredericks, life is still a fight

KANNUR, March 29, 2013

As Manuel Fredericks swings the hockey stick vigorously at the dusty ground of St. Michael's Anglo Indian School here on Thursday, he hardly looks his 66 years.

Neither does he look like the Olympic medal winner who has had a tough life since hanging up his boots.

He was the goalkeeper of the Indian team that won the bronze in men's hockey in 1972 and is the only Keralite to win an Olympic medal. But Kerala has not recognised him yet. Neither has Karnataka, his adopted State; nor, for that matter, the hockey administration. He earns his living by coaching school children in Bangalore.

Now, he is on a rare visit to his hometown, in Northern Kerala. "But, I don't come here often; it is very expensive to travel, you know," Fredericks says.

Yes, it would cost you Rs. 400 to travel from Bangalore to Kannur by bus.

Valuable tips

He is not tired even after sweating it out for nearly two hours, giving valuable tips to some hockey players attached to a couple of local clubs.

"I would love to coach a Kerala team; you see, I am as fit as any young coach," he says at the end of the coaching session on the very premises he used to play as a kid.

"It saddens me to see Kerala conceding goals in double digits at National tournaments."

He admits he is saddened by the way he has been ignored by just about everyone. "I applied for the Dhyan Chand Award seven times, but never got it," he says.

"It is the greatest honour in Indian hockey, and I could use the Rs. 5 lakh that comes with it."

Five years ago, Fredericks thought he might receive some help after all, when the then Kerala Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar allocated him land to build a house here. "But after all these years, I have not got it yet," he says.

"That Minister genuinely wanted to help me, I know."

Former Union Sports Minister, Ajay Maken, had last year announced during the London Olympic days that former Olympians would be absorbed as coaches by SAI. And Fredericks certainly would have welcomed such a job offer; he could have taught a thing or two to young goalkeepers.

Not bitter

Fredericks though is not bitter but is rather a proud man who opens up about his difficulties with reluctance.

He is much happier to tell you about his exploits under the bar in Munich all those years ago.

"Though we could only win the bronze, we were good enough for the gold," says Fredericks, who was the Indian custodian for about a decade.

"That team had players like Ashok Kumar, Ajit Pal Singh, Harcharan Singh, M.P. Ganesh and Kulwant Singh; we had crushed Great Britain 5-0 and Australia 3-1."

Yes, he clearly remembers the Munich massacre too.

"The incident took place just 60 yards away from where we were staying," he says.

"We were preparing for our semifinal match with Pakistan, which was then postponed by a day. I still could recollect that loud noise of gunfire."

But the memories of India's 2-1 victory over Holland in the bronze-medal play-off and his meeting with the then Pakistan president Zia-ul-Haq are sharper.

"After a Test match with Pakistan at Lahore, I was congratulated by Zia, who said 'I was the real Indian goalkeeper'," he reminisces.

"I also remember playing in front of actors like Sunil Dutt, who appreciated me."

It is memories like these from the distant past that help Fredericks forget his worries of the present.
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Thursday, March 28, 2013



Mr. Phoolka argued on behalf of the Victims and also submitted his written argument. Court has taken the written argument on record. A copy of written argument is attached.

The following are the important aspects of the argument :

" 1. That for the very first time in the history of our country, has the Parliament unanimously agreed to appoint a fresh Commission of Inquiry into the 1984 Carnage, after 16 years. The Parliament was mindful and conscious of the fact that the 1984 Carnage is the largest massacre in the history of Independent India and yet the guilty have not been punished. The victims are still crying for Justice, as is all of secular India. The failure to bring the guilty to book nearly 30 years later, is giving a bad name to the judicial system of the country in the eyes of International Community and leading to an increased sense of discontentment among the Sikh Community. It is for this reason that a fresh Commission of Inquiry was constituted to ascertain facts, cases registered and the criminal justice system put into motion, to ensure that those responsible for the Carnage are adequately punished.

2. That even the Congress Party, of whom the accused herein belong, consented to the appointment of a fresh Commission of Inquiry. Statement was made by the Congress in the Parliament supporting the suggestion of the Home Minister appointing a new Commission of Inquiry. This is a well known fact of which the Court can take judicial notice.

3. That after a lengthy and tedious exercise of conducting the inquiry, running into over 4 years, the Commission primarily recommended registration of the cases against 2 political leaders namely Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who were largely perceived to have master minded these killings. Against one of them namely Jagdish Tytler, CBI has already filed the Closure Report. Against the other accused Sajjan Kumar the present trial is going on.

4. That considering the number of innocent lives lost, the judgment of this Court would virtually amount to writing the history of this country. It is humbly submitted that the outcome of the present trial is being impatiently watched and awaited by the whole nation, as also by the international community to see how our judicial system of this country deals with an accused whose name has been surfacing from day one as a master mind of one of the biggest massacres in the world in recent times. This issue has been raised and discussed in the Parliaments of Canada, Australia, U.K and U.S.

17. Supreme Court has rightly quoted in the judgment of Zahira Habibulla Sheikh Vs State of Gujrat and ors [AIR 2006 SC 1367] stated as follows:

"22…The law should not be seen to sit by limply, while those who defy it go free and those who seek its protection loose hope (See Jennison v. Backer (1972 (1) All ER 1006). Increasingly people are believing as observed by SALMON quoted by Diogenes Laertius in "Lives of the Philosophers" laws are like spiders' webs: if some light or powerless things falls into them, it is caught, but a bigger one can break through and get away". Jonathan Swift, in his "Essay on the Faculties of the Mind" said in similar lines: "laws are like cobwebs, which may catch smaller flies, but let wasps and hornets break through."

[Emphasis added]

18. In view of caution by supreme court and credible evidence which has come on record before this Hon'ble Court in the shape of three eyewitnesses and other witnesses now it is certain that the cobweb around a-1 Sajjan Kumar is as strong as the iron rods which he will not be able to break.

19. The arguments advanced by special public prosecutor Shri R.S. Cheema senior advocate are adopted in total. However the above arguments are raised in addition to the same.

It is therefore prayed that this Hon'ble court on the basis of incriminating evidence on record punish the guilty, accused persons, particularly A-1 Sajjan Kumar, who is the main conspirator and exemplary punishment should be given to them to send a strong message to the society that no one is above law and tampering with law and secular fabric of the country will be dealt with strictly."

Regarding the application filed by Mr. Phoolka, to place the newspaper dated 8.11.1984 and 25.11.1984 on record and summon editors. The application was argued today. Mr. Phoolka submitted that he has filed Application only to counter argument raised by Sajjan Kumar that his name has not figured in any news reports . Mr. Phoolka argued that for the first time this Plea was raised by Sajjan Kumar during the arguments and it was not raised during the cross-examination of the witnesses nor when his statement u/s. 313 was recorded.

The Judge observed that it is for the Court to see what is the value of this Plea raised by Sajjan Kumar during argument and if the editors are summoned at this stage it would delay the proceedings.

In view of this, Mr. Phoolka stated that he does not presses this application and the same may be treated as withdrawn.

The Court has now fixed 3rd April as final day for the counsels of parties to add whatever they want. On 3rd April the judgment is likely to be reserved.

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Sanjay Dutt not to seek pardon, will surrender in time

MUMBAI, March 28, 2013 PTI

Sanjay Dutt, who has been ordered by the Supreme Court to return to jail to complete a five year sentence in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, on Thursday said he has not sought any pardon and will surrender in time.

Amid a growing clamour for his clemency, the 53-year-old Bollywood actor said, "All I can tell you is I have not applied for pardon."

"There are many other people who deserve pardon. I want to tell with folded hands to the media, the honourable citizens of the country that when I am not going for pardon then there can be no debate about it," said Mr. Dutt, who broke down during his interaction with the press in Mumbai.

The actor, who has been handed down five years imprisonment by the Supreme Court in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, said he had the highest respect for the apex court and will abide by all terms and conditions put forth by it.

"The honourable Supreme Court has given me time to surrender and I will surrender in that time," he said as sister and MP Priya Dutt comforted him.

As Mr. Dutt has already served 18 months in jail, he would have to undergo the imprisonment for three-and-a-half-years.

The apex court has given him four-week time to surrender.

"I am shattered and this is the tough time in my life. With folded hands I request the media and citizens let me be at peace," he said.

Several noted personalities including Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju and actor-turned-politicians Jaya Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha had sought pardon for Mr. Sanjay Dutt.

When pointed out that Mr. Dutt will not seek clemency, Mr. Katju, however, said that he will go ahead and apply for his pardon.

Mr. Katju had said Mr. Dutt should be pardoned under Article 161 of the Constitution as he had not been found guilty of having played a role in the 1993 blasts and had suffered a lot.

Asked about Mr. Dutt's stand, Congress Spokesperson Rashid Alvi said that the party does not comment on judicial matters.

Expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and Jayaprada, Rampur Lok Sabha MP, had on March 26, met Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan here and sought clemency for the actor.

"There are very, very tough times in my life and in our lives. I want to thank everybody who supported us and me. I just want to tell everyone from the media that I have got very few days left and I want to finish all my work. I also have to spend time with my family," Mr. Dutt said.

Today is the first time that Mr. Dutt has ventured out of his house in suburban Bandra since the Supreme Court verdict. He made the remarks before leaving for a shoot.

"I love my country and its citizens. I love India," he said.

Mr. Dutt has to finish shooting for T.P. Agarwal's film 'Policegiri' and is said to have finished dubbing for remake of 'Zanjeer' in which he is playing Sher Khan, the character epitomised by legendary actor Pran.

Mr. Dutt is said to have finished shooting few portions for Karan Johar's home production 'Ungli' that also stars Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda and Neha Dhupia and of Rajkumar Hirani's 'PK'

His sister Ms. Priya, who is a Congress MP from Mumbai North Central, was by his side during the press interaction. She consoled him and he embraced her after making his remarks.

The Supreme Court had on March 21 upheld the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, a key conspirator with Dawood Ibrahim in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and ordered that Mr. Dutt return to jail to serve three-and-a-half years sentence for possessing illegal arms.

In its verdict in the 20-year-long case, the apex court said 33 others will serve rigorous jail term "for their whole life" and termed as "devastating" the role played by Pakistan and its spy agency ISI in training and supporting conspirators in hatching the plot for the blasts in the financial capital claiming 257 lives.

Mr. Dutt, who is out on bail, will also have to surrender within four weeks to serve a jail term of 42 months as the apex court reduced to five years the six year jail term awarded to him by a designated TADA court in 2007 and he had already spent 18 months behind the bar.

Mr. Dutt, son of famous Bollywood couple late Sunil Dutt and Nargis, was convicted by the TADA court for illegal possession of a 9 mm Pistol and an AK-56 rifle which was part of the consignment of weapons and explosives brought to India for the coordinated serial blasts.
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A.R. Rahman attends Urs in Pedda Dargah

KADAPA, March 28, 2013

Sajjad-e-Nasheen of Ameer Peer Dargah Syed Sha Arifullah Hussaini offered sandal and performed pooja at the mazhars in the Dargah amidst drumbeats and feats by fakirs on Tuesday night.

Oscar-winning film director A.R. Rahman and Tamil film actor Vivek visited the Pedda Dargah during the ongoing Urs and offered floral chaaddhar and prayers. The VIPs and a large number of devotees attended the 'Gandham' ceremony in the Dargah and took blessings of the Sajjad-e-Nasheen. A qawwali programme followed.
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Manmohan, Xi meeting will improve trust, says China

BEIJING, March 28, 2013

China has welcomed Wednesday's meeting between new President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the much-anticipated first meeting between the country's new leader and top Indian officials would help boost trust.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters the meeting "will improve mutual trust and cooperation". China's new President, who took office on March 17, is expected to meet Dr. Singh on Wednesday on the sidelines of the on-going BRICS Summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in Durban, South Africa.

"We hope these kinds of meetings will improve mutual trust and cooperation between China and other countries," Mr. Hong said.

Separately on Wednesday, Chinese officials hailed the agreement to set up a BRICS Development Bank, expected to be announced at the summit even as the five emerging countries are working out the finer details.

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei told the State-run Xinhua news agency the establishment of the bank "is necessary", adding that "the nations have great demand for fund to boost infrastructure construction".

Mr. Lou said details such as initial investment were not discussed by the finance ministers in Durban. "What we have now [about the development bank] is just a general picture," he said, adding that the five countries were "working towards" settling final results next year. Mr. Lou said the bank would be "complementary" to existing institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Zhao Jinping, a senior economist with the official Development Research Centre of the State Council, or Cabinet, added that the bank could serve as a coordinating mechanism that would help bring the five countries closer together. "The BRICS nations are like scattered pearls that haven't been put on a string," he told Xinhua.

Acknowledging differences within the group, he said completing the process of agreeing to details of the bank could not be completed "within a short period of time". He said there were several

disagreements over inter-BRICS policies and trade tensions amongst the five countries, citing the example of anti-dumping investigations launched by solar panel markers in India against Chinese companies and Chinese probes against Indian exports of pyridine.

"By setting down clear-cut rules in the process of establishing the bank, the BRICS nations can move to resolve disagreements over their cooperation," he suggested, adding that the bank could also help developing countries "with financing support and policy consultation in areas of infrastructure investment, trade facilitation and poverty reduction".

China's interests

For China, pushing forward a bank could help its long-term ambitions of internationalising its Renminbi or Yuan currency, if the bank offered Yuan-dominated loans, suggested Yuan Gangming, an economist with Tsinghua University, in an interview with Xinhua. He said China could "optimise the allocation and structure of its foreign exchange reserves if it became the bank's stakeholder".

The other four BRICS countries have expressed some wariness that China, with its sizeable foreign reserves, would dominate the financial institution.

Those concerns were well-founded, suggested Bala Ramasamy, Professor of Economics at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, in an interview with The Hindu.

"I think it is quite obvious, if china is going to be the major contributor to the bank, if you look at the World Bank and how it hijacked by the United States, there is no reason why the BRICS development bank will not be dominated by China," he said.

"The dispersal of funds will be in line with the certain agenda China will have."

China has vested the BRICS mechanism with a particular sense of importance not seen in the other member countries, he noted. "Other countries are looking at what they can get from it, but here, it is a matter of China positioning itself as the leader of the developing world".

The Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper sought to assuage those fears in an editorial on Wednesday.

"China has no ambition to dominate BRICS, and will not purposely seek to raise its role in this mechanism," the newspaper said. "Ideally, Beijing would like to maintain a low profile while showing respect to other countries. But in this era of diplomatic democracy, it can only seek balance while safeguarding the concrete interests of the nation.

More participation in multilateral international cooperation can provide us with more space and leverage in policy maintenance and adjustment."
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Court approves American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger

NEW YORK, March 28, 2013 AP

American Airlines won bankruptcy court approval to combine with U.S. Airways and form the world's biggest airline.

"The merger is an excellent result. I don't think anybody disputes that," Judge Sean H. Lane said before issuing his decision on Wednesday.

But the judge declined to sign off on a proposed $20 million severance package for Tom Horton, currently the CEO of American's parent AMR Corp.

The approval is an important milestone for American, which filed for bankruptcy in November 2011, after having long resisted using the bankruptcy process to cut labour and other costs. The merger still needs approval from Department of Justice antitrust regulators and U.S. Airways shareholders. It is expected to close by the fall.

The combined airline will have 6,700 daily flights and annual revenue of roughly $40 billion. The new American Airlines will fly slightly more passengers than United, the current No. 1. It will be run by Doug Parker, the CEO of U.S. Airways Group Inc., who began pursuing a merger shortly after American entered bankruptcy protection.

The U.S. trustee, a federal bankruptcy watchdog, had objected to the severance package for Mr. Horton. While he didn't question the amount, Mr. Lane agreed that the timing of it seemed to violate prohibitions in the bankruptcy law.

"Approving it today is just not appropriate," Mr. Lane said. The judge plans to issue a written decision at a later date detailing his reasoning.

In 2011, Mr. Horton was paid a salary of $618,135. He also got stock awards and options that were valued that year at nearly $2.7 million, but the company argued those could be nearly worthless after the bankruptcy reorganization. Figures for 2012 aren't yet available.

The proposed severance package includes $19.9 million in cash and stock as well as a lifetime of free first-class tickets on American for Mr. Horton and his wife.

Jack Butler, a lawyer with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, said he expects Mr. Horton to eventually get his payout. Mr. Butler's firm represents American's creditors, who support the merger.

"Tom has never made this case about himself, and I don't expect him to start now," Mr. Butler said.

In most bankruptcy cases, creditors lose part of the money they are owed. Thanks in part to the merger, creditors in this case will get back what they are owed. Onetime shareholders of AMR Corp. are slated to get a 3.5 per cent of the new airline.

Separately, Mr. Lane approved a motion to extend American's exclusive period for filing a reorganization plan until May 29, the last such extension allowed under law. There is then a 60-day waiting period for creditors to object to the plan before Lane can sign off on American's emergence from bankruptcy protection.
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BRICS Bank to focus on funding infrastructure development

DURBAN, March 28, 2013

The proposed Bank announced by the BRICS leaders at their summit here will focus on infrastructure development due to insufficient long-term financing and foreign direct investment, especially investment in capital stock.

These are all areas of acute interest to India, said government sources as well as Indian industrialists attending the Fifth BRICS summit, which ended here on Wednesday.

But the specifics of the scale, location and structure of the Bank will be worked out over the coming months, and some finality is likely to be achieved by September when the five leaders are likely to meet on the sidelines of the next G 20 summit in St. Petersburg.

Side by side with the Bank, the BRICS summit also saw action on another front — creation of a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) amongst BRICS countries. This too has its genesis last year when, meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos (Mexico), the BRICS leaders asked their finance ministers and central bank governors to explore the construction of a financial safety net. "This [the BRICS Bank] is now a reality…We gave a big idea, and this is a good beginning. We should be able to influence discussions and decisions in the G-20, International Monetary Fund and other multilateral institutions,'' said Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram who quarterbacked long-drawn out discussions on the setting up the Bank on behalf of India.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) President Naina Lal Kidwai pointed out that long-term financing market in many developing countries, including India, was relatively undeveloped. The Bank's resolve to prioritise investments in capital stock, she felt, would spur domestic and other financial institutions to step in also.

Emerging from the Summit deliberations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Presidents of Brazil, China, South Africa and Russia devoted a separate statement on the Bank, thus signalling its importance in meeting the unmet infrastructure requirements of the developing world. The shortcomings in the orientation of the World Bank, said the leaders, constrained global aggregate demand. BRICS co-operation towards more productive use of global financial resources could make a positive contribution to addressing this problem, they added.

It was in March last year that the BRICS leaders had asked their finance ministers to examine the feasibility and viability of setting up a New Development Bank for mobilising resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.

The summit felt that the establishment of a self-managed Contingent Reserve Arrangement would have a positive precautionary effect, help BRICS countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability. It would also help to strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements as an additional line of defence.

This has led to the announcement of a CRA with an initial size of $100 billion subject to internal legal frameworks and appropriate safeguards. As is the case with the BRICS Bank, the leaders asked their finance ministers and central bank governors to continue working towards its establishment.

"The CRA will assist in stabilising the domestic currencies of at least four BRICS countries which is crucial because increasing economic risks in emerging markets could lead to a currency and financial crises,\'\' said a government source.

While India and Russia did not want China to dominate the bank, they received support from unexpected quarters — the powerful Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which did not want the proposed institution to be used by China to increase its exports to other countries.
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Court approves American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger

NEW YORK, March 28, 2013 AP

American Airlines won bankruptcy court approval to combine with U.S. Airways and form the world's biggest airline.

"The merger is an excellent result. I don't think anybody disputes that," Judge Sean H. Lane said before issuing his decision on Wednesday.

But the judge declined to sign off on a proposed $20 million severance package for Tom Horton, currently the CEO of American's parent AMR Corp.

The approval is an important milestone for American, which filed for bankruptcy in November 2011, after having long resisted using the bankruptcy process to cut labour and other costs. The merger still needs approval from Department of Justice antitrust regulators and U.S. Airways shareholders. It is expected to close by the fall.

The combined airline will have 6,700 daily flights and annual revenue of roughly $40 billion. The new American Airlines will fly slightly more passengers than United, the current No. 1. It will be run by Doug Parker, the CEO of U.S. Airways Group Inc., who began pursuing a merger shortly after American entered bankruptcy protection.

The U.S. trustee, a federal bankruptcy watchdog, had objected to the severance package for Mr. Horton. While he didn't question the amount, Mr. Lane agreed that the timing of it seemed to violate prohibitions in the bankruptcy law.

"Approving it today is just not appropriate," Mr. Lane said. The judge plans to issue a written decision at a later date detailing his reasoning.

In 2011, Mr. Horton was paid a salary of $618,135. He also got stock awards and options that were valued that year at nearly $2.7 million, but the company argued those could be nearly worthless after the bankruptcy reorganization. Figures for 2012 aren't yet available.

The proposed severance package includes $19.9 million in cash and stock as well as a lifetime of free first-class tickets on American for Mr. Horton and his wife.

Jack Butler, a lawyer with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, said he expects Mr. Horton to eventually get his payout. Mr. Butler's firm represents American's creditors, who support the merger.

"Tom has never made this case about himself, and I don't expect him to start now," Mr. Butler said.

In most bankruptcy cases, creditors lose part of the money they are owed. Thanks in part to the merger, creditors in this case will get back what they are owed. Onetime shareholders of AMR Corp. are slated to get a 3.5 per cent of the new airline.

Separately, Mr. Lane approved a motion to extend American's exclusive period for filing a reorganization plan until May 29, the last such extension allowed under law. There is then a 60-day waiting period for creditors to object to the plan before Lane can sign off on American's emergence from bankruptcy protection.
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Jesse Ryder in critical condition after late-night attack

CHRISTCHURCH, March 28, 2013 AP

New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder is in a critical condition in Christchurch Hospital after suffering severe head injuries in a late-night assault outside a bar.

Radio New Zealand reported on Wednesday that Ryder was in a coma in the intensive care unit with a fractured skull, punctured lung and internal bleeding.

The hospital refused to confirm Ryder's injuries but said his condition was listed as critical. A spokesman for the ambulance service that transported Ryder to hospital said he had suffered "very serious head injuries"

Eye witnesses said Ryder was attacked by four men outside a bar in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale. He was punched and then kicked repeatedly while lying on the ground.

Ryder had been at the bar with teammates from the Wellington cricket team, which had played in the semifinals of New Zealand's domestic one-day competition in Christchurch earlier Wednesday.

Police confirmed they are investigating an assault and said further details would be released later Thursday.
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Super Kings – a batting powerhouse

March 28, 2013

Even as the helicopter shot soared, the protagonist in the middle took flight at Chepauk. Like the blades of the flying machine, the stroke encapsulated power, speed and a distinctive sense of rhythm.

The strength of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's dexterous wrists, the velocity of his bludgeoning bat, and the sight of the gravity-defying ball gaining height created a cricketing beat of vibrancy and inventiveness.

The crowd held its breath and then erupted. The stands were a blaze of colour.

Skipper Dhoni will be in the thick of things again as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) begins yet another quest in IPL-VI. His versatile unit will once again feature among the top contenders.

Good record

CSK, without question, is the most successful franchise in the IPL. In the five editions of the IPL, the side from Chennai has triumphed on two occasions, reached the summit clash twice and made it to the semifinal once.

It is also the only team to have won the Champions League away from the subcontinent. CSK emerged victorious in South Africa in 2010. This is an outfit with depth and options.

The CSK, though, will be without the dynamic Faf du Plessis.

The top-order batsman will miss the league phase owing to fitness concerns. This suggests the side would open with the in-form Murali Vijay and the left-handed Michael Hussey, the one batsman Australia missed the most during its disastrous Test campaign in India.

CSK has the batting might with the strokeful and often game-changing Suresh Raina blending with S. Badrinath's solidity and the long-distance hitting of pace-bowling all-rounders Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo.

And in Dhoni, the Chennai side possesses one of the deadliest finishers in the abbreviated form of the game.

This side is a batting powerhouse.

CSK also has two impact spinners in R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja; this off-spin-left-arm spin pair hounded the hapless Aussies in the Test series and can prove a handful in the shortest form of the game as well.

Missing Kulasekara

In the pace bowling department, CSK will miss the consistency and precision of paceman Nuwan Kulasekara for all its eight matches at home; the Sri Lankan bowled usefully last season as his economy rate of 6.71 suggests.

CSK will also not be able to utilise the services of the 19-year-old Akila Dananjaya. The off-spinner, according to many, is the finest young spinner in Sri Lanka.

With Doug Bollinger gone, CSK will now look up to the left-arm pace and incision of Dirk Nannes for breakthroughs; the Aussie mixes his short-pitched stuff capably with yorkers. South African all-rounder Chris Morris, a hard-hitting bat and a lively right-arm paceman, is another exciting signing by the franchise. CSK will also seek swift strikes from Ben Hilfenhaus' swing.

The quality of its domestic pace bowling has come in for criticism on occasions and CSK, this season, has roped in pacemen Ankit Rajpoot, Imitiaz Ahmed and Ronit More. The lanky Rajpoot, in particular, is a promising bowler.

S. Anirudha, Baba Aparajith and Vijay Shankar are local players — an integral part of a winning franchise — with possibilities. CSK is all set to fly again.
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