www.theindianpanorama.com 2 The South Asian Task Force Launches 2010 Census Outreach Strategy
Wishing our readers a HAPPY HOLI VOL 3 ISSUE 38
Budget 2010: Cheers to middle class, jitters for ‘aam admi’ NEW DELHI(TIP): When finance minister Pranab Mukherjee presented the interim budget last year on the eve of elections, the phrase 'aam admi' figured five times in his speech starting with the opening paragraph. In his latest Budget speech on Friday, the aam admi figured only twice and had to wait till well into the speech to be invoked. Is this more than just trivia? It might well be. The salaried middle class can celebrate an entirely unexpected windfall of up to Rs 56,000 per annum from the reworked personal income tax slabs and a new tax exemption option. Most Indian corporates have reason to be happy with the surcharge on corporate tax coming down from 10% to 7.5%, even if some among them will be unhappy about the minimum alternate tax (MAT) being hiked from 15% to 18%. Reformers will welcome the declaration of intent implied in a disinvestment target of Rs 40,000 crore for the coming year — and another Rs 14,000 crore in the one month left in this year — and the assertion that the return to fiscal rectitude has begun with the deficit being pruned to 5.5% of GDP. The proposal to issue new banking licences to the private sector after a gap of over 10 years should also please business groups that have been hankering for entry into the sector. In contrast, the aam admi might wonder why the 'flagship' rural employment scheme (NREGS) has been given just 2.5% more than in last year's budget and the ambitious Bharat Nirman has got just 6% over the budgetary allocation last year. In real terms, adjusting for inflation, both would amount to a cut in outlays. The aam admi is also hardly likely to be pleased with the hike in fuel prices by way of excise and customs duty increases on crude oil and petroleum products — which alone are estimated to yield the government an additional Rs 26,100 crore in the coming year. This is bound to stoke fears of further inflation. The fact that excise duty hikes are more or less across the board — in a partial exit from the stimulus package rolled out through late 2008 and early 2009 — does not help. Mukherjee's announcement that excise duty on petrol and diesel will go up by one rupee per litre prompted what might well be the first-ever boycott of a budget speech, or a part of it, by the Opposition. That's a sign that these parties believe they can gain some political traction on the issue. True, the middle class too will not be spared the impact of these duty hikes, which the FM later insisted would directly raise the inflation rate by just 0.4%. It can also point to the fact that the extended coverage of service tax to things like domestic Continued on page 16
FEB 25-MAR 4 , 2010
21 Hilton planning to tie knot with beau
JUS ONE launched on DISH
(Left to Right): Penny Yogiraj Sandhu, Chris Kuelling, Ranju Batra, Mrs. Chandni Dayal, Ravi Batra, Esq., Dr. Sudhir Parikh; Ambassador Prabhu Dayal and Karl Khandalavala II marking the 32nd Wedding Anniversary of Ambassador & Mrs. Dayal.
NEW YORK (TIP): DISH Network L.L.C., the leader in international programming, on February 24 formally introduced JUS One, a spiritual channel from the JUS Broadcasting Group, the successful promoters of JUS Punjabi TV that also airs on DISH Network. The new channel, JUS One is available exclusively in the U.S. to DISH Network customers.
JUS Broadcasting Corp's President & CEO, Penny Yogiraj Sandhu, and Senior Executive Vice President, Karl Khandalavala II hosted a glittering Launch Party and Press Conference on Wednesday February 24, 2010 at the Empire Penthouse at 230 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, one of the city's premier event spaces. Continued on page 3
'Future talks hinge on Pak actions' NEW DELHI (TIP): India has refused to restart the composite dialogue with Pakistan just yet, though the government described the foreign secretary talks as "frank, constructive and useful". Stressing that the dialogue will continue, despite Thursday's fiasco of the two sides hitting a bumpy patch, foreign minister S M Krishna said, "India's engagement with Pakistan will be predicated, as it has been since the Mumbai terrorist attack, on the response of Pakistan to our core concerns on terrorism." Making a statement in Parliament on
Friday, Krishna said the talks "should be seen in the context of government's desire to ensure communication between the two countries, to address the core concerns relating to terrorism directed against us from Pakistan". A day after the talks, Pakistan foreign secretary Salman Bashir called on Krishna and discussed bilateral issues for almost an hour. However, his reality check was given by national security adviser Shivshankar Menon on Thursday afternoon. Menon provided Bashir an unvarnished view of Continued on page 16
Paterson Drops Out of Governor’s Race
NEW YORK (TIP): New York Governor David A. Paterson dropped his bid for re-election February 28, citing an "accumulation of obstacles" that had made it difficult to campaign and attend to the state's needs.
2 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
The South Asian Task Force Launches 2010 Census Outreach Strategy NEW YORK (TIP): A South Asianfocused 2010 Census outreach effort for New York City has been spearheaded by five South Asian community based organizations. The groups are members of both the South Asian Task Force and the South Asian Complete Count Committee--an entity endorsed and supported by the United States Census Bureau to facilitate a complete count of individuals for the 2010 Census. The committee is raising awareness by targeting cultural and religious centers, ethnic media, and Assemblyman Jose Peralta gives his view. To his creating unique census materials for right is Executive Director of SEVA and to his left, the South Asian community. representative of Census Bureau and a Census volunteer Hapreet Singh Toor Collectively, the groups - Adhikaar, Chhaya CDC, SACCS, SAYA! and Seema Agnani, Executive Director of Chhaya CDC who moderated, explains the various SEVA will be active in the largest branch of the government. No one will be aspects of Census 2010. To her right is representative of Adhikaar and to her left, representative of South Asian enclaves of the city; the punished for filling out the census" said SACCS. Queens neighborhoods of Richmond Ravisharon Kaur, a lead organizer with Hill, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Flushing, community groups working to increase The committee includes a diverse group: SEVA. Floral Park, and Bellerose. participation in hard-to-count and low mail faith based institutions like churches, South Asians -immigrants from the regions The Census Bureau is supporting the South back response rate populations. mosques, and temples, elected officials, and border areas of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Asian Complete Count Committee's campaign "The Census is one of the most important service based non-profit organizations, and Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as well as the to reach the "hard to count" South Asian things for our community to be aware of. individuals. diasporas from the Caribbean and other areascommunities in New York City as part of its Public resources and government funding are The groups have been stressing that are one of New York City's newest immigrant Special Initiative Program. The South Asian distributed according to census data. It is immigration status should not prevent anyone groups, and also one of its fastest growing Task Force is also receiving support from two estimated that for every ten people not from filling out the census form. ethnic populations. coalition building organizations--Asian counted in the census, a community loses "Immigration is not even one of the ten For more information, or to join the Americans for Equality (AAFE) and the Asian $30,000 in government funds over ten years questions on the survey. The information on Census 2010 Campaign, contact the South American Federation of NY (AAFNY) as part until the next census" said Seema Agnani, the survey is strictly used for the purpose of Asian 2010 Census Committee at 347-414of New York State's program to fund Executive Director of Chhaya CDC. counting, and is not shared with any other 7382 or Census@Sevany.org
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 3
JUS ONE launched on DISH
Ambassador Prabhu Dayal addresses the gathering. (Left to Right): Penny Yogiraj Sandhu-President & CEO-JUS Broadcasting, Corp.; Chris Kuelling-Vice President, International Programming-DISH Network; Ambassador Prabhu Dayal-Consul General of India, New York; Karl Khandalavala II-Sr. Executive Vice President-JUS Broadcasting Corp.
continued from page 1 The Launch event and Dinner was attended by more than 300 people including members of the media, advertisers and sponsors, community leaders and the entire JUS team. Also gracing the occasion were Ambassador Prabhu Dayal, Consul General of India in New York, and his wife Mrs. Chandni Dayal who celebrated their 32nd Wedding Anniversary at the event. "The partnership between JUS One and DISH Network is very good for the community and I wish this great partnership all success." said Ambassador Dayal in his remarks. "JUS Punjabi, their first channel has already been doing a great service to the community; not just the Punjabi community but the entire community. It speaks volumes for Karl, Penny and the entire JUS team that they are conducting themselves with such energy and we wish the launch of JUS One on DISH our very best, our heartiest congratulations and much success." "DISH Network is excited to add Jus One to our extensive lineup of international programming, providing our South Asian/Indian-American subscribers with our first South Asian spiritual channel," said Chris Kuelling, vice president of International Programming for DISH Network who attended the launch party in New York City on behalf of DISH along with several other marketing executives from the company from their Denver, New Jersey and New York offices.. "With the introduction of this great new channel, we are committed to providing the most diverse and exclusive international programming options in the United States. We'd like to congratulate Penny and Karl for launching their second channel on DISH in less than a year and a half and we are confident it will be just as successful as JUS Punjabi TV." In her remarks, Penny Yogiraj Sandhu explained the rationale behind the new channel. "JUS One fills the need for a spiritual channel on DISH Network. As you know, most South Asians are spiritual or religious by nature and we have tailored the
channel to meet their special programming interests covering all the major Indian religions. JUS One is proud to be the first and only South Asian spiritual channel currently offered by DISH to all its millions of subscribers." Karl Khandalavala II thanked DISH for its focus on the South Asian community. "Chris Kuelling's presence at this event sends a strong signal about DISH's ongoing commitment to our community. DISH is already the market leader in International programming offering almost 50 South Asian channels in a variety of packages including both JUS Punjabi and now JUS One, too." Jus One, available on DISH Network Channel 581, features spiritual and religious programming covering a cross-section of religions from India aimed at Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Indian-Christians, Buddhists and all other viewers in general. Jus One programs include daily religious hymns, discourses, prayers, educational segments, yoga and daily live call-in programs on important religious and spiritual issues affecting Indian Americans and South Asians in the U.S. Among the programs already airing on the channel, JUS One features well-known names such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Acharya Sudhanshuji Maharaj, Acharya Pramod, Kathas by Bapu Asa Ram, Morari Bapu, Srila Prabhupad ISKCON, Usha Bahen of Brahmakumaris and Kadve Pravachan by Muni Tarun Sagarji. The channel also features daily Vrath Katha and daily LIVE Call-In programs on interfaith, spiritual and social issues. Jus One is available to DISH Network customers for $19.99 per month as part of the Punjabi Pack, which includes five Punjabi channels, or for $9.99 per month as an a la carte option. DISH Network offers more than 180 international channels in more than 28 languages - more than any other pay-TV provider. To learn more about DISH Network's international programming or to order Jus One, call 1-888-723-0192 or visit www.dishnetwork.com/international.
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THE INDIAN PANORAMA Send in your opinion and comment today. E-mail to email@example.comMail to P.O. Box 190067 South Richmond Hill, NY 11419 Speak with the Indian Panorama at 646-247-9458
4 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
Police shoot Bronx man said to be 'unstable' NEW YORK (TIP): In a bizarre incident Satnam Singh, 32, of the Bronx, was shot by the police. According to the NYPD, the deceased was beating his mother with a frying pan when cops managed to break down the door and accost him. The confrontation took place Sunday, Feb. 21 at 11.07 p.m. at 3055 3rd Avenue, in apartment 2D. The area comes under the jurisdiction of the 40th Precinct. Police sources said they received a 911 call to check on a woman. A uniformed Sergeant and three Police Officers went to Singh's home where they heard noises coming from inside the apartment. They could not gain entry into the apartment. So they contacted the superintendent of the building, Donovan Howell, from whom they got the keys. The door's security chain was on. So police had to break down the door as they saw Singh "standing over Balbir Kaur, 61 striking her repeatedly with a frying pan." The officers forced their way into the apartment, identified themselves and ordered Singh to drop the weapon several times "at which time the suspect raised the pan and was about to strike the woman again when the sergeant fired one round and one of the officers fired four rounds striking the suspect an undetermined amount of times," says the NYPD release. Emergency medical personnel who arrived pronounced Singh dead-on-arrival on the scene. Singh's mother was transported to Lincoln Hospital where she is listed critical but stable
condition. The New York Daily News and The New York Times reports relatives and neighbors told investigators Singh was emotionally unstable. "There's always a police investigation when we have a firing," Detective Martin Speechley said when asked if there was going to be an investigation. Asked about Balbir Kaur's current condition, he said, "She was hurt very badly." The mother's condition has been since downgraded to critical. Her injuries include multiple fractures of the skull, with bleeding on the brain; multiple fractures of the left shin; and a compound open fracture (bone exposed) of the left forearm with skin ripped off. The superintendent said Singh screamed "Go away! Go away!" to the cops who came to the apartment. And despite being shot, he continued to hit his mother. Neighbors told The Bronxink (bronxink.org), a local online news outlet, they noticed that Singh had some mental disability and was always seen with his mother in public. "I have never seen him without her," Aka Obeng, who lives in an apartment across the hall, is quoted saying in Bronxink, adding that the two were very quiet and kept to themselves. Another neighbor who lives two doors from Balbir Kaur's apartment said they spoke little English. The building where they lived is called `El Dorado' according to the news report, and it is part of the affordable housing program of South Bronx.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
‘Bloom or bust’ moment for NRI's green power technology WASHINGTON (TIP): Hot air or cool energy? Hope or hype? Boom or bust? Savior or Segway? Hours before the official launch of a compact, new power plant-in-a-box that promises to change the world’s energy paradigm, speculation is rife over whether the so-called Bloom Box will live up to its billing. Bloom Energy’s principal scientist-CEO K.R.Sridhar has been incommunicado for the last 72 hours since CBS’ 60 minutes first broadcast a story about his breakthrough technology, but experts and analysts, bloggers and twitterati, geeks and gearheads, have taken apart the little information now in public domain to see if the promise of the holy grail of energy – cheap, clean power – is true. This much is known: Sridhar, a former NASA advisor, has devised a fuel cell contraption that combines oxygen and fossil fuel (like natural gas) to create electricity. The contraption can be the size of a loaf of bread (which can power a single home) or it can be scaled to the size of a refrigerator (to power, say, a large office building). It can be installed in your garage or back yard, independent of the larger transmission grid. There are questions and doubts aplenty, most notably about the costs, and Bloom Energy has promised to answer them at the formal launch at its client eBay’s headquarters in Silicon Valley on Wednesday at an event where California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected. But even Bloom buffs are warning against over-expectation, suggesting it is still a work in
progress. This is because while fuel cell technology is not new -- it has been around for decades -- and no company had managed to scale down the costs and scale up production to make it viable. Not even giants like General Electric and Siemens, two companies that are closely watching Bloom bloom. Conspiracy theorists are already suggesting the Bloom hype is aimed at selling the technology to the biggies; some are even worrying for Sridhar’s life.The company's name, incidentally, was coined by Sridhar's nine-year old son. The 49-year-old mechanical engineer from Madras has been at the technology for eight years, in course of which he has managed to get Silicon Valley’s famed venture capitalists pony up nearly $ 400 million in funding, mainly from the storied firm of Kleiner Perkins, where another Indian geek, Sun Microsystems’ co-founded Vinod Khosla, is a general partner. Khosla has taken a back seat on the Bloom story, but it is being driven by his colleague John Doerr, prime investor in such successes as Netscape, Amazon, and Google, and an occasional lemon like Segway, an auto module that was expected to revolutionize transport but is now used by tour companies, on campuses, and by police. Sridhar’s technology centers round a floppydisk sized ceramic tile coated with a secret "sauce" (both propriety technologies) that are stacked together into bread-loaf sized boxes which in-turn can be scaled up to the size of a refrigerator.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
US / WORLD
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 5
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Jackson Heights Merchants' Association Elections on March 25 NEW YORK (TIP): The strife ridden Jackson Heights Merchants' Association will eventually see elections, after a prolonged legal battle between two factions, on March 25. Nominations have been invited by March 12, 2010. As per the voters' list, there are 441 approved voters. Every voter will have to bring in his photo ID and the latest bank statement to be able to cast his vote. Both the camps are leaving nothing to chance, as the elections are being viewed as a test of influence the groups have. Bangladeshi merchants' votes are being considered significant by both groups and all efforts are being made to woo them.
China, India adding to e-waste time bomb: UN NUSA DUA (Indonesia) (TIP): Mountains of discarded computers and mobile phones could soon pose serious threats to public health and the environment in developing countries without swift action, the UN said on Monday. "Sales of electronic products in countries like China and India and across continents such as Africa and Latin America are set to rise sharply in the next 10 years," the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said in a report. "And unless action is stepped up to properly collect and recycle materials, many developing countries face the specter of hazardous ewaste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health." The report entitled 'Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources' was released at a meeting of Basel Convention and other world chemical authorities prior to UNEP's Governing Council meeting in Bali, Indonesia. It used data from 11 developing countries to estimate current and future ewaste generation such as desk and laptop computers, printers, mobile phones, pagers, digital photo and music devices, refrigerators, toys and televisions. By 2020 ewaste from old computers in South Africa and China will have jumped by 200 to 400% from 2007 levels, and by 500% in India, it said. Waste from discarded mobile phones would be seven times higher in China and 18 times higher in India by the same year. China already produces an estimated 2.3 million tons of e-waste, second only to the United States with about three million tones, the report said.
6 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
Pakistan got $18bn aid from US post 9/11 WASHINGTON (TIP): Pakistan has been a beneficiary of US largesse post 9/11. Pakistan has received nearly $18 billion as aid from the United States, including $11.5 billion as military assistance, according to Congressional documents. A Congressional compilation of US aid to Pakistan says Islamabad has received $6 billion in civilian aid after the September 11 terrorist attack in New York. The Obama Administration in its latest annual budget has proposed $1.6 billion in military assistance and about $1.4 billion as civilian assistance to Pakistan. This takes the total US aid to Pakistan to more than $20.7 billion post 9/11, according to the data compiled from information received from the Departments of Defense, State and Agriculture and US Agency for International Development. Of the military assistance, the maximum amount $7. 345 billion has gone to Pakistan as Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which many do not consider as foreign assistance as this is reimbursement that Pakistan receives for its
support of the US military operations in Afghanistan. This is followed by $2.164 billion as foreign military assistance. After coming to power, the Obama Administration has so far provided $1.1 billion ($400 million in 2009 and $700 million in 2010) for Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund/ Counterinsurgency Capability Fund. For the year 2011, Obama has proposed to the US Congress $1.2 billion for Pakistan under this category. Non-military assistance to Pakistan has increased considerably to Pakistan under the Obama Administration, which is mainly attributable to the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill which grants $7.5 billion to Pakistan in five years beginning 2009. Post 9 /11, Pakistan has received $6 billion as civilian assistance, most of which -- $4.7 billion - is under the category of Economic Support Fund. In the year 2011, Obama has proposed to the Congress to give $1.322 billion to Pakistan.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
U.S. Sikhs Press President Obama for stern action against Taliban WASHINGTON (TIP): Washington based Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) on February 23 condemned the beheading of two Sikhs by the Taliban in Pakistan as a 'barbaric act' and asked President Barack Obama to intervene and take up the matter strongly with the Pakistan Government. The victims identified as Jaspal Singh and Mahal Singh, who were kidnapped a month ago from Bara in the Khyber Agency, were beheaded in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan and their heads sent to a gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Peshawar In a letter to President Obama, delivered via White House officials, Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of SCORE, said, "We Sikhs in the United States are outraged by this heinous crime by the Taliban against two innocent Sikhs and we are deeply concerned about the lives and property of Sikhs in Pakistan. U.S. Government must press upon the Pakistan Government to take stern action against the perpetrators of these horrendous acts. It is the primary duty of the Pakistan government to intervene on behalf of the Sikhs and other minorities and protect them from any atrocities committed by Tehrik-e-Taliban or any other group. "It is important that U.S. government conveys our deepest concerns to the Pakistan Government via U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke. Since last year the religious freedom of the Sikhs has been threatened and they have been forced to leave their centuries old dwellings in the Orakzai Agency and adjacent areas. We are appalled that some Sikhs in Pakistan were being coerced into becoming Muslims. Last year some Sikh families had been taken hostage in Pakistan and forced to pay 'jiziya' (religious tax). These kinds of
atrocities cannot be tolerated at any cost and we must ask for security and well being of all communities in Pakistan." Dr. Singh further stated, "We pray for the families of the victims and in this critical time, we stand by our brethren in Pakistan. We have received a number of calls and emails from Sikhs all across America expressing their outrage about the situation in Pakistan. As American citizens, we request you to express our sentiments to President Zardari. We will continue to work with the State Department, congressional leaders at the Capitol Hill and the White House on this issue." SCORE had written a similar letter about the Sikh plight to President Obama last year prior to his meeting with President Zardari at the White House. According to the White House officials, Obama raised the issue of security and safety of Sikhs and minorities with the visiting Pakistani leader. Two other Sikhs, Gurvinder Singh and Gurjit Singh, are still reported to be in the custody of the Taliban groups. Jaspal Singh was taken while travelling in Khyber district a month ago. His body was found on Sunday. Mastan Singh was kidnapped in the Orakzai region at about the same time. The SGPC has also urged the Pakistan government to ensure safety and security of Pakistan-based Sikhs in the wake of increasing Taliban threats to them. The four Sikhs had gone to the area to collect their business dues, when they were allegedly kidnapped by the Taliban, who demanded a ransom of 30 million rupees for their release. Last year, Taliban militants took over shops and homes of 35 Sikh families and kidnapped community leaders in Ferozkhel, Orakzai Agency.
Police seek 26/11 court nod to dispose of seized RDX MUMBAI (TIP): Police have sought permission from a special court to dispose of around 24 kgs of RDX recovered from the 26/11 target terror target spots here. "We have made an application seeking to dispose of the RDX but the court is yet to pass an order on our plea," Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told PTI. The RDX was recovered from three unexploded IEDs -- one outside Taj Mahal Hotel, another near Gokul Restaurant and the third from an unclaimed baggage at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). The seized explosive was placed before the court as evidence. It is the prosecution's case that two deceased terrorist, Abdul Rehman Bada and Javed alias Abu Ali, had planted 8 to 10 kgs RDX-laden IED outside the main porch of Taj Hotel in South Mumbai. However, before it could explode, the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) defused the bomb. Two other terrorists, Abu Shoib and Abu Umer, who had fired at people at Leopold Cafe, had planted 8 to 10 kgs RDX- laden IED on the kerb near Gokul Restaurant in the same area which did not exploded. Both Shoib and Umer were later killed by the security forces in the gunbattle at Hotel Taj.
Missing nuclear scientist dead CHENNAI (TIP): S Anantha Narayanan (37), scientific officer with Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, who had been missing since February 15, was run over by a train near Guduvancheri, 30km south of Chennai, on the same day, police said on Friday. A body in Chromepet Government Hospital was identified as Narayanan's. Whether it is a case of suicide or accident is not yet clear. After the post-mortem was conducted, the body was taken to Salem by his family members. He is survived by his wife Rukmini and daughters Abhirami (9) and Janani (3). Police said Narayanan was found dead on the railway track in Guduvancheri on February 15. Since the body could not be identified, it was moved to Chromepet Government Hospital mortuary.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 7
US pediatrician indicted Commercial real estate for raping 103 children headed for foreclosure crisis in D.C.
Dr. Earl Bradley being taken to courts
DOVER, DELAWARE (TIP): A Delaware grand jury returned a sweeping indictment against a pediatrician accused of serial molestation in what could be one of the worst child sex abuse cases in US history. The 160-page indictment returned by a grand jury charges Dr. Earl Bradley of Lewes with 471 counts of sexual crimes against 103 children. Attorney General Beau Biden said all of the alleged victims, including one boy, were caught on more than 13 hours of video recordings, some dating to 1998, that were seized from Bradley's office and home. ``The charges in this indictment are unique in the history of the state of Delaware, as far as I can tell,'' he said. ``These were crimes committed against the most vulnerable among us _ those without
voices,'' Biden added as tears welled in his eyes and he paused to collect himself. Biden said that while there have been other cases around the country involving multiple victims, ``I know of no other that has this many victims.'' The charges against Bradley include rape, sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual contact, continuous sexual abuse of a child, assault and reckless endangering. Bradley, who was arrested in December and initially charged with 29 felony counts for allegedly abusing nine children, is being held with bail set at $2.9 million. His medical license was permanently revoked by the state Board of Medical Practice last week. Bradley's attorney, Eugene Maurer, said he had not read the indictment but was not surprised by the allegations.
NRI hotelier wins Community Award LONDON (TIP): Britain's leading NRI hotelier Joginder Sangar has been presented the Community Award in recognition of his outstanding philanthropic work in the UK. At a ceremony held in the House of Commons, Rev Jesse Jackson, well known African American civil rights leader presented the award to Sangar. He described Sangar as a "gentleman who has devoted much of his time to fundraising and philanthropic work with success." Accepting the award, Sangar said he was "humbled and honoured". "I only did what everyone is expected to do," he added. Sangar, who had started business with a small travel agency in East London in 1965, has managed to build up a number of businesses including 5 star hotels, properties, travel agencies and Life Insurance Company and is now Chairman of Mast Craft Ltd. As Vice Chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sangar is instrumental in raising over a million pounds for building the new building for the Bhavan. He also played a key role in raising funds for constructing the largest Hindu temple in the UK for Lord Venkateswara (Balaji) in Tividale near Birmingham.
Indian-origin woman is Leader of Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago PORT-OF-SPAIN (TIP): Indian-origin Kamla Persad-Bissessar has became the first woman Leader of the Opposition in the Trinidad and Tobago parliament, ousting former premier Basdeo Panday from the post. Kamla was administered the oath of office here Thursday by President George Maxwell Richards at the president's house amidst loud cheers from the seven MPs, who supported her to oust incumbent Basdeo Panday. Panday had been Leader of the Opposition for almost 34 years, minus the six years he was prime minister. Kamla's ascent to the position follows elections within the opposition United National Congress (UNC) party Jan 24 when she beat her political mentor Panday ten to one in the UNC's national elections to choose a new leader and executive.
WASHINGTON (TIP): A mortgage crisis like the one that has devastated homeowners is enveloping the nation's office and retail buildings, and few places are likely to be hit as hard as Washington, according to a report published in Washington Post. The foreclosure wave is likely to swamp many smaller community banks across the country, and many well-known properties, including Washington's Mayflower Hotel and the Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Largo, are at risk, industry analysts say. The new round of financial pain, which some had anticipated but hoped to avoid, now seems all but certain. "There's been an enormous bubble in commercial real estate, and it has to come down," said Elizabeth Warren, chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the watchdog created by Congress to monitor the financial bailout. "There will be significant bankruptcies among developers and significant failures among community banks." Unlike the largest banks, such as Citigroup and Wachovia, that got into so much trouble early on, the community banks in general fared better in the residential mortgage crisis. But their turn is coming: Not only did community banks issue a higher proportion of commercial loans, but they also have held on to them rather than sell them to other
investors. Nearly 3,000 community banks -- 40 percent of the banking system -- have a high proportion of commercial real estate loans relative to their capital, said Warren, whose committee issued a report on commercial real estate last week. "Every dollar they lose in commercial real estate is a dollar they can't use for small businesses," she said. Individuals -- who saw their home values drop in the residential mortgage crisis -- would not feel that kind of loss, but, Warren said, a largescale failure would "throw sand into the gears of economic recovery." In Washington, the number of troubled properties has multiplied at a phenomenal rate, with the value growing from only $13 million in 2007 to $40 billion now, according to CoStar Group, a Bethesda real estate research company. The region trails only South Florida and metropolitan New York in the per capita value of commercial real estate assets in foreclosure, default or delinquency, according to the research group Real Capital Analytics. The threat is especially acute in the District, the firm said, where the catalogue of troubled commercial real estate properties has grown tenfold since April. Moreover, the region has $7.3 billion in commercial properties that are underwater -- worth less than the mortgages on them -- according to CoStar.
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8 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
COMMENT Prof. Indrajit S. Saluja
Barbaric forces in Pak akistan is increasingly being viewed as a nation that is faced with chaos and lawlessness. The recent beheading of two Sikhs by the Taliban in Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the northern part of Pakistan has accentuated that impression. Pakistan cannot absolve itself of its responsibility to protect the life and property of its citizens. The Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi's outburst in Beijing that India was not trying to appreciate the Pakistani position in fighting terrorism hardly makes things better. One would appreciate his condemnation of the killing of the two Sikhs and also welcome his statement that his government welcomed Sikhs to visit their holy shrines and would do whatever is necessary to protect them. Again, it does not address the problem of the security of Sikhs living in Pakistan. One would like to see Pakistan being more concerned about the safety and security of the minorities living in Pakistan. Recently, a group of Sikhs in New York requested the Pakistan Consulate for an appointment to submit a memorandum to the Consul General but Mr. Khan, the Private Secretary to the Consul General, would only say he would call back. Five days after the first request, Mr. Khan's call is still awaited. How much concerned the Pakistani officials feel about this colossal human tragedy can be judged from this alone.
America needs Healthcare overhaul resident Obama's summit with the leaders of both the Democratic and the Republican parties seems to have changed the long odds facing Democrats who seem to have been energized. It is evident from the signs of intensified activity on Capitol Hill that they do not feel as intimidated by Republican opposition to the Healthcare overhauls as they did before the summit. A shot in the arm also comes from a few retiring Democrats who had opposed the legislation when the House approved it in November. They are now inclined to reconsider their stand on the issue. The outcome is certain to affect all Americans, remaking the way they pay for healthcare, the kinds of care they are likely to receive and where they are likely to get it. It is now clear that Democrats will push ahead with the healthcare overhaul legislation, Republican opposition notwithstanding. One would wish Republicans see reason and drop their opposition to the healthcare overhaul. They must not oppose a good thing for the people of America just because they think it is the opposition baby. Republicans need to have greater sympathy for their countrymen who are in dire need of a healthcare system which will give them all health without shedding tears and make the American nation stronger.
Budget a mixed bag, but NPS proposal a masterstroke y now, it is clear to every individual taxpayer that he or she will pay a lot less in taxes next year. I don’t have a record of tax cuts made in the past but this must be the biggest reduction in a single year for most people since the age of socialist tax rates ended. However, is the budget all good from a savings and investment perspective? It certainly looks like at this point. The broadening of the tax slabs leaves a lot more in the pockets of many taxpayers. Of course, we should actually be asking a question that I’d written about two weeks ago — why don’t we have a system whereby the slabs can be adjusted upwards by an inflation-linked amount annually?
THE INDIAN PANORAMA A Weekly Publication of Indo-US Media, Inc Vice President/ Publisher Lovllien Kaurr Chief Editor: Prof Indrajit S. Saluja Associate Editor: Rajinder S. Taggar Graphics Director: Om Parkash Malik Director Administration Gauri Beri Director Marketing Karan Beri Contributing photographers Jaffer/SnapsIndia Shiv Chander Baldev Singh Vaaho Photographers IndianEra.com Distributor Sukhwinder Singh Correspondents Sacramento :Parminder S. Aujla Fresno: Tarlochan Singh Atlanta: Gurbhej
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But that’s unlikely to ever happen — why would finance ministers give up their chance to be seen doling out largesse. And so the 80C limit stays stuck at Rs 1 lakh. However, the government has effectively added Rs 20,000 to it if that amount is invested in infrastructure bonds. That’s not as good as having the freedom to invest wherever is most suitable for an individual, but at least it does act as a long-overdue enhancement to the Rs 1 lakh limit. Beyond the obvious tax changes, the budget speech had something really interesting as far as the encouragement of savings goes, and that’s the new scheme to encourage a new class of savers to come into the New Pension System
(NPS). So far, the NPS has not been a marketing success in the absence of commission-earning agents. The finance minister has unveiled an innovative way to try and fix this problem. The government will give what amounts to a joining gift to potential savers below a certain savings level. In what must be a first of its kind, the government will give Rs 1,000 per year for three years. This scheme is open only to those who deposit less than Rs 12,000 per year and start their account in 201011. This is a brilliant instance of paying direct subsidy in a way that is designed to encourage people to save. The scheme could well be the impetus that the NPS needs to do its job.
Letter to editor
Congress Government Glorifying Anti-Hindu Painter M.F. Husain Dear sir, The other day I came across "India Perspectives" issue of September-October 2009, a monthly magazine published by Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. This magazine proclaims "to continue its tradition of providing intellectually stimulating and attractive contents to its readers." But to my dismay and disillusionment, I was shocked to see a four page review of an e-book on Maqbool Fida Husain who has gained ignominy and notoriety in India for painting vulgar and obscene images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. It is a well known fact that Mr. Husain is a notoriously obnoxious person who has made it his hobby to denigrate Hindu Gods and Goddesses by painting them in loutish and uncouth manner. A couple of years ago he had made a nude portrait of Bharat Mata for which he was widely condemned by Indian Parliament. He is a pervert. He has insulted Indian womanhood several times. Instinctively, he is endowed with a fiendish mind which impels him to indulge in despicable activities calculated to cause torment and agony to Hindu people. His grotesque and insidious actions have created communal tension in India and deeply hurt Hindu sentiments. Under the guise of "Art", Mr. Husain has offended the sensibilities of one billion Hindus. He has mistaken Hindus' tolerance for their weakness. That is the reason he has been deliberately and maliciously demonizing Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Husain is facing hundreds of police complaints in India. Courts have issued summons and arrest warrants against
Husain in various cities like Indore and Delhi since mid-March 2006, for creating communal discord. According to the Police, this is why M. F. Husain has been absconding to UK. and Dubai (den of Dawood Ibrahim's D Company). As a matter of fact, he is a fugitive from justice. According to Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, more than 28,000 people have signed a petition condemning Husain for his sinister attempts to vilify Hindus. Police in India's financial capital Mumbai (Bombay) had begun legal proceedings to seize the property belonging to Mr Husain about 4 years ago. From the name, M.F. Husain appears to be a Muslim by faith. In that case, it is not understood as to what on earth prompts him to choose only Hindu Gods and Goddesses for such a disgraceful and ridiculous portrayal. We should also note here that the Congress Government in India derives its legitimacy and sustenance from Hindus who form 83% of the total population. Hence, it is unbecoming on the part of Ministry of External Affairs to promote a criminal who has been condemned by Parliament. It amounts to aiding and abetting this delinquent in his slanderous activities against Hindus. Dear friends, if you have time and your blood boils, you can register your protest by calling Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs at 011-91-11-23389471, 23388873 or email them at email@example.com. Narain Kataria President, Intellectuals' Forum, New York
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UNION BUDGET 2010
Thursday, Feb 25, 2009 9
Govt to earn Rs 40,000 cr TDS just got a little less tedious from excise hike, petro duties NEW DELHI (TIP): The government today said it will earn an additional Rs 40,000 crore from the hike in excise and restoration of duties on petroleum products, while it will lose Rs 21,000 crore due to income tax sops. Of the Rs 40,000 crore, Rs 14,000 crore would come from excise duty hike and Rs 26,000 crore from petro duties, Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra told reporters on the sidelines of a FICCI AGM. The government in the Budget yesterday raised excise duty, which was lowered to 8 per cent during the slowdown, to 10 per cent and also restored duties on petroleum products. In addition, the government stands to gain Rs 3,000 crore from service taxes on 8 new
segments and 4 existing ones and another Rs 2,000 crore from the clean energy cess on coal, he said. Other changes in the indirect taxes will contribute another Rs 1,500 crore, giving the government a total gain of Rs 46,500 crore. On the direct taxes front, the changes in the slab will result in a loss of Rs 21,000 crore, and surcharge reduction from 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent on corporate taxes in Rs 5,000 crore. Exemptions on investments in infrastructure bonds will result in a loss of Rs 6,000 crore. However, increasing MAT form 15 to 18 per cent on book profits of companies that do not fall under the tax net because of various exemptions will fetch the govt Rs 6,000 crore.
Banks may burden customers if forced to abolish prepenalty: RBI MUMBAI (TIP): Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Usha Thorat, said abolishing the practice of levying pre-payment penalty on loans could prompt lenders to hike interest rates to pass on their burden to customers. "There is a chance that banks may pass on this burden to customers (if the prepayment penalty is abolished)," Thorat told reporters. Anti-monopoly watchdog Competition Commission of India had recently said that it may fine banks or ask them to stop the practice of imposing penalty, as it feels that penalising borrowers who foreclose loans is a violation of competition laws. Referring to the Commission's intervention on the matter, Thorat said that it was apparently due to the fact some institutions were levying a very high penalty on borrowers during prepayment of advances. Banks usually impose a penalty in the range of 2-3 per cent on those customers who choose to close their loan amount before maturity. This, bankers said, would impact their interest earnings besides increasing lending risk. In such a situation, banks may be forced to hike lending rates to all borrowers to compensate this risk, bankers said.
NEW DELHI (TIP): The Budget has given a big relief to taxpayers whose taxes are deducted at source. Under tax deduction at source (TDS), every person responsible for payment of any sum to any person is required to deduct tax at source at the prescribed rate and deposit it with the central government. Deduction would be in order if the payments exceeded the prescribed threshold limit. But, the Budget has increased the threshold limit of a number of items (see chart). This will be a relief to ordinary taxpayers and particularly to senior citizens whose total income falls below the taxable income. The threshold limit for rental income has been increased from Rs 1,20,000 to Rs 1,80,000. Take for example, a senior citizen whose total income is less than Rs 2,40,000 and who has a rental income of Rs 1,80,000, which he receives from a company.
According to the existing system, the company will pay him the rental after deducting tax at the rate of 10%. Now, to claim the refund for the tax deducted from his rental income as his total income is less than Rs 2,40,000, he will have to file a return with the department. After filing the return, he will have to wait to get the refund. Under the new system, the TDS will not be affected as his rental income is not more than Rs 1,80,000. This will save him the cumbersome process of filing the return to get refund. Similarly, the threshold limit for insurance commission for TDS has increased to Rs 20,000 from Rs 5,000. This will save an agent inconvenience if income is less than the taxable income. Otherwise also, he will not have to wait for a refund. These amendments will take effect from July 1, 2010.
Easy credit, pvt funds for farm NEW DELHI (TIP): There was hardly anything in the budget to reflect the government’s commitment to achieve a 4% farm sector growth, but it did contain some provisions to ease credit flow, bring down input costs and attract private investment into the sector. “The direction is right, but the steps are still too small,” said Ashok Gulati, Asia head for think tank IFPRI. Some of the key measures announced on Friday are higher target for credit flow into agriculture, lower interest rate for farmers who repay loans on time and allowing external commercial borrowing for setting up cold storage facilities. “In the agriculture sector, the government has got the right fix. It has a better idea of what needs to be done,” said Saumitra Chaudhury, member, Planning Commission. The measures may prove inadequate to boost growth in the sector, which is struggling to emerge from the impact of the worst monsoon in three decades. Achieving 4% growth in agriculture is key to the government’s
6 out of 10 to Budget, says Swaminathan Aiyer Swaminathan Aiyer, economist, in a chat with ET Now talks about the Budget. The idea that Pranab Mukherjee is on a responsible fiscal policy path has greatly enthused foreign investors? I think that is the main reason why you saw the stock market shoot up. How are the stock markets looking? Yeah, all idea that had the question is what does he felt to do, okay (1:00) the radical Budget it dubs the reform proposals it hardly anything. On financial sector reform there was idea on will he increase the insurance FDI limit to 49%? He said nothing. There has been talk about trying to reduce the public sector share in PSU banks but nothing about increase in the voting share of foreign investors in banks. There was a proposal that service tax should be extended to the railways, he has said that he is showing some memorandum on that. But I doubt very much whether railways will be on that, otherwise he would have mentioned it. He has avoided giving any specific sums of money for spending on implementing the Right to Education Act or Food Security Act. He just said we will pull it up for discussion and instead of doing something about the woeful lack of justice and financial sector reform. There are new commissions to go into financial sector reform and judicial reform. So there are various areas he could have done much more and he has not done much more. So it’s a middle of the road Budget. My marks would be 6 out of 10.
efforts to accomplish 9% economic growth. “The budget has allocated Rs 40,000 crore under NREGA, but provided only Rs 400 crore towards creating food security in the eastern corridor. If the FM were to provide Rs 10,000 crore towards this, it would have ensured food security for the next 20 years,” Mr Gulati said. The finance minister also provided more funds for rain water harvesting, watershed management and for enhancing soil health to improve productivity of dry land. He announced a slew of Customs, service tax and central excise exemptions and reductions to attract private investment. Recognising the importance of lowcost credit for the rural sector, the government has decided to offer farmers with good credit history loans at 5% as against 7% at present. To increase the availability of credit, the budget has proposed recapitalisation of regional rural banks and licences to non-banking financial companies to offer credit in rural areas. The budget has a host of measures
to make investments in agriculture attractive to private players. These include exempting seed testing and certification from service tax, according project import status with concessional import duty and full service tax exemption for mechanised handling systems in sugar and foodgrain warehouses and cold storage. The Economic Survey 2009-10 had suggested some far-reaching reforms, raising visions of some sweeping measures in the budget. The survey hinted at opening up of organised retail, but the budget remained silent on this. This would have gone a long way in meeting future demand for food. Last budget, the finance minister spoke about a nutrient-based fertiliser subsidy regime. He mentioned the same again on Friday, but one has to see the details to know what is in store. The biggest thing would be to provide direct subsidies to farmers because almost 50% of the subsidies are consumed by the fertiliser industry.
On fiscal highway, FM drives hard, but within speed limits NEW DELHI (TIP): The finance minister has managed to strike a fantastic balance between GDP growth and investor expectation. On the one hand, it is an aam aadmi Budget, with its focus on social-sector spending. At the same time, he has not ignored the investor. He has clearly laid out the path for fiscal discipline. And given his track record, there is every reason to believe that he will deliver. Net government borrowing at Rs 3.15lakh crore and gross borrowing at Rs 4.6-lakh crore have come as a big relief for the market, as these numbers were below consensus estimates of Rs 4.8-4.9 lakh crore. Had the gross figure been higher by around Rs 20,000 crore, bond yields would have risen by 20 basis points. The other high points of the Budget are the GST road map, direct tax code and willingness to implement Parikh Committee’s recommendations.
If these things go according to plan, it will be a big ‘positive’ for the market. The revision in personal tax slabs and an additional exemption are expected to leave at least Rs 60,000 more in the hands. of the consumers. This will give a big fillip to consumption. The increase in MAT is a negative. There are also concerns about a rise in inflation in the short term due to a combination of factors like low-base effect, petrol price hike and strong consumption. But we don’t see the situation getting out of hand, as the government’s efforts to curb food prices are beginning to show results. Already, food prices have come down 10-30% from their recent highs. Some clarity is needed on the proposal to levy service tax on construction of residential and commercial complexes, so that the enduser is not forced to shell out more for his dream house or office space.
10 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Declare Sajjan Kumar an absconder: Sikhs for Justice Court Issues Fresh Warrant against Sajjan Kumar; Slams CBI NEW DELHI (TIP): Dismissing the investigating agency's alibis for not arresting Congress Leader Sajjan Kumar, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma issued fresh non bailable warrants against him and the other accused in November 1984 massacre of Sikhs. Showing resentment on the nonexecution of the earlier non bailable warrant against Sajjan Kumar issued on February 17, 2010, Court slammed CBI for giving lame excuses for not arresting and producing Sajjan Kumar and other accused before the court. ACMM directed the Superintendent of Police concerned to ensure the execution of CBI personally under the supervision of the CBI Director. ACMM further directed CBI to present Sajjan Kumar and other accused before court on March 10, 2010. Also, court dismissed a plea by counsel for Sajjan Kumar, I.U. Khan to exempt him from personal appearance till his anticipatory bail application pending before the Delhi High Court was decided. Facing a threat of arrest, Sajjan Kumar approched Delhi High Court to expedite the hearing on his anticipatory bail plea, but Delhi High
Court refused the plea. However, one accused Girdhari Lal was produced before court by CBI. ACMM remanded Girdhari Lal to judicial custody. Despite the fact that Sajjan Kumar was duty bound to honor the court's order, he disrespected the court's order twice. Sajjan Kumar didn't show up before the court either on February 17, 2010 or on February 23, 2010, thus proving his culpability in the killing of thousands of Sikhs during November 1984. Had he been innocent, he would have appeared before court to prove his innocence. Attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor Sikhs For Justice, a US based human rights group who is advocating the cases of November 1984 Sikh massacre with the help of All India Sikh Students Federation, stated that in such scenario, Sajjan Kumar should be arrested as early as possible as the matter relates to murder of thousands of Sikhs. He further stated that we are hopeful that the Delhi High Court would deny anticipatory bail to Sajjan Kumar. During the proceedings, the CBI counsel said the bureau had conducted four raids at different places to nab the accused, including Sajjan Kumar, but failed to nab any
of them except Girdhari Lal. Hearing this, the court pulled up the CBI, saying the bureau was not working properly. Slamming CBI, the court said "Is this the manner in which the premier investigating agency is working? Why were efforts not made in the night hours when there was a high probability of the accused being present in their homes? It seems that CBI is not interested in investigating the matter." "The report you have submitted is just a stereotype report. I don't understand why the search is conducted on the residence of the accused? Is there no other place
where these people are available?" the court asked. On this the CBI counsel Y.K. Saxena said: "There is no other place where these people are available. These people are deliberately hiding." Terming the arrest of Girdhari Lal as a catch of a small fish, the court said: "The investigating officers (IO) of the cases are not serious about arresting the accused. Their role is suspicious." Demanding the accused persons should be declared as proclaimed offender (PO) under the due process of law, the CBI counsel said: "They are hiding and concealing some facts, so necessary steps should be made to declare them PO." On this Khan, Sajjan Kumar's Counsel said: "I am a law abiding citizen and am only waiting for the high court's order on the bail." On this, the judge said: "If you are a law abiding citizen, then where is he? He should obey the court's order first." The court however dismissed the application made on behalf of the accused for exemption of personal appearance, stating: "The court will not work at the mercy of the accused. At present the accused persons are abusing their rights." On February 1, 2010, Additional
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma issued summons against Sajjan Kumar amongst others pursuant to two charge sheets filed by CBI in the November 1984 massacre of Sikhs cases. On February 17, 2010, ACMM issued non bailable warrant against Sajjan Kumar for February 23, 2010 on his non-appearance before the court. The two charge sheets filed by the CBI pertain to killing of seven Sikhs in Sultanpuri, North-West Delhi and killing of five Sikhs in Delhi Cantonment during the November 1984 massacre of Sikhs.Sajjan Kumar has been charged for Murder (Sec 302); Criminal Conspiracy (Sec 120-B) and for spreading enmity between communities (Sec 153A).As per the charge sheet filed by the CBI, during the November 1984 massacre of Sikhs, Sajjan Kumar ordered local police officials to fire at Sikhs because of which three Sikhs were killed at Sultanpuri, Delhi. CBI has also alleged that Sajjan Kumar instigated the mobs to burn Sikhs alive and he in collusion with one Bhatia, SHO Sultanpuri police station and other police officers led the mob. The CBI has stated that the statements recorded by all the eyewitnesses are reliable and there are no contradictions.
PM urges Afghan President to ensure protection for Indians NEW DELHI (TIP): In the wake of the terror attack in Kabul, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requested Afghan President Hamid Karzai to ensure full protection for Indians in Afghanistan. Singh made the request when Karzai called him up to express condolence on the loss of Indian nationals in the attacks in Kabul yesterday. Karzai promised "full investigation" into the incident, PM's Media Adviser Harish Khare said. During the conversation, Singh conveyed India's "outrage" at the incident, he said. While thanking the Afghanistan government for the assistance given, the Prime Minister requested Karzai to ensure full protection for Indian nationals in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to stay in touch with other, he added. Taliban carried out coordinated attack on two hotels in Kabul which had been rented out by Indians associated with the development works in that country. Up to nine Indians were among 17 people killed in the attack.
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US says no to nuclear power plant to Pak WASHINGTON (TIP): The US has categorically told Pakistan that it would not get any atomic power plant or civilian nuclear deal on the lines of the one signed with India. "The United States is working closely with Pakistan to help meet its growing needs. Nuclear power is not currently part of our discussions," a senior Administration official told PTI. Leaders of Pakistan, who have been pitching hard for a nuclear power plant, have
been told about in recently. The senior Administration official, preferring anonymity, said the US has also told Pakistan that there is no way that they can get a civilian nuclear deal similar to the one the Obama Administration has signed with India. The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal is specific to India only and there is no thinking going on in the administration to create a template for it, the official said. Moreover, given the past experiences that the US had
with Pakistan on nuclear proliferation issue and the episode of disgraced Pakistani scientist A Q Khan accused of transferring sensitive technologies abroad, the official said both the top American lawmakers and those in the US Government have serious concerns about the safety of Pakistani nuclear weapons. Under these circumstances, it is quite difficult to consider "that (nuclear power)" option for Pakistan, the officials pointed out.
Kabul attack: 2 armymen among 9 Indians dead, special plane being sent to bring bodies NEW DELHI (TIP): India is sending a special aircraft to Afghanistan to bring back the bodies of its nationals including army officials, who died in suicide attacks in Kabul today. A team of army officers and officials from the Ministry of External Affairs will also visit Kabul to review the security situation there in the backdrop of the attacks. At least nine Indians were among 17 people killed as Taliban suicide bombers carried out a string of attacks in the heart of Kabul, targeting Indian interests in Afghanistan. A Boeing 737-200 aircraft from the Palambased Communication squadron will take off
from here tomorrow morning to bring back all the dead bodies and those injured, IAF officials said here. The Indians, who died in the incident, include two army officers, government officials, an ITBP constable and a tabla player who was part of a cultural delegation to Afghanistan. Five other army officers were also injured in the attack. The bombers struck at a number of guest houses, particularly at Park Residence, rented out by the Indian embassy for its staffers and those linked to India's developmental work in Afghanistan.
BBC to shut part of website, 2 radio stations LONDON (tip): The BBC will shut part of its website and close two radio stations in order to sharply reduce spending, a British newspaper reported Friday. The paper also says spending on American programming will be reduced when the overhaul is announced next month. BBC officials Friday refused to comment. The Times says the 6 Music and Asian Network radio stations will be stopped and a number of BBC magazines face possible closure. The newspaper says the number of Web pages produced will be cut in half, with a staff cut of 25 percent. The BBC depends heavily on TV licence fees paid by British consumers, and complaints have multiplied that the national broadcaster costs too much money. Competing broadcasters have complained that the fees give the BBC an unfair advantage in the competitive marketplace. The proposals would mark a reversal of the expansion experienced by the BBC, whose growth has caused alarm among competitors as it moved into extending its reach on the Internet. If approved, the proposals will see 600 million pounds ($916 million) being redirected to higher quality programming, the Times said. The National Union of Journalists condemned the planned cuts and warned of strikes. ``If true, these cuts will result not just in the loss of hundreds of jobs, but the loss of valuable, quality output aimed at young people and the Asian communities,'' said Jeremy Dear, the union's general-secretary said. ``We will fight them with all our might.''
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 11
Melbourne not safe for Indians: Australian opposition leader MELBOURNE (TIP): Streets of Melbourne were not safe for Indians and the government should spend money on policing and preventing racial attacks to improve relationship, Australia's Opposition Leader Tony Abott said on Tuesday. The remarks came in the wake of government's move to arrange accommodation for a team of Indian journalists touring Down Under. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is spending $250,000 on flights and five-star accommodation for the journalists in a bid to clear up a diplomatic row over a series of attacks on Indians, the AAP reported quoting Herald Sun. During their visit, the team of 25 reporters will tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground and see the
concerts of Bollywood composer AR Rahman scheduled to be held in Sydney and Melbourne. Abbott said the money would be better spent preventing the bashing which was the basic "PR problem" between India and Australia. "I think it would be much better spending the money on better policing of our streets because that's the basic problem," Abbott told Fairfax Radio Network. "Our streets aren't safe, particularly the streets of Melbourne, which appear to have been pretty seriously under-policed. "If you didn't have these racially motivated bashings in unsafe streets we wouldn't have the PR problem, so let's go to the heart of the matter." According to the DFAT, about $10,000 would be spent on each of the visiting reporters.
UK politicians fall victim to Twitter scam LONDON (TIP): British politicians were among those caught up on Friday in the latest Twitterbased scam which hijacks users' accounts to send out sexually explicit messages to friends and followers. The micro-blogging website has seen hit by a wave of so-called "phishing scams,'' which lure users to a bogus website where they're enticed to part with their passwords. Those tracking the Twitter account of Ed Miliband, the British energy minister, were surprised by a message carrying an unusually direct reference to the politician's sex life. "Oh dear it seems like I've fallen victim to twitter's latest 'phishing' scam,'' Miliband posted shortly afterward. He wasn't alone. On Thursday, House of Commons leader Harriet Harman told lawmakers her account had sent a bogus message to opposition lawmaker Alan Duncan.
12 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Taliban kill 2 Sikhs; send heads to Pak gurdwara NEW YORK (TIP): The Taliban has reportedly beheaded two Sikhs in Pakistan's lawless tribal region bordering Afghanistan and sent the heads to a gurdwara, according to a report datelined Peshawar/New Delhi February 22 published in Times of India. Jaspal Singh and Mahan Singh, both businessmen, were kidnapped from Tira Valley, in Khyber agency, and Darra Adamkheil, in Orakzai agency, on January 19 and held for ransom. Sources in the area told media on February 21 that they were killed because they were paying `protection' money to a rival faction. However, according to security sources in New Delhi, Jaspal and Mahan were reportedly told to convert to Islam or face death. When they refused, their heads were chopped off and sent to the Bhai Joga Singh gurdwara in Peshawar. The Indian government has taken serious note of this incident and is in touch with the high commission in Islamabad. "This incident is shocking. We are looking into it," a source said. The miniscule Sikh community in NWFP and Afghanistan has been under pressure from the Taliban to
Pak foreign minister condemns Sikh killings BEIJING (TIP): Pakistan foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on February 23 condemned the killing of Sikhs in his country. He said the perpetuators of these "inhuman acts" did not spare Muslim men and women as well. Pakistan government has high respect for Sikhs and has done what it can to improve the road links to their holy shrines in Lahore and other places in the country, Qureshi told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting at a Chinese government run think-tank. His government welcomed Sikhs to visit their holy shrines and would do whatever is necessary to protect them, Qureshi said. "We are fighting against this mindset," he said while discussing the role of "inhuman elements".
Wide condemnation-Sikhs protest embrace Islam, official sources said. The Taliban, during their reign in Afghanistan, had imposed jiziya -- a religious tax -- on all minorities, mostly Hindus and Sikhs. They were made to wear a piece of yellow cloth on their breast pocket to identify themselves. The Afghan Sikh Association of New York grieved over the brutal killing of the two Sikhs who had migrated to Pakistan in the wake of mounting pressure on them of the Taliban. It is ironical that in trying to save their lives, they lost their lives. They have condemned the incident and demanded that Pakistan government give proper protection to the Sikhs living in that country. Several Sikh organizations in New York have condemned the brutal incident. Guru Gobind Singh Sikh Study Circle President Sarabjit Singh said he was surprised and shocked to learn of the beheadings of the two Sikhs in Pakistan. He said his organization strongly condemned this brutal killing of the Sikhs and demanded from
government of Pakistan adequate protection to the Sikhs living in Pakistan. Master Mohinder Singh, a veteran Sikh leader who is a former President of Gurdwara Sikh Cultural Society and the founder President of Gurdwara Makhan Shah Lobana Sikh Cultural Society, besides being General Secretary of American Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said he was shocked beyond belief at the savage beheading of the two Sikhs in Pakistan. He has called upon all Sikh organizations all across the world, and in particular, the Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar and the Akal Takht to take note of the incident which he said was a wake up call for the Sikhs. He has called upon all Sikh institutions and organizations to protest and condemn the incident and demand from government of Pakistan protection of the Sikhs living there. He said Pakistan government should tender an apology for failing to protect the Sikh citizens and give adequate
compensation to the dependents of the two Sikhs killed. Master Mohinder Singh stated that in the last meeting with Human Right Commission of USA under the leadership of the United Sikhs he had brought to a the attention of the Commission sufferings of the Sikhs in Pakistan and suggested that Pakistani Sikhs should be given the option to migrate to India and USA and there they should be given a refugee status leading to permanent resident status and later to citizenship of these countries. He said the incident has underscored the necessity of such an arrangement to save further loss of lives of Sikhs in Pakistan. He said he would renew his suggestion in this regard with the US administration. Master Mohinder Singh said he would lead a delegation of Sikhs to the Pakistan Consulate and present a memorandum demanding that government of Pakistan ensure safety and security of the Sikhs who are of Indian origin.
â€˜Beheaded, my brother became a Sikh martyr' ATTARI (TIP): ``I am proud of my brother, he has not been killed, he has attained martyrdom for the honour of Sikh religion. He refused to convert to Islam and preferred to lay down his life,'' an inconsolable Taranjit Singh told media here on February 22, a day after his cousin's beheaded body was found. Pakistani Taliban had ruthlessly beheaded Jaspal Singh and Mahal Singh while two others - Gurjit Singh and Gurvinder Singh - are still in their custody. Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Sham Singh, however, said only Jaspal Singh had been killed. Jaspal's cousin, Taranjit, who lives in Lahore, has been in India for the past three weeks on a pilgrimage. He revealed that the kidnapping of Sikhs by Taliban was not only for money, but also to threaten the small Sikh community of Pakistan to embrace Islam. Taranjit, who was on his way back to Pakistan, said: ``Had it only been about money, we (the Sikh community of Peshawar) would have
contributed and paid the hefty ransom of Rs 3 crore and forgotten about it for the sake of their lives. But they (Taliban) had forced Jaspal to cut his hair and convert to Islam to which my brother refused and they beheaded him.'' He said Jaspal had sacrificed his life for the religion and to protect his identity. "I have to go and see how the situation is there for us,'' he said, unsure of the fate of the Sikh community in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan. He, however, admitted that he was afraid to return home. Kirpal Singh, brother-in-law of the victim, said, ``Jaspal and his mother were also to accompany us and they had even got the visa for pilgrimage, but then he was abducted.'' Jaspal is survived by four children, including two daughters, and his widow, he added. Sikhs in general were safe in Pakistan, but in FATA and other areas under control of Orkazai Agency, Taliban set their own rules, Kirpal Singh said.
Jarnail Singh Gilzian, President of Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah Lobana, one of the premier Sikh temples on the East Coast, said in a statement to TIP that the Sikhs have been living for generations in Pakistan. Even in the worst times, they stood by their country of adoption. It was unfortunate that they have been targeted by the Taliban. He condemned the brutal beheading of the two Sikhs and said it reminded him of the dark days of Mogul persecution of the Sikhs. He demanded from government of Pakistan adequate security for the Sikhs who are a miniscule minority there. Pal Singh Sihota, President, Indian Overseas Congress, USA in a statement issued from Fresno, CA said the savage killing of the two Sikhs by the Taliban in Pakistan deserves to be condemned by the entire civilized world. He has called upon the Human Rights organizations, the United Nations and the US Administration to take note of the incident and impress upon the government of Pakistan to provide proper safety to the microscopic Sikh minority who chose to make Pakistan their home.
NRI SAHI condemns beheadings of Sikhs in Pakistan NEW YORK (TIP): NRI SAHI in a press statement released to the media on February 23 has offered condolences to the families of the of Jaspal Singh and Mahal Singh on their brutal and heinous murder. NRI's for Secular and Harmonious India condemn their kidnapping and murder on 22nd of February in Pakistan. The statement said, "We urge the Government of India to ask the Government of Pakistan and exert pressure on it to punish the guilty to the fullest extent. We also ask the Government of India to exert pressure on the Government of Pakistan to seek release of the Sikhs and Hindus who are in the captivity of the Taliban and to provide the captives protection to live in peace. We strongly suggest the Government of India demand that all minorities, their properties and religious institutions, that is, gurduwaras, temples, churches, and Ahmadiya mosques be safeguarded against barbaric attacks by the Taliban and other extremists operating in Pakistan". The signatories to the statement included Shri Kumar Poddar, Goerge Abraham, Dr. Najma Sultana, Mohammad Imran and Dr. Sheikh Ubaid.
INOC condemns beheading of innocent Sikhs by Taliban NEW YORK (TIP): Indian Overseas Congress, USA has in a press statement to The Indian Panorama strongly condemned the brutal and barbaric killing of two innocent Sikhs and urged the Prime Minister of India to demand the extradition of those perpetrators who remain free in Pakistan. "Cold blooded murder of innocents is a crime against humanity and no religious tenets would justify such an insane act" said Dr. Surinder Malhotra,
President of INOC. 'This dastardly incident once again reveals the lack of resolve on the part of Government of Pakistan to protect its minority citizens", he added. "INOC shares the grief and sorrow of the families involved and requests the Government of India to do its utmost to bring those terrorists to justice and compensate the families in their distress", the statement further said.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Indian-origin woman gets life for killing lover with poison LONDON (TIP): Lakhvir Singh, the Southhall-based Indian-origin woman who killed her lover out of jealousy by poisoning his curry with Indian herb Aconite, was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment. Singh poisoned the curry that was later consumed by Lakhvinder Cheema, 39, who died hours after eating the meal in January 2009. Her life sentence was pronounced at the Old Bailey and she must serve a minimum of 23 years. Sentencing her, Judge Paul Worsley said: "You set about a cold and calculating revenge. You were not just a spurned lover, you did not simply explode in anger at your rejection". Singh, however, was cleared of attempting to murder Gurjeet Choongh, Cheema's fiancee. Cheema and Choongh were due to be married on Valentine's Day in 2009. The jury was told that Singh could not bear the thought of her lover's marriage to 22-year-oold Choongh and laced the food with Indian aconite, known as the Queen of Poisons. After the engagement of Cheema and Choongh became final in November 2008, Singh went to India and returned three weeks later. Another week later, Cheema was taken to hospital. Choongh gave evidence during the trial detailing how the couple fell ill while discussing their wedding plans. Choongh survived because she had consumed less of the poisoned curry. She said in a victim impact statement she still suffers the stress of having been close to death. "I still do not feel fully recovered and I believe it will affect me for the rest of my life," she said. Edward Brown, prosecuting lawyer, said, "Perhaps jealousy, anger and revenge all playing their part, Lakhvir Singh decided to poison them using an extremely toxic and deadly poison, possibly brought especially from India.
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 13
NRI shopkeeper dies in UK teenage gang attack LONDON (TIP): A popular Indianorigin shopkeeper in the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield has been killed while trying to repel members of a teenage gang who were trying to rob him. Gurmail Singh, 63, suffered head injuries and fell to the ground during the scuffle at his shop, and died of his injuries at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on Sunday. A group of passers-by tried to prevent the gang of four leaving the shop but they eventually forced their way out after a struggle. The police is treating his death as murder. The gang, all in their teens
and wearing dark hooded tops and tracksuit bottoms, went into his shop on Friday night. A group of six passers-by heard a commotion inside the building and went to help. Although none of them was injured, they were unable to prevent the gang from fleeing into the night. Detective superintendent David Pervin, who is leading the investigation, said: "Mr Singh was a well-known and popular local businessman who had been in this area many years. "I appeal for anyone with information to contact us as a matter
of urgency". A police spokesman said: "In terms of the witnesses, we can confirm this was a group of six people who heard a commotion at the shop and went to help." None of them were injured during the incident. Neighbor Ian Davison said there was a drugs problem in the area that was "getting out of hand". Singh's death had left the local community shocked, he added. "He was a really popular, lovely bloke. You couldn't wish to meet a nicer bloke than Mr. Singh," Davison said.
Toll of US dead in Afghanistan hits 1,000: Website WASHINGTON (TIP) : The number of US soldiers who have died in Afghanistan reached 1,000 on Monday, according to website icasualties.org, a grim milestone in the war launched more than eight years ago. The independent website, which tracks military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, said 54 US soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year, compared with a toll of 316 last
year -- the worst since the US-led invasion of 2001. The top-ranking US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, warned of more casualties as US-led forces press an offensive in Marjah, a key Taliban stronghold, where foreign troops have faced strong militant resistance. "We must steel ourselves, no matter how successful we are on any given day, for harder days yet to come," he told reporters.
14 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
Budget 2010: First-ever Oppn walkout NEW DELHI (TIP): A return to the pre-1990 scenario in the country, when almost the entire political spectrum from Left to Right barring a few exceptions stood united against the Congress, appears almost imminent. Broad hints to this effect were thrown by SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and even JD-U president Sharad Yadav during Mamata Banerjee’s Railway Budget on Wednesday and the next day during the price rise discussion, and it became virtually evident today when together they created history of sorts in independent India by staging the first ever boycott and walkout against the Budget proposals. This has naturally sent jitters down the spine of the ruling Congress as a minister was heard saying, “Among those who walked out, there were 46 MPs who supported the UPA government at the time of formation of this government.” He also pointed out that if these 46 were subtracted then the government would be left with a wafer-thin majority of just two. The arithmetic in the Rajya Sabha is worse. Sources say that the Congress may even consider a rollback. The Congress discomfiture was evident from the fact that it called off its daily briefing on such an important day. Apart from the fact that the BJP, Left and their newfound friends Lalu and Mulayam virtually echoed each other while reacting to Union Finance Minister Pranab
UNITED THEY STAND: Opposition leaders, including Sushma Swaraj (BJP), Sharad Yadav (JDU), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD) and Gurdas Dasgupta (Left), raise slogans against the Budget in New Delhi.
Mukherjee’s proposals, they also indicated their intent to vote against the proposal, introduce cut motions and in the long run perhaps even hold joint agitations. CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, BJP leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh all agreed that “the Budget puts hardly any burden on the rich and the powerful while it deals a crushing blow to the weak and voiceless.” The immediate provocation for this walkout was Mukherjee's decision to hike petrol and diesel prices. Lalu Prasad was the first to object followed by a general murmur in the Opposition benches and then more noisy reactions, forcing Mukherjee to say, “You cannot prevent me from discharging my constitutional duty of reading out my budget speech. The countrymen have a right to know what concessions we are giving them.”
Having walked out, Opposition leaders Gurudas Dasgupta, Basudeb Acharia, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh and JD-U and BSP leaders, led by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, jointly addressed an impromptu press conference, where all chided the government for the crushing blow it dealt on the “aam admi”. Some like Lalu Prasad and Yashwant Sinha announced their intent to oppose this and vote against the move in the House. Others like CPM leader Sitaram Yechury readily offered to join forces with “secular parties (read Lalu, Mulayam and Mayawati) to start a countrywide agitation. Though CPI leader D. Raja and BJP’s Yashwant Sinha refused to read anything beyond a natural outrage of the Opposition in this, others like Yechury avoided denying outrightly the possibility of a joint Opposition action on the streets.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Bihar MLA kills self after shooting wife, daughter PATNA (TIP): In a tragic incident, Bihar’s ruling JD(U) MLA Abhay Singh allegedly committed suicide after killing his wife and infant daughter early today. The police recovered the bodies with gun shot injuries from Abhay’s bedroom. Hearing the news, Abhay’s father Narendra Singh, minister in Natish Kumar Cabinet, fell unconscious. He was rushed the Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology here. Abhay, a two-term MLA from Jamui, was residing in his father’s ministerial bungalow. Attaché, the police is yet to ascertain the circumstances that led to this shocking incident, it has been learnt that Abhay came back home at around 2 am and was in a drunken state. His wife objected to it and the couple had a heated altercation following which he is understood to have shot her. On second thought, he also shot his six-month-old daughter before killing himself. His elder daughter survived as she was sleeping with her grandmother in an adjacent room.
Nilekani to head new technology advisory group NEW DELHI (TIP): The government has decided to set up a technology advisory group for unique IT-related projects under the chairmanship of Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani as it announced a nearly 16-fold increase, at Rs 1,900 crore, for Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), headed by the Infosys founder. Presenting the budget for the financial year 2010-11 here today, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: “An effective tax administration and financial governance system calls for creation of IT projects which are reliable, secure and efficient. IT projects like tax information network, new pension scheme, national treasury management agency, expenditure information network, goods and service tax are in different stages of roll out”. “To look into various technological and systemic issues, I propose to set up a technology advisory group for unique projects under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani,” he said while adding that he had announced the constitution of the UIDAI, its broad working principles and the timeline for delivery of the first UID numbers. “I am happy to report that the authority has been constituted and it will be able to meet its commitments of issuing the first set of UID numbers in the coming year. It would provide an effective platform for financial inclusion and targeted subsidy payments. Since the UIDAI will now get into the operational phase, I am allocating Rs 1,900 crore to the authority for 2010-11,” Mukherjee added. In the last budget the allocation for UIDAI was Rs 120 crore. The authority is currently in the operational phase, finalising the various aspects for the roll out of the UID numbers to the residents of the country. As per the roll-out plan, the first set of 16-digit UID numbers would be out between August this year and February 2011. The authority has set a target of providing 600 million UIDs in the next five years. The current proposed allocation of Rs 1,900 crore would be used for procurement of biometric devices and vendor services, including setting up of secure databanks and collection of the same besides for the pilot project to be started in four states by June. The UIDAI was established under the aegis of the Planning Commission for which a notification was issued in January last year.
Jaipur police station adjudged best in Asia
Murder of Jagir Kaur’s Daughter
Kamaljit alleges threat to life PATIALA (TIP): In what could be termed as a shocker for the investigating agencies, Kamaljit Singh, the complainant in the murder case of Harpreet Kaur, daughter of former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur today said he is having threat to his life from some senior leaders of the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). During the cross-examination by the CBI counsel, Kamaljit submitted before the trial court in Patiala that some Congress and Akali leaders are exerting pressure on him to give statement in the court against Bibi Jagir Kaur. Notably, Kamaljit had turned hostile in the court yesterday. As the trial in the case resumed today afternoon, CBI counsel SN Saxena stated questioning of Kamaljit. Replying to the CBI counsel’s question that whether he is having threat from anyone, Kamaljit said he is indeed facing threat, but he would not name anyone. When the judge intervened, Kamaljit said, “I need police protection because some Congress and Akali leaders want me to speak against Bibi Jagir in the court.” He also said after Harpreet’s death in April 2000, he got extremely disturbed, while adding, “Taking advantage of the situation, some persons got my signatures on certain documents pertaining to Harpreet’s death.” Apart from backtracking from many of his previous statements, Kamaljit also said the investigating agency had so far questioned him regarding his love affair with Harpreet. “There has been no questioning regarding Harpreet’s death. I don’t know anything about the murder case,” he told the court. Interestingly, Kamaljit has also said it was he himself who refused to marry Harpreet because he was not comfortable with some pre-conditions of Harpreet’s family. Bibi Jagir Kaur was also present during today’s court proceedings. The next date of hearing in the case has been fixed for March 12 and 13.
JAIPUR (TIP): Vidhayakpuri police station has been adjudged as the 'best police station in Asia' for providing smooth public services and ensuring speedy disposal of cases. With around one lakh people under it's jurisdiction, it is located in the city's southern flank and has been selected amongst police stations of 211 cities in 20 countries like Bangladesh, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia and Uganda. "This is a motivating recognition for all the personnel. The area under this police station covers the most important roads and business streets of the city," said Superintendent of Police Jaipur city (South) Jose Mohan. The award, instituted by the New York-based Altus Global Alliance — an organisation working for public safety and justice across the globe, will be received by the district police chief at Abuja in Nigeria at a ceremony on March 25 and 26. Two other police stations of the country — Sector 17, Chandigarh and Vadakkenchery in Kerala — also made to the final list for the title on parameters like public satisfaction, service delivery, working conditions of personnel, motivation among them and infrastructure and logistics at police station. Hassle free registration of cases was the benchmark here. Fair and speedy disposal of complaints was ensured and public was involved in amicable settlement of petty disputes, Mohan said. In October last year, a total of 5,029 persons took part in police station visitors week to accomplish the exercise, he added. The best police station was finally selected by combining the people's scores (police station visit) and the jury's results. Vidhayakpuri police station received the highest combined scores, Mohan said. — PTI
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Bipartisan nod eludes Obama WASHINGTON (TIP): U.S. President Barack Obama hosted a rare televised bipartisan meeting at the Blair House in Washington DC on Thursday in a last-ditch attempt to bring Republicans on board in the deadlocked healthcare debate. Opening the summit with an exhortation to stay focused on areas of agreement, Mr. Obama said: “I was very pleased to see a glimpse of bipartisanship in the Senate recently in passing a jobs bill, and I hope that continues.” Yet the debate that ensued was far from smooth sailing for the President and attending Democrats. Republican Senators and Congressmen vigorously challenged the latest reform proposal Mr. Obama unveiled earlier in the week, including cost control, insurance reform, deficit control and expanding coverage. If Mr. Obama had any hopes that a genuine bipartisan agreement could be hammered out during the seven-hour session, it must have evaporated within the first hour. Beginning with Senator Lamar Alexander, who argued that comprehensive bills would not work and that Republicans would not be presenting their own comprehensive bill, the debate returned periodically to points of partisan disagreement. Republicans took issue with the Democratic plan for instituting insurance exchanges driven by mandates (such as penalties for not buying into a policy). While agreeing that competition and diversity were desirable, Congressman Paul Ryan suggested that federalising the regulation of insurance through mandates would not encourage competition and lower
costs but only more decentralisation would. Mr. Obama, while acknowledging that this was a point of “philosophical” importance, rebutted that mandates were necessary to avoid a situation where pools of older, sicker insurance buyers were slapped with higher premiums while younger, more healthy pools paid significantly less. Mr. Obama stressed the deficit-neutral nature of the reform — and he was pushed to do so given the suggestions by Mr. Alexander that under the proposed bill premiums would actually rise. Interrupting the Senator in a testy exchange, the President cited the figures of the non-partisan scorekeeper, the Congressional Budget Office. According to the CBO, of those individually insured, 57 per cent will see their premiums go down and 43 per cent will see their premiums go up. Of those insured by companies, all of them would see their premiums either stay the same or reduce. The Republican insistence on a step-by-step approach and starting from scratch would not work, said Mr. Obama. “Baby steps don't get you to the place where people need you to go. We can't solve the pre-existing condition problem if we don't do something about coverage.” Giving the Republicans a month or six weeks to find common ground with the Democrats, Mr. Obama implied that reform would have to be enacted and financed with or without Republican support. The real, if slender, hope for a bipartisan bill rests on the few areas of agreement that were fleshed out during the discussion.
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 15
Freedom at last for Pakistani boy NEW DELHI (TIP): The Pakistani teenager, Mohammad Ateeq, who landed himself in an Indian prison after having unwittingly boarded the Samjhauta Express and crossed the border, was set free on Friday. The Juvenile Justice Court in Amritsar accepted that no mala fides had been made out against the 13-year-old and ordered that he be allowed to reunite with his family in Lahore. The story, broken by The Hindu on February 20, caught the attention of human rights activists in both countries. Pakistani rights activist Asma Jehangir came to Amritsar for Friday’s court hearing. She appealed to Indian authorities to expedite Ateeq’s repatriation. Principal Magistrate Ajaib Singh said no purpose would be served by keeping Ateeq under prolonged observation at the Hoshiarpur juvenile home, where he has been lodged since January 11. The boy had been caught travelling without valid papers by Indian immigration officials at the Attari Railway station on the border. The case against Ateeq, booked under the Indian Passport Act and the Foreigners Act, had reached the stage of framing of charges. However, when it came up for hearing , the court accepted the boy’s confession that he had crossed the border unknowingly. Ateeq said he had no idea when he boarded the train in Lahore that its final destination was India. Ateeq’s counsel D.P. Sharma pleaded that the boy be set free as no recoveries were made, nor was any mala fide established against him. The court also considered the report of the Juvenile Justice Board, which verified the antecedents of the boy, and passed the orders under Section 15A of the Juvenile Justice Act.
Moves High Court A Chandigarh-based human rights lawyer Ranjan Lakhanpal had also moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking dropping of the charges against Ateeq and directions for his early repatriation. The former Minister in Pakistan’s Federal government, Ansar Burney, said Ateeq’s cross-border journey exposed serious security lapses on the part of Pakistani authorities, especially at the Lahore station.
16 Thursday, Feb 18, 2010
contd from page 1
Budget 2010: Cheers to middle class, jitters for ‘aam admi’ air travel and under-construction houses will do it no favours. But it would be difficult to dispute that on balance the Budget has saved more money for this section than it has taken away. As for corporates, the 175-point rise in the Sensex on the day was a fair indicator of how the markets perceive the overall impact of the Budget on India Inc. While excise duty hikes are never good news for industry, the much lower-thanexpected borrowings of the government — projected at Rs 3.45 lakh crore — means business need not fear being either crowded out of the credit market, or being hit by the kind of rise in interest rates that a larger borrowing programme would have meant by increasing the demand for credit. The FM is clearly betting on growth to help him raise revenues on the scale he expects, while the fact that the pay commission arrears and farm loan waiver are no longer a millstone around his neck has helped enormously in keeping expenditure from rising too much. The direct tax changes for individuals and corporates, he said, would cost him Rs 26,000 crore over the year, while the excise, customs and service tax changes would get him an additional Rs 46,500 crore, thus yielding a net Rs 20,500 crore. On the corporate tax front, a higher MAT will fetch him Rs 6,000 crore, while lower surcharge will lose him Rs 5,000 crore — a modest additional burden of Rs 1,000 crore on India Inc. Mukherjee said in his speech that the proposed move to a goods and service tax (GST) would have to wait till April next year and that he would also introduce the proposed new direct tax code, which is premised on lower rates with fewer exemptions, from April 2011. Later in the day, he told a TV channel that while he was sure about the introduction of the direct tax code next year, since that was within his purview, GST coming into force would require the concurrence of the states and hence was something he couldn't guarantee.
'Future talks hinge on Pak actions' how India wanted to approach the engagement. In his statement, Krishna said India had asked Pakistan to take effective action to ban anti-India activities of organisations such as Jamaat-udDawa. "On Pakistan's view that the composite dialogue between the two countries should be restored, we responded that the resumption of such a process would have to await the restoration of greater trust and confidence," said Krishna. He said Bashir had committed to a "successful conclusion of the Mumbai attack trial which is underway in Pakistan". "The two delegations agreed to address some urgent and humanitarian matters relating to the release of fishermen and prisoners in each other's custody," he added.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Iceberg-glacier collision could trigger climatic changes SYDNEY (TIP): An iceberg about the size of Luxembourg, which struck a glacier off Antarctica dislodging another massive block of ice, could lower oxygen levels in the world’s oceans, Australian and French scientists said on Friday. The two icebergs are now drifting together about 100 to 150 km off Antarctica, following the collision on February 12 or 13, said Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young. “It gave it a pretty big nudge,” Mr. Young said of the 97- km-long iceberg that collided with the giant floating Mertz Glacier and shaved off a new iceberg. “They are now floating right next to each other.” The new iceberg is 78 km long and about 39 km wide and holds roughly the equivalent of a fifth of the world’s annual total water usage, Mr. Young said. Experts are concerned about the effect of the massive displacement of ice on the ice-free water next to the glacier, which is important for ocean currents. This area of water had been kept clear because of the glacier, said Steve Rintoul, a leading climate expert. With part of the glacier gone, the area could fill with sea ice and disrupt the ability for the dense and cold water to sink. This sinking water is what spills into ocean basins and feeds the global ocean currents with oxygen. As there are only a few areas in the world where this occurs, a slowing of the process would mean less oxygen into the deep currents that feed the oceans.
DANGER AFLOAT: This combo shows two satellite images released on Friday from the Australian Antarctic Division of the Mertz Glacier Tongue. (Top) A 160-km spit of floating ice protruding into the Southern Ocean from east Antarctica on January 7. (Bottom) On February 20, the Mertz Glacier Tongue broke off when it was dislodged by another, older iceberg, known as B9B (at right), which split off in 1987.
White House aide quits over Manmohan dinner crash WASHINGTON (TIP): In a demonstration of accountability, White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, under fire since two wannabe reality TV stars crashed President Barack Obama's first state dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, announced she is stepping down to return to the corporate world. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama issued a statement Friday saying they are "enormously grateful" to their long time friend Rogers "for the terrific job she's done as the White House Social Secretary." But the Obamas made no mention of what he had called a "screw up" on Nov 24 night when an uninvited Virginia couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, one dressed in a tuxedo and the other in a bright red lehnga choli, slipped past layers of security to crash the dinner. Rogers admitted that nobody from her staff was working at the gates and check points when the Salahis slipped in. The couple spent up to two hours on the grounds, making it all the way to the Blue Room to shake hands with the president and prime minister. The US Secret Service, the agency responsible for protecting the president, his family, and visiting dignitaries has taken blame for the incident, but Rogers came under heavy fire for not stationing someone at the gate with Secret Service agents in a break from past practice. "When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People's House, and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers," the statement from the Obamas said. "She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavours." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Rogers had not been asked to leave her position in the administration and said he did not think the gatecrashing incident played into her decision. The Salahi episode was not a factor in her resignation, Rogers told the Chicago Sun Times Friday. "The incident at the State Dinner was not a deciding factor," she said. "But it did show me a side of the job and of Washington that I had not seen before." "As we turn the corner on the first year," she told her hometown newspaper, "This is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world."
Italy oil spill termed eco-terror PARIS (TIP): As sludge from an oil spill began polluting the Po, Italy's longest river, raising fears of contamination of specialised farm products such as Parma cheese, ham or the famous arborio rice used in making risotto, central authorities in Rome struggled to find answers who could have deliberately set off the oil leak from an abandoned refinery near the town of Monza. Prosecutors have begun an investigation into the spill, while president of Monza province Dario Allevi called the incident “a true act of environmental terrorism”. The spill was caused by a “criminal act” after tampering occurred at eight tanks used for oil storage, said Mr. Allevi. Several tanks had been deliberately ruptured, Italian newspapers reported. The spill was triggered in the early hours of Tuesday after saboteurs broke into the depot of the former Lombardi Petroli refinery in Villasanta and opened the valves, according to the ANSA news agency. The oil slick, several kilometres long, moved downstream with the Lambro river from Villasanta, crossed the town of Monza, passed by the Milan area and then flowed into the Po. Monia Maccarini, a spokeswoman for the Lombardy region's environmental protection agency (ARPA), said the spill involved at least 260,000 gallons of oil and probably much more. The spill is said to be made up of diesel and home heating oil, known to be heavy and extremely sticky. Inhabitants of the region have been told not to drink tap water. By Wednesday, despite efforts to contain the slick with absorbent pads and the closure of hydraulic locks, the oil seeped from the Lambro into the Po, considered my many to be Italy's lifeline, which flows west-to-east across the country. Coldiretti, one of Italy's farmers' unions, insisted that the food chain was safe since the Po is not being used for irrigation. But another group of farm owners, Confagricultura, warned that the spring planting season — particularly for water-intensive rice crops — might be at risk unless clean water is ensured. The Po river valley, which extends 71,000 sq. km. across several northern regions, produces a third of Italy's agricultural output and represents 40 per cent of the GDP. Because of its economic importance, officials are warning that farm output might be affected, in addition to the already extensive damage the slick has caused to the area's wildlife.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 17
Hummer faces shutdown after Chinese sale collapses
Economic Survey for more stimulus to export sector NEW DELHI (TIP): The preBudget Economic Survey on Thursday favoured providing further stimulus for the exports sector, arguing that the recovery prospects in global markets are still fragile. It said that despite some improvement in global trade environment, the downside risks makes it imperative for the government to reform policies concerning imports as well. “The downside risks for world and the Indian trade lie in the fact that though the fall has been arrested, both output and trade recoveries are still fragile given the fact that the recovery has been pumped up by the stimulus given by different countries, including India,” the Survey said. Amid the debate on withdrawal of the stimulus, including speculation of a possible across-the-board roll back of cuts in excise duty and service tax, the document suggested further reduction in excise for export oriented industries. For the merchandise sector,
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee flanked by Minister of State for Revenue S.S. Palanimanickam (r) and Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra releasing a souvenir in New Delhi on Wednesday.
some fundamental policy changes are needed ”...these include further tariff reforms by lowering the peak duties (custom) from the present 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent, reductions of tariffs on all capital goods to a uniform 3 per cent and further reduction in excise duties to make exports and industry competitive.” The government had cut excise duty from 14 per cent to eight per cent and service tax from 12 per cent to 10 per cent in the wake of the global
financial slowdown. India’s exports, after falling for 13 consecutive months since October 2008, turned positive from November 2009. But in April—December period, exports were down by 20.3 per cent. However, the Survey pointed out that the early signs of pick—up are due to low base and the export value is even lower than the absolute value of the pre—crisis period. It also expressed concerns over the leading economies like
World rushes in to save Greece from going bust SINGAPORE (TIP): The euro tumbled to a one-year low against the yen on Thursday and Asian stocks fell on fears that a potential downgrade of Greece's debt rating will worsen Europe's outlook and imperil the global economic recovery. Standard & Poor's said overnight that it may still cut its rating on Greece by up to two notches within a month, citing downside risks that could complicate Athens' efforts to cut its massive deficit. Moody's also told Reuters that Greece is still at risk of a downgrade if it deviates from its fiscal debt plan. The warnings from the credit agencies weighed on the euro and prompted investors to sell riskier assets such as equities and move into safer bets such as the Japanese yen. The euro dropped 1.2% against the yen to 120.48 yen and 0.5% against the US dollar to $1.3464. Major European stocks were expected to open as much as 0.5% lower, according to financial bookmakers, ahead of consumer and business sentiment readings for the region later in the day US stock futures fell 0.7%, after Wall Street rallied on Wednesday on comfort that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged to keep interest rates low for a long time, even though he offered a relatively somber assessment of the US economy. Mixed economic data from the United States and Europe in recent weeks have raised concern about whether the global recovery is
losing steam, with the US hamstrung by high unemployment and Greece testing EU unity and policymaking. "We have to look at the facts and whether the government of Greece is going to do what it has promised to do," Pierre Cailleteau, global head of sovereign ratings at Moody's Investors Service, said in an interview. "A small deviation would lead to a small downgrade and a large deviation, which we think is unlikely, would lead to a large downgrade," he said, referring to Greece's fiscal austerity measures. Japan's Nikkei share average .N225 fell 1% after an early rally fizzled, with the stronger yen hurting exporters. Shares of Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) (TM.N) slipped 0.2% after its chief apologized to consumers over massive vehicle recalls and pledged reforms to skeptical lawmakers at US Congressional hearings. Toyota's US-listed shares jumped 3.9%. "The market welcomed a rebound in US stocks after news that the country will continue its low rate policy," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities. "But we've seen a series of worse-thanexpected economic data from America lately and uncertainty about the outlook for the US economy is increasing." The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 1.4%, with defensive sectors such as utilities and telecommunications outperforming the broader market.
the US resorting to protectionist measures. “The high employment rates in some developed countries forcing even world leaders like the US to resort to protectionist measures, as in the case of the recent tax breaks for companies giving jobs in the US, could give wrong signal,” it said. The Survey further said that the extraordinary financial stimulus given by different countries, including India, have contributed to the recovery. Imports growth of some of India’s trading partner like China, Hong Kong and Japan were encouraging in December 2009. While China’s imports from India grew by 71 per cent in December 2009, Japan imports went up by 3 per cent. Growth in Hong Kong imports from India turned highly positive at 58.5 per cent. “Even in case of the US, which is still registering negative import growth, the extent of negative growth has become less, with imports from India growing at (—) 10 per cent in November 2009,” it said.
NEW YORK (TIP): Hummer, the off-road vehicle that once symbolised America's love for hulking Sports Utility Vehicles, faces a shutdown after its sale to a Chinese heavy equipment maker collapsed. Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co said yesterday it pulled out of the deal to buy the company from General Motors Co Tengzhong failed to get clearance from Chinese regulators within the proposed time-frame for the sale, the Chinese manufacturer said. GM said it will continue to honour existing Hummer warranties. "We are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed," said John Smith, GM vice president of corporate planning and alliances. "GM will now work closely with Hummer employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner." GM has been trying to sell the loss-making brand for the last year and signed a deal with Tengzhong in October. However, resistance from Chinese regulators, who have been putting the brakes on investment in the fast-growing Chinese auto industry, created difficulties from the start. As recently as Tuesday, private investors were trying to set up an offshore entity in a last-minute effort to complete the acquisition ahead of a February 28 deadline. That plan, along with other options, was unsuccessful, according to a person close to the situation. The person declined to be identified in order to speak more freely. "There's no way forward with that," Smith said. "We're out of time."
US to launch operation in Kandahar city: Official WASHINGTON: US-led forces in Afghanistan will launch a new military operation later this year to get full control of Kandahar, the former "capital city" of the Taliban, a senior US official said on Friday. The top US general in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, had already flagged his intention to target Kandahar following an offensive, now in its third week, to retake control of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in neighboring Helmand province. "If our overall goal for 2010 in Afghanistan is to reverse the momentum (of the Taliban) ... then we think we've got to get to Kandahar this year," said the senior Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Militants have over the past year made startling gains in the area around Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement. Reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar ruled Afghanistan from there before US-led forces invaded in 2001. McChrystal described the city in his assessment of the war last August as the "key geographic objective" of the Quetta Shura Taliban, the main faction led by Mullah Omar. The US official was offering an assessment of the offensive in Marjah, which the administration views as key preparation for the potentially bigger battle of Kandahar, Afghanistan's secondlargest city.
Test case for big prize Marjah is one of the biggest operations in the more than eight-year-old Afghan war. It is also an early test of President Barack Obama's plan to add 30,000 more troops to win control of Taliban strongholds and eventually transfer them to Afghan authority. "The way to look at Marjah is that it is the tactical prelude to larger more comprehensive operations later this year in Kandahar city," the administration official said. "Bringing comprehensive population security to Kandahar city is really the centerpiece of operations this year and therefore Marjah is the prelude," he said. The British commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan said last week that NATO forces would sweep toward Kandahar over the next six months. On Thursday, Afghan authorities raised the Afghan flag over Marjah to signify the handover of control to the government from NATO troops led by US Marines. The official said military commanders on the ground believed it would take several weeks yet to clear the remaining pockets of resistance in and around Marjah. "We are somewhere between clear and hold and that is pretty much on track. What is going to be more challenging than the clearing process will be the building process," he said.
18 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
he words Hola Mohalla symbolizes mock fight. It is generally held at the historic town of Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib. The Hola Mohalla, Anand Sahib has gained the prestige of an International Festival and now is imitated in the Gurdwaras all round the world. The gallantry display of the knights at the mock war reminds the people of the tremendous valor of the Indian men in the field of warfare. It also indicates the will of the Sikhs to move in a path shown by the 10th Guru Govind Singh. Holla Mohalla is a Sikh festival celebrated in the month of Phalguna , a day after Holi.An annual festival held at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, Hola Mohalla was started by the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises and mock battles on the day following the festival of Holi. It reminds the people of valour and defence preparedness, concepts dear to the Tenth Guru who was at that time battling the Mughal empire. On this three-day festival mock battles are held followed by music and poetry competitions. The Nihang Singhs (members of the Sikh army that was founded by Guru Govind Singh) carry on the martial tradition with mock battles and displays of swordsmanship and horse riding. They perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging, bareback horseriding and standing erect on two speeding horses. There are also a number of durbars where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is present and kirtan and religious lectures take place. Sporting shining swords, long spears, conical turbans, the Nihangs present a fierce picture as they gallop past on horseback spraying colors on people.On the last day a long procession, led by Panj Pyaras, starts from Takth Keshgarh
who led his army to free 52 captive kings from the Gwalior jail in 1612 AD. Colorful processions are organized on Holla Mohalla. Sikhs, especially the Nihangs, dressed in their traditional martial costumes, display their skills in archery, sword fencing, horse riding and shooting. Battles are enacted and ancient cannons fired to focus on the training required for war. Holla Mohalla is an occasion for the Sikhs to reaffirm their commitment to the Khalsa Panth
Celebration of Holla Mohalla
Sahib, one of the five Sikh religious seats, and passes through various important gurdwaras like Qila Anandgarh, Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji and terminates at the Takth. For people visiting Anandpur Sahib, langars (voluntary community kitchens) are organized by the local people as a part of sewa (community service). Raw materials like wheat flour, rice, vegetables, milk and sugar is provided by the villagers living nearby. Women volunteer to cook and others take part in cleaning the utensils. Traditional cuisine is served to the pilgrim who eat while sitting in rows on the ground The tenth guru Gobind Singh felt that Holi, had lost its original meaning over the years. It was no longer a celebration to reaffirm fraternity and brotherhood. In 1757 AD he
decided to revive the spirit of Holi and weave its essence into a festival created in the Khalsa traditions. Holla Mohalla is celebrated in the month of Phalguna a day after Holi. Early morning prayers at the gurdwaras mark the beginning of the festival. The Guru Grantha Sahib is brought out with ceremony and placed on the dais. It is given a symbolic bath with milk and water. Akhandapathas, Kar seva, Shabads and Kirtans are performed The Karah Prasad is distributed to the congregation, after it has been consecrated by the guru. At noon, men and women from all castes and creed eat together at the guru ka langar. Stories are narrated about the bravery of Guru Govind Singh in prose and verse. Tribute is also accorded to Guru Har Gobind,
Holla Mohalla is celebrated to reaffirm fraternity and brotherhood and reminding people of "valour and defence preparedness", concepts very dear to the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh ji. Colorful processions are organized on the occassion of Holla Mohalla, particularly in Anandpur Sahib and Muktsar(both in Indian Punjab). Sikhs, especially the Nihangs, dressed in their traditional martial costumes form part of the pageant. Mock battles are also held followed by music,poetry and other competitions. The Nihang Singhs (members of the Sikh army founded by Guru Govind Singh) portray their skills with mock battles and displays of swordsmanship and horse riding. The Nihang Singhs also perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding and standing erect on two speeding horses.
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THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 19
HOLI: The Festival of Colors oli – the festival of color is marked as the opening festival in Hindu calendar, falls on the full moon day in the month of PHALGUN. People enjoy themselves playing with several colours and celebrate the whole day with much pump and gaiety. Originally Holi was regarded to be the festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land. There are several legends and stories behind Holi. A popular legend says that Holi is remembered for the sacrifice of Holika who burnt herself in fire on this day. Holi is therefore regarded one of the most ancient festivals of the Aryans who finds an honored mention in our old Sanskrit texts like Dashakumar Charit and Garud Puran. Even the play "Ratnavali" written by Harshdev states a delightful description of Holi as a festival. In those days this very festival was celebrated as "Vasantotsav". Latter everybody started calling it "MADANOTSAV". Celebration of Holi festival is characterized by performing Holi puja as per Hindu tradition. Dhuleti, which falls day after Holi Puja, is considered to be the actual festival of colors. Children and youngsters vie with each other use fast and sticky colors to celebrate Holi. It is all fun and joy for them.
Braja region, where effigies are still seen on street corners and public squares, piled on top of an assemblage wood. This set to fire after ritualistic worship, and people make pradakshina of the bonfire. The next day this victory is celebrated as the day of Dulhendi. In some practices particularly in the UK, coconuts are thrown into the fire and then pulled out. The burnt husk of the coconut represents Holika who died in the pyre. The white inside represents Prahlad, who was still alive and unaffected by the pyre.
Popular Legends There are several legends on Holi which find mentions in Hindu mythology. Holi is regarded to be the opening festival of the Hindu calendar. The famous stories or sagas related to this festival are stated below: Legend of Radha-Krishna: Krishna, being the mischievous child of Yashuda, was a prankster and was also the creator of many legends for himself. He once asked his mother - why is Radha fair and I am Dark? Mother Yashuda replied to him saying – If you are so much jealous of Radha’s color than go and put dark colors on her and she will also turn dark as you so. Lord Krishna went ahead and did the same. Since then each lover usually puts color on his/her beloved to pay homage to Lord Krishna. Legend on Pootana: When the female demoness called Pootana tried to kill boy Krishna, by giving him her poisoned nipples to suckle. The miracle boy Krishna is said to have sucked her nipples so intensely that he drained the demoness of her life. Hence, the biggest celebration of Holi takes place at Mathura where this incident happened with Krishna. After the death of demoness Pootana, people of Mathura till date celebrates this festival in the evening by lighting bourn fire. Legends of king Hiranyakashyap: Hiranyakashyapu was the strongest demon of his times; he was considered to be the winner of all God’s whomsoever he fought with became a loser at the end of the battle. So he ordered everybody that everybody should obey him and worship him instead of Almighty. He in his family had one sister named Hollika and one son named Pralhad, who was a great devotee of Lord Naarayana. However, Pralhad had disobeyed his father’s order of treating Lord Naarayana as God. Thus, Hiranyakashyapu discussed this matter with her sister who had the boon
granted to her that; Fire will not do any harm to her body no matter what the situation is. Latter, she took the responsibility to burn Pralhad by placing him on her legs and sitting on fire. She did
relative safety of Shri Radhikaji's temple. Men are well padded, as they are not allowed to retaliate. In this mock battle the men try their best not to be captured. Unlucky captives can be forcefully lead away, thrashed and dressed in female attire before being made to dance as a custom. This type of Holi is famously known as “Lath Mar Holi”!!
exactly the same and guess what? Prahalad came out from the fire unharmed. As ‘he’ had his faith on God he continuously chanted Vishnu mantras instead fire catch hold of Holika who was granted the so called boon. Since that day people light bourn fire in temples and celebrate Holi on the death of the demoness.
Earliest textual references regarding celebration of Holi have been found the 7th century Sanskrit drama, Ratnavali . Holi has certainly perennial rituals attached to it, the first is smearing of coloured powder on each other, and throwing water, coloured and scented using pichkaris, shaped like giant syringes or squirt guns. Though the festival really begins many days in advance, with 'Holi Milan' or Baithaks, musical soirees, where song related to the festival, and the epic love story of Radha Krishna are sung; specially type of folk songs, known as “Hori” are sung as well. Some classical ones like Aaj biraj mein Holi re rasiya, have been present in the folklore for many generations.
Brij Ki Holi / Lath Mar Holi:
Two towns namely Nandagow (where Lord Krishna grew up) and Barsana (where Shri Radha grew up), near Mathura, are considered (till today) as the epicenter of the Holi celebrations. In India it is famously known as BRIJ KI HOLI / LATH MAR HOLI. While Lord Krishna was growing up in Vraj, he popularized the festival with his pranks. Where he played Holi with Gopies of Vraj and they also responded him with equal enthusiasm and the festivities have continued ever since. So, continuing this ritual Men and Women of Vraj even today clash in a colorful display of battle of the sexes. Men of Nandagow raid Barsana with hopes of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji's temple. They receive a thunderous welcome as the women of Barsana greet them with long wooden sticks. The men are soundly beaten as they attempt to rush through town to reach the
Holika Dahan (Holi bonfire)The main emphasis of the festival is on the burning of the holy fire or Holika. The origin of the traditional lighting of Holi is attributed by some to the burning of demonesses like Holika, Holaka and Putana who represent evil, or to the burning of Madan according to others. Traditionally a bonfire on the day of Holi, marks the symbolic anhilation of a demoness Holika the sister of demon, Hiranyakashipu, in Hindu mythology, while trying to kill, a devotee, Bhakta Prahlad. This is akin to other festivals where effigies are burned, like Ravana Dahan on Vijayadashami (Dusshera) day, also in many other religions across the world, signifying end of dark or demonic forces, though with Holika Dahan, the effigy has now been all but vanished or present in a symbolic form, except in few areas in the
Principal ingredients of celebration are Abeer and Gulal, in all possible colours. Next comes squirting of coloured water using pichkaris. Coloured water is prepared using Tesu flowers, which are first gathered from the trees, dried in the sun, and then ground up, and later mixed with water to produce orange-yellow coloured water. Another traditional Holi item now rarely seen is a where a red powder enclosed in globes of Lakh, which break instantly and covering the party with the powder.
Holi Pooja Process Holi Pooja takes place a day before the Holi Festival. This day is called as 'Holika Dahan'. There is no special pooja performed on the Holi day. This day is only meant for celebrations and play of colors. Holika Dahan is the major ritual performed at the time of Holi which is also considered an important Holi Puja. People light bonfires on the eve of Holi festival to celebrate the victory of 'good' over 'bad' which is called Holika Dahan. Holika Dahan preparations begin almost 40 days before the festival. People start gathering woods on the important crossroads of the city. Holi Pooja or Holika takes place on an auspicious time in the evening a day before the Holi festival. Given below are the steps and rituals for the Holi Pooja: Holi Pooja can be performed at any place. A log of wood is kept at a prominent public place on the Vasant Panchami day. People extend the log centre with twigs, dried leaves, branches of trees and other combustible material. On the day of Holika Dahan, an effigy of Holika and Prahlad is placed on the huge heap of woods. Effigy of Holika is made of combustible material while Prahlad's effigy is made of non-combustible material. On the eve of Holi, the heap is set alight and the people chant Rakshoghna Mantras of the Rig Veda to cast away the evil spirits. Left over ashes are collected by people next morning. These ashes are considered holy and are smeared on the limbs of the body as Holi Prasad. Smearing of body limbs is an act of purification.
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20 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Neil is Priyanka’s Toh Baat Pakki youngest husband REVIEW
Cast: Tabu, Sharman Joshi, Yuvika Chaudhary, Vatsal Seth Genre: Comedy Direction: Kedar Shinde Duration: 2 hours 2 minutes Story: Meddlesome Rajeshwari wants to find a groom for her sister, Nisha. She chooses the engineering college student, Rahul and brings him in as her tenant, but soon changes her decision when she meets junior manager, Yuvraj, who happens to have a car and a company house. Will true love win? Movie Review: Tabu returns after a long gap. That should be reason enough to watch Toh Baat Pakki. For she's a fine actor who has proved her mettle, time and again. This time, she opts for a lighthearted comic role in a film that's cast in the mould of the middle-of-the-road comedies that made the eighties' cinema so winsome and breezy. Pitched somewhere between realism and drama, the film somewhat recreates that genteel era when cinema talked about flesh and blood people who didn't scream, holler and howl revenge. More importantly, their concerns were commonplace, like finding a suitable boy/girl and stealing a few romantic moments behind the back of meddlesome mums, didis and dadis. Remember Khoobsoorat, Golmal, Baton Baton Mein and the likes. Well, Toh Baat Pakki may not be as riveting as the 80s entertainers, yet it rides high on sheer nostalgia. Also, it presents a different kind of cinema in an age that lays great emphasis on high decibel, larger-than-life drama. Tabu's talkative, inquisitive, control freak Rajeshwari who is hell bent on finding the right match for her sister, is eminently watchable. Living in a small town, she seems to have almost perfected the art of the small town conversation, being totally involved in the going-ons in the life of her neighbours and fellow townsmen. On hearing about her neighbour's singleton tenant -- engineering college student, Sharman Joshi -- she immediately lures him to her house and tries to entrap him as a groom for her younger sibling, Yuvika Chaudhary. It doesn't take a lot of effort on her part because the youngsters immediately fall in love. But the love story is short-lived since didi finds another dashing groom, Vatsal Seth, who happens to be Goddess Lakshmi's choice too. Time to throw out the old tenant and bring in the new.... For those who like their films to move at frenetic pace, Toh Baat Pakki may seem a bit laidback. But once you sit back and settle down for some gentle laughs, the film offers you an engaging drama with a tall act by tall and lissome Tabu. Sharman, carries on unspooling his careless charm after his charismatic act in 3 Idiots. A pleasant watch.
riyanka Chopra plays an unique role in "Saat Khoon Maaf" - she has seven husbands in the movie. While Naseeruddin Shah is her oldest spouse, Neil Nitin Mukesh has just been signed to play the youngest. Neil's character will require heavy physical transformation. He will apparently be unrecognizable on screen. "When I heard the script, I was zapped. This was something I had to do. I play one of Priyanka's husbands, the youngest of the lot. The fact that I get to be in the same film as actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Mohanlalji was incentive enough," Neil, who is currently busy shooting for Yash Raj Films' "Lafange Parinday", told IANS. Except one, all the actors playing Priyanka's husbands, including an unknown American actor, have been finalised. The actor starts shooting for "Saat Khoon Maaf" from April. "I've a somewhat crowded date diary this year. I join Abbas-Mustan from June to December for 'Italian Job'," said Neil who recently moved to Powai to be near Yash Raj Studios to avoid the daily traffic to and from South Mumbai. "The traffic on that side of town is just as bad. It's excruciating to travel even from Powai to Yash Raj Studios. On Thursday I had a day off and I invited my mom over to do up my new home the way I wanted it." Neil, who has been a part of a joint family all his life, says he has no time to miss his family in Powai. "Because I use that old flat of ours only to sleep alone!"
Kareena: Yes, I eat! f there is one aspect of Bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor’s life that rates higher on the gossip charts than her relationship with the Junior Nawab of Pataudi, Saif Ali Khan, it is her size-zero measurement. Kareena got into shape under the guidance of dietician Rujuta Diwekar when she had to wear that bikini for Tashan (a film where she also bonded big time with Saif). In Kambakkht Ishq, Bebo once again tantalised the audience when she walked around in a black swimming costume. And each time she shows off her body-shape, she manages to add a few hundred fans to the already existing long list of people who think Bebo has the hottest figure in the business. But surprise, surprise, Bebo hasn’t starved to get this enviable figure. Says she, “People often wonder whether I eat an orange for lunch. But that isn’t the case. I eat pasta, pizzas, french fries and even chocolates on occasions. However, I have been taught by my dietician how to eat right. I control the quantities, do upto 40 surya namaskars and stay this way.” Kareena who leans towards spirituality rather than religion is vegetarian for the last five years of her life. However, she is not an advocate for vegetarianism. “To each his own,” says the reigning Bollywood queen, “Saif can eat a goat for lunch and dinner, and I sit right next to him at the table. I have no issues at all. My sister Karisma Kapur (who has the best figure, according to me) loves her fish curry and rice. My mum Babita, who is Catholic, likes her rum and raisin pudding. And my father Randhir Kapoor doesn’t know the meaning of the word vegetarian. In fact, he has been in a state of shock for the last five years because I have given up eating meat. He thinks I need my head examined.” Kareena also laughs and says, “My size zero is such a hot topic of discussion at dinner tables across people’s homes, that when Saif and I eat out at a restaurant, people don’t stare so much at us, as much as they stare at what is on my plate. Some even ask the maitre de, ‘what is she ordering for dinner?’ I love the curiosity element.” She adds, “But food and films are things for which each one develops their own tastes. What is good enough for me, can never be good for you and vice versa. All I can say is that never starve. Eat right; and you will go places both with your shape and your soul.”
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Hilton planning to tie the knot with beau S ocialite Paris Hilton is considering marrying beau Doug Reinhardt, who has struck the right chords with her parents. Hilton, who turned 29 Feb 17, celebrated her birthday with "The Hills" star in Las Vegas and admitted she couldn't be happier, reports femalefirst.co. Asked about their wedding plans, she said: "We'll see what happens in the future, but right now we are so happy to be together and we are really in love." The duo were joined at nightspot Tao by her parents Rick and Kathy Hilton. "What a fun night! My mom and Doug were so cute dancing together! I love how my parents love my love! We all had a blast! Great night," Paris posted on her Twitter page.
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 21
Up In The Air Cast: George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman Direction: Jason Reitman Duration: 1 hour 49 minutes Story: Ryan Bingham is a high-profile corporate downsizer who spends most of his time in airplanes, travelling to offices all over the US and firing people without depressing them. He is the proverbial loner who suddenly discovers there's more to life than rootlessness, pink slips and the anonymity of flying business class. Will he finally settle down?
A raunchy lap dance for Rihanna
Movie Review: The beauty of Up In The Air lies in its immense topicality. Rooted in the present continuous, the film takes up the most pressing concern of today's corporate culture -- downsizing -- and dares to look at what lies behind the dreaded pink slips. In short, who are the people (are they heartless souls?) who hand out the pink slips and who are the people who are handed the pink slips (do they all jump off bridges?). But the film isn't about corporate ethics alone. It is essentially an incisive look into the mores of modern living where success, independence and white-collared wonderment have become synonymous with `a cocoon of self-banishment' (read isolation, inability to connect and build life-long relationships), as the film maker rightly suggests. Based on the novel by Walter Kirn and directed by Jason Reitman who gave us Juno, the revisionist film on teen pregnancy, Up In The Air has George Clooney vying for the Oscars this year. Not forgetting Anna Kendrick too, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Clooney's cool and collected Ryan Bingham is absolutely riveting as he goes about the length and breadth of recession-hit America firing people with his pep talk on `emptying the bagpack' and cutting loose. No body seems to mind losing their jobs after the career transition counsellor, that's what he's called, has delivered the blow, ever so softly and sophisticatedly. Clooney too isn't struck by conscience calls because all he wants to do is fulfil his life's ambition of accumulating 10 million miles, flying to different destinations. A complete nomad, he savours his disconnect and hates any form of domesticity. So much so, he asks his young colleague, Natalie (Anna Kendrick) to sell him the idea of marriage. And when she does, with some talk about stability, companionship, kids and family, he doesn't buy the idea at all. Twenty-first century man, did we say! But Natalie isn't selling the idea of love and marriage alone. This 23-year-old psychology major is on the verge of putting an end to his airborne odyssey by introducing her new ideas on downsizing. According to her new fangled proposal, companies will cut down on their top heavy travel bills by firing on the internet. Needless to say, Ryan's boss loves the sassy new idea and sets up the two -- Ryan and Natalie -- to spearhead the technological change. Time for a few life's lessons to be exchanged as well between the generation-gapped corporate buddies. Ryan must learn to connect a bit, with family and girl friends, while Natalie must learn the importance of disconnecting, a bit...with unworthy boyfriends.
Padma Lakshmi has baby girl ell-known international model Padma Lakshmi, who described her prgenancy a "medical miracle", has given birth to a daughter here. The baby was born Feb 20 and the mother has named her Krishna. Lakshmi, who divorced renowned author Salman Rushdie in 2007, has refused to name the father of her baby, according to dailystar.co.uk. The 39-year-old beauty announced in October last year that she was expecting her first child, branding the pregnancy a "medical miracle" after years of struggling with endometriosis.
orn star Bridget The Midget surprised Rihanna by treating the singer with a raunchy lap dance on her birthday. The "Umbrella" hitmaker celebrated her 22nd birthday in Phoenix, Arizona Saturday. It was a
surprise party thrown for her by rumoured new boyfriend Matt Kemp, reports contactmusic.com. Rihanna, who later moved to a local bar with her friends, was singled out before the adult star began dancing around her chair.
22 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 t the crack of dawn the sun was playing peekaboo between the lofty Vindhya and Aravalli ranges. In the misty morning air it seemed almost as if I was surveying the 392sq km Ranthambhore National Park through frosted glass. The plunging ravines and buff-coloured boulders that we were driving through in a powerful 4-wheel-drive vehicle, looked at once scruffy and also a bit magical. I took in the stunning panorama, and raucous alarm calls, hoots and yelps by assorted langurs, peacocks and sambar. They were wake-up calls for all the slumbering inhabitants of the jungle, cautioning them against a softstepping predator. Fear was in the air as troops of monkeys loped up to adjoining hillocks even as a sambar hind (a female sambar) scuttled for cover. Throughout this intense buzz of activity, the tiger soundlessly approached a spotted deer fawn which had wandered away from the herd. The hunt sequence lasted all of two hours, with the tiger stalking its game through the undergrowth, occasionally wandering off the trail but getting back to it quickly. In turn, our safari jeep tracked both the hunter and the hunted as they negotiated their way through the dry undergrowth. The stalking episode was punctuated with the fawn intermittently looking up from pasture, making us wonder if it had suspected something. But the spell was broken when it dipped its head into the grassy patch again. Inevitably, several animals dotting the landscape had felt the tiger presence, and were slowly creeping away. But for the fawn, doomsday loomed near as moments after it went back to grazing, the tiger tore into it at lightning speed. What followed was a one-sided scuffle that lasted barely a minute and which could only have one ending. Ranthambhore is still a safari paradise from where every Big Cat tourist comes back with a terrific tiger story. Sightings of the national animal in this part of the world are frequent and completely unlike the occasional pugmark sightings at most other Indian sanctuaries. The park was once the private hunting grounds of the royal families of Jaipur and Karauli and received sanctuary status in 1955. Indeed, this is a place where you can still allow your inner Jim Corbett free rein while gazing into miles of grasslands with everything from sambar to leopards, spotted deer, nilgai and chinkara ambling along in the blazing sunlight. With its mix of zigzagging ridges and plateaus, the national park is also cleaved by a crucial geological fault line called The Great Boundary Fault where the Aravalli and the Vindhya ranges meet. My second drive was equally memorable, but this time it was for
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
C ALL OF THE WILD
a completely different reason. I was heading to the 1,000-year-old Ranthambhore Fort which is famous for its intricate stone masonry work. Make your way down the jungle path to gape at the structure which stretches for 7km on the Thambhore Hill. It encloses an area of approximately 4sq km. The heritage battlement, where construction is believed to have started from the mid 10th century AD onwards by Chauhan Rajputs,was several centuries in the making. Rajasthan’s warrior class was constantly battling with all-comers and the edifice’s forbiddingly high stone walls, towers, step wells and bastions were built to deter invaders and pillagers of every denomination. Clambering up the rocky steps that loop around the impregnable fortress walls, I was proffered interesting bits of Rajput lore by award winning wildlife photographer and one of the pioneers of the Ranthambhore
School of Art, M.D. Parashar. He explained how Rao Hammir, the last Chauhan ruler held out against Alauddin Khilji for months on end, sustained by huge granaries housed within the fort’s premises. Parashar recounted how the battlement finally fell to Khilji, after Hammir was betrayed by a confidante. Ranthambhore Fort boasts of opulent gateways and strikingly beautiful frescoed structures like Hammir’s Court, Badal Mahal, Dhula Mahal and Phansi Ghar. Now mostly a pile of rubble — though it is being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India — the fort’s architecture still has a mesmeric effect with its glorious rock artwork, tiered temples and cenotaphs. Indigenous stone, used as building blocks for masonry work, were entirely mined from within the fort enclosure and the mining pits were later converted into water storage tanks. A period temple, within the fort’s towering rock formations
dedicated to Ganesha the Elephant God, is the only one in the country where the deity is flanked by his two wives Riddhi and Siddhi and sons Subh and Labh. To this day, invitations for family occasions are mailed to the god of prosperity by seekers of domestic bliss. Later in the evening, I stepped off the heritage trail and returned to my resort, The Oberoi Vanyavilas Ranthambhore. My tour was flagged off at the in-house organic herb garden which turned out to be a sensory adventure with the delectable aromas of rosemary, thyme, basil and chives all around me. Soon after I was whisked away to the plush dining room to savour resident chef Deep Mohan Singh Arneja’s creative amuse-bouches like the mildly salty halloumi cheese contrasted with sweet prunes, dainty Parmesan cookies with a dab of tomato chutney and the more experimental French goat’s cheese sambousek (fried
stuffed pastry of Middle Eastern origin). The resort’s kitchen is also a hub of haute gastronomy which serves up delicacies like the grilled fillet of Angus Aberdeen (Irish tenderloin) with courgette (zucchini) blossoms and sauce béarnaise. Giving it company on the menu were the seared scallops doused in apple champagne sauce and Alba truffles. Sleep came early, aided by a fantastic dinner, a skin nourishing spa treatment using Hungarian moor mud and of course, the lullaby of crickets. Meanwhile, beneath the waning moon, the forest came alive with the cacophony of nocturnal creatures. Ranthambhore, it seemed, was yet to call it a night.
Ready reckoner GETTING THERE: Ranthambhore is 190 kms from Jaipur. The nearest railhead is Sawai Madhopur.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 23
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24 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
WOMEN & CHILDREN
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Sex-guide according to your age ur sexual behaviour varies at different times in our lives. Sex guru Tracey Cox in her bestselling book, ‘Sextasy’ reveals the sexual urges and traits of lovers according to their age...
O Mexican Scrambled Eggs
Ingredients: 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 4 corn tortillas, cut in thin strips 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup chopped tomato 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 1 small green chilli, seeded and chopped 4 eggs, beaten until frothy Salt to taste Method: Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and sauté the tortilla strips. Drain on paper towels or brown paper. Heat butter in skillet; sauté the chopped tomato, onion and green chilli for about one minute. Put tortilla strips back into the skillet. Pour beaten eggs into the skillet over other ingredients and cook, stirring often, until mixture sets. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
Most guys just can't stop dreaming about sex every couple of hours. At this age, girls are usually rebellious in their sexual imaginations. They share same-sex fantasies or want to try out bi-sexuality. A 2006 study of nearly 2000 people discovered that 76 per cent of women who slept with women reached orgasm (for women with men, the figure stands at 50 per cent). The 20s are the time when young boys and girls are most experimental in their sexual positions. One in 10 people claims Tracey Cox have had a threesome in their early twenties. Also, people in this age group have most likely visited a strip joint or a lapdancing club - with their friends or their better half.
Eggs Florentine Ingredients: 1 package (10 ounces) chopped frozen spinach 1/4 cup butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups half-and-half 8 eggs, poached salt and pepper to taste Grated Parmesan cheese or shredded mild Cheddar cheese Method: Cook spinach according to package instructions. Prepare white sauce. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add flour; blend well. Gradually add half-and-half, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Place spinach in a lightly buttered shallow baking dish. Arrange cooked, drained eggs over the top of the spinach then pour white sauce over eggs. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cheese. Bake eggs at 400° F for two to three minutes, until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
30 something The 30s are a time to experiment, almost all 30-somethings claim to have had sex outdoors. Unlike the teens when making out was the most common form of sexual experimentation, most 30 somethings prefer having sex somewhere semipublic like the beach, in the garden or on a park bench in the darkness. There's something wildly erotic about these sexapades! Also, high on the 30 something popularity chart are having sex in the shower or in the bath tub. Kinky pleasures also rate high as most 30 plus couples claim to be giving in to their fantasies of bondage, blindfolds and spanking on a weekend of debauchery. This is also the time when women are most likely to befriend gay male
pals. Straight women love gay men; gay men love straight women. Swedish research is confirming just why the two groups get along so famously - they both have symmetrical brains. Straight men and lesbians have asymmetrical brain hemispheres. The 30s also mark the arrival of children in a married couple's life, so the sex drive naturally dwindles. But, Cox points out that during pregnancy, couples have sex four to five times a month. Most put the brakes on their sex lives for about seven weeks after delivery, but four months later are back to four or five times of sex a month. Cox says six months after delivery, the average couple goes back to having sex three to five times a month. But incase you don't fit the bill, remember getting disheartened ain't gonna help. Remember it's just a temporary period, so continue touching and cuddling and if your baby robs you of chances to have sex, indulge in quickies. Most women says Cox in her book
experience higher orgasm rates. Ninety per cent of women past 30 regularly experience orgasm, compared to just 23 per cent of younger women.
40 something Men in their 40s are more likely to experience erection problems. Also, this is the age when maximum number of men tend to be unfaithful. Also, men are more compelled in their 40s to watch more porn or indulge in sex chats. Women on the other hand get sexually very demanding, often being attracted to younger men. If you thought the 40s were about low libido, think again, while 40somethings maybe having less sex than ever, the thrust has shifted from how many times in a week to an emphasis on better quality. You are more sure of your sexual needs in this age group and thus more likely to insist on passion play as opposed to a mere making out session.
Sssh, sleeping is helping the baby learn A
nyone who grew up in a large family probably remembers hearing "don't wake the baby". Latest research confirms that sleep is an integral part of how infants learn more about their new world. Psychologists Rebecca Gomez, Richard Bootzin and Lynn Nadel at the University of Arizona-Tucson (UA-T) found that babies who nap a little in daytime are more likely to exhibit an advanced level of learning known as abstraction. Nadel, professor at the UA-T
and colleagues, played recordings of "phrases" created from an artificial language to four dozen 15-month-olds during a learning session. Their methodology included repeatedly playing phrases like "pel-wadim-jic" until the babies became familiar with them. These phrases contained three units, with the first and last unit forming a relationship. In this example, the first word "pel" predicts the last "jic". Even though these are nonsensical sounds, the
language created for the test shares some similarity with the structure commonly found in subject-verb agreement in English sentences. Prior to being tested, some infants learning this artificial language took their normally scheduled naps. Others were scheduled at a time when they would not nap following the session. When the infants returned to the lab, they again heard the recordings - along with a set of different phrases in which the predictive relationship between
the first and last words were new. By carefully watching the babies' facial expressions as they listened to both old and new phrases, researchers were able to rate their level of attention. They found that babies' longer gazes at a flashing light that coincided with the phrases signalled attention, which indicated that they had learned a particular phrase or relationship. Differences arose between the infants who had napped and those who had not. The infants
who did not sleep after the sessions still recognised the phrases they had learned earlier. But those babies who had slept in between sessions were able to generalise their knowledge of sentence structure to draw predictive relationships to the new phrases. This suggests that napping supports abstract learning - that is, the ability to detect a general pattern contained in new information, said an UA-T release.
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 25
The story of Indira & India The author hopes that Indira's vision of a secular India will withstand the vicissitudes of today's corrosive politics quarter century after her assassination, pollsters continue to be baffled by Indira Gandhi's undiminished popularity, and the name recall she commands in the remotest corners. A google search throws up more than a 100 books on India's most controversial Prime Minister. Indira was a riveting subject, more than even Jawaharlal Nehru, whose own life story was no less than a cinematic magnum opus. Nehru's sterling qualities were acknowledged by critics and admirers alike, and most saw him as straightforward, if naïve at times. However, Indira appeared to the beholder as a multi-layered, complex, and beguilingly contradictory person. It must have been a huge advantage to Indira's biographers that members of the Nehru clan were breathless letter writers. Aside from Jawaharlal's letters to Indira covering a wide range of subjects from the intimately personal to complex affairs of the world, which have been been immortalised in the form of books, there was huge correspondence between Jawaharlal, on one side, and his sisters, father Motilal, and Mahatrma Gandhi, on the other. World leaders wrote to and wrote of Indira. Family members penned elegant personal memoirs, and there was also a wealth of material available in The Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira's own published speeches.
Documentation The exhaustive documentation ought to explain why there is so much in common among the biographies of Indira Gandhi. Whether it was Inder Malhotra , Pupul Jaykar, Katherine Frank, or Pranay Gupte, the biographers relied heavily on family correspondence and memoirs for gaining
insights into her early life. Naturally, the narratives are similar and, indeed, one story relating to Indira's birth seems to be a favourite of all her biographers: Disappointed at the birth of a girl, Indira's grandmother Swaroop Rani refused to announce the gender, resorting instead to a gender-neutral hua (it has happened). The source of the story: Vijayalakshmi Pandit's A Scope of Happiness: A Personal Memoir. Of course, Jaykar, being a close friend, could drawfrom her own conversations with Gandhi and other family members. Malhotra too met Gandhi frequently over a period of 30 years. Pranay Gupte, on the other hand, had no access to her, and confesses as much: “…a lot of what I say on Indira Gandhi and on India is based on the research of others.” He also makes it clear that his book is intended for general readers (euphemism for foreign audiences, surely) who want to “learn something of the contemporary history of the Indian subcontinent.” From this perspective, there is no doubt that the author has succeeded in his effort. Gupte's book is an engaging page-turner that treads the middle ground between Malhotra's “facts are sacred” approach and Katherine Frank's saucily written “inside story” style treatment. In addition, it has covered Rajiv Gandhi's years as Prime Minister, his assassination, the Congress party, and India's emergence in recent years as a country of substance. The author describes Indira's assassination and its violent aftermath in painstaking detail, using his own primary sources (interviews, visits to Punjab, and so on) to reconstruct the pain and horror that visited on the Sikh community. In the cavernous body of the book unfolds the poignant story of Indira — the loneliness of
her early years; her fierce attachment to a mother who suffered humiliation and neglect at Anand Bhavan; her slow but dramatic transformation from a painfully shy teenager through tentative politician, war hero, and finally to the authoritarian, monarch-like figure of the Emergency phase. The narrative takes in its sweep the oversized story of India, its chequered political journey, its many foreign policy challenges, its battles with disease, poverty and terrorism. In one of his letters to sister Nan (Vijaylakshmi), Nehru worries that 14-year old Indira has become “self-centred” and “grown remarkably selfish.” Some of the traits would assume more virulent forms in later years: As the Congress President in 1959, Indira engineered the dismissal of India's first elected Communist government in Kerala. In the twin roles of Prime Minister and party chief, she chopped and changed Congress Chief Ministers, treated institutions as personal fief, and brazenly courted danger, as she did when she propped up Sant Bhindranwale against the moderate Akali factions — she would pay for this misadventure with her own life. Did Nehru plan for Indira to inherit his place?
Seeds sown The author argues that the seeds of the Nehru dynasty were sown as early as in 1928 when Motilal indicated to the Mahatma that Jawaharlal would make an “excellent” president of the Congress. A noticeable omission in the book is Indira's own fight with crippling tuberculosis — she spent close to a year in a sanatorium in Switzerland, agonisingly lonely, the ghost of Kamala hovering over her and with a none-toogood medical prognosis. The author is of the view that “a contemporary political assessment
MOTHER INDIA - A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi: Pranay Gupte; Penguin/ Viking, 11, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110017. of Indira Gandhi cannot but be harsh.” Yet he concludes on an optimistic note, hoping that Indira's “vision of a united and secular India” will withstand “the vicissitudes of today's corrosive politics.” It is an assessment even her critics will agree with.
The Krishna Iyer effect on the Supreme Court T his is a compilation of 31 essays and lectures of Justice Krishna Iyer on a range of issues, not all of them on law. Some are on contemporary concerns such as global warming, secularism, tribal rights, the rights of pensioners, PIL, animal rights, and India-Pakistan relations. Also included are opinion pieces, reflecting his inimitable style, on individuals such as E.M.S. Namboodiripad, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Mahesh Yogi, besides a few correspondences and addresses from the bar. It is hard to select the best from the bunch, since his essays philosophise, inspire, nudge, provoke, and shake you to work towards ethical standards in life. Therefore, I have opted to cite a few select quotes from the writings which are illustrative of the sharp and incisive nature of his opinions.
Code of conduct
DYNAMIC LAWYERING: Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer; Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., C-FF-IA, Dilkhush Industrial Estate, G. T. Karnal Road, Delhi-110033.
The book starts with his speech on the theme ‘Dynamic lawyering, juristic engineering and ethical standards', where he exhorts lawyers to spiritualise the practice of law. In a scathing remark, he describes the practice of the Supreme Court turning down petitions under Article 32, with a direction that the petitioners approach the High Court, as shirking of duty and observes that the seeming short cut “has sterilized Article 32,”
apart from needlessly multiplying work at a time when courts at both levels are choked with arrears. He advocates a constitutional amendment to provide for a Judicial Performance Commission and an Advocate Performance Commission. In another article, Justice Iyer seeks public regulation, a Selection Commission, and a code of conduct for judges. On the critical question of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, he observes that to be a judge one need not be a “versatile genius.” “It violates all noesis and commonsense to empower a lay collegium which has no constitutional foundation except a selfserving ruling. The court is under the Constitution and not over it.” In the Shankar Guha Niyogi memorial lecture, he minces no words in speaking up for tribal rights. He says, the Indian Constitution is “deaf and dumb in these tribal regions. The locomotive of people's liberation is the spirit of autonomy, more human right, less centralism, less illusions about peace through police action.” Talking of secularism, in his Hakeem Abdul Hameed memorial lecture, he observes: “Indian secularism, without borrowing from Western nationalism or Marxian materialism, must go to its roots of comity of religions, camaraderie of faiths,
[and a] beautiful blend of divine light and cross fertilization of divergent teachings which made for a vibrant fellowship of church, mosque, temple and other shrines.”
Vignettes The book also has vignettes from legal history including his order granting conditional stay of the verdict of the Allahabad High Court that held Indira Gandhi's election as void, as also his last judgment that addressed the discrimination of historically disadvantaged groups in matters of employment in the railways. ( Akhil Bharatiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh vs Union of India) Justice Krishna Iyer introduced the concept of public interest litigation in Ratlam Municipality vs Vardichan. His landmark verdicts on criminal jurisprudence, giving a new dimension to human rights and the rule of law in the 1980s, continue to have great relevance today. As Harish Salve says, the Supreme Court of India was ‘Krishnaiyerised' to become the ‘Supreme Court for Indians.' These essays need to be read by all those who are concerned with not just the judiciary but with probity in public life. A flaw in the book is that the dates of the speeches and articles are not indicated.
26 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
Stress raises diabetics' memory loss risk tress increases the risk of memory loss and cognitive decline among diabetics, a new study has found. To reach the conclusion, researchers studied more than 900 men and women aged between 60 and 75 with type-2 diabetes. Scientists evaluated mental abilities with a range of tests, including memory function and how quickly participants processed information. They compared this with general intelligence levels, using vocabulary tests, to work out whether brain function in participants had diminished over time. They found that brain function slowed in participants with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The study, published by Diabetes Care , took into account factors such as education, cardiovascular disease, smoking and mood. It is part of the Edinburgh Type-2 Diabetes Study set up four years ago to better understand why people with diabetes may have memory problems. Type-2 diabetes tends to be more common after the age of 40.It is linked to problems with memory, but the reason behind this is unclear.
Humidity affects influenza virus outbreaks ry winters are linked to seasonal outbreaks of influenza, suggests a new study. The study, which has appeared in PLoS Biology , also discovered that the onset of outbreaks might be encouraged by unusually dry weather conditions, at least in temperate regions. For a long time scientists have suspected a link between humidity and seasonal (epidemic) flu outbreaks, but most of the previous studies focused on relative humidity â€“ the ratio of water vapour content in the air to the saturating level, which varies with temperature. Absolute humidity quantifies the actual amount of water in the air, irrespective of temperature. Though somewhat counter-intuitive, absolute humidity is much higher in the summer. Jeffrey Shaman, an Oregon State University atmospheric scientist and lead author said: "In some areas of the country, a typical summer day can have four times as much water vapor as a typical winter day â€“ a difference that exists both indoors and outdoors." For the study, the scientists used 31 years of observed absolute humidity conditions to drive a mathematical model of influenza and found that the model simulations reproduced the observed seasonal cycle of influenza throughout the US. They first examined influenza in New York, Washington, Illinois, Arizona and Florida, and discovered that the absolute humidity conditions in those states all produced modelsimulated seasonal outbreaks of influenza that correlated well with the observed seasonal cycle of influenza within each state. Shaman and colleagues then extended their model to the rest of the continental US and were able to reproduce the seasonal cycle of influenza elsewhere. They also discovered that the start of many influenza outbreaks during the winter was directly preceded by a period of weather that was drier than usual. Shaman said: "This dry period is not a requirement for triggering an influenza outbreak, but it was present in 55 to 60 per cent of the outbreaks we analyzed so it appears to increase the likelihood of an outbreak. The virus response is almost immediate; transmission and survival rates increase and about 10 days later, the observed influenza mortality rates follow."
HEALTH & FITNESS
THE INDIAN PANORAMA
New ovarian and breast cancer treatments ew medication, consisting of a blend of a protein inhibitor and traditional anticancer drugs, being developed to treat ovarian and breast cancer has been found to be effective, say researchers. The finding has appeared in a new review for Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports . Susan Bates and Christina Annunziata analysed numerous recent papers on this form of treatment, which takes advantage of the synthetic lethality of BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility genes) and polyADP ribose polymerase (PARP) proteins to attack cancerous cells even as it spares healthy ones. BRCA and PARP are two major players in DNA repair and have different but complementary functions in the cell. Loss of the BRCA protein allows the cell to survive but greatly enhances its chances of becoming cancerous through the accumulation of mutations. However, the loss of both proteins kills the cell in a process called synthetic lethality. The use of drugs to block the activity of PARP in cells missing BRCA, such as those found in certain breast and ovarian cancers, can spare healthy, non-cancerous cells because they have functional BRCA
and are not affected by the loss of PARP. Thus, only cancer cells without functional BRCA protein are killed by drugs that inhibit PARP. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that cancers caused by mutations that knock out BRCA activity can be controlled by blocking PARP activity with specific drugs. Patients were treated with traditional anticancer drugs alone or in combination with one of two new PARP inhibitors, olaparib or BSI201. Bates points out that patients on combination therapy had improved "[disease] progression-free survival, and overall survival" as compared to patients treated with traditional drugs alone.
Bates is positive about the promise of combining PARP inhibitors with existing cancer drugs. She says that the results of these clinical trials "have provided proof of principle in achieving synthetic lethality" with PARP-inhibiting drugs and that treatments combining novel PARP inhibitors with traditional chemotherapeutic drugs have the potential to vanquish BRCA-associated breast and ovarian cancers.
Add coconut, cut fat
diet rich in coconut oil keeps fat away and also protects against insulin resistance, a new study shows. The study also helps explain how people who incorporate medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil into their diets can lose body fat. Obesity and insulin resistance are major factors
"The medium chain fatty acids like those found in coconut oil are interesting to us because they
leading to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is an impaired ability of cells to respond to insulin. Nigel Turner and Jiming Ye from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research compared fat metabolism and insulin resistance in mice fed coconut oil and lard based diets.
behave very differently to the fats normally found in our diets," said study leader Turner. "Unlike the long chain fatty acids contained in animal fats, medium chain fatty acids are small enough to enter mitochondria - the cells' energy burning powerhouses - directly where they can then be converted to energy." "Unfortunately the downside to eating
medium chain fatty acids is that they can lead to fat build up in the liver, an important fact to be taken into consideration by anyone considering using them as a weight loss therapy." Fat storage is determined by the balance between how much fat is taken in by cells and
how much of this fat is burned for energy. When people eat a high fat diet, their bodies attempt to compensate by increasing their capacity to oxidise fat, said a Garvan release. "Obese humans usually eat 40-50 percent of their calories as fat. Our mice were fed 45 percent of their calories as fat," Turner said.
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G OD TENDULK AR
Better than even Bradman: Nasser Hussain
ormer England captain Nasser Hussain is convinced that Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman the game has ever seen, better than even the iconic Don Bradman. "I have never liked comparisons between great players, but after Wednesday's incredible game it must be said - Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of all time," Hussain wrote in his column for 'The Daily Mail'. Tendulkar became the first batsman to crack a double century in the four-decade-long history of one day cricket against South Africa on Wednesday and Hussain felt that should settle the debate on who is the greatest batsman ever. "Better than Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting, the other two great players of my era. Better than Sir Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border. And I would even say better than Sir Don Bradman himself," wrote the Chennai-born English cricketer of Indian origin. Hussain said Tendulkar has somehow managed to retain his early enthusiasm even after two decades of international cricket which he found incredible. "I played against Tendulkar on my first England tour, the Nehru Cup in India in 1989, and I could still see that excited boy in big pads in Gwalior," said Hussain, who once resorted to negative tactics and asked spinner Ashley Giles to bowl way outside off-stumps to curb the Indian," he said. "That extraordinary drive and enthusiasm are what make Tendulkar so special. He has been playing international cricket for 20 years under the intense scrutiny being an Indian superstar brings, so it is remarkable he still loves holding a bat as much as ever," Hussain said. Looking at Tendulkar's illustrious career, Hussain said guiding the Indian team to 2011 World Cup victory with his broad bat would perhaps give a sense of fulfilment. "What else is left for Tendulkar now? Well, it is sometimes said that he has not played enough match-winning innings on the really big occasion for India. "What better, then, than to score a hundred in the World Cup final against Australia ¿ or maybe even England - on home soil this time next year," he said. "That would be the full stop that would enable Tendulkar to ride off into the sunset with everything achieved in his career," said the Englishman. Doffing his hat to Tendulkar and referring to maverick soccer coach Jose Maurinho's famous moniker, Hussain said, "My admiration for him is total. To steal the nickname of a certain football coach who led Inter Milan against Chelsea on Wednesday, Sachin Tendulkar truly is The Special One."
Role model for world cricket: Pak players ormer and present Pakistani players on Wednesday paid rich tribute to Sachin Tendulkar for becoming the first batsman in the history of the game to score a double hundred in onedayers and said he is the perfect "role model" for any cricketer. "For any cricketer he is the perfect role model. The great thing about him is that he has been outstanding in both Tests and ODIs. As a Pakistani player, I know how much value we have always put on his wicket," right-handed batsman Shoaib Malik said about the batting maestro. Former skipper and wicketkeeper Rashid Latif said the feat was no surprise to him as it was only a matter of time for Tendulkar to achieve it. "I always expected him to be the first one to score 200 in ODIs, but I was surprised that he took so long," Latif said. Another former captain Aamir Sohail said, "The rule is simple when you give respect to the game, then only the game will give you respect." Batting great Javed Miandad said he had always asked Pakistani cricketers to admire Tendulkar for his down to earth attitude, hard work and passion. "Records are there to be broken but it makes you happy when someone like Tendulkar does it. I think he thoroughly deserves this record and many more in days to come," he said.
GWALIOR (TIP): Even as a hysterical crowd gradually melted away from the Roop Singh Stadium, shouts of "Sachin, Sachin" rented the air. Fireworks lit the night sky. Fans scrambled for another look at the legend as he neared the team bus. All of Gwalior, all of India, was awash with emotion. Minutes earlier, Sachin Tendulkar had been calm and serene at the press conference. Despite twenty long and glorious years in international cricket and a mountain of achievements, he has remained the same. The humility of this champion cricketer is striking. His feet firmly on the ground, he continues to scale peaks. He still creates and innovates. And Tendulkar keeps raising the bar. On a historic Wednesday here, the 36year-old Tendulkar had batted through the entire 50 overs of the Indian innings and then fielded when he could so easily have opted for a period of well-deserved rest within the comforts of the pavilion. Tendulkar chose the harder option. His integrity has always been his great ally. Above all, he is a man of substance. The monumental feat of becoming the first man to reach 200 runs in an ODI sat lightly on Tendulkar. In other words, greatness sits lightly on the man. He still has the enthusiasm of a schoolboy. The sparkle in his eye has not dimmed one bit. Countless hours under the sun have not diminished his love for
the game. As Tendulkar often says, he is passionate about cricket. And he enjoys his time in the arena. At the heart of it all is his indomitable spirit. He still dives full length on the field, even in the dying-overs of a high-octane ODI when his mind and body could have been tired. Tendulkar gives it his all, puts team ahead of self. The manner in which he has shouldered the expectations of millions for over 20 years has been incredible. He has steel in his bones. Tendulkar travels beyond numbers but then numbers are important. The maestro's 17,598 runs in 442 ODIs at an average of 45.12 with 46 hundreds and 93 fifties marks an astonishing achievement. And his strike rate of 86.26 is a whopping one. Ironically, he failed to score in his first two ODIs — against Pakistan in Gujranwala in 1989, and against New Zealand in Dunedin in 1990. The gifted teenager, though, did not take long to find his feet. A fitness concern in the Indian team catapulted him to the opener's slot in the ODI against New Zealand in Auckland in 1994. Tendulkar blasted a 49-ball 82. This blistering effort marked a turning point in his ODI career. On the highway to glory, he often put his foot on the accelerator. Tendulkar's astonishing 'Desert Storm' innings of 143 against Australia captured the cricketing world's imagination.
He not only made runs — often at a furious pace — in the abbreviated form of the game but did so with correct methods. Tendulkar found gaps with a surgeon's precision. And his footwork, balance and timing enabled the ball to speed through. His blood and guts knock of 140 against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup in England — overcoming the loss of his father — underlined his commitment to the team's cause. The maestro's career has been one of sacrifice. His blazing onslaught on the speedy Shoaib Akhtar at Centurion in the 2003 World Cup is fresh in one's memory. The quicker Akhtar bowled, the faster the ball disappeared to the fence. And in 2008, Tendulkar batted through pain and agony to carve a match-winning unbeaten 117 at the SCG in the first final of the Australian ODI tri-series. He followed this with 91 in the second final at Brisbane and India achieved a historic maiden tri-series triumph down under. A feature of Tendulkar's career has been the manner in which he has bounced back from injuries. Some wrote him off, but Tendulkar never lost belief. More recently, Tendulkar's valiant 175 — the innings oozed character — sparkled in a losing cause for India against Australia in Hyderabad. And now, he has done the impossible in Gwalior. Simply put, Tendulkar is a once-in-a-lifetime cricketer.
‘Feels good that I lasted for 50 overs’ GWALIOR (TIP): After scoring a record unbeaten 200 here Wednesday, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was happy that at the age of 36 he was good enough to last 50 overs. 'It feels good that I lasted for 50 overs, a good test of my fitness. I'd like to bat another 50 overs at some stage and see that the fitness level doesn't drop. 'I'm enjoying my cricket. I've always played the way I felt was the right way to play, always done what I felt was good for the team. There have been times when I've made some bad decisions as a batsman, but as long as in my heart I know that whatever I'm doing for the team at that moment, I'm going to go ahead with that,' said Tendulkar after India won the second one-day international (ODI) against South Africa by 153 runs. Asked about his extra-ordinary feat Tendulkar said: 'I don't know how to
react to this. I was striking the ball and timing the ball well, it was coming on to the bat nicely. Yusuf (Pathan) came and changed the momentum and MS really struck the ball well; it was due to their big hitting that we were able to put up such a big score. It was only when I got closer to the score that I realised that I had an opportunity and I could take the singles to give MS the strike.' Skipper Dhoni had special words for Yusuf who hit an important 36 off 23 balls. 'Once Viru (Virender Sehwag) got out it was important to get some runs. Dinesh (Karthik) and Sachin batted really well. We were eyeing 350 when they were going strong. But Sachin batted through the innings and he played really well, using the pace of the ball when he got tired. Yusuf was sent up the order and with the talent he's got, he can be a great asset to the side. I have
changed my batting, but the situation demanded that kind (attacking) of innings. The ground is a small one, and we were a bit worried about the dew factor. But once they lost 3-4 early wickets, it was difficult for them to get back into the game,' he said. South Africa captain Jacques Kallis said that his boys didn't get their act right from the start. 'The toss was quite vital. Our basics were just weren't good enough today. We were outplayed. We lost wickets at crucial stages, or basics let us down. A fantastic innings by Sachin; he took advantage of some good conditions and he played superbly,” he said. The Gwalior Division Cricket Association gifted Tendulkar with a silver bat, a Rs.1 million cheque and a pavilion at Captain Roop Singh Stadium will be named in his honor.
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COMMUNITY EVENT CALENDER
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The Indian Panorama invites your events for publication in this column. It is a free service to community. Please e-mail your event to email@example.com or mail to P.O. Box 190067 South Richmond Hill, NY 11419 Indo American Arts Council & Middlesex County College
Arya Samaj Inc. New York
SATSANG Every Sunday: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm
Art and Dance of the South Asian Diaspora Guest curator Kathryn Myers, Professor of Art, the University of Connecticut OPENING RECEPTION: FEBRUARY 25: 5-7 PM DANCE PERFORMANCE: 7 -9 PM Venue: Studio Theater and Gallery, Middlesex County College Location: 2600 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, NJ 08118 | FOR FURTHER INFO:
23RD ANNUAL SIKH DAY PARADE Organized by Sikh Cultural Society, Richmond Hill, New York Saturday, April 24, 2010 : 11.00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. 11.00 A.M. Assembly at 41st Street Madison Avenue 1.00 P.M. to 3.00 P.M. Parade to 26th Street Madison Avenue 3.00 P.M. to 5.00 P.M. Conference For further information: Tehal Singh, President : 347-341-0198 Surjit Singh Kular, Chairman: 917-454-2483 Bhupinder Singh Boparai, Vice President: 917-902-2500 Rajinder Singh, Assistant Secretary: 917-892-2401
VENUE: 150-22 Hillside Avenue Jamaica, NY 11432 For more info:
Hindi Gyan Vikas Pathshala HINDI TEACHING CLASSES For all ages starting 4 years. Books and study material provided Special classes for writing
Hindi on Computers also available Every Sunday: 10.00 am
VENUE: Hindi Gyan Vikas Pathshala Off 537 West, near freehold Raceway Mall Freehold, NJ 07728 For more info: Juhi Jain: 732-208-1040 http://learnhindi.agsyss.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 31 Telephone: 425-891-9215 Suitable match for Lubana boy 27/5'-7", MBBS, Captain in Army in India/USA. MBBS/MD/Ph.D. or equal professionally qualified preferred. Email:email@example.com /9815334249 Professionally qualified NRI/Indian match for handsome Kamboj Sikh boy25/5'-10", Software Engineer, working in US. Parents visiting America shortly. 98765-34185. Send photo/biodata. firstname.lastname@example.org Our son is 1981 born, US citizen, 5'-10", turban wearing, handsome & fair. He is US MD Doctor doing Residency in California. We are teetotaller, professional family looking for a Jat Sikh girl, 24-27 yrs., 5'4" plus, fair, homely with traditional Sikh values. Contact: 415-307-1534 (USA), email@example.com
GROOM WANTED Extremely beautiful, slim Lubana Sikh girl, 28/5'-7", MBA, issuelessdivorcee, studying in Australia from Defence family. Boy should be well educated, PR/citizen of any country. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Professionally qualified well-settled match in Canada/ USA for SikhTonkshatriya Canadian immigrant girl, BDS, 5'-3"/ May 81, highly educated family. Upper caste no bar. Early marriage. Photo/ data email:email@example.com Match for Lobana Sikh beautiful girl MA B.Ed., October 1985, 5'-6". Parent ongovt. job. NRI preferred. Contact: 98761-70443, E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Lubana Sikh US Citizen beautiful girl 25/5'-2", Pharmaceutical degree, earning $70000 per annum. Preference MBBS Doctor/D.Pharma. E-mail:email@example.com Europe based Jat Sikh Sandhu parents seek suitable match for their beautiful,Europe born daughter, Aug. 1981, 5'-11", LLB. Government employed, well versed in both cultures. Looking for highly qualified professional, handsome boy from cultured Jat Sikh family. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org +91 987 6033898. Professionally qualified match for 28/5'8", Jatsikh, convent educated, MBAgirl currently studying in Canada. Father Class-I Officer, sister settled in Canada. Ph: 94633-59217. Email: email@example.com Canada based Jat Sikh parents seek professional match (degree holders only)from Canada/USA/India for their India born, convent educated, UBC Degree holder, Canadian Citizen, fair complexioned, daughter born May 1977, 5'-3.5". Permanently employed with Federal Govt as PM-04 in Toronto. Well versed in both cultures. Married for a brief period but sought the annulment of the marriage and was granted. Respond with complete details and recent picture to:firstname.lastname@example.org C9-91063 Dr of Pharmacy Jatsikh girl 28 yr. 5'-6", at @ $130,000 looking for suitable UScitizen only, clean shaven match. Email: email@example.com US based Jat Sikh Doctor's family Seek suitable, well qualified match willing to settle in USA for their beautful, fair complexioned, US educated daughter, Bachelor in Science 32/5'-3". Send complete biodata and photograph. Cell: 098148-34901 Australia based Jat Sikh parents seek suitable match for their daughter, Aug.1984, 5'-8". Dual Degree holder, professionally employed, well versed in both cultures. Looking for highly qualified professional, handsome boy from cultured Jat Sikh family. E-mail biodata and recent photos: g_singh.aus@Hotmail.com Jat Sikh Canadian, well established family seeks a suitable match for theirdaughter: 34, 5'-4" Canadian born, beautiful slim, fair, sweet natured with high family values, University educated with multiple degrees, IT Consultant in Toronto, never married and well versed in Punjabi culture. The boy should be professionally educated, good family values, age 31-38 in Canada, USA, UK. Please respond with photo: sbms-
firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-291-4832
Respectable highly educated Jat Sikh family seek professionally qualifiedclean shaven match for their Oct. 1980 British born MBBS daughter. She is 5'-4" tall, homely, pretty and well-versed in both culture, working for NHS (UK) as a Registrar in Oxfordshire. email@example.com
Alliance for beautiful Jat Sikh Gill August 1983 born, 5'-2", girl, M.Pharma from India, working as Pharmacist in Canada, Permanent Resident. Ph.D Pharmacy, M.D., MDS, Veterinary Doctor preferred. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: 094630-41388, 01628-699337.
Jat Sikh well settled boy from status family for fair, very beautiful, slim, NRI Canadian girl. Studying in Medicine, 23 years, 5'-7". Family and boy main consideration. Email : email@example.com US based parents seek Doctor/Engineer/professionally qualified Jat Sikhmatch for India born, US Citizen, Dec.80 born, 5'-7½", beautiful US MD Doctor daughter. Father retired defence officer. Respond with bio-data and photo firstname.lastname@example.org 90411-33771 Canadian immigrant, highly reputed Jat Sikh vegetarian family, well-settled in Canada & India, seeks suitable well-educated vegetarian match for very fair, slim beautiful daughter, 1984/ 5'-6", convent educated, Engg. in Electronics (India) and One year Networking Administration (Canada BC). Email biodata, photo:email@example.com Contact 9878359501 Wanted NRI/settled boy for Jat Sikh 29/5'7", slim girl, Master in ComputerScience. UK/Canada/US preferred. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 98724-51776. Jat Sikh family seeks alliance for Canada born 32/5'-2½ beautiful BDS daughter. Contact: 97802-62025 Jat Sikh parents seeking American/Canadian professional match for their28½/5'-4", beautiful humble slim, daughter M.Sc. (Chemistry), B.Ed. from respectable Amritsar-based educated family. Email: email@example.com 98723-39702. Jat Sikh parents seek MBBS/BDS/BVSc. match preferably NRI for their daughter 27/5'-3', slim, beautiful intelligent BDS studying health Management in UK and preparing for Dental exam/NBDE. firstname.lastname@example.org Qualified professional match for Jat Sikh girl 23/5'-5", B.Sc. Nursing NCLEX,IELTS cleared. Applied for M.Sc. Nursing (USA). E-mail:- email@example.com MD/MEDICO/ENGINEER EQUAL STATUS HANDSOME Tall match for US citizen, Beautiful Saini Sikh girl 17.12.1983/5'-9", Bio-Medical Engineer Master, Now doing Ph.D. Balachaur based USA settled family. 94178-61932, 94176-55245. firstname.lastname@example.org Suitable match for Saini Sikh beautiful girl 26/5', Australia on study base.Caste no bar. Send particular at email: email@example.com , Mobile: 98723-03786. Alliance invited from Sikh/cleanshaven boy settled in USA, for 1982 born, 5'-8", convent educated Ahluwalia fair, smart, intelligent, good looking, homely girl., Double M.A. (Economics) P.U. (Chandigarh) & New York University. Presently doing Advance Certificate in Economics from (New York University) USA. Doing Research Assistantship with known Economist. Contact: harvinders-
Suitable educated match for Australia Citizen fair, beautiful Ramdasia Sikh(Weaver), 25/5'-3", doing Medical. Cleanshaven preferred. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Highly qualified Engineer/Doctor match for Sikh Ramgarhia girl July 75, 5'4",Software Engineer, working USA, handsome salary. Father retired class-I Officer. No bar. USA preferred. E-mail: email@example.com Affluent Saini parents seek clean shaven Sikh match already in USA for Jan.'78 US born daughter. 5'-3", very pretty, fair & slim. MS Scientist NY. Email: bio/photo SJKB078@aol.com Wanted USA settled teetotaller Khatri boy for pretty Punjabi Kapoor girl, 5'-3"/13 Oct. 1984. Employed. Greencard holder. Parents in USA. Send details Photo :firstname.lastname@example.org ; 01722636066. Match for slim, beautiful 28/5'-2", Medico girl, only Medico match resident or working in USA. E-mail: email@example.com VERY affluent New York settled parents of Punjabi / Khatri ancestry invite correspondence for their Oct '79 (looks much younger), US born, 5'5", 110 lbs, slender, fair complexioned, beautiful, very charming, cultured and kind, only daughter. BS in Computer Science, and MS in Computer Science, working as IT Administrator for the City government of New York with sixfigure basic salary. Looking for never-married groom between 28 and 33, who must relocate and settle in USA, preferably New York City. Please send detailed, verifiable biodata, with recent photo to P.O. 20094 Greeley Square, New York, NY 10001 or email RanbirAhluwalia@aol.com
BRIDE WANTED Match for US Citizen Clean Shaven, Arora Sikh Boy, 35, 5'5", Divorcee, No Issue. New York City Job. Well Settled Family. Call: 718-441-3981, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org A 42, 5-9, professional educated, cleanshaved Punjabi boy looking a professionally educated girl for marriage. There is no bar for caste, creed or region. I am located in New York City. I am a US citizen, nondrinker, nonsmoker, etc. Please email your bio-data and a picture at: SAMAR24@Earthlink.net. Clean Shaven Sikh boy / 39 / 5,10" / 185lbs / MBA/US Citizen / working in NY / seeks good looking , educated girl , reply with photo to email@example.com WANTED SUITABLE PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED MATCH FOR SIKH BOY 26YRS./5'-7", WORKING AT MNC AS TREASURY ANALYST AT CALARGY CANADA. BORN & RAISED IN CANADA. BELONGING TO REPUTED & FINANCIALLY WELL-ESTABLISHED FAMILY HAVING FIVE RESTAURANTS IN CANADA AND SUBSTANTIAL RURAL & URBAN PROPERTY AT LUDHIANA PUNJAB. E-MAIL:
A.KALER@SHAW.CA ARV.KALER@SHAW.CA 98144-04015 Australia based Punjabi Hindu very handsome boy 29/6'-2", highly qualifiedspecialist Engineer, over 1 lac Dollars p.a. visiting India March, service class nucleus family in Punjab, looking for tall, beautiful, professionally qualified girl. Caste/faith/dowry no bar. Girl's family photo/details 1st instance. 096461-42772. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Suitable match for Pb. Doaba Parmar 81 born, 5'-8", fair, handsome boy ELITE School convented B.Tech., MBA International Business, UBS Chandigarh, working on Global Projects MNC based NCR Delhi. Sister M.Tech. married. Presently in (NJ) USA. Father retired Class I Electricity Officer, Chandigarh. Respond E-mail:-email@example.com Professionally qualified match for Saraswat Brahmin boy M.B.B.S., MRCSII,NHS Doctor, Registrar Orthopaedics (A&E) in a Hospital in London (U.K.), Permanant Resident U.K., 28.8.80, 9:35 p.m. Chandigarh, 5'-8". Email:firstname.lastname@example.org MBA Gaur Brahmin handsome boy 5'8"/12.02.81, 00:30 am Patiala, earning 4.5 annually Canadian immigration soon seeks beautiful equally qualified, employed match. Early marriage. 09915510707. email@example.com Permanent Resident working in Canada, Manglik Saraswat Brahmin,Chandigarh born 29 Dec.76, 1:20 a.m. Looking for suitable match. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Medico match for Saraswat Brahmin MBBS, MS Clinical Research in USA, seeking Residency handsome, fair, slim, 32/5'-8". Status family. 98151-70796. email@example.com Compatible match from respectable family for handsome Hindu Brahmin boy, 19 US citizen settled with whole family, 1988 July born, 5'-7" Kaushal boy doing III year Bachelors of Engineering in Electronics seeks suitable Engineer (BE/B.Tech.) match. Caste no bar, first preference Brahmin. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 98148-82045. Highly educated and accomplished U.S. citizen cleanshaven Sikh executive(retired/now consultant) 5'8"/180 lb widower seeks: compatible life partner -55+yr, attractive, cultured, enthusiastic, understanding, caring, liabilities-free and subscribing to sikh values. Email bio-data; email@example.com Chandigarh. Beautiful, tall, qualified match for handsome Khatri Sikh cleanshaven 6'-0",30, US Citizen Engineer employed with Boeing Airplane. Very Well Settled. Contact 98113-52648. firstname.lastname@example.org . Currently in India. C9-92195 Proposals invited from USA, Canada, India-based Sikh parents of only Physician/Dentist/Pharmacist/Other Professionals daughters, beautiful, cheerful, adjustable, preferably already practicing/getting training in USA/Canada for a well-settled/established US citizen, clean shaven, handsome Sikh, 26/5'-9", Doctor of Pharmacy, homeowner, six figure salary. Send detailed particulars with photograph. Email: email@example.com
Well settled, Jatt Sikh business family in USA seeks suitable match for 29 yrs old 5'-11", post graduation in Bus. Administration, very handsome, in family business. Pls. respond with photo only. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Canadian born, 6' tall, very handsome, 26 years old Graduate from University of Toronto, Belonging to Business family. Requires extremely beautiful girl, fair complexion, atleast 5'-8" height, of Medical, Engineering, B.Com. background, students accepted. Contact: 98158-47731. email@example.com Canadian handsome Jat Sikh 30/6', self employed seeks tall, beautiful, well educated girl. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Suitable Canadian match for cleanshaven Jatt Sikh Goraya boy 27/5'-10",currently working in Canada. 94653-58424, email@example.com US based family seeks a beautiful, intelligent, and educated girl (preferably Doctor, Dentist, Pharmacist, B.Sc. Nursing) for Australian citizen settled in USA, working as Sr. Engineer 31 year old, 6'-2" boy. Please send Email to:firstname.lastname@example.org w/pic. Serious inquiries only plz Match required for handsome UK born and educated hospital Doctor, 37 years, cleanshaven, slim, 5'-10", MBBS (Honours) and Ph.D degrees, currently working in the UK, but plans to relocate to the USA. Highly respected Jat Sikh family of doctors well settled in the UK. The ideal match would be tall, slim, beautiful, highly educated and from highly respectable family. boy is innocently divorced (no children). Suitable match for Jat Sikh German citizen and Canadian PR holder, B.Tech. & M.Tech. Electronics (from Germany) 73, 5'-11", clean shaven, legally divorced. Working as Senior Engineer. Please send your bio-data at email@example.com or Tel: 0043-664-3716373 Jat Sikh parents seeks match for their well settled Canadian citizen son, very handsome, fair with sharp features 29/5'9", clean shaven, Computer Engineer. Girl should be simple, beautiful with sharp features, family oriented and professionally qualified. Preferred under 26. Send details to E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Suitable tall, very beautiful, educated/employed/NRI High Status match for Jat Sikh clean shaven very handsome 6'-3"/25, done Masters in CGraphics from Newzealand, only son, handling Business, Rural/Urban property in Chandigarh, Punjab. E-mail:email@example.com ; 98787-48806. Mohali settled educated status family seeking beautiful qualified alliance forhandsome boy, 29, 5'-8", B.Sc, M.Sc IT (UK), Urban/Rural property. USA/Canada only. Contact: 98729-79855, firstname.lastname@example.org
tarian turbaned QT professionalSoftware Engg. Jat Sikh 26/5'-11", boy employed in MNC. NRI preferred. Photograph biodata of girl must. Email: email@example.com 98881-51324 Suitable match for fair, slim, smart, handsome well educated, 5 feet 9 inch,Manglik Himachali Mahajan (Gupta) boy, settled in Shimla. Respectable simple famly. D.O.B. 8th August, 1979, 2.25 am, Shimla. Practicing Advocate, HP High Court. Only genuine and interested persons may contact after matching horoscope. Himachali, good looking, homely and educated girl preferred. Employed girl no bar. Early and simple marriage. Contact No. 09816035356, 0177-2803535; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org C9-94599 35, 5'-10" handsome, smart, Plastic Surgeon in San Diego, in US for last 11years, U.S. Citizen, open minded Gupta family, seeking beautiful, open minded well educated girl. Caste no bar. Contact only via email at email@example.com with photograph. Hindu Punjabi, Science Graduate, medium build, 5'-3", widower, settled in UK invites alliance with 40-50 years, divorced/widow. Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org Alliance invited from USA/Canadian citizens for Saini Sikh cleanshaven,smart, handsome boy, 22/5'-8", studiyng in Canada since 5 years. 98149-67284, Canada-604 862 3962 Tall, fair, beautiful PQM for H'some P'jabi Saraswat Brahmin MCA boy 29/5'-8", working in USA on L1. Send biodata and snaps to email@example.com or Call: +14253516545 Match for handsome Jatsikh brothers elder 1983/5'-8"/Graduate Canadasettled, Indian match required, now arrive in India upto Jan. 2010. Younger 1984/5'9"/Graduate Canadian match required. Both girls should be relative. 09729794333, 0016047261710. Match for Sikh cleanshaven US Citizen Lobana boy 27/5'-10" MBA, workingManager. Status business family. Looking for Medical/Dental/B.Sc. Nursing girl upto 27, preferably from Lobana community. Contact: 98781-16879, 001-510579-5489. firstname.lastname@example.org Suitable educated match for Sikh Arora handsome fair Australia permanent resident boy 28/5'-8", MCA. Send photo E-mail: email@example.com Punjabi Saraswat Brahmin highly qualified family seeking US/Canada settled beautiful, well qualified girl for their only very handsome Engg. son, 26/5'-8", MS (USA), studying further and teaching in the same university, USA, pure veg. No drinking/smoking good urban/rural property. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: 97806-22247, 94648-28867 Bride for 28 years Hindu Punjabi NRI boy, 5'-4", business Graduate born and brought up in Delhi moved to Canada in 2002 running his own business in supplying computer pheripherals to major retailers in Canada and US. Phone 98140-14757 Match for handsome fair Manglik MCA boy 6', 03-08-79, 6:13 a.m. Jalandhar,working TCS Pune, presently in USA on project basis. Send biodata photo. E-mail:email@example.com 01812272742 Chandigarh based Khatri Gursikh family, Only son, December 1983 born, 5'-7", fair complexion, B.Tech., Engineer in MNC, U.A.E., Indian based company. Mother, Father Doctor. Seeks educated beautiful Gursikh girl. 98761-77147, 99888-04499 Match for Gur Sikh Boy, 34 5'10". Working in New York Call : 718.687.9392 or Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tall, beautiful match for handsome vege-
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32 Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
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China fights pollution with 20m fish that eat up algae SHANGHAI (TIP): Authorities in eastern China have said they will release 20 million algae-eating fish into one of the nation’s most scenic lakes that has been ravaged by pollution. Taihu Lake, which straddles Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, has been severely polluted by sewage as well as industrial and agricultural waste, triggering a blue-green algae plague. Authorities started using fish to try to clean up the lake in February last year when they released 10 million mostly green and silver carp into the water, after the algae tainted the drinking supply of millions of residents. Over the next few days, around 20 million more algae-eating fish will be released into the water, the Taihu Lake Fisheries Management Committee said. A silver carp can consume 50kgs of algae in its lifetime while gaining only 1kg in weight, officials have said.
Is sex addiction a disorder? Yes, say some experts n the long, self-lacerating statement that he read to a worldwide audience last week, Tiger Woods never used the words sex addiction. Yet by publicly apologizing for his infidelity, saying he was returning to his religious faith and admitting that he has “work to do”, he appeared to be carrying out several steps of a common 12-step treatment for just that. Experts in the field note that Woods hit several key points in the program used by the Gentle Path clinic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at whose front door he has been photographed. In Steps 8 and 9 of the program, for instance, patients are admonished to list everyone they have harmed and make amends. The very idea that someone can be addicted to sex is controversial and inevitably leads to chuckles and jokes. Those claiming addiction may be accused of seeking a medical excuse for simple promiscuity. But while sex addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, psychiatrists have long recognized that there are “clear cases in which people ruin their lives because of sex”, said Michael First, a Columbia University psychiatry professor who edited the manual. ‘Hypersexual disorder’ is now under consideration for the next edition. “The question,” First said, “is how you draw the boundary between a healthy sexual appetite and addiction.” Diagnosis depends on how much pursuing sex interferes with other goals, on whether the patient has tried to stop and failed, and on what mood the activity brings on. For example, said Richard Krueger, a Columbia University psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of sex offenders, “a couple in love, floating five feet off the ground, having frequent sex” is different from a patient unable to stop watching pornography at work. Treatment “is in its infancy”, Krueger said. “Chemical castration” with testosterone blockers, as has been used on some pedophiles, is inappropriate in such cases. Antidepressants suppress sex drive or erections in some. Psychotherapy helps some addicts; 12-step programs (first formulated by Alcoholics Anonymous) help others.
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Hacked smartphones can be used to spy on you martphones, the one-inall gadget that has taken the technology world by storm, can be hacked easily and made to reveal not only users’ personal information but their location too. Today’s smartphones are really just mobile computers. Many of them run the same class of operating systems as desktop and laptop computers, and as a result are just as vulnerable to malware attacks, researches say. “Smartphones are essentially becoming regular computers,” said Vinod Ganapathy, assistant professor of computer science at the Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences. Researchers, led by Ganapathy and Liviu Iftode, Rutgers’ professor, demonstrated how such a software attack could cause a smart phone to eavesdrop on a meeting, track its owner’s
location, or rapidly drain its battery to render the phone useless. In fact, vulnerabilities in
smartphones are even more dangerous because people carry them around at all times, making it easier for attackers to
eavesdrop. These actions could happen without the owner being aware of what happened or what caused them. Ganapathy and Iftode worked with three students to study a nefarious type of malware known as “rootkits”. Unlike viruses, rootkits attack the heart of a computer — its operating system. They can only be detected from outside a corrupted operating system with a specialized tool known as a virtual machine monitor, which can examine every system operation and data structure. Virtual machine monitors exist for PCs, but in current form, they demand more processing resources than a cellphone can support. Smartphones also have new ways for malware to enter the system, such as through a Bluetooth or via text message.
Biological clock Field of energy: Kick a ticking? ‘Egg timer’ football to charge battery to alert women SYDNEY (TIP): Women will soon be able to tell how many eggs they have in their ovaries in a simple hormone test that Australian researchers said on Sunday could revolutionise family planning and fertility treatment. The so called “egg timer” blood test would be able to accurately predict ovum levels based on the concentration of a specific fertility hormone, said conception specialist Peter Illingworth. “I think this is a big step forward,” said Illingworth, medical director of IVF Australia. “What the test will do is identify those younger women who may well be at serious risk of not having children easily when they’re older,” he told public broadcaster ABC. “It will identify women who are at risk of having a premature menopause for example and allow women to plan how active they should be about fertility treatment.” Women who had undergone treatment for cancer or endometriosis or had ovarian surgery would particularly benefit from the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) test, he said, which would cost just $58. It could also save couples tens of thousands of dollars in expensive but ultimately futile in-vitro fertilisation treatments. “From my perspective as a doctor, this test gives us a basis of providing advice to women on how quickly they should get involved in active treatment. For example, it is a common situation for a couple to try for six or eight months and go to a fertility clinic to seek advice. If all the tests are normal at that point, then there’s no rush for them to seek treatment”, he said. Women are born with an average of one to two million eggs in their ovaries, which are shed monthly until menopause, with a 20-year old woman typically having 200,000 eggs. That number halves as she enters the 30s and dwindles to as low as 2,000 after the age of 40.
WASHINGTON (TIP): Scientists have developed a smart football called ‘sOccket’, which captures and stores energy during normal game play to be used to later charge batteries and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) in developing countries. Co-creator Jessica Lin told Discovery News that the idea for sOccket grew out of a group project for an undergraduate engineering class at Harvard University. She and her team all had experience living in the developing world, and they realized two things. First, kids are playing soccer all the time in many parts of the world, be it with a ball or a tin can, and second, the vast majority of those kids have homes with no reliable sources of electricity. Lighting, if it exists at all, is often provided by sources such as wood fires or kerosene lamps, which are unhealthy.
There were stories we would hear of children going out to the street and studying underneath street lamps, or literally coming to school with blackened noses because they had been studying near kerosene lamps,” said Lin. So, the idea for the sOccket was born. The first prototype used an inductive coil mechanism to store energy. Lin said it works on more or less the same principle as one of those “shake to charge” flashlights, “where a magnet rolls through a coil creating an electric charge.” They then took the sOccket out for field testing in South Africa and Kenya. They let the children kick it around, and give feedback. Lin and the sOccket team found that 15 minutes of game play could power the onboard LED for three hours.
Countering malaria drug resistance Scientists battling malaria have earned a major victory. According to a Nature Genetics study, an international group of researchers has used genomics to decode the blueprint of Plasmodium falciparum – a strain of malaria most resistant to drugs that causes the most deaths around the world. The discovery may lead to advanced pharmaceuticals to fight the disease and prevent drug resistance among the 250 million people infected by malaria each year. Says lead author Dr. Philip Awadalla, a pediatrics professor at the Université de Montréal, a scientist at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and scientific director of CARTaGENE: “As the malaria pathogen evolves, researchers must evolve with it to find ways to counter the disease.” The team decoded 200 malaria samples from Asia, Africa, Central America, South America and Papua New Guinea. Their goal was to identify how Plasmodium falciparum strains were becoming resistant to the eight antimalaria drugs currently available. “There are substantial genetic differences in malaria around the world,” stresses Dr. Awadalla, noting African strains differ from Asia strains.
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